Wednesday, 24 February 2010

BTG's and a Kestrel.

On Wednesdays these days I only get to take a look at anything of interest in the bird world for a couple of hours along the promenade at Morecambe and today there was at least 560 Black-tailed Godwits off Broadway to note. So my records for the day taking up such a small space on the blog I thought to fill the gap the Kestrel below would be of interest.

Well if you thought this was a Common Kestrel then you're not quite as clever as you think because its an image of the Lesser Kestrel and was taken at Madrigalego in Spain and I'm grateful to Chris Batty for allowing it on to here, another photograph helping to make Birds2blog quite a lot more interesting....Thanks Chris.

Other than the adult male - the ID of which is pretty straightforward - other plumage's are a real nightmare to the extent that a bird in Cornwall in 1979 was eventually abandoned by the BBRC because the evaluation of several conflicting sets of descriptions. I think the image above clearly illustrates the difficulties of ID.

Unless I'm not quite up to date there are seventeen British records of the Lesser Kestrel. The very first record is that of a bird which had been flying around a farm for several days before being shot and subsequently identified as a 2nd year male in November 1867.

This species is an extremely rare vagrant very high on most twitchers 'wanted list' but is now even more less likely to become a 'tick' for these birders owing to a worrying decline in its breeding populations. For example in Spain where this photograph was taken, its decrease is thought by many to be perhaps from over 100,000 pairs to half that number over a ten year period by the 1970's and again perhaps to as low as 4,000 pairs by 1990....and that's dramatic don't you think, and in France from a possible 100 pairs to just 10 pairs in the 1980's makes this story become even more dramatic and worrying.

Well some of the human population of this planet still choose to shoot birds - making them no better than the man in 1867 - which are already under many other threats such as pesticides and habitat loss making them as vulnerable as ever to becoming extinct. How very sad that when we are looking at the picture above it is that of an endangered species. 

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