Please, do not hamper a young bird's life by picking it up, and taking it home with you. It is calling its parents to help them in locating it.
After fledgling from the nest, the parent birds will keep feeding it, and look out for it, until it will be able to look after itself.
And the reason you cannot see a parent is because of your own proxomity to the young bird. And while you are ebating if or not you should take the bird home, you keep the parent from giving it well needed nutrition in the form of a meal!


The photos on this blog are all taken by me. If there is any picture you might want to use for any other than personal use, please drop me a line to the email address shown in the sidebar on the right.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Juvenile Starling, Stumus vulgaris

As I've said in my last post, Starling greet me in the early mornings from the Hawthorn behind us. A week or so ago, one youngster said on the top rail of the fence. As close as Starlings would get to my garden.
This morning another (or the same) juvenile starling came this way. This time, its curiosity won over and it was soon down onto the shelving. here, it sat not only posing for a bit, but started to taste the bugs on the fading greenery around the shelves. young Starlings are grey, whereas the adult is the famous bird with its glamorous dark starry coat. When the juveniles moult into adult plumage, their bodies moult first, and this often gives them a clown-like appearance with their head remaining grey until their moulting is complete. This one has a funny appearance certainly, and it would confuse a lot of beginning birders, as to identifying the species.

Juvenile Starling, Stumus vulgaris

The Starlings might not be attracted to the food on offer, these visitors certainly are. I can hearthe shrill Zee of the Goldcrest, but I've not been able to locate it. Since the trees up front were topped very drastically, they and the Blue Tits moved away, searching for other conifers. So it would be great to see the returning to my humble garden.

Rook, Corvus frugilegus

Blue Tit, Parus caeruleus

Great Tit, Parus major

Fox and Cubs, Pilosella aurentiaca

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Starling mania, part one

Thursday evening, I passed some Swallows, who were sitting overhead on the telephone wires. Despite being late for meeting Michelle of Rehabcare at the pier for a picture, I could not help myself and stopped for a few pictures, before moving on to the pier.

Barn Swallows, Hirundo rustica.

At the other end of the wires, across the field, I spotted some Starlings, flying off and on the wire.

Down at the pier a small fishing boat was just returning from a trip out in the bay. Behind and above the boat, Gulls were eager to be nearby; just in case a meal, or just a snack would drop from the boat.

And as I turned around, and made another Gull shot, I suddenly realised that light was fading fast. It had been overcast all day, with a few Sunny spells promised. I was still waiting for these!

And here we had a sudden peep by the creator of Life on Earth; the Sun, herself.

Michelle, Christine and I moved to the setting at the Church of Ireland, to get a few more pictures of this writer, and as I looked back, I was surprised to see the Sun set already.

On my return home, taking the same road, as before, I spotted that a few more Starlings had arrived by now:

As I shot these (and a suitcase more!) I realised that I was looking at a Starling roosting site. And as I sat observing the birds take off and return to their spot on the wire again, I set my mode dial on movie clips. I knew this roost, even though still very small, compared to the millions at some roost site, would do its dance at one point. The birds did their bit, but I messed them up! So I'll return next week some time, at a later time, to see how many how large (approx) this roost is.
I now recall that I had seen, from my kitchen window, something like a black-ish shape moving, in 2006/7 which I thought to be at the end of the back road. I had then assumed it was the Corvids at the bay. It is more likely it was Starlings. But I had no idea the village, and the valleys stored this many Starlings. They greet me early in the morning with their funny high-pitched calls. They will sit high in the Hawthorn, right at the other side of my garden wall, and yet never call to come and feed here.
Also, I often see them at the other side of the estate, where I often see them in one of the trees there, where they always seem to fight! (not at my end!) At the bay I often see them too.

Starling,,Stumus vulgaris.
Gathering together before going down into the scrub of the fields to settle for and spend the night.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Plight of the missing Mute Swan cygnets in Ireland

Mute Swan, Cygnus olor parent & cygnet
(rain was on its way, this day, and the clouds very dark)
I have mentioned before that I have not seen any Mute Swan, Cygnus olor since the little youngster which I spotted locally in the Four Mile Estuary of Dunmanus Bay, underneath the bridge at the Church of Ireland on the 5th of July 2008. (see photo, above) It had disappeared by the next day, and although it is not unusual to have a Fox or other predator feast on the little body, it did seem very strange that it was the only youngster among a resident flock of 12-14 individuals.

I mentioned it to Niall Hatch (Birdwatch Ireland) this week, when I needed up-to-date- information on the current level of access in the East Coast Reserve.

Having not seen any young Mute Swans in Dunmanus Bay, Bantry, nor in Rosscarbery Bay, this summer, I needed to hear a little positive news about these large birds. I'm not sure what I expected to hear.

The news however, is grim. According to Niall, similar reports have been coming in from all over the country, so it is not only only the SW coast where cygnets are disappearing.
Niall lists several possible culprits; Fox, escaped Mink also seem to like these little ones and might take their toll., or perhaps even Gulls, who seem to like them when very young. It is the last one on the list which is the real grim one: "The thought that some birds have been taken by humans for food cannot be discounted either, though this seems to be a very rare occurance."

With a Rookery at the estuary and up to 15 Hooded Crows, feeding here also, I think we cannot discount these birds either.

What does strike me though, is that predators have always been around. So what is making 2009 so special? To that I have no answer, and neither had Niall so far.

Neither have I seen any Ducklings.