‘White’ whimbrel in Morocco


This video says about itself:

Whimbrel at The Lizard in Cornwall

The whimbrel is a large wading bird. It has longish legs and a long bill that curves near the tip. It is brownish above and whitish below. In flight, it shows a white ‘V’ shape up its back from its tail. In the UK, this species only breeds in north Scotland. It is a passage migrant to other areas in spring and autumn on its way from and to its wintering areas in South Africa. The Shetland and Orkney breeding population has been slowly increasing.

WHERE TO SEE THEM

You could see breeding birds on a visit to Shetland or Orkney in summer. Otherwise, passage migrants can be seen on the coast and sometimes inland in suitable habitat, when hearing its distinctive call can be the best clue to its presence.

WHEN TO SEE THEM

Mid-April to August

WHAT THEY EAT

On breeding grounds insects, snails and slugs; on passage, crabs, shrimps, molluscs, worms.

Filmed in May 2010 at The Lizard

Video Produced by Paul Dinning – Wildlife in Cornwall

From Moroccan Birds blog, with photos there:

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Leucistic Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) still at El Jadida since October 2014

Can a non-marked wader be relocated months after first sighting? Well, this is possible in some few cases including when the bird is leucistic and is alone in the region (so easily identifiable).

This is the case of a leucistic Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) photographed for the first time in the intertidal zone between El Jadida and Sidi Bouzid by Ruth García Gorria on 17 October 2014.

On 13 February 2015, Ruth [García Gorria] relocated the leucistic bird again and took the photographs below (click on the pictures for more details). Ruth also commented that “the plumage is much whiter now” (compare the pictures below with those taken in October 2014 by clicking the link above).

On the other hand, the partially leucistic Common Coot (Fulica atra) is always present in Sidi Moussa lagoon where it was first observed and photographed in October and November 2014 by Ruth.

Unique bowhead whale swims near Cornwall


This video is called Bowhead Whale of the Arctic (Nature Documentary).

From ITV in Britain:

Bowhead whale spotted in Cornish waters

A whale never before seen in European waters has been sighted off the Cornish coast.

The Bowhead whale is usually found in the Arctic. The Sea Watch Foundation made this extraordinary discovery after mysterious pictures were sent in showing an animal whose head shape and jaw line didn’t match with descriptions of any of the expected whale species.

The pictures were sent in by Anna Cawthray, taken on a friend’s mobile phone. They showed the 25 ft long whale that she’d encountered off Par Beach on the island of St Martin’s.

Sea Watch’s Sightings Officer, Kathy James, sent the photos to other experts who confirmed the sighting as a bowhead whale. They say its “extraordinary” to see a bowhead in these waters.

Last updated Sat 28 Feb 2015

BBC – Earth – Do whales have graveyards where they prefer to die? Here.

Rare Pacific diver in Cornwall


This video says about itself:

Pacific Diver Cornwall

This is the Pacific Diver found by Chris Barnard at Carnsew Pool, Hayle, Cornwall on 19 11 [20]09.

Also starring in the video: a great cormorant.

From Rare Bird Network in Britain on Twitter today:

Cornwall: PACIFIC DIVER 1 again at Marazion. Off Longrock car park (12:30pm).

So, glaucous gulls are not the only rare birds in Cornwall :)

Rare gulls in Morocco


This video says about itself:

Glaucous Gull, Adult, Newlyn Harbour, Cornwall, 18/02/2012

Glaucous Gulls are regular visitors to West Cornwall, but adults are few and far between. This one is a very confident individual, hanging around the harbour waiting for free hand-outs from the local fishermen. It’s an easy life for some!!!

From the Go-South blog:

19 February 2015 – Rare Gulls at Essaouira

Two rare gulls at Oued Ksob seen by Dominic Mitchell: a second-calendar-year Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) on 14 February and a third-calendar-year Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus) the next day [probably the same bird seen in December and January in Essaouira harbour]. … photos appear in Dominic’s blog at www.birdingetc.com.

Great black-backed gulls are not that rare in western Europe, eg the Netherlands. However, they are in Morocco. While glaucous gulls are common in Arctic Svalbard, but not in western Europe, and certainly not in Morocco.

Seal swims from Dutch Texel to Cornwall


This video says about itself:

22 January 2015

Stranded Seal Pups are released into the wild in Cornwall.

The National Seal Sanctuary at Gweek has let six of the creatures go this morning.

They include Superman, Wonderwoman and Bruce Wayne.

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands:

Victor seen in Cornwall – 06-02-15

Not only gray seals are travelers, harbour seals also explore the North Sea. This has been proven by harbor seal Victor. He surprised staff at Ecomare by making the crossing to England. Victor arrived last year on July 11 at Ecomare as an orphan in the shelter and was equipped with a chip and a flipper marker. On November 7 he was released in the Wadden Sea. For three weeks he has by now resided along the Cornish coast at Par Beach, and he has become a local celebrity.

Traveler

Possibly Victor has explored much more than just the beach of Cornwall. In the River Fowey in Cornwall, a bit further, spotted a harbour seal was spotted as well. Presumably this was Victor as well. So, a real traveler! Unfortunately Victor on Par Beach could not rest completely undisturbedly. Hikers with dogs sometimes came too close to the young seal, thereby disturbing him. Subsequently, members of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue caught Victor on 2 February.

Released while healthy

With only a small wound on the flipper, presumably caused by a dog bite, Victor appeared otherwise healthy and he was released the same day. This time a bit further away, so hopefully he’ll find a little more peace. On this site there are not only 10 gray seals, but also an adult harbour seal.

Early frogspawn in Cornwall already


This video from England is called Common Frogs in the Garden.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Frogs breeding in November due to mild weather

Frogspawn spotted in Cornwall, months before the usual spring spawning time, is earliest sighting in almost a decade

Mild autumn weather has led to frogs breeding five months early, with frogspawn sighted in Cornwall this week. It is the earliest frogspawn recorded in nearly a decade.

The Woodland Trust was alerted to the frogspawn by a National Trust ranger, who had spotted the common frog’s spawn at the North Predannack Downs nature reserve on the Lizard Peninsula.

“This year I first saw frog spawn on 21 November, which is early, but not unheard of in a Cornish context,” said Rachel Holder, the ranger who first spotted the frogspawn. “The gamble of getting ahead in the breeding game must be worth taking, and the risk of a severe cold snap which could freeze the spawn is worth braving,” she said.

Frogspawn [is] usually seen in March across the UK, with the earliest occurrence in recent history being on 26 October, in 2005.

Dr Kate Lewthwaite, project manager for Woodland Trust’s Nature’s Calendar , said: “Although spring is generally arriving earlier, to receive a frogspawn sighting before winter has properly begun is highly unusual.

“Given the reasonably mild weather we have been enjoying recently, it is possible for frogs to be fooled into spawning early, but sadly it is unlikely the spawn will now survive the frosts we are experiencing,” she said.

November has been mild and very wet so far, according to the Met Office, with average temperatures nearly 2C above the long-term average, and 93.1mm of rainfall.

Frogspawn, which has the appearance of a thick translucent jelly with dark specks, often contains 5,000 eggs and is laid at one time. Tadpoles begin to emerge after a month, although early spawn is vulnerable to freezing during the winter months while it floats on the top of the pond. As frogs mate once per season, their breeding effort for the year may be wasted if spawn is laid when the conditions are not right.

Chris Hickman, from the Woodland Trust, told the Guardian that the early UK sightings of frogspawn, “highlights the wider issue that frogs are looking at spawning early, or having to adapt, because climate change is changing the natural environment in England.”

He added, “it’s not something that we’ve had for a long time and we have to establish whether this will be a one off, or maybe there are other frogspawn sightings out there that perhaps people haven’t yet reported.”

Matthew Oates, a naturalist at the National Trust, said he had noticed how climatic changes have affected the seasonal behaviour of species, such as the purple emperor caterpillar not hibernating, and this autumn he has heard the evening chorus of song-thrush and robins singing. The naturalist said that he expects hazel catkins, which traditionally appear mid-January, to bloom before Christmas.

There have been early first sightings of other species in recent years. According to the Woodland Trust, snowdrops which are traditionally out in spring have been sighted early in November and December since 2001. Ladybirds, which historically hibernate during the winter months, were spotted in December every year between 2002 and 2008 and also in 2011.

Good cirl bunting news from Cornwall


This video is about a cirl bunting singing.

From Wildlife Extra:

Cirl Bunting numbers on the rise in Cornwall

Cornwall’s re-introduced population of Cirl Buntings has had its best year yet with 39 pairs producing more than 100 fledglings at the Roseland site. Cirl Bunting numbers have been steadily increasing in Cornwall, since 2006 when the first hand-reared birds were released.

“These are encouraging signs that the population is on its way to becoming self-sustaining, and as the first passerine reintroduction to take place in Europe, the project can be considered a huge success,” said Cath Jeffs, RSPB Cirl Bunting Project Manager.

Next year, it is predicted that the population will exceed the milestone of 50 pairs, which would be a great achievement. The key to the future of this project is ensuring that the right habitat is provided through the delivery of agri-environment schemes. If the habitat is there, the birds will continue to flourish.

“The success of this reintroduction represents a fantastic example of collaborative working. A partnership project, the RSPB works with local farmers along with the National Trust to increase the amount of suitable habitat for the birds, and a farmland advisor works with landowners to secure further habitat for the wider, natural spread of birds through Natural England’s agri-environment schemes,” said Cath Jeffs.

The project has been jointly funded by the RSPB and Natural England, as well as receiving £173,670 from SITA Trust and £5,000 from BBC Wildlife Fund.