To Texel and back
Having attended and spoken morning and afternoon at the Dutch Birding Vogeldag on 11th Feb, I got to spend the next day with top Dutch birders, Nils Van Duivendijk, Diederik Kok and Jeroan de Bruin . The place was under an arctic ice blast. So following early pick-up we headed north to the famous Dutch island of Texel- Holy ground apparently for Dutch birders! Arriving at the port of Den Helder I was hit by the Smew- quite a few. The guys with me were keen to get on Texel as both Smew and Goosander were potential island ticks. In the end over the next 3 days I saw Smew (and Goosander)- EVERYWHERE. And the boys got their Texel ticks. Some could even be found on the tiniest wee garden pond. A true Smew fest. Fantastic!
You could ‘knock yourself out’ on Smew watching. Early views I thought were great at Den Helder of small flocks
However over the next couple of days views just got closer and closer.
Very nice to see this 1st winter male Smew, a plumage I don’t recall seeing in the UK. This bird was on tiny patch of water in front of someone’s house!
Coming Very Soon…
North Wales, Saturday 3rd March
Saltholme, Teesside, Wednesday 7th March
Moore N.R./ Richmond Bank, Cheshire, Saturday 17th March
Places very limited (N. Wales already fully booked) £35 per person. Join me for a day from 9am to 5 pm. See your confidence and skills in identifying gulls grow and have lots of fun along the way!.
How to Book: Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get you booked in.
“I couldn’t have hoped for a better introduction to ‘Advanced Gulls’ and I can’t wait to get back out again, armed with a bit more knowledge and, perhaps more importantly, the inspiration to continue discovering…” R. Webb
Maybe we will see one of these?
adult Russian Common Gull (ssp. heinei) Texel, Netherlands, February 2012
side by side comparison
Identification of female type Green-winged Teal has been a little pet interest of mine for a while. Have even written about it a few times elsewhere. Here then a nice refresher and update from Slimbridge WWT warden, James Lees, comparing adult females of captive Green-winged Teals and Eurasian Teal, side by side: Can you see all the little, but helpful differences? YES you can identify them in the field!
Great job James, ta very much. All photos copyright James Lees at Slimbridge WWT, Feb 2012
captive adult female Green-winged Teal, Slimbridge WWT, Feb 2012.
Upperwings: Green-winged Teal (above) with Eurasian Teal (below)
Undertail region: Eurasian Teal (left) with Green-winged Teal (right)
One to Ponder
Photographed in Essex, S.E England on 11 Feb. by Steve Arlow. Pretty striking looking but not one I find straightforward to ID. Neither does Steve I think. Have a look, comments welcome:
very nice photos all copyright Steve Arlow
Plenty O’ birds
Just over a week ago (9th Feb.), had an excellent day out with Marcus Lawson followed by very enjoyable evening with the Kent Ornithological Society. Spent most of the day birding in the Dungeness area, warm welcome from obs warden, David Walker and a wonderful variety of birds seen included plenty of Smew, geese, included Eurasian White-fronts, a locally scarce Pale-bellied Brent, a bunch of Woodcock, a Bittern in flight, couple of Chiffchaff, 3 Bearded Tit and best, an obliging Cetti’s Warbler feeding out in the open.
Cetti’s Warbler, Dungeness ARC hide, 9th Feb. 2012
Thanks to Marcus for warm welcome, hospitality, sharp eyes and lots of organising and for the folk I met and chatted with in Maidstone.
If bird poo can…?
…it’s looking good! Martin Collinson has done the first round of analysis. These is more to come but the initial results on DNA analysis of the Kent bird from November 2011 are stated by Martin as:
“We got the first results through today and it is most similar to database DNA sequences from China. We’re going to do a bit more work but at least we can confirm that genetically it was a bird of the P. o. phoenicuroides subspecies group.”
1st winter male Eastern Black Redstart, Margate, Kent, November 2011 © Mark Rayment.