Quiz Results :
For those who had a go at "the" Quiz last week , here are the results - did anyone get 12 out of 12? 1 Pheasant, 2 Curlew, 3 Corn Bunting, 4 Nightingale, 5 Spoonbill, 6 Kittiwake, 7 Toucan, 8 Kingfisher, 9 Nightjar, 10 Waxwing, 11 Nuthatch, 12 Magpie.
Wildlife Watching :
Here's a thing. Wildlife watching is a funny old business. Never predictable. On Thursday, Saturday and Sunday I went to Sand Bay close to high tide. The Oystercatcher numbers were 16, 0 and 6 respectively, Curlew 0, 52, 67 and Shelduck about 45 each day. So why did one day show zero count for both Curlew and Oystercatcher? Well it's because they move about obviously, but this goes some of the way to explain why single visit surveys of wildlife can sometimes not show the true picture, and why surveys need to be repeated over time under similar conditions. I remember at University spending 3 months trapping small mammals in a wood and I could never predict what would happen. The survey was May to July, so as the tree canopy increased, it proved that shade does affect movement, and interspecific (between species) activity. Happy days being bitten by voles.... have you seen the size of their teeth??
Local Patch :
I've never had a true local patch before as always driving about the West Country, so nice to now have Sand Bay (above; sunset over Cardiff from Sand Bay yesterday). For 6 months I've submitted weekly bird counts onto the BTO Birdtrack database. My plan is to stand once a week, for 1 hour, rooted to the same spot and record everything within eyeline. It is now making fascinating reading as the data can be viewed in graph and data form. A picture of peaks and troughs is beginning to emerge. Such as the Stonechats which have become elusive, but only a few weeks ago had 9 males in one area. Sadly no Short Eared Owls this year, and the Merlin has gone too, but summer migrants are arriving, nice Willow Warbler yesterday flitting through the trees.
On Sunday the weather was unpredictable, so spent it mainly ondoors. After lunch messed about in the conservatory with the digiscope, trying to get to grips with clarity. Common species, but I like them. Also noticed a Blackbird is nesting in next door's conifer hedge. I also had 2 Herring Gull and a Lesser Black Backed Gull come into the garden after some Sunday Lunch scraps. These birds are huge when in a small sub-urban garden... gave the starlings a shock I can tell you.
And this 10 second video I liked. This male house sparrow in my hornbeam hedge is looking up as if to say " what's this funny white stuff". We don't get much snow down here, most of the birds wear shorts all year, like the postmen. For photo's of proper snow, have a look at BB's posting from the weekend http://boulmerbirder.blogspot.com/2008/04/spring.html