Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Barn Owl and Raven

I have been up early the last few mornings and as a reward I've enjoyed a great view of a Barn Owl and been delighted by a family of Ravens. The Raven surely must have a claim to master of the skies. Their skills are incredible, how many birds can you watch doing synchronised barrel rolls with their partner. I am sure I've even seen them flying backwards.

The Barn Owl appeared just after sunrise in a tree near to where they have bred in the past. The sun was only just breaking the horizon - the golden hour. I managed few quick photos before it disappeared into a hole in the tree. A couple of Jackdaws came out very fast after the owl went in, so I guess this is only a roosting hole.

Barn Owl

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Lesser Black-backed Gull MAFB

A Lesser Black-backed Gull  (Green MAFB) was colour-ringed in the Netherlands during 2007 and fitted with a satellite tracker. Steve Nicholls and I saw this bird on March 29th 2014.

Kees Camphuysen has kindly passed on its life-history and amongst the information was a map of one of its winter journeys. The satellite tracker no longer works, but it has done its job. We already know that many Lesser Black-backed Gulls migrate south to Iberia and across to NW Africa, but it is great to see the whole journey represented on a map.

It's fascinating how one gull (MCAV) chooses to winter in England, but others like MAFB undertake much longer southward journeys.


More on Lesser Black-backed Gull MCAV

A little while ago I wrote about the Peregrinations of MCAV, well the data logger fitted to this LBB Gull has revealed its movements during the winter period of 2013/14.  Kees Camphuysen has kindly forwarded me the information, so I thought I should share it as it is really interesting. I will follow this post with one about another LBB Gull from the Netherlands, which has a satellite tracker fitted and that one migrated south. 

Lesser Black-backed Gull MCAV has re-appeared in the breeding colony where its data logger was fitted. Kees reports that MCAV is now established in the colony and is territorial with a partner. The base station is close to the colony, so the data held by the logger was automatically downloaded as soon as MCAV arrived back.

The information confirms my sightings of it at Shawell on March 12th & 13th 2014. The maps below show its wanderings, firstly to Britain and then to the Shawell A5 Lagoons, Cotesbach LF site, Draycote Water and finally Albion LF site (NW Leicestershire).

The Wanderings of LBB Gull MCAV During Winter 2013/14

Friday, 11 April 2014

Pied-billed Grebe

After dashing off to see the Glossy Ibis the other night, it felt rude not to go for the Pied-billed Grebe at Rutland Water. Having seen a few Pied-billed Grebes in the past it took me a while to get into twitching mode, but once I did I was off like a Greyhound. Well like a snail would be more accurate, because someone blocked Rutland Water to me by putting Leicester in the way. It is always frustrating how long it takes to cross Leicester. 

I got to see it yesterday morning and luckily it was one of those easy twitches where the bird is on show immediately. A first for Leicestershire and it just casually swam around in front of its admirers. It was a bit too far away for photography, as the crowd was keeping well back. Nevertheless I was able to get a few records shots of it by using my scope as a lens. Not the greatest birding adventure I've ever had, but it was good to get a rare bird at Rutland Water, as they often time their arrivals for when I'm on holiday.

Pied-billed Grebe, Rutland Water, 10/04/14

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Glossy Ibis at Hicks Lodge

Having previously missed the Glossy Ibis at Rutland Water , I was excited to learn of another one and this time in Leicestershire rather than Rutland.

I left work just before 5 o'clock, casually eat my tea at home and then drove to Hicks Lodge. Luckily the Glossy Ibis was still present, although a little distant. Below is a poor quality screen grab from a short bit of video I managed to record. As well as the ibis, we spotted a Little Ringed Plover with quite a few white feathers on its wings and mantle. The white feathers didn't stop the other bird displaying to it however. 

Just before 7 o'clock the ibis took off without warning and flew off in a north-easterly direction eventually being lost to view.

Second Year Glossy Ibis, Hicks Lodge, Leicestershire