Monday, 20 April 2015

Common Tern

Longish bill, neck and head, central (in body) wings and full structure- all good for Common Tern
The dark trailing edge looks well defined but this could be due to photo effect- it should be rather diffuse in Common Tern (Arctic normally shows the well defined trailing edge). Translucency seems to be confined to the inner primaries which is a pro-Common Tern feature. 
In this pose the bird looks short-billed with short neck and head and also looks like it has grey underparts with white cheeks. From this angle it also looks like the wings are off centre and appears long-tailed. All those features are pro-Arctic. It aint easy. Important to get a photo of the bird square on. The harsh light doesn't provide a neutral lighting to judge tone and a lot of a tones are probably shade. 
This don't help either. 

It's that tit-spanner time of year again- Common and Arctic Terns on the move. Every year we get single birds/small groups passing through the farmlands, often quickly and at distance and we usually deal with the identification with a combination of careful methodical analysis and judgement (mild stringing). Best way to attempt an identification I reckon is to try and get photos but birds can change apparent  structure, size, tone, patterns and even colour depending on angle and light and also the camera often makes a degree of image capture interpretation and also doesn't always capture the fine detail you need unless the bird is close and photogenic. I reckon on balance this one is Common Tern.  

A few other bits moving today too- about 20+ Swallow, a few Buzzard, a Red Kite, a couple of new Great Black-backed gull, a few Blackheads moving, a Reed Warbler has arrived and 'my' Whitethroat has arrived to the obs garden. 

Incinerator Update

Local Councillor Suspended from The Party by speaking out about Beddington Farmlands Incinerator:
Click HERE
and Sutton Guardian

The matter goes to the Court of Appeal next week
Previous judgement: HERE

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Odd Song

Dodgy recording of a dodgy Blackcap- sounding like a Reed Warbler. At the farmlands a couple of days ago.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Watching flies- missed a Marsh Harrier

 Female Sparrowhawk- the irregular barring on the underparts and streaked cheeks  suggests this is a young bird- 2nd calender year. The moulting of the inner primaries seems quite early- usually starts in May and June. The size, strucutre and early moult support sexing as female (males moult later)
 Green-veined White. The first of the year in the week. Also the first Orange-tips this week.
 Eristalis sp? 
 Episyrphus balteatus (The Marmalade Fly)- Britain's commonest hover.
 Works have commenced on the new entrance to the farmlands
The daffs have come ok on the Hackbridge verges (part of the green corridor improvements adjacent to the reserve), Before pic HERE

Bit cool and windy today so I headed to the north lake path to look for insects. They concentrate there when windy because it sheltered by the taller trees. Problem is the trees keep the wind and view of the sky out so its a bit of a tunnel in there- which is why I missed the Marsh Harrier flying the other side of the trees. Not the first time birds have been missed by not 'looking up' BEETLEJUICE DIPPING

Friday, 17 April 2015

Wildlife Gardening Season

 Self seeding Primulas- stick em in and let em go all over the place- including the lawn
 Garden with nice structure and form in need of some colour and more interest. Proposed improvements include filling in the gaps in the beds with some wildlife friendly ground cover (e.g. violets, campanulas), a barrel of bulbs to emerge over the season (snowdrops, daffs, tulips, aliums), a sprinkling of wildflowers e.g. Poppies etc and a few shrubs to create some height in the right places e.g. Buddleia, Dog Rose, Berberis. Also some climbers along the fencing to create some boundary interest (e.g. Clematis sp). 
 A fairly typical garden with some nice simple improvements to create interest and plenty of insects buzzing round. Not too much to do here (important to appreciate the objectives of not necessarily nature mad gardener/ owner) except a bit of maintenance- primulas in the lawn were a nice touch. The owners here have got things in shape- we'll just do the high and tough digging bits.
Another fairly typical local garden but in need of some colour. Too much Green Alkanet - too much green overall. Proposed improvements include tidying up and adding a wildlfower seed mix along the border on the left, a small flowering cherry, with bulbs and violets in the planting pit in the centre and the edging re-defined. Just simple, inexpensive improvements can transform a garden. (A nice Cherry at the back- 5 species of bee on the flowers. The insects love the Alkanet too so good to leave a good patch in ((but needs to be kept under control))) . 

Things are picking up at work. Pushing the wildlife gardening this year across our service area ( a 3-4 mile radius from our yard) and also trying to focus on a village scale wildlife gardening initiative in Hackbridge. 

A bit more on this here: Little Oak

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Vote for Yourself ?


All these lovely ideas; a nature and well being act, upholding biodiversity action plans, supporting the London Green Grid and protecting London's Green Belt. 

Problem is all those things already exist in some shape or form but local events (the Beddington Farmlands ERF and the new school proposal) clearly show that parliamentary protection even when it exists is no match for corporate money and organisation. 

We don't really need more legislation and centralised power. What we need is more de-centralised power and more local people getting involved, defending the things they value themselves, holding big business to account, occupying territory, demonstration, legal challenge and taking over the management (in part or fully) of those resources. Voting for someone else to do all the hard work is simply a lazy fantasy. Voting for someone to uphold a central objective is sort of okay (the easy bit) but that has be  in concert with a ground swell movement which is the only thing that will drive real change.

Elect yourself to power!? 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Birds and the Bees (and the moths)

 Blackcap (about 20+ of these about at the moment.). The Willow Warblers have moved on, still 1-2 Chiffchaff, no sound of the Sedge Warblers and no increase in Whitethroat since yesterday. Big influx of Blackcap at Dungeness a couple of days ago- maybe birds filtering north?  Another Ring Ouzel today seen by the chaps, first Reed Warbler, 3 LRP. a couple of Yellow Wags, an extra Redshank and a few Buzzards in the hot clear conditions. 
 Marbled Lunar Brown. A bit more interest in the moth trap last night: Nut Tree Tussock, 5 Hebrew Characters, Small and Common Quaker, Early Grey and Double-striped Pug. About 20+ Dyseriocrania subpurpurella by the oaks on Horse Field this morning. 
 Mining bee sp (Adrena sp) Early Mining Bee? 
A colony of these burrowing bees on Bikers- using an area that the Bikers have torn up- Nature!, always makes good. Adrena Flavipes? Are these the same species nesting in the obs garden? Got some Bee mysteries to solve- any help greatly appreciated.