Tuesday, 24 August 2010

We're back from the Birdfair

It's been a busy weekend for everyone here, but a very enjoyable one. Great to meet up with friends, old and new, who came to visit the team at the BirdGuides stand.
Judging by the number of people we overheard talking about our video coverage of Birdfair online, it seems that our collection of short clips showing off the very best of the Birdfair over the long weekend has been well received. For those of you who haven't yet seen the videos, you can find them all on our webzine.

See you all again next year at Birdfair 2011!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Boys from the Birdstuff

Hopefully you are following the video reports we are posting from Birdfair 2010. Anyone familiar with the process of shooting and editing will know that creating these sequences in a live environment such as the three-day event here at Rutland Water, can be a hairy process. Or in fact not so hairy as your can see below.

The one on the right is ace editor Sam Woolf, the as yet relatively hairy one in the middle is assistant producer Stephen Menzie and the one sensibly cleaning his lens on the left (check out David Lindo's introductory report) is director/cameraperson Richard Chambers.

Here is Richard with his prosthetic XL-H1a hob-nobbing with distinguished literary gentleman Dominic Couzens. In fact Richard has had a long association with BirdGuides. Back in the days when he had long flowing hair, he produced an early version of our CD-ROM Guide to All The Birds of Europe... long since metamorphosed into BWPi 2.0. Today Richard is a widely-experienced natural history producer, having made numerous films for international broadcasters including the BBC Natural History Unit. We are very honoured to have him lead our Birdfair video team.

Come and see us at the Rutland BirdFair

In case anyone has missed it, this weekend is the annual British BirdWatching Fair at Rutland Water. A massive event attracting over 20,000 people every year, there's plenty to see and do, from optics, foreign holidays, frogs and much more (even bagpipes right now!).

You can keep up with happenings on birdfair.tv, presented by David Lindo, where we'll be putting out news every evening.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Commuting Norfolk Spoonbill

Norfolk birders have been treated to a regular group of Spoonbills all summer, with news reported just this week of the successful breeding of a small colony at Holkham NNR (see main article here). Cley Marshes has seen a group of up to 17 birds, though number do fluctuate and it's interesting to think where these birds might be going.

Luckily several of these are colour-ringed, allowing their movements to be tracked - assuming, of course, that birders report them. One such bird was LAYF,L,Y;RAB,M,B or NLA-8049223 as it's known to the Dutch Ringing Scheme. The coding just describes the bird's combination of colours rings and a flag, allowing it to be identified as an individual - one with ring number 8049223.

This bird was ringed as a nestling on 16th June 2007 at Bomenland, Vlieland, Netherlands (in blue below). It was seen in Vlieland until 8th September 2007 then moving to Bahia de Santona, Cantabria, Spain, on 6th-16th October 2007 (in red blow). It wasn't seen again until it arrived at Cley (also in red below) on 18th June 2010, then seen on various dates until the morning of 2nd August. Amazingly, it was then seen back in The Netherlands that very evening, but deciding it actually preferred Norfolk, it was back at Cley again on the morning of 5th August!

View Spoonbill in a larger map

This really goes to show the fascinating stories that come out of colour-ringing programmes, all of which rely on reports from birders. So if you do come across a colour-ringed bird, do report it and maybe its story will be equally interesting.

Thanks to Dave and Pat Wileman for the photo of the bird at Cley and to Otto Overdijk for the details of the bird.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Poorly Cornish gull comes home

I just popped into Hayle estuary, Cornwall, the other week after ringing at Marazion Marsh (standard monitoring for Aquatic Warblers, but all we caught were Sedge and Reed). Since moving down to the southwest a few weeks ago, this is the first time I'd really grilled the gulls here, so I was pleasantly surprised to find a colour-ringed Herring Gull, with a combination (A3WY) that looked a bit familiar.

It turns out this was a bird rehabilitated by RSPCA and colour-ringed on release. I'm more used to seeing these on the beach at Hastings begging for chips! It had been picked up unable to walk back in June 2009 and after a few weeks R&R was released at West Hatch, near Taunton, Somerset. So it was good to see it back in its native Cornwall, looking healthy and happy again!

Thanks to RSPCA for the quick return of details of this bird, and it just goes to show that even the commonest birds can have interesting stories. So do keep an eye out for colour-ringed birds, and report them to the BTO.