Corvid hilarity

bird observations, environment, Humour, nature, Uncategorized

Kindly provided by our own delightful WordPress neighbour Green Knight. The Australian Raven sounds like a bunch of senile drunken biddies telling dirty jokes.  Knock yourself out. Or, don’t. What could I do about it – take away your candy?

Led happily astray by a weebill.

bird observations, birds of prey, environment, Film, nature, raptor biology, science, Uncategorized

I love it when I read about something wonderful, which then leads me to other wonderful things.

A particularly good ‘blog (Geoff Park’s Natural Newstead) sent me on a Youtube quest to find a competent recording of a weebill. I found one, alright, posted by some Polish genius who has quite a volume of quality videos along the same line. I vigourously suggest you take a look at his/her impressive roster. Obviously, an enormous amount of work has gone into it, & it deserves much better public awareness than it seems to have. What a resource.


Natural Newstead

Over the next few weeks I thought I would do a series on LBBs – Little Brown Birds. These are those tiny songbirds that even some keen ‘birdos’ refuse to try and identify. Things to look for include bill shape, eye colour, streaking on the head, face and underparts as well as habitat and behaviour. At the moment we have a couple of ‘LBBs’ in the garden – the Weebill and Striated Thornbill. Both are of similar size although the WeebillSmicrornis brevirostris is considered Australia’s smallest songbird. The thing to look for (spotting character) is the short, stubby bill, much blunter than that of the thornbills and the pale iris. The Striated ThornbillAcanthiza lineata has a fine, spikey bill with distinctive white streaks on the crown and ear-coverts.

Weebills and Thornbills belong to a diverse group of Australian warblers and have wonderful calls for such tiny birds. The Weebill has a remarkably powerful voice while Striated Thornbills tend to call…

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The account of the weasel & the rabbit had my eyes watering with joy.

Nature is a Language - Can't You Read?

Since I haven’t posted a blog since the snow, some of you may have been concerned that I had perished in the snow, stuck birding at some remote location and suffered some terrible fate. However I’ve just been lazy. If you think this blog looks bad you should check out my log book!

However I have been birding! At the beginning of March it was reported that three avocets were at North Cave Wetlands. I went down there hoping to see my favourite wading bird. However those sleek smoothies had already moved on. I wasn’t disappointed as I knew I would soon catch up with them later in the year. On that trip I did manage to add a further three to the year list with skylark, reed bunting, snipe and a pair of goosander was a good consolation prize.  I also found half a rabbit’s skull which I showed my daughter when…

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Where the wildflowers are ~ The Grasslands Trust blog

One aspect of my community grasslands work which I thoroughly enjoy is engaging the public in new experiences. Getting visitors to some sites purely to sample the meadows, which at some times of the year can be far from an explosion of colour, can be tricky. Those that do are often dog walkers, or visit on a regular walk, but what about enticing new families?  Some are worried that they are not experts and will not understand what they are looking at; well invite them along to see something they will feel familiar with first. Once you have a captive audience there’s the chance to educate and nurture the youngest and oldest of visitors.

A familiar site at the moment is the travelling Raptor display – its usually to be found at garden centres, countryside shows or school fetes. Often separated by barriers and working to a well rehearsed programme these…

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The birds of prey, here in Davis, are in full nest-building mode.  Yesterday I followed an adult, light morph Swainson’s Hawk that was carrying a stick and so found my first Swainson’s Hawk nest of the year being built near the top of a redwood tree on campus.  This is the exact spot where a pair nested last year and is also where I saw my first Swainson’s Hawk this year.  I have no idea if this is the same pair that held this territory last year, but it does seem likely.

Additionally, today I saw a White-tailed Kite in some grasses on the ground.  As I watched, it took off with a bundle of dead grass in its beak.  I was able to follow this bird to my first White-tailed Kite nest of the year.  This nest is in the very top of a Valley Oak out near my…

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This blog entry is dedicated to honoring one of the best ways you can spend 24 hours: the overnight backpacking trip.  All you need is three or four good friends, a sleeping bag, pancake mix (trust me on this one), some food (you will always be starving so it doesn’t really matter what it is), hot sauce (makes any meal THAT much better), a pair of hiking boots, and a pack of cards.  Oh, and you’ll want your camera too to capture the ensuing amazingness.  Could not be any simpler.  And therein lies the beauty of the overnight backpacking trip.  You don’t have to bother with much of the gear/food/clothes/etc. that you would need for a longer time out in the woods.  Get dirty or wet?  Who cares – you’ll be back tomorrow!  Minimal planning is required; all you need is to pick a track and find a way to…

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PEFAs settling into hard incubation – finally

birds of prey, environment, nature, raptor biology, science, Uncategorized

It has been a gratifying joy to observe our new pair court, bond, & now establish a brooding routine. Whether it will actually produce anybody is a different story. This appears to be a very young pair, which often means insufficient fecundity. However, they’re doing everything right, & I’m extremely pleased with the sometimes touching behaviours of this new falcon. Time will tell. In the meantime, we should try to enjoy what we do have. I certainly am.

She’s brooding right now: