The Angry Corrie 71: Jul-Sep 2007


Birds of the hills, by R C Twite

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Tiso flycatcher - familiar urban bird, ubiquitous in the high street and on trading estates across the UK, having spread south from its original breeding grounds in Scotland. Engages in noisy territorial squabbles with the Nevisport nightjar and the Cotswold coot.

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Karrimor pigeon - popular migrant once present in massive numbers throughout the north of England and beyond, but wiped out in the mid-1990s by an outbreak of corporate bird flu.

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Monbiot's phalarope - ostentatious bird with green plumage. Occasionally perches on windfarm turbines, making plaintive wailing call. Often falls prey to opportunist attacks from Clarkson's crossbill. (See also Toynbee tit.)

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Lowe-Alpine chough - large flocks seen in varying locations each June. Little apparent logic to where they gather - recent years have seen migrations to Assynt, Mull and Crianlarich. Invariably observed in fast-moving pairs, pecking at birdseed and muesli bars. Many appear close to death through exhaustion and foot-rot after their frenzy of flocking.

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Pied craghopper - furtive treecreeper-like bird fond of nesting on inaccessible crags. Gaudy legs give appearance of lycra. Call of "take in, take in, ya bass" precedes spectacular back-somersaults from ledges.

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Millet - small brown moorland bird, easily mistaken for the pipit or the linnet.

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Asperger's falcon - widespread, especially on Munros, Wainwrights and Marilyns. In exceptional cases known to roost on trig points. Easily identified by incessant call of "tick, tick, tick". Often unkempt in appearance, with males greatly outnumbering females. No mating call: unclear how they reproduce. Impossible to mistake for a shag.

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Townsend pheasant - exotic plumage with red permatex feathers and a Gore-Tex beak. Often flies from location to location, but when rootling for grubs uses two twigs to walk across the ground - a display known as a "leki". Often confused with the Paramo parrot, but latter lacks the beard-like feature beneath the lower mandible.

Visiting accidentals, occasionally seen: Berghaus albatross, Torridonian warbler, Brent goose, Brasher's petrel, Glaramara lark, Perrin's brambling, Campbell's puffin, great bearded bustard, lesser spotted... (That's enough stupid birds - Ed.)


TAC 71 Index