Thursday, 16 May 2013

All's well....

Confirmation that 'my' Kite was, indeed a Black has to be one of my all time birding highlights.  Not an 'I told you so' moment, because I didn't in that way, more a correct i/d of a bird never seen by me before, and it being on West Hartford.

Through railings, and from distance, a poor record shot:

Missing the Purple Heron was a pisser - it would have been a shitter (that's one level more on the twatometer!) if it had been a Lifer.  C'est la vie!

What a crackin' end to the day - local as usual, with Crammy, and a LEO.  One of my all time favourite birds, and even more special as that's 115 for the year and one more to move ahead of the last two years' annual total.

Put Your Money On Black?

If you did, you're quids in!!

The West Hartford Kite, seen Tue and Wed has been seen this morning, perched in a tree in full sunlight and with some well-respected birders in the throng, and it is a Milvus migrans.

I am speechless!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Birding Rules

Rule No. 1 - Always carry your bins, scope and camera, no matter what.  Rule No. 2 - If ever in doubt, refer to Rule No. 1.  Rule No. 3?

Called in for 10 minutes to Wessie at 3:10pm today, waders come and waders go and waders rarely stay, so many and frequent visits are a good tactic.

This afternoon, three Ringed Plovers and little all else.  Best check the tiny flash, better to be safe than sorry.  As I turned to walk north, a large, brown raptor with paler patches on the underwing drifted in from the NE and my instinct was a Common Buzzard.  There was a stiff westerly breeze that was putting the bird through its paces as it continued inbound, and visible next was a triangular tail.  F*ck me, Red Kite thinks I as I raised the bins.  And duly fired off a text to the locals to get some corroboration.

And here's where Rule No. 3 appears - when having been to a wedding over the weekend, and both main and reserve camera battery are flat, charge both up asap.

Reaching for the camera, no reaction to the on/off switch.  And an immediate recollection of two useless batteries.  Double f*ck!!

The bird was not too distant, 40 yards or so, and not too high either.  It turned in the wind to go slowly north and gaining height as it did.

Hmmmm, very dark brown for a Red Kite - almost Marsh Harrier-like, flat, chocolatey brown on the upper wings and body, save for some slightly lighter brown across the shoulders.  And the body, too, was very dark and without features.  The underwings were also relatively dark and featureless.  Could it be a Black Kite?  Certainly no dark red, nor blue-ish head nor lighter patches I would have expected in a Red.

Called the Guvnor and described my thoughts.  Suffice to say he jumped into his car and arrived to see it high and drifting west.  Nothing he saw affected my i/d.  After making a few rough notes, comparison with photos on Iris leave me satisfied with what this bird was.

Doubtless it will attract some learned opinion, no bad thing, and had my camera been charged up, there would have been some greater proof.  But I am happy enough (no choice really).

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Midas Touch

Saturday, before leaving for Liverpool, two tours of Wessie had 2 Dunlin and then 4.  And on the former, bumped into Super-silly-um and his well-behaved dog.

Back from Liverpool and out with my far from well-behaved dog for a quick tour of the patch.  The larger Flash had 5 Oycs and a gull or two.  It was near 20:40hrs and the light was fading BUT on the fence-line running E to W north of the smaller Flash, a female Cuckoo.  It looked not quite right, due to the bins, the light, the disobedient hound pulling my arm and a wee breeze.  It was deffo brown above and white below, and was seen to fly off the posts to catch huge caterpillars on three occasions.  I cannot recall seeing an adult brown one before, just the slaty-blue adults or brown juveniles.


PS - No sign early doors this morning (13/5)