Monday, June 16, 2008

Kindrogan Field Centre

Last week I was at the Field Studies Council's Kindrogan field centre in Perthshire with an undergraduate field course studying plants, bats and birds. I've uploaded a short trip report to the main website:

Kindrogan 6-13 June 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dean Castle Dawn Chorus

Listening to the dawn chorus in Dean Country Park in Ayrshire on Sunday morning, a Song Thrush took the lead at 0259h with a Chaffinch being the last to join in at 0422h. Two male Tawny Owls heard and Blackbird mobbing some chicks. It was partly cloudy with no wind.

Species/Time of first registration
Song Thrush 0259h
Carrion Crow 0319h
Robin 0323h
Blackbird 0327h
Wren 0348h
Goldcrest 0401h
Dunnock 0410h
Chaffinch 0422h

Saturday, June 14, 2008

In the shelter of North Glen App

I checked a few sites on the southern coast today but it was clear that the wind was one factor in the low numbers around. Still, Pinbain Burn had a single Grayling (my earliest record), 10 Large Skipper, 2 Northern Brown Argus, 1 Wall, 6 Common Blue, and 3 Small Heath.

Moving inland to the shelter of North Glen App proved a wise move with some good counts: Dark Green Fritillary (17) Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (13) Large Heath (17) Small Heath (70+) Large Skipper (2) Wall (1) Golden-ringed Dragonfly (min 9) Also Meadow Brown, Common Blue, Green-veined White, Peacock (very worn individual from the 2007 brood), Chimney Sweeper, Large Red Damselfly, Crossbill (4+), Jay and Tawny Owl.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Blackburn Pavilion

I hadn't been to a zoo since I was knee-high to a Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler*. A couple of months ago when the new Blackburn Pavillion opened at ZSL London Zoo I was really interested in finally going back. The birds here in the walk-in aviary are worth the entrance fee itself... Sunbitterns and Pittas at your feet and Red Crested Turaco and Montserrat Orioles at eye level! What I really wanted to see were the hummers. They have some Amazilia Hummingbirds from the coast of Peru and Ecuador though understandably these are not flying free around visitors' heads as the advertising on the tube seems to suggest. More details here:
One of the highlights of the day was a wild Grey Heron stealing fish from the Penguins! The African Bird Safari, another walk-in exhibit, is another must see. In fact its difficult to find the time to observe the other animals if birds are your thing. Here are a few shots... and no, there are no dangerous animals in the African Bird Safari.

* Actually I remembered I visited Lima Zoo in 2004 where the Amazilia Hummingbirds were obviously flying free outsite the cages...

Field Vole

Some shots of urban Field Voles at Cambridge University's Zoology Department...