Saturday, 25 March 2017

Marsh Harrier

A productive morning with several migrants pushing through the brisk easterly.

Female-type Marsh Harrier - the first for the year. Flew north battling against a brisk easterly
Maybe the last of the Fieldfares heading north. Also a couple of Meadow Pipits, 9 Water Pipits, 1 Common Buzzard, 1 LRP and 4+ Kestrel and 2-3 Sparrowhawks maybe have also been migrants. 

 Good views of Kestrel hovering in the brisk wind 
 10 Greylags today- an increase in records is a feature of this time of year 
 2-3 pairs of Shelduck about 
 Two Cormorants heading north. Presumably 'Continental Cormorants'. 
 Black Swan still around 
 An interesting pale gull (either a pale Herring Gull or hybrid (Viking Gull type)). 
 Justice for Crows. Don't often photograph them. Often 50-100 birds around which is quite a gathering. 
The numbers of Fox records have reduced in recent years so good to see this individual in the Obs garden

Friday, 24 March 2017

Ted talk with author of Sapiens

Peregrine Webcam

Peregrine are breeding on Merton Council building this year- here's the live webcam:

And here's the Sutton Pegs:

Presumably it's these birds that we see hunting over the farmlands. There's also a rumour that they are breeding in Croydon this year. 

Thanks John Boorman for links and information. 

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

White Out !

A productive hour on the farmlands this afternoon:

 First-winter Glaucous Gull- a new, very pallid bird 
 The new Glauc
 Three Little Egrets- presumably migrants 
 One of the Little Egrets doing a fly-by
First-winter Caspian Gull (X319)

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Birding Forecast

Looks like this brisk westerly (and sometimes wet) airflow continues until Wednesday so migrants are going to struggle making it through that. There's a bit of a window on Wednesday with a southerly airflow on a low pressure and relatively warm air , however according to the long range forecast on Magic Seawood (link below) a northerly and high pressure takes over from Thursday swinging round to an easterly cooler airflow by Friday/next weekend. 

Basically Monday and Tuesday doesn't look too clever, Wednesday could present some better chances for migrants and Thursday onwards could be interesting as the easterly develops. 

Raptors: A light northerly (headwind) and developing high pressure towards end of week looks best.
Passerine/landbird migrants: Wednesday looks best. Wheatears and other early passerines, Chiffs, first Willow Warbler, more Sand Martins, first Swallow, odd Ring Ouzel, etc.
Waders: Can push through in the westerly, more likely in frontal conditions before end of week. LRPS arriving, possibly odd Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Curlew.
Waterfowl: Maybe Garganey anytime.
Gulls: Can push through in anything- good time for rare gulls.
Seabirds: Maybe Kittiwake in the westerly early week.

Wednesday looking most interesting 

Long range forecast: MAGIC SEAWEED

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Journey to Holly's

Spent this morning at the farmlands (1 Glaucous Gull, 2 Caspian Gull, 1 adult Med Gull and missed the first Wheatear of the year) and then set off for Holly's stopping off at Staines Res on the way (3 Black-necked Grebe, 2 Slavonian Grebe, 1 Scaup, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Oystercatcher and 2 LRP). 

The plan is to make stopping off at Staines a regular thing through the Spring on the way to and back from Oxford. 

 First-winter Glaucous Gull 
Adult Mediterranean Gull 
 Black-necked Grebe-  moulting into summer plumage with the breast still to complete
 Slavonian Grebe on left with two Black-necks. Interesting the Slav still in complete winter plumage (the other Slav has started moulting but not very advanced) 
 Male Scaup with Goldeneye and Tufted Ducks 
Little Ringed Plover 

Friday, 17 March 2017

Night Life, Gulls, Migrants, Quakers and Toads

Been a busy couple of days and nights at the obs and on the farmlands: 

Been practising with the night trawling. Found the first LRP for the year and also picking up Redwings moving at night. Also Barn Owl and Little Owl calling and interesting to hear how active the waterbirds are at night. 

The first Little Ringed Plover of the year- found at night using the sound approach

Teal and other waterfowl


2 Caspians, 1 2nd-winter Yellow-legged and one of the Glaucs today.
 First-winter Glaucous Gull
 First-winter Caspian Gull 
First-winter Caspian X319 


Ring Ouzel. 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 1-2 Sand Martin and 8 Water Pipit on the farm today. 

Back of the cam shot of today's male Ring Ouzel by Roger Browne
Sand Martin 

Common, Twin-spot and Small Quakers (and a March Moth). Also Double-striped Pug yesterday.

These have been moving around recently, mainly a night. Almost trod on this one by the hide. 

Thursday, 16 March 2017


Got a piece on Monteiro's Petrel and Pelagic Birding off the Azores on Birding Frontiers which can be viewed here:

Zino's Petrel and Swinhoe's Petrel- a couple of the surprise finds from our pelagic trips

We've still got a couple of spaces on the 2017 boat so if interested please email me: 

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Holly's, The Old Vicarage

Spent today continuing with the bioblitz in Holly's garden. Still only 149 taxa but that's from the winter and still haven't completed the area or identified everything I've found. A few good ones for the bird list; 3 Golden Plover going over yesterday afternoon and Wigeon going over at night calling. The Tawny Owl was calling again last night. 

 Red Kites from the garden chair
 Goldcrests in the trees 
 and Coal Tits 
 Only moth in the trap was this Diurnea fagella
 Leafhoppers and pollen beetles on the newly emerged Daffodils 
Cherry in blossom and Willow coming out in leaf. Also my new mate Izzie who stays with me all the time while I'm out there. 
Did the wild area and vegetable patch today. Still need to do the walled garden and the house/patio.
Roe Deer in fields nearby 

Monday, 13 March 2017


Up at Holly's for next couple of days so spent this morning at Otmoor. Had a few Otmoor ticks including finally seeing the Short-eared Owl and also a few new waders including Black-tailed Godwit , Oystercatcher and Curlew. Still good numbers of Golden Plover about and all of a sudden lots of Redshank have taken up territories across the wetlands. Still good numbers of Wigeon about and a few Pintails. Grey Herons are building nests and the air is full of Skylarks singing, the reeds full of Reed Buntings singing and Red Kites, Common Buzzards kettleing overhead with Marsh Harrier quartering the reed beds. Magical place- looking forward to Spring unfolding further.

Short-eared Owl
 A few Barnacles in with the Greylags 
 Golden Plover and Dunlins- still about 500 or so Golden Plovers about
Female Reed Bunting
Big Otmoor- great looking habitat, stacked full of birds 

E-bird list  from today.