I thought this would be a sensible idea, as the 'main news page' can get a bit cluttered - so if anyone has something clever to say, then say it now & go down in history : ) 04/07/2017 (JR)
Nobody will ever contribute to this page of course, which rather makes my heart swell with pride : )
Goldcrest vs Firecrest - Which is Britain's smallest bird ?
Well, they can't both be absolutely the same size - the observatory staff measure these birds down to millimeters, so someone must know - I would say that Goldcrests are smaller & lighter, while Firecrests seem to be slightly more chunky, or is that because the 'puff' themselves up in winter? (JR 17/7/17)
Do female birds sing?
Yes they do. The easy one is Robin. Are the songs different? - yes - go into Xeno-Canto for audio examples, other species include Dipper. In Historical terms, more female species used to sing, but this has died out over the years & the reason for this has not been verified as of yet (JR 12/7/17)
What is the most boring bird on the British list?
Twenty five years ago, I would have said Ring-billed Gull - I remember being dragged out of bed for one in Uxbridge in 1991, but only participated in this venture because a Ruff (found by Pete Naylor) had been seen on the same field - this was 1000 times more interesting. I got the gull, but missed the Ruff. Seven years passed & I was doing the weekend rounds with Tony Stride at Staines Reservoirs in 1998. Someone's pager went off & "Caspian Gull at Twickenham" was announced - we all looked at each other - what's that? - It was a bird so boring that I don't even bother to report or count them anymore - I'll take a Coal Tit over a Caspo any day & to applaud this probable sub-species makes us all look as pointless & dull as the 'test card' - (BBC2, 1970's & early 80's) - Okay, perhaps I have been a bit mean on Caspos - It's American Herring Gull now (with a DNA sample often required) (JR 18/7/17)
Which bird stimulated the impetus for each of us to all start?
Every answer here (if any declared) will be different. This exemplifies that no two birders are the same - a relief I think : ) For me, It all started in the late 1970's & it was the first day of the summer holidays - we were all packed into the back of this appalling Austin Cambridge car & chugged off down to Cornwall at a hair raising speed of 30 mph - overtaking cyclists were common place. The car soon packed up & we were all stuck in a lay by waiting for the AA - I suddenly noticed a bird just feet away & it just looked so amazing - but what was it? - It was a Lapwing - a bird that changed my life & still sends a shiver of excitement up my spine after nearly 40 years (JR 14/07/17)
London's deadliest Accipiter - a manoeuvre almost beyond comment
I am of course referring to Friday's female Sparrowhawk - How was it done? taking out a Woodpigeon & Collared Dove simultaneously?. No, I didn't witness the strike, just the victims pinned down on the field behind the garden - I was greeted by an assemblage of Carrion Crows in rapturous applause over the incident. Possibly one of the resulting victims was caught up in the cross-fire of the melee, but in keeping with an old Chinese proverb - "he (or she) that tries to catch two rabbits, catches neither" & both the pigeon & dove escaped (JR 17/07/17)
Collective bird names
Being on a long car journey for any bird can be awfully tiresome - so we invented ways to make the pilgrimage more entertaining & passenger friendly - one of the more popular topics was 'collective bird names' & there are more nouns for bird names than you might think. I'll go straight for the jugular here - What avian species is a 'Hill' the collective term for?, or a 'Whisp'?, or even a 'Building'? - no cheating : ) (JR 19/07/2017)
The answers are: a 'Hill' is the collective term for Ruff, a 'Whisp' is the collective term for Snipe & a 'Building' is the collective term for Rook - for good measure I will also include a 'Trip' - the collective term for Dotterel - but you all knew that anyway : ) (JR 19/07/2017)
Whimbrel? - by heck, I was praying for a Lapwing!
I knew straight away what it was & was shaking - this is a garden record & not the farm - I'll calm down in a couple of weeks : ) Well I never give up & now you know why : ) (JR 19/07/2017)