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Pied Wheatear in Cheshire - Breaking news from RBA (5.31pm 6 Nov)

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Old Thursday 8th November 2018, 13:58   #26
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The contortions required to see this bird at 1 o'clock today, tucked into a hole on the wrong side of the wall, may entertain some. Photographs were taken.... (but not by me!)
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Old Thursday 8th November 2018, 16:31   #27
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Does anyone care?

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DrfezRLWoAID0ok.jpg:large

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Old Thursday 8th November 2018, 18:15   #28
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Hoping this little fella hangs around till Saturday fingers crossed, nice sketch

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Old Thursday 8th November 2018, 19:01   #29
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https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DrfezRLWoAID0ok.jpg:large

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Is that Peter brash hiding behind James Walsh in that photo?
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Old Thursday 8th November 2018, 19:06   #30
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Makes you wonder how much closer some people have to be. Regardless of how approachable this bird may be I reckon one or two in that photo are about 6 feet away. That's absurd IMO. As Jane mentioned, behind a parked car some 20 feet away would give it space to feed and move about, particularly if its unwell.
As for mealworms........well - Pratts is a word that easily comes to mind.
Good luck little fella.
P
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Old Thursday 8th November 2018, 19:55   #31
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I was there yesterday and the bird was very active and unafraid of the watching birders and frequently landed with 6 feet someone just stood along the wall. Indeed it flew virtually at our feet at one point ( and we were watching from the road ).
What I'm saying is that it was more a case of the bird approaching the birders than vice versa.

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Old Thursday 8th November 2018, 21:40   #32
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The photo by Dennis Morrison of it drinking shows the very much darker bases to the mantle feathers.


https://twitter.com/denmor77


for when it moves


https://media.discordapp.net/attachm...59/unknown.png
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Old Thursday 8th November 2018, 22:50   #33
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Yes, though it could probably be argued that the main reason they were eating mealworms was that they were already terminal cases. In the grand scheme of things this bird is lost to the gene pool already
Disagree to both - Wheatears are closely related to Robins, Bluebirds, etc., and they are perfectly happy on a long-term mealworm diet on peoples' birdtables. Mealworms are very similar to many of their natural insect foods.

And no reason why a bird experimenting with a new migration direction shouldn't survive and return to its natal area to breed - that's how we got our garden feeder wintering Blackcaps. Who knows, will this bird return next winter, with some offspring in tow?
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Old Thursday 8th November 2018, 23:34   #34
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Is that Peter brash hiding behind James Walsh in that photo?
That is me keeping a respectable distance from both the whewtear and James Walsh, whom I had no idea was there. That camouflage gear is amazing.

As for the bird, I’d say it was hale and hearty. Behaviours of birders and photographers was great I’d say. It really does come and find you, which may have happened to the ‘under six-footers’ in the background.

Not tooo sure about the mealworms myself. The bird looked like it was gagging at times today, wonder whether it was trying to bring up a pellet. Mealworms have a fair bit of exoskeleton on them don’t they? I think the bird could get on well enough without them.
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Old Thursday 8th November 2018, 23:53   #35
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If the person who found it was concerned about photographers disturbing it they should not have put it out. When birds like this are put out of course naturally they would attract a lot of people and some will break the codes of conduct. It is extreme I know but it solves the problem.



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Makes you wonder how much closer some people have to be. Regardless of how approachable this bird may be I reckon one or two in that photo are about 6 feet away. That's absurd IMO. As Jane mentioned, behind a parked car some 20 feet away would give it space to feed and move about, particularly if its unwell.
As for mealworms........well - Pratts is a word that easily comes to mind.
Good luck little fella.
P
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Old Friday 9th November 2018, 07:46   #36
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If people are moving too close to the bird or to its favourite spot, then it's up to everyone else to politely mention it. If that doesn't work, then impolitely mention it

If it's the bird that moves towards you, just keep still. It often happens

A still photo of a bird near someone isn't necessarily evidence of poor fieldcraft - it could be either scenario
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Old Friday 9th November 2018, 08:55   #37
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This is exactly what’s happening with this bird. The photographer in the photo was about fifty foot away when I arrived before the wheatear just wandered straight up to him along the sea wall. It employed terrible fieldcraft as it really should have used the sea wall as a barrier and crept up on him, keeping a respectable distance away Luckily the photographer wasn’t harmed and was exhibiting normal behaviour. (Well, as normal as anybody who’s bird obsessed can be expected to show).

The only time the bird looked perturbed was when a black-headed gull decided to investigate the sea wall, attracted,possibly, by the mealworms. The wheatear flew strongly off to a nearby boatyard before coming back to its favourite spot.
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Old Friday 9th November 2018, 09:06   #38
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Its fieldcraft was shocking here too

https://twitter.com/i/status/1060819198618882048
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Old Friday 9th November 2018, 09:07   #39
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Not tooo sure about the mealworms myself. The bird looked like it was gagging at times today, wonder whether it was trying to bring up a pellet. Mealworms have a fair bit of exoskeleton on them don’t they? I think the bird could get on well enough without them.
A lot less exoskeleton than e.g. adult beetles, which are a significant part of wheatear diet. And yes, chats do produce pellets of undigested insect parts, just like shrikes and owls, etc.

True the bird might be pigging itself out a bit, but that's just to lay down fat for the next stage of its migration. It'd do just the same if it had found something like a maggot-filled dead animal naturally.

Bottom line - if you feed birds in your garden, or visit nature reserves with bird feeders, you're doing no different.
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Old Friday 9th November 2018, 09:44   #40
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Oh dear, the mealworm brigade has arrived - had the local pet shop run out of Locusts?

Why do idiots feel the need to devalue these records by artificial feeding?

Please don’t bang on about bird tables and feeders it’s not the same thing��

Laurie����
Why is it now the same thing? I really don't understand why birders are so upset feeding a vagrant bird mealworms - it's commonplace elsewhere in the world. I can give (an as yet) unpublished data on the long-term effects of mealworm feeding - in Malaysia, for six years now, Mountain Peacock Pheasants have been fed a daily dose of live mealworms, and have consistently produced healthy offspring twice a year, with seemingly no ill-effects. The young often appear and the new generations have also produced seemingly healthy off-spring. Past two-three years they have been joined by Ferruginous Partridges, that also consistently, and successfully rear two broods a year, again, with no ill-effects.

My mother has been feeding birds live mealworms in her Derby garden for several years now, along with the usual seed mix/fat balls - the same birds keep on returning, day-after-day, month-after-month.

James
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Old Friday 9th November 2018, 09:58   #41
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Mountain peacock pheasant used to be a mythical near impossibility to see at Fraser's Hill for example as you will well know. I don't know the details but I've heard that now they're easy at another site, presumably because they're being lured by mealworms? Is the feeding of mealworms to them changing and disrupting their natural behaviour for the benefit of either seeing them or getting a photo. I've also seen photos of rusty naped pitta in northern Thailand coming to mealworms for the benefit of photographers. Call me old fashioned but that's not how I want to see a bird that is supposed to be a right old skulker. For me it devalues the experience somewhat. Just sit there and one of the world's more elusive birds will hop out in front of you on cue.

I'm glad to hear that mealworms are not affecting the long term health of these birds and others. I'm less comfortable personally with the change in their behaviour and habits.
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Old Friday 9th November 2018, 10:06   #42
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In the case of this pied wheatear and other desert wheatears over the last few years I just don't see any need whatsoever in feeding mealworms to a bird that is already very tame and approachable. There can only be one point and that is impatient photographers wanting their own personal frame filler of a bird that any idiot can walk up to and get a fantastic photo of. They don't want a picture of it on concrete so they put mealworms in vegetation so they can get their shot. Just look at the goings on up at loch garden for the crested tits with fake snow and peanut butter. Ridiculous.

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Old Friday 9th November 2018, 10:08   #43
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... is supposed to be a right old skulker. For me it devalues the experience somewhat. Just sit there and one of the world's more elusive birds will hop out in front of you on cue. ...
It was / still is a 'right old skulker' because they used to be / still are in some places killed for the pot. If people stop killing them and feed them instead, that's something positive


But what happens when mealworms become an endangered species, . . . .
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Old Friday 9th November 2018, 10:12   #44
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Mountain peacock pheasant used to be a mythical near impossibility to see at Fraser's Hill for example as you will well know. I don't know the details but I've heard that now they're easy at another site, presumably because they're being lured by mealworms? Is the feeding of mealworms to them changing and disrupting their natural behaviour for the benefit of either seeing them or getting a photo. I've also seen photos of rusty naped pitta in northern Thailand coming to mealworms for the benefit of photographers. Call me old fashioned but that's not how I want to see a bird that is supposed to be a right old skulker. For me it devalues the experience somewhat. Just sit there and one of the world's more elusive birds will hop out in front of you on cue.

I'm glad to hear that mealworms are not affecting the long term health of these birds and others. I'm less comfortable personally with the change in their behaviour and habits.
Rusty-naped Pittas come-and-go in Thailand - they can be reliable for weeks (or months) on end, then disappear for a while. On Java, where Javan Banded Pittas are fed, they tend to disappear during the breeding season, returning with their off-spring, with no ill-effects to the human eye.

Mountain Peacock Pheasants - who knows for sure, but they are definitely tamer and easier to see! They come when they want, usually the same time most days, hang around for an hour or two, then clear off for the rest of the day (but sometimes appear randomly) to go about their business.
They have brought, literally, thousands of birders and photographers to an area previously only visited by a handful of us, and raising awareness - which included the construction labourers being told to keep away from that area when they were present for six months, and no trapping allowed (which they followed) - so it's also kept them alive (though they likely took the local White-rumped Shamas).

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Old Friday 9th November 2018, 10:22   #45
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Have you noticed how the Pied Wheatear always gets too close to the photographers ?
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Old Friday 9th November 2018, 10:47   #46
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Have you noticed how the Pied Wheatear always gets too close to the photographers ?
LOL
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Old Friday 9th November 2018, 11:04   #47
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Just look at the goings on up at loch garden for the crested tits with fake snow and peanut butter. Ridiculous.

Are you serious? Peanut butter and fake snow!!

Regarding the wheatear it seems like the twitchers are behaving impeccably on the whole (apart from the odd handful of mealworms) which is great to see.

Let’s hope the local Sparrowhawk doesn’t get too close.
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Old Friday 9th November 2018, 11:05   #48
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Rusty-naped Pittas come-and-go in Thailand - they can be reliable for weeks (or months) on end, then disappear for a while. On Java, where Javan Banded Pittas are fed, they tend to disappear during the breeding season, returning with their off-spring, with no ill-effects to the human eye.

Mountain Peacock Pheasants - who knows for sure, but they are definitely tamer and easier to see! They come when they want, usually the same time most days, hang around for an hour or two, then clear off for the rest of the day (but sometimes appear randomly) to go about their business.
They have brought, literally, thousands of birders and photographers to an area previously only visited by a handful of us, and raising awareness - which included the construction labourers being told to keep away from that area when they were present for six months, and no trapping allowed (which they followed) - so it's also kept them alive (though they likely took the local White-rumped Shamas).

James
Can't and wouldn't argue with that. My personal preference would be not to see a lured bird but that would mean not seeing one at all so I would go if I had the chance, i'd just feel slightly disappointed with the experience I suppose.
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Old Friday 9th November 2018, 11:11   #49
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Can't and wouldn't argue with that. My personal preference would be not to see a lured bird but that would mean not seeing one at all so I would go if I had the chance, i'd just feel slightly disappointed with the experience I suppose.
It's still exciting! Having had UTVs of MPP on Bishop's Trail in 1989, I can't tell you how great it was to see them a few years ago - just fabulous. Yes, the team of 6 Thai photographers who were also there didn't have the greatest field skills - a bit too chatty! - but they were equally excited. We had great views and my photos were OK:

http://www.surfbirds.com/gallery/sha...0015130831.jpg


cheers, alan

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Old Friday 9th November 2018, 12:40   #50
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Feeding birds in order to see them is common practice in the Americas now with previously almost impossible species to see, being lured out in to the open, Antpittas mainly I think.

I myself enjoyed seeing Thicket Antpitta this way in Costa Rica, the setting was perfectly natural and the bird behaved normally, cautiously approaching then dashing in to grab a worm before disappearing back in to cover with it's prize. No harm is done as far as I can see but if the purists don't like it, don't go if you know that this is the way you'll see a bird.
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