Ring-billed Gull ~ Gosport, Hampshire - 17.02.13

Thursday 21 February 2013

We had a morning visit to Walpole Park, Gosport for the adult wintering Ring-billed Gull.
Could of stayed for longer but a family came with a few loaves of bread to feed the swans, the Ring-billed stuffed itself and then flew to the creek ... end of our little game ..

Ring-billed Gull

Dark-breasted Barn Owl ~ Southease, East Sussex - 16.02.13

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Late afternoon we made our way to a field alongside Southease Station in East Sussex where a Dark type Barn Owl has been seen ..
We met Paul S there who gave us the lowdown on the birds previous behaviour and it did exactly that .. !!

Tyto. alba. guttata ( C. L. Brehm, 1831 ) 

Central Europe North of the Alps from The Rhine to Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine and South to Romania, NE Greece and South Balkans. Intergrades with alba at the Western border of its range.
Darker than nominate. Upperparts more Orange-Brown with a more pronounced grey veil than alba. Underparts Buff to Rufous with some dark speckles more than in alba. Facial disc white becoming brownish towards the bill. Females on average more Buff/Rufous on underparts than males.

This is a Dark type bird but is it within

the varition of  T. a. guttata if it is then 

surely it's on the lighter phase, due to 

the grey veil being sparsely marked 

and rather clean looking facial disc ....
Could it be an exceptionally dark T. a. alba ...
Could it be one of intergrades from where the ranges come together at the western edge of the T. a. guttata overlap ..
Could it be another subspecies ...

Information on this subject I'm finding hard to come across.

Like all Owl's, when this superb bird came into view and flew pass there's just something magical in watching it ..

Dark-Breasted Barn Owl

One thing is for certain, what a beautiful looking bird ...



I messaged Martin Garner who kindly took up my questions and did a blog post read in full

birdingfrontiers blog post

Regards the owl, it’s clearly not acceptable as guttata for the following reasons:
The pale undertail coverts and pale legs are the giveaway – they should be buff in guttata
pale underwing coverts – should be buff in guttata
white facial disc – should have extensive dark marks around the eye in guttata
pale grey primary tips – should be much darker grey in guttata
rather thin barring across primaries – should be broader in guttata and go across the whole feather
underpart spotting – this bird is rather lightly spotted, but may be OK for male guttata
So there really is nothing going for it as a guttata apart from a slightly more extensive buff breast than normal, and to be honest, I’m surprised that some information services are still listing it as such. Some female alba can show buff breasts like this, and there may well be a tendency for birds in the east of Britain (East Anglia mostly, but of course we don’t know where this bird was hatched) to exhibit more extensive buff breasts as a result of influence from the near Continent and the intergrade zone in the Low Countries and France. In short, this is either a British alba or possibly an intergrade from the near Continent, but I suspect it was hatched in Britain.
Paul French.

Great Black-Backed Gull ~ Princes Park, Eastbourne - 16.02.13

Whilst waiting for the small yank gull to actually move and do something ...
This GBBG circled round and came into land here's two shots from the landing sequence ...

Great Black-backed Gull 

Bonaparte's Gull - PtII ~ Princes Park, Eastbourne - 16.02.13

Monday 18 February 2013

Yep ..... back again with the promise of better light and yet again the forecaster's got it wrong.

We still had a good day even with it being dull and overcast ..

The bird is such a star it even had birding Royalty turn up to see it ...
Pete & Majella

There is a but ... well the bird isn't a real performer it's so stuffed with bread all it seems to do is rest in the middle and when it fly's in its a quick in & out to grab a piece then back in the middle ... No twist's, turn's, backflips or somersaults  just a few banking shots .... ZZzzzzzzzz

Bonaparte's  Gull

We gave it another visit on Sunday afternoon 17.02.13, only had an hour as time was precious, needed to be else where !!

Light was the best so far ...

Then some redneck throwback with a Radio-controlled Exocet missile of a boat, flushed the lot off  !!

So we moved on ...

Black-Headed Gull - Leucistic ~ Crayford, Kent - 15.02.13

Friday 15 February 2013

I found this Leucistic bird yesterday but didn't have my camera gear with me only scope and compact camera so I digi-scoped it ... Omg !! they went straight in the bin l'll be leaving that up to Andy L in future ...

Once work was finished today, I went back and re-located the bird on the flood at Bob Dunn Way.

These images are super crops at a range of about 100m's !!

Smart looking bird

Black-headed Gull

Leucism ........

In leucistic birds, affected plumage lacks melanin pigment due to the cells responsible for melanin production being absent. This results in a white feathers, unless the normal plumage colour also comprises carotenoids (e.g. yellows), which remain unaffected by the condition. Although leucism is inherited, the extent and positioning of the white colouration can vary between adults and their young, and can also skip generations if leucistic genes are recessive.

Black-bellied Dipper - PtII ~ Thetford, Norfolk - 10.02.13

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Follow the light ......

With most parts bathed in rain, the east coast was the place to stay dry that is as long you don't fall in the river !! .... so close to going all in but one arm wet is better than a complete soaking ...

Took awhile to locate the bird, I found it down at the next bridge and after about an hour or so it returned back to it's favoured spot.
We then set about coaxing this superb bird with the outcome hopefully of some different images ..

F8 ~ 1/20 ... F4 ~ 1/50

Image were taken with these settings, given the lack of light it was the best available ..

The images weren't great straight off as Raw files and needed extra work, but have polished up ok. 

Black-Bellied Dipper

Love to have some light on this stunner so will probably go again if nothing else turns up !!

If you haven't been yet are you crazy !!


Black-Headed Gull ~ Princes Park, Eastbourne - 09.02.13

Tuesday 12 February 2013

When the Bonaparte's was resting out in the middle of the lake, it was easy to point the camera at this nice 1st. winter

Black-Headed Gull

If only there was a bit more light to play with ...

Bonaparte's Gull ~ Princes Park, Eastbourne - 09.02.13

Monday 11 February 2013

Forecast was for bright sunny spells on the south coast ..

So we headed for Princes Park in Eastbourne for the Bonaparte's Gull that's been on Crumbles Pond.

As per the norm though it was dull & cloudy, no change there then !!

After sometime I went for a lay-down ...

Could do that again with some nice light !!