Saturday 31 October 2015

Cabbie Wisdom - The Artist Taxi Driver

Lol! This basically sums it all up- the root cause of all environmental and social problems. As Natalie Bennett says in the latest Green World, 'Social and Environmental Justice are indivisible'. The destruction of nature and inequality in society are the same problem. The way forward for conservation is a joint socio-environmental revolution, a combining of force and values. The Green Party offer some solutions to that end- as do taxi drivers!

Friday 30 October 2015

Sacking Packham

In response to Chris Packham's recent article in BBC Wildlife Magazine asking 'Why isn't more wildlife art controversial ?'. I couldn't agree with that less. Everywhere I look in popular art and music culture there is reference to wildlife and animals, often controversial.  Maybe BBC Wildlife could be working closer with BBC Comedy in the campaign to engage younger generations and wider audiences with wildlife/ nature conservation?

Here's more BBC brilliance: Controversial Nature

How about a reality TV show.. 'Sacking Packham'.  That would get an audience!

Thursday 29 October 2015

Back to Patch

 First-winter Dartford Warbler

Short-eared Owl
 First-winter Caspian Gull
'Caspian Gull'- picked this bird up on call but only managed this and a couple of other shots- contrasting white head, small mirror on p10, pale underwing, dark greater coverts- all look pretty good

Spent a few sessions at the farmlands this week- its been pretty good while I was away. We've got a Dartford Warbler, two Short-eared Owls, up to three Cetti's Warblers and one or two Caspian Gulls hanging around. Had a Rock Pipit go over on Tuesday- which puts the year list on 160 (the record is 164) so shaping into a good local year. Been a Yellowhammer around too.

As usual all the local bird news here: BEDDINGTON FARMLANDS BIRD NEWS

Tuesday 27 October 2015

A decade of Corvo Birding 2005-2015

 2013- HQ of WP Birding

Sunday 25 October 2015

Azores autumn 2015 Favourite Pics

 Blue-winged Warbler
 Eastern Wood Pewee
 Blackpoll Warbler
 Buff-bellied Pipit
 Scarlet Tanager
 Red-eyed Vireo
 Philadelphia Vireo
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
 Wood Warbler
False Killer Whales (Vincent Legrand) 

Friday 23 October 2015

Cabo da Praia Quarry, Terceira, the Azores- Wader mecca

Juvenile/first-winter Least Sandpiper
 Juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper

Semipalmated Plovers 
 Semipalmated Plover 1 (The usual resident adult that always moults into the same winter plumage, with washed out coverts?). A Short-billed Dowitcher in the quarry last year also moulted straight into winter plumage. Video below of resident Semi-p Plover.

Presumably the same bird in 2002! Same place (back of the pool), same plumage (contrastingly pale coverts) and same behaviour (tame, runs away, short flights)
Semipalmated Plover 2 - a pale juvenile doing a good impression of a Piping Plover 
Semipalmated Plover 3- non-breeding adult?
Semipalmated Plover 4- not actually sure how to age these? Not a lot of visible edging to the upperparts but what about first-winter moult? Check out the stints in this post which show the first-winter feathers coming through clearly. Looks here to be a contrast between darker grey-brown edged scapulars and lighter grey feathers- so could be a first-winter. 
Juvenile (clear edging to mantle and scaps) Ringed Plover for comparison- lack of eye ring, no visible palmations between toes and dark lores which all separate Ringed from Semi-p Plover.
Just to confuse matters here's a plover from Corvo 2006 (photo by Vincent Legrand) with relatively dark lores (even more extensive on the right side), limited palmations and a weak yellow eye ring. However the bird called repeatedly like a Semipalmated Plover. Like all things in nature- rules are always held lightly (i.e. There are no rules)
Adult Ringed Plover moulting into winter plumage. Many of the Ringed Plovers in the quarry appear very dark on the upperparts. Considering the location, presumably they are tundrae (let's not forget the North American race of Ringed Plover psammodroma which is also a possibility in the quarry)- but this one appears light on the upperparts so that don't help. There's a lot of variation between the races of Ringed Plover. Also to throw into the mix, Semipalmated Plover and Ringed Plover overlap in their breeding grounds in Northeast Canada so presumably hybridization is a factor to consider too. 

And from Europe
First-winter Little Stint
Pintails (not just waders in the quarry- also Common Waxbills, Collared Doves and other local passerines)
The Quarry

Had a great morning in 'The Quarry' yesterday. 
10+ White-rumped Sandpipers, 1 Pectoral Sandpiper, 1 Least Sandpiper, 4 Semipalmated Plovers, 3 Ringed Plovers, 5 Little Stint, 2 Ruff, 5 Whimbrel, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Knot, 50+ Sanderling, 40+ Turnstone, 1 Redshank, 3 Grey Plover and 2 Curlew Sandpiper. 

A great end to a great trip. Great birds and people! 


Wednesday 21 October 2015

Last day on Corvo 2015

 One Rose-breasted Grosbeak
 Another female appears 
Where's Alan? There were two males in the village today (with red underwing coverts and black coverts).

 The Cliff Swallow (a pale-throated bird)- still present yesterday evening
 Buff-bellied Pipit at the reservoir- one of 3-4 birds today
 White-rumped Sandpiper at the reservoir

Last day on Corvo today. Went up the reservoir with Katt, Darryl, Rene and a camera crew making a documentary on Azores natural history. We showed them some american birds. A REV turned up in the guesthouse garden while we were discussing where to go! There was 1-2 BBPs at the reservoir, 1 White-rumped Sand, a Grey-cheeked Thrush was flying around and the American Goldies were in the same place.

An epic season- today in the lighthouse valley there was Eastern Wood Pewee, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Northern Parula and Common Yellowthroat- in one patch of trees, It's been brilliant. My favourite year, less stressful than 2005 (which blew me away) but with the same birds falling out of the sky theme and loads of other people to enjoy it too. Magic. Thanks everyone for a great trip!

   Darryl with the American Goldies
 Vince, Rene and Pierre and the 2015 team 
Birding buddy Katt and me- thanks Katt!!!  (photo Kathy Rita) 

 On Terceira island tomorrow for my last day on the Azores until next time.