Wednesday, 28 January 2015


The ringers caught these beauties in the nets yesterday. Immature females (presumably siblings).

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

4. Songs of Praise: I wish

Previously: CLICK HERE

As he got older he wanted to become an explorer to look for undiscovered wildlife so he set off on a discovery journey. Although he found the world to be full of many unknown strange and wonderful things, they all seemed to be in some sort of danger. He didn't know what to say or what to do about it. He wished for something more- he wished he could do something.

To get the full story song book see here

Monday, 26 January 2015

Restoration Works Update

 Willow Clearance along Southern Lake
 Willow reduction in ringing area
 Selected strimming of islands (and willow clearance) 
Reeds on the Southern Lake- planted these in 2010 See  HERE and HERE
 Lapwings and ducks moving straight into the areas strimmed on the islands
 Male Stonechat
 Water Pipit 
 The 'old man' working on the meadows

Found this Short-tailed Field Vole under a metal sheet

Into our second week of maintenance works at the farmlands. Here's a few pics of works and some of the wildlife around us. 

Sunday, 25 January 2015

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

Tried the suet pellets instead of peanuts. Note home made pigeon proof ground feeder beneath the feeders. Reduced my pigeons from 30+ in the past to 4-5 recently. Squirrel proof feeders keep squirrels away but Parakeets still get the small squirrel proof feeder contents. 
In addition to the feeders got some natural food in the garden- cotoneaster, berberis and Rowan berries.
Great Spotted Woodpecker 
Kestrel past the window from today

Some video from last year

My totals were 40 individuals of 12 species actually in the garden, an additional 23 species from the window and including the roost flight path counts of Jackdaw (2640) and Ring-necked Parakeet (only 465) I had 3913 individuals in total (from the window).

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Caspian Gull

Here's a few pics of a first-winter Caspian Gull from yesterday. Some of the mantle and scapulars feathers look rather 'filled' and the inner great coverts look a bit barred. The bill colour is rather odd too with an area of pale towards the base. Might not be completely 'pure' but a rather striking bird nonetheless.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Early Moth- a first for Beddington Farmlands

 Early Moth- found on the 'obs' door entrance
 Teal (and Grey Heron)
 Common Kestrel
Jack Snipe- flushed four from the lake islands yesterday and there have been five on the enclosed beds and the odd one elsewhere- perhaps up to 10+ on site (also 40+ Snipe). 

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Lake works

Pic by Roger Browne

This week been working on the lakes at the farmlands, cutting back willows, clearing vegetation from in front of the Sand Martin bank, strimming the islands and mowing the meadows.
We rarely get to go out on the island- flushed 4 Jack Snipe, 8 Snipe and also found the elusive Bearded Tits.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Last week

 Green Woodpecker in 'obs' garden 
 Lapwings (27 around)
December Moth and Mottled Umber (the only moths recorded this year so far) 

A rather quiet week. The odd Blackcap on the 'obs' feeders again, mainly too cold for moths and despite quite a lot of looking not been finding much in the gulls.
Other bird group members had 2 Water Pipit, 1 Jack Snipe, 2 Stonechat, 25+ Snipe, 20+ Reed Bunting and 10 Skylark today.
Getting colder next week so might shake things up a bit.
Had a meeting on Tuesday about the ecology park and visitor's centre for the farmlands with a few first steps made. 

Sunday, 11 January 2015


Displaying Teals at the farmlands from today:

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Azores Natural History Tour 2015

Birds, butterflies, dragonflies, mammals and endemic botany of the Azores

Tour dates: 30th May to 06th June
Cost: 1456pp


Day 1. Fly Gatwick to Sao Miguel. Accommodation at Hotel Matriz.

Day 2. Today we shall take a jeep safari to the western side of the island with our expert volcanologist. The day will give a basic introduction to the geology of Sao Miguel and an excellent overview of the island's stunning landscape, its geological formations and its relevance to the many aspects of the Azorean wildlife that we will be looking for during the week. We shall take a restaurant lunch in the coastal town of Mosteiros and then spend the afternoon taking in the wonderful scenery of probably the most famous of all Sao Miguel’s volcanic craters, Sete Cidades, as we drive around the edge of the crater!  (Lunch included).

Day 3. Transfer to the airport and fly to Graciosa - The afternoon will be spent exploring the island.

Day 4. Included - Full day (usually split unto 2 x 3 hrs trips) whale and dolphin watching trip.  This is the baleen whale migrating season and our focus will be to search for the blue whales which pass through the islands in late spring.  In the afternoon we'll head back out to sea in search of sea birds and the endemic Monteiro's Petrel (includes lunch).

Day 5. Included - Full day (usually split unto 2 x 3 hrs trips) whale and dolphin watching trip.  This is the baleen whale migrating season and our focus will be to search for the blue whales which pass through the islands in late spring.  In the afternoon we'll head back out to sea in search of sea birds and the endemic Monteiro's Petrel.  (includes lunch).

Day 6. Transfer to the airport and fly to Terceira for the afternoon.  On arrival we shall be met by a local botanist and travel to Santa Barbara National Park for an introduction to some endemic plants of the area.  The reserve is located around 1000m above sea level and gives fantastic views around the island (if the weather is unsuitable then we will spend time on the coast). The interior of the island has pristine forests of juniper (juniperus brevifolia) and areas of dense Sphagnum moss. If time we'll also visit the Cabo da Praia quarry area which is without doubt, Europe's premier wetland for American wading birds (lunch included). Evening flight back to Sao Miguel.  On arrival transfer to the volcanic basin of Furnas.

Day 7. Included - full day tour visiting the east of the island including a visit to the Priolo project (Azores Bullfinch protection area), where we shall learn about the hard work that is being done to protect this vulnerable species and the Laurel forest in which they live. 

Day 8. Transfer to the airport and depart


The tour cost quoted above includes :
*             Accommodation as detailed above on a bed and breakfast basis in single en-suite rooms throughout
*             Return airport/hotel transfer on Sao Miguel
*             Return airport/hotel transfers on Graciosa
*             4 x 3 hour whale and dolphin watching trip per person from Graciosa
*             1 x full day Geo-tour per person on Sao Miguel (with lunch)
*             1 x half day botanics tour per person on Terceira (with lunch)
*             1 x full day birds and botanical garden tour per person on Sao Miguel
*             Return flights from Gatwick to the Azores with SATA International / TAP Air Portugal via Lisbon
*             Inter island flights as detailed above with SATA Air Azores
*             Comprehensive pre-departure booklet detailing information about flora, fauna, and the history of the Azores and a list of restaurants recommended to us by previous clients.

To book a place/ more information please email:

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

3. Songs of Praise: Daddy Long Legs

Previously on Songs of Praise CLICK HERE

To get away from his family he would escape to his room to be on his own, but he was not always alone........

This song is about an early encounter with nature. For some people (myself) being sensitive to nature did not necessarily come naturally as a child. Some people never seem to  'grow up' and do not fully appreciate how important caring for nature is for our own well being. This song asks the question 'why'?  

Monday, 5 January 2015

Few bits over Xmas break

Here's a few pics from over the xmas holidays. Good birding at the farmlands with Iceland Gull, Caspian Gull, Med Gull, Woodcock, Bearded Tit, Bullfinch, Little Gull and Garganey recorded.

 First-winter Caspian Gull
 Female Blackcap in the Obs garden
 First-winter Common Gull- an influx in Common Gulls included some darker mantled birds
 'Northern' Herring Gull: Dark upperparts, heavy head streaking and reduced black in wing tip
 Grey Heron
 Female Stonechat

In between birding trips Dylan (nephew- Dylan's Blog) and I watched Xmas movies and ate Sushi- good times! A few more gulls pics HERE