Thursday, 24 January 2013

Session 2 - 24th January 2013

The session began with Peter giving us details of next week's fieldtrip to Pennington Flash in Leigh - meet at Whitefield Library at 1:00 or Pennington Flash at 1:30pm.

We then went on to quickly discuss the birds we had seen last week, which included two Barn Owls and some Goosander seen by Martyn and Alan mentioned five Waxwings which had turned up in Bury.

The first topic we looked at today was the identification of fairly common seabirds and to do this we were given a large handout containing 21 birds.  However, although there were 21 birds, there were only 17 species as some drawings were of both the male and female forms of each bird.

In summary, the birds were:
Next we went on look at the 'twin species' of Cormorant and Shag.  Both these species can be seen all year round, but their distribution is quite different and this can be diagnostic.  Shag are exclusively marine whereas Cormorants are found everywhere is both salt and freshwater environments.

Shag are smaller, slimmer necked and thinner billed than Cormorants and the yellow is confined to the gap.  In the breeding season (from January onwards) Shag have a crest on their forehead.  They tend to leap into the air before plunging fowatd when diving underwater, whereas Cormorants glide more gently underwater. 

So a combination of distribution, size, structure and jizz (behaviour) all helps ID these two species of bird.

Peter gave us another of Bill Teale's Birdwatch articles from the Yorkshire Post this time about a campaign to save Worlaby Carrs in Lincolnshire, which is a fantastic place to see Short-eared Owls. It seems that the farmer intends to plough up the rough pasture and plant rape seed as his Higher Level Countryside agreement with DEFRA which has caused the field to be unworked since 2000 has come to an end.

An e-petition for the Carrs to be preserved as rough pasture has been set up by local birders and so far it has attracted 1200+ signatures.  As well as the Owls the site also attracts Hen and Marsh Harriers, Peregrine Falcons, Merlins, Kestrels, Common and sometimes Rough-legged Buzzards.

If you'd like to register your protest by signing the petition, the address is here:

Save Worlaby Carrs e-petition

To finish today's session we were given a photograph of a gull to identify for homework - see you at Penny with your answers next week!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Just type in your comment and select 'Anonymous' from the 'Comment as:' drop down list. Then click the 'Publish' button - thanks.