Identifying birds gets decidedly tricky the more you look into them.
Bird types can change depending on whether you are looking at a male or female.
Or what time of year it is.
Juveniles can look very different from the adults they’ll eventually turn into.
Take the moorhen for example.
On the left is a juvenile I saw on the river Dart today.
The moorhen on the right is the adult version you more normally see (I didn’t see that though) Its now got a red beak and looks less brown and more black bodied.
Likewise the black headed gull has significant changes of appearance on maturity.
Juvenile here minus choccy head Adult here, with a choccy head
Seen today on the river Dart Seen on Meadfoot beach July 2017
What makes a positive id of blackheaded gulls – both juveniles and adults – even trickier, is how similar to mediterranean gulls they look.
Anyway, here’s a vid of the juvenile moorhen and juvenile black headed gull seen on the river Dart in Totnes (next to Morrisons) today.
The moorhen, to my eyes, is like a fancy-footed water chicken. It was amusingly flick flicking up its white botty.
The black headed gull was in itchy twitch mode.
Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet
This is the Mediterranean Gull we were seeing on Institute beach last Saturday afternoon.
Making funny, as in odd, squawks…. like a wind-up bird with a squeaky beak….
How interesting we thought ….. why’s it crying? …. it seems distressed…. – look! …. its disappearing over there by the rocks …… following its mother….
Haze was soon in hot pursuit….. took 2 steps up onto the rocks…..
…….and the rest is history……..
Don’t think we’ll be having too many positive associations with Mediterranean Gulls for a while….
And if this one should ever reappear……I’ll…..I’ll…… shake….. it…… by….. its……
Words & Pic: Ian Nisbet
Afterword: That might be us done as far as Institute Beach is concerned…. a place of fond …. and not so fond memories……
Off this sunny Sunday afternoon to give the new Lumix DMC40 a try out.
Waiting by the Dart river to see if Beautiful Demoiselles might still be around.
And then dropped down this Red Darter dragonfly.
Right in front of where I stood, only 4 feet away.
Having a mini break from dizzy darting about.
In a headspin she was. Chewing a fly.
I bent down to get near but she shot up in the air scraping past the top of my head.
I waited around for a while to see if she’d come back.
But she didn’t.
Had to content myself instead with wagtails bouncing about on the far bank.
And being dipped in delicious by the lovely sunny river.
Most people won’t know rock pipits exist.
They jump around rocks on beaches half hidden from view.
They’re like the dunnocks of the seashore. Inconspicious olive-brown birds. Wagging their tails occasionally.
Getting on with it. Minding their own business. Humble servants of their own modest endeavours.
This vid is a collection of clips taken of various rock pipits over the last couple of years at Meadfoot beach, Maidencombe beach, and Institute beach.
We were on Institute beach last Saturday to look for more rock pipitry.
Unfortunately we got the rock without the pipit. Haze left half of her nose and one of her teeth on the hard rocks of Institute beach.
(Happily, she’s already bouncing back. No rock can knock down or defeat her inner Pipit spirit)
Vid & Words: Ian Nisbet
More sparras havin more baffs.
Space is crowded.
Enjoyment is limitless.
Filming: Hazel Brown; Vid: Ian Nisbet
Starlings doing what starlings do: intent and intense conversation.
Starlings have so much to say. And so many ways of saying it.
Full on aerial transmisson.
Filming: Hazel Brown; Vid: Ian Nisbet
Little Egrets are everywhere these days.
This fella was less than 2 minutes from Morrisons in Totnes.
He was taking selfies of himself in the Dart river
Absolutely no self-esteem issues whatsoever.
You could do some serious stabbing with that filleting spike of a beak.
He was only about 30 feet away from where I stood.
But his miscroscopic mind, his total attention, was on far more important matters.