Sunday, 4 August 2013

Belfat Birding - Part 2

This post today is a continuation of yesterday's and as I cannot leave replies (frustratingly) to any of your comments I would just like to say that all the photographs yesterday were all taken from inside the RSPB Reserve, as are the first 3 below and I appreciate all those people who enjoy the researched information that I add to most posts.

Common Tern

Lapwing Juvenile

Moorhen Juvenile

 Now just along the road from the RSPB Reserve is any area called Kinnegar and it is always worth having a look to see what is about. 

I saw this Hooded Crow above with the young one below however I have a feeling the young one is a hybrid.  Any thoughts on this I would appreciate?

To the right of the road is a small lake and that is where I saw the birds below.

Little Egret which was quite a distance away so this shot is not great.

As well as the Little Egret and Black headed Gulls there was a young Heron on the left of photo.

These are some Redshank and a few Black tailed Godwits having a snooze.

This Magpie's eye looked a bit funny to me.  Anyone know why?

There was only 1 Mute Swan and this Black tailed Godwit on this side of the road so today I thought I would share some interesting facts about Swans with you. Many of you will know some of them however there may be a few you have not heard of.

The beautiful snowy feathers and long graceful neck have created a picture that many artists have worked hard to recreate. There are logos, associations, organisations, home decor and more inspired by the beauty.

Mute Swan and Black tailed Godwit

  • The mute swan is the one that most Americans and Europeans are familiar with.
  • A swan mates for life.
  • The adult male is called a cob. He is the only known bird to have a penis.
  • He is both a devoted father and husband. He has been known to use a blow from the “knucklebone” of his wing to defend his family. His blow is said to be strong enough to break a man’s arm according to Donald and Louise Peattie in “Legend with Wings.”
  • The Mute Swan is perhaps the noisiest of all swans having eight different sounds in its repertoire.
  • Swans can fly as fast as 50 to 60 miles per hour.
  • Some have a wing span of 10 feet.

  • Swans were nearing extinction in the 1930s in the U.S. but due to measures taken to protect them their population is again growing.
  • A baby swan or cygnet has a grey feathered coat until it reaches about 20 pounds. Then it too will become snowy white like its parents.
  • A baby swan pecks at the inside of the egg for 24 hours prior to making its entrance.
  • The female swan is referred to as a pen.
  • Visually the most noticeable difference between the male and female swan is size, unlike many other animals where the male and female are coloured differently.
  • The typical weight of a swan is from 25 to 35 pounds and height while standing alert 4 feet.
  • From the tip of the bill to the end of their tail they measure 5 feet.

Mute Swan on left hand side of road on sea side.

  • The regal beauty is one of the reasons for the swan to be considered as a royal bird in England and all swans found in the open waters belong to the crown.
  • A mother swan has a sound similar to a yipping puppy, which it uses to call the young to her.
  • Swans are the largest known flying bird.
  • They are not known to attack humans without cause, and actually can remember humans that have been kind to them.
  • They dine off of aquatic vegetation, insects, tiny fish and tadpoles. Because they are able to reach far below the water’s surface, they have actually broken plants apart and left them floating on the water which enables smaller birds to find ready food.
  • The mute swan’s neck has 23 vertebrae which is more than any other bird.
  • Their life expectancy in a protected environment is as long as 30 years.
  • Swans are another of the many marvels created by God.

 Oystercatcher and 4 Ringed Plovers
 Ringed Plovers are one of my favourite small waders and there are some interesting facts about them.
  • If a potential predator approaches its nest, the Common Ringed Plover will feign a broken wing to lure the intruder away.
  • It will sometimes use "foot-trembling" to stir up food and startled prey into movement.
  • Males tend to perform more night time egg incubation, while females incubate more during the day.
  • A group of plovers has many collective nouns, including a "brace", "congregation", "deceit", "ponderance" and "wing" of plovers.
I hope you enjoyed this post and I thanks you for visiting it.
MANY THANKS TO ALL who left comments on any of my post yesterday.


  1. wonderful bunch of shorebirds! perhaps the magpie was blinking his nictitating membrane just as you snapped the shutter.

  2. Lovely birds you have seen there. A lot of birds for RSPB hides.

  3. Wonderful captures, Margaret, and lots of interesting facts.

  4. Hi Margaret!
    I always admire your photos. You are adept at identifying birds.
    In my country, where I live there are not too many.
    There are only tits, blackbirds, crows, magpies, greenfinches ...
    My garden is very friendly. I have put up bird feeders with food.
    And now, in the summer they also exhibit a water to drink.
    I look forward to your next post.
    They are great. You have a lot of bloggers who are interested in birds.
    I think you are very happy.
    I send kisses and greetings.

  5. It is nice to learn about your birds there. The photos are great too. The Black tailed Godwit is one of my favorites along with the Lapwing. Great post Margaret!

  6. Lovely shots! Mute swans are getting more common in Finland although the whooper swan is our national bird.

  7. I've been trying to find my around your blog so I could comment! I appreciate your visits to my blog and for leaving comments. Your photography is just beautiful!!

  8. You know so much about birds Margaret and show them well.


  9. So very excellent!!! And such a wonderful variety of birds. I'm thinking the instant you pressed your shutter, the magpie may be closing its membrane for that very second?!! Just a guess.

    This is Anni @ I'd rather b birdin'...just in my personal blog admin today [Hootin' Anni]. I'm too lazy to switch. :o)

  10. The Hooked Crow is a new one for me. Mute swans have become a problem at some of our local lakes as they have begun attacking people on individual watercraft. I'm sure they're just trying to protect their nesting area, but it's a problem nonetheless.

    Lovely photos.

  11. Lovely set Margaret.
    The Magpies eye is interesting. It's called a nictitating membrane, and protects the eye.

  12. I am very interested in the Hooked Crow. I thought all crows were black and have never heard of such a thing!!!! And I wonder about the name, since his beak does not appear to be hooked. Does he still sound like a crow? And is he just as big? When my husband Phil was growing up, he had a very smart crow as a pet, named Billy. Phil's dad was a preacher, and every Sunday morning Billy would hop on the church window sill and caw during the sermon. Well, they finally found a way to stop him. Before they went to church they put the lawnmower in front of the entrance to his cage, he was afraid of it and would not pass. I really enjoy seeing this Lapwing, what a strange bird, I think we have none here, I have never heard of them.

  13. wow, so many great species you encountered.
    I agree that the magpie looks weird. Might have an illness in the eye. Blind?

  14. I enjoyed the variety of birds in your post Margaret; your lapwing is quaint with that head-dress

  15. Interesting post again! I think the Hooded Crow has two races and you've stumbled upon both of them foraging together. In London and southern Europe they are all black and called Carrion Crows, but in the north and around Scandinavia they have that beautiful grey form.

    I laughed out loud at the irony of the Mute Swan being noisiest of all! Goes to show how perception over-rules reality for most people.

  16. Kinnegar looks like a great place for pictures -- yours are marvelous. Thanks for all the information about swans.

  17. I think Tex nailed it with the explanation of the "cloudy" eye. Hoddies are great bird - I remember seeing my first ones in Co. Cork.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  18. Two excellent posts Margaret and lots of information to take in! The Magpie, as mentioned above, does appear to be 'blinking' it's nictitating membrane. It's like a third eyelid. (Google..Bird Vision..for more info)...[;o)

  19. Hi Margaret. You have quite a variety of birds. I especially love the egrets, and the photo of the magpie is fantastic! I also wanted to say thank you for nominating me for the blogging award. I've been very sporadic lately with my blogging. I'm hoping to get back to it more regularly soon!