Sunday 13 February 2011

2cy Glaucous Gull, Peterhead

The strong winds brought this rather dark first winter Glauc into Peterhead at the weekend.

It was not really cooperative - I saw it for a total of only a couple of minutes over the whole weekend, and it came in to bread only briefly.

Herring Gulls: some examples of variability

This post illustrates some of the variability in 1w Herrings that it is possible to see in a single day in NE Scotland. We have a mix of argentatus and argenteus at this time of year, with the latter breeding locally. Shown above is a rather pale bird, with a very white ground colour to the tail
A beautiful fresh looking bird that has retained all but a few first generation scapulars.

An argentatus

It is not too unusual to see bird with such pale primaries.

A bird with a very sooty body
A rather typical argenteus bird.
A paler-end and rather contrasting underwing.

A more uniform, mid range underwing.

A rather typical Herring Gull underwing
A very dark and uniform underwing. I had (perhaps foolishly) hoped that there might be some consistent differences in the underwing between Herring and Vega Gulls of this age, but the variability of the former, as illustrated by these birds, rather limits the value of any 'average' differences.
The same dark bird as shown above, showings its rather well marked upper tail coverts and deep tail band.

Tuesday 1 February 2011

Four days in Morocco (Jan 2011)

This short trip was designed as an escape from a dull Aberdeen winter. We (Paul Baxter, Hywel Maggs, Phil Crockett and myself) wanted to see a small number of target birds and so took advantage of cheap Ryanair flights for a 4 day trip to key high Atlas and desert sites. These are a few pictures from the trip. Thick-billed Lark (above) was the main target and we managed to see this beauty at Tagdilt.

The high Atlas - Oukaimedene. This site is a good spot for some nice high elevation birds....
A key target - Crimson-winged Finch

Crimson-winged Finch. This proved easy at Oukaimedene

Crimson-winged Finch.

Crimson-winged Finch

Alpine Accentor. A small group at the radar station of Oukaimedene

Rock Sparrow.

Atlas Shore Lark. Very abundant and easy to see at Oukaimedene.

Dades Valley - magical.

Another shot of Dades - the lower part of the valley

Again, the lower part of the Dades valley - Bonellis Eagles above and North African Great Spotted Woodpeckers below

Southern Grey Shrike (algeriensis)

The same bird

And again.

We visited the Tagdilt track for some nice desert birding. This pic is of one of many Hoopoe Larks seen here.

Lesser Short-toed lark.

The Tagdilt
Paul photographing Temminks Horned larks at Tagdilt.

Boulmane de Dades - our base for 2 nights.

House Buntings were around town.

A couple of them outside of our hotel.
Lots of 'stocking fillers' - in this pic, the local form of Magpie

Bad (very heavily cropped) picture, but a nice bird - Levaillant's Green Woodpecker