Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Winter warmer

With the freezing weather really kicking in now, we had a great suggestion today on providing water for your garden birds. Fish tank heaters can be bought for under a tenner and are ideal for keeping your water ice-free over the winter. They're readily found at tropical fish shops or can be bought online, so have a look and think about investing.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Getting to the Bottom of the Mice Problem

For those of you following the Warple Mews mice infestation debacle... the latest news is that the little blighters have discovered a "fresh" source of nourishment. Following a recent trip to Iceland, everyone in the office was showered with delicious gifts of dried salt cod. For some reason this did not go down so well as the more traditional chocolates. One member of staff, who shall remain nameless Andrew, clearly felt the best plan was to discretely file the said tasty fish treat under "Z". Guess who has now discovered this rich feast? Yes our furry friends have moved on from the bumper crop of sunflower seeds to banquet messily on the cod, leaving a generous scattering of fishy flakes around the office.

Here we can see a fetching view of BirdGuides' Managing Director manfully addressing the problem by blocking the door to mice's dining room using a spot of silicone bath sealant.

Friday, 19 November 2010

BirdGuides at the Bird Fair

OK, so not THE bird fair (the Rutland one), but the North West Bird Watching Festival at Martin Mere this weekend.

BirdGuides will be there in the guise of Stephen Menzie, so do pop along and say hello. You'll find Stephen in the Greenwood building.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

My best find in years!

It's always nice to find a good rarity, but sadly mine wasn't anything as nice as a Parula in a Cornish valley - no such luck! But an email this morning confirmed that I'd found only the third Long-tailed Skua for Costa Rica - also only the eighth for the Caribbean!

This was a skull and foot I found on the beach at Tortuguero back in March 2009, now published in the Journal of Marine Ornithology - the full article can be found online now.

Monday, 15 November 2010

There's a moose loose aboot this hoose.

Oh dear. We have office mice. One of which had the temerity to get caught during our weekly teleconference earlier this afternoon causing much disruption. We took the humane trap over to Acton Park for liberation into the wild.

Bait of the day was a Penguin (the biscuit not the bird). We're not convinced that it'll find the pastoral delights of Acton Park a more comfortable home than our store cupboard. Now who was it left a bag of (now vanished) sunflower seeds in there?

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Extreme vis-mig

I've flogged Bird Observatories for many an autumn and seen some pretty impressive falls of birds, but NOTHING has ever even come close to this!

Higbee Dike morning flight 10/29/2010 from Steven Bauer on Vimeo.

The video was shot at Higbee Beach, in Cape May, New Jersey this autumn. Now I've also birded Higbee beach and I assure you it isn't always quite so good. This really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the birders there.

But we've yet to see a big fall of Goldcrest or Blackbird on the east coast, so maybe it's not too late to pop along to Spurn, Gib or Flamborough...

Friday, 5 November 2010

Continental visitor to Staines

I know it doesn't sound very likely, but an office twitch for a Lapland Bunting at Staines Reservoir last month produced an interesting aside. A female Tufted Duck there was sporting a blue 'nasal saddle'.

We've just got the details back from the scheme and the bird was ringed way back in July 2005 at Jubilan in western France. It had only been seen locally up to 12 January 2007 and then disappeared.

View Staines' Tuftie in a larger map

It's a bit surprising a bird with a big obvious saddle on its beak could go missing, but there we go! I also wonder how many of the others Lap Bunt twitchers saw and reported the bird...