Sunday, October 28

Plastic Birds

Imagine that you are constantly eating, but slowly starving to death. Hundreds of species of marine mammals, fish, birds, and sea turtles face this risk every day when they mistake plastic debris for food. 

Plastic debris can be found in oceans around the world. Scientists have estimated that there are over five trillion pieces of plastic weighing more than a quarter of a million tons floating at sea globally. 

Most of this plastic debris comes from sources on land and ends up in oceans and bays due largely to poor waste management.
Plastic does not biodegrade, but at sea large pieces of plastic break down into increasingly smaller fragments that are easy for birds to consume. 

A nose for sulfur
in the early 1970s showed that tube-nosed seabirds use their powerful sense of smell, or olfaction, seabirds are attracted to dimethyl sulfide (DMS), a natural scented sulfur compound. DMS comes from marine algae.

However, in a study just published propose a new explanation: For many imperilled species, marine plastic debris also produces an odour that the birds associate with food and is very similar DMS

So much plastic trash is flowing into the oceans than 90 per cent of seabirds eat it now and virtually everyone will be consuming it by 2050 In a new study published this week, tracks for the first time how widespread plastics have become inside seabirds around the world.

Scientists have been tracking plastic ingestion by seabirds for decades. In 1960, plastic was found in the stomachs of fewer than five per cent, but by 1980, it had jumped to 80 per cent. 

The most disturbing finding is. 

“Global plastic production doubles every 11 years “So in the next 11 years, we’ll make as much plastic as we’ve made since plastic was invented. 

You can help: pay attention to how much plastic you throw away—grocery bags, Styrofoam cups, water bottles, packaging—and try to use less and recycle and dispose of plastic correctly

sometimes I get a feeling that it is all s bit too late

Friday, October 26

Guadalentin Valley and Sierra Espuña

Not much to report from the Guadalentin Valley.  Spectacled Warbler being about the best of it, Marsh Harrier, Tree Sparrow, Little ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Grey Wagtail, and few more commoner  Birds, but to be honest, it was just a quick run through the valley, on route to the top of Sierra Espuna. Birds seen on the way up Crossbill, Crested tit, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Firecrest, Mistle Thrush, Jay, Black Redstart also big influx of European Robin.

 The Ice, cave's area was a bit disappointing and flat, we were hoping for the return of the Ring Ouzels, but maybe it's just a bit early,  Chough, Raven, and 26 Griffon Vultures,  and that was about it.
Time to head for home on the way down the mountain a Short-toed Eagle, show well and a possible Golden Eagle circled high but we lost it in the clouds before we could positively ID it.
 Moment of the day was a herd Mouflon Goat's which showed well

A lovely day in the mountains with spectacular views
Cheers Bryan

My Spanish Bird list.

I've just counted up my Spanish bird list, its something I've been meaning to do for a while, my total for Spain is 283. I thought about how it compare to my Isles of Scilly list of 280 which took the best part of 30 years to achieve.  
Over the years Scilly has developed an enviable reputation as Europe's premier rarity locality, being a magnet for bird originating from all points of the compass.

Hugh Town St Mary's
To date, 450 species have been recorded (A staggering 447 in accordance with the IOC which was list adopted on the 1st January 2018 and considering the size of the Isles of Scilly it does really well,

 And it got me thinking what are my favourite photographers from Spain and the Isles of Scilly. And below is just a few.

Black-browed albatross
Isles of Scilly 

Wilson's Storm-Petrel
Isles of Scilly

Semipalmated Sandpiper
Isles of Scilly

Montagu's Harrier

Rock Thrush

Alpine Accentor

Have a great day

Tuesday, October 23

Bryan Thomas Bird photographer

Hi there hope you're all having a good day here's a link to my other Birding Blog just click  this link below
    Bryan Thomas Bird Photographer   

Photos and info from my Birding trip around the world. Still, work in progress and lots more destination to add.  Please take the time to look
Have fun 
Cheers Bryan

Monday, October 22

Duck Slaughter El Hondo

I found on this photo on the web its about the authorised shooting of Ducks at El Hondo
We all know it goes on as we hear the shots ringing out around
El Hondo, but on this scale???

            Ducks hunted in El Hondo last February      

               Below a Google translation

Last April the Association of Friends of the Wetlands of the South of Alicante (AHSA) went to the Territorial Management of Alicante of the Ministry of Environment requesting information on the number and species of aquatic birds authorized to be killed in the preserves of hunting of the Natural Park of the Hondo, during the season 2017-18, as well as the censuses in which they have been based for their elaboration. In addition to the number and result of the inspections carried out by the environmental agents, in the hunting grounds of this natural area, for the control of the runs in the 2017-18 season, in compliance with the provisions of the Master Plan for Use and Management (PRUG).

The Association of Friends of the Wetlands of the South of Alicante (AHSA) recently received a photograph sent by a collaborator of this group in which 6 people appeared posing before more than 250 dead ducks, after a day of hunting. The birds were duck spoons Anas clypeata and common porr Aythia ferina, both species classified as hunting by the current Hunting Law of the Valencian Community and the current Order of Veda. The person who provided the photograph stated that it had been made in a preserve of the El Hondo Natural Park, during the month of February, apparently the environment of the photograph is consistent with the house of one of the hunting grounds of greater surface of this natural park.

Proud to posing before more than 250 dead ducks, 

Given the doubts raised by the content of the aforementioned photograph, regarding the proper control that the Ministry of Environment should exercise on the hunting activity in this natural space, the environmental group has addressed the Territorial Directorate in Alicante of this administration autonomic for, through a writing, in which a copy of the photograph is attached, request a copy of the report by which the number and species of aquatic birds to be shot in the hunting grounds of the Natural Park of El Hondo, during the 2017-18 season, as well as the censuses on which they have been based for its elaboration. AHSA also asks the responsible for the Consellería in Alicante, be informed of the number and result of inspections, by environmental agents in the hunting grounds of waterfowl of this natural area, to control the runs in the season of hunting 2017-18, in compliance with the provisions of its Master Plan for Use and Management (PRUG) which establishes that "For an effective control of the runs, it should be foreseen the presence of enough nursery in the spot; establishing, also, the necessary mechanisms to carry out the control on the pieces shot down (...) "

Amigos de los Humedales remembers that, during this hunting season, a preserve of this natural area was already the object of an intervention by the Nature Protection Service of the Guardia Civil (SEPRONA) for hunting during the night, completely outside the allowed hours , for which the hunters surprised in the preserve were denounced and the dead birds seized by the agents were seized.

AHSA is concerned about the significant impact that hunting has on waterfowl and the more than possible affectation to endangered species, such as the white-headed duck Oxyura leucocephala and the Marmaronetta angustirostris pardus and recalls that the legislation that regulates hunting has hardened in recent years, for wildlife. They give as an example that currently it is possible to shoot up to 2 hours after twilight, when before it was up to 1 hour after sunset or that the hunting period has been extended in waterbird preserves. Until the first years 2000 the season ended at the beginning of January, now it is possible to hunt until mid-February.

Finally, AHSA points out that despite the fact that hunting is authorized within the scope of the natural park, the Administration must exercise its control role as stated in the legislation itself.

       Whichever way you look at it's still sick
        I just don't get this mindless slaughter


Saturday, October 20

Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)

A departure from the normal blog, I wanted to bring to your attention this website and the work they do to protect birds here's a link to there website   And below is extract, but there are plenty more terrible stories of killings of birds please take time to look.

The last survivor of a flock of 18 White Storks on Malt is now presumed dead. The birds arrived two weeks ago together with 27 others, but soon after arriving poachers begin shooting at the flock, killing all adult birds which were leading the flock on their way south. Without the leadership of experienced adult birds, the remaining juveniles were disoriented and appear to have been taken out one by one. CABS are offering a €5000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and convictions of any of the Stork killers.

White Stork
 and how it should be.

I hate the mindless killing of birds, there is a mindset that its ok to do this, its got to stop?  CABS are a small organisation and if you want to make a difference and help stop this you can, by going to there home page and make a donation.

Cheers Bryan

Thursday, October 18

Leigh Ornithological Society

Ferruginous Duck

 Wednesday 17th I meet up with my old friend and legend, Tony Bishop and vice chairmen of the L O S for a mornings bird watching, this had now become an annual event for us over the last few years.
And so at 8 30. we headed straight for the Clot De Galvany for the Ferruginous Duck, it only took a minute or so to find the pair of ducks, all the other usual suspects were still present.

 We then crossed Santa Pola Salinas adding Great White Egret, Slender-billed Gull, Little Bitten, Sandwich Tern.  We decided to carry on past the salt tower and get on to San Felipe. We notice that the Costa Blanca Bird Club were at the lay-by with a large group of 30 plus members. On route adding Tree Sparrow, Blue Rock Thrush, and the first of this autumn Black Redstart.

 I was not feeling positive about as San Felipe, as there have been no birds of any note on this water for ages,  l know I keep going on about the water quality there. And today to my surprise it has been completely drained of all water for cutting of the reed bed, so you would think? because of all this lovely mud, it would be full of waders but no not one wader, there was a large group of about 400 Glossy Ibis, probing the mud, 100 Little Egrets, and around 6 Great White Egrets but that was it, even the outer pools had hardly a bird on it? "What's going on" 

 Glossy Ibis

 Great White Egret

 At the end of the boardwalk was a puddle with hundreds of Carp gasping for water, most of which were dead and the containers were there ready to scoop up the dead fish. I now understand that there is a reason they do this, its to remove the carp from the water.  The carp cause damage to ecosystems of lake and quality of the water and they also use this opportunity to strim back the reeds.

The pool at the visitor centre had the usual Red-knobbed Coot and an abundance of  Plain Tiger Butterflies.

  We left scratching our heads to where have all the birds have gone? On the way back we witness an event not see by either of us before.  A murmuration of 300 Glossy Ibis flying as one,  just like the starlings do,  we had to stop the car to watch this event "crazy"

We called in briefly at El Pinet but the same story there, water levels are high and what waders that were there, were a long way off and too far away to ID correctly.  I phissed out a group of 10 Long-tailed Tits from the pines close by. 
After lunch, I went back to the Clot for some more photos of the Ferruginous Duck.

Also, there was a white spot Blue Throat and Reed Warbler.
Lovely to meet up again with Tony Bishop
enjoy the photos

 Enjoy your birding
Cheers Bryan

Tuesday, October 16

Ferruginous Duck on the Clot De Galvany

I'd seen on social media yesterday that there was a Ferruginous Duck on the Clot. I'd planned to go there today anyway, so I was keen to see if it was still around.  At first, there were just the normal birds there Coots, Little Grebe's, Mallards, Shovelers, White-headed Duck, Moor Hens,  Cetti's Warbler.
Ferruginous Duck
Little Grebe

 I notice that there were a few Teal and a few more Pochard, these are fresh in as they were not there a few days ago when I last visited the Clot. A Common Sandpiper flitted around looking for somewhere to land.

Common Sandpiper
There was a big black cloud hanging over the Clot with the odd rumble of thunder and threatening rain.
After about 30 minutes the Ferruginous Duck pop out of the reeds  I fired off a few photos but light levels were so low so I struggled to get any usable photos.

Male Ferruginous Duck

Now, with the odd spot of rain, I called it a day, if it brightens up I'll give it another go later.
And so the dark clouds disappeared and the sun came out, so at 4 o'clock I popped down the Clot.  I only live 10 minutes away.
Also at the hide was the finder of the Fudge Duck. Ace bird photographer Mark Etheridge. We were also joined by a visiting UK birder, so we were chatting generally about birds while waiting for the Fudge Duck to appear, sometime later the female showed well for a little while.

Female Ferruginous Duck

 before moved further away, in between times White-headed Duck, and Common Pochard came closer.

White-headed Duck

Common Pochard

 A Grey Wagtail and Common Sandpiper showed up.
Later on, the male Fudge Duck sneaked out again.

Male Ferruginous Duck

I managed a few more photos of the Fudge Duck which showed on and off and only briefly before heading further away.
We all stayed till the light failed. Really nice to meet up with Mark after not seeing him since the spring.
The weather forecast is very bad over the next few days,  so I'm hoping that these birds might stay a little longer, so I able to get the photos I'm happy with.
who knows?
Big thanks to Mark.

 Have a nice day
cheers Bryan

Monday, October 15

Santa Pola Salinas

Today Sunday the 14th  I showed 2 birders around our local patch.

Setting off from Gran Alacant around 8.30  the plan was mostly to bird from the car, as Jason had sliced open his big toe on a broken tile in the pool. 

First stop Santa Pola Salinas, we'd 'only just arrived when a large flock of Greater Flamingo gave an impressive flypast flashing the red in the wings, nice start to the morning, 10 Great White Egrets,  a canteen of about 50+ Spoonbills, lots of  Slender-billed Gulls and Great-crested Grebe, Turnstone, Redshank, Sandwich Tern, Shell Duck, Grey Herons, some very noisy Black-winged Stilts, and Avocets.

We moved on to El Pinet, but didn't stay long as it was mostly empty of birds with the exception of 50 Blk-tailed Godwits, on the far side. Around the tracks behind La Marina was quite, there was some Southern Grey Shrikes, European Stonechats, and Sardinian Warbles, an Iberian green Woodpecker flew across the car, but the presence of Hunters in several areas didn't help, we did see Red-legged Partridge fleeing area as the shots rang out. It was now time for first breakfast, I knew a spot where Tree Sparrow we're present so we spent some time watching them come and go.

San Felipe was busy and the car park half full, not a good sign " I thought" lots of kids on bikes, dog walkers, picnicking, well it is Sunday after all and it is a visitors centre.   And the star performer of the day turned out not to be a bird but a Butterfly.  Plain Tigers were everywhere a real treat it was like being in a butterfly house

 Plain Tiger

 Also there a Lang's Long-tailed Blue and a Speckled Crimson Moth.

Lang's Long-tailed Blue

Speckled Crimson Moth

 Red-knobbed Coot, Purple swamp Hen, showed well, a squadron 30 Glossy Ibis passed over, and it was time for 2nd breakfast. A pleasant morning out, and easy birding, it was now time head for home.
The clouds were beginning to gather and looked like we could get some rain  "we need it, " and about an hour after I got home the heavens opened.  I was watching the heavy rainstorm when 2 Black Wheatear came and perched on a ledge, on my neighbour's houses, to shelter from the downpour. I managed to grab a few images in the poor light before they moved off.

I haven't mentioned every bird seen just the one that showed well or of interest. 

Have fun
Bryan Thomas