Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mealy / Common Redpolls

some really nice birds with striking males among the flock of 30 but I only managed to get good photos on non adult males -- a male from Saturday at the bottom in rather poor light

Coues's Arctic Redpoll

this young male surely fits the Coues's identikit feature bill if only from below?

redpoll conundrums

well I have spent a fair amount of the last two days trying to get to grips with a flock of redpolls -- Saturday morning a single redpoll flies over -- so attempt to see if it might be a Mealy / Common  -- come across 4 birds one of which seems to be a Coue's Arctic Redpoll and the photos seem to prove it (see above) but then they fly off and a long gap ensues -- locate a flock of about 30 birds the vast majority of which seem to be Mealys / Commons with just 2 Lessers but today there are the usual odd birds that always seem to defy identification -- here are a few oddments -- note undertail covert pattern, flank streaks, upperpart tones, rump and lower back colour and pattern
Upper most bird a pale pink washed male quite different to the strong reddish pink of the male Mealies present and with the greyish toned uppers same bird as in lowest photo -- third and fourth photos the same bird one slightly out of focus the other sharper -- in the out of focus shot the rump looks unstreaked but when sharp fine spotting is visible in the white - peachy colour but just one fine streak on the longest undertail covert --

Goldeneye and Long-tailed Duck

the Goldeneye flock seem to have a sixth sense that tells them to start flying around before the boats and windsurfers actually hit the water -- the drake at the bottom is a bit under-exposed but I left it as shot as I like the dark brooding water

early Marsh Harrier activity

a number of pairs of Marsh Harriers are already on breeding territories but I was still a bit surprised to see this pair mating several times this morning; I try to monitor changes in birds at different sites by comparing digital images between weeks and years -- this male has a few distinctive features that should make it identifiable on future visits

gulls and Canada Geese

all with the Canon 1D4 and 70-200 2.8 II plus Canon 2x III converter

suppression a dirty word but is the time coming?

when a single owl attracts crowds of 70 - 120 people on a weekday and every broadcast species draws its own crowds will suppression become the new norm for people who just want to watch birds quietly?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Rough-legged Buzzard still thriving

in spite of its long residence now at about 105 days there have been very few reports on what this juvenile ~Rough-leg is actually eating; most of its prey is assumed to be short-tailed field voles that are abundant in the rough grass but it has been seen feeding on a hare carcass and of course caught the Water Rail in all the snow; on Friday afternoon it seemed to struggle to extract vales from two large bunches of grass that it got tangled in then landed in the stubble field and ran to what was assumed to be some carrion that it ate for about 15 minutes -- which of the silhouettes would you confidently identify as a RLB