Currently on a trip to Azerbaijan looking for Siberian Crane (only one individual. 'Omid', remains in the Western Palearctic) with a group of nearly 30 birders (feels like Corvo on tour). A few photos from last couple of days. Ebird Trip report HERE.
Sunday, 27 February 2022
Azerbaijan 2022 Days One and Two
Tuesday, 22 February 2022
The Old Vicarage, Storm Week
Storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin have all come through during the last week bringing wide spread devastation and several fatalities but dare I say that here at the Old Vic, by an absolute miracle. we did not sustain any garden or structural damage. Fortunately we did some storm proofing tree work a few weeks ago but nothing could have stopped damage caused by gusts of over 100 mph. Fortunately we missed all the damaging squalls. Needless to say it's been busy at work on the tree and garden game.
The only abnormal thing noted was the Siskins feeding on the ground because the Niger seed had blown off the bird feeders.
Had a Brambling flying around between the storms. Old Vic Bird List for 2022 now on 49 HERE.
Monday, 21 February 2022
Azores Endemics Sounds
Here's a few recordings from last week of some of the local Azores birds/endemics (from top to bottom, Western Azores Goldcrest and Azores Chaffinch followed by European Robin and then Island/Atlantic Canary).
The Goldcrest and Chaffinch are distinct taxonomic units and from these recordings below the songs sound quite different to their European counterparts too. The Goldcrest is more Firecrest like and the Chaffinch seems more bubbly with distinct churring calls.
The European Robin sounds the same to 'our birds' to my ear. The resident population of this species on the Azores is considered to be nominate (same as European birds) so that would make sense too.
Finally on this post a short burst of the Macaronesian endemic, Atlantic or Island Canary, the ancestor of all those cage birds and sounding like them still too.
Following recent research Azores Chaffinch has already been split by the Dutch and looks like other taxonomic authorities might follow soon. May be the Goldcrests next?
More on the Azores Endemic birds on the website AZORES WILDLIFE. In the back ground of these recordings there are other species calling too including Azores Grey Wagtail, Azores Gull, Azores Blackcap, Azores Blackbird, Azores Starling and House Sparrows and Collared Doves.
Sunday, 20 February 2022
Semipalmated versus Ringed Plover
Wednesday, 16 February 2022
Ring-billed Gulls at Praia da Vitoria, Terceira, the Azores
The story of the Ring-billed Gulls on the Azores and across the Western Palearctic is told in Josh Jones' article, 'The Rise and Fall of Ring-billed Gull HERE. An extract from that article reads:
"Given its geographical position, it is no great surprise that the Azores has traditionally produced the highest counts of Ring-billed Gull within the Western Palearctic. While a small number of new vagrants appears across the archipelago each year, Terceira Island is unique in that it has traditionally attracted a sizeable wintering flock. Data prior to the turn of the century is scant, although maximum counts since then include 56 in February 2001, 33 in 2003, 25 in 2004, 46 in 2005 and 26 in 2007.
What is telling is the gradual but nonetheless noticeable drop from 2005 onward. While the flock still regularly peaked in the low twenties in the late 2000s and early 2010s (for example, 23 on 22 February 2011), such figures have grown increasingly scarce as the 2010s have progressed. Twenty-two were tallied on 16 February 2014, but nothing has come close since. Winter 2017-18 produced a maximum of 12 birds, including just two first-winters (the rest adults), with early 2019 counts peaking at 14. Therefore, though a sizeable wintering population still remains, the story is a familiar one to that encountered across mainland Europe – a diminishing number of individuals and an ageing population among those returning birds"