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User / Bill McDonald 2016 / Favorites
11,080 items

N 158 B 1.8K C 96 E Jun 18, 2018 F Jul 5, 2019
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Gannet - Morus Bassanus


The gannets are large white birds with yellowish heads; black-tipped wings; and long bills. Northern gannets are the largest seabirds in the North Atlantic, having a wingspan of up to 2 metres (6.6 ft). The other two species occur in the temperate seas around southern Africa, southern Australia and New Zealand.

Gannets hunt fish by diving into the sea from a height and pursuing their prey underwater. Gannets have a number of adaptations which enable them to do this:
no external nostrils, they are located inside the mouth instead;
air sacs in the face and chest under the skin which act like bubble wrapping, cushioning the impact with the water;
positioning of the eyes far enough forward on the face for binocular vision, allowing them to judge distances accurately.

Gannets can dive from a height of 30 metres (98 ft), achieving speeds of 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph) as they strike the water, enabling them to catch fish much deeper than most airborne birds.

The gannet's supposed capacity for eating large quantities of fish has led to "gannet" becoming a description of somebody with a voracious appetite.

Gannets are colonial breeders on islands and coasts, normally laying one chalky, blue egg. Gannets lack brood patches and they use their webbed feet to warm the eggs. It takes five years for gannets to reach maturity. First-year birds are completely black, and subsequent sub-adult plumages show increasing amounts of white.

The most important nesting ground for northern gannets is the United Kingdom with about two thirds of the world's population. These live mainly in Scotland, including the Shetland Isles. The rest of the world's population is divided between Canada, Ireland, Faroe Islands and Iceland, with small numbers in France (they are often seen in the Bay of Biscay), the Channel Islands, Norway and a single colony in Germany on Heligoland. The biggest northern gannet colony is on Scotland's Bass Rock; in 2014, this colony contained some 75,000 pairs. Sulasgeir off the coast of the Isle of Lewis, St. Kilda, Grassholm in Pembrokeshire, Bempton Cliffs in the East Riding of Yorkshire, Sceilig Bheag, Ireland and Bonaventure Island, Quebec are also important northern gannet breeding sites.

Young gannets were historically used as a food source, a tradition still practised in Ness, Scotland, where they are called "guga". Like examples of continued traditional whale harvesting, the modern day hunting of gannet chicks results in great controversies as to whether it should continue to be afforded "exemption from the ordinary protection afforded to sea birds in UK and EU law". The Ness hunt is currently limited to 2,000 chicks per year, and dates back at least to the Iron Age. The hunt is considered to be sustainable, as between 1902 and 2003 Gannet numbers in Scotland increased dramatically from 30,000 to 180,000.

Population:

UK breeding:

220,000 nests

Tags:   Gannet Gannets Birds. Bird Avian Animal Animals Wildlife. Wildbirds Wildlife Photography Jeff Lack Photography Sea Sea Birds Seashore Countryside Coastal Birds Coastline Coast Cliffs Bempton Yorkshire Oceans Gulls Gull Nature

N 302 B 13.7K C 118 E May 7, 2019 F Jul 6, 2019
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Sand Martin - Riparia riparia

The sand martin (Riparia riparia) or European sand martin, bank swallow in the Americas, and collared sand martin in the Indian Subcontinent, is a migratory passerine bird in the swallow family. It has a wide range in summer, embracing practically the whole of Europe and the Mediterranean countries, part of northern Asia and also North America. It winters in eastern and southern Africa, South America and the Indian Subcontinent.

The sand martin is sociable in its nesting habits; from a dozen to many hundred pairs will nest close together, according to available space. The nests are at the end of tunnels of from a few inches to three or four feet in length, bored in sand or gravel. The actual nest is a litter of straw and feathers in a chamber at the end of the burrow; it soon becomes a hotbed of parasites. Four or five white eggs are laid about mid-late May, and a second brood is usual in all but the most northernly breeding sites.

Population:

UK breeding:
100,000 nests

Tags:   Sand Martin Martins Sand Sand Dunes Dunes Hirundines Summer Migrant Birds. Bird Avian Animal Animals Wildlife. Wildbirds Wildlife Photography Jeff Lack Photography Countryside Coastal Birds Nature

N 214 B 2.1K C 161 E Jun 20, 2019 F Jul 6, 2019
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Common Whitethroat - Sylvia communis

Juvenile

The common whitethroat (Sylvia communis) is a common and widespread typical warbler which breeds throughout Europe and across much of temperate western Asia. This small passerine bird is strongly migratory, and winters in tropical Africa, Arabia, and Pakistan.

This is one of several Sylvia species that has distinct male and female plumages. Both sexes are mainly brown above and buff below, with chestnut fringes to the secondary remiges. The adult male has a grey head and a white throat. The female lacks the grey head, and the throat is duller.

This species may appear to be closely related to the lesser whitethroat, the species having evolved only during the end of the last ice age similar to the willow warbler and chiffchaffs. However, researchers found the presence of a white throat is an unreliable morphological marker for relationships in Sylvia, and the greater and lesser whitethroats are not closely related.

This is a bird of open country and cultivation, with bushes for nesting. The nest is built in low shrub or brambles, and 3–7 eggs are laid. Like most warblers, it is insectivorous, but will also eat berries and other soft fruit.

Population:

UK breeding:
1,100,000 territories

Tags:   Whitethroat Warbler Warblers Wildlife. Wildbirds Wetlands Woodlands Wildlife Photography Jeff Lack Photography Birds. Bird Avian Animal Animals Brambles Heathland Hedgerows Heathlands Heaths Glades Grasslands Gorse Moorland Marshland Meadows Moors Copse Countryside Coastline Song Birds Summer Migrant Nature

N 152 B 2.0K C 117 E Jun 1, 2019 F Jul 7, 2019
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Redstart (m) - Phoenicuros Phoenicuros

The common redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus), or often simply redstart, is a small passerine bird in the redstart genus Phoenicurus. Like its relatives, it was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family, (Turdidae), but is now known to be an Old World flycatcher (family Muscicapidae).

Common redstarts prefer open mature birch and oak woodland with a high horizontal visibility and low amounts of shrub and understorey especially where the trees are old enough to have holes suitable for its nest. They prefer to nest on the edge of woodland clearings. In Britain it occurs primarily in upland areas less affected by agricultural intensification, but further east in Europe also commonly in lowland areas, including parks and old gardens in urban areas. They nest in natural tree holes, so dead trees or those with dead limbs are beneficial to the species; nestboxes are sometimes used. A high cover of moss and lichen is also preferred. They also use mature open conifer woodland, particularly in the north of the breeding range. Management to thin out the trees is thus favoured.

In England, where it has declined by 55% in the past 25 years, the Forestry Commission offers grants under a scheme called England's Woodland Improvement Grant (EWIG); as does Natural Englands Environmental Stewardship Scheme. It is a very rare and irregular breeding bird in Ireland, with between one and five pairs breeding in most years, mainly in County Wicklow.

It is a summer visitor throughout most of Europe and western Asia (east to Lake Baikal), and also in northwest Africa in Morocco. It winters in central Africa and Arabia, south of the Sahara Desert but north of the Equator, from Senegal east to Yemen. It is widespread as a breeding bird in Great Britain, particularly in upland broadleaf woodlands and hedgerow trees, but in Ireland it is very local, and may not breed every year.

The males first arrive in early to mid April, often a few days in advance of the females. Five or six light blue eggs are laid during May, with a second brood in mid summer in the south of the breeding range. It departs for Africa between mid-August and early October. It often feeds like a flycatcher, making aerial sallies after passing insects, and most of its food consists of winged insects. The call is chat-like and the alarm a plaintive single note, wheet, like that of many other chats.
The male’s song is similar to that of the Robin, but never more than a prelude, since it has an unfinished, feeble ending.

Tags:   Redstart Redstarts Birds. Bird Song Birds Summer Migrant Wildlife. Wildbirds Woodlands Woodland Wildlife Photography Jeff Lack Photography Farmland Forest Forests Forestry Heathland Heathlands Heaths Moorland Moors Countryside Nature

N 184 B 1.7K C 154 E Jul 2, 2019 F Jul 7, 2019
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High Brown Fritillary - Argynnis adippe

The Beautiful Rare High Brown!


***Last upload for a while due to Family Bereavement, hopefully catch up soon..***


Tags:   High-Brown-Fritillary Fritillary Fritilliaries Butterfly Butterflies Rare Insects Insect Lepidoptera Wildlife. Wildlife Photography Jeff Lack Photography Moorland Moors Meadows Bracken Heathland Heathlands Heaths Countryside Copse Nectaring Nature Wildflowers Macro


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