Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Ivory-billed Woodpecker persists in North-east Scotland

First, to business...

Wednesday 23rd May
Pre-work birding, mostly boring. The
Sedge Warbler wasn't there at the top of St Ann's track, hope it's OK. Compensated by a Garden Warbler singing from the trees down to the beach - a patch year tick (get 1-2 birds a year).

Offshore, an eclectic 'feeding flock' of 1 Grey Seal (with a fish) 1 adult Northern Gannet, 1 Black-legged Kittiwake and 1 Northern Fulmar.

Thursday 24th May
Still no Sedge Warbler singing at St Ann's... oohhhhh.. but then again most of the others are pretty silent too this morning. I couldn't stop bumping into Roe Deer today - male and female charged past me top speed, then I startled another female as she wandered onto the Beach track in front of me, then I stalked another male for 400 m down the same track. The Garden Warbler was still singing, as from yesterday. Juvenile White-throated Dipper spotted again on the burn.

Offshore, Atlantic Puffins, Common Guillemots and R
azorbills all bathing enthusiastically - you'd think spending your winter out at sea would put you off splashing about for fun, but apparently not.

Recycling day again in Newtonhill, and once again the folk at no. 63 have spent a fortnight tanking nothing but McEwan's Export. At 57, in contrast, they have subsisted on red wine and Diet Coke. Not together, I hope.

On my way back to the house I had a compelling audio contact with Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Obviously this isn't proof, but I am presenting the evidence as I got it so you can assess it for yourself. The sound file of 2 'kent' calls is presented here.

I made a sonagram (some people say I have too much time o
n my hands, but they're just annoyed cos I've been stalking them the past 6 months). Here it is, on the right, in comparison with the published Florida 'kent' and a bleat of a White-tailed Deer.

The habitat was not typical for Ivory-billed Woodpecker - being a steep-sided valley with only bracken and wild roses for cover, within 10 m of permanent human habitation.

I'll tell you what was making that noise tomorrow. Clue, it wasn't a Pileated Woodpecker, it has wayyy too much white and lacked the rounded wings and deep lazy flight of that species.


John L. Trapp said...

You shouldn't lead us on like this, Martin, have some mercy!

Ford Madox Ford Madox Ford said...

Quite a comparison there between the IBWO and the WTD, apart from the WTD squiggles being shorter, and thinner, and differently shaped. Damned conclusive, I'd say! Good work!