Author Topic: nature notes II  (Read 103845 times)

SusanDoris

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7240
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1000 on: June 26, 2020, 01:01:13 PM »
enki

Very interesting. Yesterday, when being able (with the help of a member of the Sensory Support Team)to walk along my route into town, it was an opportunity to listen to a few birds that do not sing in the Close where I live, including a couple of chaffinches. I was too busy concentrating on re-establishing my walking to listen properly though. I've really missed that these last three months.

That book I'm reading, 'Bird Sense' by Prof Tim Birkhead, continues to explain facts about bird senses - so far I've read about sight and hearing and am now in the middle of the third section on touch. The amount of information about the concentration of nerves and touch receptors in birds' beaks (or bills - he uses that more often) is astonishing. Also he has been referring to 'contour feathers' and ` others as well as 'filoplumage'. Some of the other birds he refers to from around the world are fascinating,, an 'auklet' I think, and the oilbird! The book is not a page- turner, but very interesting to read a little at a time.
The Most Honourable Sister of Titular Indecision.

flower girl

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 166
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1001 on: June 26, 2020, 05:15:47 PM »

Incidentally your storks would be the wood storks, wouldn't they? Our storks(black stork and white stork) are quite different.

Sorry, I overlooked your question, enki.  Yes, they are wood storks and make their migratory way to here each year in late Spring early Summer.  One of the more haunting photos I never took of one was upon their return after the three hurricanes in 2004.  I took it as dusk after a single wood stork alit on one of the broken trees in the berm.  In black and white, it depicted well the general sadness we all felt at having lost so many trees (and great nesting sites for our local pileated woodpeckers.  We hardly ever see them anymore.)
I wonder now if the most intelligent being in this world is actually a virus.  Me

Blokey McBlokeface

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5468
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1002 on: July 02, 2020, 11:27:30 AM »
Just made the interesting discovery that, as well as Munros (Scottish peaks over 3,000'), Britain contains many Marilyns, which are peaks at least 150m above the surrounding land (not sea level). Many Munros are not Marilyns, because their summit has even higher summits nearby. On the other hand, some quite modest hills, such as Haddington hill near me, the highest point in the Chilterns (which isn't saying much), are. (Marilyn Munro - geddit?)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Marilyns_in_the_British_Isles
« Last Edit: July 02, 2020, 11:31:05 AM by Constable Dogberry »
Quhen Rigour sittis in the Tribunall,
The equitie of Law quha may sustene?
Richt few or nane, but mercie gang betwene.
Robert Henrysoun.

enki

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3418
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1003 on: July 02, 2020, 12:01:44 PM »
enki

Very interesting. Yesterday, when being able (with the help of a member of the Sensory Support Team)to walk along my route into town, it was an opportunity to listen to a few birds that do not sing in the Close where I live, including a couple of chaffinches. I was too busy concentrating on re-establishing my walking to listen properly though. I've really missed that these last three months.

That book I'm reading, 'Bird Sense' by Prof Tim Birkhead, continues to explain facts about bird senses - so far I've read about sight and hearing and am now in the middle of the third section on touch. The amount of information about the concentration of nerves and touch receptors in birds' beaks (or bills - he uses that more often) is astonishing. Also he has been referring to 'contour feathers' and ` others as well as 'filoplumage'. Some of the other birds he refers to from around the world are fascinating,, an 'auklet' I think, and the oilbird! The book is not a page- turner, but very interesting to read a little at a time.

Interesting stuff, Susan. Most birds only sing occasionally now, except blackbirds and chaffinches in particular. Chaffinches will sing throughout the day.

Auklets are fascinating. They belong to the family known as the auks, which includes our guillemot , razorbill and puffin. Indeed we even see a small one which appears regularly in Autumn, especially during storms, called the little auk, about the size of a starling.

Oilbirds are even more fascinating. I had a friend(unfortunately he died last year) who actually went on a special trip to see them come out from their roosting cave in Trinidad. They are roughly the equivalent of our nightjars except they are the only nocturnal fruit eating bird in the world.

On the subject of bird senses and especially 'bird brains'(a term often used quite wrongly to show how stupid birds are) there is a huge amount of research and some of the facts about bird brains that they have uncovered is quite astonishing. If you can get hold of a copy of 'The genius of Birds' by Jennifer Ackerman, it is very readable and well worth it.
Sometimes I wish my first word was 'quote,' so that on my death bed, my last words could be 'end quote.'
Steven Wright

SusanDoris

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7240
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1004 on: July 02, 2020, 02:49:28 PM »
Interesting stuff, Susan.
*****
On the subject of bird senses and especially 'bird brains'(a term often used quite wrongly to show how stupid birds are) there is a huge amount of research and some of the facts about bird brains that they have uncovered is quite astonishing. If you can get hold of a copy of 'The genius of Birds' by Jennifer Ackerman, it is very readable and well worth it.
Quick check with NLB - no luck - not available in audio or braille!
Prof Tim Birkhead seens to  be a top expert in Guillemots.
I have reached the end of 'Touch' and the chapter on 'Taste' has just started.  I could now regale you with a tale of the sexual habits of the Buffalo Weaver bird in Namibia but would prefer to refrain from so doing!! Have you read up on it?!
« Last Edit: July 02, 2020, 02:51:44 PM by SusanDoris »
The Most Honourable Sister of Titular Indecision.

Nearly Sane

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 40888
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1005 on: July 02, 2020, 03:05:45 PM »
Quick check with NLB - no luck - not available in audio or braille!
Prof Tim Birkhead seens to  be a top expert in Guillemots.
I have reached the end of 'Touch' and the chapter on 'Taste' has just started.  I could now regale you with a tale of the sexual habits of the Buffalo Weaver bird in Namibia but would prefer to refrain from so doing!! Have you read up on it?!
It is available as an Audible book on Kindle

enki

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3418
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1006 on: July 02, 2020, 04:06:53 PM »
It is available as an Audible book on Kindle

Cheers NS. :)
Sometimes I wish my first word was 'quote,' so that on my death bed, my last words could be 'end quote.'
Steven Wright

enki

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3418
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1007 on: July 02, 2020, 04:15:03 PM »
Quick check with NLB - no luck - not available in audio or braille!
Prof Tim Birkhead seens to  be a top expert in Guillemots.
I have reached the end of 'Touch' and the chapter on 'Taste' has just started.  I could now regale you with a tale of the sexual habits of the Buffalo Weaver bird in Namibia but would prefer to refrain from so doing!! Have you read up on it?!

See NS's helpful info.

I knew the buffalo weavers were polyandrous, and have seen both species often in Africa, almost always close to villages, where they build their communal nests. I suspect you are talking about their phalloid organs(in both male and female). No, I didn't know about them at all until I have just read about them. What a marvellous adaptation. ;)
Sometimes I wish my first word was 'quote,' so that on my death bed, my last words could be 'end quote.'
Steven Wright

SusanDoris

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7240
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1008 on: July 02, 2020, 04:36:52 PM »
It is available as an Audible book on Kindle
Thank you- I have not attempted to get anything on kindle as I do  not know how or have the equipment, but I will investigate and see if one of my sons can help on that.
The Most Honourable Sister of Titular Indecision.

SusanDoris

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7240
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1009 on: July 02, 2020, 04:41:00 PM »
See NS's helpful info.

I knew the buffalo weavers were polyandrous, and have seen both species often in Africa, almost always close to villages, where they build their communal nests. I suspect you are talking about their phalloid organs(in both male and female). No, I didn't know about them at all until I have just read about them. What a marvellous adaptation. ;)
Yes, it is a bit eye-popping, isn't it?! :D It seems that in fact it was Tim Birkhead and his PhD student  who discovered the details.
The Most Honourable Sister of Titular Indecision.

SusanDoris

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7240
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1010 on: July 07, 2020, 03:18:28 PM »
When walking up and down the road outside here during the last couple of weeks, I have noticed a different bird song and was going to do something about finding out more. ;However, my next-door-neighbour and friend said yesterday that she had seen two 'goldfinches on a telegraph pole so I checked the song on a video (the link to which I should have added to favourites straight away, because I can't find it today!) and yes, they are GoldFinches. While looking, I read that apparently GoldFinches have increased dramatically - by 80%!! - particularly from 2002 - 2012. Scientistts are now trying to work out why.
The Most Honourable Sister of Titular Indecision.

enki

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3418
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1011 on: July 07, 2020, 09:30:36 PM »
Hi Susan,

Yes, they have indeed increased. In winter we now have a local flock about 30 strong. I suspect it's because they have taken to birdfeeders, especially with sunflower hearts and niger seeds. Unfortunately another bird which has invaded suburbia is the wood pigeon, which can't use the bird feeders but wait below for the dropped leftovers.

Incidentally I spent six hours at Bempton Cliffs waiting for a black browed albatross to reappear on Saturday. Although it was claimed, and I also saw the same distant bird, I am not counting it on the views that I had. We did see plenty of auks(razorbills, puffins and guillemots), one great skua, and two different owls(barn owl and long eared owl). Met a few people I hadn't seen for years, and everyone was careful to social distance. The albatross will be back(it's probably gone to Germany), it's just a case of being in the right place at the right time. Mind you that's what birding is often about.
Sometimes I wish my first word was 'quote,' so that on my death bed, my last words could be 'end quote.'
Steven Wright

Littleroses

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6225
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1012 on: July 14, 2020, 01:25:59 PM »
When I put any bread on the bird table magpies like to dip a piece in the bird bath before eating it.

SusanDoris

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7240
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1013 on: July 27, 2020, 01:29:45 PM »
Section 5 of 'Bird Sense' is about bird emotions. Amongst the rather dry and dusty information, interesting but a bit plodding to read though it is, there are some most interesting parts, such as: Australian Magpies have breeding groups, and every now and again the group gather, in a circle around a post, or a bush or something apparently, and sing together. One researcher likened it to a group of madrigal singers who join in and harmonise.

Another researcher observing for a PhD, saw a female gannet leave the nest. This female did not return for six weeks and,contrary to expectations, the male bird incubated and fed the chick successfully. When the female returned, and again the researcher was observing, the pair performed greeting behaviour and ceremonies for at least half-an-hour.

Anyway,.  one question I'd like to ask: In a seabird colony like this, and similarly for Guillemots, where the birds return to the same site and nests every year, what happens to the chicks who when adult need to have nests of their own? Do such a group of youngsters gather together on a nearby ledge or something, or do they have to wait for the oldies to die?!
The Most Honourable Sister of Titular Indecision.

enki

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3418
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1014 on: July 27, 2020, 03:47:42 PM »
Hi Susan,
Guillemots nest very close together, so close in fact that they can easily touch their neighbours. The juveniles glide down to the sea when they are about 20 days old and continue to be fed by their parents. It takes several years for them to actual breed though so I would hazard a guess that when they find a mate(usually for life), they then are gradually absorbed into the breeding population on the cliffs.
Sometimes I wish my first word was 'quote,' so that on my death bed, my last words could be 'end quote.'
Steven Wright

SusanDoris

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7240
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1015 on: July 27, 2020, 04:03:30 PM »
Hi Susan,
Guillemots nest very close together, so close in fact that they can easily touch their neighbours. The juveniles glide down to the sea when they are about 20 days old and continue to be fed by their parents. It takes several years for them to actual breed though so I would hazard a guess that when they find a mate(usually for life), they then are gradually absorbed into the breeding population on the cliffs.
Thank you. I'm surprised that Prof Tim Birkhead did not mention this, as he seems to be a Guillemot expert. And the birds have quite long lives , don't they. By the sound of it, the colony he has watched most of his life is on a ledge with very little space for new nests!

Anyway, I find I have come to the end of the sections and am now on the 'Postscript'. 
The Most Honourable Sister of Titular Indecision.

Littleroses

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6225
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1016 on: August 02, 2020, 09:13:02 AM »
I have just seen what looked like a black butterfly of the roof of the porch. It flew away before I could photograph it. Any suggestions as to what it might have been?

wigginhall

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 17729
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1017 on: August 02, 2020, 10:21:56 AM »
I have just seen what looked like a black butterfly of the roof of the porch. It flew away before I could photograph it. Any suggestions as to what it might have been?

The ringlet is chocolate brown, but can look very dark in certain lights.  Have a look at some photos of them.  Very common in August.
They were the footprints of a gigantic hound!

Littleroses

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6225
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1018 on: August 02, 2020, 10:34:16 AM »
The ringlet is chocolate brown, but can look very dark in certain lights.  Have a look at some photos of them.  Very common in August.

No that definitely wasn't it.

Bramble

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 310
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1019 on: August 02, 2020, 01:07:30 PM »
I have just seen what looked like a black butterfly of the roof of the porch. It flew away before I could photograph it. Any suggestions as to what it might have been?

Were its wings up? The peacock has black underwings. This year's young are emerging now.

Littleroses

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6225
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1020 on: August 08, 2020, 08:58:48 AM »
Were its wings up? The peacock has black underwings. This year's young are emerging now.

Yes its wings were up.

We have many more butterflies this year than in the previous few years. The cabbage white variety are especially dominant in our garden.

Littleroses

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6225
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1021 on: August 10, 2020, 08:46:36 AM »
Yesterday and today I spotted a cat in our neighbourhood, which resembled a leopard. I looked it up, it is a breed called a 'Bengal cat', have other posters come across one?

enki

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3418
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1022 on: August 27, 2020, 11:55:55 AM »
Big movement of seabirds recently especially along the Uk's east coast and also in Cornwall, mainly due to the recent storms which have helped to displace quite a few seabirds. I have done a couple of sea watches in recent days and amongst the large numbers of gannets and terns I had a balearic shearwater, 2 long tailed skuas, 1 pomarine skua and a roseate tern. Further north, near Redcar, yesterday, the black browed albatross put in an appearance once again. It's just a case of being in the right place at the right time. Never mind, they live for many years, so there's a very slim chance I'll see this one, hopefully. Maybe if I prayed a little...... ;)
Sometimes I wish my first word was 'quote,' so that on my death bed, my last words could be 'end quote.'
Steven Wright

ippy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12401
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1023 on: August 27, 2020, 03:21:01 PM »
The ringlet is chocolate brown, but can look very dark in certain lights.  Have a look at some photos of them.  Very common in August.

I can't say where now but I'm sure I read somewhere that butterfly wings are colourless and the light goes through very fine openings in their wings then these openings are at the relevant sizes of the wavelength of various colours, a bit like in the old colour film transparencies of the chemical film days where the transparencies worked by a subtractive method?

Something I don't know about but thought I would pose the question?
« Last Edit: August 28, 2020, 12:08:38 PM by ippy »

Spud

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5502
Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1024 on: September 01, 2020, 04:53:30 PM »
This year I've heard one particular pigeon singing in 5/4 time. I love their variations (like this one) of the only song they know.