Blog

Sun 30th August 2009

Posted on August 30, 2009 at 11:55 AM

birds : I got a slightly bit twitchy yesterday when I got the grapevine call of a juvenile Red-backed Shrike at Pleinmont. Not that Red-backed Shrike is that exciting, just that I'd not seen one in Guernsey before. Luckily I was a a bit tied up and didn't rush off because when he looked at his photos, Mark Guppy thought it was a Woodchat Shrike, and when I saw them, it certainly was. So I didn't rush there since Woodchat was on my Guernsey list already and went to visit it today instead. It was in the small valley between the Scramble Track and Mont Herault, an area that I used to check when I used to be a regular visitor to Pleinmont, as it looks classic rare bird territory. As is typical of shrikes , it showed very well for us, perching high up on the bushes. I managed to snap off plenty of photos but most were blurred due to the annoying wind/old tripod combination, but I got a few acceptable ones.

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Woodchat Shrike, Pleinmont

 

Fri 28th August 2009

Posted on August 28, 2009 at 7:45 AM

nonsense : Nothing especially noteworthy on the wildlife front but check out the new film page which contains my own take on the latest movie releases. (click the pic).

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Sun 23rd August 2009

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 4:10 AM

birds : As there was a change in the weather from sun to rain showers, I was disappointed to find practically zero migrants on Pleinmont on Thursday. A Greenshank flew off the island to the South and it was quickly persued by a Peregrine, but it escaped to carry on its autumn migration. Checking the gulls at Cobo on the way home there were 6 Med Gulls in the BHG flock - 2 ads, 4 1st-years - the most I'd ever seen in Guernsey.

moths : As there were few birds, I looked in the trees for evidence of micro moths and found a few interesting mines. Many of the very small species of moths look very similar to each other and the best way of identifying them is to look for their larva feeding in leaves. As these leaf-miners are often very foodplant specific, it is a very important part of moth recording. They are called leaf-miner moths as the tiny caterpillars feed between the upper and lower surfaces of leaves, forming tunnels - two examples shown below. To identify these mines, you also have to consider the shape and size of the mine, as well as the frass (poo) pattern - dispersed (left) or linear (right)

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Stigmella lemniscella in an Elm leaf                                        Stigmella hybnerella in a Hawthorn leaf

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nonsense : Well 37 years old today - its a good job I don't feel that old, although playing two matches of football in 24 hours was probably a mistake (sorry legs). My prediction that Aidan would soon work out a new way up onto the walls came true this week. As you can see on the diagram below, this involved climbing the handrail of the treehouse balcony, hitching himself up onto the roof and jumping across the ravine between the treehouse and the wall. I think I might enter him in the World Freerunning Championships.

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Wed 19th August 2009

Posted on August 19, 2009 at 2:55 PM

birds : Here on Guernsey, we do not get many large concentrations of birds. Wader flocks seldom get into triple-figures and duck counts are pitiful. What we do get though is plenty of gulls, and when the flying ants decide to break out of their nests, the high-flying feeding flocks can be spectacular. This evening was such an occasion, with thousands of gulls wheeling over the house.

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Gull feeding-frenzy over St. Etienne

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There seemed to be a few more smaller gulls in this flock than is usual and so I thought I'd look for Med Gull amongst them, a species I should have seen from the garden before now. Pretty soon I saw a first-year Med, then a second-year and then an adult - result! There was probably a further first year bird but it was difficult to be sure.

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mass emergence of flying ants in the garden                                            Aidan 'Pantboy' Lawlor tries to pull out an Audouin's

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nonsense : I hate cats. Their only purpose is to be pets for people who are too lazy to get proper pets. Which other pets are allowed to just wander wherever they want, murdering wild animals at will? If dogs are seen attacking ducks at a park then the owners will have the law onto them, yet cat owner's animals can kill bird after bird after bird. We have 4 cats as neighbours and they feel my wrath every time i catch them in our garden. People say 'they're just following their natural instincts' - well my natural instincts are to put my size 11's through their tiny brains!

Anyway, at lunchtime today there were two of the feline gits sniffing around the garden cuttings by the driveway gate. I "shooed" them off then they were back again a few minutes later. As I went over for the second time, a shrew scurried out from under the gate and into our back garden. I quickly caught it in a bucket, saving it from the evil cats. The shrews we have here are Greater White-toothed Shrews so I'm told, which also live on Alderney and Herm, but bizarrely, Sark and Jersey have a different species, the Lesser W-t Shrew, which also occurs on Scilly. It was good to see it at such close quarters and I released it in the grass over the road. Haha! Me 1, Cats 0.

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Greater White-toothed Shrew 

Tue 18th August 2009

Posted on August 19, 2009 at 7:40 AM

birds & moths : Nothing much doing here - been looking after the kids for the last few days - apart from the now regular Buzzards and Peregrines over the house.

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nonsense : in case you are out birding in the hood here are some gang-signs to communicate with the local-patch homeboys and stop them busting a cap in your ass!   (click here)