Sunday, 22 March 2015

Large falcon surprise

Early morning meandering across bitterly cold levels hoping for a Wheatear or Garganey I picked up the large falcon pictured on the left sitting in the fields at the back of Mappins on Horse-eye level. I am used to seeing the resident Peregrine sitting in the same area so was readily able to assess this bird as significantly larger and with the very pale head and ostensibly brown upperparts began to muse over the large falcon conundrum...
The bird shows heavy streaking on the underparts, the upperparts show warm buff fringes to the wing coverts and the primaries fall short of the tail tip. The tail is narrowly barred dark and light brown with the central tail darker. The trousers were pale to mid brown with diffuse streaks. Unfortunately the mantle and back had a slightly greyer brown cast. Legs yellow and grey cere. While to my mind possessing significant Saker genes in all likelihood the bird is probably a falconers hybrid of some type and reminded me in some respects of a bird I saw many moons ago around Tenterden and then on the Isle of Sheppey, although whatever its origin an absolutely stunning bird.
Other highlights this morning were 3 Jack Snipe, 8 Snipe, 15 Pintail (8m), 2 Shoveler, 40+ Wigeon, 80+ Teal, 44 Lapwing, Cettis', and 4+ Little Egret.
The highlights of the WEBS count on the 8th were 21 Pintail (11m), 10 Shoveler (6m), and a single Water Rail on White Dyke.
Since my last posting I have also managed to get the moth trap out on a couple of nights - 8th March adding a new micro to the garden list Acleris ferrugana or notana along with 4 Common Quaker, and the 16th March producing 2 Common Quaker and a single Hebrew Character. Keep smiling.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

If I ruled the world...

...everyday would not be the first day of spring but Englands' cricket team would be a lot better than it currently is and the Arsenal would not press the self destruct button as they are inclined to do periodically! Still you can't have everything, fingers firmly crossed for the boys in Dublin later today.
Patchwork this morning took place in pleasant sunshine with brisk and blustery wind. Nothing special but a nice selection of winter ducks and residents with 100+ Teal, 20+ Wigeon, 6 Shoveler, 2 Marsh Harrier, 2 Peregrine, Buzzard, Little Owl, and Chiffchaff (1 on White Dyke). The Peregrine were in one of their usual places perched up on a small rise by Mappins' with the female seemingly catching a few rays with outstretched wings and spread tail twisted towards the low angled sun, the male was just perched in standard upright pose nearby occassionally calling. Of the rest there were at least 6 sinensis type Cormorant on Horse-eye as well as singing Skylark, Reed Bunting, and Mipit, perhaps spring is on the way after all...