Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Med gull medley

Not a lot happening here in the southern Med. The weather has been settled and bird movement has been very light. The only species of note continues to be Med. gulls and so I have been honing my ID skills for this species in order to find one in the north of Scotland with ease on my return- this may sound absurd but there are probably more Ivory gulls than Med. gulls in the north of Scotland just now! Seems as though I will be at sea for xmas with the survey running late. The good news however is that I should be home for hogmanay- a chance to have a long conversation with my good friend Mr. Glenlivet- followed by a rough day getting the 2014 year list off to a flyer!

Anyway, the gulls are ship-shy, rarely venturing closer than 70-80 metres so here are my best effort, cropped shots. 

1st winter
2nd winter
ad. winter
ad. winter
ad. winter

Monday, 9 December 2013

Mediterranean Mandarin.

Currently embarked to a vessel operated by a Chinese company with 94% Chinese crew- very helpful and friendly but certainly an experience! I'm one of only 3 'westerners' onboard. Aside from getting used to the menu, trying to use chop sticks in heavy seas and the obvious language challenges, my only gripe is the appalling internet connection- so bad I can only load my gmail in HTML format! Have been trying to update this blog for days but the pages keep dropping out - adding photos. is a real challenge......but here goes...

A trickle of vis. mig. is still ongoing with pied wagtail, robin, black redstart, and song thrush all recorded on deck. A brief encounter with a large, dark-headed sylvia warbler on the deck (could have been an  Orphean) was the highlight bird- unfortunately my 10 second view did not offer much scope for a firm ID. Rather surprisingly I have also recorded a number of flocks of cormorants all flying due south- I had not realised that this species undertakes such obvious migrations- unless these flocks are merely undertaking localised movements?

Sea birds have been largely restricted to a few of the larus sp. gulls including lbb, yellow-legged and herring. A few gannets have also been counted and a single bonxie this morning was a bonus. 20 or so Med. gulls have been the real star birds thus far- even in their winter plumage the adults look very smart.