Thursday, 1 December 2016

Barn Owls

Tomos and I collected some Barn Owl pellets to see what they've been eating. With three young raised there are clearly healthy local rodent populations. Here's some provisional ids on the skulls found in the pellets using this link: Owl Pellets- The Barn Owl Trust

 Brown Rat (approx. 2.5cm) 
 Field Vole (approx 1,5-2cm) 
Common Shrew (approx 1.5 cm) 

Some lessons in Korean

Need to see this sort of thing in the West for nature and climate change. Only way the capitalist's dictatorship can be seriously challenged. 

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Gull season

Started off the day looking for Barn Owl pellets with Tomos. The nest site (we had a breeding pair this year!) was very clean but we did find what must be a roost site with plenty of pellets. Marcus also says he found some in the Storm Tanks. With three young and the adults presumably there are at least five birds in the area (assuming no mortality yet). Hoping to go owling on Sunday night and will dissect some of the pellets asap.

Went under the tunnel and counted the hibernating Herald moths before heading over to join the gang on the viewing mound looking at the gulls. 

 Polish ringed Caspian Gull or Caspian Gull hybrid. Pic by Kojak Kojak's blog
 'Second winter Caspian-type' 
 Caspian looking Yellow-legged Gull. The anaemic looking leg colour and rangy structure suggests something not straight forward  
 Wing-tip pattern reveals extensive dark in wing tip closer to Yellow-legged Gull. (same bird as above) 
 First-winter Common Gull (canus). Following on from Peter Adraiens and Chris Gibbins recent paper on Common Gull complex identification in Dutch Birding, hoping to find a 'Russian Common Gull' (heinei)  at the farmlands. The most distinctive feature to look out for on one is a completely white head with a dark streaked boa- a bit like a mini- Caspian Gull head (unlike the streaked nape and crown of this bird) 
 Heavily marked juvenile/first-winter Common Gull (canus) 
 Second winter Common Gull. Using the key on pg 25 of DB 38:1; p9 outer web with all black base, p4 with one black spot on one web only= canus. 
 Adult Common Gull. Using key on pg 18 of DB 38:1. p9 without obvious white tongue-tip, p5 with broken black band, p7 with white tongue tip, p8 with grey at base of outer web, p9 with large mirror (larger than black tip) = canus 
 Gulls over Croydon 
Adult male Wigeon (right) with extensive white in coverts and two first-winter males with reduced white 
Red Kite over the viewing platform today (with an unusual extensively white head) 
Heralds in the tunnel. Tomos and I counted 23. 

Monday, 28 November 2016

Weekend up town

Spent yesterday at the Natural History Museum at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016 exhibition with the usual crew (Lee, Rach, Sue, Andrew and Martin). We then went to Harrod's to see Andrew's daughter Rosie, who was hosting a 'meet-the-artist' there before walking back past Kensington Gardens to Wagamama's for Chicken Katsu. A great little day in town. 
 Natural History Museum (in summer) 
 Dippy in the Foyer (apparently soon to be replaced with a new main feature) 
 The Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016 

 Quite a few architectural similarities between Harrods and the NHM. Quite different things going on inside. 
Rosie and Proud Couture at Harrods 

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Playing Around

A pretty quiet day so practised with my new camera phone adaptor at trying to get some video, messed about with the trail camera on the feeders and tried to get some photos of the incinerator and birds. 

Caught this Jay and the trail camera 

The perils of wildlife filming in South London 

Friday, 25 November 2016

Kes etc

 Kestrel (juvenile male?) performing in today's brisk northeast wind
 Getting that alula working
 11 Cormorants today including this six migrating south at height
 Not the best pic of yesterday's juvenile Iceland Gull 
 Lesser-black backed Gulls moving earlier on in the week. We used to get several thousand Lesser-blacks wintering but now they seem to move overhead and onwards. Ringing recoveries indicate they move to the Iberian Peninsula. 
Probably 10-15,000 Herring Gulls today. Once the incinerator is working and the tip is closed these numbers of gulls will be history
Teal and Gulls. A Goosander this morning on the North Lake didn't hang around long once the gulls arrived. Will be interesting to see what effect there is on the other waterbirds when the gulls have gone. We have until the end of 2017 before tipping stops at the farmlands. 
 One to id? Any help greatly appreciated. 
 Phil Chastenauf today- even in mid winter- still a shirt and tie! Legend! 
 Did a bit of work in the week on keeping Mile Road bridge cut back and also maintaining the planting around the entrance

Wednesday, 23 November 2016


Spent the last couple of days at Holly's. Had to do a few chores like getting the baby room ready but managed to spend most of the time continuing with the Old Vicarage bioblitz. So far... still free!

Did moth trapping on two nights and did a vegetation survey of the driveway and car park. Also a bit of general birding on the grounds- a few Fieldfares going over, Redwings on the Guelder Rose, Goldcrest and Coal Tit in the trees.

Did a bit of night driving on the country lanes with Holly and found a few Muntjac deer and a single Roe Deer. Plenty of Redwings going over at night.

 Dark Chestnut 
 Feathered Thorn 
 Caddisfly sp 
 Velvet Mite

 Autumn Leaves at the Old Vicarage
 The Old Vicarage Recording Areas
 Holly driving the mobile obs 
In the mobile obs- was testing out the off grid electrical capability yesterday. Basically by using the engine as a generator I've got unlimited off grid power for all the equipment I need to Bioblitz. Straight into I-record. Planning on doing some exploration trips next year when the weather improves. Might have to get a dongle so that I have internet everywhere too. Can use the mobile phone to create a hot spot but not great.