Tuesday, 25 November 2008


Frank, Grant and Kojak found two Ravens today. I managed to see one of them as it flew off to the west. Only the second record for Beddington.
Raven (above) at Beddington Found by Frank Prater and photograph by Grant Prater

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Beddington Farm

A very cold day, with snow showers and a moderate westerly. I missed a male Goosander which was present first thing in the morning.
Despite the landfill not operating there were still about 100+ gulls present including this Great black-backed Gull. The herring gulls were predominately first winters.
Also about 600-700 Jackdaws on site which were being pushed around by a female Peregrine.

Mute Swan

Sunday, 16 November 2008


Female Reed Bunting (above)

A bit of a steady westerly with overcast skies, so not expecting too much today.

John and Nick found a Dartford Warbler near the enclosed beds. A very skulky bird which managed to avoid my camera. I think it is only the ten or eleventh for the farm but most of those records have been in recent years- looks like they might be trying to stage a winter colonisation. There were a pair of Stonechats and four Reed Buntings in the same area.

I don't know what the vegetation is in that area but it is certainly good feeding for birds. In addition to the Dartford Warbler, Stonechats and Reed Buntings there were Wrens, Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Dunnocks and Chaffinches feeding in it. Once again a nice little part of the farm which has just happened by accident.
I had a look round the old gravel pit and along the lake bushes- a few Goldcrests and quite a few tits.

There was a flock of Linnets (about 40+) feeding on the sides of the landfill with a couple of Chaffinches.

Seem to be good numbers of Starling- about 1500 feeding on the tip. About 300-400 mixed crows there.

On the lake, Wigeon numbers were up to six (a significant reduction since landfill operations has commenced) but I reckon there were 50+ Shoveler. Teal numbers are well down in recent years- only about 60-70 today. As usual a handful of Pochards, Tufted Ducks and Little Grebes.

Stonechats (female above, male below).

Not a lot else, a Water Pipit on the enclosed beds (John had three), one Meadow Pipit over, a Green Woodpecker by the Park and that's was my lot.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Beddington- winter is here

I have never seen so many gulls over the farm as I have today. I don't know how many thousands: twenty or thirty maybe.

Anyway all we could muster was one adult Mediterranean Gull and six Yellow-legged Gulls.

Lesser black-backs are still in very small numbers, maybe 50 or 60. There were about 10 Great-black backs.

A Buzzard went over putting everything up. It was a blizzard.

A typical 1st winter 'argenteus'. There is some kind of age segregation on the farm with predominately mature groups roosting in one area and immature groups in another.

The small gulls also choose different areas to segregate in to, with Black-headed Gulls generally keeping themselves to themselves.

Maybe a juvenile Lesser black-backed but structurally the bird seems quite heavy. It could be a dark 'northern latitude' herring gull, whose moult is retarded in relation to the earlier breeding and more southern distributed 'argenteus'.

Sunday, 9 November 2008


Quite a still morning, before a westerly built so I went out listening for overhead migration. One Redpoll and the odd Siskin, a few Chaffinches. Quite a few Goldfinches around (maybe 30+) and also about six Goldcrests along the path.

100 or so Teal on 100 acre reminded me of the decline of this species on the farm over the last several years.

Not a lot else really of note. A Skylark on one of the mounds and about three Green Sandpipers.

Saturday, 8 November 2008


Looks a bit like a Caspian Gull- not sure on the covert pattern.

Winter is here: back to looking through gulls. I noticed very few Lesser black-backed gulls today- less than 1% of the large gulls present. There were more Great black-backed gulls (about 15).

Juvenile/1st winter Med Gull. One of two birds present today. There were still some traces of juvenile plumage on the lower scaps and odd mantle feather on both birds.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Corvo 2008 Last Day 30th October

Riberia de Ponte. One of the famous Corvo eastern valleys. These sub-tropical valleys are the best location in the Western Palearctic for Nearctic landbird vagrants. This particular valley has hosted Black-throated Blue Warbler and Ovenbird.

In addition to these valleys there are other areas of habitat on the island- a lake, an airstrip, low lying dry stone walled fields, upland fields, cliffs and the ocean. This mosaic of habitats and the location of Corvo in the mid-Atlantic contributes to Corvo reigning supreme as the ultimate vagrant trap in the Western Palearctic.

With a vegetation type which is typically Macronesian/Mediterranean and residents birds made up Palearctic species (Blackbird, Blackcap,Grey Wagtail, Canary, Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Yellow-legged Gull, Woodcock, Snipe and Wheatear) the island is perfectly European- Europe's western most outpost.

Corvo on the eastern flank. This area is characterised by steep farmed slopes which are cut by wooded valleys. These wooded valleys are where the real hidden treasures lie. Vagrants include White-eyed Vireo, Philadelphia Vireo, Hooded Warbler, Northern Parula, Black-throated Blue Warblers, Black-throated Green Warbler, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Hermit Thrush, Grey-cheeked Thrush, Blackpoll and Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Corvo Island, the western flank. The precipitous wind swept cliffs are least productive for vagrants but provide possible nesting areas for petrels and shearwaters. Closer to sea level there are colonies of breeding Roseate and Common Terns .

Corvo Island. Southern flank showing the village and surrounding fields. Vagrants recorded in this area include White-crowned Sparrow, Summer and Scarlet Tanager, Yellowthroat, Red-eyed Vireo, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Bobolink, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Mourning Dove, Chimney Swift, Arctic Redpoll, Killdeer, Hudsonian Whimbrel and other waders and gulls on the airfield.

Photos taken in July 2007.

The Caldera on Corvo. The main area on the island for ducks and waterbirds. Vagrants found here include Great-blue Heron, Wilson's Phalarope and other American waders and ducks.

Photo taken in October 2007.

On the way home Darryl, Simon and I stopped off at Cabo da Praia on Terceira. There were 2-3 Semi-palmated Plovers, 1 Semi-palmated Sandpiper, 1 Pectoral Sandpiper, 2 White-rumped Sandpipers, 8 Whimbrel, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Little Stint and 2 Curlew Sandpiper.