Sunday, 24 March 2013


Cold? Cold? It's totally freeeeeeeeezzzzzzing. Well it was yesterday. Nasty easterly with snow and cloud and cold. Stayed indoors and wrote about crows mostly. Well, we did take the hound on the moor and in one hour saw no birds, not one.

Today was a tad better, wind was easier. Down at Birsay there were even some signs of spring, in amongst the wintery ones. Like a pair of summer plumage Red-throated Divers in the bay and two Lesser Black-backed Gulls at the burn mouth. Even some signs of wader movement with reduced numbers of Purple SandPipers and 6 Dunlin and a Grey Plover. The wintery sign though was a neat little flock of Snow Buntings with at least one immaculate male.

Back home the Bramblings were still around with 16 today. Two Goldfinches still present but no sign of Thursday morning's Robin. Biggest surprise was a Twite on the Niger feeder, that's never happened before. Most of the interest was on the crow front with a likely Nordic Jackdaw, well either that or one of the more eastern jobs, in amongst the 65 strong Jackdaw flock that was hanging about late p.m. Nice pale grey nape, head looked bigger and thin whitish neck collar. Couldn't see the belly well enough unfortunately. Looks like the Rooks are on eggs as one that I could see on the nest appeared to be sitting. 40 nests now, no increase really on last week's 39.

Twite on the feeder

And now for some crow stuff...

The id piece for the bird report on hybrid crows is finished. it's far from perfect and if I want to do more with it I'll have to work it up a bit more. Soonish I'll post some crow stuff on the Parliament of Rooks blog but for now....

 Nice pair of Hoodies

 Rubbish pic of a hybrid. Looks obvious in the photo but to drive by, or see fly by, easily mistaken for a Hoodie. Look at those lovely black under-tail coverts. Seems like all the pale hybrids, even the very Hoodie looking ones, give themselves away by always having at least a few black under-tail coverts.

Same beast in flight, look at the back, mantle and you can just see the nape has black feathers invading the grey.

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