Sunday, 27 February 2011

Advanced lepidoptera website

It is still a working progress and probably will be for the next year at least, but my father is currently creating an advanced moth identification website.
It majors on dissection but also shows the species in a natural state and should be a very useful tool to those who dissect and are into their micros. Macros will appear in due course.

Follow the link and enjoy;

Weekend ramblings

Well, the offer of the double twitch was duly accepted, so on Satudray Oxfordshire and London were on the agenda. It was a horrible day, raining for 90% of the time we were out birding however it all started well. We arrived at Chipping Norton and walked from the car park to the 'open house', bird was immediately seen through the scope between 2 houses. Taking the decision to pay a fiver due to the fact that the bird was showing well was a good one! We walked into the relatively empty kitchen and saw the bird fly straight towards us, there it was a Rufous turtle dove 10 metres away! then bins steamed up due to the heat, onto camera...steamed up! my trusty ed50 on shoulder pod came to the rescue, not steamed up at all, so while everyone was busy trying to look through steamed up optics I was enjoying the bird at 20x... very nice indeed! Poor pics due to poor photographer, indoors, double glazing and view finder steamed up, still id'able though.

Onto Rainham..the less said about that the better. Needless to say we didnt see the gull although it was claimed several times but no one saw anyone who had seen the bird. Maybe it was there but everyone seemed sceptical after it disappeared from a pool which c30 birders were looking at constantly without anyone seeing the bird. Also a report came from the tip while we were the only ones watching from the location put out.. ?
In short a few reports were made of the bird while we were there but no one had seen it.

A few other shots from the past few weeks below.

Taiga Beans over the Beet factory, quite an iconic image

Stoat checking me out

Ring necked (HSK) 'wild' Greylag from Orkney

Aganoptrix sp? any ideas??

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Wader movement

It seems as though the only regular birding I do is surveying at Buckenham and Cantley these days. The past few weekends I have been busy in Essex and the previous weekend it rained and I worked.
So today, Buckenham and Cantley, lots of birds around as always but there were subtle changes in number and a few returning species.

Totals for the day included;

5080 Wigeon
4511 Lapwing
1260 Pink footed geese
63 Shovler
571 Teal
93 Curlew
109 Dunlin
16 Ruff
1 Pintail

So loads more Curlew and Dunlin than normal sybolising a change of season?
Other incoming species included 2 pairs of Oystercatcher a few Redshank and a tufted Duck. I know it sounds very uninteresting to coastal birders but its a sure sign of change inland.
Also had a Jack Snipe on Buckenham yesterday which is a year tick. We saw it fly and land in a ditch in front of us, after having a careful look on the ground where I thought it went down there was no sign until we started moving and it was about a metre in front of me! how are they so invisible, typically it flushed straight away as if it were aware that eye contact had been made.

Monday, 14 February 2011

6th time lucky LEO!

Finally I managed to connect with the Long Eared Owl which has been present at Strumpshaw since the new year. As the title suggests I have tried 5 times prior to tonight, but this time the weather was perfectly still and calm.
Just as it was about to get pitch black a bird flew over the river, its reflection the only thing that was visible, however brief it clearly was flapping as a Long Eared Owl should do and looked the right size. Being beyond dusk I thought that may be attempt 6 over and done with, with a brief possible sighting. However I looked up to see that the bird was perched in some scrub luckily silhouetted against the bright sky, it stayed there looking in my direction for about 30 seconds then took off the moonlight highlighting the wings, if there were a white trailing edge it would have been quite visible so I'm happy.

Monday, 7 February 2011

quick stroll around Strumpy

Lack of updates has mostly been due to the lack of effort in going birding recently. Lots of chainsawing at work so sitting on the sofa has been a good remedy for the weekends!

I did get out and have a walk on Sunday morning, it was still very windy but mild and bright cloud rather than the dull dreary stuff we have had recently. Birdwise it was fairly quiet with the undoubted highlight being a Jay. No ordinary Jay however, this Jay was quite clearly looking at me going Twit twoo, it had a perfect imitation of a Tawny Owl, it had me fooled for a while as I convinced myself it was mobbing a Tawny but a closer look made me realise what was going on...most odd.
I had good views of the Dog Otter on the River too, perhaps the best views I have ever had of an Otter, I was crouching on the river bank down wind of this one which no doubt helped a lot!