The unsound approach


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More excting than Adder versus Lesser-spot....

Posted on November 6, 2009 at 12:15 PM Comments comments ()

thanks to Baynes, Campephilus melanoleucos versus Pseustes sulphureus, unbelievable video.....


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Posted on October 13, 2009 at 5:29 AM Comments comments ()

Check out Si's oriental expoloits at:


Should be reliable for mega, near-death experiences and a load of shite.....


Posted on September 23, 2009 at 7:30 AM Comments comments ()



The one to watch:


And the ones to watch out for: 

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still the best thing on the interweb....




One from the PB archive (AL)


Football Hooligan

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 8:59 AM Comments comments ()

Summer Quizz Results

Posted on July 4, 2009 at 7:14 AM Comments comments ()

So the moment you've all been waiting for........

Bird 1. was identified by the majority of contestants as Marsh Warbler. What is it? Well, I'm not 100% sure as it was taken on the 24th October on Lundy. The rumour that this whole exercise was actually an undercover attempt at working out what this bird was has some foundation. Loads more images of this bird here. What do folk think?

Bird 2. Tricky, a tailess yellow passerine, no size comparsion and no bill morphology, its looks American, because, well it is. A 1st cal Common Yellowthroat (Western subsp) at SJWS, the OC, California in September 2000. Nice one Stu.

Bird 3. Again hard but bill morphology and bare part coloration are a give away, its an adult Cape (Kelp) Gull, South Africa, August, 2007. Half a point for 'Sea-gull'. Same bird below:

 Bird 4... was an October Lesser Whitethroat on Shetland, presumably (?) of an eastern origin, same bird below...

Bird 5. Some recs, Cercotrichas was a good guess but surely the white spotting is more extensive even in a juv.? Our bird is a young Black-billed Cuckoo photographed in Canada in October 2002.... same bird below.... 

Bird 6. A warbler in a bush... It does have a feel for Ruppell's but the eye ring, tertial tipping and elder bush are a give away that its a young Barred Warbler... in August 2007 on East Hills, same below...

Bird 7. An empid, well, the scan of my slide is labelled 'Alder', but then this was scanned about 5 years after I handled the bird. Certainly I can't prove its not a Willow from the images but I still feel I got it right (although am willing to be proven wrong). Bill shape and colour, head shape and general colouration and build (inc tail length) still feel good for a Trail's type. Comparsion of Alder and Least below (also September 2002 in Canada) and I'm more sure of these two....

Bird 8. This was taken on 3rd October 2007, the day when many people ticked Brown Flycatcher. The image was however taken in Norfolk, one of two Red-breasted Flycatchers present on East Hills that day. Them's the breaks!

All images AL.

21 Economic Models explained with Cows

Posted on March 24, 2009 at 1:22 PM Comments comments ()

Punkbirder economics correspondent Rik forwarded this on, it has nothing to do with finding or seeing rare birds, or finding and getting off with hot girls, our primary objectives. However we have noticed a trend these days on birding blogs to write loads of high-brow stuff about econonmics, religion and today's social infrastructure. We reckon this is so polemic you could dance round it on May Day.


You have 2 cows.

You give one to your neighbour.


You have 2 cows.

The State takes both and gives you some milk.


You have 2 cows.

The State takes both and sells you some milk.


You have 2 cows.

The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away...


You have two cows.

You sell one and buy a bull.

Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.

You sell them and retire on the income.


You have two giraffes.

The government requires you to take harmonica lessons


You have two cows.

You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.

Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.


You have two cows.

You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States , leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public then buys your bull.


You have two cows.

You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.


You have two cows.

You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called 'Cowkimon'and market it worldwide.


You have two cows.

You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.


You have two cows, but you don't know where they are.

You decide to have lunch.


You have two cows.

You count them and learn you have five cows.

You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.

You count them again and learn you have 2 cows.

You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.


You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.

You charge the owners for storing them.


You have two cows.

You have 300 people milking them.

You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.

You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.


You have two cows.

You worship them.


You have two cows.

Both are mad.


Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.

You tell them that you have none.

No-one believes you, so they bomb the **** out of you and invade your country.

You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of Democracy....


You have two cows.

Business seems pretty good.

You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.


You have two cows.

The one on the left looks very attractive.

Rare Birds: Where and When

Posted on January 12, 2009 at 9:25 AM Comments comments ()

Limited print run so get yours while you can... and read about it here.

Quiz answers

Posted on December 26, 2008 at 1:12 PM Comments comments ()

Having opened up the quiz to the skilled readers of the Surfbirds Forum, we were inundated with entries from the great and the good, and as the one with the chin would say, "didn't they do well...".

Bird 1 was an immature Pine Warbler, photographed on Bon Portage Island in October 2002, it managed to fool a few people by sitting up like an Empid but structurally it has Dendroica written all over it and once you realise this, the identification is relatively straightfoward. A picture of an adult, photographed on the same day appears below, part of an unprecedented arrival of Pine Warblers on BP.

Bird 2 was supposed to be unidentifiable, but was outrageously pinned on the first attempt as  Grey-necked Bunting, a 1st winter photographed at Nanaj, Maharashtra, India in February 2003. Another image appears of the same bird appears below, photo-quality is ultra-poor but on both images you can make out the virtually unstreaked hind neck and upper-back which rule out Ortolan and Cretz.   

Bird 3 is a Marbled Godwit photographed at Bolsa Chica, California in January 2003, once you consider species not on the WP list, arriving at this identification is a little more straightfoward, although eliminating Long-billed Curlew on jizz is an important step. Marbled Godwit has potentially a similar vagrancy potential to Willet, which has already straggled across to Europe a few times, another photo of the same bird appears below.     

Bird 4 is hard. Ostensibly its a Lanner as it was photographed south of Agadir, Morocco in March 2006. Vagrant Sakers do occasionally show up in Morocco and I took pics of this bird as it appeared to be very Saker-ish. Separating 1st years of Lanner and Saker is extremely difficult and is dealt with at length in Harris et al. 1996. In so far as I can see, the best pro-Lanner points for this bird are 1) narrower buffier supercilium 2) bold dark moustache fully-connected to the eye-stripe and 3) more evenly distributed and dense streaking on the breast. Separation from Prairie Falcon is something of an unknown quantity but isn't the moustache on PF even broader than Lanner? 

Bird 5. I guess this was pretty straightfoward, a Lesser Short-toed Lark photographed in the Western Sahara in March 2006, I thought the state of wear might fox a few folk but everyone is too on-the-ball for that.... 

(images all AL)

Xmas Quiz

Posted on December 20, 2008 at 9:23 AM Comments comments ()

As a special seasonal gift, have a go at this years Quiz challenge. Following minor rioting after the last global offering, we have restricted this years images to birds that European birders ought to be familiar with.... Prize is the promise of a signed certificate that you almost certainly won't receive (sorry Dave). 









Posted on December 3, 2008 at 2:11 PM Comments comments ()

Don't despair, the darkest days are nearly over, as ever Punkbirder (with a little help from the netoweb) is here to get you through the dull winter days... feast your eyes on our five videographical recommendations.... 

This is all we want, for Xmas, New Year, the rest of our lives, this side of Bermuda, some day....