11th – 17th March – more birds, ringing, music and social events.   Leave a comment

I have been having some difficulty with the Wildlife Recorder program (I am also having some difficulty with the format of this blog post!!) that I use to manage all my wildlife sightings. It was suggested that I delete and re-install it. On doing so I was invited to use a ‘validation program’ which checked the location of each record against the known range of the taxon concerned.

It quickly came up with 12 pages of errors amounting to over 500 sightings. Most of these were down to vagrants and rare migrants, for example WR didn’t know the Common Yellowthroat occurs in Wales, in some cases (especially wagtails) it didn’t like the subspecies I had chosen, some because I had given the location of a trip that crossed faunal zones without splitting the sightings into those faunal zones and some were just silly mistakes.
Examples of silly mistakes included White-throated Treecreeper (Australia) entered as White-throated Treerunner (South America) or Long-legged Pipit instead of Long-billed Pipit, but others were due to me entering a name that was in use for more than one species at the time without being aware of that. An example would be ‘Red-capped Parrot’ in Argentina which was entered as the Red-capped Parrot that occurs in western Australia, the south American bird is now called Pileated Parrot.
White-throated Treecreeper (Cormobates leucophaea) WT Treerunner
White-throated Treecreeper (top) of eastern Australia may look like and have an English name that is very similar too White-throated Treerunner (bottom) of southern South America but they are not even closely related. Is this an     example of convergent evolution of vernacular names?  Both images from the internet.
This underlines the necessity for a single unique English name for every bird species in the world (which now has been achieved) and the careful observation of the scientific name whilst entering data. My early write ups and checklists from tour companies in the 80s and early 90s didn’t use scientific names and this is where the majority of errors occurred.
As yesterday progressed my office desk, then the floor, filled up with dozens of old checklists, write ups, notebooks, field guides and volumes of HBW until I could hardly get out of the room. It took 12 hours at the PC but I’m glad I straightened out the database. OK I lost a few lifers but  gained some as well, in the end I lost just 0.17%.
On the 13th John Dowling and I continues the ringing program at Holton Lee. As before there few new birds, a Great Spotted Woodpecker was an exception, but we had lots of retraps so the data keeps accumulating.
Although Sika Deer are common throughout East Dorset but these leucistic variant seem to be a
           Lytchett Bay/Holton Lee speciality.
Pheasants are common around the feeders and we have to be careful not to spook them to keep them out of the nets. Introduced to Britain from Asia in Roman times, millions are released every year for shooting.
On the 14th I did a high tide waterfowl and wader count at Lytchett Bay for the RSPB as the usual surveyor, Shaun was abroad. The tide was very high and many of the fields were underwater. There were no particular surprises but it was a nice sunny and warm morning to be out birding.
                    Equinox high tides are always the highest as the Sun and Moon follow similar paths in the sky and
                   hence their combined pull is at its greatest. This is the landward side of the sluice gate. The flooded
inlet on the left is the footpath!
P3140627- Lytchett wirlepool
              On the seaward side of the sluice gate, the water forcing its was through the gate had built up so much pressure that a whirlpool was formed.
   On the evening of the 14th we went to see the legendary folk-rock band Steeleye Span. I first saw
     them in autumn 1969 (for the princely sum of 10p) and have been a fan ever since. Margaret and I
saw also them in 2006 on one of first dates so it was great to hear them again.
On Saturday 16th we had a lot of friends round for nibbles and drinks, mainly ex colleagues and partners and family. It was a most enjoyable evening as we all crammed into our conservatory. On Sunday Margaret and I spent the afternoon near Sixpenny Handley where Merlin and Hen Harrier showed distantly and Short-eared Owl and Great Grey Shrike showed quite well. Later we were invited round to our friend Christine’s for the evening.
L-R: John, Amber, Anita, Tim Kellaway, Gio Pietrangelo, Ann Hitchcoe
                    L-R: Ann & John Hitchcoe, Anne & Chris Bunn. Jessica & Margaret were out of shot and Kara
and friend Lilly were about somewhere. 
Short-eared Owls have been easy to see at Wyke Down this winter.
Margaret & Christine.

Posted March 18, 2013 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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