Sunday, June 28, 2009

Northern Brown Argus

Lovely day.

It was also a lovely day on Tuesday morning. Had car, driving over flyover onto A90 (better than crashing thru central reservation - police get cross again). Big cloudless blue sky. Perfection in firmament etc bollox. Hold! Flaw in firmament.... bird flying . Barnacle Goose! Weird. not exactly overrun with feral breeding barnies.

Back to Sunday. Common Reed Bunting singing at St Anne's track. Used to say 'Nul points to Norway'. But brutally unfair to triumphant Norway. Juvvy Song Thrush, barely flying. Sedge Warbler carrying food into bracken. Juvvy Sedgies no doubt enjoying whatever muck. World's scruffiest male Grey Wagtail decided to moult in full view of children and tramps. Beach... covered in happy families enjoying sun, avoiding pervert grey wags. Cliff steps. Common Blue butterflies, hundreds of Painted Ladies kicking about, lots of Magpie Moths Silver-Ys. Not a great butterfly expert. But though a couple of the female Common Blues looked a bit weird. No blue, very dark. Are they meant to have those little white dots on the wings? Checked when get home... Northern Brown Argus! bugger me. And there are a few records from this bit of coast. Aha. Patch tick.

A Northern Brown Argus very similar to those on the wing today at N/hill.

Offshore. Auks very busy. Guillemots and Razorbills in all directions. Atlantic Puffin heading to burrows with fish.
8 Manx Shearwaters all heading north, a few Northern Gannets too. And the
first autumn migrant of the year... a Common Sandpiper on the rocks. Roll on autumn.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Back from BOU

Back from the BOURC meeting in our secret underground bunker somewhere in, or maybe near (don't want to be too specific) Petrograd. We invented a new word (also see here!). Remember a few years ago, maybe about 10 tbh, when Viz magazine (even back then, it wasn't as funny as it used to be), promised it was going to print the rudest word inthe English language on the front page of the comic and still get into the newsstands at WH Smiths.

I'm pretty sure I know what the rudest word in the English language is... in fact it's so rude the only place I ever see it in print is on Tom McKinney's deceased blog. When the big day came, Viz in fact had cheated and invented a new official rudest word in the English language. The word the came up with was 'fitbin'. Maybe they were hoping it would take off and become a new dictionary rudest word. Anyway, it totally failed to take off and in my entire adult life I have not heard anyone use the word fitbin, even in jest.

Still, not learning from the Viz's triumph, BOURC invented a new word, for those pesky annoying crossbills, petrels of all sorts, and any barcoded species that you might end up having to see but doing so only spoils your birding day - the craptic species.

We consider two or more species to be ‘craptic’ if they are, or have been, classified as a single nominal species because they are at least superficially morphologically indistinguishable. Some authors further stipulate that species designated as ‘craptic’ should be recently diverged, separable only with molecular data, occur in sympatry, or be reproductively isolated; however, we do not regard these as essential features of craptic species. We acknowledge that there is no single best species concept and therefore exclude the latter qualification of reproductive isolation to disentangle definition of craptic species from the quagmire surrounding species concepts.

(See here for a less sophisticated earlier argument)

I have a good feeling that this is going to take off. They should go into their own Category of the Britsh List, in my opinion. Something like Category K.

And also, didn't Springwatch go all moody and serious last week?