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Friday, 28 June 2013

The impact of Windfarms on resident and migrating birds

Below is a well-balanced response I got to a note I published following the demise of the Harris Needletail........

Hi Lee


Your last point echoes similar stories I heard in Bulgaria. When the turbines were first erected it was possible to visit the sites, and victims such as Eagle Owl were easily found. Security guards were quickly employed to keep away 'intruders' and allegedly to remove the 'evidence'.

What interests me is the RSPB's 'pro windfarm' stance. To publicly state that birds being killed by windfarms is 'really very rare' is misleading and indeed factually inaccurate. Apparently the RSPB does not dispute studies which indicate that:

' In the Altamont Pass in California, for example, one study found about 4,000 wind turbines killed 67 golden eagles and 1,127 birds of prey in a year.

In southern Spain, 252 wind turbines located in an area used by many birds of prey and on the migratory path of many large birds killed 124 birds of prey in a year. At another location in southern Spain 256 turbines killed 30 Griffon Vultures and 12 Common Kestrels.''

The RSPB apparently dismisses these deaths on the basis that the wind farms were 'poorly sited'. Even if that is the case, it is difficult to understand how they can publicly state that deaths due to wind turbines are 'really very rare'.

Of course, there are many other things which take a huge toll on bird populations, and it is understandable that concerns over climate change come to the fore. But that should not blinker us to the impact of wind turbines or the need to proactively implement means of mitigating against that impact.

Anthony Dorman

NEEDLE-TAILED SWIFT collides with wind turbine and dies

News Story here - http://maciverblog.co.uk/2013/06/28/twitchers-shock-as-rare-bird-killed-by-drinishader-turbine/

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

RED RED ALERT - NEEDLE-TAILED SWIFT on the Outer Hebrides

A NEEDLE-TAILED SWIFT has spent the last hour and a half flying back and forth over Tarbert Harbour and hamlet on Harris (Outer Hebrides). The bird is showing very well and is rumoured to have been first seen yesterday afternoon by local residents. It is the first sighting of this species in the UK since June 1991, when one moved from Wierton Hill Reservoir, Maidstone (Kent), on 26th May north to Blithfield Reservoir (Staffs) on 1st June and subsequently to Belper (Derbyshire) on 3rd June and the island of Noss (Shetland) on 11th & 14th June.

Prior to that there had been just six records - two in the 19th Century (in Essex in July 1846 and in Hampshire in July 1879) and a run of records from 1983 to 1988 most likely involving one regularly returning individual - on South Ronaldsay (Orkney) on 11-12 June 1983, at Loch of Hillwell (Shetland) from 25 May to 6 June 1984, at Fairburn Ings (West Yorks) on 27 May 1985 and on the island of Hoy (Orkney) from 28 May to 8 June 1988 (LGRE)

And, in addition to the listed British records, one occurred at Cape Clear Island, Cork on 20th June 1964, where it was present for 20 minutes and viewed at ranges down to 10 feet (*IBR* 12, p30). The ultimate "blocker"! (Killian Mullarney)

Monday, 24 June 2013

Turkish immigrant stops the traffic

This beautiful ROSE-COLOURED STARLING stopped the traffic at East Quay, Wells-next-the-Sea (North Norfolk) for five days last week, moving on unexpectedly on Saturday night....


More photographers than birders - the scene in East Quay on Saturday. And where was the bird? Yes, in that tree directly opposite the crowd - there for its 5th day.


The Guest House noticeboard gave full details of its arrival


My initial views were all like this - beautiful pink rump


But then he turned around revealing that bright pink beak



Prepared to tolerate the odd female House Sparrow but not fellow Starlings


And, after some considerable time, the shots I was waiting for








Adult male Rose-coloured Starlings really are a nice proposition


And the favoured tree where it roosted each night

Thursday, 20 June 2013

I'd have forgotten just how beautiful female WILSON'S PHALAROPES are in spring

My good friend Paul Rowe and I - and long-standing acquaintance Pete Campbell - enjoyed a fabulous afternoon in the company of a female WILSON'S PHALAROPE on the Isle of Wight in Yarmouth..........it was so good, I took over 200 images..........here are a few of my best, noting the hot sunshine hindering focusing.....






















Tuesday, 18 June 2013

We have a new man at the top


1.
STEVE GANTLETT (NORFOLK 586 2. MEL BILLINGTON* (NORFOLK 586 3. CHRIS HEARD (BERKS) 586 4. RON JOHNS* (NORFOLK) 584 5. DAVID ODDY (YORKS) 583 6. JOHN REGAN (TEESIDE) 577 7. LEE EVANS (BUCKS) 576 8. NEIL ALFORD (NORFOLK) 573 9. RICHARD MILLINGTON (NORF 571 10. JERRY WARNE* (KENT) 571 11. JOHN HEWITT (BARNSLEY) 570 12. CHRIS BELL (DURHAM) 570 13. MALCOLM ROXBY DURHAM) 569 14. BILLY SIMPSON* (NOTTS) 569 15. BARRY REED (HERTS) 568 16. BRETT RICHARDS (YORKS) 568 17. DAVE WILLIS* (LONDON) 566 18. STEVE WHITEHOUSE (WORCS 564 19. JOHN ARCHER (LONDON) 564 20. PAUL CHAPMAN (BRISTOL) 563

With this latest PACIFIC SWIFT and earlier additions in the form of PACIFIC SWIFT, EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER and ROCK THRUSH, the Top 20 Listing Birders in the UK now looks like the above. CHRIS HEARD is now in Joint First Place for the first time in his birding career

Monday, 17 June 2013

Another twitchable ROLLER

Whilst checking out a suitable area of clearing for Woodlarks yesterday, Norfolk birder Peter Colston stumbled upon a ROLLER perched on a stump just 50 yards from the road. He had just 8 minutes of views before the bird duly flew and disappeared out of view. He immediately notified local birders and RBA but after an initial search, the bird could not be relocated. Then, about an hour later, Robert Smith relocated it, about half a mile away east of the Dragonfly Pond, on the opposite side of the road. It was then kept on, by a procession of Norfolk birders, from early evening until dusk, flighting between the two areas.


It followed the same modus of operandi today - moving between the clearing of Heath House Woods to the open heath half a mile east behind the Dragonfly Pond - and rarely allowing approach of less than 250 yards. I spent the day with the bird, my best photographic efforts being published above.

The location is just north of Edgefield on the B1149 - at the south end of Holt Country Park. There is ample parking for around 60 vehicles on the east side of the road, the bird showing best on the stunted trees in the clearing directly opposite.



















Elsewhere in Britain today, the singing male GREENISH WARBLER continues at Turton Golf Course in Egerton (Lancashire), singing regularly from the Beech plantation bordering the third tee - park on Cox Green Road close to the entrance of Great Stones Close, taking the footpath adjacent to the sheep field until you reach the golf course.




The first-summer BONAPARTE'S GULL is also still to be found - either loafing with non-breeding Black-headed Gulls on Oare Marshes' East Flood or in Faversham Creek adjacent.





Singing male MARSH WARBLERS can be found in Uig village, on the Isle of Skye (Highland Region) and in Lochmaddy, North Uist (Outer Hebrides), as well as at 30 or so other locations between East Yorkshire and East Sussex, whilst a female RED-BACKED SHRIKE is near Easington (East Yorks).