As you’ve noticed, this Turdus libonyana is out of focus because I had aimed for the glossy starling, which you can see as a blue blob in the bottom right. This species of thrush seems to be fairly common in southern Africa. However, we don’t know much about the population trend.
Diomedea exulans has one of the biggest wingspans of all flying birds, up to 3.5 meters. The Southern Royal Albatross can apparently be even larger. I saw this Wandering Albatross when crossing the Drake passage on my return from a trip to Antarctica.
All species of albatross are in danger, mostly because of fishing methods and plastic.
Here’s a recent account by Ben Lecomte who is swimming across the Pacific:
That was amazing to be in the water with four wild birds of that size just a few feet away from me. I got a fist-beck bump with two of them. Brian jumped in the water with a GoPro and started filming the when one of them went for a red piece of plastic and tried to eat it. Brian reached out and retrieved a small red plastic basket. A couple of minutes later I spotted two of them going after a white small plastic pouch. I quickly got to it, grabbed it and passed it on to Mark in the dinghy.
I can now better understand why so many albatrosses are found dead with their stomach full of plastic debris. A piece of plastic at the surface of the water stands out and easily get their attention. http://benlecomte.com/day-94-albatrosses-and-plastic/
Skua taxonomy is a wee bit confusing, but I think this is a Stercorarius antarcticus which I saw on King George Island on my trip to Antarctica a few years ago.
Skuas seem to have amazing cognitive abilities. Like crows and pigeons, they can recognize individual humans (doi: 10.1007/s10071-016-0970-9).
Small birds and waders are tricky to catch, and small wading birds in full camouflage even more so. I almost overlooked this Charadrius hiaticula which I encountered around sunset some years ago on the west coast of Scotland.
Among other issues this migratory species is threatened by petroleum pollution and wetland drainage for irrigation. We really need to get on with the Half-Earth project and population control of Homo sapiens.
This Lanius senator was looking for food in an olive groove in Tafraoui near Oran. The species is in decline because of intense agriculture and thus habitat and food loss, and herbicide and pesticide use and thus more loss of food.
This Circus aeruginosus was flying over the reeds of Otmoor, an RSPB reserve. The species is facing threats like shooting and in Otmoor in particular habitat loss because some nitwits want to build another road in the area. If you’re like me not happy with this and you live in the UK or are a Brit, please consider signing this petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/217244 Thank you!
Having a swift around is a sure sign summer is coming, and I was amazed last week to wake up and to find the skies above our quarter of Oran filled with both Common Swift and Apus pallidus. They are tricky to tell apart, and tricky to take photos of – so my thanks to the people on birdforum.net who helped me out with identifying my terrible shots.