sábado, 7 de junio de 2014

Scottish Corvids

*Las entradas sobre Escocia las escribo en inglés

When I arrived to Scotland, the first bird I saw after landing was a Carrion crow (Corvus corone). Several minutes later, I realised that crows in Scotland are, probably, the largest bird family in the country.

Here you can find most of the crows that are in Catalonia but the Alpine chough (Pyrrhocorax graculus). On the other hand, it's relatively easy to find species which are hard to watch in in my country, like Rooks (Corvus frugilegus) and Hooded crows (Corvus cornix).

Corvids distribution in UK and Ireland

Magpie - Urraca - Garsa - Pica pica

Chough - Chova piquirroja - Gralla de bec vermell - Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax

Rook - Graja - Graula - Corvus frugilegus

Hooded crow - Corneja gris - Cornella emmantellada - Corvus cornix

Carrion crow - Corneja - Cornella negra - Corvus corone

Jackdaw - Grajilla - Gralla - Corvus monedula

Jay - Arrendajo - Gaig - Garrulus glandarius

Raven - Cuervo - Corb - Corvus corax

martes, 29 de abril de 2014

El Carbonero "blanco"

El carbonero común (Parus major), es uno de los pájaros más cosmopolitas y abundantes que conozco, por eso, al llegar a Escocia, ya me esperaba encontrármelo en todos lados.

Carbonero común hembra, luciendo un amarillo intenso.

Lo que no me esperaba era encontrarme con carboneros de colores más pálidos que los que solía ver en España. Allí, siempre lucían su pecho amarillo chillón dividido por su característica franja negra. Sin embargo, me fijé en que algunos carboneros escoceses (sobretodo en pleno invierno) lucían tonos más apagados.

Carbonero común con tonalidad amarilla muy pálida.

La primavera se acercaba, y algunos carboneros machos lo tenían muy mal para ligar, ya que cuanto más chillón sea el amarillo, más posibilidades de aparearse tendrán.

¿Y a qué se debe todo esto? A los carotenoides. ¿Y eso que es? Son pigmentos vegetales responsables de los colores rojo, naranja y amarillo (de hecho, zanahoria en inglés, "carrot", viene de la palabra "carotenoide"), pero éste no pueden sintetizarlo los pájaros, sino que sólo pueden acumularlos. Así pues, lo que hacen es injerir orugas que comen estos vegetales, y de esta forma adquieren dicho pigmento, o dicho de otro modo, los machos, con su despampanante color amarillo están demostrando a la hembra que son eficaces a la hora de encontrar comida, cosa que a ella le interesa para alimentar a sus futuros polluelos (o incluso a ella misma).

La importancia de las orugas en la coloración de los carboneros.

Así pues, si vemos un carbonero común pálido, nos estará indicando varias cosas. O bien, que es bastante inepto a la hora de buscar comida, o bien, que la zona en la que se encuentra hay pocas orugas (claro ejemplo de lo que seria un bioindicador).

Cuanto más coloreado, más fácil encontrar pareja.

lunes, 21 de abril de 2014

First time ringing in Scotland

*Las entradas sobre Escocia las escribo en inglés

Saturday morning I attended my first bird ringing session in Scotland, at the same place I went birdwatching for first time. 

I've always been ringing with mist nets, but this time I learned how to use another kind of net, whooshnet, which is so interesting as you can choose which birds you catch since you can decide when to activate it.

Whooshnet ready to catch some linnets and one goldfinch

So here there is my first ringed bird. It's a young female of Linnet (Carduelis cannabina). Almost all the birds captured were Linnets, except a single Blackbird (Turdus merula), a single Skylark (Alauda arvensis), and a single Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis), all of them residents in the area.

♀ Linnet - Pardillo común - Passerell comú (Carduelis cannabina)

Skylark - Alondra común - Alosa vulgar (Alauda arvensis)

♂ Golffinch - Jilguero - Cadernera (Carduelis carduelis)

Another interesting fact is the bird bags they use. Those bags don't have any string to tie, so they  are held in a folding table with special holes made to hang the bags with birds inside.

By the way, I saw my first Swallow (Hirundo rustica) in 2014, almost two months later on than I used to do in Spain.

jueves, 3 de abril de 2014

The birds of Spain - Aves de España

Aquí is dejo con un vídeo de corta duración que seguro gustará a todos los pajareros,  y a los que no lo son, también!

The birds of Spain from Wildglimpses on Vimeo.

jueves, 27 de marzo de 2014

Mouth of Dee River, Aberdeen (2)

*Las entradas sobre Escocia las escribo en inglés

Let's keep on talking about Dee River!!

In the mouth of the river it is located the harbour, and there you can see a really interesting species (not only birds!).

Seal diving in the harbour

Although there were people training for boat racing (it looked like Oxford vs Cambridge), there I could see a lot of gulls, but always the same two species: Great Black-backed (Larus marinus) and Herring Gull (Larus argentatus).


Great Black-backed/Gavión atlántico/Gavinot &  Herring Gull/Gaviota argéntea/Gavià argentat de pota rosa

Great Black-backed/Gavión atlántico/Gavinot

First I thought they could be Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus) and Yellow-Legged Gull (Larus michahellis), but it seems it's not usual to see these species such common in Catalonia (L. fuscus is a summer visitor in Scotland, and the other one is a rare species). Then, when I saw the colour of their legs, I realised what species they were indeed: Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus )and  Gull (Larus argentatus)...never seen them before!!

Great Black-backed/Gavión atlántico/Gavinot

1st winter Herring Gull/Gaviota argéntea/Gavià argentat de pota rosa

Further on, I saw the main bird I had been looking for, flying quick river down..an Eider (Somateria mollissima)! I was really excited and though I had been really lucky til I noticed there were dozens and dozens of them around the harbour and offshore! Males, females and juveniles, there were plenty of Eiders, but not as many as Oystercatchers (Haematopus ostralegus)...

My first Eider

Male Eider

Female Eider

Oystercatchers are almost a plague. You can watch them everywhere...in the river, the coast, in parks, golf courses, football fields, in the countryside...and they are really noisy!! But they are interesting to watch as well.




Far away there were also other birds diving: Shags (Phalacrocorax aristotelis), Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo), a male Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator), and a Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata).

Red-breasted merganser


Red-throated Loon

Once I left the harbour behind, between two lighthouses, I could see a lot of purple sandpipers and rock pipits, most of which were ringed  with PVC colour rings.

Greyhope bay

Purple Sandpipers

Purple Sandpiper

Rock Pipit
Finally, getting back, a juvenile Mute Swan (Cignus olor) appeared to tell, my first birdwatching day, goodbye.

Mute swan