Monday, 27 March 2017

Selsey Bill

06:35-11:05: cool becoming fairly warm, hazy sun, NE-E3.

- Brent Goose 76E
- Eider 2
- Common Scoter 12E
- Shoveler 2E
- Red-throated Diver 3E
- Gannet 22
- Bar-tailed Godwit 1E
- Curlew 3E
- Common Gull 22E
- Lesser Black-backed Gull 2E
- Sandwich Tern 7E
- Jackdaw 3N
- Swallow 1N
- Goldcrest 1
- Chiffchaff 2
- Wheatear 5 (4 West Beach)
- Pied Wagtail 5N
- Meadow Pipit 160N

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Selsey Bill

06:00-11:00: cool, showers, SSE-S6 (gusting 8):

- Brent Goose 6E
- Common Scoter 35E
- Velvet Scoter 1E
- Red-breasted Merganser 22
- Red-throated Diver 11E
- Black-throated Diver 2-4E
- Fulmar 19W
- Manx Shearwater 2
- Gannet 40
- Cormorant 18E
- Shag 1E
- Great Crested Grebe 3E
- Great Skua 1E
- Kittiwake 5E 10W
- Sandwich Tern 19E
- Guillemot 1E

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Selsey Bill

06:45-08:00: mild, mainly cloudy, WSW4.

- Brent Goose 130E
- Common Scoter 2W
- Velvet Scoter 1W
- Red-breasted Merganser 5E
- Red-throated Diver 1W
- Gannet 10
- Slavonian Grebe 1E
- Mediterranean Gull 1E
- Meadow Pipit 2N

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Darwin Day - The Origin of Birds

Just two years after the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859, a fossil named Archaeopteryx was found. It was an excellent example of an early transition between Reptiles and Birds. It alone confirmed one of the most important predictions made by the Theory of Evolution via natural selection: that transitions between major groups of modern life should be found.

Birds descend directly from therapods and are considered to be feathered Dinosaurs. Archaeopteryx was the earliest known species of the Avialae clade (which includes modern birds) until Aurornis xui was found and dated to around c.160 myr. Around 30 million years after this, Archaeornithura (below), thought to be a strong flier, showed many features of modern birds.

"Archaeornithura had a moderately advanced plumage, fan-shaped tail feathers, a U-shaped furcula, highly fused wing apexes, and a well-developed alula – a feathered first finger projecting on the front edge of the wing that is typically used to boost manoeuvrability during flight. Collectively, these traits mean that it shares many morphological features with a modern bird – more than found in any other bird of equivalent age. This suggests that the Ornithuromorpha diverged from other bird-related dinosaurs earlier than previously thought".
Archaeopteryx lithographica.
Charles Darwin: 1809-1882. His grasp of Evolution (through his own discovery natural selection) was remarkably accurate.

Microraptor gui (c.120 mya).