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  1. Mark Lew1s

    Distortion and recordings of bird vocalisations

    Hi, I was made aware of a mystery bird recording that was being discussed here: https://community.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/f/ask-an-expert/207112/strange-bird-song/1288708#1288708 At the end of the thread they reveal that the bird was a wren (confirmed visually) - but the recording sounds very...
  2. Mark Lew1s

    Orkney - A flying visit…

    Thursday 26th September With my family increasing in size this year, a long time ago I said to my usual autumn Sanday companions that I’d be sitting this years trip out. Some things are more important, after all. However, with my nearest and dearest in the midst of a long trip to France, and...
  3. Mark Lew1s

    Ouessant October 2018

    Sunday October 14th As if following on straight from my Sanday trip, Sunday morning started with a walk to the ferry terminal in Brest through quite a bit of wind and rain. The ferry over to Ouessant has loads of potential though, and I wasn’t going to let a bit of weather stop me - a total...
  4. Mark Lew1s

    Goldie flocks and the three (?) rares…Sanday Oct 18

    Another Autumn, another trip to Sanday for the Ladyboys. Usually, the beginnings of these trips are full of anticipation – hopes of eastern rarities and scarcities fill our conversations, and in some years, they are justified. However, this year we knew the hoped for easterlies were not going...
  5. Mark Lew1s

    Certainty and doubt

    Hi all, I've been asked to speak to a charity that runs cetacean citizen science projects about concepts of certainty and doubt wrt identification. I have plenty of my own ideas about this - but I'll certainly have missed some, and it will be useful to see if my ideas are broadly agreed...
  6. Mark Lew1s

    Jackdaw ID - which subspecies?

    Hi all, Does anyone have any thoughts on the subspecific ID of this jackdaw - photographed in Durham yesterday. The photos were taken in poor early morning light and do not really capture the paleness of the head, contrast with the throat and crown, and boldness of the collar. Thanks, and...
  7. Mark Lew1s

    Ouessant, 2 - 8th September 2017

    September 2nd The annual family/birding holiday was to be a bit earlier than usual this year. We have fallen into a pattern of doing this trip in mid October recently, coinciding with what’s probably the best time to be here for eastern vagrants, and also allowing me a week in the office to...
  8. Mark Lew1s

    Ageing a black redstart, Orkney, UK

    I had this female type black redstart on Sanday, Orkney the other day. I didn't notice in the field, but my photos show it has quite a well defined gape. I guess my questions are: Can 2cy/adult birds show a gape like this? Do black redstarts breed early enough on the continent for a juv to...
  9. Mark Lew1s

    Sanday, October 2016

    I'm just back from an exhausting but brilliant weeks birding on Sanday, Orkney. This is the sixth autumn trip the 'ladyboys' have done - again basing ourselves in the village of Lady (hence the name...) and splitting up each day to cover as much of this hugely underwatched island as we possibly...
  10. Mark Lew1s

    Nocturnal bird recording

    The run of nocturnal Ortolan records in the SW has prompted me to give nocturnal recording a try - I left my recorder, attached to a directional mic running last night and intend to analyse the recording later this evening. As this is brand new to me, and many others are asking questions about...
  11. Mark Lew1s

    Roland R-05 and Rode NTG2

    Hi all, I'm a complete novice with this sort of thing so please excuse me if I'm asking a stupid question! I have a Roland R-05 recorder which I used to use with the CS-15S mic to record bird vocalisations. The mic broke however, and as it would have been costly to get it fixed, I decided to...
  12. Mark Lew1s

    New birding podcasts

    Just flagging up that there are a couple of new birding podcasts, especially relevant to UK birders. Patchwork Challenge by Patchwork Challenge https://itun.es/gb/L04Lab.c and Just A Bird by Gyr Crakes https://itun.es/gb/Q12Aab.c And of course, there is the well established and respected...
  13. Mark Lew1s

    Bar-headed geese in Europe

    Can anyone direct me to any resources that shed light on the breeding populations of bar-headed geese in continental europe - and any known movements of these birds. Thanks!
  14. Mark Lew1s

    Ouessant, 11th - 17th October

    The following is a summary of my weeks visit to Ouessant, a part birding/part family holiday with the inlaws, and now my 9th consecutive autumn on the island. As with any autumn migrant hunting trip, whether you see anything good was in the hands of the gods – but I was going to get some...
  15. Mark Lew1s

    Sanday, Sept 26th - Oct 3rd

    This is personal account of the now regular teams autumn trip to Sanday, focusing on what I saw but mentioning the goodies that were picked up by the others too. Our birding tactics were to split up and try to limit overlapping coverage as much as possible. This meant that as well as looking for...
  16. Mark Lew1s

    Self found year record

    If I had the time and the money (and the driving licence!) I'd definitely give this a shot... What do you think would be the perfect itinerary for doing a self found UK year list? Leaving aside the 'rules' for the moment, I guess it would be a balancing act between the best sites, at the best...
  17. Mark Lew1s

    Sanday, June 2015

    As our four previous autumn trips had demonstrated, Sanday has the potential to deliver good birds in any conditions, and across a wide spectrum of passerines, waders, wildfowl, gulls, etc. No doubt inspired by a grey, wintery day in the office, a few of the regular Sanday team decided that it...
  18. Mark Lew1s

    Colour ringed ringed plover

    Does anyone know of any CR schemes for ringed plover? I've looked on the usual websites but can't find any projects matching this ring colour/combo.
  19. Mark Lew1s

    South Uist, Mid September 2014

    The usual Sanday team decided they were due an extra week’s holiday prior to the Sanday trip (a warm up?) in September, and given the timing, we decided upon a week exploring South Uist (with a little excursion over to Barra on one of the days). We were hoping for a decent selection of American...
  20. Mark Lew1s

    Jackdaw subspp, NE England

    Having seen this bird well in good light, I'm fairly happy it's a monedula (i.e. 'Scandinavian') type rather than soemmerringii ('Russian') type Jackdaw (notwithstanding the possibility of intergrades, of course). I'd welcome any thoughts from anyone though - I don't have a great deal of...
  21. Mark Lew1s

    Sanday, Sept/Oct 2014

    Better late than never, I've got round to getting this trip report going! For details of the previous 2 autumns visits, see: 2012 - http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=245102&highlight=Sanday 2013 - http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=289269&highlight=Sanday As a little background...
  22. Mark Lew1s

    A quiet week on Ouessant, Oct 2014

    This year’s trip took place from the 12th to the 18th October, traditionally right in the heart of the peak period for quality rarities. As anyone who keeps an eye on the bird news (or this thread) in the UK will know, it was a pretty quiet autumn in the SW and Scilly, and it was no different on...
  23. Mark Lew1s

    Sanday, Orkney, Sept 2013

    Sanday 2013 For previous Sanday trip reports see: 2012 - http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=245102&highlight=Sanday 2011 - http://marklewisbirdingblog.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/sanday-18th-to-23rd-september-2011.html 2013 saw the usual team taking a two week trip instead of previous years...
  24. Mark Lew1s

    Sea swallow

    Have a look at the image on page 29 - Apparently taken in the East Atlantic. I've emailed the relevant folk for further details. http://www.rnbws.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Sea-Swallow-60-2011.pdf Anyone have any thoughts on the ID of this bird? I know what I think it is...
  25. Mark Lew1s

    Seabird Group Conference, Oxford

    The Seabird Group conference, taking place in Oxford this weekend, will be broadcast online for those who won't be able to make it! the link is below: https://www.youtube.com/user/seabirdconferenceOx Enjoy!