I've always had a soft spot for buzzards. I grew up on the North Wales coast, where buzzards were relatively common. I'd hear their lofty mewling calls as I walked to meet the school bus in the morning, and would watch them soaring overhead in the afternoon as I returned home. They were a mainstay of my wildlife-watching education -- a fundamental component of my … [Read more...] about Buzzards on patch… what a buzz!
As a heritage specialist with the wonderful Heritage in Schools scheme I get to visit some fabulous schools in some amazing places. One of the most interesting recent visits was to the school on Bere Island off Castletownbere in West Cork. As always it was a privilege to talk to the children (and their teachers) about their local wildlife, and to get out and show … [Read more...] about Eagles, orchids, seals and exploring nature with children… what’s not to love?
Under the banner of Operation Godwit an international team of scientists has been studying the Icelandic black-tailed godwit since the 1990s. Unique combinations of colour rings placed on the birds' legs on their breeding grounds in Iceland and on their wintering grounds in Western Europe allow individual birds to be identified, and mean that when birdwatchers around Europe … [Read more...] about Cork school children contribute to international godwit study
For many a budding birder, myself included, gulls can be an absolute nightmare! There's just so much plumage variation across the different year classes, and lots of potential overlap between species in sub-adult gulls that accurate identification can be extremely taxing, and scanning gull roosts in (inevitably) low light in an attempt to pick out something different soon … [Read more...] about Ross’s Gull: this little beauty makes even gulls seem sexy!
Given clear views on the ground adult crow species generally present few ID problems... but throw juveniles into the mix, and birds in flight at distance, and they become surprisingly tricky. There are clues you can use to identify crows accurately even in these situations. In this video the BTO run through the common crow species -- all of which breed here in Ireland, with … [Read more...] about Know your crows — how to identify corvids with the BTO