Monday, 9 December 2019

Otmoor evening

Did a couple of hours at Otmoor this afternoon/evening. The Starling roost was pretty impressive with a bit of murmuration too. Also had a Bittern on Greenaways, a Barn Owl from the first screen and good numbers of waterbirds across the site with the Closes and Flood Field also extensively wet with a large flock of Golden Plover out on the Flood Field and large numbers of waterfowl including double figures of Pintail. 

 Starlings at dusk
 Golden Plovers over Flood Field 
 A Sparrowhawk over the Closes (below) 

and a December moth from the Old Vic trap 

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Winter dregs

It's been slim pickings recently. The best I could muster up at Beddington after a bit of window watching, a two hour session yesterday from the hides and two nights with the MV moth trap on was a dodgy Caspian Gull , a couple of Mottled Umbers, up to 5 December Moths and 2 Winter Moths. 

 First-winter Caspian-type Gull. The blue-grey upperparts, apparent double wing bars formed by tips to median and greater coverts, the dark centred greater coverts, dark tertials, dark shawl and white underwings (below) all indicate a Caspian Gull. However the two-toned bill, the head profile, structure and some dark markings on the head suggest a possibility of hybridisation. Could be something from the Black Sea area? (SEE HERE )

 December moth- five last night, a site record. The run of cold frosty nights has finally let up with a bit more moth activity over last couple of nights. 
Mottled Umbers 

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Lisbon Geese Videos

Here's a couple of videos from my weekend in Lisbon ( weekend blog HERE)  from Xo Fred.

Tundra Bean Goose - this was one of two Bean Geese present. This individual (found by Magnus) was smaller and shorter-necked than the surrounding Greylags (and the second Bean) and the orange on the bill (a more subdued saturation than the orange on the Greylag bills) was confined to a sub-terminal 'strap. The bill was also relatively short and deep based. Hopefully Xo Fred will update some video of the second Bean Goose soon for comparison. 
Snow Goose - no problem with the identification (although not sure if a lone bird can be assigned to an either Lesser or Greater Snow Goose sub-species), however the provenance is a consideration especially with THIS HERE going on. This bird was first seen in France and has moved south into Portugal. 

Staines Pain

I planned a days birding today and when news broke of a Red-necked Grebe at Staines yesterday I decided to opt for a local twitch. I dipped - despite the bird being reported this morning. I seem to be having trouble seeing very obvious ducks and grebes confined in a tank but at least after about two hours I finally located the long-staying Long-tailed Duck on the South Basin (the bird has been present since early November). 

Also a Water Pipit and a Common Sandpiper, 10 Black-necked Grebes and some stunning Goldeneyes.

Male Goldeneye (above and below) 

Black-necked Grebe
Common Sandpiper 
Long-tailed Duck- looks like a female, probably a first-winter female (but could be an adult female). Long-tailed Ducks have three moults in their first cycle and unlike other ducks the adults have two complete plumages a year. The amount of white in the head and the restricted pale in the scapulars indicate a female as opposed to a young male. First-winter females usually show some pale in the scapulars but I couldn't see any sign of that but the views weren't great!  Long-tailed ducks characteristically often sit on the water with their wings hiding the fore-flanks and when they dive they distinctively open their wings. 

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Extinction Rebellion, Beddington Farmlands Political Strategy Meeting, Tuesday 3rd December

As Extinction Rebellion plan to shift attention from the public to polluters (see HERE) we are beginning to move the pieces in place locally.


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