Sunday, February 18, 2007

It's *not* very common, it *doesn't* happen to every man and it *is* a big deal. Or something

Thanks to Tom for reminding me of this one.... October 1980 - a great month in the history of British birding journalism. This paper has gone down in birding lore. Moss, R. 1980; British Birds 73: 440-447.

Why are (Western) Capercaillie cocks so big?

All the more amusing for puerile people like me is that the answer is that the females prefer bigger cocks. In fact the bigger cocks also drive the other males away, thus showing that not only does size matter, but what they do counts too.

Today was a fantastic sunny day to be out birding. Nice and calm too in Newtonhill. Plenty of birds being busy. An abnormal number of Sky Larks going through as well (50+) - mostly heading inland. Dunno if they were using the nice weather to head off whence they had came during the icy blast.

27 Common Eiders offshore, of which 15 were male, 2 with the traditional green-grey bill, 13 with the enterprising largely yellow offering, and 1 on these with obvious scapular 'sails'. Make of that what you will.

Ker-ching! The hedge bordering the Mill garden has been 'cut' (read 'flailed') by one of those nasty drive-by chain-thrashing thingies that farmers use. It's destroyed - bad for the hedge, but good for me as it will be much easier to get a good look into the garden this spring. Don't know why people would do that to their garden, but in this case... bravo!

No comments: