After beginnings in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, bird ringing (“bird banding” in the Americas and Australia) has become a major tool in the study of the lives of birds worldwide, enabling investigators to discover if birds remain in one place or, if not, where they travel, what routes they take and when … More Ringing in new discoveries
Our trial of the attachment method for fitting satellite tracking devices to juvenile Sooty Terns later this year (see post of 20 June) reached its first milestone when we left Bird Island on 30 June. Both of the birds fitted with dummy tags had alternated between incubating the single egg and going out on foraging … More SeyCCAT sponsored Sooty Tern tracking project makes early progress
My arrival at Fuente de Piedra on 3 May was greeted by a group of black-looking birds feeding close together at the edge of the shallow pool on the left side of the entrance road. During frequent visits to this Natural Park from 2003 onwards, I had never seen a Glossy Ibis until April 2016, … More Down-turned bills on the up
The evening sky over Antequera, and over most towns and villages in Andalucía, is now crowded with fast, aerobatic and noisy entertainers with distinctive scimitar-shaped wings – this design is almost unique to this family of birds. Swifts, recently returned from their wintering areas in sub-Saharan Africa, begin arriving here in April and numbers continue … More Chasers and screamers – summer is here
Little rain had fallen since our last visit to the lagoons at Fuente de Piedra in March and by early May evaporation of some of the huge amount of water that had fallen during the previous November’s storms had led to a fall in water levels. This left some of the lagoons shallow with damp … More Waders on the move
In my early childhood (probably in the 1950s) my parents took me to the local cinema see a wonderful film “Where no vultures fly”. This film was about the control of a then extremely serious and highly infectious disease of domestic cattle in Africa – Rinderpest. This virus disease had decimated cattle herds and caused … More “Where no vultures fly”: Rinderpest and Diclofenac
About 5 km east of Lucena, and close to the small town of Cabra, in northern Andalucía (Cordoba Province), lies an elevated area of limestone mountains with verdant valleys, some of which are devoted to grazing of cattle, sheep and goats and, in other parts of these sierras, olives. This area is part of the … More A spring visit to the Sierras Subétticas
With an area of just under 20 km2, Silhouette is the third largest of Seychelles’ granitic islands. In terms of biodiversity it is one of the least disturbed islands in the archipelago, its rugged and heavily forested mountains having spared it from significant human occupation. Its fauna and flora encompass a high degree of endemism … More Myna problems on Silhouette Island, Seychelles
Towards the end of this year’s stay on Bird Island I was able to photograph a Sooty Tern in the colony with unusual (compared with the vast majority of birds in the colony) plumage. Instead of having a clear-cut line between the white forehead and black cap on the head, this bird had a gradation … More A young Sooty Tern makes an early return?
During the evening of 15 June, we sat on Bird Island’s west beach to watch the sunset and hopefully catch the first glimpse of the new moon. Both missions were successful – as the sky darkened the latter revealed itself as the tiniest sliver of a crescent. The sky was full of birds – Brown … More Batay torti – slowly does it!