Author Archives: Martin Garner

About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit

One week to go! Are you coming?

and the weather looks very cool

Less than 3 minutes long. Have a watch and listen to this clip if you dare :)

TO BOOK Your TICKETS for the Migration Festival next weekend:spurn-shot5

Please call 01904 659570 or email Yorkshire Wildlife Trust info@ywt.org.uk.

The Spurn Migration Festival runs from the 5th – 7th September 2014 and the prices are as follows: £14 for a day ticket, £21 for the weekend ticket and £8 for the evening lecture with delicious hog roast.

 

 

Spurn 30 august 2008 1st w pied fly

Wryneck Spurn 12.8.11 bosprey spurn 7.8.11 JC

Spurn Migration Festival one

Top Prize at Migration Festival

French Cottage
A 1 week stay for 4 people at this cottage in France is our top prize once again for the 2014 Spurn Migration Festival Annual Prize Draw. This luxury cottage located in Central Brittany is only 1 hrs drive from St Malo and is surrounded by beautiful countryside. It could be yours for 1 week if you buy 1 or more of our tickets which are priced at £1 each. The winners will be drawn out by Mike Dilger on Saturday evening after the Hog roast and lecture. ……. SO DONT DELAY DIG DEEP and buy a book from one of the following places …
.
The Spurn Visitors Centre (Adam Stoyle), Westmere Farm B & B (Sue Wells) or Kew Villa (Paul Collins).

Cory’s Shearwater variation

with Scopoli’s Shearwater bits

Chris Gibbins

I took pics of as many Cory’s Shearwater types as possible.  We saw one clear Scopoli’s Shearwater, and of course hundreds of Cory’s.  One (presumed) Cory’s was interesting as it matches what Steve Howell refers to  as ‘probably the maximum permissible tongues for Cory’s Shearwater– a clear but short  tongue on P10, plus others on 9 and 8.  He shows an example of such a bird off Cape Hatteras (USA- eastern Atlantic). The general impression was therefore very different to that seen on typical Cory’s. The structure to my eye is no different to Cory’s (within range showed by Cory’s), similarly so the  dark grizzled and rather brown head…  so an interesting bird. For example of Scopoli’s Shearwater in the same waters see HERE.

Normal Cory’s Shearwater:

Cory's Shearwater- showing pale 'tongues' in pattern of underside of primaries. Chris Gibbins, August 2014

Cory’s Shearwater- showing pale ‘tongues’ in pattern of underside of primaries. Chris Gibbins, August 2014

Cory's Shearwater- a typical underwing pattern. Chris Gibbins, August 2014

Cory’s Shearwater- a typical underwing pattern. Chris Gibbins, August 2014

 Cory’s with pale tongues in underwing:

Cory's Shearwater- showing pale 'tongues' in pattern of underside of primaries. Chris Gibbins, August 2014

Cory’s Shearwater- showing pale ‘tongues’ in pattern of underside of primaries. Chris Gibbins, August 2014

Cory's Shearwater- showing pale 'tongues' in pattern of underside of primaries. Chris Gibbins, August 2014

Cory’s Shearwater- showing pale ‘tongues’ in pattern of underside of primaries. Chris Gibbins, August 2014

Cory's Shearwater- showing pale 'tongues' in pattern of underside of primaries. Chris Gibbins, August 2014

Cory’s Shearwater- showing pale ‘tongues’ in pattern of underside of primaries. Chris Gibbins, August 2014

 

 

BBC Radio dude at Migration Festival

The Making of a DVD

BOOK Your TICKETS for the Migration Festival this September:

Please call 01904 659570 or email Yorkshire Wildlife Trust info@ywt.org.uk.

The Spurn Migration Festival runs from the 5th – 7th September 2014 and the prices are as follows: £14 for a day ticket, £21 for the weekend ticket and £8 for the evening lecture with delicious hog roast.

Tom McKinney

Over the course of the weekendSpurn Migration Festival I’ll be the Migration Festival’s roving reporter and providing commentary for the official DVD that will be produced for the Migration Festival, with video by Paul Hackett and Dave Tucker. As a BBC national radio presenter, I’ll be using all of my broadcasting skills to track down the big stories at Spurn, exposing scandal and corruption at the highest level of British birding, like Kate Adie on the front line, and I’ll be grilling the Festival’s major players, like a birding Jeremy Paxman. Or perhaps not. No, what I really want is to hear your stories: where you’ve come from, what it is that makes Spurn so special and why autumn migration on England’s east coast means so much to us. So please come and chat to me at some point over the weekend. I look forward to meeting you all.

Get bitten by the Spurn Migration festival Bug !

Book your tickets below:

Hawfinch Spurn 20.9.13

BOOK Your TICKETS for the Migration Festival this September:

Please call 01904 659570 or email Yorkshire Wildlife Trust info@ywt.org.uk.

The Spurn Migration Festival runs from the 5th – 7th September 2014 and the prices are as follows: £14 for a day ticket, £21 for the weekend ticket and £8 for the evening lecture with delicious hog roast.

 

 

Lanzarote Pelagics, August 2014

Beautiful Seabirds

Chris Gibbins

Another stunning pelagic trip out on the Banco de la Concepcion saw Chris Gibbins catch up with stunning seabirds in sub tropical conditions. Here’s a selection. All photos taken mid-August 2014.

White-faced Storm petrels and Cory’s Shearwater with tricky Scopoli’s -like  characters to follow…

Bulwer's Petrel by Chris Gibbins

Bulwer’s Petrel by Chris Gibbins

Bulwer's Petrel by Chris Gibbins

Bulwer’s Petrel by Chris Gibbins

Cory's Shearwater by Chris Gibbins

Cory’s Shearwater by Chris Gibbins

Great Shearwater by Chris Gibbins

Great Shearwater by Chris Gibbins

Band-rumped Storm Petrel by Chris Gibbins

Band-rumped Storm Petrel by Chris Gibbins

Band-rumped Storm Petrel by Chris Gibbins

Band-rumped Storm Petrel by Chris Gibbins

 

 

 

Wading into July

Patchwork Challenge Review

Mark Lewis

Wading in to July

We are a fickle bunch, us birders. Rarity (be it genuine, or patch related) seems to monopolise how we place value on our birding experiences, which frequently obscures a much bigger picture. You’ll often hear of months like July being referred to as ‘quiet’ (not least by those busying away in PWC towers) – but is that really what we mean? For me, patching up on the north east coast of Scotland, July is one of my busiest months, with Common Eider flocks increasing in number to almost 1000 birds, and Goosander numbers building up to about 80, including plenty of obvious young. I’ve also been lucky enough to see large numbers of young terns, hinting at a very successful breeding season locally. Sitting next to a flock of 600 terns with adults constantly to-ing and  fro-ing with food can never be described as quiet! It’s been refreshing to see others reporting similar highlights in July – Mark Newell on the Isle of May simply listed ‘Kittiwake breeding success’ as his highlight, Whereas Stephanie Brown described watching Swallows protecting their young from a Sparrowhawk as a highlight from Twyford

Anyway – in spite of my romanticising, that’s unfortunately not what this is all about! This is a numbers game and you don’t build up your numbers waffling on about how noisy terns can be! So how do you build up your numbers in July?

One thing that almost all patchers can look forward to in July is wader passage – with both inland and coastal grafters checking pools, bays, and listening out for telltale calls in their quest to add numbers. Waders have certainly proved popular in July with 34% of those listing highlights that included at least 1 species of wader, with 37% doing so in July last year. Compare this to the stats for (randomly selected) February where we can see wader highlights reported by just 12% in 2014 and 16% in 2013. These would both have been lower still if people weren’t so keen on Jack Snipes! In fact if we look at the reporting rate of waders through this year we can see that July is way ahead of all comers, with the exception of May, and if we can use last year’s rate for August (in  green) as a forecast for this year’s rate, July should exceed that too.

 

map 1

Percentages of highlights that included at least one species of wader in 2014

dunlin grreensh

Waders can and do turn up anywhere, and on any patch. This dunlin and greenshank were photographed on the same car park puddle!

In terms of what species patchers have been enjoying, I expected to see some divide between those listed as inland highlights and those from the coast. Waders such as Sanderling, Turnstone and Knot must get many an inlanders pulse racing whereas they might be nothing more than BirdTrack fodder to those on the coast. I was surprised to see that of the species mentioned above, Turnstone were not listed at all, Knot only once (by an inland patch though) and Sanderling scored one each for coastal and inland sites. It seems that we’re largely enjoying the same species in July, with Green and Wood Sandpipers being prominent throughout, and returning Spotted Redshanks scoring Inland 2 – 2 Coastal. However, just to show how not all patches fit in with the pattern, I’ve plotted how my accumulation of waders over the year is reflected by monthly diversity. The graph below shows each months’ total of wader species (green bars) and the years accumulation of different species (blue line).While July has been good for waders for me, it was no better than June, and it’s being beaten by August already and we’re not even half way through it. Also, the gradient of the blue line shows that despite its diversity, July was a relatively poor month for adding species of wader to my list.

 

graph 4

Monthly wader diversity (green bars) next to species accumulation (blue line) from Girdle ness this year

One wader species you might expect to be found more inland is Little Ringed Plover, which did the decent thing and outnumbered coastal records three to one. One of those would be a patch tick for me – a very important statistic that would be lost in the graphs above!

So it seems that waders are genuinely more numerous and possibly more popular at this time of year, but I bet that’s not the whole story. Undoubtedly Wood and Green Sandpipers, and Spotted Redshank can get the blood flowing, but is their higher than usual reporting rate during July perhaps a function of the fact that there are fewer ‘distractions’? How popular would waders be in May and June without all those lovely drift scarcities to talk about? Likewise for August, with the early autumn migration and seabirds taking all the attention. I guess the best way to assess that would be to compare the wader reporting rate for inland sites through the summer months. Let’s see what August delivers before we do that though!