Sunday, January 20, 2013

I'm not doing a Poole Harbour year list but.....

Reading Peter Moore's blog the other day, I noticed that one of his New Years resolutions was to do more birding. Well, looking back at my blog for last year, I should also make a resolution: To do less!
But it is a hard thing to do.
The problem at the moment is every time I go out I keep bumping into really good birds for the harbour, things like Whooper, Pink-foot, Mandarin and Egyptian Goose which are all great yearlist birds. Not to mention stuff like Ruff and Golden Plover which in recent years have been few and far between.
Thing is, I cant do things half heartedly and when I list it all gets a bit serious, with most other obligations going out of the window.
So maybe not a good idea. Anyway some of that wildfowl could be a bit suspect... 
Scanning from Holme Bridge looking east down the valley there is a duck pen next to the river with lots of Mallard in it, put there by the shooters. The problem is, what else have they chucked in there? For instance I noticed that the Egyptian Goose and its friend were hanging around the perimeter fence the other day along with 5 Muscovy Duck. And how far has that Mandarin moved?

With last years photo yearlist consistently necessitating the use of some very poor images I am now totally relaxed about using completely shite photos for the blog!

Pink-foot. Even though it is consorting with Greylags I think we should give it the benefit of the doubt

Male Merlin being hassled by Jackdaw. Later seen tucking into a Blue Tit.

Lots and lots of snow put pay to planned survey work up t'north. On the plus side 20 Golden Plover over the house during the very big southerly movement of birds was a garden tick

Wytch Causeway, it was as cold as it looks

Not sure why there was a strip of exposed grass but a couple of Golden Plover and a few hundred  Fieldfare were making the most of it.

Barwits Shore Road

Confiding Dunlin

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Blackbird variety and 'variety'?

A cold snap in Dec 2010 brought an influx of Blackbirds into the garden. I was intrigued by the variety of plumages on show and began taking photos, eventually coming up with 18 identifiable individuals.
Some were fairly standard looking, but others were sporting all sorts of pale edgings and chevrons indicating birds from presumably a bit further afield. A little research into these birds occasionally brought up the word 'stockamsel'
This January with quite a few Blackbirds around, I have been having another look. Now that I dont have to charge around the country for photos I can spend more time doing other pointless and obscure things like this!
Stockamsel was apparently quite a popular term in the 60's but is not used at all nowadays. The name was first coined by the German Johann Andreas Naumann of thrush fame. He used the word for young males that resembled females. Not sure if there is an English name equivalent, but perhaps 'Ladyboy' would fit!

BWP has a picture of a 'stockamsel' and labels it a 'variety'. Unfortunately there is no mention of it in the text. Finding anything else out about stockamsels has proved quite difficult but it seems that the term has now been replaced by 'continental' Blackbird.

So far I have identified at least 15 Blackbirds coming to the garden,  including a few with noticeable pale edgings.

Bird 1

Bird 2

Bird 3

Bird 4
 Presumably a dark female or is it one of Naumann's Ladyboys!?

The next birds are rather more standard looking but can still be individually identified.

Bird 5
Almost adult, still got old primaries. Distinctive bill pattern.

Bird 6

Can be identified by white blob near base of upper mandible and some white blobs above eyering

Bird 7
A few more white blobs above eyering than bird 6, and what looks like dark bill markings (along with some mud)

Bird 8 
No white blobs and all yellow bill

Bird 9 
Moody first year female.

Bird 10
Adult male with dark area on upper mandible (If you are now scratching your chin and think there is some double counting going on here, I definitely saw at least 4 normal adult looking birds together so I can claim the numbers on that anyway!)

Bird 11
Another first year female, with a mixture of new and old greater coverts

Bird 12
Very thin and indistinct eyering. This bird only showed up yesterday. Taken in very low light levels but did show pale edged feathering.

Bird 13 
A few window reflections here

There were also 2 other obvious first winter males occasionally visiting, bringing the total to 15 individuals. Only did this lot in two sessions so there are probably also a few more birds kicking about.