Sunday, 8 April 2012

The end is nigh....

....but still not here just yet. Regarding my enforced retirement from birding the end is certainly nigh but not quite there yet but getting nearer by the week, day even.

For several years I've been keeping a record on 'Bird Behaviour and other oddities' which has drawn up quite a few interesting results. It's hard to decide the most interesting of these records but one or two come to mind which are stranger than most. I think a good example would have to be the Bar-tailed Godwit seen at Rossall Point on the Fylde Coast, this bird was in full summer plumage on 9 December 1995. The Bar-tailed Godwit at Rossall Point is in itself something of a record as it's a species rarely see at the location. 

Another record in the book was that of a Cuckoo which I observed at Barbondale on 14 June 1997 at close range through a telescope, the bird called repeatedly over a long period without opening its bill, this was a revelation to me, but it transpired this was a known fact and an interesting reply to the article - which was the subject in the 'Notes' section in British Birds - was from a correspondent who had spent several years in Pakistan, who had observed Common Cuckoo, Oriental Cuckoo, and Lesser Cuckoo in the Himalayan foothills, the observations made here were that 'all three species did in fact call without opening the bill' but goes on to add ' while the gular pouch, or throat, ballooned out visibly with each call'....fascinating stuff. 

Another fascinating record was that of a female Ruddy Duck at Leighton Moss on 10 October 1998 which had four recently hatched chicks in her company....a late breeder or what!

On the subject of the Ruddy Duck (RD), it was in disbelief that I read the estimated RD population in the UK stood at 4,400 birds when a cull of this duck was called for to save the White-headed Duck (WHD) from extinction at the hands of the RD which was found guilty of hybridisation with the WHD in Spain. It now transpires that a total of almost 7,500 RD's have been killed, not to the credit of the 'counters' on that one then. I personally find it hard to believe the RSPB and WWT supported this cull in the first place - but we'll leave that one hanging there shall we - perhaps even worse is that the government have now put up almost a quarter of a million pounds - to follow on from the £5m already sunk into this appalling exercise - to 'dispose' of the remaining 100 RD' these austere times I think this is called getting your spending priorities in order.

So, time for the pics....

Avocet. Cliff Raby.  

We've not seen many CR images on Birds2blog for while and the one of the Avocets is an excellent example followed by....

Red Kite. Cliff Raby.      

Another excellent example of the Red Kite. You can find many more photographs HERE thanks for these Cliff.

Short-eared Owl. Brian Rafferty.

A bit of an altercation going on here between BR's brilliant image of the two Short-eared Owls.

Great-crested Grebe. Brian Rafferty.

And the Great-crested Grebe has just found it's next meal in this pic. Please take a look at BR's website, thanks for these Brian.


Martin Jump said...

Thank you for all that interesting imformation Peter,hope you are out and about soon when all the action of spring begins. PS I've posted an image of the female stonechat from clougha on my blog if your interested.Cheers mj.

Warren Baker said...

Hang on in there Pete, things may change :-)

Brian Rafferty said...

Pete. So glad you will be soon coming out of your enforced you can't wait !!

More very interesting info from your records and many thanks for the pics.Take care and hope to see you sometime.

Pete Woodruff said...

Thanks for comments all.

Nice pic of the only female Stonechat on Clougha so far this year according to my observations a couple of weeks ago Martin.

Certainly hanging on in there Warren.

Hope to see you again soon too Brian, must make some arrangements in due course.

Christian said...

Superb choice of images Pete - really like the Avocets and well, the shorties from BR are brilliant.

Pete Woodruff said...

There was an excellent one of the Kestrel in my post 'Back to Clougha 2'....hope you didn't miss that one.

Thanks for looking in Christian.