On a recent trip to Morocco my wife and I had a whistlestop tour covering 2209km in a week in our hired Peugeot 306. ¬†Arriving on Saturday evening at Marrakech airport we had a lengthy wait while the AVIS rep kept assuring us that our car would be ready in 10 minutes; finally 2 hours later and somewhat frustrated we had our trusty Peugeot and headed out into the madness that is Saturday night Marrakech traffic. ¬†After a couple of detours and a few raised voices we found our guesthouse (http://www.darsouihla.fr)¬†on the…

Sep 28th by Ian under Bird Watching

I was working late today the 28th September, and stopped at the Sainsbury's store in Kinross, it was dusk, about 7.00PM and rain clouds further darkened the sky. As I parked there were skeins of pinkfeet calling and heading for loch Leven, some 700 / 800 in view at a time, I was in the store for about 20mins, and when I came out they were still flying over ! OK it could have been the same ones having done a circle, but I doubt it, they knew were to go. Wish I could take tomorrow off and be at…

Sep 20th by Ian under Bird Watching

Swallows and martins usually overlap the geese by a week or two here in Tayside, I have been expecting geese since Wednesday 15th, due to the favourable winds. It wasn't until the 18th I heard and saw a small flock of greylag geese flying over the house. Big skeins to follow, swallows and martins are still here but patchy, no longer lined up on the wires but feeding and moving south. I now look forward to crisp autumn days at Loch Leven, where I line up my imaginary gun to real cormorants, wonder what they taste like? Can't be worse…
A second days birdwatching in Hong Kong started early.¬† The meeting point for the ferry to Po Toi Island was at Aberdeen on the opposite side of the Hong Kong Island from my hotel - I had worked out the bus No. and approximate meeting place from the HKBWS website, but as everything here is so hectic I wanted to leave some spare time to find the meeting point.¬† My strategy was to get to the Aberdeen harbour and simply walk up and down looking for a group of people sporting binoculars and cameras - my strategy…
In Hong Kong on business with the weekend off¬†it was a¬†good excuse to do some birdwatching.¬† With Ian telling me that there were no birds to see in Hong Kong I looked out my book¬† 'where to see birds in the worlds cities' to see what the options were.¬† I wanted to go to the Mai Po marshes but a permit was needed and I didn't have one, my book indicated that the Hong Kong Wetland Park was a good bet.¬† I arrived around lunchtime and¬†wandered around until closing at 5pm.¬†¬†The temperatures were topping 35 degrees C…
I have at last found a wing feather about the same size as the Tawny owl feather, I believe it is from a heron. The purpose was to demonstrate in the wing feathers, the difference from a nocturnal owl whose flight is silent and a normal diurnal bird. I hope you can see the softer upper surface of the tawny which seems to have extra coverings over the barbules, which you cannot see, where on the heron you can see the barbules locked together in the herring bone type pattern. The long "ridges" you can see are…
22/8/10, yesterday 21st there was strong south wind, so I half expected the Ospreys would be gone, but the male was perched by the eyrie and a juvenile was on the eyrie, food begging. On the estuary I caught up with the female and another juvenile, so one juv missing, it could be heading south. I spotted a wing tagged male marsh harrier but could not determine the colour or whether it had two wing tags, suspect it is one of this years juvs as the male adult has no tags, and it's plumage was brand new, not a feather…
On the 24/7/2010 I found a Tawny Owl feather and gave it to my wife to use in bee keeping as a soft brush to remove bees from the frames. She said it was a buzzard feather and I said it was a Tawny owl, she agreed. But it got me thinking that I should be able to prove that it was an owl feather, particularly a nocturnal owl as they strike with silence given to them from "soft" wing feathers. So I set out to photograph a pheasants tail feather against this wing feather of a suspected owl.
24/7/2010 As I expected the eyrie is now empty and an Osprey was perched on the top of the highest tree nearby. Ospreys are really nosey, when you watch them doing nothing they are always alert, and like to perch high to get the best view. I could not sex the bird on the tree, due to having its back to me and its head out of sight. Later I did pick up the female on a post with a fish, I suspect a pike as I could just make out a rounded tail fin, she sat for a while…
Well I was out observing on the 11/7/10 but the gale force winds restricted the young Ospreys. So on the 13/7/10¬† I was on station at 5.55 am and as I thought the young Ospreys could fly, well two could the third remained nest bound. The female was on lookout, the male was off fishing? and one off the juvs took off, flew around, and just disappeared for the remaining 40 mins I was there. I suspect he/she was nearby and waiting for the fish delivery. It is frustrating getting these visual jigsaw pieces, it has taken me years to…
Derek what are these insects, and don't say ladybird and shield bug , I've got that far already. I have posted both on Ispot so lets see how good your reference books are !! have you been to Ispot ?…
T in the park so it must rain and it is, 10th July and went to visit the ospreys, between drizzles of rain, had to step carefully due to hundreds well I mean lots of¬† toadlets. see pics, I have put these pics on Ispot to verify that they are toads and not frogs. This is a fantastic resource when you can't identify a species, any species. The nearest pond is 500m away and I assume their origin, although a stream from the pond is 30m away. The young Ospreys are now the size of their parents…

Jul 8th by Ian under Bird Watching

Tags: Nae tags again!

I was out on the 3 and 4 of July and had nothing much to observe, except three chicks are well fed and just about to start that wing flapping stage. I was expecting to see them doing this but as the wind was gale to nearly gale force they were sensibly reluctant to try. I was concerned on the 4th that I went along at 5pm to see if the eyrie was still there, it was, and due to the wind direction and the surrounding trees it was somewhat sheltered. I did report one year that the eyrie had…
whilst at work on site at the m74jv project, to relieve my boredom I threw a couple of beef hula hoops out the van window to see what it attracted to the dinner table. Within seconds a carrion crow appeared and scoffed them. I then threw out another couple with the same result. By this time the bag was finished and 30 seconds later the crow flew off in front of the van to the near side verge to watch. So, on to the next packet which I retrieved out of my rucksack with much rustling of the packet. On…

Jun 27th by Ian under Bird Watching

Tags:

20 June saw the male bring in a small pike and the female set about feeding her chicks, there are still three but one was being a teenager and just lying around. As the male took up his customary position out of faecal squirt range I saw he had a yellow ring on his right leg and a silver one on his left. These rings are harder to see than you might think as branches and feathers often obscure them. They¬† hunker down when preening and can stand on one leg. So it is well into the season and I…
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