Sunday, July 15, 2007

Maestros of Miss-t-ary

Have to say that response to my mystery photo competition was a little disappointing. Here are the answers anyway.

photo 1, which can be seen here, appears to show a large, long- and slender-winged dark bird with white underwing coverts, a small dark head and a slender tail. The photo is in fact misleading, as the bird in question was in fact an adult European Herring Gull.

photo 2, here is a broad-bodied bird with an apparantly large head and broad wings. No colour is discernable, but it looks quite dark. It was in fact another European Herring Gull.

Mark Thomas came closest, with a suggestion of breeding Moustached Warbler for photo 1, and an almost plausible Snowy Owl for photo 2. He wins a year's subscription to George Bristow's Secret Freezer.

I was out birding this morning. The July doldrums have hit hard, so it's a bit boring, and we don't even have any decent dragonflies (the poor man's bird) to keep me amused. It was a beautiful day though. As the Bratz girls would say, Newtonhill is super-stylin' on days like this.

Very quiet, but a few Sedge Warblers, Common Whitethroats singing, and a Garden Warbler appeared (reappeared) in the dense bushes down the track to the beach. I found a Barn Swallow's nest in one of the more decrepit fishermens' huts down on the beach. Offshore, some rafts of Atlantic Puffins and Black-legged Kittiwakes feeding, but nothing moving. Like everyone else round the coast just now, I'm hoping one of these will fly past.
(photo credit Kristian Ståhl - here)
I like an albatross that knows when to keep its mouth shut... here

I went back for another hour in the evening, with a bit of an onshore breeze, 18:30-19:30. Birds were miles offshore but the light was perfect. But the birds were a bit sparse. Think I said it last year, but I know that if I sit down and see a Great Skua going past, I'm pretty much guaranteed not to have a good seawatch(!). Well that happened today. Also 21 Manx Shearwaters north, 104 Northern Gannets, 2 Common Scoters, 1 Common Tern north and 3 Arctic Terns, 5 Common Gulls south. That's all for today.


Harry said...

Hi Doc,
That first one could easily be strung as a certain bogey bird of mine of long standing, which I hope to score in the coming weeks off some headland...white on the underwing where the axilliary 'spur' should be, apparently dark underwings, slender tail etc

Martin said...

That's true actually. Maybe I screwed up?? :-)

Harry said...

No, your ID in the field was correct: the only thing that screwed up was your camera... ;-)

Alastair said...

You're looking in the wrong place. Check small gravel pits and fishing lakes, not the sea. All the available evidence points to this species only occurring in these habitats in UK. Call yourself a scientist ....