Mar 312011
 

Lesser Redpoll (top) v Mealy Redpoll comparisonThe mealy redpoll that spent the winter hanging around my garden is still making regular appearances at the feeders. During the recent spell of decent weather I managed to get these shots of first a lesser, followed a few seconds later by the mealy on the same station at the seed-feeder. Identical light, identical camera settings, etc. make for an interesting comparison.

It highlights the significant differences between two birds that in Ireland are still considered sub-species of the common redpoll, but in the UK are split into different species.

The Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis flammea cabaret / Carduelis cabaret) is on the top, the Mealy Redpoll (Carduelis flammea flammea) is on the bottom.

Click on the pic to see a larger version.

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Feb 222011
 

No really, it isn’t… although in all fairness you could be forgiven for thinking it was morphing into one of late. That’s just a reflection of me rekindling an interest that’s been there since I was a wee nipper.

Inevitably life gets busy, and things fall by the wayside, but they’re always there, to be picked up again when time allows. That’s what’s happening now.

I’m enjoying re-acquainting myself with the common and not so common birds around me, brushing up very rusty fieldcraft and ID skills and generally re-calibrating the bird-radar.

It’s also seems to be rekindling my enthusiasm for this blog, which is no bad thing.

Where am I finding the time for this real life stuff? To be honest I’m mostly slotting it in around all the other stuff. It’s amazing what you can do with a spare ten minutes here, quarter of an hour there.

So… I hope you’re enjoying the wildlife and birding related posts, and I will get back to writing about other things soon.

Feb 092011
 

Play the Swarovski Optik Birding Game and WinIf you are a birding enthusiast this new online birding game by Swarovski Optilk is great fun, and a useful way to keep those ID skills finely honed.

It’s been developed to help promote the brand new Swarovski EL50 Swarovision, the latest addition to the thoroughbred Swarovski Optik binocular range.

There are currently three habitats to choose from – Lake Neusiedl in Austria (Swarovski Optiks’ back yard), Extremadura in Spain (where they’re officially launching the new bins) and Corpus Christi in Texas, USA.

I’ve tried the Austria and Spain ones and they’re great fun. Haven’t had the temerity to attempt the American one yet… know far too little about US birds (and European ones come to that).

With my online marketing hat on, it’s good to see a traditional high-end manufacturer in a niche area like speciality optics getting adventurous with online marketing like this, and harnessing it in a way that will really engage with its niche market of birders.