Monthly Archives: August 2011

Norway March 2012

Kicksled Birding

Stejneger’s Scoter and Glaucous-winged Gull there just in the last couple of months. Remember them?

Working with the guys in Varanger (Arctic Norway) on doing a Birding Frontiers special in late March/ early April 2012. Think 1000’s and 1000’s of Brunnich’s Guillemots, looking for ultra rare gulls (e.g. Pacific Rim species!), amazing winter seaducks like Steller’s Eider, Siberian Tit and Arctic Redpolls coming at very close range on feeders, Snowy Owls, searching for more Pacific Rim ultra rare sea duck. Loads more! Nothing ventured…

Interested?- ask me about Varanger possibilities at the Birdfair or after this weekend.

Kicksled Birding on Vardø Island February 2010. Tormod Amundsen

 

 

Juvenile Sand Martins

Rufous to Silver

Something Adam Hutt pointed out to me a while back. How the plumage of juvenile Sand Martin varies. I got chance to see it up close and personal last week. Basically the commonest pattern on juvenile Sand Martins is of a warm brownish to rich rufous-brown fringes to the upperpart wing and tail feathers. However every so often you encounter a ‘Silver Guy’ on which the warm brown/ rufous is replaced by gleaming cold silvery white. The Silver Guys seem a lot less common and in my little sample I didn’t see and cline from one to the other but it was only a few birds.

Variety in birds is wonderful. Keep an eye out for the Silver Guys. Hopefully you can see what I mean below. Taken Spurn, August 2011.

Birdfair News

Guided Birding Pages

 updated with 2 special offers for the Birdfair see here and here.

10% off for anyone booking at Birdfair or for booking by the end of this coming weekend (by 21 August 2011)

Memory Stick

Available at the Birdfair and beyond. List here

plus articles on  Stejneger’s and White-winged Scoters, Yelkouan Shearwater update, The ID of the Albert Village Lake ‘Mew Gull’, Eastern Jackdaws in Britain, Yellow-billed Kite, Eastern Bean Geese.

n.b. Each article comes as a PDF (Portable Document Format). To open them you need Adobe Acrobat which is free to download here

Come to a talk

I am speaking each day. Full details here. Or just say hello if you see me about.

juvenile Yellow-billed Kite

is what it was!

The mystery bird of prey in the post below was a juvenile Yellow-billed Kite, Milvus aegyptius  photographed in Rwanda in June 2008. Could one of these (split as full species by some authorities) cross the Mediterranean to be recorded in Europe? Of course sharp-eyed, smarty pants will work out that the birds below are of the sub-Saharan form ssp. parasitus whereas  any vagrants to Europe would most likely be of the nominate form aegyptius.

Nice one those who got it as Black Kite. Only one person went down to the Yellow-billed level though!

Here it is again:

and here one of the parents:

Birdfair News

Guided Birding Pages

 updated with 2 special offers for the Birdfair see here and here.

10% off for anyone booking at Birdfair or for booking by the end of this coming weekend (by 21 August 2011)

Memory Stick

Available at the Birdfair and beyond. List here

plus articles on  Stejneger’s and White-winged Scoters, Yelkouan Shearwater update, The ID of the Albert Village Lake ‘Mew Gull’, Eastern Jackdaws in Britain, Yellow-billed Kite, Eastern Bean Geese.

n.b. Each article comes as a PDF (Portable Document Format). To open them you need Adobe Acrobat which is free to download here

Come to a talk

I am speaking each day. Full details here. Or just say hello if you see me about.

Memory Stick update

Available by Post

The Birding Frontiers memory stick is now available by post.

Due to a number of requests. Currently only available in the U.K. If you would like one simply send cheque for £11:00 (includes P & P) made payable to ‘Birding Frontiers’ and send to the address below. Make sure you include your name and address when sending the cheque. Thanks! Now 25 info-packed articles.

 Birding Frontiers

16, Daniel Hill Terrace,

Upperthorpe,

Sheffield,  S6 3JE

Wryneck- in the Hand

Spurn and easterlies. 12 August 2011

Would have been hard to predict today. We had hoped for something of course. 2 Two-barred Crossbills seen only by Rael at Kew before they flew off north. Despite plenty of searching not to be seen again. However  a flurry of other migrants arrived in winds that veered from NE on the morning through to SE by the evening. This Wryneck was top of the pile: The lack of strong warm colour to the iris probably means its juv/1st winter. Need to check with PC on primary coverts for aging, otherwise young birds are very similar to adults and virtually indistinguishable in the field.

Wrynecks are well-known for hissing and twisting and turning the head and neck: ‘snake-neck’. This on was no exception:

Nightjar in the hand

Juvenile male

Excellent Tern passage last night with around 7-8,000 Common Terns, 10’s of Arctic Terns, several Black Terns, and juvenile of Yellow-legged Gull and Mediterranean Gull mixed in. Also a couple of Tundra Ringed Plover on Beacon Ponds were the first I have seen this autumn. Waders moving again this a.m. and bright young Willow Warbler in nearby hedge. Then around 10 am Paul Collins (Spurn Obs warden) radioed up to say he had caught a European Nightjar. New bird or the one form last week? Don’t know. But amazing plumage at close range. It did have large white spot on tail feather and appears to be juvenile male:

Warden P.C. holds  securely before quickly releasing. It was soon away and into the dunes. Bird’s welfare first.