Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Birding during Uni time?! (15th October)

I'll be honest, I've been birding during uni.  It isn't as bad as it sounds as it was infact part of the course as a group of us Environmental Scientists and Zoologists took the bus down to the Hayle Estuary with our lecturer Stuart Bearhop.  We arrived on sight (a train station overlooking the estuary) where we set up our scopes and scanned the mud for birds.  The usual array of wetland species were present way in the distance resting whilst the tide remained way out in the distance.  We did manage to get a few good birds including Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica and Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa as well as my first Redwing Turdus iliacus of the autumn (they certainly made my day!).  Also saw 1 Red Admiral, they seem to be able to last the longest as the temperatures are now beginning to fall.  Our next task after was to record the number of successful feeds a wader would make to measure the ecological importance of the birds we had seen.  Our group chose a relatively nearby Curlew Numenius arquata as our target and observed it as it fed, picking small crustaceans and worms from the mud, Environmental Science students will point out numerous issues with the way we sampled our data but it wasn't as bad a beginner who called a Ross's Gull (we were given the large Collin's Guides to a majority who had no clue how to ID a Chaffinch, It was an accident waiting to happen!).  Thankfully our lecturer soon put them right.

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