Friday, 29 April 2011


Advert below taken from the FIBO wardens blog - come on what could be better than cooking meals for FIBO staff, hungry happy birders and Island visitors, then birding Fair Isle on your days off!
'Cook Wanted

The new season is almost upon us and the staff are all in place, almost. Although we are being superbly fed by Chris, Becki, Lindsey and Susannah (and apologies to anyone I've missed off the list), we still need a full time cook for the season.
Duties for this post include preparing menus, ordering stock, managing staff and cooking for up to 40 people on a set-time, set-menu basis.
The rewards are a modest salary, (board and lodgings and some transport costs to and from the island are met) and the opportunity to work in a fantasic environment in a friendly team. We require somebody with cooking experience, who is friendly, hard working and aware of the demands of living and working on a remote island.
If you would like to apply, or have any questions about the post, please contact Susannah at the observatory on or 01595 760258.
A Tree Trunk Delivery!
More nest highlights, here with a very wide angle view down a tree trunk cavity to a nesting Tawny Owl which has just had 2 fluffy white chicks! You can see one chick clearly visible here. Also of note in the moth trap the other night, 2 Hawkmoths, a Lime and an Elephant, both the smallest I have ever seen!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

A lot of nest hunting going on at the moment! Nests found and being monitored so far include Tawny Owl, Little Owl, Robin, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Linnet and as of yesterday, a Nightingale! Here are images of a brood of Robins which we ringed in their tree trunk nest cavity and a beautiful clutch of Blue Tit eggs. . . . . .

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

'Two Men in a . . . . . . .Zodiac'

I visited Minsmere late afternoon yesterday for a long walk and it turned out, a spot of bird photography! It was a little windy but bright spells broke through the cloud briefly enabling me to get a few nice 'duck' shots. I was particularly pleased to see Shoveler, Teal and Gadwall move in to feed very close in to one of the hides, so after a short wait, I was full framing these gorgeous birds in warm afternoon sun with a constant Bittern booming backdrop.

The images of 'two men in a boat' just about tie in with the 'duck' theme. This is my partner Phil and our good friend Deryk attempting to catch ducks (well one in particular but we won't go there!) a couple of years ago in North Haven, Fair Isle. Deryk has a great new blog - post FIBO and here is the link so you can follow his new birding, family and crofting exploits! The Burkle Birder

Monday, 11 April 2011

Staying Local
Here on the Suffolk coast the weather has really changed over the last week producing borderline 'balmy' T-shirt & BBQ April days and clear blue skies. Winter seemed to last sooooo long, I don't think I've noticed the change to Spring so dramatically or enjoyed it so much before! The 3 Blackbird chicks have now fledged and often come into the garden for food fully independent of their parents and of course sporting the BTO bling they were given as nestlings. One of our ringing site Nightingales has returned, being re-trapped on the 10th April a day later than it was seen and re-trapped on it's return last Spring. An Osprey floated over the Deben Estuary this morning being chased by every Wader frequenting the estuary it seemed! (Phil). We now have over 50 nests being monitored locally, mainly Blackbird and Song Thrush but with the odd Chaffinch, Long-tailed Tit, Tawny Owl and Buzzard boosting the nesting species find list! Moth trapping began at the end of March with the usual suspects including small numbers of Common Quaker, Powdered Quaker, Hebrew Character, Herald, Early Grey, Satellite. . .still the cold nights are keeping the numbers down for now. The images shown here are of a Herald and Early Thorn.

The image of the helmet above is from the local Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon King Burial treasure, found in one of the burial mounds over looking the Deben Estuary back in 1939.
"The Sutton Hoo helmet has become possibly the most enigmatic and well known image of Anglo-Saxon Warrior Kingship. It was discovered in 1939 within the Mound 1 ship burial chamber and lay broadly level with the dead man's head. When the chamber roof collapsed the helmet shattered into tiny pieces. Its construction and design suggest it was a battle helmet capable of protecting its wearer from blows to the head. Attached to the iron skull cap is a face mask, with hinged cheek pieces and neck guard. The decorative feature on the front of the mask is made of gilded bronze in the form of a bird or dragon with outstretched wings (which cover the wearer's eyebrows)and tipped with gold and garnets. The body of the bird lies over the nose-piece, with tail feathers above the mouthpiece".