Thursday, December 30, 2010


Well there's to much fog to do proper video recording so what else does one do..... collect a bunch of crappy photos I've taken over the last few years and put it to some music, standard.

Compilation from Tim Jones on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Now I am back in Birmingham I was keen to get to a gull roost. With Bartley Reservoir being only 15mins away we went down yesterday in the hope of finding something unusual in and amongst the larids. 

Yesterday we managed to find a juv Iceland Gull! Along with 6 ad Yellow-legged Gulls, 2 Juv GBBG and 3 Goldeneye.

Iceland Gull Bartley 27th December 2010 from Tim Jones on Vimeo.

Then today I went down to try and help Gary Prescott (TheBikingBirder) find the bird again as he needs it for his year list, unfortunately Gary had some problems with his tyre and couldn't make it! So I arrived at Bartley to dense fog.... Still managed to check probably around half the roost when this lifted slightly and even managed to read a ring on a Lesser-black Backed Gull, Blue Darvic with orange code HVP. Submitted the details through Euring and amazingly received and email from Peter Stewart who had let me know that the bird was originally rung 30th 2010 in Gloucestershire, then sighted in Edinburgh in August and Glamorgan on the 4th December 2010 before I saw it today at Bartley. Cool!

HVP through the fog
Also for Christmas I got a Panasonic SDR-H85 camcorder so hopefully will be able to get some better quality videos on here than the Iceland Gull one!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


So today I did my first timed tetrad visit. Well not quite a timed visit seen as by the time I'd woken up and got there it was about 30mins from being dark, oh its tough being a student!

But to cut a long story short in the 30mins I did have were very enjoyable. On the bike ride there I managed to cycle straight past a flock of 11 Waxwing until they called making me stop very quickly and enjoy fantastic close views of them feeding in an apple tree, we're they the same flock of 11 I had fly over the flat not 10mins down the road yesterday? At the tetrad highlights were a Barn Owl hunting over roadside fields that flew to within about 10ft when I did squeaky noises! 3 Woodcock that flushed late on from a hedge, 6+ Tree Sparrow, 3 Yellowhammer and plenty of Fieldfare. Will be going back to do the timed visit properly, but I'm glad I don't have to count birds that don't use the tetrad, as thousands of Gulls flew over towards the Humber!

Also last week had up to 3 Jack Snipe in the lake over the back of the flat, 11 Waxwings over the flat and 2 in the car park. Oh and yesterday saw a lot of Mealy Redpoll where's the Arctic though!

And here are a few links that I have found interesting recently and posted onto Twitter so thought I'd put them on here as well.

Podcast by birders loosely about UK birding etc

Garners put a load of posts on recently on interesting stuff

From Birdguides, all the reports of Waxwing so far on one map

Cracking photo

What we all dream of

Another mental raptor photo

Lotto win well spent?

Imagine one of these in your garden with the dunnocks...

Sunday, December 05, 2010

I'm a listing geek, but my gosh don't I just know it

After reading in quite a few peoples different blogs and talking to different birders. There seem to be quite a few birders that don't keep track of their lists. Is this because listing has got a recent bad press due to the programme and birders want to try and distance themselves from being associated with that? Personally I think keeping lists is a great thing, I'll probably come across a bit weird now but oh well. The reason I keep such a detailed list is because its such an easy reference tool, I'm not obsessed with adding new birds to my list. Of course I like doing that, but if a bird is reported that I haven't seen before the first thing I think isn't how quickly can I get there but about the finder of that particular bird. Do I know them? Wonder what it was like finding x? Probably why I like the Finders Keepers articles on Birdguides

Probably similar to most people who actually keep lists I have mine laid out in excel. So thought I'd put up a few screen shots of my list and maybe it will inspire some of you to do similar, or more than likely just prove how weird I am.

Points scores for species from

This shows the bottom of my list and the various different stats and information that I can quickly gather from looking at this.

This is another part of the area under the list with various different pieces of information.

This table shows 2010 broken down into how many lifers, yearers etc in each individual month.

This is a list of the birds that I have seen that my Dad hasn't and vice versa for the year and life. Nice reference tool for gripping Dad off, especially for the year! Red/Orange/Green highlights show how hard/medium/easy a bird will be to get back either in the year or life. 

A seperate sheet to the above, has the order of birds I have seen in that particular month, only started this year in Feb. Red highlight is a lifer and green is a highlight bird/species. Orange over the number means I have only seen that species on one occasion/location this year.

This is the last page that I call bogey picking. Basically its all the birds that are on my 'list' but not if you understand that. I've then split them into categories of where I need to go in order to see them.

As you can probably tell from those screen shots there are a lot of different components to my list but its nice to be able to go through it and pick out random trivia from it really easily but mainly its just so I can turn to my dad and say, I have seen 24 more species than you this year because what's birding without a bit of competition!

If anyone else has a similar system to this then I'd love to hear from you and anything that you do differently to me!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Trending Redpolls

Seen as this winter there seems to be a lot of new/old ID features of Redpoll being put into various different articles on how to tell the various lessers/mealies/arctics apart, I thought I would also jump on this band wagon...

But seen as I'm not a Redpoll expert in anyway at all thought I would just put links to all the articles on here just in case you haven't seen them all before.

Why would I do this? Well I suppose coming from inland birding its kinda hard to get excited at the thought of trying to find a Northern Harrier when a Hen Harrier that stuck would cause a twitch in Worcs! But Redpolls are a group of birds where the prospect, for an inland birder, of finding something a bit different and maybe even a BB are greatly increased! Also apparently York Uni gets a flock over the winter and they have held Mealies in recent years and apparently an Arctic not too many years ago, so there's always potential, although I've only had a single fly over so far!

Very in depth guide covering most species/subspecies to be found in the UK good comparisons between types and ages.

Martin Garners Article, not as much detail but good encouragement for getting out there and finding your own birds!

Just to show that not all Redpolls are Identifiiable and some have to be left as a best guess

Good article focusing on Lessers and Mealies

Good tips on splitting the Arctics. Anyone know if the BOU/BOURC/BBRC are considering a split of exilipes and hornemanni?

Also wise words to remember from one of the Crows Jonathan Lethbridge ''that not everything can be identified'' but give it a try!

If you haven't seen the crowcouncil blog yet check it out here

Comments on BBRC WIP

So thought I'd share some comments on the latest BBRC work in progress file, avalible here-

So all previously accepted Redhead records are under review, does this mean that a new piece of information has come about regarding the acceptability of wild Redheads in the UK? Doubt identification is under assesment, all but one of the records involve males, maybe someone has studied hybrids and found that these birds are no longer acceptable?

Only one of the many possible/probable/definite Yelkouan's from Cornwall/Devon this year submitted so far, suppose a submission for a species like this may take a while to compose and consult all literature possible. See the Berry Head bird has made it to the BOURC.

Little Shearwaters, anyone know what held means?

Fregetta sp from Severn Beach at BOURC, likely hood of being accepted? Shame it wasn't nailed to species.

Masked Booby from Norfolk, could be one to keep an eye on, I heard it was seen by an experienced birder.

Egyptian Vulture, Norfolk??? 

At least the Lesser Kestrel sightings stop on the 31st March (I was there on 1st April when it was reported and was lead on a merry dance around the heath!)

Sakers on Shetland another potential first for Britain, at BOURC.

SBC I won't even go there....

Elegant Tern, earlier Devon records from '02 rejected but later records from Devon and Wales at BOURC. Any coincidence that the later two, at BOURC records, have names next to them and the other two don't?

Alder Flycatcher from Cornwall gone back to BOURC, interesting, anything more come out of this after it was returned to BBRC or has it just been bounced around a bit?

Lesser Grey Shrike from earlier in the year moved from Norfolk to IOS, interesting movement never noticed that at the time. Infact comparing photos 
Looks spot on! Cool movement.

Iberian Chiffchaff, interesting to note that from the 5 submitted from 2010 the first to be accepted, the Titchwell bird, has a name next to it. Trend emerging?

Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler, Outer Skerries 8th October 2010. Go on Mike!!!

Blue Rock Thrush from Lundy this year, was only reported as a probable/possible, anyone got any more gen? Anyone twitch it?

Desert Finch from Kent '01 at BOURC!!!! Maybe I'm missing something but why was this wrote off as an escape (on Birdguides) Trumpeter Finch can make it then Desert could? And Citril has as well! Or are Desert Finch known for not moving at all, any WP records away from breeding ranges?

Oriental Greenfinch from Surrey, well what to make of that! Have stranger things happened, surely escaped bird will be to hard to rule out.

Sooty Albatross, Mull this October! Well these mega seabirds just keep coming don't they!

So in total that's a potential 11 firsts for Britain being considered, not including sub species, so what will be the 600th species for Britain to be added to the list?

Well on reflection that might actually be a rather boring blog post so well done if your still reading. Any answers to the millions of questions above, greatly appreciated on the back of a postcard (or as a comment/email)

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