Saturday, 15 October 2011

white rumped arsepiper

*the first part of this post was written at about 5.00 and the second at about 7.00 which will explain time discrepancies to anyone who reads this shortly after i've posted. Inbetween I ate copius amounts of roast lamb and went out owling briefly but didn't see anything....

Sometimes I really don't help myself with this county rare game........ all week I'd been planning to do a Eyebrook/Rutland combo today with the intention of shaking off my owl addiction but after a nice binge sleep I awoke to find the delights of Manchester United versus Liverpool kicking off shortly. Having been starved of proper football for two weeks by the international break plans of going to Rutland were quickly shelved............and then about an hour later (probably about the time I'd have been rolling into Egleton car park) I get the news of the not going to swear here so just invent an expletive as I used a wide variety of them at the time. And not only a WRS, an American Wigeon from the same hide! Alright, I saw the last Wigeon at Rutland so that wasn't as exciting but Yank Wigeon are still pant-wettingly rare in Leicestershire/Rutland!
Fortunately (for me) I quickly get another update indicating the white arsed bastard has disappeared and not been relocated! Rejoice! Back to an uninterrupted afternoon of watching gillette soccer saturday.

Until a few minutes ago when the little turd turned back up at Lapwing hide! And because of prior arrangements this evening I can't get there now today! Plus if I left now I'd have around 4 minutes once I got there to find it before it gets dark. Can't go tomorrow either because im in stupid Manchester visiting my stupid sister. On a stupid tour underground of Manchester of all things! And monday could be problematic as I'm either busy all morning hot air ballooning (you can't make this shit up!) or I've got a lecture in Northampton that doesn't finish until 1pm.....and I'd be outrageously surprised if Allah, Vishnu and Megatron allow the Sandpiper to linger until Monday afternoon.

And as a sidenote one of my lecturers asked me how many bird species exist in the world on Friday and set me the challenge of finding out so Jeff, this is for you!
-most internet sites of reference indicate around 10,000 but rarely give an exact figure.
-an earlier scientific estimate I found was by Sibley and Monroe in 1990 who attempted to list every biological bird species in their work titled Distribution and Taxonomy of Birds of the World (abstract can be viewed freely HERE or in full on the same site if you are blessed with an Athens login). Their work originally cited 9672 species, adjusted to 9703 following a supplement publication in 1993. This data set has been cited in many other scholary articles (over 100 it seems) and seems to be a solid benchmark, not to mention that the article was published in the Wilson bulletin - a highly regarded Ornithological journal.
-however Hooded birder is not happy with that figure. This data set is nearly 20 years old now and will thus have excluded newly discovered stuff like this and this. Plus, ornithologists like to argue about sub-species and are forever re-classifying stuff as new species only to decide it wasn't separate after all. The advancement of identification using DNA technology in recent years has helped minimize these classification blunders however.
-Further sleuthing has discovered that Birdlife international now recognises 10,052 species (90% of which were originally listed by Sibley and Monroe) with a further 81 species sat in the waiting room with feathers crossed hoping to be recognized.
-Even further delving has discovered that the IOC World bird list 2.9 (July 2011) lists 10,448 species - a whopping 396 more than Birdlife!

so all I can conclude was that the internet estimates of 10,000 weren't far wrong although I suspect this number will rise over the next few years as the aforementioned DNA technology allows potential new species to be classified accurately. Extinctions due to worldwide habitat destruction might scupper that hypothesis a tad however...........


  1. I've dashed to RW to just miss something a few times in recent years (Whiskered Terns, though I got that back eventually, Stilt Sand, Buff-breasted Bastard). Happily I saw the first and one other WrS at RW back in the 90s:

    If this one doesn't stick I'm sure there will be others (unlike the aforementioned Stilt Sand!).

  2. I wouldn't be surprised if the White-rumped Sand hangs around for a while, or even winters with the Dunlins. More chance of that now than earlier in the autumn, anyway. It might take some finding though, as the Dunlin flock tends to be very mobile - previous wintering Little Stints have proved that they even go to Eyebrook occasionally!

  3. I've actually managed to avoid missing rare birds at Rutland so far - the few I've gone for have all given themselves up (spot sand, whiskered tern, lesser y'legs). My worst to date is seeing a 3 hour old report of the two Rn-phalaropes at Eyebrook from earlier this year, driving like a maniac to get there and then realising they had flown. About 4 hours earlier!

  4. and Andy, I found that comment about the Stints very interesting - you wouldn't think the stints would commute between the two, not with the insane amount of shoreline at Rutland!