Blog

Fri 26th February 2010

Posted on February 27, 2010 at 12:00 AM

birds : Looking back to last Sunday, I made a brief mid-afternoon excursion to Bulwer Avenue where a Snow Bunting has taken up residence on the grass by the seafront. As is often the case with this species, I scanned the grass all along the bay with no success only to discover the bird was actually scrabbling around in the dirt at my feet. I was hoping to photograph it but as I was extracting my gear a couple of old giffers decided that I wasn't allowed to and chased the bird away with their dog.

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The other main bird of interest this week was on the beach at Rousse on Thursday morning. It was a Herring-type gull that stood out from the others because it had a very obvious dark eye.

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dark-eyed gull, Rousse

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It seemed to be a full adult bird but it didn't have the typical pale yellow iris of a Herring Gull. Through the scope it was a brown colour and made the bird quite distinctive. Very few species of large gull have dark eyes and this is a common feature of Caspian Gull. But I never really got the feeling it was a "Caspo" as it didn't have the jizz that I'd expect. It wasn't lanky - its legs were short and its bill was not remarkable. Its mantle was not a different shade of grey and it was pretty small overall. The bill colouration though was good for Caspian - quite a pale yellow with a black band.

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I waited until I got a snap of the wing pattern before I had to continue to work. Although the wingtip showed some white tongues (!) it wasn't quite right I don't think - and it only had one white mirror.

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This was either an unusually dark-eyed Herring Gull - the Gulls book says that less than 1 in 5000 Herring Gulls have dark eyes - or it was an odd hybrid between races. There is some chance it could be Caspian but I don't have the expertise having never knowingly seen the species before.

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Brent Goose, Rousse - this individual seems to be shunning the local flocks and seems to be wintering alone in Grandes Havres

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moths : I finally managed to confirm that the putative Sombre Brocade that I had last year (see photo on 12th Oct entry) was indeed one. The photo below proves that it was a male of that species.

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Also whilst studying this, I finally worked out what my microscope reminded me of . . .

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nonsense : Recently, an idea popped into my head and I made an "advert" for my buddies at the Bubo Listing website (see full version here). It seems to have been very popular and Birdwatch magazine liked it so much they put it on their website.

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Categories: 2009-2010 Winter