Thursday, 25 April 2013

Iberian Chiffchaff - Boldon Flats NR

Wednesday started off as a typical day until I chanced upon and found a singing male Iberian Chiffchaff in South Tyneside, I was over the moon! A 1st for Durham, I had learnt the song over previous years with the hope that one day I may well bump into one, you just never know what is going to happen.

There will be more about this bird in the coming months in the DBC Lek and I believe BirdGuides are publishing a "finders keepers" article on this bird over the next few days. But for now here is a picture of the bird and a few sound recordings from myself and Mark Newsome. 

(Iberian Chiffchaff - copyright Mark Newsome)



Until next time, Foghorn out!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Iberian Chiffchaff


More on that later,


Sunday, 21 April 2013

Baikal Teal

Last Monday I went to Flamborough Head to see the Baikal Teal that had been found there mid-morning. When the news came through of the birds presence I was immediately excited, surely a fantastic candidate. On arrival the bird was out on the bank but then went down to the pond and proceeded to give excellent and enjoyable views. A superbly stunning duck, the plumage was more striking and handsome than I had imagined it was going to be.

But what about its credentials? Well, that’s an interesting one. Because I have seen it, of course it is wild! I have my reasons why I believe it to be wild, so enjoy my waffle:

1)     The bird has turned up on the east coast.
2)     The bird is fully winged, regardless of damage.
3)     The bird turned up during a visible and clear duck movement.
4)     Other vagrant ducks were on the move, consider Lesser Scaup. Even though they are from NA they were still moving along with other ducks.
5)     Damage is on both the primaries and the secondaries; it is not isolated to the primaries. Why would a keeper of such an attractive species clip the secondaries? Given that this is one of the most attractive aspects of the bird you wouldn't expect these feathers to be clipped.
6)     I am reliably informed that wings are clipped in late summer after a ducks moult. These feathers then do not regrow until the next moult.
7)     The damage therefore looks to me (personally) like it is more due damage from habitat or from a predator. I do not personally think this is down to the bird attempting to be shot at, which has been suggested on a well known birding discussion site.
8) The bird was seen to fly in off the sea with a good carrier species (Wigeon).

The fact the secondaries look damaged is the clincher to my mind that this bird cannot be written off as just a fence hopper, these feathers just would not logically be clipped. It would make more sense that this bird has received habitat or predatory damage to its primaries and secondaries. Given all the other strong points I imagine this bird will be moved onto category A soon.

(Baikal Teal - Andrew Kinghorn)

(Baikal Teal - Andrew Kinghorn)

Until next time, Foghorn out!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Saltholme Lesser Scaup

The Lesser Scaup at Saltholme is rather smart, I managed to see it on its first day on the cafe pool, it keeps moving about and I have also seen it from the 'triangle' pool at Haverton yesterday.

(Lesser Scaup - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

Until next time, Foghorn out!