As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... about out-of-place birds, rare vagrants, and basically all things feathery and Fortean.
Because we live in strange times, there are more and more bird stories that come her way, so she has now moved onto the main CFZ bloggo with a new column with the same name as her aforementioned ones...
Extremely rare squacco heron spotted at Welney reserve
A squacco heron (Ardeola ralloides) arrived at Welney reserve last weekend. This is an extremely rare bird which usually spends the summer in southern Europe. It is not known why the bird has appeared in the UK, with squacco herons usually breeding in eastern Europe.
Warden Steve Wiltshire said: “It is always exciting to see a rarity on site but this particular individual is a very striking bird in its full breeding plumage.
“The breezy weather over the weekend meant that the plume of feathers on the back of the neck has been in full flow.
“The bird has been making itself at home in the shallow flooded washes in full view of our reedbed hide and seems quite content fishing in the ditches among all the other birds”.
To check on the latest status of the heron and all the other sightings, click on www.wwt.org.uk/welney
Gamekeeper fined for trapping and starving Buzzard
RSPB Scotland has welcomed the conviction of a Perthshire gamekeeper who allowed a buzzard to starve to death in a trap. The case began when Tayside Police responded to a report from a hill-walker that three crow traps had been found on the Glen Lyon Estate in Perthshire containing, respectively, a dead buzzard, a dead sparrowhawk and two chaffinches. At Perth Sheriff Court, Jonathan Smith Graham, a gamekeeper on the estate, pleaded guilty to using a crow trap in which a buzzard was trapped and starved to death. His not guilty plea was accepted for two other charges.
Sheriff McCreadie said: "I am satisfied that this is a case where a fine is appropriate, not only for you, but to discourage others." Graham was fined £450. Speaking following the court case, Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland's Head of Investigations, said: "We welcome the conviction of Mr Graham and the strong comments made by the Sheriff. This latest case illustrates, yet again, the lax approach taken by some gamekeepers to following the licence conditions laid out by the Scottish Government. The use of these licences is a privilege, and with this comes responsibility. Mr Smith clearly did not take his responsibilities seriously and has now lost that right."
Rare bird delights Llanelli wildlife centre visitors
An extremely rare gull-billed tern (Gelochelidon nilotica), arrived at Llanelli wildlife centre this week and seems to have taken up residence. The species prefers warmer climes and has not been seen in Carmarthenshire in 16 years.
Photo: Mark Hipkin
It’s thought the recent spate of bad weather has blown the bird off-course from its usual summer haunts.
This is only the second record of a gull-billed tern in Carmarthenshire - the first was recorded back in 1996, also at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust in Llanelli.
Two pairs of a rare bird species have chosen to make Teesdale their breeding ground – the furthest recorded Northern inland location in the UK.
Avocets (Recurvirostra avosetta) have been visiting marshland in the south of the dale for the past five years but this year, the elegant black and white waders have decided it is an ideal place to bring up their young. The two pairs have successfully hatched five young between them.
The site is being kept secret for now. But local countryside lover Dave Moore, who has been recording wildlife in Teesdale for the past 40 years, is thrilled that the avocets have chosen to breed here.
He said: “I never thought I’d see this in Teesdale. There are only about 800 breeding pairs in the whole of the UK and as far as I know, these are the furthest north. It’s just magical.”
Avocets were once extinct in Britain because of habitat destruction and persecution of their eggs.
However, they started making a slow return during the Second World War when they tentatively made homes in an area in the south that was turned into marshland to cause difficulty for German invaders.
Mr Moore said: “When you get a pair that nest, either they come back the next year or their young will.”
Rare birds stolen from shed
THIRTY-three rare breed Japanese chicks have been taken from a shed in Lakenheath.
The birds, which are believed to be worth around £500, were stolen from the shed in Wingfield Road between 10pm Monday, June 4, and 7.30am the following morning.
It is thought that the chicks were removed in sacks also stolen from the same shed.
Suffolk Police said there had been no attempt by the thieves to steal adult birds in adjoining pens at the property.
Anyone with information should contact Suffolk Police on 101 quoting reference mh/12/1102.
Stunning White-winged Black Tern graces Cleveland Lakes Reserve, Cotswold Water Park
White-winged Black Terns have been sighted in CWP on a number of occasions in the past, but sightings are usually of juveniles in the autumn. A stunningly plumaged adult is a rare, but very welcome, surprise for local birders!
Further information about birding in the Cotswold Water Park, or for further information about the Cotswold Water Park Trust click here.