Sunday, 29 June 2014

Hummingbird Hawk Moth

Brascote Pits was my choice of destination this morning and it was the insects that stole the show. Lots of Meadow Browns and Ringlets have emerged recently and also many Small Skippers. Plenty of damselflies scattered as I disturbed the grass and a few Black-tailed Skimmers were basking on the sandy areas. An insect hovering in front of some thistles caught my attention and I soon realised it was a Hummingbird Hawk Moth. I tried to get a photograph of it in flight, but instead it landed making my photos less dynamic, but at least I got some photos. 

Hummingbird Hawk Moth

Away from Buddleias, Tortoiseshell Butterflies can be difficult to photograph, so I was pleased to get a chance with the one below.


Saturday, 28 June 2014

Peregrine on the Roof

At one of my regular birding sites, a pair of Peregrines have successfully raised four young that fledged last week. The youngsters have took to sitting on the roof of one of the buildings on site.

I didn't have my camera with me the first time I noticed one of them perched on the apex of building and since then the light has been a bit challenging.

Not a Fiddler, but a couple of Juvenile Peregrines on the Roof

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Belarus Video

I have taken to recording short bits of video of birds that are out of range, or when the light is too poor for good quality photos.

The weather was quite poor somedays whilst I was in Belarus and the birds were often a little distant, so I took a few videos. The only trouble with video is that it takes ages to process, but I hope you like the species in the video.

Singing male Common Rosefinch, White-tailed Eagle, first-summer Caspian Gull, Icterine Warbler, Marsh Warbler and Great Grey Owl.

Best watched in HD on YouTube - click on the YouTube logo...

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Update on Spring Hunting on Malta

I wrote a short piece on the problems of hunting migrant birds in spring on Malta earlier this year. Today I received an email from Birdlife Malta, which gives a glimmer of hope that hunting in spring on Malta may stopped in the future, or at least it could be made illegal. The email is re-produced below.

Please offer your support however you can.

Stop Spring Hunting - Thank you!
for donating to our Stop Spring Hunting Campaign.

Your support has helped us to raise a total of:


Our Stop Spring Hunting campaign was set up to help us raise money to fund a public information campaign here in Malta. With the referendum on spring hunting coming in the next year, we need to do everything we can to convince Maltese people to go out and vote YES to end spring hunting. You have made this possible for us.

The total raised from our Indiegogo campaign will enable us to send leaflets to every voter and mount a powerful campaign in newspapers, on television and on the internet to motivate people to go out and vote.

Thanks to your donations and help sharing our campaign with your friends, we will also be able to fund additional equipment to help us in our yearly hunting monitoring camps. Our volunteers go out every morning and afternoon during the hunting season to monitor illegal hunting, and the money raised will enable us to buy more cameras, binoculars, scopes and even security so we can see more prosecution for illegal hunting.

We are thrilled to have watched the total funds rise over the past two months, and are so pleased to have smashed our target of €50,000. Every donation made, big or small, is hugely significant and we wouldn't be in the position we are now if it weren't for you. We really can't thank you enough!

We greatly appreciate all you have done so far, and we hope you will continue to support us.  If you would like to do more to help us, we are currently working on drafting a new letter for the newly elected MEPs, which will be available on our website in the following month.

You can also join BirdLife Malta to help birds and nature in the Maltese Islands. As a member, you will receive our Bird's Eye View members magazine and our monthly e-newsletter to keep you up-to-date with all our work. You can join online here
Please note, we are aware that some donors are still waiting to receive their perks.  We are very sorry for the delay, we are working very hard to get these to you as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience. If you have any queries or problems, please contact:
To keep up to date with all our work leading up to the referendum, you can follow us on FacebookTwitter and even read our blog. Just click the buttons below to find out more about us. 
A HUGE thank you to each and every one of you from all the Spring Watch team here in the office. We're so grateful for all your help and support. 
Copyright © 2014 BirdLife Malta, All rights reserved.
Dear supporter, you are receiving this email because you donated to our Stop Spring Hunting fundraising campaign on Indiegogo. 

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Back to Shawell A5 Lagoons

You would think that the gull numbers would be really low at an inland landfill site during late May and early June, but I estimate that up to 500 gulls are still visiting Cotesbach landfill site at present.

Smaller numbers are spending the afternoon at the nearby Shawell A5 Lagoons. Yellow-legged Gulls have already started to appear, with up to seven being seen at the lagoons at the same time. The 1st-summer gull in the picture below is most likely a Yellow-legged Gull. The features that support this are, black bill with a pale tip, white head, very dark tertials with neat pale edges and reddish brown coverts that contrast with the mantle and scapulars. 1st-summer gulls are not easy as many of them have really badly worn feathers, especially in June.

First-summer Yellow-legged Gull

A second-summer YLG was present for ages yesterday. Its saddle was slightly darker grey than the Herring Gulls that occasionally stood near it and its legs were already a dull yellow.