Wednesday, July 27, 2005

kestrel juvs

this nest of Kestrels at Barton was quite late in getting going and hence the young are still not fledged

serious moult

the local male harrier has now got into serious moult--note the new silver inner primaries but the general state of dis-repair including a moulted central tail feather
--compare with the pristine juveniles

ginger tops

after the tern overload of the weekend it is back to harrier overkill this week --this juvenile male has a nice ginger centre to the mantle---local backdrops

Sunday, July 24, 2005

sooty and sweep

almost acceptable images considering the poor weather conditions and the bird's activities

tern twitch

give it a week and it will go away--give it two weeks and the temptation becomes too great---Cemlyn always a good place for views of terns in spite of the appalling weather with very strong northerly winds and sea spray blowing across--Sandwich and some lovely Arctics

Saturday, July 23, 2005

patch harriers

at last my local patch harrier nest is fledging with 2 young on the wing this morning--a late nest---

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


this Little Egret was at Gibraltar Point this am---legs were much the same colour as the yellow feet with a few dusky markings---

black blob

seldom seen and difficult to photograph as usual---

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

harrier obsession

more hours on Marsh Harriers and more frustration on a windy day with little action---the male I have aged as a young adult male using criteria in Forsmann ie; about 4th or 5th cy--note the newly moulted inner primary still growing and much brighter/paler grey than the old feathers--the juvenile is a pretty fresh bird note the rich ginger crown, blackish mask, silvery sheen to the primary bases and the striking pale yellow legs and feet

Monday, July 18, 2005

lethal fencing

On July 18th 2005 I was checking on the productivity of a number of Marsh Harrier nests, in conjunction with the National Survey, on the south bank of the Humber. At 05:00 the brood of four young from one nest were all on the wing with a newly fledged juvenile from an adjacent nest nearby. Having checked on some other nests I returned to the area at 10:00 to find only three juveniles in the area with the adult male which was distress calling. A further search located a juvenile hanging by its right wing from a barbed wire fence. I assumed the bird was dead but as I approached it fluttered revealing that the wing was skewered at the carpal joint. There was no way that the bird could escape from this lethal fencing as the barbs went right through the skin of the wing. The bird was clearly in huge distress and had been pecking at the wound with blood over its bill and feet. I could not remove the wire which was embedded in the wing but managed to break one end of the wire and after extricating the birds claw from my finger I walked the mile back to the nearest human habitation and managed to borrow some wire cutters and a shopping bag. The bird was cut free leaving part of the wire in the wing and delivered to the nearest vet. Obviously it was fortunate that I was in the area at the time, a day or so later and the juvenile harrier would have died a lingering death from starvation and heat exhaustion on this lethal fencing.

The dangers of barbed wire to birds are seldom highlighted but I have previously found dead owls, Redshank and Lapwing hanging or killed by flying into barbed wire fencing.
The danger posed by deer fencing to Black Grouse and Capercaillie has led to its removal from reserves in Scotland but in England the proliferation of the lethal cocktail of barbed wire fences and convenient posts for perching birds has spread to large numbers of nature reserves where birds at risk include owls, raptors and waders. Surely on nature reserves at least there are better less lethal methods of fencing?