Corvid not covid

Sunday March 29th: Isolation Day 6 Almost a week into our new life of uncertainty and restriction and the boredom and monotony is beginning to set in. Fortunately the sun is still shining enabling me to get out briefly each day for my daily dose of nature therapy. Whilst being limited to just one small…

Odd one out?

Whilst most days the avian residents of the harbour are predictable and familiar, just occasionally I can be rewarded with an unusual or completely new sighting of a species you haven’t seen in the area before. Today not a new species, but rather a very recognisable mallard, one of many that have made their home…

Drakes in disguise

Autumn for many birds is the moulting season, and none of the birds here in Aberystwyth go through this process quite as dramatically as the mallard ducks on the Rheidol river. As the warm days of summer fade into memory so too do the bright, vibrant feathers of the drakes as they lose their summer…

Bad feather day

After my failure to capture photographs of the young Jackdaw a few weeks ago, today my luck had turned and I was able to capture some more successful photographs as the corvid family foraged in and around the harbour slipway under the pleasant morning sunshine. The adults were busy searching for their breakfast among the…

Eclipse plumage

In the blink of an eye, our summer appears to be over, the hot dry weather making way for the cooler temperatures and moody autumn skies. With the departure of summer the breeding season is now over for most birds, this years young already raised to independence, and attention once again falls to the adults…

Albinism

There is a particularly recognisable and beautiful bird in the local pigeon flock, a beautiful albino male with bright white feathers and a distinctive red eye. Albinism is rarely seen in wild birds, as due to their obvious colouration and poor eyesight they usually fall victim to predators early in life. Albinism is a genetic…

Wearing thin

After an unsuccessful breeding season for the Aberystwyth mallards, now is the time for them to moult, and replace their now worn out breeding feathers for a fresh new look. At this time of year the usually fairly dispersed population gathers together in a large flock of around 20-25 birds, and they spend the majority…

Iridescent feathers

The Starlings were unusually bold today, as they foraged around the mud and debris deposit on the mud flat as the tide receded. Usually quick to utter their shrill alarm calls and take flight, I was pleasantly surprised and delighted when they allowed me to get within a few feet! The starlings wandered closer and…

Sparrow oddity

Whilst watching the House Sparrows a few days ago, a particular individual caught my eye as looking a little out of the ordinary. A closer look revealed what was most certainly a male, but with a mottled brown cheeks and bib, quite different to the usual solid black markings. A typical male house sparrow for…

Mistaken identity

With their sleek all black feathers, long legs and harsh calls, it is easy to get the larger members of the corvid family (carrion crows, rooks and ravens) confused, but this becomes even more challenging when it comes to their youngsters. Take this individual for instance, photographed on South beach a few days ago. At…

Sighting: Leucistic Blackbird

I came across this handsome male blackbird quite by accident in town a few days ago, I just happened to have my camera on me at the time. Unfortunately I was only able to capture one photo before other pedestrians sent him scattering. As you can see he has a patch of pure white feathers…