Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Otter on Fetlar, Shetland

Taiga Flycatcher: third for the UK

I was lucky enough to be invited to Shetland with a crew of excellent birders (I was very much in the shadow of their knowledge). We went to check out a Red-breasted Flycatcher found by our guide Brydon Thomason, a few hundred yards from his family's home on Fetlar, last Tuesday. Luckily, the bird was still present in the Sycamore-filled garden of the Tresta Manse owned by a great couple, Peter and Janet.
However, one glimpse at the bird by Martin Garner and Roger Riddington and they were making noises about the bird not being an RbF at all but a Taiga Flycatcher. If so, it would be just the third record for the UK, so they were (we all were) rather keen to get better looks at the wee beastie.
The bird was very active and making broad sweeping itineraries around the greater garden. After quit a while of trying to pin it down, RR came up with a plan to divide the duties. I was assigned to try to get photos within the walled part of the garden with most Sycamore cover. Dominic Mitchell was the photographer for the remainder of the garden, MG and RR with BT chased around for better, clinching views and Fiona Barclay videoed as much as she could.
After several hours of waiting, the bird finally gave up enough views to convince the team as to its ID and present enough photographic opportunities to show the key features.
In a nutshell, note the grey (not buffy, rufous or yellowish) breast; buffy lower flanks; grey lores and face, clean pale eyering, brown cap; all dark bill, lacking pale base; grey neck sides; even, whitish tertials, lacking 'nail' ends; black base of tail extending further up the upper tail coverts, and darker then the 'black' rectrices.
There was considerable excitement to say the least...

Otter heaven

Just back from a quick trip to the far north. More on that later. Meantime, here is a 9-month old Otter just out of the water, having a breather on the rocks.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another Scaup

I found this Scaup at Ferry Meadows CP on the cycle into work yesterday, so returned this morning to digiscope a few shots. That's a Tufted Duck diving in the first shot, by the way.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dominica: More shots...

Green Iguana

Broad-winged Hawk


Pleasure boat at Portsmouth

Scaly-naped Pigeon on the nest

These crabs in the mangroves near Portsmouth probably co-operated in the making of the two later Pirates of the Caribbean movies... after all everyone else did

Wrecks brought by Hurricane David to Portsmouth in 1979 still sit there

Scenes from the Pirates...

Pseudosphinx tetrio, or the Tetrio Sphinx hawkmoth

Wreck in Portsmouth

While we birded, our boatman performed miracles with reeds!

Parrot viewpoints


Viewing a Broad-winged Hawk

Windsor Park, Roseau, the cricket ground which dominates the capital

Emerald Pool

Read the sign (click for a bigger version)

Welcome to Dominica! The first cafe we visited, at Portsmouth, had a friendly pirate mural...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

More Santurtzi (Bilbao) wildlife

Bush Cricket sp.

Autumn Lady's Tresses orchid

Wasp Spider with grasshopper prey

Pride of Bilbao

Praying Mantis at prayer

Young Iberian Wall Lizard (I think)