Wednesday 23 July 2008

How to Ring a bird

The most important thing when ringing a bird is to get the ring on its leg. Dropping the bird as you get it out of the net is not ideal as they tend to fly away. Doh. Managed to chuck away a ringing tick in the form of a juv Blackcap which was a shame but otherstuff was a couple of Chiffchaffs, both juvs, 1 huge and 1 tiny, a wren and 2 Blackbirds. Highly exciting considering we had all the nets up and were there for 5 hours. Nevermind - it was good pottering about! Had my trainers 8 year old son about so things were never quiet. Next trip is gonna be mid august after the Cornwall Hols. Talk is of registering it as a constant effort site next year once im a bit more capable. Have got the Chiffchaff/Willow Warbler thing to a fine art with the emargination of P6. Im sure I will make a mess of it soon though.

Monday 21 July 2008

Mott the Hoopoe

For some reason I decided to check my emails as i strolled to my car coming home from work today, and most fortuitous it was too. A Hoopoe on my way home - this being the 2nd sub-rare from my commute and there was no success with the RC Starling. Luckily I fared better today as a very obliging and oblivious Hoopoe grubbed around in a farmers yard amongst some trailers. I watched it for about half an hour constantly feeding. Apparently it has been present for 4 days and it hasnt been heard to call yet so perhaps its a female.

Yesterday I also did some birdwatchering, dipping the RC Pochards at North Cave but finally finding the Little Owl tree and getting distant views. Another North Cave tick in the form of Corn Bunting, singing away was cool. Other birds of note were a kettle of 4 Buzzards of the hills and a juv. Common Tern being fed small Roach at the bottom of the hide I was sat in was quite cool. Less notable were the numpties flushing everything off of reedbed lake by blundering off track past fishing pegs and right in to the middle of the reserve. Nobs.

Off to Egypt (Sharm-el-Sheikh) on Sunday but ringing tomorrow plus gonna try and gets some photos of the Hoopoe in the PM so maybe another post before I go away. We shall see!

Here is some Mott the Hoopoe for your delectation:

Saturday 19 July 2008

Miserable shits

Ive got something thats nagging at me and for a change its not my wife. Im in no way a grumpy old man, Im a happy positive, chipper kind of bloke but Im pissed off. Too many miserable old fuckers in birding are moaning about everything. Apparently you cant use birding slang or your a tosser. Unless the slang is acceptable jargon approved by said birder. Well, no fuck off you miserable shit a sprosser is a sprosser cos thrush nightingale is a crap name. Ickys and Melodies are just contractions. Its gonna happen. The punks make some good points on their blog and the real elitists are those that whinge about this languages use. Its only excluding if you chose not to use it. Dipping and being gripped off are acceptable descriptives. Are we not supposed to have any terminology to describe our complex and bizarre hobby. Political correctness gone mad (I should write for the Daily Mail, Richard Littlejohn eat your heart out). Also there are some bloody negative souls on Birdforum and as a regular user im sick of them pointing out why something is not necessarily right (not wrong). Get a life. I like to view things as possible, just because your a cynical old shit doesn't mean I dont want to believe in father christmas or that a Stork/Duck is wild. Rarr!

p.s. made a winning debut for Nafferton CC last night and we kncked off 64 for the loss of 3 wickets and I finished on a princely 4*. Lets hope it goes nicely tomorrow!

Tuesday 15 July 2008

Start me up

At a secret location somewhere between Humanby and Rudston 2 men were trying to find an undiscovered gem of a ringing site. This may have been achieved in a copse backing onto an old quarry which looks incredible for migrants being a mile or so from the clifftops of filey and with enough habbo to hold stuff in. Should be rare warblers everywhere come september/october. As it is today we were flattening the rides and planning where to place nets. I got stung by nettles lots. Ringing results were average to bloody awful with a pair of dunnocks, a robin and a Willow Warbler (which hit the net 3 times!). Birds seen around the nets included some Stock Doves, Bullfinches and a female Redstart stood on one of the net loops inside the pole. Rats! Going again next week.

Monday 14 July 2008

Further Bogeys

As i haven't done any birding in the last few days here is some more bogey madness. Its more a record for posterity than an interesting read. This time is WP bogeys.

  • 1 Cetti's Warbler
  • 2 Red-crested Pochard
  • 3 Twite
  • 4 Ring-necked Parakeet
  • 5 Hawfinch
  • 6 Bean Goose
  • =7 Temminck's Stint
  • =7 Shore Lark
  • 9 Stone Curlew
  • =10 Ferruginous Duck
  • =10 Cirl Bunting
  • =10 Short-toed Lark
  • 13 Ring-necked Duck
  • =14 Whiskered Tern
  • =14 Spannish Sparrow
  • =14 Squacco Heron
  • =14 Wryneck
  • 18 Short-toed Treecreeper
  • =19 Black-eared Wheatear
  • =19 Short-toed Eagle
  • =19 Pomarine Skua
  • =19 Collared Pratincole

Well at least I dont have to leave the country for my next WP blocker. Im crap!

Wednesday 9 July 2008

Bogey birds

I've discovered a new way to work out your bogey birds in your list be it local/national etc. Check out where the tables of lists can be converted into tables of blockers. These tables cabe reversed to see which are anti-blockers i.e. blue tit, crow, house sparrow etc. Work through the tables until you find the first bird you havent seen. I did it for my national list and no surprises arose really but for my Yorkshire list a few shockers did creep up. I guess with the smaller sample size some degree of skew can occur. Here are my bogeys according to bubo.

  1. Cetti's Warbler
  2. Dartford Warbler
  3. Red-crested Pochard
  4. Firecrest
  5. Hawfinch
  6. Twite
  7. Bean Goose
  8. Ring-necked Parakeet
  9. Chough
  10. Black-winged Stilt
  11. Temminck's Stint
  12. Great White Egret
  13. Green-winged Teal
  14. Ring-necked Duck
  15. Red-necked Phalarope
  16. Hoopoe
  17. Wryneck
  18. Pomarine Skua
  19. Spotted Crake
  20. Ring-billed Gull

This seems to show a few of things, 1) where I live (oop north away from all the 'local' stuff) and 2) that i've only been birding a few years as there are a few fairly basic birds in there, finally 3) I'm lazy and can't be arsed to twitch crap thats too far like the stilts and Great White Egrets that i have seen abroad.


  • 1) Ring-necked Duck
  • 2) Icterine Warbler
  • 3)=Common Rosefinch
  • 3)=Spotted Crake
  • 3)=Little Tern
  • 6)=Hoopoe
  • 6)=Firecrest
  • 6)=Pomarine Skua
  • 6)=Red-crested Pochard
  • 10)=Asian Desert Warbler (What!!!!)
  • 10)=Temminck's Stint
  • 10)=Shore Lark
  • 10)=Dotterel
  • 10)=Bean Goose
  • 10)=Marsh Warbler
  • 16)=Booted Warbler (A bit surprising)
  • 16)=Glossy Ibis
  • 16)=Richard's Pipit
  • 16)=Pallas's Warbler
  • 16)=Hume's Warbler
  • 16)=Quail
  • 16)=Long-tailed Skua
  • 16)=Laughing Gull
  • 16)=Bluethroat
  • 16)=Great White Egret

Most of the weirdness is due to low numbers putting in Yorks lists on Bubo perhaps BUT its worth noting that a lot of the easy national stuff doesn't get anywhere near the top 20 Yorkshire bogeys. And Asian Desert Warbler does which is frankly mental.

Saturday 5 July 2008

Another Shag in Benidorm

Sorry but it has to be done - enter Shag and benidorm into google and where is the first hit? Its here!! Above Senorshag - a stag do site. I should be so proud.

Friday 4 July 2008

Honey, i bigged the buzzards!

Well it finally happened. After many attempts I nailed not one but 2 Honey's in a quick raptor watch at Wykeham. For those that dont know (or frankly, care!) I have been to Wykeham numerous time, spent hours at Great Ryburgh and even seen a 99% probable on the Dutch/German border whilst shitfaced (that record was judged unsafe in the 2007 review as i was 16 hours into a pan-european binge drink and couldn't talk). Anyhow - rocked up and a load of birders from barnsley were there having seen FA all morning. Within 5 minutes I get on a female(?) honey with ginger barring which sat across the valley until suddenly disappearing. Up comes the reason. A Gos is giving a Common Buzzard a hard time. 20 minutes later a Spitfire is practising for a big airshow (so im told) when we all latch on to a male (?) Honey Buzzard with fine grey barring on its chest a nice long tail, no chest band or commas etc etc which stayed up for a good 5 minutes giving mint views. More Common Buzzard and Goshawk sightings followed plus some heard only flyover crossers and siskin. Winner. No F**kin Black Kite tho.

Wednesday 2 July 2008

The Tops

Popped into tophill low - not normally a place i'd visit in high summer but i had a mission, to secure a work placement for a 3rd year module. A quick chat with the warden, Richard and I had secured a placement at my nearest nature reserve. A quick scout about revealed little of note, the common warblers plus a nice view of a lesser whitethroat. Some just fledged common terns were pleasant but no waders yet.

Here is some reciprocal linkage to the Limestone Birders of Italy and Slovenia with a cracking little website:

Tuesday 1 July 2008

Tour de farce

Oh bugger, i forgot to finish the scotland trip writeup. Bugger it - there is a full picture version on Marcus Conway's website and i wrote half of it so that'll do. There are some super pics and we nailed everything basically. Heres the link - Also just spent a week on one of the Clyde Islands, Great Cumbrae in fact. Was doing some research into Hoodies/Carrion Crows and also the spread of Japanese Knotweed Fallopia Japonica. Considering writing the Knotweed stuff as a full paper but we shall see. Birds of note included plenty of Hoodies and hybrids/intergrades, Black Guillemots, an unstreaked acro which would have been the 6th Reed Warbler or more likely the 2nd Marsh Warbler for Ayrshire (so im told) but i was too busy looking at the upland heath I was on at the time. Had a big fall of north eastern Willow Warblers, seemingly all this years crop. Pair of Ravens cavorted over the research station and a few Buzzards made up the numbers and I think thats it. Bailed on the latest Yorkshire meet on BF subsequently dipping the first yorks meet found rare (old money) in the form of Black Kite. Bar stewards. Might do some ringing soon. Might not. Did you see Father McKinney made the papers - good skills.

How birds and brains become mutually exclusive

Record, share and compare with BUBO Listing at