English osprey’s autumn migration

This video from the USA is called Osprey Migration: New Hampshire to The Amazon.

From Rutland Ospreys in England:

She’s off – 1000km in two days!

By Tim on September 2, 2014

As Kayleigh reported earlier today, things have been turning distinctly autumnal at Rutland Water in the past few days. One by one the Ospreys have been heading south, and we now know that our satellite-tagged bird, 30(05) is one of them. The latest data from her satellite transmitter shows that at 6am this morning, 30 was in northern Spain, 20 kilometres to the east of San Sebastiàn having set-off from Rutland on Sunday morning.

We don’t know exactly what time 30 left the Rutland Water area on Sunday, but it must have been fairly early because at 10am her transmitter showed that she was in northern Buckinghamshire, midway between Banbury and Milton Keynes, flying purposefully south at an altitude of 550 metres. She made excellent progress over the next four hours, continuing south through Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire at altitudes of between 500 and 1000 metres. By 2pm she had flown 151 km in four hours and was 1230 metres above the Isle of Wight with the English Channel in her sights. She made light work of the crossing to France and by 6pm GMT she was flying south through Lower Normandy. She eventually settled to roost for the night on the edge of a small wood, 55km west of Le Mans after a day’s flight of at least 520 kilometres.

Next morning 30 was on the move at first light because at 7am local time (6am GMT) she was already 46km south of her overnight roost site, and was flying due south at 31kph. She paused briefly on the edge of a small copse at 8am, but by 9am she was on the wing again, passing over the River Loire soon afterwards. Four hours later she was passing just to the west of La Rochelle at an altitude of 1500 metres. She had already covered 210 kilometres but was showing no signs of letting-up. Using the west coast of France to guide her, 30 flew another 290 kilometres during the afternoon and by 7pm she was just north of the town of Capbreton in the south of France. On Google Earth the area around Capbreton looks good for fishing and by 9pm 30 had settled for the evening in a forested area just north of Ondres having almost certainly caught a fish in one of the nearby lakes. Over the course of the day she had flown another 510 kilometres; another excellent day’s migration.

This morning 30 was on the move early again. Like the previous day, she had already flown another 40km by 7am local time, passing Biarritz and then across the Spanish border. By this evening she may well be close to Madrid. It will be fascinating to see how far she has flown when the next batch of data comes in.

Don’t forget that you can also view 30′s migration on your own version of Google Earth. To find out how, click here.

English birds news update

This May 2014 video from England is called Wildlife Weekly Slimbridge – Episode 21.

A Twitter message from Slimbridge in England says today:

South Lake- 65 Redshank, 47 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Gre[e]n Sandpiper, 16 Ruff, 99 Teal and 123 Shoveler.

Tern migration in England

This video is called Arctic Tern Migration Google Earth Tour Video.

Spurn Bird Observatory in England writes in a Twitter message about today :

Best tern roost movement this year, 1 Roseate [tern], 2 Black [tern], 24 Sarnie [Sandwich tern], 6 Arctic [tern], 10,360 Common Tern south.

5,000 birds’ eggs illegal collection discovery in England

This video from North America says about itself:

9 Days In the Nest – Baby Birds fom Egg to Fledgling; a Compilation

Finally compiled all my footage of the birds (Song Sparrows) I almost accidentally killed last spring. While trimming a bush, I narrowly missed the nest. The next night the birds hatched from the eggs. I placed a camera near the nest and recorded a lot of raw footage, which I have finally compiled into a more watchable version (I hope). … If I hadn’t watched them leave the nest, I would have thought a cat got them. 8 days after hatching they were gone!

Please share this video and like (if you like it). Thanks!

Royalty free music “Brandenburg Concerto No4-1 BWV1049″ by Kevin MacLeod.

From Wildlife Extra:

Thousands of bird eggs found in Merseyside

Around 5,000 bird eggs have been voluntarily handed over to the NWCU and Police by a 44 year old from Merseyside.

When the call came in the officials were expecting to collect a few hundred birds’ eggs, but instead they found several huge specimen cabinets filled with 1000’s of eggs, including osprey, golden eagle and many foreign species. Officers were also provided with a large number of data cards, some of which date back around 100 years.

Egg collecting in the UK was an acceptable hobby in Victorian times and the early 1900’s. However, it became illegal to take birds’ eggs in 1954 and the law was further strengthened in 1981 when possession of wild birds’ eggs was made an offence.

Andy McWilliam from NWCU said, “This call was completely unexpected, but we are pleased that the eggs are now in the custody of the police.

“We are extremely grateful for the assistance this man has provided. Without his co-operation we would never have known about the collection’s existence.

“He realized the importance of handing them over and getting them out of circulation. Unfortunately there are modern day collectors who will try and disguise their collections as antique and mix recently taken eggs with old collections”.

Once the examination of the collection and the data is complete, it is hoped that that the collection will be suitable for scientific research by a museum.

English bird news update

This video from Britain is called Great White Egret at RSPB Old Moor – 23rd May 2014.

From Old Moor & Dearne Valley nature reserves in England:

Great Lunch!


23 Aug 2014 7:58 PM

Hello, a tricky bit of each blog I write is the title. I have to think up a new one every time… so, today in our fab cafe we had a great lunch, roasted butternut squash with couscous!

From the Barnsley Birders on Twitter – a juv marsh harrier over the reedbeds/cuckoo tree this morning, 16 black tailed godwits, 2 LRP’s [lesser ringed plovers], 2 golden plover and a greenshank. Most likely Wath Ings and the main Mere for these sightings.

Also from the Barnsley Birders – the little egret roost record was broken again last night with 26 on Old Moor! Here‘s the link with all the details and a few more sightings from today.

Wombwell Ings – a garganey, 7 black tailed godwits and 3 greenshank.

From the book at OM…

Bird Garden – bullfinches, blue tits, a wood pigeon, chaffinches, greenfinches, dunnocks and a robin.

Wath Ings – the previous sightings and a kestrel, dunlin and a kingfisher.

Wader Scrape – 2 lesser black backed gulls, juv shelduck, a yellow wagtail flying over, a common sandpiper, 5 snipe, a shelduck, a stock dove, 3 swifts, a peregrine and a vole was seen near this hide.

Family Hide – a kingfisher, a buzzard, a green sandpiper and a 2 common sandpipers.

A kingfisher was also seen over the Mere and 2 green woodpeckers were seen on the road in and also from Green Lane and the FPW hide.

Field Pool West – a little egret.

Field Pool East – a greenshank

Bittern Hide – 5 little egrets, a stoat, reed warblers, coots, lapwing, kingfishers, a little grebe, a juv great crested grebe, grey heron, a kestrel, 3 LRP’s and pied wagtails.

Four young bee-eaters fledge successfully in England, first time

This video is called 2013 Bird of the Year in Hungary – the Bee-Eater.

From Wildlife Extra:

Four bee-eater chicks fledge successfully on the Isle of Wight

European bee-eaters could become a more common sight in southern England in the future

Four bee-eater chicks have fledged on National Trust land on the Isle of Wight thanks to a joint protection operation by the National Trust, the RSPB and Isle of Wight naturalists.

Three of the chicks fledged last week and the fourth has tried out its wings in the last couple of days. It is the first time in 12 years that the birds, which usually nest in southern Europe, have bred successfully in the UK.

If these new fledglings survive, this will be the most successful ever bee-eater breeding attempt in the UK.

The last successful attempt, which resulted in two chicks, was in County Durham in 2002, and that was the first for 50 years.

The bee-eaters made their nest, which is a hole in the ground, more than a month ago on the National Trust’s Wydcombe estate.

National Trust ranger and birder, Ian Ridett, noticed the bee-eaters were active on the island at a time they ought to be nesting.

The nest was located and a joint 24-hour protection named “Operation Bee-eater” was launched to protect the nest from disturbance.

“We are thrilled that the bee-eaters have managed to breed successfully on the Isle of Wight,” said Keith Ballard, the site manager at the RSPB’s Brading Marshes reserve near Bembridge. “It has been an amazing year for exotic species breeding on the island.

“Working with the National Trust has been very rewarding and the RSPB has been able to utilise its protection experience to make sure the birds were not disturbed and to minimise the threat from predators and egg thieves.”

Ian Ridett said: “We are delighted to see the juveniles are out and progressing well. We’ve worked day and night with a team of over 60 volunteers and staff from the National Trust, RSPB and Isle of Wight Ornithological Group to monitor the site and provide a supervised viewing area for visitors.

“Around 3000 people from around the UK have been rewarded with views of the adults catching bees and dragonflies.

“The question that everyone is asking is, ‘will they return next year?’ However, it all depends on the weather and a degree of chance.

“With changing weather and climate, this is just one of the examples of birds and butterflies that are starting to spread north and west into the UK.

“The Isle of Wight has some great habitats and is in pole position for events like this to re-occur.”

Magpies not jewel thieves, says new research

This video from England is called Magpie Building nest at Paxton Pits Nature Reserve, March 2013.

From the BBC:

16 August 2014 Last updated at 00:35 GMT

Magpies ‘don’t steal shiny objects’

By Roger Harrabin, BBC environment analyst

Magpies do not steal trinkets and are positively scared of shiny objects, according to new research.

The study appears to redeem the myth of the “thieving magpie”, which pervades European folklore.

It is widely believed that magpies have a compulsive urge to steal sparkly things for their nests.

But Exeter University scientists show that the birds are actually nervous of such objects, presumably because they are novel and may prove dangerous.

The study involved a pile of shiny items (metal screws, small foil rings, and a small rectangular piece of aluminium foil), and a pile of the same objects covered with matt blue paint.

Researchers placed mounds of edible nuts just 30cm away from each of the collected objects. In 64 tests during feeding, magpies picked up a shiny object only twice – and discarded it immediately.

The birds essentially ignored or avoided both shiny and blue objects, and often fed less when they were present.

Lead author Dr Toni Shephard said: “We did not find evidence of an unconditional attraction to shiny objects in magpies. Instead, all objects prompted responses indicating neophobia – fear of new things.

“We suggest that humans notice when magpies occasionally pick up shiny objects because they believe the birds find them attractive, while it goes unnoticed when magpies interact with less eye-catching items. It seems likely that the folklore surrounding them is a result of cultural generalisation and anecdotes rather than evidence.”

Righting old wrongs

The scientists – psychologists from the Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour (CRAB) – undertook the study after an internet search uncovered just two published accounts of magpies actually stealing shiny things: a missing engagement ring found in a nest in 2008, and a magpie in Rochdale stealing keys, coins, and a spanner from an automotive garage a year earlier.

Dr Shephard told BBC News: “Some birds do use eye-catching objects in the nest after mating occurs, like black kites, to warn off potential predators. But we had already looked inside a dozen magpie nests and not seen any shiny objects. So, I was not expecting magpies to use objects for this purpose.”

The test may challenge the Collins English Dictionary definition of the magpie as “a person who hoards small objects”.

It may prompt calls for a belated revision of the libretto of Rossini’s opera La Gazza Ladra (The thieving magpie), which features a servant girl sentenced to death for a series of silver thefts actually committed by a magpie.

This music video is called Rossini – Ouverture La Gazza Ladra – Gustavo Dudamel – HD.

It may upset, too, the publishers of The Tintin comic The Castafiore Emerald, in which a prized gem is stolen by a magpie.

This video is called The Castafiore Emerald.

But the research is not conclusive – yet. Due to the nature of the test with fixed feeding stations, the scientists could only assess “married” magpies that inhabit a set territory. Single magpies without a steady partner are less predictable in their feeding habits.

So maybe, just maybe, it is bachelor birds wanting to woo potential mates with silver rings that have sullied the birds’ name.