Showing posts from October, 2017

Finnish Focus On... Pygmy Owl

Is there any more stunning family of birds? 
I think not. 
Their variety, appearance and, more often than not, mysterious nocturnal nature make them highly desired by birders. 
If you ask anyone shelling out a few grand for an organized Lapland trip "What birds do you most want to see in Finland?" 99% will answer with the owls. They are simply the dogs bollix.
Pygmy Owl, for me anyway, ranks high on the list of Europe's best Owls. These "grump-tards", as I call them with much affection, are by far the easiest owl to see here, a factor of both their abundance and their often diurnal habits. 

They never look happy, always looking utterly pissed off with their situation, which I feel only adds to their charm. In fairness, their expression is understandable. They get no peace. Despite their small size they are formidable hunters, often taking birds much larger than themselves. Consequently, when discovered by any roving tit-flock they are incessantly mobbed…

Fantasy Island

I was recently amused at birders in Cork, particularly the finder of a recent Grey Cheeked Thrush, ranting about rarities being hounded by birders/photographers.
There was talk on the internet along the usual lines.
"I'll suppress birds in future."
"We need to police ourselves."
"We should have a quiet word with the perpetrators."
Now, I'm sure there's plenty out there who will say this is sensible, and if it was done universally and equally I would agree. 
However, in reality, when guys like this complain about birders hounding birds what they mean is, "birders they don't know hounding birds" in their opinion. It's birding NIMBYism.
More than that, it seems to be targeted at young birders on this occasion. Scold the bold boys. An easy target, right? We've seen that before haven't we?
How do we know this is NIMBYism?
We know this because there is a long history to look back on.
Would the grey cheeked thrush fi…


The weekend started early with this cracking 2CY female Goshawk perched up outside the house as I arrived home Friday evening. It was the usual tip off scenario, as both Hooded Crows and Fieldfares were going ballistic as I hopped off the bus. 

 Goshawk -2CY Female
The light was beautiful, casting a low gold on the trees, so I grabbed the scope from inside and took a few snaps. This is a common occurrence, especially at this time of year as young birds take up residence in the area for the coming winter. 
During the summer, the resident breeding adults seem to see off any interloping immatures, and I mostly see the male patrolling the sky on a daily basis. The winter months often involves a build up of fresh juvs, second calendar years and adults, averaging a regular 6-8 individuals and the odd passer by.
We had been planning for some time on a day trip down to Hanko this Saturday and it was looking like sublime weather.
During the week an Asian Desert Warbler had been found in a pri…

The Hallowed Honeymoon Hummingbird Hunt - Costa Rica - Part 13 - Return to De Dota And The End

Our Final day was to be spent back in San Gerado De Dota, with the specific aim of getting Costa Rica's most iconic bird, Resplendent Quetzal. We had planned things this way, as the idea of a straight drive from the south of the country to San Jose was not appealing, and a second day of clean up in San Gerado De Dota would be welcome if we had missed anything in the area, such as Resplendent Quetzal, which we had missed out on the first day. We booked a guide for the quetzals in our hotel when we arrived the previous evening, and it was a 5 a.m start planned for the next morning.
Our guide took us to a viewing area overlooking a wild avocado tree and it wasn't long before 2 Quetzals came calling. These astounding birds were quite used to onlookers and happily sat munching the wild avocados. Amazing looking creatures. The sheer spectacle of them. We spent half an hour just mesmerized by these birds as they posed gracefully in this spectacular setting, their stunning colours ju…