As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Black grouse spotted at Stanley Moss restored bog

29 January 2016

A restored peat bog - bought by a wildlife trust for £1 four years ago - has become home to an endangered bird.

Six black grouse have been spotted at the Stanley Moss Nature Reserve in County Durham, which was acquired and restored by Durham Wildlife Trust.

The grouse is on the RSPB's "red list", meaning the species is globally endangered.

Ian Brown from the trust said the birds' presence was a "great indicator" of how the habitat was being managed.

The land between Sunniside and Stanley Crook, which was turned back into a blanket bog habitat in 2012, is also home to snipe and hares.

Mr Brown said the black grouse population was "a strong testament to the work of members and volunteers".

"Hopefully, this group is significant enough to become a viable breeding population," he said.
The loss of the birds' natural habitat of farmland and and moorland has contributed to the decline in their numbers, the RSPB says.

Farmer attempts to bring back rare bird

27 January 2016 Last updated at 19:09 GMT

A County Down farmer is attempting to bring back a bird that has not been seen in the fields of Northern Ireland for several decades.

The grey partridge was once common, but changes in farming and its own tendency to stick up for itself in a fight, saw its numbers dwindle until it was declared extinct in Northern Ireland.

BBC News NI's Agriculture and Environment correspondent Conor Macauley reports.

Kingfisher is all white as photographers finally catch up with legendary rare bird

17:32, 5 FEB 2016
UPDATED 18:32, 5 FEB 2016

The all-white bird is believed to suffer from a rare condition meaning its feathers have no pigment and has only been spotted a handful of times

A couple of amateur photographers were left thrilled after they managed to capture a rare and elusive white kingfisher on camera.
The incredibly rare white Kingfisher
The all-white bird had become legendary among photographers at the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda - although it had only been spotted a handful of times.
The birds - usually known for their brightly coloured plumage - are often spotted flitting along the river banks.

But this unusual critter is believed to suffer from a rare condition called Leucism - meaning its feathers have no pigment.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Jail Bird Set Free: Lebanon Returns Israeli ‘Spy Vulture’

21:45 29.01.2016Get short URL

The Lebanese government returned a vulture, which it mistakenly thought to be a Mossad spy, back to Israel, according to the radio station Reshet Bet.

Earlier this week, residents of the Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil caught a griffon vulture which had a GPS transmitter. People thought the bird of prey belonged to the Israeli Special Service and that it flew to Lebanon to gather intelligence. Bint Jbeil is about 4 km away from Israel's border.

"Reports passed to us show the vulture tied with a rope by local people who write that they suspect Israeli espionage, apparently because of the transmitter attached to him," Israel's nature reserve authorities were quoted as saying, according to the Guardian.

However, when members of the Lebanese Secret Service inspected the bird, they found
Israeli ornithologists were contacted who immediately identified the bird based on its description and pictures. Turns out, the bird of prey was brought to Israel from Spain last year to increase the population of griffon vultures in the country, the source said.

After Lebanese authorities learned that the vulture was not a ‘spy' working for Israel, the bird was set free in the same area it was caught,CNN said.

Little bird, big journey: A tagged Georgia shorebird flies 60,000 miles

Posted: January 27, 2016 - 10:22pm  |  Updated: January 28, 2016 - 5:22am

A shorebird nicknamed Postel, tagged on the Georgia coast in 2012, flew nearly 60,000 miles before his tag stopped transmitting in late November.

The whimbrel, which returned to the coast each spring over the three and a half years its satellite tag was active, has already given scientists insight into the importance of Georgia’s seemingly lifeless sandbars and spits.

Postel was captured in the marshes of St. Simons Island near Postel Creek in May 2012 by a team of biologists, including Tim Keyes of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

They caught Postel in a snare and immediately fitted him with a tracking device. The satellite tag comes with a tiny solar panel and a whip antennae. Weighing just a third of an ounce, it attached to Postel with a figure-eight harness that looped around each leg.

New bird spotted in Karoo National Park

2016-02-03 13:30 - Louzel Lombard

Cape Town - SANParks Honorary Ranger Japie Claassen has spotted the iconic Common Cuckoo in the Karoo National Park, enriching the already abundant birdlife in the park with one more interesting sighting option.

Claassen, from 
Karoo Birding Safaris, says that while patrolling along the Park’s boundary fence on the Loxton Road outside Beaufort West at the end of January, he stumbled across the beautiful Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) and formerly known as the European Cuckoo – the first sighting of this bird in the Park.

The Common Cuckoo has been the centrepiece of cuckoo clocks since the early 1600’s – with its signature call striking on the hour, every hour.

Claassen says they are relatively quiet - not heard often in South Africa.  They originate in Europe and are seldom seen in the Karoo areas.  They feed on large, hairy black and white caterpillars, usually found on Acacia trees.  

Birds of 11 rare species found in Jharkhand

Birds of 11 rare species thought to be extinct have been found during a survey of the water bodies in Jharkhand, a state forest department official said.

The water bodies of Jharkhand managed to draw as many as 37,000 migratory birds belonging to 29 species last year, the survey carried out on behalf of the Jharkhand forest department found.

As per the Asian Bird Survey 2015, the bird count around reservoirs and other water bodies, including 25 dams, in the state was 71,134.

“Loud music and other noises near water bodies scare away birds, due to which proper counting can’t take place. The bird survey in the state was completed in February,” the official said.

The survey said most birds visited the Massanjore Dam in Dumka, where the number of winged visitors was put at 9,564, followed by Chandil at 7,896 and Udhav at 7,823 birds. The fourth and fifth spots were claimed by Tilaiya and Patratu dams with 6,460 and 5,821 bird populations respectively.

The bird survey was carried out at the dams of Lotwa, Tilayia, Udhwa, Hatia, Getalsud, Patratu, Kanke, Khandoli, Topchanchi, Maithon, Panchet and Massanjore, apart from Tenughat, Konar, Budha, Gonda, Chandil, Dimna, Sitaram, Kansjore, Tapkara, Malay and dams located inside the Palamu Tiger Reserve.

The survey team also identified a couple of migratory birds from Mongolia, including Bar Headed Geese. The other species of migratory birds included White Necked Stork, Oriental White Ibis and Northern Shoveler.