Wednesday 29 July 2009

Black and white Petrels!

With the pelagic season underway- been reading about petrels. Interesting BTO blog post today- potential pitfall in i.d- especially from a distance from a sea watch:

Sunday 26 July 2009


Had a quick look over the farm. 1500+ Starling feeding on the enclosed bed and 10+ Mistle Thrush on park side. A few family parties of Whitethroat about. Tufted Duck broods have hatched and out on the lake. A few Swifts about and only a handful of House Martin and one to two Sand Martins. A juvenile female Peregrine over the lake is presumably one of the young from the pair that bred in Sutton. Johnny got some video recently:

Saturday 25 July 2009

Canvey Point- Essex

Top to bottom: a) Juvenile Mediterranean Gull with Sandwich Tern, Common Tern and Dunlin, b) adult Knot with Dunlin and Common Tern, c) Dunlin (race presumably schinzii), d) adult Curlew in active wing moult, e) Oystercatchers.

Plenty of birds staging now in the Canvey/Teweks/Two Tree complex and with a 6.0 tide the whole lot were up in the air- hundreds of waders, gulls and terns including 150+ Oystercatchers, 60+ Curlews, 30+ Whimbrels, 120+ Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 1 Knot, 1 Sanderling, 150+ Dunlins, 50+ Ringed Plovers, 40+ Avocets, 24 Grey Plovers, 1 Golden Plover, 45+ Turnstones, 1 Common Sandpiper, 80+ Redshanks, 2 Greenshanks, 4 Mediterranean Gulls, 500+ Black-headed Gulls, 10 Sandwich Terns 25+ Common Terns and 21 Little Terns. Also 2 Yellow Wagtails in saltings and one Swallow over.
Curlews were in active wing moult, in contrast to the Whimbrels which were showing no signs of moult. Also intersting variation within the Dunlins- only the odd adults were moulting, also a few juveniles now. Not so many Ringed Plover which were outnumbered by Dunlin.
Previous early autumn pics from Canvey:
Bit more on Canvey Dunlins etc here. Note how the birds have worn since they were here in the spring:

Thursday 23 July 2009

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Dip

The only rare thing today was me twitching resulting in something that I do a lot- not seeing anything of particular historical signifcance.
However after dipping the Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Lee and I went to Oare Marshes, surely the finest wader site in the south east.
Early autumn is a great time to see adult waders moulting into winter plumage. There were 11 Ruff, all males, presumably the females go elsewhere and the juveniles will follow very shortly. Also a family party of Little Ringed Plover with four juveniles- a classic late July sight. There were about 12 Whimbrel, including five flying off south west at dusk- this movement will pick up over the next few weeks. Only two or three Black-tailed Godwits so the majority are presumably still in Iceland and/or heading this way. 2 adult summer plumage Curlew Sandpiper were the highlight. Four Teal, family parties of Pochard, four juvenile Shelduck, eclipse and juvenile plumaged flocks of Mallard, juvenile Pied and Yellow Wagtails, family parties of Bearded Tits in the Reeds and the odd scratching of late singing Reed Warblers- all classic late July features.

Monday 20 July 2009

Sunday 19 July 2009

Beddington 190709

Juvenile male Kestrel (top): The dark bars on the median and greater coverts are narrower than the rufous interspaces. The tail is also grey. A single visible subterminal triangle bar to the mantle feathers (from Forsman).

The two Greenshank have decided to move on but were replaced with a Redshank . Still 20+ Green Sandpiper, also 6 Common Sandpiper and no move on duck numbers.

A few Swifts (40+) over the last couple of days and last week 300+ were present. Have not seen a Barn Swallow in a few weeks and only one Sand Martin pair have bred in the artificial site.

A bird wave of Blue, Great, Long-tailed Tit with Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and Great Spotted Woodpecker were passing up irrigation bridge this morning.

Four Kestrel (a family party) including this juvenile were hunting over the mounds.

Most gulls are at some stage of active moult at the moment with this Common Gull (above) showing an active moult from first summer to second winter (inner primaries first). Also one first summer Mediterranean Gull on the lake.

Friday 17 July 2009

Beddington 170709

That is not a Garganey (above) its a Mallard looking like one and it took me a couple of takes to work it out. 20+ Green Sandpipers (below) on site again. Where else can you see flocks of Green Sandpipers like this?
Also my first juvenile Shovelers for the autumn (three birds), one Teal, 2 Greenshank and 1 Common Sandpiper. There is flock of Goldfinch building up on hundred acre (so far 20+ birds) and I noticed a family party of Linnet yesterday. Quite a few Whitethroat young are around.

Wednesday 15 July 2009

Beddington 150709

Click on the top shot to check out the barred auxillaries of this Green Sandpiper- why do a lot of waders have barred auxillaries- what's the point?

16 Green Sandpiper (top), 2 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Little Ringed Plover and 30+ Lapwing (bottom) on hundred acre.
Most of the waders at Beddington now are adults, the juveniles will follow soon. Green Sandpiper peak in early autumn (July to August). The highest count was 46 on August 5th 2006. Fortunately this species has experienced an increasing trend since the early 1990s.

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Beddington 140709

A south-west wind and cloudy skies usually means a typical days birding. A few waders stage at Beddington during the autumn- today there were 17 Green Sandpipers (bottom), one Greenshank, one Common Sandpiper and a group of 25+ Lapwing. There was one Teal on the scrape- one of the first of the autumn. Also quite a few juvenile birds, fresh out of the nest such as Long-tailed Tit (middle) and a lot of adult passerines are keeping low and quiet because they are moulting- such as this Chiffchaff (top) which has visible moult in the head.

Sunday 12 July 2009

Beddington Farm Local Community Birding Tour

We had a local community birding tour today. There was a group of 16 of us and we saw 43 species of bird including one to two adult Greenshanks, one Common Sandpiper, 5 Green Sandpipers, 1 Hobby and a distant Buzzard. There must have been between 40 to 50 Grey Herons (above top) on site. We also saw a Marbled White butterfly (bottom) which is only the second one I have seen at the Farm.

Friday 10 July 2009

Turkey Trip Report

Trip report for our Turkey Trip here:
For great accommadation, food and friendly guided birding to see the Snowcocks and other mountain species contact Ali,

Thursday 2 July 2009


I am leading a bird tour at Beddington on Sunday 12th July. We are meeting up at 0915 to 0930 at Hackbridge Train Station so if anyone is interested than come along. Be good to know how many are coming so email me at

Early July- should be some migrant waders around, post breeding flocks and lots of juvenile birds.

Wednesday 1 July 2009

Waiting for autumn

Should really be out looking for that mid summer monster vagrant but instead took the time out to catch up with Peter Jospeh's second part (addendum) of the Internet phenomenon Zeitgeist which was realised last October. He has got digitally remastered versions of both movies now here:

An interesting example of an emerging 'pop philosophy' which incorporates science, economics, environmentalism, music, imagery and documentary which he crystallises in this second part.