Saturday, 24 September 2016

Autumn Saturday

 Snipes on 100 acre. At least 20 around at the moment. Also the first Jack Snipe of the autumn yesterday.
 Male Mandarin on 100 acre- still a scarce local bird. There's a Garganey on south lake today too but I couldn't find it. 
 Lapwings on 100 acre, 20+ around at the moment 
 Common Buzzard- now a more or less daily occurrence- this fresh juvenile bird can be aged by lack of moult limits in wing or tail and diffuse border to the trailing edge of the wing and tail 
 A pale phase Common Buzzard moving south- not a local bird as would recognise this distinctive individual 
 Sallow- a classic autumn moth, mimicking autumn leaves 
 Black Rustic- a beautiful black velvet texture to these
First time I've seen one of these- like a large Centurion Fly but with a red segments on the abdomen 
 Loads of crane flies around at the moment 
and cranes too! 

Friday, 23 September 2016

Thursday, 22 September 2016

A London Naturalist

The great thing about being a naturalist in London is the rich natural history and environmental culture within the city. Every day and night something is going on- yesterday evening I attended the National Park City  event at the South Bank Centre and tonight I went to a London Natural History Society talk about migration by Dominic Couzens. Tuesday night I was at a local Green Party meeting hearing a talk about how to get yourself arrested campaigning for environmental justice. Between the Natural History Museum, the Linnean Society, the London Natural History Society, the London Zoological Society, the Horniman Museum, the London Wetland Centre, the London Wildlife Trust, Rainham RSPB, various Universities events and lectures, the Arthouses and Galleries and an extensive network of smaller local groups/organisations, there is basically something going on somewhere all the time. A lot of the natural history research going on across the planet ends up being presented to London so there's always new and exciting stories being told across the capital. With such an intricate network of organisations, small groups and individuals, there's plenty of plotting, underground meetings and dealings going on all over the shop. 

With 13000 recorded species, London is one of the most biodiverse areas of the UK, 47% of London is green space, 19% of that is nature conservation habitat, there is a great network of reserves, LNRs, SINCs, regional parks and a little bit further out the Thames Estuary is a RAMSAR site. 

Its basically bloody brilliant being a London Naturalist. Also there's a long tradition of the naturalist community being in conflict with the Capitalists- the bankers, the industrialists and the corrupt courts so something's always kicking off too! 

.....and 30 mins to Gatwick from here to get access to the rest of the planet! (and on that note here's a superb blog post by the cutting edge biodiversity group working at the airport BIODIVERSITY GATWICK

 The London National Park City Event yesterday evening 
 The LNHS talk by Dominic Couzens tonight
 The Natural History Museum- the Citadel of Nature
The wildlife garden here has a species list of something like 6000! (Unfortunately Capitalists which have infiltrated the NHM board want to build on it to increase consumer ((as opposed to increasing visitor engagement/impact)) numbers to the museum)
 The London Wetland Centre

Rainham- another nature temple in the city
The London nature reserve network is extensive- here's us 
 Regents Park- the London Parks are some of the best city parks in the world 
 Richmond Park and biodiversity improvements at the Isabela Plantation. 
 The Horniman Museum near Crystal Palace- a relatively hidden natural history gem
 London Zoo 
 Comforting to know I'm never more than 10 miles or so from a Hooded Pitta! (Plus all the other exotic flora and fauna which is present in the various London parks, zoos and collections) (Pic by Dingers) 
 Always plenty of courses to attend- this is one I took on grass id at the NHM
 Plenty of fairs and outdoor events- here's us at the Carshalton Environmental Fair
Nature themed Modern Art- one of my favourites -Marcus Coates
Great pro-nature bands and music- here's the Arcade Fire in Hyde Park
All the wildlife gardening going on over the city
The Eco-village of Bedzed. Within the Beddington Farmlands recording area. I could go on and on. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Another moth first for the farmlands

Boxworm Moth Cydalima perspectalis - another first for the farmlands- two firsts in last two days. Surprisingly this was the only moth in the trap yesterday evening? 
The ringing group caught 25 birds this morning with Sedge and Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat and Blackcap. Unfortunately despite the huge invasion of Yellow-browed Warblers across the country and despite our best efforts (video below) we failed to find one round here. Yellow-browed is one of the most obvious missing bird species to the local bird list. 

Strapped an i-pod and speaker to the front of the mountain bike and hit the tracks trawling trying to get a Yellow-browed to call back. It didn't work.... today. 

Direct Action Meeting

Went to a local Green Party meeting yesterday evening to listen to guest speaker Dr Rob Basto, one of the Heathrow 13 and life long climate activist holding three criminal conviction medals. It was brilliant. 

One of the most interesting parts of the presentation was a graph of campaign planning and the relationship between risk and involvement. I've added a bit too it and also added an impact side to the chart (pic above). 

Basically the point is that social and environmental change is a community effort and all different parts of that community are of equal importance. Focused individuals and small groups have the biggest impact on anything but of course they need the backing of the wider community to achieve the bulk number of people, required for democratic changes. The relationship between risk and involvement is inverse but involvement is essential for change. So like I say, basically the point is that all spectrum of social and environmental activism should be planning and forming strategies together. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

New moth for the farmlands

 L-album Wainscot- a first for the farmlands. An immigrant which has increased greatly across the south of UK in last 15 years. 
 Another Dewick's Plusia
 Angle Shades- always great to see. The odd Silver-Y and Rush Veneer most evenings recently, both migrant species. 
 Male Stonechat- the first of the autumn today. Also the first Siskin. The Wigeon influx continues- Marcus counted 34 yesterday.
Lapwings and Teal on Ed's Pool (the small area of wetland on the southern lake) where water levels are being controlled more carefully to create areas for waders. 12 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper and 22 Lapwing in there today. 

Monday, 19 September 2016

Migrants etc

Whinchat- two yesterday on the associate members walk. 
 Also the first Spotted Flycatcher of the year found by Tomos
 Autumn male Northern Wheatear - one of three yesterday.
 Chiffchaff- one of the 30+ around. Also Meadow Pipits moving through, Swallows and the odd Sand and House Martin, Hobby yesterday, a few Yellow Wagtails and the odd Whitethroat and Reed Warbler.
First-winter  'Yellow-legged Gull' (looks a bit Caspo like) 
 An influx of duck in last couple of day with 65 Shoveler (above), 24 Wigeon (below), 175 Teal and 30+ Gadwall 

 Gadwalls- interestingly they seemed to think it was spring and the males were trying to mate with a female

 Common Blue- butterfly numbers are down now
 Ivy is typically providing one of the main sources of nectar in this part of the year. A lot of the insects are concentrating on Mile Road bridge. Red Admiral.
 Speckled Wood
 Hornet Hoverfly 
 Ivy Bee
 Seven-spot Ladybird
 Common Carder Bee
Syrphus sp.