Sunday, February 06, 2011

Twitchers in Poole Park

Two posts in two days, that is unprecedented productivity for this blog. Anyway, I have this amzing little gadget that tells me how people arrived at this blog, and over the past few days i've had a fair few hits from people googling 'Twitchers in Poole Park'. Now, being a birder living in Poole, the words twitcher, poole and park appear frequently throughout the blog, just not in relation to these queries, ironically really, as I happen to have been one of the twitchers in question.
And this is why, a Long-billed Dowitcher, a vagrant from North America, hatched up in the Arctic tundra last summer, accidentally flew East over the Atlantic on it's migration South last autumn, and after a winter dithering around Western Europe has somehow ended up in Poole Park, and finds it very much to its likeing, feeding just metres away from an admiring crowd of birders and curious passer-bys.
Astonishingly, over the last two days there has also been a Ring-billed Gull, another American vagrant, but I haven't seen it yet so can't share any photos, there are a few here if you're interested though, grotty looking thig if you ask me.

POLITICAL INTERLUDE!!While you're here, take some time to whip over to the 38 degrees site and sign the petition to save our forests if you haven't already, cheers!
Then check this witty (though a little rude, you have been warned!!) song by Frank Turner, who i've wangled tickets to go see in the Students Union in a few weeks. Hits home a little too hard given the current government 'firesale' eh!!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Nepal photos

About a month ago I returned from a family christmas to the fantastic country that is Nepal. I had a few interesting sightings, so in the near future I should get around to writing up a proper trip report, but in the mean time, here's a brief taster of how it went.

After a few days settling into Kathmandu and seeing the usual touristy sights, we set off on a trek up the Langtang Valley. Seeing as how I was leading the family, it was difficult to do much full on birding, but I managed a few lifers, including some birds of top-class quality, and as expected, a glittering supporting cast of local goodies.

Long-billed Thrush- Lama Hotel

White-capped Water Redstart- Ubiquitous along the river

Hoary-throated Barwing-Rimche

Golden Eagle and Lammergeier above Kyanjin Gompa. Truly awesome sight

The same Lammergeier as above

Ashy-throated Warbler- Rimche

Appalling photo of the bird of the trip- Himalayan Monal, just above Langtang village. Watching the morning sun glittering off this stunning National Bird of Nepal as it fed on the mountainside was one of the highlights of my birding life so far.

Peregrine Falcon (peregrinator?) taking a breather from chasing Snow Pigeons around Mundu
Snow Pigeons taking a breather from being chased around Mundu by a Peregrine Falcon

Other highlights of the trek included Little and Spotted Forktail, Rufous-fronted Tit, White-throated, Guldenstadts and Blue-capped Redstart, Rufous-breasted Accentor, Spotted Laughingthrush and Black-faced Warbler.
Immediately after returning to Kathmandu we headed down to Chitwan National Park for the remainder of the trip. Unsurprisingly, highlight of our time here was an astonishingly close encounter with 2 Asian Rhinocerous (from the safety of the back of an elephant, unlike my previous visit to Chitwan). The only lifer for me in the park was White-rumped Needletail, but again, there were plenty of commoner local birds to enjoy, frequently at close range.
Grey-backed Shrike
Indian Pond Heron

Pied Kingfisher

Great Hornbill- the sight (and sound) of these beasts passing over a rainforest canopy is one of the many experiences that make Oriental birding so special.
Taiga Flycatcher

For more typical holiday photos, this link should take you to my Facebook album of the trip