Monday 29 June 2020

Catch Up

It been a while since I posted anything on my Blog. I have been off work due to the dreaded Covid-19. However, I have used my time wisely writing as much as possible for the book I'm working on with Adey Baker - 'Birds of Hinckley & Surrounding Areas'. It is really beginning to take shape, with around 200 pages done so far and I have some fabulous illustrations and photographs to brighten it up  - more later...

It has been quite an exciting time. The BBRC have accepted a number of colour-ringed Baltic Gulls from Horsvaer, Norway including two of mine from Shawell. This is an excellent outcome for all the effort Morten, Mars and I put in producing the paper for BB.

Another recent highlight was finding a Roseate Tern at Shawell Sand Quarry. This was quite a surprise as I'm sure you can imagine. I noticed a tern sitting on a small sandy island at about 150 metres distance. Picking it up in my scope I though that's not quite right for a Common Tern. It was facing head on and the first thing I noticed was its black bill although not totally black as the base was red. Its head was nicely rounded and the black cap seemed to be a shade blacker than that of a Common Tern. I placed my video camera on, as I fetched my little Sony compact camera from my car boot. I couldn't believe it was gone after only about 20 seconds. A Black-headed Gull had chased it from its island and it didn't look back. The video showed two important characters, the long tail streamers and the pale upperparts. The upperparts were paler than that of a Black-headed Gull and so also paler than Common Tern. I also picked out a contrast between the paler inner primaries and the darker outer ones. It is with the records committee, but hopefully everyone will agree and it will be the fifth record for Leicestershire & Rutland if they do.

The camera trap has yielded some interesting results although the number of ringed birds is low. I have left it working all night and a Fox family have been quite entertaining.

Another fun highlight of the last few days was paddling in a pond getting up close and personal with Red-eyed Damselflies, Small Red-eyed Damselflies and female Emperor Dragonflies.

Red-eyed Damselfly

Small Red-eyed Damselfly

Emperor Dragonfly