Monday, 31 May 2010
Sunday, 16 May 2010
Monday, 29 March 2010
Measuring 125 to 170 centimetres in length, this large swan is wholly white in plumage with an orange bill bordered with black. It is recognisable by its pronounced knob atop the bill.
Despite its Eurasian origin, its closest relatives are the Black Swan of Australia and the Black-necked Swan of South America, not the other Northern Hemisphere swans. The species is monotypic with no living subspecies.
Adults of this large swan range from 125 to 170 centimetres (49 to 67 in) long with a 200 to 240 centimetres (79 to 94 in) wingspan. They may stand over 120 centimetres (47 in) tall on land. Males are larger than females and have a larger knob on their bill.
The Mute Swan is one of the heaviest flying birds, with males (known as cobs) averaging about 12 kilograms (26 lb) and the slightly smaller females (known as pens) weighing about 9 kilograms (20 lb).
The Mute Swan is less vocal than the noisy Whooper and Bewick's Swans; the most familiar sound associated with Mute Swan is the vibrant throbbing of the wings in flight. This sound is unique to the species, and can be heard from a range of 1 to 2 kilometres (0.6 to 1 mi), indicating its value as a contact sound between birds in flight. They do however make a variety of grunting, hoarse whistling, and snorting noises, especially in communicating with their cygnets, and usually hiss at predators trying to enter their territory.
The cob is also responsible for defending the cygnets while on the water, and will sometimes attack small watercraft, such as canoes, that it feels are a threat to its young. The cob will also try and chase the predator out of his family territory, and will keep animals such as foxes and birds at bay.
The population in the United Kingdom is about 22,000 birds.
Populations in western Europe were largely exterminated by hunting pressure in the 13th-19th centuries, with the exception of semi-domesticated birds maintained as poultry by large landowners. Better protection in the late 19th and early 20th centuries allowed birds to return to most or all of their former range. More recently in the period from about 1960 up to the early 1980s, numbers declined significantly again in many areas, primarily due to lead poisoning from birds swallowing discarded fishing sinkers made from lead. After lead weights were replaced by other less toxic alternatives, Mute Swan numbers increased again rapidly.
The phrase swan song refers to this swan and to the legend that it is utterly silent until the last moment of its life, and then sings one achingly beautiful song just before dying.
The Mute Swan has been the national bird of Denmark since 1984. Prior to that, the Skylark was considered Denmark's national bird (since 1960).
The fairy tale The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen tells the story of a cygnet ostracised by his fellow barnyard fowl because of his perceived homeliness. To his delight (and to the surprise of others), he matures into a graceful swan, the most beautiful bird of all.
Today, the Crown (the British monarch) retains the right to ownership of all unmarked mute swans in open water.
The Mute Swans in the moat at the Bishops Palace have for centuries been trained to ring bells via strings attached to them to beg for food.
Sunday, 28 March 2010
Saturday, 27 March 2010
This picture was taken 10th of March 2010 just over the Conwy River from Llanrwst.
Here is another picture of the Little Egret taken on the 18th of March 2010 from the same area just over the Conwy River.
The little Egret is a new visitor to the UK. Until the mid 20th century they were rarely seen in the UK. The birds often fly away as soon as I even see it from 200- 300 metres away. It is very quick to see people and move away.
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Saturday, 20 March 2010
Friday, 19 March 2010
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Monday, 8 March 2010
in Llanrwst by Llanrwst sewage works. This was a Grey Wagtail on the barbed wire of the Llanrwst Sewage works. The Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) is a small member of the wagtail family, Motacillidae. The species looks similar to the Yellow Wagtail but has the yellow on its underside restricted to the throat and vent. Breeding males have a black throat. The species is widely distributed, with several populations breeding in Europe and Asia and migrating to tropical regions in Asia and Africa. They are usually seen on open marshy ground or meadows where they walk solitarily or in pairs along the ground, capturing insects. They frequently wag their tail and fly low with undulations and have a sharp call often in flight. This slim wagtail has a narrow white supercilium and a broken eye ring. The upperparts are grey and the yellow vent contrasting with whitish underparts makes it distinctive
isle of man houses
Saturday, 6 March 2010
Friday, 5 March 2010
Monday, 1 March 2010
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
Sunday, 7 February 2010
Great Tits are cavity nesters, breeding in a hole that is usually inside a tree, although occasionally in a wall, rock face, and they will readily take to nest boxes. The number in the clutch is often very large, but seven or eight white spotted red eggs are normal, with bigger clutches being laid by two or even more hens. The bird is a close sitter, hissing when disturbed.
The nestlings are unusual for altricial birds in having plumage coloured with carotenoids similarly to their parents. In most species it is dun-coloured to avoid predation. The nape is yellow and attracts the attention of the parents by its ultraviolet reflectance. This may be to make them easier to find in low light or a signal of fitness to win the parents' attention. This patch turns white after the first moult at an age of two months, and diminishes in size as the bird grows.
The color of the male bird's breasts has been shown to correlate with stronger sperm, and is one way that the male demonstrates reproductive superiority to females. This is due to an increase in carotenoid, which gives the breast its color, as well as enables the sperm to better withstand the onslaught of free radicals.great tit blogspot
Friday, 5 February 2010
Wednesday, 3 February 2010
Sunday, 24 January 2010
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
Sunday, 17 January 2010
Thursday, 14 January 2010
Sunday, 10 January 2010
Friday, 8 January 2010
Thursday, 7 January 2010
The Great Tit is easy to recognize, large in size at 14 cm, with a broad black line (broader in the male) down its otherwise yellow chest. The neck and head are black with white cheeks and ear coverts. Upper parts are olive. It has a white wingbar and outer tail feathers. Young birds are duller.