Friday, 7 March 2014

Bird Of The Day no. 3 Kentish Plover

THE Kentish plover:  The Kentish Plover is 15–17 cm long. It is smaller, paler, longer-legged and thinner-billed than Ringed Plover or Semipalmated Plover. Its breast band is never complete, and usually just appears as dark lateral patches on the sides of the breast. The Kentish Plover's upperparts are greyish brown and the underparts white in all plumages. The breast markings are black in summer adults, otherwise brown. Breeding males of some races have a black forehead bar and a black mask through the eye. The legs are black. In flight, the flight feathers are blackish with a strong white wing bar. The flight call is a sharp bip.

Fun fact: It is the palest ring plover in the world with beautiful black legs.

RBA daily news 6th March 2014

Rarities today comprised the American Coot still in Highland, Red-flanked Bluetail in Wiltshire, Pied-billed Grebe on the Western Isles, American Herring Gull in Argyll,Hume's Yellow-browed Warblers in both Kent and Warwickshire, Two-barred Crossbills in Gloucestershire (9) and South Yorkshire, Bonaparte's Gull in Argyll,Lesser Yellowlegs in Hampshire, King Eider in Fife, Little Bunting in Lincolnshire, and a Black-bellied Dipper identified in Aberdeenshire. In Kent the probable Chinese Pond Heron showed again in Saltwood, Kent.

Scarcities included eight Glossy Ibises, six Lapland Buntings, three Surf Scoters, two each of both Ring-necked Duck and Snow Goose, and a Yellow-browed Warbler. Notable gulls included 29 Glaucous, 17 Iceland, six Kumlien's, five Ring-billed and four Caspian Gulls.

Late news concerned a Kentish Plover reported yesterday at Rye Harbour, East Sussex.


RBA daily news 4th March 2014

Sorry about not posting...

Lingering rarities included American Coot in Highland, American Herring Gull andBonaparte's Gull in Argyll, Long-billed Dowitcher and Ferruginous Duck in Hampshire, Hume's Yellow-browed Warblers in Kent (2) and Warwickshire, Two-barred Crossbills in Gloucestershire (5) and South Yorkshire, Little Bunting in Lincolnshire and Red-flanked Bluetail on the Gloucestershire/Wiltshire border. The probable Chinese Pond Heron remained in Kent.

The best of the rest included Yellow-browed Warblers in Devon, Cornwall (2), Worcestershire and Somerset, Richard's Pipit in Somerset and six Parrot Crossbills in Norfolk.


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Bird of the day No. 2 Bonaparte's gull

THE Bonaparte's gull: The Bonaparte's Gull is a small species, larger only than the little gull and the Saunder's gull among all gull species. Adults are 28–38 cm (11–15 in) long with a 76–84 cm (30–33 in) wingspan and a body mass of 162–270 g (5.7–9.5 oz).They have a black hood and a short thin dark bill. The body is mainly white with pale grey back and upper wings. The underwing is pale and the wing tips are dark. They have pink legs. In winter, the head is white.

In their first summer, the appearance of Bonaparte's Gull is similar to that in its first winter, but paler due to wear. Fewer than 5% of Bonaparte's Gulls acquire a dark hood in their first summer, and on those that do, the hood is duller than on breeding adults.
Another bird that has always eluded me. The bonaparte's gull is fairly hard to distinguish when in a large flock of black-headed gulls. The summer plumage tho, differs from the black headed gull due to the hood being more extensive. This year i'm going to go to the Outer Hebrides, so may find one in breeding plumage, fingers crossed. They do pop up here and there so may turn up anywhere!

Fun fact: Although currently placed in the genus Larus, recent genetic and taxonomic studies have suggested that Bonaparte’s gull may in future be moved to the genus Chroicocephalus

RBA daily news 4th March 2014

Lingering rarities included American Coot in Highland, Red-flanked Bluetail on the Gloucestershire/Wiltshire border,Little Bunting in Lincolnshire, Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler and probable Chinese Pond Heron in Kent,Ferruginous Duck an Lesser Yellowlegs in Hampshire, Pied-billed Grebe on Western Isles, Lesser Scaups in Highland and Staffordshire, Two-barred Crossbills in Norfolk and Gloucestershire (2), Bonaparte's Gull andRichardson's Cackling Goose in Argyll, Laughing Gull in Co Cork and Richardson's Cackling Goose in Co Sligo.

The best of the rest included Richard's Pipit and Yellow-browed Warbler in Somerset.

Thanks to Rare Bird Alert RBA

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Bird of the day No. 1 Snow Bunting

So I'm starting yet another new post up in which I name a random bird that pops up into my head. I will Copy a description and will have my input at the end with a little fact, so here it goes...

THE Snow Bunting:

It is fairly large and long-winged for a bunting, 15–18 cm (5.9–7.1 in) long and with a wingspan of 32–38 cm (13–15 in), and weighing 26–50 g (0.92–1.76 oz). In flight, it is easily identified by its large white wing patches. The breeding male is unmistakable, with all white plumage and a black back; the breeding female is grey-black where the male is solid black. In winter plumage, both sexes are mottled pale ginger, blackish and white above, and pale ginger and white below, with the males having more white than the females. The bill is yellow with a black tip, all black in summer males. Unlike most passerines, it has feathered tarsi, an adaptation to its harsh environment. No other passerine can winter as far north as this species apart from the common raven

The snow bunting is one of my favourite birds even though I haven't seen one. They have a very unique colour and do look pretty cute! Hopefully one day in the winter I will be able to find one of these down in cornwall, while in the winter months. Even though they might be in the right area around cornwall I never seem to ask my Mum or Dad to take me to see one. Hopefully next winter I'll learn, and tick another one off my list of birds to see...

Top Snow Bunting fact: Male Snow buntings return to their breeding spots in high-latitude arctic areas in early April, when the temperature can reach -30°C and grasses and weeds are usually covered with snow.

Picture: Snow Bunting Picture

Marazion and St Just 21st February 2014

I knew there were some unusual gulls at Marazion (glaucous, kumlien's and laughing) so thought that I should try my luck.

We (my grandad and I) started off by looking out at sea in the car park by marazion marsh. We met a fellow birder who said that he hadn't found anything it! We stayed there for about 20 minutes , saw no oddities but 2 great northern diver which was nice.

Next we went to the left of the sailing club which was where the surf scoter had been spotted. The expert of the area DK Parker was there and we did manage to find the 1w male surf scoter, not the most impressive compared to an adult but still worth a look at. The thing that pleased me the most was when I was looking through the gulls and found a Mediterranean gull. DK Parker said good spot so was very happy about that. Other than that though nothing else really: few sanderling; herring gulls; black headed gulls; lesser black backed and great black backed gulls also a lot of rock pipits going along the seafront.

Yet another new species so very pleased.

When I got back home my mum had just come back from a walk across the fields just in front of our cottage in St Just. She said that there were small birds with very long bills flying off from a field with a long grassy crop in. I immediately said snipe, so showed her the picture in my bird book and was confirmed. Pleased by this I decided to go out for another walk to check them out, there proved to be around 20 in two fields the size of a football pitch. So was again happy in seeing them.

Brilliant day with some truly great birds.

RBA daily news 3rd march 2014

Lingering rarities included American Herring GullBonaparte's Gull andRichardson's Cackling Goose in Argyll, American Coot in Highland, Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler in Warwickshire, two Penduline Tits and the probable Chinese Pond Heron in Kent, Little Bunting in Lincolnshire, Lesser Scaup in Staffordshire,Ferruginous Duck in Hampshire, King Eider in Fife, Red-flanked Bluetail on the Gloucestershire/Wiltshire border and White-billed Diver in Orkney. On Western Isles the Marsh Sandpiper was reported again on North Uist - it was last reported on 19th January.

The best of the rest included Richard's Pipit and Yellow-browed Warbler in Somerset.

Thanks to rare bird alert RBA

Monday, 3 March 2014

Bowling green marsh 18th February 2014

For the last day in Devon we thought that going to the trusty bowling green marsh would be a great idea.

We arrived there and heard loads of bird song so sounded promising. When going into the hide spotted a thrush like bird but was a really plain brown with no streaks, any idea?

I will now list what we saw in the hide: 1 curlew; 100 wigeon; 50 teal; 4 pochard 1 female with unusually bright blue bill; 1 tufted duck; 5 pintail; 5 shoveler; 10+ lapwing; 100+ dark bellied brent over; 10+ canada geese; 1 grey heron; 3+ moorhen at the back and 1 buzzard.
I then decided to go down to the goat walk.

On the way down i found a new bird heard from the trees there was an unusual call. So I looked up and saw a very bright yellow bird then spotted another with further investigations it was to become a cirl bunting. Recently introduced to the area this was a cracker. I'll now list the rest: 1 robin; 5 sparrow; 3 blue tit, and across in other wet areas: 1 snipe; 20 teal; 10 wigeon; 2 shoveler; 20 curlew; 2 magpie. I then carried on right by the area at the start of the goat walk: 500 BT godwits; 5 grey plover; 100 black headed gulls; 50 herring gulls; 1000 dunlin distant though and other waders I couldn't distinguish, also due to the birds flying there must've been a bird of prey hunting in the area.

I finished there after 20 minutes and turned back to the car, when I arrived my granny decribed a reed bunting feeding (there are feeders outside the hide) few blue tits, great tits, goldfinches, chaffinches and  greenfinches.

Another brilliant day out will be posting what I saw in Cornwall next...

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Seaton Devon 17th February 2014

I went to Seaton a few weeks back had a great time. Didn't find a new bird but was still very pleased with what I saw and how the day went.

We started off by going to the visitors centre, to check out what was around. The wardens saw 1000's of lapwings and possibly heard a whooper swan in the night. We went to have a huge chat about what we've seen and of what importance. The man who was around 60 said "Here in Seaton we have the rarest bat in the UK the long-eared grey, have otters, water voles and went swimming once and had cuttlefish to display for me. Also got the first record of a rare transatlantic fish(can't recall the name). Finally I know a secret seahorse colony and has swam with a dolphin in the uk". What an amazing amount of stuff I was thinking. After the mammoth chat we went back on our selves to a hide that looked over the estuary and here's what we saw: black headed gull 100+; herring gull 25+; lesser black backed gull 15+; great black backed gull 10+; another little gull ;) ; cormorant 1; 10+ mallard; mute swan 5+; lapwing 1000+ And shelduck 5+. Sadly though they were repairing the tramlines at the time so scared off most of the birds midway through.

We then carried on down to the next hide saw quite a few bird I'll only list the new ones of the trip: robin 2; long-tailed tit 5+; dunnock 2+; chaffinch 5+; greenfinch 1; little grebe 2; redshank 10+; Wigeon 30+; And teal 5+.

Overall a great day out with birds to show for it!