Snipe, Barrow Gurney

The tanks here are really too deep to attract waders, apart from regular common sandpipers. So, I got a surprise when a bird zigzagged away from my approach along one of the ditches round the site. Obviously I didn’t get a good look at it but the behaviour was all snipe and it helped me by calling once as it flew – that raspy little note.

This was the middle of March on an evening visit: I was killing time before Continue reading

The Ice Age

It’s fascinating to see resistance to an idea well beyond the stage when evidence for it is overwhelming. Especially with hindsight when other explanations now seem so outlandish. It’s also interesting to note the factions clinging to these weird hypotheses – the establishment, those who benefit from the status quo, those whose own standing depends on old ideas.

Thus it was with the new-fangled theory that Continue reading

Chaffinch, New Cut

New Cut, Bristol
King Tide, New Cut, Bristol

I know! A year of working my new patch in Bristol has only just unearthed this common species. Or not so common for the inner city? Yesterday morning a pair flew over the water near the Create Centre and onto my local list.

More amazement followed on the Floating Harbour opposite the SS Gurt Biggun. I caught a glimpse of a moorhen, which would have been unusual enough for that stretch, but it didn’t look quite right. Only closer views confirmed that the bird was in fact Continue reading

Waking the Giant, Bill McGuire

This is an author, whose Apocalypse: A Natural History of Global Disasters has lately prompted me with a path for resurrecting Flight of the Ark (working title now Scorpio Bound because some blighter has meanwhile nicked its former name). I had posited a northern hemisphere, at least, tipping back into an ice age because the Gulf Stream cut out. The intervening ten years have rendered this most unlikely.

However, one little appreciated by-product of global warming is an increase in Continue reading

EEC at Alviso, 2001

Hot on the heels of two additions to my Santa Clara county list, two more by May 16th: “After the excitement of the glossy ibis (number 197) yesterday, it was back to business as usual at the Environmental Education Center this lunchtime. Well, not quite as usual. The ibis may have been species #109 for me in the Alviso area but pied-billed grebe checked in today at #110. How could I have missed that in all my visits?

“One of the white-faced ibises (which were Continue reading