Friday, 10 December 2010

Wknd 11-12 December

Friday afternoon saw 26 Great Blackbacks around Seton harbour, including this imm marked with red bands; given lack of a metal ring this may perhaps be a bird trapped e.g. by a fisherman and thus untraceable?

Lucy (returning graellsii LBB) was also there again with her friends.

A Lapwing lay freshly dead on the shore, casualty of hard weather.

Saturday, 15+ Waxwings still at Harelaw and several Brambling at beech trees by Garleton Lodge.

In the afternoon the kids went to see Mother Goose at Musselburgh so I went to Eskside and tried to read BHG metals rings, got two, BTO EL00334 (first bird below - inset left, do ringers put rings on upside down to test us!?) [Postscript - ringed as chick, Loch Urr, D&G 7/6/04] and a foreign one, 6158812 (second bird below), with a word written vertically downwards at the start, apparently "Norway", see example. Reply within a few hours from Stavanger Museum, the bird was ringed as an adult at Frogner Park in Oslo on 1/4/2000 (no joke!), and has not been seen since! See Johan Bos's article "The Origin of Black-headed Gulls Wintering in Edinburgh" published in Lothian Bird Bulletin No. 1 2004 for context (pdf), roughly 30% of our wintering birds are from Norway. A long way to go to catch up with Johan's impressive 100+ ringed individuals identified.

Something I occasionally ponder when reading rings, what is the optimum balance of ringers and ring readers, i.e. considering recovery rates is time sometimes better spent reading rings than applying them? I have added a new list of ringing histories, right menu, will add more species including gulls in due course. Some have other worksheets which don't display in the scribd preview - can also download as Excel.

Was also surprised to see one of the smaller race Canada Geese, which are often seen at East Fenton and surrounding area, there in the throng (38 Canada Geese); from photo comparison I don't think it is the smallest such bird though, the bill looks slightly longer, but may well be one of its mates.

Back at Eskside Sunday afternoon, in search of the "foreign" BHG, no show but reconfirmed the BTO bird and got one new BTO, EL63898 (pic above) [Postscript - ringed as chick, Coquet Island, Northumbs 2/6/06]. Same 38 Canada Geese, and various hybrids, one grazing Greylag x Canada below showing flecks on back of neck, which are not always shown by this hybrid combo (but don't think it's x domestic Greylag, as lacks structural features). Another hybrid present seemed to also have domestic Greylag influence (but also a hint of the black neck sock from Canada), with hanging belly (second below), but perhaps it's within the variation of Canada x Greylag, or some kind of triple hybrid? More pics on flickr.

4 Waxwings flew over west. No change at the rivermouth with dog walkers releasing their hounds to flush every last feeding wader and duck off the shore, unfortunate considering the current wildfowling ban (10-23 December), possibly there should be a ban on deliberate dog disturbance too given they probably have more impact on wild birds than fowlers, certainly locally?

Monday driving to work, two more Barn Owls dead on A1, this is now definitely the worst autumn on record for casualties [Postscript - correction, one was a Tawny! Other unconfirmed.]

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