birds

Mystery bird challenge

I saw this yesterday out on the common, I do not know what it is though. I did not find it in my Big Boys’ Book of Birds, so hopefully someone who knows how to identify different types of bird from quite a long way away will be able to tell me what it is. It was quite small, about blue tit size; my best guess is some kind of tit or warbler. That is probably wrong though. Apologies for the bad picture as it is covert surveillance footage.

Edit: Thanks to whizzerandchips for identifying this as a Whitethroat (Sylvia communis). That is two lifers in one day as I also saw a swift!

keithlard investergates

Yesterday was the first time I’ve been mobile enough to go down to Henrietta’s Pond for a few weeks. I was worried that I’d missed all the breeding season and seeing such as ducklings, cootlets and moorchicks, but I do not think I have, as I did not see any mini-birds there. At Aldenham Country Park a couple of weeks ago I saw some baby mallards, which were very cute, and I also saw a pair of nesting grebes! Which was terrific.

I was quite excited at one point as I thought I saw Henrietta sitting on a nest, because she has not had a mate for more than a year now and missed the last breeding season. But then she went off and a moorhen was there instead, so it seems unlikely to be a nest, unless the moorhen was babysitting for her. Later I saw Henrietta deep in conversation with a mallard drake. Question, can Pekin ducks mate with mallards? This is something to Investergate.

There is normally a decent size family of Canada geese there, but yesterday there was just one solitary goose moping around the place. So perhaps all his family have gone off on holiday, or maybe they are nesting now. I was a bit worried as I know where their previous nest was, and a whole bunch of people started tramping noisily around the pond, shrieking, laughing, breaking branches, and generally making a racket all over the nesting area. But as they were not startled by an explosion of furious geese, I conclude the nest must be somewhere else.

It made me cringe a bit because if you want to look at birds and such like Wild Life, the only real qualification required is the ability to be quiet and still. It is a bit comical then if you are lurking super stealthily in the undergrowth, and 100 drunken party goers start doing the conga past you. Still it is a busy path along the Dollis Brook there, and the birds are quite used to people, in fact if you go near the pond, Henrietta will try to mug you for biscuits.

I also saw a jay which is pretty exciting, as I saw my first one ever at Aldenham. I thought it was just a big-ass magpie with snappy dress sense, but there was a helpful board nearby with a big picture of a jay, with a caption underneath saying ‘Jay’, in case you did not know what it was. It is no good laughing as I do not know about any types of birds, blame it on my country upbringing.


A jay yesterday. (GFDL picture by Marek Szczepanek from Wikimedia Commons)

I also think it is great that its Latin name is Garrulus glandarius, which means ‘talkative bird that eats acorns’! I think if I was a bird I would be known as Garrulus currymunchius. So that is the end of the Bird News.

The Dollis brook

Geese and friends

Gulls at Fowey, Cornwall

This is in Cornwall’s historic Fowey which I will show you more pictures in a bit. But here is some gulls that caught my intrest while I was wandering around with Jane.