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Everything posted by Galana

  1. So here goes. Like the road to H*ll it was paved with good intentions but never lead anywhere til now. But I did start out very promptly by starting my year at the Water Lily Lodge in Kasane. Just too bad my best birding had been the day before in Chobe. Into every life a little rain must fall and as you will see from what follows we certainly had a Big Year for that. So out of bed to greet the New Year and pack the car for our return to Namibia for the last few days of our trip to Victoria Falls and back. In the garden we have been First Footed by a Holob's Golden Weaver. It looks like I have forgotten how to post so will add one more and then quit to find out more. On our drive to the Namibian Border we passed through part of Chobe NP and saw a small family of Southern Ground Hornbills. We were headed for a long drive to Camp Kwando so did not linger for birds.
  2. Yup! You can't beat good optics.
  3. @Peter Connan Is that not the object of a "Big Year?" I had never heard the phrase until I watched that excellent film of the same name. Sounds a good plan but as you know in any sport it is said to be not the winning but the taking part that counts.
  4. @Peter Connan I 'ticked' Common Mynah when in J'burg. Why not? It is on the list. As @TonyQ says I am also coming to the opinion that if living wild and breeding it is within the rules. Now we have to define 'breeding' so maybe substitute ' a sustainable population'? Thank you both for your thoughts.
  5. Phew! That's relief @TonyQ I need my pension for trips. I would count Golden Pheasant if I ever saw one as there are four populations around Great Britain. The nearest to you is North Wales/Anglesey. I am comfortable with the local Peafowl. They are well spread and have been here for 40 ears plus. So that is #179 thanks. Speaking of Feral Pigeons....... 180. Feral Pigeon on a neighbour's roof. He feeds the bloomin things even though it is against the law.
  6. Let you into a secret @Peter Connan. Water is the key. Not much, it is precious but a small margarine tub with an inch in it and you will have feathered friends for life. It does not work for ducks though. They bring their own.
  7. Now for a discussion on Ethics and competition 'rules'. What can be counted and what cannot? I would suggest that the birds must be free-winged and not kept in enclosures of any kind (so that rules out Granny's (Tanny's) African Grey Parrot in the sitting room ) But where do we fit in the rest? The edges get distinctly blurred somewhere between a zoo or collection exhibit and the introduced Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasanius colchicus) that the Roman's brought to Britain. Red-legged Partridges (Alectoris rufa) have been around the British Isles for maybe 400 years now and escapes such as Mandarins (Aix galericulata) and Carolina Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) are well established in the wild. Southern England has its plague of Ring-necked Parakeets (Psittacula kramerii) and southern Spain has its Lovebirds. @Dave Williams I won't even mention the Eurasian Eagle Owls that keep cropping up except to advise another successful fledging this year. Has anyone put up a Feral Pigeon yet? My interest was stimulated by two encounters this morning so what do people think? Is this 179? Indian Peafowl. Quite well established in the wild here since released by a local Banker about 30 years ago. I show the site as quite unfenced and the birds are free winged and not attached to any territory. Bride IOM. Now these I won't even suggest we count as whilst free-range (and tasty) they are obviously from domestic stock and localised to the nearby farm. Helmeted Guinea Fowl? And talking of feral populations there is no need to go to Tasmania:_ Red-necked Wallaby. There are around 200 from an original escape of maybe ten or so in 1990ish and obviously breeding. And I do know they are not birds but they are wild and very cute and the photos were taken this year!
  8. I have never seen one of those either. I must persuade the OH to sunbathe more. Nice photograph.
  9. Very quiet week if you ignore the racket from Grand Prix bikes with not much to add from fairly fruitless expeditions so here are two 'no score' repeats in a more natural setting perched in a tree rather than steel cables. 00/170. European Collared Dove. Ballaghennie, and..... 00/178. Wood Pigeon or Ring Dove. Ballaghennie.
  10. Everything the others have said. Some wonderful photos of wonderful birds.
  11. Another quiet day photography wise and although I did see a very much alive Ringtail Hen Harrier and some 'autumn' Wheatears with many Gannets feasting on Mackerel 00. No score. and 178. my sole progress was the humble Wood Pigeon (Ring Dove)..Why is it that so called 'easy' birds rarely are?
  12. I agree. For an alleged beginner he is off to a cracking start and has some shots (and birds) there that others would probably kill for. The Avocet chicks get my vote!
  13. Looks like a very worthwhile trip with some excellent photographs and memories to bring home.
  14. I totally agree. What is happening in UK is deplorable. UK Government inaction on this matter is inexcusable. I can update on this casualty. Xrays revealed no sign of gunshot. The bird was very malnourished even when in the nest. The breast bone was very protruding and for some reason the tips of the primary feathers had snapped off. We believe it was grounded and killed by either peregrine or short-eared owl (marks on tertiary feathers of right wing are consistent with claw marks of bird of prey). An SE Owl was suspect number one on a male fatality last year. The corpse will be added to a DNA database project currently being run for all British Hen Harriers by Lancaster University.
  15. I don't want to turn this into a Blog but shall share something of today's outing which was in search of Raptors and ended rather sadly. First the good news. Strong winds during a half hours Sea Watch made life difficult while hoping for Skuas and Shearwaters but I did manage to tease out female Common Guillemot and her 'chick' from amongst the foaming brine. 177. Common Guillemot. And sadly whilst the rules don't seem to forbid it:- 00. A dead Hen Harrier. A sad end to a noble and endangered bird. No obvious gunshot, the head is there just lying back. Our local Wildlife Warden attended and an autopsy will be done. It was near a road and roadkill cannot be ruled out but a preliminary inspection showed no broken bones. He was a young bird of this year but very malnourished and may just have starved to death for some reason. There was 'growth inhibition' damage on the tail feathers indicating that food was short even when still in the nest. Maybe he was never going to make it! It does happen. He could also have been taken out by one of our local Peregrines. I will advise on the autopsy later but that is one tick still missing from my list..
  16. It's getting tougher with these overlooked locals. How hard IS it to get a Woodpigeon to sit still? However after a blank day yesterday (for photographs) two offered themselves today less than 800 yards from home. In fact is was really two for the price of one. Stopped for the goose and saw the cormorant. 175. Canada Goose. Ramsey Harbour. IOM. 176. Cormorant. Ramsey Harbour. IOM. Unless I get lucky with a few more regulars such as Wood Pigeon, Gold Crest, Hen Harrier, Kestrel and Peregrine etc., I am going to be stuck until our winter visitors arrive in November. It looks like I need a trip to Africa.
  17. @Dave Williams I have to agree that that is the most likely call. However I am not going to count it. I scraped in with the Sparrowhawk yesterday which I HAD Id first prior to the shot. This bird just appeared in the viewfinder whilst I was seeking something else and it was only apparent when I got home what I had 'probably' missed. Thanks for your understanding.
  18. A worthwhile day out. Envious of the Yaffle!" Yes, the funny duck is just one of the many odd looking ones that have descended from inter breeding with Indian Runners and Khaki Campbells etc.
  19. @michael-ibk Not a bird? Even I would not stoop that low. well maybe not?? @xelas A Kite? Black or Red or a kiddy's on a string? @Dave Williams NOT a BH or any other Gull. My take is on Peregrine too but I will not count it as it could just be another Raven. Motoring is the operative word. I did over twenty miles today to bag those two. Why is it that so called 'common' birds can be so damned hard to find when you are looking for them and Magpies so shy? Of course my real target (Hen Harrier) was even further out of usable range. Nice male too. A few more 'locals' to come I think.
  20. A couple more and another teaser. 173. Mistle Thrush. Sandygate. IOM. 174. Magpie. (Eurasian or Black-billed.) Sulby. IOM. So what is the soaring bird above the Raven? Not for a point just for your amusement.
  21. Er, not really Peter. The Brownish underparts and Rufous rear end suggest it is a Familiar Chat which also has brown ear coverts.. Sorry.
  22. I had it down as a sitting on the "Fence Pipit!!" A very good selection.
  23. @Towlersonsafari You type faster than I. but yes the trailing edge is often a give away (when they stick around long enough to see it!!)
  24. Too kind. But yes. It was a Sparrowhawk. You know how it is when driving and you see a bird. Brakes on, car coming the other way etc., Naked eye was quick but getting the camera out and working eats the margin. Fortunately it decided to soar with wings out so I gave it a go by focussing on the hillside and fired. Good luck with yours.
  25. Two more although one is dependent on you the Jury. 171. Shags. Maughold Head. IOM And I hardly dare show this:- 172. European Sparrowhawk. Soaring over Maughold Broughs. IOM. I DID have closer views as it crossed the road mobbed by Swallows..

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