Birding

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
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Mark R
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Birding

Post by Mark R » Wed Jun 04, 2003 5:51 pm

Last week somebody watched me trying to stuff a camera tripod through a hatch and asked me if I was 'birding'. It took me a while to realise that this wasn't something dodgy.

Anyway, I have no personal interest in watching birds statically from hides, etc...but for whatever reason, when I'm in my sea kayak I come over all Bill Oddie-ish and get quite excited about squawking balls of feathers, eg. I haven''t forgotten the frisson I felt when I saw my first Purbeck Puffin*.

There seems to be a bit of expertise around here regarding these things. Any thoughts/ tips/ observations on watching birdlife from/ with a kayak?

Mark Rainsley

* I was with some beardie know-it-all. Conversation went as follows...

"Look, Puffins nesting on that ledge".
"No, Puffins are not found in this region during this season and only use burrows, blah blah blah..."
"Why don't you just incline your head up and look?"
"Oh. Puffins".


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sub5rider
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Re: Birding

Post by sub5rider » Wed Jun 04, 2003 6:14 pm

I can give you some useful pointers on distinguishing a Cormorant from a Shag...
Nigel, aka Sub5Rider, Onioneer

chris
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Birding

Post by chris » Thu Jun 05, 2003 10:00 pm

It haven't tried it but I reckon it would be difficult to impossible to use binos from a kayak. On the other hand it seems a lot easier to get close to birds sitting in a kayak than it is in bipedal mode.

The major advantage of a kayak as I see it would be gaining access to the out of the way places that birds like.

I imagine the bright colours of the majority of boats and kit would be pretty unhelpful. I think Wilderness Systems had a dark green fishing kayak (very broad beamed) at the NEC show and you can get olive green fishing buoyancy aids but I'm not aware of any kit designed specifically for paddling birders. I would have thought there might be a niche market there, but apparently not.

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Douglas Wilcox
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Bonxies, birdies and things.

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Thu Jun 05, 2003 10:14 pm

Frank had no inkling of the impending strike.
Afterwards, he told reporters that he had no idea why he had been attacked at sea....

www.gla.ac.uk/medicalgenetics/bonxie.jpg

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sub5rider
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Re: Birding

Post by sub5rider » Thu Jun 05, 2003 10:40 pm

"would be difficult to impossible to use binos from a kayak"

It is, even on the flatest of seas.

It's nausea inducing for me. I can quite happily paddle head down watching GPS without ill effect, but with no waves and perhaps a 1 foot swell I'm dizzy after 20 secs of binos use.

I use 10x mag. For "beginners" these are difficult to hold steady when stood on terra-firma.

I've also tried to use binos from a converted fishing boats - it's easier to adjust to the motion of the boat when you're standing. Can't see me ever doing that in an Onion.

I think that it helps, when in a kayak, to be able to recognise a bird from what we birders call the "jizz"
(tinyurl.com/dl41) but this requires one to spend time learning bird ID before getting in a boat.

I find that birds aren't that bothered (but I've yet to meet that deranged Bonxie) by boats. Lastweek I had a Black Guillemot circle my boat 3 times at a height of about 5' before landing within a couple of paddles length away. It then watched me scoff a bananna before diving to serach for his lunch.

Lest you get the idea that I'm a rabid twitcher I'm not. I just like to identify the birds around whatever I'm doing - whether on foot, on WW (count dippers!) the bike or Onion.

I used to race sailing dinghies on a reservoir in Bury. One spirng Sunday it's blowing half a gale, I'm hiking right out to keep the Laser upright. I glance up at the luff of the main, haul myself inboard, let go the sheet and lie on the bottom of the boat, dropping out of the race. There was a juvenile Osprey circling above the ressy. Reverie disturbed by the arrival of the safety boat who'd though I'd had a heart attack. When I pointed out the bird they were gob-smacked.





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andy
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bonxies and birdies and things

Post by andy » Fri Jun 06, 2003 3:47 pm

>Frank never saw it coming!

This is exactly the mode of attack the bonxie used on me; came up from behind. In retrospect,I was close inshore trying to gat some shelter from an awkward short SE swell in Wadbister after a trip out to Hoo Stack. It was at this time of year so maybe I was physically close to its nest.

Funnily enough I have an old baseball cap with a felt seagull on it just like Frank's chicken hat, I often wear it when I am launching or if I am passing someone on the shore, just for a laugh like. I will now make a point of not doing so in Bonxie land.

I know it is a long way for the folk down south but if you think the Scillies are nice for paddling (and they are!) wait till you have seen Shetland at this time of year in the Simmer Dim! (The 5 hours of twighlight between sunset and sunrise)

Andy

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Jim
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Re: bonxies and birdies and things

Post by Jim » Sun Jun 08, 2003 10:54 pm

Do birds have colour vision? Perhaps some do (raptors?) and some don't? either way do bright colours necessarily disturb them??? I have no idea, but certainly haven't noticed sea birds being put off by my bright orange kayak.

The subject of identification intrigues me, I was at college with an avid birder (even twitches) who seemed able to spot and identify birds several miles off, but struggled to recognise people walking down the street towards him.....
I never got into it all myself, I would recognise most of the lingo but don't know what it means :-)

Nigel's Osprey story is interesting, not least because it must have been at Elton where my Dad sails (and I have occasionally). I saw an Osprey, now let me see was it last week, or the week before, must be about 10 days ago in fact. I was drifting down the Wenatchee river looking for some more playwaves when a raptor took off from a log with a salmon in it's talons being mobbed by a large crow. It circled us a couple of times (paying no attention to our brightly coloured boats, perhaps on account of the crow) before outmanouevring the crow and escaping upstream. The others identified it as an Osprey, I wasn't sure and was going to ask my birding friend at his stag do next weekend, only I've forgotten all the things I was trying to make notes of now...., as I recall there was quite a lot of white, some on the breast, and tail and wing bars I think? The head may or may not have had white too.

We also saw a bald eagle by the Skykomish, but it was a statue in someones garden....
Also there were several large raptors circling way overhead on the West Hood, I don't know enough to use jizz, but I thought they were probably vultures of some kind, would that make sense?

JIM

Charles Darwin
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Re: bonxies and birdies and things

Post by Charles Darwin » Mon Jun 09, 2003 8:21 pm

Do birds have colour vision?

That would be consistent with many species having evolved coloured plumage etc. It is difficult to see any selective advantage in that if they can't see it. In fact quite the reverse since they are more conspicuous to predators.





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sub5rider
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Re: stop right there! caption compitition..................

Post by sub5rider » Tue Jun 10, 2003 10:07 am

"where my Dad sails "

Enterprise or Scorpion ?

Surely not Laser or Topper ?

There was a Goldeneye watching my efforts at paddlefloat re-entries last night. God, that was hard work......
Nigel, aka Sub5Rider, Onioneer

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Jim
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Re: stop right there! caption compitition..................

Post by Jim » Tue Jun 10, 2003 10:30 am

"Enterprise or Scorpion ?

Surely not Laser or Topper ?"

He doesn't race although he has established the handicap for his Mayfly, and does his days as race officer as required.

JIM

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sub5rider
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Re: stop right there! caption compitition..................

Post by sub5rider » Tue Jun 10, 2003 11:15 am

"He doesn't race although he has established the handicap for his Mayfly"

Oooooe-err!

Can't _quite_ grasp the notion of sailing at Elton, but not racing. Cannot personally see the point in it!

Dinghy racing is the only competitive outdoor sport I've ever taken part in, starting age 5.

When on Arran I fell in lust with a Jenneau41, or was it just the teenage totty who were videoing me & the Onion? Still, I gotta brew from 'em which I enjoyed from the comfort of their aft swimming platform

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Jim
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Re: stop right there! caption compitition..................

Post by Jim » Tue Jun 10, 2003 12:14 pm

"Can't _quite_ grasp the notion of sailing at Elton, but not racing. "

North Manchester Scouts use Elton to introduce a different troop to the water each week, his involvement stems from that, obviously to keep his own boat there he needs to be a member. I don't think he sails much outside of scouting, although we did take my sister out one time trying to dodge in between the racers - I couldn't see the point in that as it was a pursuit race so every part of the reservoir was covered in boats in different stages of the race....

The boat is much happier at sea just pottering around, it would take a fair amount of camping kit too - like sea kayaking without the armwork.

JIM

Alec
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Re: stop right there! caption compitition..................

Post by Alec » Wed Jun 11, 2003 2:34 pm

Douglas>
"Frank had no inkling of the impending strike.
Afterwards, he told reporters that he had no idea why he had been attacked at sea...."

www.gla.ac.uk/medicalgenetics/bonxie.jpg

Steveh>
"stop right there! caption compitition..............."

Colonel Saunders sent the new recruit off in search of raw material for the new "Free Range Bonxie Burger" ....

Alec


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