Thu 24th September 2009

Posted on September 24, 2009 at 11:00 PM

birds : Not exactly been a terrific week all told - I've had too much work to do, too little sleep (eg its now 4 am) and I've had a niggly throat/cold to annoy me. And there seems to be a late-September lull in migrant activity which can happen here in Guernsey. The majority of the 'summer' migrants having passed through, and the 'winter' migrants will not arrive until early October. But of course this doesn't stop rarities turning up so one has to keep plugging away just in case.

Last night I spent an hour waiting for Barn Owls to show at Chouet but didn't even get a sniff. The main reason that I wanted to see them was that someone had seen a 'dark-breasted' Barn Owl there with 2 normal ones, and I wanted to study the plumage, since BB has just published an article on the ID of Dark-breasted Barn Owl. We have recorded quite a few dark-breasted Barn Owls recently here in Guernsey (race 'guttata') but I have been thinking that we may have been over-simplifying the situation. The identification criteria that we have been using on the rarities committee is that any Barn Owl which shows dark on the breast and also darker plumage above should be classed as guttata. But the article suggests that there are lots and lots of integrades in central Europe and that if there is any whitish colour below it is not pure guttata. Looking at a couple of photos of recent birds, these both show signs of being integrades and so I think we need to review our records. It's not that vital since DBBOwl is only a race rather than a species and unlikely to be split. Below is a photo from a couple of years ago showing what we thought was a straightforward guttata, it looking very dark in the field, but I now notice the white thighs and very white face so maybe just an integrade.


'dark-breasted' Barn Owl, Chouet, Sep 2007


nonsense : Browsing about football on the interweb, I came across some interesting stuff about the well-known Dutch football club NAC Breda (currently 8th in the Eredivisie). The club from the city of Breda was formed from the amalgamation of two local teams - NOAD and ADVENDO - the 'C' meaning 'combination'. These team names were themselves acronyms, and so the full name of NAC Breda is the quite spectacular "Nooit Opgeven Altijd Doorgaan Aangenaam Door Vermaak En Nuttig Door Ontspanning Combinatie Breda". Even more bizarre is the English translation of this which is loosely "Never Give Up, Always Go On, Pleasant for its Entertainment and Useful for its Relaxation, Combination of Breda". You're welcome.

Categories: 2009 Autumn