I saw my first Fratercula arctica back in 2002, and I fell in love with them! The ones pictured here were making home on the Faroe Islands, in 2006. Unfortunately, the species is classified as vulnerable – hunting, loss of food because of pollution and climate change, and tourists all causing problems.
A few years ago, we had some time on our hands when we were near Capetown. So we spent a few days in Somerset West and visited the Helderberg Nature Reserve. There, we encountered this Anthobaphes violacea. The species needs fynbos vegetation to survive. So as long as there’s fynbos, there will be sunbirds (hopefully).
Emberiza schoeniclus is a bird I really like – the males are easy to identify and their song is simple but recognizable even for someone who has difficulties telling songs apart (like me). They need reedbeds to breed, so where there is a bit of proper wetland, there are the buntings. This one sang in the RSPB reserve in Otmoor earlier this year.
A few years ago, during a visit to Kruger Park I saw this Poicephalus cryptoxanthus. Although the species is listed under a conservation status of Least Concern, it ‘is increasingly vulnerable to habitat loss and fragmentation with illegal capture for the bird trade of concern in Mozambique‘ (http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22685317/0).
Phalcoboenus australis is classified as nearly threatened. I met this individual on Carcass Island which is part of the Falkland Islands.
In the background, you can see that even on the fairly remote Falklands there’s plenty of (plastic) rubbish on the beach.
In Oxford, Milvus milvus is a common sight and has been for a few years, after a successful reintroduction scheme some decades ago. The situation throughout the Western Paleoarctic is rather mixed for the species, and overall not very bright.