Saturday, 5 January 2008

Stuck inside

Great, a lovely day - warm, clear and sunny - and I'm stuck inside with 'man-flu' as the female part of the family disparagingly call it. Fortunately there are chocolates and pud left over from Christmas, as comfort.

All I can do is listen for the bicycle-pump call of a Coal Tit, which seems to circuit the area and call from various perches, taking out time to take peanuts on his way.

Otherwise the feeders are the preserve of Blue Tits (no Greats today, or Greenfinches - maybe the weather's too good), although King Pigeons are around as usual. A local subspecies, as in just another....

There is also time to browse the books that arrived at Christmas, including the massive and fascinating BTO Migration Atlas. Every page is packed with facts, statistics and tentative conclusions, greatly adding to my poor knowledge of UK species.

Taking a few pages at random (by the way, this may infringe copyright, but I hope it would be seen more as an advertisement)....

....the map above shows recoveries of Bramblings that had been ringed in Britain - no real surprises there. But look at this:
...Turnstones that populate the Kentish beaches (and promenades and piers) in autumn, winter and spring may be just stopping over on a long migration from Canada or Greenland to the coasts of Spain or Africa. Apparently they are faithful to their sites, so those that do stay around our coast are likely to be the same ones that were here in previous years (viz Stumpy on Deal Pier).
Finally, Purple Sandpipers - a combination of ringing recoveries and bill length has indicated that birds wintering on the north-eastern coasts of the UK are from Scandinavia [short bills], while most of those that winter on northern and western coasts (and bizarrely on Thanet) have longer bills, and are from Iceland and beyond, to Canada.

'Strordinary - it's amazing what you can learn by putting your feet up.


Warren Baker said...

Hello stve,
I've had the BTO atlas for a while, its certainly a must for anyone wanting to know about the movement of birds. Hope your ''man Flu'' gets better soon.

Jagman said...

Hello Steve
I noticed your blog come alive months ago and loved the images. Had no idea it was 'you' (Tantop) or that you are a twitcher. Are you a Ramsgate surfer too?
Very high quality of images - can you show me how? I once met an author named Hollom - had a garden wired for recording bird song- have you seen his bird books?
Happy new year

Steve of Kingsdown said...

Hi Jagman, thanks for posting.
As my aquaintances with Jags are rather limited, do I assume that you are Anthony? If so, a Happy New Year to you all!

Regarding the birdsong, I assume that was Phil Hollom - I haven't seen his books myself, but like the idea of wiring up the garden - although listening to the results would take a while!

Hope you keep reading and posting.

Jagman said...

Yes, you guessed correctly the identity of Jagman but without an 'h' in the first name. It'll be Phil Hollom if the-wired-with-bird-microphones garden was near Guildford and his son is called Peter. Seen bird book cover only- and 30 years ago. What kind of Camera do you use? the clarity is excellent. Have you ever watched birds in the big Freedown woods or in the Lynch- they're both Parish Council owned and within 2000m of you. Might be good.

Steve of Kingsdown said...

Hi Antony, I'm glad that I guessed right, albeit with the wrong spelling!

Re the Lynch, I have contacted the Kent Wildlife Trust about the urgent need for scrub clearance, and hope to get a call about a meeting between them and the council - I've offered to set up a working party under appropriate guidance.

Perhaps you could bring this up at a meeting soon?
A detailed blog on the Lynch is on