Sunday, September 09, 2007


First, Saturday, where I found this headless Common Shrew on our back patio. We have two cats, and between them they've caught NOTHING for the last 10 years (they're too soft and slow). but today... this.

Common Shrew (var. acephalic)

Went down to the cliffs first thing, to see if anything was happening on the sea, intending to decide then whether to stay there or go bush-bashing. In the end, did both, poorly. There was a Ruddy Turnstone on the rocks, and a Whimbrel on the rocks again, or maybe 'still' - there's no way of telling. it should be possible to mark birds, by means of, say, an individual, traceable, metal or coloured ring on their legs, and hence to keep track of their movements. That's a brilliant idea that no one has ever thought of before).


So I did my hour looking offshore - flat calm again, and sunny so I was diagnosing silhouettes mostly. Not ideal. Not exactly crawling with birds either. Highlights were a Minke Whale again (or perhaps 'still' - there's no way of telling. it should be possible to mark whales, by means of, say, an a small radio transmitter implanted into their skin, and hence to keep track of their movements. That's another brilliant idea that no one has ever thought of before. I'm full of brilliant ideas today - I should be careful my foot doesn't fall off.)
Also a single Harbour Porpoise. The flood of Red-throated Divers (Loons) has slowed to 6 south and 3 north, but they managed to carry a single Black-throated Diver south. And there were some Manx Shearwaters floating past in relaxed fashion (27N 5S), some staying to feed in the whirling flocks of gulls and terns. 2 Great Skuas north, 1 south,and 3 Arctic Skuas north. 17 Common Scoters south, 1 north, 64 Common Gulls (57S), 12 Sandwich Terns and 3 Arctic Terns south.

There were birds on the move, then, but a bit slow and I am repeating myself, and there was a constant passage of Meadow Pipits going over south to remind me about passerines, so I forewent the chance of a Great Shear silhouette and headed up the valley. There was a juvenile Eurasian Teal with 8 Mallards on the beach (also a juv Grey Heron, juv Black-headed Gull and 2 Grey Wagtails). I headed up the track and was delighted to find this undamaged, but dead, Pigmy Shrew.

Pigmy Shrew. Pound coin for scale. Note to US readers, this is what the dollar is doing so poorly against :-)
As I was taking the picture of this 4 red crossbill (sp.) flew over. The battery in my Remembird was dead (boo!) so I couldn't capture the call - but if my patch year list finishes on 149, then they'll go down a Common Crossbill! Patch year tick, whatever they were.

2 Bullfinches were inthe Mill garden, eating Rowan berries, or perhaps seeds - another patch year tick I think. So although of migrating warblers there were none, I was still keeping things ticking over. And then I found this Common Shrew - it was a bit squashed and I think it had been there a few days. It was stinkin'.

Common Shrew. No messing/Photoshop. It really was this flat.

Nothing else to write home about, unless I were to write home about Barn Swallows, which is unlikely.


John said...

How many more shrews must die before someone stops you?

Martin said...

It can never stop... it can't stop, no one can stop me!! It won't stop til I've got the last one. That's the problem with shrews - you need more and more to get the same effect.