Thursday, September 30, 2010

White Stork Wareham Meadows

The Stork was very confiding, allowing very close approach. Assuming that its not an escape because it hasnt got any rings it may well be from the Dutch re-introduction program whose birds are also very approachable

This is him (or her) saying goodbye

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 2 Punta Paloma + Sierra de la Plata

Had a quick wander round the extended garden first thing and was greeted with 50+ Bee-eaters moving east, also a few Red-rumped Swallows and Serins.
Next stop Sierra de la Plata just in case there were still a few White-rumped Swifts about which apparently there had been the day before, but not today. Nevermind lets get some Vulture photos.

Smart youngster

Tatty older bird (dont ask me how old)

Juv Sparrowhawk with blunt wings and more irregular breast pattern.

Lots of Black Kites were also moving along with a few Short-toed Eagles. As there was quite a lot going on didnt look too much at the Black Kites but this photo shows that some of the birds were surprisingly rufousy underneath. The streaky one furthest left is presumably a young bird.

Upperpart shots are a bit of a premium so slightly less quality photos are acceptable!
This birds moult stage can be seen quite clearly (may have to click to enlarge)
It has got new inner primaries up to P6 with P7 very short and P8-10 old and brown.

Malaga to Tarifa

Day 1 of 2 weeks in southern Spain mostly involved driving from the Hotel at Malaga to our Finca near Tarifa with various stops for sight seeing on the way.
Cracking views of Morocco from Mirador del Estrecho etc.
These White Storks were part of a flock of 80 birds near Facinas which was a bonus after taking a wrong turn. Typically as soon as we had stopped by the side of the road and got the camera out a van with 3 very dodgy looking Moroccan types pulled over and started trying to talk to us. After previous experiences I smiled nicely explaining I dont speak dago and slowly started backing towards the car! They clearly didnt understand what I was saying so just decided to stop there and stare at us in a rather threatening manner it must be said after eventually giving up and driving off.
Anyway here are the some of the Storks.

A few more wrong turns later and we eventually arrive safe and sound.
It would have helped if this place actually had an address.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Raptor hors d'oeuvres

Hobby hunting over garden early afternoon, so rushed in to get camera.
When I got out it had gone, however an Osprey had appeared.

Some minutes later the Hobby returned nearly creating an opportunity
to get both in one photo but not quite

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Long Gull at Portland

Early morning start at the Bill produced plenty of Yellow Wags flying about also a few Tree Pipits and a nice adult Hobby chasing some small passerine around. Down to the Bill Common where there were a few loafing Gulls, one of which immediately caught my eye as being very dark and very long!
Here are some shots, the first one is a pretty mad posture.

Well, what do you think so far!? I think it looks quite good for a fuscus, structrually its not bad, it is probably dark enough, it is certainly long enough! The bill is quite slender and the eye looks quite small, but the legs do look a bit long.

The pic above shows that it has got new P1 and P2 which is also consistent with fuscus (and intermedius) but the mirror looks quite big. Answers on a postcard.

3rd Sept
Sent these pics and a couple of others to Killian for some expert opinion.

He commented as follows (and kindly added some graphics to the flight shot)

"What an amazing looking bird! I can certainly see why you may have considered this bird possibly a fuscus on the length of the wings alone!
I think Lars Jonsson's 1998 paper established pretty conclusively that the size of the white mirror on p10 does not constitute a really reliable means of differentiating between fuscus- and intermedius-types. Also, unfortunately, I think it has been demonstrated that some intermedius are remarkably long-winged.
From the larger shot of the bird flying away it appears that the bird is moulting more like an intermedius than a fuscus (see attached below). In particular, the fact that it has dropped p3 would count against it being a fuscus, as would, perhaps, the fact that it is in such 'active' wing moult while (presumably) on migration?"

Click to enlarge