Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Treat yourself....

Before we proceed please treat yourself to probably the best video you're ever likely to see from an ornithological point of view, you only need to  CLICK HERE do need speakers attached to your computer though!

Welcome to Birds2blog....Whether you're new here, visit occasionally, or better still daily, then I hope you find something here which is of at least a little interest to you now and again and thanks for looking in, I really appreciate it.

The Spoon-billed Sandpiper is a highly charismatic stint-sized wader as you have just seen, the bird has this extraordinary bill shape which is obvious even in the young chicks, it also goes without saying it is a rarity, the population of which is 'optimistically' estimated at between 2,000 - 2,800 pairs.

I've been searching through my old records once again today and have - as always - come up with some of the things lost from memory. The picture of the Hawfinch above is taken from an old 100 year old book I posses the title of which is 'British Birds In Their Haunts' the author is Rev.C.A.Johns, was published in 1910, and is brilliant.

Over the years I have had some quite good encounters with the very secretive and overlooked Hawfinch the population of which in our county is unlikely to exceed ten pairs, but my experience of this bird definitely puts this figure in the shade, at least in the county of Cumbria where on Claiffe Heights in the Lakes I observed over thirteen visits between 1997-1999 counts in double figures on five of these visits, the best of which was twenty birds on 24 January 1998, a figure I never exceeded anywhere and probably never will. Over the years another excellent site for the Hawfinch has been Witherslack and again between 1997-2001 over ten visits here, I recorded a maximum of eight birds on 4 November 1997. Other locations I have seen the Hawfinch have been all in Cumbria at Garth Row, The Row, and Beetham. Of course like every other birder in our area I have also seen them - predictably - at Woodwell.

It's no secret, a look in 'comments' in my post 'The Common Sandpiper' reveals the fact that protocol doesn't play a part in the essays I've been doing recently and is brought into question, perhaps now is the time to put this to rights at least in part. In the above write up on the Hawfinch there are about twelve words which are attributed to my looking up the total population of  the Hawfinch in our county in the book illustrated above, the rest is based on personal observations and records. The source for the very brief details on the Spoon-billed Sandpiper was 'Shorebirds' Hayman, Marchant, and Prater.

Incidentally, I have two copies of the book illustrated above one of which is a signed copy by all three authors Steve White, Barry McCarthy, and Maurice Jones, the latter I know personally and looking through my files this afternoon I came across a 'pile' of correspondence I have had with MJ over the years and perhaps this is an ideal opportunity for me to thank him anew for his generous communications regarding all manner of things ornithological. The spare book is yours if you would like to make me any offer considerably lower than you would pay for it - £40 - in a bookshop, if you happen to be the only one to make an offer and it is only for £5 then its yours. E-mail me here and make your offer.


Brian Rafferty said...

Pete. I have just treated myself to the spoon billed sandpipers display. If only these turned up at Conder Green !!!!

As always Pete great variety and very interesting information on what now seems to be a daily blog. I can't compete with your output !!! Keep up the excellent work

Warren Baker said...

A cracking bird the Hawfinch Pete. Ive ever seen one, fleetingly....

Pete Woodruff said...

One of the most exciting 'bird' videos we'll ever see Brian.

Thanks for your input/comments, and also Warren.