Sunday, 31 January 2010

Weekend in Essex

Had a mini holiday in south-east Essex with Simon. Highlights included Glaucous Gull, Slavonian Grebe, Ring-billed Gull, Great Northern Diver, Purple Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gulls, huge flocks of Knot, Marsh Harriers, Ruffs, wintering Greenshank and Caspian Gull.

More at Non-Stop Birding X.






Friday, 29 January 2010

I do actually have a job

Okay I don't actually bird non-stop and do have to work. Luckily I work at least two days from home so can keep an eye on Beddington Farmlands from the office window:-)

All of my work is in the environmental sector under the company name Little Oak in which I am a partner. We mainly do tree work, grounds maintenance and also landscaping. Most days are pretty routine but we had a particularly challenging job recently removing a giant of a Beech tree which had unfortunately succumb to the fatal and dangerous pathogen Meripilus giganteus.

More on this here:
http://peteralfrey.blogspot.com/

By the way, that is not me in that photo. Shamefully I am the office boy in Little Oak.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

SCAUPS- Beddington Farmlands

Sea ducks arrived at Beddington today in the form of three Greater Scaup. There was one 1st winter male (top pic left) and two female types. In photo one and two the female on the right is more an adult female type and the other bird perhaps a younger female.
Pic 3 shows an adult male Tufted Duck and the three Greater Scaups in flight. Note the heavier build and longer bills of the Greater Scaups.








This is only the 6th record for Beddington and the first since 2002. The first record was a pair on February 2nd 1947 but then not recorded until 1991. Three records were of singletons and the 2002 record also concerned three birds.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

A quiet day at Beddington Farmlands

One adult Mediterranean was all John, Gary and I got for an afternoon gulling. This little fella kept us company.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The 'Beddington Farmlands Observatory'


Finished my feeding station today. In addition to this set up (pic), I've got fat balled trees and some ground feeders. Will see what turns up. As it is in a communal garden probably the local vandals.


video


The tipping face at the farmlands has moved so this is now the view (digividscoped) from my bedroom window.

Monday, 25 January 2010

COLLINS BIRD GUIDE 2nd Edition

What a near -master piece. The inclusion of the Azores?- 3rd edition maybe?
Also good to see our team's small contribution with Caucasian Snowcock, where on visits to Georgia on reconnaissance expeditions several observers including ourselves noticed that the majority of field guides depicted a rather rusty looking image of this (then relatively little studied) bird, whereas in the field they appeared closer to Caspian Snowcock. The ammendments have been made and what a great plate of an incredible bird.


Needless to say, this book is a stunning piece of work- the genius being the ability to present seemingly infinite data into a beautiful, concise, accurate, accessible and understandable presentation.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Caspian Gull- a Beddington Farmlands Speciality

video

Another nice morning going through the gulls. We had 1 1st winter Mediterranean Gull, 2 1st winter Caspian Gulls and 2 adult Yellow-legged Gull.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

HACKBRIDGE ACTION GROUP



Went along tonight to the initiation meeting of the Hackbridge Action Group.
My particular interest is to promote Beddington Farmlands Nature Reserve and to continue building a local birding/naturalist community to support the development of a major urban nature reserve.

With several other socio-environmental schemes active in the local area, the idea of the Hackbridge Action Group is to bring them all together to focus on generating a forward thinking sustainable community for people and wildlife. Beddington Farmlands will form a key component in that vision.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

More Beddington Gulling

Spent the afternoon flicking through the larid looking for a white-winger. Another two Caspo's. More here:
http://peteralfrey.blogspot.com/

Monday, 18 January 2010

Gulling at Beddington Farmlands


Four seperate first winter eastern large white headed gulls today. More here:
http://peteralfrey.blogspot.com/

Also 2 Shelduck on the lake.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Punkbirder Winter Gull Gallery


It's that time of year again- peak gull watching. Not the most glamorous group of birds and on some occasions gull watching can be quite gruesome (pic 1- Iceland and Atlantic Gulls feeding on bovine remains, the Azores). More on nasty gulls here: http://punkbirder.webs.com/nastygulls.htm

Lapland Bunting Twitch

Started the day off at Beddington Farmlands leading a small twitch for the Lapland Bunting (pic 1) which was luckily still present and then spent the afternoon on the annual pilgrimage to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition at the Natural History Museum. Walked to the South Bank from there via Hyde Park, Green Park and St.James Park. 2 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall on the Serpentine and a 1st winter Mediterranean Gull (pic 2) in St.James Park.


Gull alert!

Check out Steve Arlow's brilliant gull photos from the Thames Estuary. He has had several different Glaucous Gulls, a possible Kumlein's Gull and several Caspian Gulls since the beginning of the new year.
http://www.birdersplayground.co.uk/Photos%202010%20-%20Gulls%20Caspian.html
Also there have been three Glaucous Gulls reported from Rainham.
Surely any day now for a white-winger at Beddington.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Lapland Bunting still present


Re-located the Lapland Bunting today in the same place. Seems to be keeping in with the Skylarks now.
A few other 'new' bits on site including 2 Stonechat, a Bullfinch, 1 Shelduck, 1 Water Rail on 100 acre, 280+ Teal, 6 Shoveler and the Peregrine was about.
Put these bad photos of the Lap Bunt to illustrate the flight jizz- which combined with the call is how nearly all Lapland Buntings are seen at Beddington. If you click on the shots- even with this quality you can see the diagnostic reddish-brown greater coverts framed by white wing bars.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

THE HACKBRIDGE PROJECT AND BEDDINGTON FARMLANDS




We attended the Hackbridge Plan community meeting yesterday evening- there was a good turn out- over 100 people. Hackbridge is the 'village' in which I live (pic 1), overlooking Beddington Farmlands. As the Farmlands is being developed into a major urban nature reserve something equally exciting is underway for Hackbridge. The Hackbridge Plan is to create the UK's first sustainable suburb.

NEW HOMEPAGE FOR ECO-ART/MUSIC PROJECT




Website Here:
http://www.theebryans.com/

This our local community band in which I play.

Beddington in the local news


Here's Leanne's recent article about Beddington. Click on it if you fancy reading it.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

TOP 40 HIT ON TOP OF THE BIRD BLOGS

That Lap Bunt just got this blog into the top 40 charts:
http://natureblognetwork.com/index.php?cat=Birds&start=1
More photos on Roger's blog: http://dodge007.blogspot.com/


Lapland Bunting at Beddington by Roger Browne

Lapland Bunting- Beddington Farmlands


Finally got the cherry on the cake today with this juvenile/1st winter Lapland Bunting (pic 1) on the mound. This is the eleventh record for Beddington and the first confirmed one since 1997. This is however the first twitchable one as most others have been fly-overs in the autumn.

Also still five Yellowhammers (pic 2), 250-300 Linnets (pic 3), 20+ Goldfinch, 40+ Skylark, 20+ Meadow Pipit, 20+ Reed Bunting, 20+ Redwing and 3 Chaffinch on the same mound. This mound has been amazing during this hard weather movement thanks to the underfloor heating from the decomposing rubbish and the fathen growing on the newly disturbed ground.






Also a 1st winter Caspian Gull (pic 4) on the lake, 3 Jack Snipe in the channel, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Peregrine, 2 1st winter male Wigeon (new birds), 7 Gadwall, 2 Shoveler, 150+ Teal and 6 Snipe.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Beddington Park

I had a quick walk round the Beddington Park Pond today to check out if anything has been attracted to one of the only unfrozen pieces of water in the area. Quite incredibly there was 1 Jack Snipe, 2 Common Snipe, 10 Teal, 1 Pochard, 2 Tufted Duck and 8 Little Grebe. Also a Little Owl calling nearby.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Red Kite tracking- Beddington to South Wallington


I got a call from Roger telling me to look out of the obs window because there was a Red Kite circling. (Rogers photo pic 1 and more pics on his blog here: http://dodge007.blogspot.com/
Unfortunately I was 5 miles away to the south west trying to do some work on the Little Woodcote Estate. However the bird was heading southwest!
25 minutes later.... there it was, over Little Woodcote heading south west. It wasn't a very good view, flying slowly southwest at a distance of around 250 meters. Then, 10 minutes later it re-appeared from the North and flew low, about 30 meters straight over mine and Steve's head - must have our names on it!
I went over the farm in the afternoon. Still three Yellowhammers on the mound, also 30+ Skylark, 15 Reed Bunting, 200+ Linnet, 1 female Stonechat (a male yesterday) and 10 Meadow Pipit. Also 80+ Teal on the lake, 3 Shoveler flying around this morning and 1 Green Sandpiper.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Dodge's Beddington Freeze Up Shots


Some Great Shots by Roger Browne from Beddington from the last few days here:

http://dodge007.blogspot.com/

Thaw out?

Another good day and fortunately for the birds looks like the thaw has started. Dodge has got some great shots from the last few days : http://dodge007.blogspot.com/
and some more of my efforts here: http://peteralfrey.blogspot.com

I had 2 Woodcocks (pic 1) in the southeast corner, a Buzzard right outside my window, a Little Egret over, the female Wigeon still 300+ Fieldfare moving southwest, there are now at least five Yellowhammers on the mound, also one Redpoll over and an adult Mediterranean Gull.

Other members of the BFBG logged 6 Jack Snipe, an extra Woodcock and one Water Rail.
The Lapwings (pic 2) have finally managed to find some food again.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

THE BIG FREEZE INTENSIFIES AT BEDDINGTON

Not only have conditions got worse.. but it is getting even worse still tomorrow. Some amazing sightings today: an incredible 12 Jack Snipe (pic 4) in the channel, 2 male Yellowhammer (pic 2) on the mound, a Short-eared Owl over (I missed it), a female Wigeon (pic 3)amongst the remaining 40+ Teal and also a Brambling was seen. More details here: http://peteralfrey.blogspot.com/




Really important to feed the birds in this weather. We are putting more seed out at the farm and I've also set up a new feeding station in my communal garden. Off to the shops in a minute to get some fruit for the thrushes.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Freeze up date


I didn't see too much today from the obs- a few 10s of Fieldfare and quite a few Redwings about. 6 Snipe were flying around the lake this morning and there were 2 male Peregrines around.

Spent some of today setting up a feeding station in the communal garden- so far had Chaffinch, Robin and Blackbird coming down to seed.

Interesting some of the regional differences in these hard weather movements. Also looks like the worse is yet to come!!! More here: http://peteralfrey.blogspot.com/2010/01/beddington-in-context.html

Thursday, 7 January 2010

The Great Escape Continues

-5 C yesterday evening. I woke to the sight of an impressive Fieldfare migration from the obs window. By the end of the day were had logged 1060 birds moving S with several others feeding on the Flower Estate. There were also about 200+ Redwings feeding on the estate and also by the lake. In addition another 150+ Redwing moved S. Also 20+ Skylark over and an adult Mediterranean Gull flew past the obs window. Also 2 Mistle Thrush.
A few Lawpings went over (about 15) and there were 15+ Skylark, 100+ Linnet, 15 Meadow Pipit and 2 Reed Bunting on the mound.







Worth comparing events at Beddington to a national observatory such as Portland: http://www.portlandbirdobs.org.uk/aa_latestnews.htm

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Arctic Beddington


The big freeze returns! Quite a bit of displacement evident at Beddington. Big influx of northern/eastern taxa gulls with another (2nd win) 'Caspian'/pseudo-Caspian' Gull (pic 1) and an influx of Common Gull (200+) with several birds showing retarded moult suggesting northern latitude birds and also heavily marked on the head and underparts perhaps suggesting eastern populations (pic 2). Also many 'argentatus' Herring Gulls including dark juvenile plumaged 'northern latitude' birds, 50+ Great Black- backed Gull, 100+ Lesser Black-backed Gull (mainly dark mantled intermedius-types) and perhaps 10-15,000 gulls on site overall.




Golden Plovers (pics 4 and 5)were on the move with three flocks (49, 22 and 24) and a single totalling 96 birds south and west.
The completed landfill mounds have proved to be a God send to the passerines. The decomposing rubbish is generating heat and keeping the mounds free of ice in places. Over 200+ Linnet (pic 3), 30+ Skylark, 30+ Meadow Pipit, 6 Reed Bunting, 2 Chiffchaff! and a few Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Dunnocks, Wrens and Song Thrushes are holding out. This could be a matter of life of death for them.
Redwings and Fieldfares were evident and were feeding on the Cotoneaster bushes on the Flower estate. Probably about 50+ of each about.
Some more Arctic Beddington here: http://peteralfrey.blogspot.com/

Monday, 4 January 2010

Surrey Year List World Record Attempt

Beddington colleague Johnny Allan is attempting to beat the world record (set by himself) for the number of bird species seen in Surrey in a year by a single observer. You can follow the story here:
http://surreybirding.blogspot.com/

Good luck John and will do my best to find some year ticks at Beddington to add to the total.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Beddington Farmlands

A quiet winters day on the farm. One Nuthatch on Commonside, a Wigeon amongst the Teal on 100 acre, a Chiffchaff amongst the tits on Cuckoo Lane, a Water Pipit on 100 acre and a fly over Egyptian Goose were the highlights.

The Tree Sparrows have taken well to the new location of the feeders- about 60+ birds coming to seed.

Plenty of ice again and frozen lake and beds. Teal numbers are down (100+) only 20+ Lapwing on site. A handful of Redwing on 100 acre.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

GREAT START!

After blanking the Brown Shrike for three months I found myself at a loose end and finally dragged myself to try and see it. As a rule I find twitching far too taxing for the meagre reward of spectating a rare bird. For me it plays a very distant second fiddle to exploring for and studying birds. Just to reinforce my sentiments- I dipped the bugger. I aint cut out for twitching.