Friday, January 29, 2010

Hi from Jamaica

I'm in Jamaica at the mo, working you understand. I arrived late on Monday and I think it is Friday today. Mainly, of course I've been slaving over a hot scope, trying to see endemic Jamaican birds. There are 28 to collect so they say. So far I have accumulated 24 (I needed a grassquit, owl, hummer and elaenia for the set).
Wish me luck. The trouble is, once the sun goes down I am going to be tempted by the firefly-lit pool instead of looking for the owl unless I show real resolve. Ah, the choices!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Beans and friends

Pink-footed Geese, Bean Geese, and single European White-fronted Goose

Bean Goose facing right and Pinkfoot looking left, for comparison

Two Bean Geese among the Pinkfeet

Yesterday Jonathan Taylor found a couple of Tundra Bean Geese on the Nene Washes at Eldernell. Today (23.1.10), I refound them in the company of five Pink-footed Geese and two European White-fronted Geese.
It was only the second time I have seen Beans in the PBC area and it was good to see them side by side with Pinkfeet for comparison. The overall size is slightly bigger and bulkier; the bill distinctly longer; with an orange, not pink band; the overall plumage colour is darker especially the back and wings (paler and grey on PFs); the tailer is daker with a thin white terminal band; and the legs are orange (not pink).

Sunday, January 17, 2010

In our garden

Grey Squirrel



Grey Squirrel


Grey Squirrel

Blue Tit



Grey Squirrel


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Garden Dunnocks

Each morning, I wrap myself in our two duvets (it is cold at the mo'), and perch on the side of the bed looking out of our bedroom window while the birds and I wake up. Down below the window is a horrible conservatory roof, then a nasty corrugated-plastic-roofed 'veranda' under which hang vines (sounds posh? It isn't). Next to this, there is a self-sown, scraggly Elder, interweaved with vine strands, which has grown to about 15 feet or so. Each morning birds of various hues gather there for a preen or chat or feed, then move through.
This morning, three Dunnocks turned up there and as they going in for all that wing-flicking and dodging, I assumed that they were about to indulge in the menage à trois flirtatious cloacal pecking and sexual shenanigans which give them such a racy reputation. However, this morning, more territorial matters were on their Dunnock minds. A full-scale fight took place on the corrugated plastic below me.
It was a vicious battle, with lots of wing-flapping and beaking, and after 10 seconds or so, several small feathers went flying up. One bird flew off, and the victor returned to the Elder, still with a grey Dunnock feather in its bill, which it wiped triumphantly on a branch, like a little fluffy trophy.
A couple of minutes later, the vanquished returned, as did its mate, but the birds were too exhausted to fight again, so the winning bird instead just sang the little Dunock ditty while the other birds perched and listened. Three or four House Sparrows came into the Elder for a bit of banter and display, but the Dunnocks remained still around them.
Small grey feathers blew gently over corrugated plastic.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Please ignore...

...if offended by reading about other people's dreams, which is surely a tiresome business. However, I have had two clear and odd dreams in the last couple of nights, which I will describe briefly. I'd like to stress that these are not real life, merely the dreams of a madman. So, please forgive the content, I warned you to ignore this, after all.

1. My flatmates were a raucous bunch who decided that they fancied frying up and eating our two cute little kittens. Despite my protests, I think they carried out their threat, as the two little innocent cats were missing.

2. Nighttime, after bar closing time, and three young men in a car, rather drunk had a crash and woke up squashed together and surprised that they were alive. They tried to talk out of the window to a young woman they'd seen earlier but she didn't notice them. This was because they were dead and destined to stay in the car, conscious but deceased, for ever. Later, they saw the same young woman's body dead in the road (where she will lie forever) after witnessing her being run over by a police car.

I blame the HP Lovecraft stories I've been reading again.

Friday, January 08, 2010

2009 One per month

January: Redwings, Burghley House

February: Red Fox in snow at Kate's Bridge

March: Waxwing, Peterborough

April: Cattle Egret, Brayka Bay, Marsa Alam, Egypt

May: Scarce Chaser, Woodwalton Fen

June: Hornet Clearwing Moth, Serpentine BP

July: Barbuda Warbler, Barbuda

August: Clouded Yellow, helice-form, Maxey pits

September: Common Dolphin, Bay of Biscay

October: Glossy Ibis, Maxey pits

November: Blue Tit, our garden, Peterborough

December: Roe Deer, Langtoft area

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Munching Muntjac

Muntjac, Woodwalton Fen, Cambs, 3.1.10 (digiscoped)