Showing posts from November, 2016

Winter Birding: Cian's thoughts on the 'Continental' Cormorant

Ever since the beginning of 2015 a major part of my birding life has been dedicated to one of my favourite birds, the Great Cormorant and more to the point the two sub species of it which occur in British waters, ssp carbo & ssp sinensis. When I first started out with Cormorants I like many believed that every Cormorant which had a gular pouch (the yellow skin at the base of the bill), over 90 degrees was to be classed as that of the Continental race of Great Cormorant ssp Sinensis, not the Atlantic race of ssp Carbo which is what were more familiar with here in the UK & Ireland. Yet in fact over the last year or so I have learned that this is not the case, infact its far from it; So here's my thoughts on the Identification of 'Continental' Great Cormorant in Ireland. Although I have not yet got a chance to study these bird's abroad I hope to soon and have been I contact with experienced Birders who have.
Above is a perfect example of the classic 'Atlantic…

Winter Birding: Snow Buntings

Snow Buntings have always been a bird I really enjoyed finding along my local beaches and headlands, as it's only been in the last year that I've noted the 'Icelandic' race of this winter treat.
A flock of 7 Snow buntings turned up in November of last year on my local patch in Co.Wicklow, this is when the 'Icelandic' birds were brought to my attention for the first time. These Snow Bunting in particular showed very well at times and one day I decided to spend a full day watching them to get some good shots of one of the bird which was a dark immature bird. At first all birds in the flock struck me as your average 'nivalis' bird's that we get from Scandinavia, but I was wrong.
This is the immature Snow Bunting (above) that I mentioned to you earlier which fits the bill for an 'Icelandic' type; features that I noted were how overly dark the bird was, brownish red to the mantle and wings, small black streaks flowing throughout the bird, rusty …