Monday, 21 December 2009

Beautiful Birds (16): On the 'Gyr' Day of Christmas...

View across Swansea Bay,
with Mumbles Pier and Lifeboat Station in the foreground
and the snowy hills of Exmoor in Devon in the distance

Magpie: Snow Visitor in our Street

Forget the partridge and the pear tree! There is great excitement on the Gower Peninsula, here in South Wales, UK, as a Gyr Falcon has arrived. It has been sighted several times. I believe this is a first for the Glamorgan area.

Falco Rusticolus: what's in a name? The falco bit of the name refers to falcis or 'sickle', on account of the hooked talons. Rusticus means 'rural', and colore apparently means 'to dwell' in this context. The name in Welsh is Hebog y Gogledd.

Less than 200 sightings have been recorded for Britain as a whole, with figures for Ireland standing at less than 150. The Gyr Falcon is a Schedule 1 Part 1 bird.

It is only just under a year ago that there was such excitement over the arrival in Britain of a Snowy Owl (seen e.g. at Sperris Croft, Zennor, Cornwall on 28 December 2008). I wonder what Christmas visitors will accompany Santa in 2010. Presumably the icy weather is a strong factor in the arrival of these unusual creatures.


Matt Merritt said...

Fantastic! Gyr Falcon is one of the few birds I would 'twitch', so if it's still hanging around after Christmas Day I might well be tempted to drive down to look for it.

A chap called Colin Simms published an entire book called Gyrfalcon Poems - it's hard going in places, but great in others, and is full of interesting observations.

steven said...

caroline what a view!!!! steven

Caroline Gill said...

Let us know, Matt, if you come after Christmas and would like a cup of tea to warm you up afterwards!

poefusion said...

oh Caroline I don't think you could have provided more breathtaking views. and how exciting about the Gyr Falcon. it's a beautiful bird from the picture you provided at the other blog. sounds like he was able to sustain himself with a good meal while visiting. have a great night.

Kay Weeks said...

Caroline, I love your birds and SNOW!

THANKS SO MUCH for your comments on both of my blogs. You warmed my heart. I wish I were flying one of your birds back to Maryland, but guess I will take the Boeing type.

Will write you again from Ellicott City! Fondly, Kay

Crafty Green Poet said...

Have you read Gyrfalcon poems? A wonderful collection of poems about gyrfalcons by Colin Sims. I reviewed it on my blog at:

Nature Rambles said...

I loved the winter view and what a great capture of the beautiful magpie!