Looking through some back dates of British Birds magazine one of the first articles I found was about a Cuckoo I observed at Barbondale in June 1997 and noted its call was made with the bill closed. The article brought about a reply from another reader in a later issue of the magazine, who - having spent 34 years living in Pakistan - noted in the Himalayan Foothills....'the Common Cuckoo, Oriental Cuckoo, and Lesser Cuckoo all called with their bills closed, whilst the throat ballooned out visibly during each call'.
Following this interesting observation of the Cuckoo at Barbondale, I decided to keep a book on bird behaviour. Sixteen years later I find the book contains 109 interesting notes titled 'Bird behaviour and other oddities', the last of which was entered on 21 March this year and noted Mallard and Shelduck at Glasson Dock, both species seen diving.
Yellowhammer. John Darbyshire.
Another interesting note early in the book, was of a Yellowhammer at Out Rawcliffe which I was watching for 20 minutes during the 'Golden Days' of delivering car parts, I decided to time this bird singing and found it did so 8 times per minute which resulted in my discovery that this individual - which sang constantly for the whole period I was with it - had done so an amazing 160 times....some singer.
The book reads, in December 1998 at Middleton Sands I watched up to 1,000 Dunlin in flight, observing these birds for in excess of 30 minutes they never once came to land whilst flying around the area as a flock in every direction....an expensive use of energy, and why.
And finally....A Spotted Redshank on the Eric Morecambe Complex at Leighton Moss was feeding alongside a Teal which was obviously stirring up a food source for the wader, this Spotted Redshank was also noted to upend as does the Mallard for example, I had no idea this species engaged in either of these activities. And a Ruddy Duck at Leighton Moss in mid October had 4 very young chicks, all victims in later years no doubt, of a controversial and mass cull costing an estimated eventual £5.5 million to save the globally threatened White-headed Duck .
Birds....they fascinate me in a million ways, and I've discovered and noted 109 different habits/behaviour/characteristics over the years most of which I didn't previously know about.