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Thread subject: For our UK Friends: What bird are they talking about?
Name Date Message
Melanie 09/03/10 03:19 pm We get Doc Martin (love it) here on our Public TV station and they are doing a season ender involving rare birds sighting, twitchers, egg thieves and other assorted nut jobs. They keep referring to the bird as a "chaff"? but I can't seem to find it - the bird they show is black, resembling a crow but with a bright orange downwardly curved pointed beak and bright orange feet - definitely not an oyster catcher. Is this a fictitious bird or am I completely mis-hearing what they are saying?
martyc35 09/03/10 03:30 pm Not a chat? Not from your description, I guess:
BTW,I fell and broke my arm in the garden. I'm in a sling for six weeks, so I may be quieter than usual. More later.
Shelley 09/03/10 03:47 pm Oh no, Marty! I hope you heal quickly. Take it easy. No more climbing up to the nests and feeders to converse with the birds!
Celeste 09/03/10 04:14 pm Take care, you must be hurting! As Shelley says, take it easy, and as she said, no more climbing to reach bird feeders etc!
Tiger 09/03/10 05:20 pm That sounds like a chough. See Chough

Hope your arm gets better quickly Marty.
Pam 09/03/10 06:43 pm So sorry to read that you have broken your arm Marty. Hope you heal well and quickly.

Mel: I agree with Tiger, that sounded like a Chough. They are quite rare and in fact one of the best places to see them is Wales. We saw a few whilst we were there at Porthgain which has high cliffs with grassy slopes (my photo of the cliffs here: here Unfortunately I wasn't able to get any pictures of them as they were on the move and a bit distant for my camera but I enjoyed watching them flying around the cliffs through the binoculars.
DaisyG 09/03/10 07:12 pm Definitely a Chough Melanie.

Oh Marty, what bad luck. Commiserations and all good wishes from me too.
Melanie 09/03/10 08:26 pm That's the bird! thanks. I would never have come up with that spelling. And of course translating it from a Cornish accent can be tricky, too.
DaisyG 09/04/10 06:03 am Couple of pics of Choughs I took at Chester Zoo, Cheshire, three years ago. Not brilliant, but passable. They were at a distance in a large netting enclosure.

Here and here

I actually got to see one flying over the cliffs on the Great Orme, N Wales, for the first time earlier this year.
Tiger 09/04/10 07:32 am Nice pictures Daisy.
DaisyG 09/04/10 09:37 am Thanks Tiger :)
martyc35 09/04/10 12:04 pm Thanks for all the good wishes. I fractured the ball joint of my left humerus at the shoulder. Could have been worse; at least it's not displaced, so they didn't have to set it or anything. I'm on Percocet and the sling keeps me from further injuring myself.

This bird has me posing an unanswerable question: What trick of evolution was at play when those red extremities evolved? The similarity to oyster catchers and African black crakes has me wondering why the red on these particular wading birds? Thanks for the pics, Daisy. That's another one I'd never see if it weren't for the internet,
Pam 09/04/10 03:50 pm ....and don't forget the Pigeon guillemots with their red gapes and big red feet. I have often pondered on those colours too Marty.
martyc35 09/05/10 01:22 pm Yes, Pam, the PGs, too. Actually, I just saw your pic of the cliffs at Porthgain and realized that the Choughs haunt a habitat surprisingly like Bodega Head here, near where I used to live, which is the only place I've seen Black Oyster Catchers. Still doesn't provide a clue as to the why of the red, though.
Celeste 09/06/10 07:35 pm Well because of this post, I'm hooked on the Doc Martin Series. I just finished watching Part 1 of the above episode and saw the Chaugh!

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Last modified: Sun March 7, 2010