Tuesday, March 31, 2015

2015 end-of-March update

Last week in March, 2008, I was on 125 (inc 17 'elites'). Year total: 189 (my record total)
Last week in March, 2009, I was on 131 (inc 22 'elites'). Year total: 187
Last week in March, 2010, I was on 126 (inc 15 'elites'). Year total: 177
Last week in March, 2011, I was on 130 (inc 18 'elites'). Year total: 182
Last week in March, 2012, I was on 134 (inc 21*(22) 'elites'). Year total: 183
Last week in March, 2013, I was on 128 (inc 20*(21) 'elites'). Year total: 187
Last week in March, 2014, I am on 124 (inc 17*(18) 'elites'). Year total: 187
Last week in March, 2015, I am on 114 (inc 11*(12) 'elites'). Year total: 173
 * () Modern counting with Smew as an 'elite'

Here is the traditional state of my personal PBC (Peterborough Bird Club area) year list summary, as of the end March.
I have been dreading posting this. What an appalling start to the year's local birding. I am a shocking 10 species shy of my previous worst total at the end March. And if was worried about the scarcer birds (which I am) I am already four 'elite' species down on my previous worst since I started doing this. Desperate times indeed. Rough-legged Buzzard, Glaucous Gull, Scaup, Bean and White-fronted Geese are all pretty good birds (all but Scaup hanging on from last year) and not to be sniffed at, but this is a desperate total. I am going to need one hell of an April and May to pull anything out of the bag; and pray that autumn produces birds for a change...

Monday, March 30, 2015

Jordan Day 1 Qasr Amra

Qasr Amra is apparently a World Heritage site. The 8th Century building contains some slightly saucy frescoes. But we didn't get to see them. We wandered around on the flint coated desert and up a small 'valley' lined with Palestine Pistachio trees. Highlights were a few Cyprus (Pied) Wheatears (and one dead one). Also here were Black-eared Wheatears, Redstarts, Redstart and plentiful Lesser Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs, which were the main migrants on the move everywhere
How do camels survive out in this parched land?
How do people survive out there? Those are bedouin style tents
The land was covered in flints
Goats eating acacias or whatever they can eat
Palestine Pistachios are the big dry looking trees The remnants of the Qasr Amra site
Wryneck, presumably on passage
This beetle may be the Pitted Darkling Beetle Adesmia cancellata. They ere easily the commonest beetle type we saw in Jordan. You had to be careful not to tread on them in some areas
Just about all the 'Pied' Wheatears through Jordan, so current opinion has it, are Cyprus Wheatears. This one didn't make it.

Monday, March 09, 2015

White Stork at Ferry Meadows CP

Apparently, this stork is called Klio and recently escaped from the Deeping St James Exotic Pet Refuge. The tell-tale signs are the ring on the right leg, the deformed left foot, its extreme tameness and the fact that it is a Whtie Stork in Peterborough in March, at all.