Sunday, 28 February 2010


Here's a couple more records shots from our recent trip to Spain by bird/wildlife photographer Vincent Legrand.


Classic-type Azorean Gulls (alternate plumages): Top to bottom: 1st cycle, 2nd cycle, 3rd cycle and Adult.

Saturday, 27 February 2010


Here's the latest song from our band

Friday, 26 February 2010

The Azores

Spent another day collecting a library of Azorean Gull photos. Birding highlights included the 2nd cycle American Herring Gull, the Long-billed Dowitcher (pic 1), Semi-palmated Plover, Lesser Scaup and the Ring-billed Gulls. I always find it incredible the number of migrants that winter out here including 400+ Black-headed Gulls and 150+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls- why come all the way out here to winter? I think I know why.


Thursday, 25 February 2010

Azores- Mini-winter Gull Gallery

I've overdosed on larid. Also managed to crash the car three times today- so need to get it really muddy to cover the bumps for when I return it to the hire car company.
Highlights included this presumed 2nd cycle American Herring Gull (pic 1), an adult Bonaparte's Gull (pic 2 and 3) and the 24 Ring-billed Gulls on their regular beach.
Also Long-billed Dowitcher in the quarry again, the GBH still, the Lesser Scaup and another 2nd cycle American Herring Gull.

Btw on a total random opportunist plug if you fancy a musical interlude from all this larid then check out my bands latest song:

Wednesday, 24 February 2010


That wore me out- 11 hours in the field and then three hours sorting out a load of gull photos.
Highlights today included this Great Blue Heron (pic 1), female Lesser Scaup, 6 Blue-winged Teal (pic 3), 24 Ring-billed Gull (pic2 with a first winter Common Gull), Long-billed Dowitcher, Semi-palmated Plover and 2 adult Herring Gull sp (pic 4).

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

THE AZORES- Winter exploring

That was a bumpy flight-no honestly... Macronesia is being swept away in deadly floods and storms and I've headed out here to look for gulls on rubbish dumps. Luckily I met someone more mad than me today and what a pleasure it was too. Gerbrand gave me a lightning tour round Sao Miguel and we bagged the Hooded Merganser (pic 1 and 2), Double Crested Cormorant, Spoonbill (3)and Pied Billed Grebe . Also found a first cycle American Herring Gull
(pic 4) and re-sorted a group of ducks on Lagoa Azul into a male Lesser Scaup, Greater Scaup and 4 Ring-necked Ducks (pic 5).

We dipped the Brown Booby but there was 15+ Gannet and Great Skua off Mosteiros.
Okay I am on the island of Terceira now and will spend the next four days sweeping for a rare gull.

Sunday, 21 February 2010


No safari would be complete without flamingos so we went to Alcazar de San Juan and saw 300+ Greater Flamingo and a single Lesser Flamingo. Also here were 2 White-headed Duck, Black-necked Grebes, Red-crested Pochards and hundreds of other waterfowl.

So there ends the three day Iberian Safari (pic 3 Vincent ) and now I am on my way to the Azores for some winter birding.
Other interesting birds seen on this trip were the spanish forms of Green Woodpecker and Long-tailed Tit and also we saw two Black Wheatears at the dam today. Good to see common birds like Hawfinch, Sardinian Warbler, Black Redstarts, Woodlarks, Red-legged Partridge, Dartford Warbler, Serins and Hoopoe which are a treat back home. Also more migration today- a big influx of Blackcaps and Black Redstart so spring migration is well underway in this part of the world.

Saturday, 20 February 2010


One of Vincent's okay shots. He got some absolute blinders.


Female and cub Iberian Lynx on show all afternoon today- Vincent has some great photos (to follow). A great day for raptors (top to bottom) , Griffon Vulture, Golden Eagle,Black Vulture and Spanish Imperial Eagle.
This place is pretty amazing with further Iberian supporting cast of Iberian Grey Shrike and Great Spotted Cuckoos.

The crew (Vincent Legrand, Simon, Rafael Armada and me) here:

Friday, 19 February 2010


Day One of Operation Lynx at Andujar and no success with the cat yet but the supporting cast is superb. Otter, Red and Fallow Deers, Spanish Imperial Eagles, Black Vultures, Golden Eagles, Wallcreeper, Griffon Vultures, Azure-winged Magpies and there seem to 'summer migrants' around- Barn Swallows, House Martins, Chiffys and Hoopoe.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Beddington Farmlands 2010

We are planning various walks, talks and events for this year at the farmlands. I will cover it all on this blog and advertise nearer the time but if you would like to be on the Beddington Farmlands Nature Reserve mailing list for updates on plans and dates etc than please send a 'join mailing list' request to me at
We've got dawn chorus walks, bird ringing activities, exhibitions and talks in the pipeline and all are welcome.

Saturday, 13 February 2010


It's been a bit quiet on the birding front round here so I've been catching up on some movies. Watched Slumdog Millionaire yesterday- reminded me of me and Sam's Inida trip a couple of years ago.
The highlight of that trip was being chased by this tigress.

The 'bitch' went for us big time but luckily our driver of our open backed jeep didn't stall and we wheel spinned off or else did could have easily happened:

Thursday, 11 February 2010

The Hackbridge Community Action Group

The HCAG met up again tonight. Hackbridge is set to become the UK's first sustainable suburb and juxtaposed to Beddington Farmlands Nature Reserve will become a key area in social and environmental regeneration.

Tonight we discussed plans for tree planting, wildlife gardening, little farming, heritage walks, bird and wildlife walks and also the organisation of carnivals and music events. Regenerating community and improving the human environment through contact with nature and music is my main area of interest. So for me, it all about spending time with birds and wildlife, making our living spaces comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, employment in projects that benefit wildlife and people and enjoying being with other people through music and entertainment.

On that note, our music project, is in the top 40 of the Surrey Rock Charts.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

ALARMING NEWS- Beddington Farmlands

News is circulating today that there is a proposal for an incinerator and waste disposal plant to be built in the centre of Beddington Farmlands. The proposal is part of the South London Waste Plan. The actual proposed site is the same area that has been designated as a large area of wet grassland within the urban nature reserve. Despite the fact that there is a conservation management plan in place (as a result of an earlier public enquiry) something of this nature poses a real and immediate threat to the urban nature reserve plan. There are various loop holes and areas open for interpretation within the conservation management plan that has already permitted the building of recycling and waste management facilities on the east side of the site (contrary to the original Conservation Management Plan). Similar strategies can be used to encroach further into the core of Beddington- slowly loosing sight of the original plan which was to generate a major urban nature reserve, to be replaced by an industrial vision and brought about by stealth under the false promises of environmental and social improvement. Such industrial strategies are commonplace and it is important for the social and environmental sector to defend against it and achieve a balance between the intersts of industy, people and nature.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Friday, 5 February 2010

Mystery gull

Simon and I had this gull in Essex on sunday.
A bit of discussion on bird forum about it:

More photos of other essex 'mystery' white-winged gulls here:

Wednesday, 3 February 2010


Here's our latest creation from our music/art project.

Beddington Farmlands Nature Reserve Update

Things in 2010 are progressing well. One of the most important developments is that the RSPB are visiting us soon to discuss the future of Beddington Farmlands. At some point the management of Beddington Farmlands will need to go over to some kind of trust or even managed by an organisation like the RSPB so it will be an important meeting.

Our bird groups' main aim is to do all we can to ensure that the site is maximised in terms of it's potential for birds, wildlife and for people that are interested in nature.

We are organising some more guided bird walks, a dawn chorus walk, some talks and hope to get an exhibition ready for the wandle valley festival and also the carshalton environmental fair.

Hopefully, while the trust is being set up to manage the site, we will continue to build the community of people who are interested in utilising what will certainly become a major resource for people and nature.