Sunday, 23 September 2007

Bluethroat on Bluebell Lane

A first-winter Bluethroat present for its fourth day at the end of Bluebell Lane, Kilnsea (E.Yorks) proved popular with the weekend crowds, showing extremely well at times. Photo below by Dan Pointon.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Phalaropes in Manchester

The re-discovery of a juvenile Red-necked Phalarope at Pennington Flash country park yesterday allowed many local birders to see this ever popular wader, but unfortunately by late morning it had disappeared. So when a phalarope was found just east of Pennington in the afternoon, it was logical to assume that it was the same bird as that seen in the morning. Yet shortly after Birdnet broadcast the news, arriving local birders were quite amazed to find an adult winter Grey Phalarope. Two phalaropes in Manchester on the same day - miracles really do happen!

Grey Phalarope photos by Paul Hammond:

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Long-tailed Skua, Notts, 18th September

Some superb photos of this dark phase juvenile bird near East Bridgford by Glyn Sellors:

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Pecs from the east?

The past week has seen the arrival of two species that are traditionally considered to be of North American origin; Pectoral Sandpiper and Buff-breasted Sandpiper. However, looking at a map of records of these two species from the past 7 days seems to contradict this theory, for Pectoral Sandpiper at least. The westerly distribution of the Buff-breasted Sandpipers (14 individuals at 8 locations, shown in blue) fits nicely with what is expected from a Nearctic vagrant wader. The distribution of Pec Sands (18 individuals at 16 locations, shown in red), on the other hand, shows a bias towards the east & south-east; not what is expected and perhaps hinting at the direction of the birds' origins. There is certainly no reason to suspect that the birds in the west, e.g. on Lewis and in Co. Derry, are not of American origin, but it seems far less likely that the 3 birds in the south-east & the 5 birds in East Anglia arrived direct from the USA.

A potential explanation for this pattern of occurrence is given by Lees & Gilroy in British Birds 97 (December '04), pp.638-646, where they explain that many of the Pectoral Sandpipers we see in autumn could very well be birds from the far west of the species' range in northern Siberia travelling along a newly set migration route to wintering grounds in Africa.

Like the large numbers of Yellow-browed Warblers passing through the UK each Autumn and making their way down through western Europe, these 'pseudo-vagrant' Pecs just go to show how little we still know about the movements of wild birds!

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Tracking a Snow Goose

The above map shows the various times at which a Snow Goose was today tracked migrating south with Pink-footed Geese from Filey Brigg in North Yorkshire to Holkham NNR in north Norfolk. Being a distinctive white morph adult, the bird was easily picked up by seawatchers on the east coast, and it's quite interesting to see just how long it takes a migrating goose to cover such distances. As the goose flew, this bird covered approximately 100 miles in 4 hours, thus flying at what would appear to be a rather leisurely 25mph.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

The aberrant gull at Hinckley Point, Somerset

Initially believed to be an Audouin's Gull, video and photographs viewed after the bird had been seen on its second evening (Tuesday 11th September) led a number of local of observers to question the identity, which evetually led to the bird being re-identified as an aberrant Herring Gull with a red bill. The photos can be seen in the link below:

Of course this is not the first aberrant gull suspected to be an Audouin's. A bird in February 2006 at Dargan Bay in Belfast, initially appeared to be an excellent candidate, but later close views and images confirmed that this gull was simply plain odd! This bird can be seen in the links below:

Blue-winged Teal, Haverton Hole, Cleveland

A few shots of this 'beautiful' eclipse drake from 5th September by Tristan Reid.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Great White Egret, Leighton Moss RSPB

Taken by Tristan Reid on 27th August

Early autumn in Norfolk

A few more recent photos by Julian Bhalerao.

1) Greenish Warbler trapped and ringed at Weybourne
2) Icterine Warbler trapped and ringed at Weybourne
3) Red-backed Shrike (juvenile) at Cley

Greenish Warblers

A selection of images by Julian Bhalerao of the recent Greenish Warblers on Blakeney Point, part of a fall which was mainly concentrated on the north Norfolk coast.

BirdLife International & Yelkouan Shearwaters