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Water Rail, Cetti's Warbler, 2 Grey Wagtail, 2 Raven, Kingfisher - Bradford on Avon - Caroline Stree...
No sign of yesterdays Black-throated Thrush at Bishopstone 40 Lapwing - Littleton Drew - Tony Oram ...
BLACK-THROATED THRUSH - Bishopstone, near Swindon, SU250829 - Gary Chalker Chiffchaff, Red Kite -...
Brambling, 2 Stonechat, 100 Lapwing - Berwick St James - Rich Prior Water Rail, 4 Lesser Redpoll, 2...
GREAT WHITE EGRET, 19 Little Egret - CWP74 - Trevor & Sue Clayson 14 Goosander - CWP30 - Trevor & S...
2 GREAT WHITE EGRET, 2 Shelduck, 227 Wigeon, 160 Teal, 37 Gadwall, 14 Shoveler, 200 Lapwing, Grey Wa...

Unusual orange-headed birds reported in Ireland.......

 

Over the past few weeks BirdWatch Ireland HQ has been receiving lots of phone calls and emails about strange birds with bright orange heads that have been visiting gardens around Ireland.  They tend to flock with Starlings and House Sparrows and can be quite numerous in some areas, though they can’t be found in any field guides.  This is something that BirdWatch Ireland have become used to at this time of year, but for some reason this summer the number of reports has been absolutely unprecedented.

Rather than being some exotic new visitor, these in fact ARE Starlings and House Sparrows that have been feeding on a plant called New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax).  Though native to New Zealand, where it is often known by its Maori name of Harakeke, this species has been planted commonly in gardens around the country and has even become naturalised in the wild in many areas.  We are used to plants being pollinated by insects and even by the wind, but New Zealand Flax uses another method: it is pollinated by birds. 

For more information, follow this link: 

BirdwatchIreland

Starling BrFi03 stained by New Zealand Flax Brendan Fitzpatrick WEB

 

Four-winged dinosaur found in China is the largest discovered to date.

 

A new four-winged dinosaur has been discovered, with exceptionally long feathers on its tail and "hindwings".

Changyuraptor yangi was a gliding predator which lived in the Cretaceous period in what is now Liaoning, China.

Its remarkable tail feathers - measuring up to 30cm - are the longest in any non-avian dinosaur.

 

For more information, click on the following link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-28295571

If you see any 'smart' behaviour from Rooks, please share your observations in a new BTO study.

Rooks have been observed acting as 'tool-makers' and cooperatively between individual birds. The BTO is intererested in receiving any observations of any such behaviour.

More details can be found here:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-28105964BBC Rooks

Crane chicks born at Slimbridge are the first recorded for 400 years

Crane web

 

A recently-hatched crane chick has given conservationists fresh hope about seeing a new generation of wild cranes in the west of Britain.

The crane chick was spotted on Sunday at WWT Slimbridge in Gloucestershire, where its parents were hand-reared.

Conservationist Nigel Jarrett said it was "incredibly exciting", especially after the same breeding pair lost a chick last year due to the weather.

For more info, please follow this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-27466509

 

Tree Sparrow conservation on Marlborough Downs goes from strength to strength

 

Matt Prior, WOS Conservation Officer is a driving force behind a flagship campaign run by the farmers of the Marlborough Downs Nature Improvement Area (MDNIA) which is having a positive impact on endangered Tree Sparrows.  

The MDNIA was set up by a group of local farmers who in 2012 won funding under the government’s three year pilot scheme to encourage bio-diversity and wildlife-friendly farming methods – and get more people into the countryside.

It covers just over 25,000 acres south of Swindon down towards Marlborough on one side and Avebury on the other.

Their Tree Sparrow campaign involves planting suitable trees, providing nest boxes and food. Marlborough News Online has been seeing how two generations of young people have been helping the tree sparrows.

Recent event involving students from Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester and Swindon schoolchildren involved Matt Prior coordinating tree-planting, demonstrating bird-feeders and assembling nest-boxes.

 

With thanks on behalf of everyone at WOS to Matt Prior, more information can be found at Marlborough News Online via this link:

http://www.marlboroughnewsonline.co.uk/features/general/2809-marlborough-downs-farmers-are-bringing-tree-sparrows-back-from-catastrophic-decline-with-some-enthusiastic-helpers

Sand Martins provided with unique bank of 150 nests which includes a hide in Notts

 

Work to complete a hide and nesting bank for Sand Martins has been completed at Attenborough Nature Reserve in Nottinghamshire.

It is believed to be the first of its kind, incorporating an artificial nesting bank made of clay pipes and breeze blocks and a hide.

Cameras inside the 150 nesting tunnels will transmit images into the hide.

Here's link for more information:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-26684497

 

Complete archive of WWT's 'Wildfowl' Magazine is now available free on line.

 

The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust has created free access to the entire catalogue of papers published by WWT in its scientific journal, Wildfowl.

The new online resource is the culmination of months of work by volunteers to digitise printed copies of Wildfowl dating back to 1947, when it first appeared as the Annual Report of the Severn Wildfowl Trust.

WWT hopes that budding researchers and waterbird enthusiasts will be encouraged by opening the vaults on some of the most significant moments in ornithological history.

Wildfowl online is fully searchable, giving the work of contributing scientists a far greater reach and influence. Here is a link for more information:

http://www.wwt.org.uk/news/news/2014/02/wwt-news/available-to-all-wwts-entire-history-of-scientific-publishing/

Many thanks to WOS member, Shane Faulkner for this news story.

 

Red-Flanked Bluetail in Wilts/Gloucs is now Britain's longest staying bird

The first winter Red-flanked Bluetail, discovered on the afternoon of 3rd February, as well as being a remarkable sight, has become a remarkable multiple record holder. Not only is the stunning bird the first for Wilts and South Gloucs by obligingly hopping to and fro across the border each day, but also the first UK record in February and from 16th February, it has represented Britain's longest-staying individual.

The story of John Barnett's discovery of the bird can be seen via this link.

 

http://www.birdguides.com/webzine/article.asp?a=42

 

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