Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Corvo 2020- Results

 I just remembered I forgot to post the results of Corvo 2020 on this blog. See our Corvo blog HERE

This was the first time in 20 years that I didn't visit the Azores (due to Covid considerations) for autumn birding/rarity hunting and the first time in 15 years that I didn't go to Corvo. Fortunately a few brave die-hards manned the rock and the haul was not too bad especially considering the low numbers of birders and the overall rather unfavourable weather conditions with long periods of easterlies. 

Results table below (David Monticelli) 

To read our most recent main paper (to include analysis up to 2017)  on this project see our 2018 Dutch Birding feature HERE

Monday, 23 November 2020

The Azores Rare and Scarce Bird Report 2017- Out now

 The Azores Rare and Scarce Bird Report 2017 is now available to view and download HERE

View and download HERE

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Old Vicarage Weekend

A rather slow weekend here on the Oxon/Bucks border. Managed to visit Farmoor Reservoir this morning (wasn't sure if the Covid Gestapo would lynch me but seems like okay to travel and exercise- I'm genuinely not sure so took the benefit of the doubt to twitch a Oxfordshire tick). The rest of the weekend was spent working on the Azores Rare Bird Reports and Portuguese Rarities Committee work and a bit of time in the garden planning the new moth and butterfly bed. 

No Ebird lists yet as Ebird is down for maintenance at the moment.  Moth trap was quiet, just a few December moths, Silver Y and Grey-pine Carpet. 

Adult female Scaup, presumably a returning bird from last year (SEE HERE ). Also a juvenile Scaup and male Tufted Duck. The juvenile bird was smaller than the female and also lacked a white ear covert patch (more typical of classic juv Scaup). See some cautious remarks in this caption link above.  
Adult female and juvenile Scaup 
The juvenile Great Northern Diver (an Oxon lifer) was playing hard to get early morning. The bird has been present since early November (much better pics and vid HERE
Female (above) and male (below) December moths 

The antennae of these male December moths are stunning 
Another rather smart looking Silver-Y (all of the recent ones have been fresh looking) 

Friday, 13 November 2020

Beddington Farmlands- plastic fantastic

 Been working in London for last few days. Seems like the theme has been Category C and E birds with a Yellow-crowned Bishop and the White Stork (GB35) at Beddington today and a count of over 1000 Ring-necked Parakeets going to roost yesterday evening. Ebird list HERE.

The evenings have been fairly mild with a few moths including Feathered Thorn, Chestnut and Silver Y. 

Yellow-crowned Bishop (above and below) - this bird has been around for a while and seems to be doing well, frequenting the bird feeders. This species has successful colonised parts of Portugal (see here) but is native to sub-Saharan Africa. This bird is of the race afer, which is the West African sub-species. 

Ring-necked Parakeets (above and below)- the winter roost flights are always spectacle to watch. Over a 1000 yesterday evening. 

The White Stork (GB35) is still around and seems to be in good health. 
Works have started on the Northern Lake with vegetation being cleared to make breeding habitat for waders
Chestnut (new for year at Beddington- see comments below, ) and Narrow-winged Grey (below) 

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Old Vicarage- Winter lockdown

Hopefully should be a busy winter here at the Old Vicarage. Bryan (Holly's dad) is getting a conversion done on the Coach House and at the same time the garden area is being extended and also got some plans to plant up some pollinator borders. Should keep us busy through lockdown as can't get much food growing done this time of year (but going to try some broad beans) so mainly planting and landscaping time. 

Had the noc-mig gear out over last few nights (calm evenings have been a bit rare this autumn)- been good numbers of Redwings and also a few migrants including Teal, Coot and a garden first - Snipe. Snipe recording below and a few recordings HERE (interesting comparison of two redwing NFCs- showing differences in sonogram signatures.)

The moth trapping has been pretty good for this time of year. The small flush of migrants continue over the last couple of nights with up to 4 Silver Y, single Rusty-Dot Pearls and Turnip. Also a late Setaceous Hebrew Character (which could be a migrant too). Local fair include up to five Feathered Thorns, Chestnuts, Cypress and Red-Green Carpets, Sprawlers, Blair's Shoulder Knots, Satellite and December moth etc.  

Goodbye to the old shed (above)- opens the space right up (below)

Watch this space for the garden and food growing extension
Rusty Dot Pearl- still can't move up the migrant league from Silver Y, Rusty Dot Pearl, Turnips, Angle Shades etc. Would be nice to get a next level migrant such Olive-tree Pearl, Dark Sword Grass, Gem or up to first division with a Radford's Flame Shoulder  - all these migrants are currently influxing into the south coast with some inland records including a Radford's in Herts. 
The Silver-Y specimens have all been pristine - the winds are coming up from the Canaries, Iberia and North Africa but not sure how far these are travelling from but can't be very old as the condition is so fresh. 
Wakely's Dowd
Cypress Carpet- quite good for these parts 
Autumn challenge selection (above and below)- not quite sure how many species here, is this Chestnut (above) and Brick and Dark Chestnut below or all Chestnuts!? 

Snipe over the Old Vicarage, nocturnal bird 

Monday, 9 November 2020

The EBird Revolution

Any regular follows of this blog will know that I use Ebird as my bird recording system. Dom Mitchell wrote a somewhat controversial article in Birdwatch/Birdguides recently HERE where he advocated the replacement of notebooks with the Ebird app. Needless to say I'd go a lot further than that (I'm prone to taking things to the limit) and will predict that Ebird will not only replace notebooks but also will replace bird reports, county recorders, bird clubs, rarities committees and every other traditional birding recording, validation and reporting platform. 

At Beddington Farmlands we've attempted to completely make the transition to Ebird with observers using the app to populate our hotspot with data, photos and sound recordings and we've also been uploading archived data to create a 'live' avifauna of the site. Although it's still a work in progress here are the results:

Beddington Farmlands Location and Introduction: HOTSPOT MAP

The Beddington Farmlands avifauna (on line bird history of the site) ILLUSTRATED CHECKLIST and PRINTABLE CHECKLIST

2020 Live Bird Report: 2020 BAR CHARTS (any year can be selected by changing the date range)

Example of Species account: GREEN SANDPIPER 2020 DATA (any species can be selected and analysed in multiple ways by clicking on graph icon next to each species on the bar chart)

Example of species records in comparison to surrounding hotspots: ARCTIC SKUA (if you zoom out of this map it looks like there was only two other inland records on Arctic Skua in England in 2020- in Staines and Cambridge) 

Photos for 2020 at Beddington Farmlands BEDDINGTON FARMLANDS MEDIA

Sound recordings for 2020 at Beddington Farmlands BEDDINGTON FARMLANDS SOUND MEDIA

Example of a daily recording sheet APRIL 18th 2020 EBIRD

Basically, Ebird is absolutely amazing and thrusts birding into the digital, global and interconnected future. Each local patch and all local data is effectively integrated into a global recording system which maps global bird distribution and migration in real time. It's a global revolution and within the next ten or twenty years it will absorb rarity committees (national and county), reports and records centres. 

To make sure we move into the future but not lose great traditions we will still produce a hard copy bird report at Beddington but a concise version which supports the Beddington Farmlands Ebird. Example of our transition with our 2019 report HERE (on ResearchGate- another open source global network for scientific research). All this new technology really is absolutely amazing!! 

Check out the Azores Ebird, planning on integrating our reports here too. AZORES EBIRD. This is a really important function where recording areas can be constructed and individual records can be analysed across collections of hotspots (e.g. no reason a county can't adopt one of these recording areas). Will also be building our Bulgaria and Ghana projects on Ebird and also use it for all birding trips, home and away- the benefit of a global/ universal system. 

Sunday, 8 November 2020

The Old Vicarage- a few migrant moths

The warm airflow that is set to keep up for the next week or so is causing a wave of moth migration across the south coast which is reaching inland too as I had a few migrants here in the garden on the Oxon/Bucks border. Just singles of Rusty-dot Pearl and Silver Y with Angle Shades (a possible migrant) and a few local/seasonal 'new for years' too including Feathered Thorn and Scarce Umber. Also Mottled Umber and Winter moth recorded for the first time this winter (but also recorded in early part of the year too). This spell of warm airflow (sweeping up from the Sahara on occasions) could make the next couple of weeks of lockdown a bit more interesting. I've had 419 species of moth here this year but disappointedly no rare migrants- hoping for a late result! 

Did a couple of hours on Oakley Airfield this morning. The Golden Plover flock has gone (only a handful up there now) presumably relocated to Otmoor where there are over 3000 now. Also had a single Lapwing on the airfield, a Brambling over, good numbers of Meadow Pipit, a Stonechat, 3 Corn Bunting and 70 Fieldfare overhead. Ebird list HERE

Feathered Thorn 
Rusty-dot Pearl 
Scarce Umber- this species, Mottled Umber and Winter Moth were on the house white walls rather than in the Robinson's trap.