Monthly marathon

Published on 13 March 2014 in Other

That splash (Brit. Birds 90: plate 149) was caused by a Grey Heron Ardea cinerea, photographed by Pascal Bourguignon in France in July 1996. Less than half (48%) of entrants got it right, with other answers encompassing three other heron/egret species as well as Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis, Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo, Snow Goose Anser caerukscens, Red-breasted Merganser Mergus senator, Demoiselle Crane Anthropoides virgo and Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita. The black-and-white swimming bird (90: plate 194) created fewer problems, 62% identifying it as a Steller’s Eider Polysticta sullen and other answers being Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula, Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle and Redcrested Pochard Netta rufina. It was the male which stayed at Vorran Island, South Uist, Outer Hebrides, for 12’12 years, from May 1972 to August 1984 (Brit. Birds 66: 338; 78: 539), photographed in August 1980 by J. Miller. T h e leading group (Stephen Foster, David McAdams and Richard Patient) got both right and, moving on to 15 correct answers, have broken away from the chasing pack of 677 competitors. Nobody has a total of 14, but three have reached 13 (Dave Hunter, Jorgen Munck Pedersen and G. Rotzoll), and three have achieved 12 (Carlos Gutierrez Exposito, Jakob Sunesen and Peter Sunesen). Maybe December’s about-to-drink passerine (90: plate 208) or the rearend view below (plate 9) will decide who will win the SUNBIRD holiday of their choice in Africa, America or Asia.· 9. ‘Monthly marathon’. Photo no. 138. Eighteenth stage in ninth ‘Marathon’. Identify the species. Read the

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