Friday, February 25, 2011

LGRE Special Access

Lee Evans was sighted the other day getting special private access into Rainham tip. He was spotted riding on the back of his own private dump truck.

The witness asked to remain anonymous and said ''We were all scanning the tip the other day in the hope of picking up the Slaty-backed Gull with no luck, having to make do with a gammy Caspo. Then Lee Evans came past riding on the back of a dumper truck. We thought it was a bit harsh seen as he'd already seen it previously and hadn't asked any of us if we'd like to rid in on his truck.''

Another witness said that ''He seemed totally at ease in some sort of gay pose as he rode past the despondent crowd''

When contacted LGRE declined comment....

Friday, February 18, 2011

New ID tool?

Recently I have read a few different discussions about white wingers and whether or not they were Iceland or Glaucous. Now although most can be assigned to species level pretty easily, there are always a few that verge on large (male) Iceland and small (female) Glaucous. So after having a quick think I managed to make a link between keeping corn snakes and Bird Identification! When I used to keep quite a few corn Snakes there was a programme that you could download for free that would tell you how long your corn snake was. A quick internet search and I had found said programme and quickly downloaded it.

So what is this programme? Well you can download it here and it works for snakes by taking a photo of a snake next to a known length ie a ruler. Then you measure the length of the snake and it uses ratios to tell you how long your pet is.

Now this got me thinking, Glaucous Gulls on the whole have a deeper bill than Iceland Gulls (don't have BWP/i or any ringing books so can anyone confirm this for me?) and so could I use this programme to get some kind of comparison between two different photos?

Now the first flaw to this is that it would be kinda tricky to take a photo of these gulls conveniently posed next to a ruler! However I thought maybe I could use the eye to get a scale of eye to bill depth.

So heres how I did it, I got some photos of the internet of various Iceland and Glaucous Gulls and used this programme to obtain a ratio for eye size to bill depth. Eye length was measured from the bottom to the top of the actually eye in a vertical line and bill depth was measured from the tip of the gonys angle vertically up (so on some I had to compensate depending on the angle the bird was holding its bill at)

So the results from a quick experiment involving 3 Glaucous Gulls and 3 Iceland Gulls from google images.

Ratios as Eye:Bill Depth

Glaucous Gull 1= 1:1.911
Glaucous Gull 2= 1:2.408
Glaucous Gull 3= 1:2.058

Iceland Gull 1= 1:1.991
Iceland Gull 2= 1:1.701
Iceland Gull 3= 1:1.756

So even in this tiny study size you can see that Glaucous Gull ratios range from 1.9-2.4 and Iceland 1.7-1.9.

Of course it would be a lot more accurate to do more birds and maybe I'll get round to it at some point.

Now the whole inspiration for me to do this was a post by Alan Tilmouth (nothing to do with me having a reading week at uni!) of a bird he'd seen and wasn't sure if it was Glaucous or Iceland. 

So I thought I would use the programme on a photo from this post and got a ratio of 1:1.608 so from my small study above falls into the Iceland Gull category.

Also found this thread on surfbirds

Ian Lewington

Again even though this bird was settled as a Glaucous Gull I did the ratio on the bird above and it came out as 1:2.423 so in the Glaucous category.

Be interesting to hear of some feedback of what people think to this.

Could this be a useful tool for IDs of birds like this and similar?
Anyone else wanna have a play with the programme and see if you get similar results as me?
Any other species/taxa groups this could be useful for?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Iceland Gull

Saw a Juv Iceland Gull in Scarborough Harbour 13th Feb and took some video footage here

Also did a sketch of it the day after, shading is crap need better pencils but thought I'd post it any way. I like the legs the best!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Swarovski EL50 Swarovisions

So I caved in and got a pair, there so good and the light gathering is amazing! Being a poor student however....

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Abberant Herring Gull

Went to Wheldrake on Monday and had a dogey gull, just done some quick sketches. Seen as they weren't done at the time they aren't 100% accurate but gives you an idea of how wierd and abberant gulls can be!

Comments welcome

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Sorry for the lack of posts dudes, suppose that living in York and discovering how many awesome birds I can see close to home I've been busy in the day either at lectures or birding then on the evenings going out! (Only reason I'm doing this post is cause I can't really afford to go out tonight!) Hence the lack of posts, but never fear I may actually do some decent posts soon...

Anyway local birding is good and year list is up to 95. Video camera is good even without a Tripod as I'm still a poor student check out some shaky videos that are nearly always shot in crap light due to me being too lazy and only going out in the afternoon although talk of a 6am fire drill might get me out of bed a little earlier, or where are those ear plugs at! But check out those videos here

Video camera picture... designed to take videos not pictures....

Erm what was I gonna write about? Oh I'm off to South West Turkey in July anyone been before? Any site or book reccomendations?

Birdy highlights recently have been juv Glaucous Gull, Male Merlin, Mealy Redpoll, Corn Bunting, Willow Tit, Ruff, 20+ Brambling, 16+28 Waxwing and 40 Pink-feets over the flat. Not bad considering all were seen from places I got to on a bike!

Using a car I managed Rough-legged Buzzard at Hatfield, looking forward to spring now