Friday, 2 December 2016

Spain 1: Red-Crested Pochard

Red Crested Pochard - male
 Although we saw several species of duck on the trip, one of my favourites is one of the showiest of Eurasian ducks, the Red-Crested Pochard. I have seen them many times before, but they are always a good bird to find. Males and females are quite distinct, with only males displaying the bright orange head that gives them their name.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Spain trip November 2016

Cliffs at Alquezar
A couple of weeks ago I spent a very pleasant week in northeast Spain on a trip organised by the tour company Ornitholidays, one of the oldest ecotourism companies in the UK. It was a three centre holiday, with us staying successively in the Pyrenees, near Lake Gallocanta, and finally at the Ebro delta. Target species were Common Crane, Lammergeier, and wallcreeper, and I am glad to say that we got good views of all, along with many other good species such as Little Bustard, Bonelli’s Eagle and Bluethroat.

Friday, 11 November 2016

12) Anemonefish

 Of course, the other famous fish in the latest animated movie this year is the anemonefish or clownfish. There are at least 30 species of these in the world’s oceans, all but one of them in the genus Amphiprion. The species currently on show are a pair of Percula Clownfish, A.percula.

Friday, 4 November 2016

11) Epaulette Shark

Epaulette Shark
 The last species in the big tank is unfortunately rather secretive at present, but hopefully as they mature will become more visible. The Epaulette Shark, sometimes called a Walking Shark, Hemiscyllium ocellatum lives in shallow waters around Australia and New Guinea.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

10) Damselfish

Dascyllus melanurus
One of the most popular families of fish to be seen in hobbyist tanks are the anemonefishes and damselfishes, the Pomacentridae. Closely related to the almost entirely freshwater cichlids, they have very similar breeding behaviour, with one or both of the breeding pair guarding a nest of eggs laid on the substrate until the eggs hatch. The main difference from cichlids is that damselfish larvae are much smaller and disperse immediately into the plankton on hatching, whereas most cichlids engage in long term care of the fry.