Friday, 28 August 2009

Cricket Teal

Garganey, Willington GP, 28th Aug. Grotty adult.

Hooray for Autumn!

Right, time to up the ante on my blogging for the autumn.

Spring sort of faded away in to summer with not much to show for most of my efforts. Summer has been very quiet with Broom being a disaster with breeding birds on the site crashing and disappearing quicker than Aussie batsmen in the Ashes. Needless to say I couldn't want for Autumn to start!

A couple of recent visits to Pegsdon Hills have been very productive - a couple of gaudy adult male Redstarts flitting around the bushes always brings a smile to my face. Also had four passage Tree Pipits flying over, which is good for Beds as that species has all but gone now in the county. Lastly a sprinkling of Spotty Flies on the hills is a sure sign things are moving in earnest. Unfortunately I managed to miss the Pied Fly that was with them the other day though. Hopefully there'll be another one of those soon.

My first vismig trip of the season was a roaring success (see my post below) with FIVE passage Tree Pips over the Pinnacle. I get the feeling there are lots of them around at the moment, and a quick look at the Falsterbo website confirms this with over 33,000 through there so far this month! The next morning however was deathly quiet with barely a bird moving. Perhaps I'll leave it a little longer before I start doing regular pre-work sessions up there.

Wonder what the long weekend will bring us...

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Tripiting over the Pinnacle

Following Mark Telfers Totternhoe dawn raid yesterday, and my own advice
to get up a hill, I found myself at the Pinnacle at 06:30 this morning.
For the first 15 mins, while I was getting slightly damp and
progressively colder, I didn't see a single bird and was wondering why
I'd bothered. Then I heard a buzzy "zeeep!" as my first Tree Pipit went
over. It was worth getting up early after all. About ten minutes later
and I picked up another Tree Pipit flying over, but this one veered off
a little and joined three more! Five Tree Pipits in just over ten
minutes - wow! Unfortunately that was my lot and the rest of the hour
was pretty quiet, but I was well chuffed with that little haul.

Tree Pipit - 5 >S
Pied Wag - 3 >S
Yellow Wag 1 >S

Friday, 7 August 2009

More thoughts on Laurel and Hardy...

In the quiet summer period I've been looking at Cormorants again. The more I look at, the more interesting I'm finding them. The gular angle seems to be the key to identifying them racially, with almost all of the other features being variable. The two birds in the first two images below are siniensis at the back and carbo at the front. The gular angle makes this obvious, however the structure of these birds isn't such a big help as they should, in theory, be the other way around!

Structurally, the carbo should be the thicker-set bird, with the flatter crown. and more stocky bill. However this is presumably a male siniensis, and a female carbo, making looking solely at structure, in this case, not useful.

I've moved the heads of these birds in Photoshop so the gular angle is more obvious. (Castle Mills GP, Beds, 24th July 2009)

The birds below are carbo on the left, and siniensis on the right. Both are immatures and their white underparts are noticably different, with the gleaming white belly of the siniensis bird really obvious. (Marston Vale CP, Beds, 1st August 2009)

A bit more on this pair can be found here.

French Avocets

These seven Avocets dropped in to a private Beds clay pit for a brief stop-over. One of them was colour-ringed and it appears to be from a colony in northern Brittany, France. 1st August 2009

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