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User / Jeff Lack Wildlife&Nature
5,198 items

N 29 B 162 C 9 E Jan 17, 2019 F Jan 21, 2019
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Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis


The cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) is a cosmopolitan species of heron (family Ardeidae) found in the tropics, subtropics and warm temperate zones.

It is a white bird adorned with buff plumes in the breeding season. It nests in colonies, usually near bodies of water and often with other wading birds. The nest is a platform of sticks in trees or shrubs. Cattle egrets exploit drier and open habitats more than other heron species. Their feeding habitats include seasonally inundated grasslands, pastures, farmlands, wetlands and rice paddies. They often accompany cattle or other large mammals, catching insect and small vertebrate prey disturbed by these animals. Some populations of the cattle egret are migratory and others show post-breeding dispersal.

The cattle egret has undergone one of the most rapid and wide reaching natural expansions of any bird species.It was originally native to parts of Southern Spain and Portugal, tropical and subtropical Africa and humid tropical and subtropical Asia. In the end of the 19th century it began expanding its range into southern Africa, first breeding in the Cape Province in 1908. Cattle egrets were first sighted in the Americas on the boundary of Guiana and Suriname in 1877, having apparently flown across the Atlantic Ocean. It was not until the 1930s that the species is thought to have become established in that area.

The species first arrived in North America in 1941 (these early sightings were originally dismissed as escapees), bred in Florida in 1953, and spread rapidly, breeding for the first time in Canada in 1962. It is now commonly seen as far west as California. It was first recorded breeding in Cuba in 1957, in Costa Rica in 1958, and in Mexico in 1963, although it was probably established before that. In Europe, the species had historically declined in Spain and Portugal, but in the latter part of the 20th century it expanded back through the Iberian Peninsula, and then began to colonise other parts of Europe; southern France in 1958, northern France in 1981 and Italy in 1985.

Breeding in the United Kingdom was recorded for the first time in 2008 only a year after an influx seen in the previous year. In 2008, cattle egrets were also reported as having moved into Ireland for the first time. This trend has continued and cattle egrets have become more numerous in southern Britain with influxes in some numbers during the non breeding seasons of 2007/08 and 2016/17. They bred in Britain again in 2017, following an influx in the previous winter, and may become established there.

In Australia, the colonisation began in the 1940s, with the species establishing itself in the north and east of the continent. It began to regularly visit New Zealand in the 1960s. Since 1948 the cattle egret has been permanently resident in Israel. Prior to 1948 it was only a winter visitor.

Tags:   Cattle Egret Cattle Egret Egrets Birds. Avian Animal Animals Wildlife. Wildbirds Wetlands Waterways Farmland Fields Wildlife Photography Jeff Lack Photography farm Countryside Nature Water-Birds Reservoirs Reed Beds Trees

N 106 B 988 C 56 E Jan 17, 2019 F Jan 20, 2019
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Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis


The cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) is a cosmopolitan species of heron (family Ardeidae) found in the tropics, subtropics and warm temperate zones.

It is a white bird adorned with buff plumes in the breeding season. It nests in colonies, usually near bodies of water and often with other wading birds. The nest is a platform of sticks in trees or shrubs. Cattle egrets exploit drier and open habitats more than other heron species. Their feeding habitats include seasonally inundated grasslands, pastures, farmlands, wetlands and rice paddies. They often accompany cattle or other large mammals, catching insect and small vertebrate prey disturbed by these animals. Some populations of the cattle egret are migratory and others show post-breeding dispersal.

The cattle egret has undergone one of the most rapid and wide reaching natural expansions of any bird species.It was originally native to parts of Southern Spain and Portugal, tropical and subtropical Africa and humid tropical and subtropical Asia. In the end of the 19th century it began expanding its range into southern Africa, first breeding in the Cape Province in 1908. Cattle egrets were first sighted in the Americas on the boundary of Guiana and Suriname in 1877, having apparently flown across the Atlantic Ocean. It was not until the 1930s that the species is thought to have become established in that area.

The species first arrived in North America in 1941 (these early sightings were originally dismissed as escapees), bred in Florida in 1953, and spread rapidly, breeding for the first time in Canada in 1962. It is now commonly seen as far west as California. It was first recorded breeding in Cuba in 1957, in Costa Rica in 1958, and in Mexico in 1963, although it was probably established before that. In Europe, the species had historically declined in Spain and Portugal, but in the latter part of the 20th century it expanded back through the Iberian Peninsula, and then began to colonise other parts of Europe; southern France in 1958, northern France in 1981 and Italy in 1985.

Breeding in the United Kingdom was recorded for the first time in 2008 only a year after an influx seen in the previous year. In 2008, cattle egrets were also reported as having moved into Ireland for the first time. This trend has continued and cattle egrets have become more numerous in southern Britain with influxes in some numbers during the non breeding seasons of 2007/08 and 2016/17. They bred in Britain again in 2017, following an influx in the previous winter, and may become established there.

In Australia, the colonisation began in the 1940s, with the species establishing itself in the north and east of the continent. It began to regularly visit New Zealand in the 1960s. Since 1948 the cattle egret has been permanently resident in Israel. Prior to 1948 it was only a winter visitor.

Tags:   Cattle Egret Egret Egrets Birds Bird Avian Animal Animals Wildlife Wildbirds Wildlife Photography Waterways Waterbirds Water Jeff Lack Photography Lakes Ponds Scrapes Mudflats Cattle Farmland Farms Fields Countryside Nature

N 128 B 1.1K C 53 E Jan 10, 2019 F Jan 20, 2019
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Red/Common Crossbill - Loxia Curvirostra (m)


The crossbill is a genus, Loxia, of birds in the finch family (Fringillidae), with six species. These birds are characterised by the mandibles with crossed tips, which gives the group its English name. Adult males tend to be red or orange in colour, and females green or yellow, but there is much variation.

Crossbills are specialist feeders on conifer cones, and the unusual bill shape is an adaptation which enables them to extract seeds from cones. These birds are typically found in higher northern hemisphere latitudes, where their food sources grow. They erupt out of the breeding range when the cone crop fails. Crossbills breed very early in the year, often in winter months, to take advantage of maximum cone supplies.

The different species specialise in feeding on different conifer species, with the bill shape optimised for opening that species of conifer. This is achieved by inserting the bill between the conifer cone scales and twisting the lower mandible towards the side to which it crosses, enabling the bird to extract the seed at the bottom of the scale with its tongue.

The mechanism by which the bill-crossing (which usually, but not always, occurs in a 1:1 frequency of left-crossing or right-crossing morphs) is developed, and what determines the direction, has hitherto withstood all attempts to resolve it.

It is very probable that there is a genetic basis underlying the phenomenon (young birds whose bills are still straight will give a cone-opening behavior if their bills are gently pressed, and the crossing develops before the birds are fledged and feeding independently), but at least in the red crossbill (the only species which has been somewhat thoroughly researched regarding this question) there is no straightforward mechanism of heritability.


Population:


UK breeding:


40,000 pairs

Tags:   Crossbill Crossbills Red Crossbill Common Crossbill Birds. Avian Animal Animals Wildlife. Wildbirds Woodlands Wildlife Photography Jeff Lack Photography Forest Forests Forestry Forest of Dean Conifer Conifers Pine-Forest Pines Countryside Nature

N 109 B 1.1K C 47 E Jan 10, 2019 F Jan 19, 2019
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Red/Common Crossbill - Loxia Curvirostra (m)


The crossbill is a genus, Loxia, of birds in the finch family (Fringillidae), with six species. These birds are characterised by the mandibles with crossed tips, which gives the group its English name. Adult males tend to be red or orange in colour, and females green or yellow, but there is much variation.

Crossbills are specialist feeders on conifer cones, and the unusual bill shape is an adaptation which enables them to extract seeds from cones. These birds are typically found in higher northern hemisphere latitudes, where their food sources grow. They erupt out of the breeding range when the cone crop fails. Crossbills breed very early in the year, often in winter months, to take advantage of maximum cone supplies.

The different species specialise in feeding on different conifer species, with the bill shape optimised for opening that species of conifer. This is achieved by inserting the bill between the conifer cone scales and twisting the lower mandible towards the side to which it crosses, enabling the bird to extract the seed at the bottom of the scale with its tongue.

The mechanism by which the bill-crossing (which usually, but not always, occurs in a 1:1 frequency of left-crossing or right-crossing morphs) is developed, and what determines the direction, has hitherto withstood all attempts to resolve it.

It is very probable that there is a genetic basis underlying the phenomenon (young birds whose bills are still straight will give a cone-opening behavior if their bills are gently pressed, and the crossing develops before the birds are fledged and feeding independently), but at least in the red crossbill (the only species which has been somewhat thoroughly researched regarding this question) there is no straightforward mechanism of heritability.


Population:


UK breeding:


40,000 pairs

Tags:   Crossbill Crossbills Red Crossbill Common Crossbill Birds. Avian Animal Animals Wildlife. Wildbirds Woodlands Forest Forests Forestry Forest of Dean Pine-Forest Conifer Trees Countryside Nature Wildlife Photography Jeff Lack Photography Pines Conifirs Firs

N 149 B 1.5K C 99 E Jan 1, 2018 F Jan 19, 2019
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Siskin - Carduelis Spinus

The Eurasian siskin (Spinus spinus) is a small passerine bird in the finch family Fringillidae. It is also called the European siskin, common siskin or just siskin. Other (archaic) names include black-headed goldfinch, barley bird and aberdevine. It is very common throughout Europe and Asia. It is found in forested areas, both coniferous and mixed woodland where it feeds on seeds of all kinds, especially of alder and conifers.

These birds have an unusual migration pattern as every few years in winter they migrate southwards in large numbers. The reasons for this behaviour are not known but may be related to climatic factors and above all the availability of food. In this way overwintering populations can thrive where food is abundant. This small finch is an acrobatic feeder, often hanging upside-down like a tit. It will visit garden bird feeding stations.

These birds can be found throughout the year in Central Europe and some mountain ranges in the south of the continent. They are present in the north of Scandinavia and in Russia and they over-winter in the Mediterranean basin and the area around the Black Sea. In China they breed in the Khingan Mountains of Inner Mongolia and in Jiangsu province; they spend summer in Tibet, Taiwan, the valleys of the lower Yangtse River and the south east coast.

The Eurasian siskin is occasionally seen in North America. There is also a similar and closely related North America counterpart, the pine siskin, Spinus pinus.

heir seasonal distribution is also marked by the fact that they follow an anomalous migration pattern. Every few years they migrate southwards in larger numbers and the overwintering populations in the Iberian Peninsula are greatly augmented. This event has been the object of diverse theories, one theory suggests that it occurs in the years when Norway Spruce produces abundant fruit in the centre and north of Europe, causing populations to increase. An alternative theory is that greater migration occurs when the preferred food of alder or birch seed fails. This species will form large flocks outside the breeding season, often mixed with redpolls.

It is a bird that does not remain for long in one area but which varies the areas it used for breeding, feeding, over-wintering from one year to the next.

They are very active and restless birds. They are also very social, forming small cohesive flocks especially in autumn and winter. They are fairly trusting of humans, it being possible to observe them from a short distance. During the breeding season, however, they are much more timid, solitary and difficult to observe.

Population:

UK breeding:
410,000 pairs

Tags:   Siskin Siskins Farmland Finch Finches Birds. Avian Animal Animals Wildlife. Wildbirds Woodlands Wildlife Photography Jeff Lack Photography Forest Forestry Pine-Forest Trees Garden Birds Conifer Song-Birds Countryside Nature


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