Bird Watching

IdleRich

IdleRich
Anyone into this? I was when I was younger but I guess it kinda fell by the wayside when I discovered other stuff. Anyway, I'm on holiday with my parents right now in the Inner Hebrides and we've been going round with the binoculars and the bird books again just like we used to do when I was little and it's really exciting. Seen some good stuff up here as well.
Yesterday was our last day on Tiree but we'd been talking to this woman in the museum about birds and it turned out that her husband was the RSPB chap posted to Tiree. She told us that this year a non-resident bird called a gyrfalcon had ended up on Tiree. Apparently different ones have different markings and this one was white-faced and when flying "looks something like a seagull". We thought that was interesting but that we had no chance of seeing it as there was only one here and although the island is small (about three miles by twelve or something) it would still be a bit of a needle in a haystack looking for it. Then that afternoon we went up the hill and we were looking out over the flat land with the bins when I saw a large bird soaring in the distance. Joked to Dad that it could be the gyrfalcon and then suddenly realised that it actually could be. It was definitely a bird of prey about the size of a buzzard but it wasn't a buzzard and it did look something like a seagull in a weird kind of way although it was flying much higher than they do. Can't be sure (it was a long way away) but I reckon there is a good chance that that was it. Pretty cool looking bird and very rare in the UK I think

http://pie.midco.net/dougback/gyrfalcons.htm

Also seen hen harriers, loads of waders and finches and God knows what else. Then today (we're now on Coll) we saw a corncrake. Turns out my dad has been trying to see this thing for ages and although he's been to several places where they breed and even heard the distinctive noise they make he's never actually laid eyes on one. Anyway, although it's rare as fuck I think about half the uk population is on these two islands so today we went and stood on the corncrake viewing platform (basically a piece of wood) near some marshes where they are supposed to breed and waited for ages. Heard the noise loads but finally saw one, really close up but so hard to see in the undergrowth. Even though I had it in sight and it didn't fly away I somehow lost it but not before being sure what it was - no chance of not recognising it really 'cause it's on all the booklets and stuff round here being so near to extinction and all.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environme...rvationandendangeredspecies?picture=330112716

It's not as cool as the gyrfalcon though obviously.
Anyone else ever get into this?
 

craner

Beast of Burden
Are you serious? Apart from grime, birdwatching is one of the founding principles of Dissensus. Ok, maybe not, but myself, Luka and Jim Clarke are serious renegade twitchers. Despite being broke and alcoholic, I maintain my RSPB and WWT memberships year in year out. Jim and I went on a field trip to Rainham Marshes and saw many shellducks and lapwings and a common gull. It was magic. Down in Devon a few weeks ago I saw Wheatear and a rough legged buzzard. I got some pretty hardcore binoculars for christmas, and life has been pleasant even since. Luke once saw a purple heron in Regent's Park, he reckons. We know all the good places, if you need tips Rich. Long-tailed tits are a particular treat right now, plus who saw a waxwing this winter?
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Ha ha, something told me you might be keen.
Fucking millions of lapwings here, also oyster catchers, red shanks, various plovers, redstarts, linnets, wheatears, eider ducks, shellducks, gannets, fulmars, black godwits (or were they bartailed?), reed bunting and so on and so forth. Woman in the hotel told us that there are several golden eagles on Coll at the moment as well so I will keep 'em peeled for that.

"Long-tailed tits are a particular treat right now"
Yeah, Dad gets loads of them in his garden. In fact he gets crazy things that used to be dead rare when I was into bird watching. Several different types of woodpecker being the most striking. I never ever saw them when I really wanted to twenty years ago.

"We know all the good places, if you need tips Rich"
Maybe I will. Depends how long my new (re)found enthusiasm lasts when I get back to London. I've always had a latent interest I guess though - going back and forth between Oxford and London I noticed all the red kites that had been released round there. I asked other people if they had seen big birds that never used to be there and got nothing but blank looks - I think that they had never got into the habbit of looking at sky and simply hadn't seen them. I thought I was going mad until I read about their reintroduction.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
I have a latent interest, believe it or not. Well, its so latent I can't really call it an interest - I know nothing but I've enjoyed it when I've done it. Picked it up or Catherine who used to be a Junior Ornithologist, and I enjoyed following her lead. A mate of ours is a kind of unofficial warder for Stoke Newington Resevoir and we spent a lovely afternoon up there once watching the wildlife - me and his gf chatted while them two really got their Bird Nerd on. Great way to spend a day I reckon.
 

matt b

Indexing all opinion
Yeah, mang, I like a bit of bird watching and was in the YOC as a kid, but I'm no twitcher.

Craner didn't a number of dissensians go on a bird watching walk a few years ago? Rings a dull bell.

We walked the Dales Way two weeks ago and buzzards, grebes, oystercatchers (noisy buggers) and dippers were the best sees.

We've got loads of curlews, lapwings etc round here. Quite often see herons on the train to work.

The Farne Islands rule for birds this time of year- you get dive-bombed by arctic terns.
 

luka

Well-known member
yeah i wouldn't say im a birdwatcher as such. im not into sitting in a damp field for hours on end with binoculars clamped to my eyes, but im very into watching birds.
i always make sure i notice which ones are about and if its something i don't recognise i'll always look it up./ (unless it small and brown and unlikely to be easily identified.)
the purple heron was on regents canal as opposed to regents park, alongside vicky park. although of course it might have been my imagination. who knows.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"yeah i wouldn't say im a birdwatcher as such. im not into sitting in a damp field for hours on end with binoculars clamped to my eyes, but im very into watching birds.
i always make sure i notice which ones are about and if its something i don't recognise i'll always look it up."
Yeah that's me normally - but on a holiday like this where there are loads of birds you don't normally see at home I'm putting in that extra bit of effort.

"unless it small and brown and unlikely to be easily identified"
Yeah, these are the hardest. Yesterday we stopped the car three times in quick succession to look at small birds on the fence a few feet from the road. Even though we had all the time in the world to look at them and we'll never be closer it took us ages to recognise two and the other one defeated us.

"We walked the Dales Way two weeks ago and buzzards, grebes, oystercatchers (noisy buggers) and dippers were the best sees."
Grebes are nice birds - haven't seen any this trip, just divers (also called loons)which are quite similar I think but not so elegant.
 

luka

Well-known member
anyone spot many egrets around london? they're common in esturine essex and ive seen them at walthamstow resovuiors. i keep expecting them to start encroaching on heron territory in a big way. the green woodpeckers are all over london, in the big parks. obviously the parrots keep enlarging their territory. as i mentioned on sufis kiwi pigeon thread i used to see escaped pet birds regualrly in east london, budgies and cockatiels. dunno how long they would have survived out there but always a bit of a suprise. you can see the long tailed tits at the filter beds and hey are great. wagtails too. 2 or 3 different varieites if you keep your eyes open. all along the waterways. kingfishers turn up along the lea if you're lucky though the olympics might put a stop to that. ive seen some good things in australia but it feels like cheating

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papuan_Frogmouth

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Spoonbill

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jabiru
 
D

droid

Guest
obviously the parrots keep enlarging their territory. as i mentioned on sufis kiwi pigeon thread i used to see escaped pet birds regualrly in east london, budgies and cockatiels. dunno how long they would have survived out there but always a bit of a suprise.

I saw an escaped Budgie being mobbed by about 20 birds of various types a few years back. They tore the poor thing to pieces.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
We saw a golden eagle today! This is the best bird watching holiday I've been on in as much as we've seen every single bird that it's been possible to see including the ones that are there in small supply after being blown off course or something.
Check out this crazy video of a golden eagle I found on youtube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VklTs-Tid_I

"i used to see escaped pet birds regualrly in east london, budgies and cockatiels. dunno how long they would have survived out there but always a bit of a suprise."
Dad had some photos of what he thinks was a golden tailed weaver bird in his garden - makes sense 'cause they have them at cotswold wildlife park which is nearby. Also we saw a little green and yellow bird in Highbury once, not sure what it was but it must have been an escapee.
 

slim jenkins

El Hombre Invisible
Heh-heh...

Not a bird-watcher in any focused sense but country walking being the new Rock&Roll (yes, really) we're always out and about in Birdland (good name for a jazz club, possibly). So birds are part of the whole Scene. An owl once settled on our back fence (in Camden), the big one (tawny?) - unbelievable. Also hear woodpeckers around from time-to-time and, yes, as someone mentioned earlier, there ain't much cuter feathered friend than the long-tailed tit (regulars in our garden).

Most shocking bird-related incident: seeing a swan fly into power cables.

I was holidaying with a friend back in the 70s, camping near a Devon estuary - when a guy up the field asked us if we wanted to look through his binoculars at some birds - I kid you not, it was a real Carry On as we studied up close the female forms around a tent at the bottom of the field.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Last day of the holiday today but driving back down through Scotland we saw a big bird flying over one of the locks so we stopped the car to have a look. After a while it was joined by another one and it turned out to be a pair of ospreys, another rare bird of prey (about a hundred pairs in Scotland apparently) I've never seen before. This has been the most ridiculous week for birds ever, I'm getting blase about the experience of spotting something really rare and exciting.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"I would love to see a pair of Ospreys. They're my favorites."
Well, these ones weren't shy - I reckon that if you lived near this loch you would see them every day; they were flying around above it for ages, then they came in and landed near a load of seagulls on a platform in the middle. It wasn't like some of the other birds where we got a quick glimpse, we just sat there watching them for ages until we decided we'd better get a wriggle on.
 

massrock

Well-known member
Alright twitchaz.

I've just had a great looking bird in the back garden. :p

Mostly sort of camel brown with cool blue wing patches and a black beak / dark markings on its head. Also possibly white or striped plumage under the wings. A good size, larger than a blackbird.

Handsome looking thing anyway and not familiar to me. This is London we're taking. Any ideas what species?

PS: Image searching 'thrush' is to be avoided.
 

empty mirror

remember the jackalope
ha! i watch birds --- can only truly name a couple though. turdus migratorius... heheheheh.

it satisfies this urge i have to hunt --- it is more difficult than you would think to get a bird in your sights through binoculars. it took me longer than it should for me to realize that the best way to do it is to gaze at the bird as you lift the binoculars to your eyes. panning around with binoculars can be nauseating, disorienting, and frustrating.

nice to walk through the woods with a field guide, binoculars, sketchpad, and a flask.
 
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