Saturday 31 October 2009

Beddington Farmlands- Croydon RSPB Fair

Spent today at the Croydon RSPB fair doing a promotional event for the Beddington Farmlands Urban Nature Project.
Following restoration of a quarrying and landfill operation , the site is set to become one of the largest urban nature reserves in the UK. The habitat is going to be comprised of a mosiac of habitats including grasslands (acidic, mixed and amenity), lakes and scrapes, wet grasslands, reedbeds and traditional beds (see map).
The restoration has recently commenced, with phase one on the southern and northern lakes and the southern cells.

Wednesday 28 October 2009

MIGRATION BARRIER- Visible migration at Beddington Farmlands

There was a fairly significant migration over London last night. I woke this morning to 200+ Woodpigeon heading southwest, from the obs window, and a morning watch from the farm produced 600-700 Redwing, 220+ Fieldfare (middle pic), 40+ Chaffinch, 20+ Goldfinch, 8 Meadow Pipit, 1 Mistle Thrush, 15 Stock Dove and 10+ Skylark .

There were good numbers of birds (thrushes, tits and finches) in the trees around Hangman's bridge- no sign of a Chiffchaff that I had yesterday in the garden.

An interesting feature of the migration at Beddington was that flocks heading southwest started circling and flying in different direction from about 0930. A look a the weather charts show that presumably they detected the approaching fronts and stiffening westerly airflow (top map). A long line of birds heading to the west country have presumably hit it further west and sent a ripple effect back down the line. Last night when they set off from the continent, there was a calm high pressure producing good crossing conditions (bottom map).
Also Jack Snipe flying around Jim's Pit.

Friday 23 October 2009

Thursday 22 October 2009


A few images from the past few years on Corvo. More here:

Image one: me and Simon
Image two: Right to left, Eric, Adrian, Rene, Darryl and Simon
Image three:Front to back, Darryl, Fred, Gilles, Simon, Pierre, Adrian and Vincent

Wednesday 21 October 2009


(No. of American landbirds found on Corvo):

Sweden: 12 points (2 x Black-throated Green Warbler, 2 x Red-eyed Vireo, 2 x American Redstart, Bobolink, Philadelphia Vireo, Black and White Warbler, Northern Parula, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Indigo Bunting)

France: 10 points (Chestnut-sided Warbler, Common Nighthawk, Baltimore Oriole (male), Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart,Ovenbird, Yellow throated Vireo, White-eyed Vireo and a brace (two) of Buff-bellied Pipit)

Belgium: 7 points (Yellow Warbler, Indigo Bunting, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Red-eyed Vireo x2, Bobolink, Yellowthroat)

United Kingdom: 8 points (Canada Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Bobolink, Baltimore Oriole (female), Indigo Bunting, Yellowthroat, 2 x Yellow billed Cuckoo)

Spain: 3 points (Ovenbird, Red-eyed Vireo, Indigo Bunting)

Germany: 1 points (Yellow-billed Cuckoo)

Finland: 1 point (Chimney Swift)

Denmark: 1 point (Indigo Bunting)

Italy: 1 point (Savannah sparrow)

Tuesday 20 October 2009


Spent today on Sao Miguel- 2 Ring-necked Ducks, 1 Pied-billed Grebe and 1 Teal on Furnas, with one Azores Bullfinch at the regular site and we also popped in on the Wood Duck. Highlight of the day was the cozido das furnas- a beautiful steamed dish which is cooked in the nearby thermal rocks.

Heard that a Parula had been found on Corvo and there is also a rumour of a grackle on the island. To keep up with Corvo 2009 check out Olof's excellent blog:

Back home tomorrow and back to the London premier urban nature reserve project at Beddington, building the Beddington Observatory, late autumn migration and planning the next expedition.

Image one: me

Monday 19 October 2009


Last day on Corvo today for Darryl and I so will have to keep scores on the rare bird contest remotely. Latest results see here

Managed to find two Yellow-billed Cuckoos this morning before we left and also saw the Baltimore Oriole again.

On Sao Miguel now for the next two days.

Image 1 Vincent Legrand- rare photographer extraordinaire
Image 2 Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Image 3 Birdwatch Magazine on Corvo


The western most outpost of Europe- Corvo, an extinct volcano, literally in the middle of nowhere, 1890km from Portugal and 1930km from Newfoundland.
The best vagrant hunting grounds in Europe.

Sunday 18 October 2009


The two Dotterel were still there today but no sign of the Buff-bellied Pipits.
Pierre found another yank- this time the WP's third White-eyed Vireo- all of which have been on Corvo since 2005. Pierre is on fire this year having found Chestnut-sided Warbler, American Redstart, White-eyed Vireo, Ovenbird, Common Yellowthroat and two Buff-bellied Pipits.

Saturday 17 October 2009


For todays news see
Highlights on Corvo today include 2 Buff-bellied Pipit and 2 Dotterel.
The Ovenbird showed well this morning and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose (top) was flying around.
The latest Eurovision Rare Bird Contest results here, with Sweden maintaining a lead but France and Belgium neck and neck and closing fast:
France claimed that the find of two Buff-bellied Pipit together qualified as two points rather than one point (for one record). Strangely enough the group consensus decided that it only qualified as one point.

Friday 16 October 2009


26 birders today on Corvo.

Too many birds to write down here, go to
I saw two Yellowthroat (images 1 and 2) and there is a ring-tailed harrier on the island which is still unidentified, which is either a Hen Harrier or a Marsh Hawk.
I also had a good Azores bird- Turtle Dove.

More pictures here:

Thursday 15 October 2009


Personal highlights today were seeing the Yellow Warbler (top) and bumping into a female Baltimore Oriole (below). Also saw American Redstart and Indigo Bunting.

New birds found today include Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Common Yellowthroat and a Bobolink. The Black and White Warbler and Ovenbird are also still present.

CORVO 2009

Manuel Rita- the newly elected Mayor of Corvo and recent birding convert.

The early autumn team: Top row left to right: Peter Alfrey, Eric Didner, Ferran Lopez Sanz, Frederic Vanhove, Pierre-Andre Crochet, Olof Jonsson. Bottom row left to right: Vincent Legrand, Darryl Spittle, Rafael Armada and Simon.

Wednesday 14 October 2009

American Great Egret


The wood warblers keep coming. This time a Yellow Warbler- for photos see Darryl's blog later:
There are now 17 birders here- Finland and Germany join the games.
Still present include 2 American Redstart, Black and White Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, American Great Egret and Indigo Bunting

Tuesday 13 October 2009


Pierre found a Chestnut-sided Warbler (which didn't give itself up for the rest of us) and the Philadelphia Vireo was refound by Eric and Fred. Darryl took the autumn's first Indigo Bunting and I scraped in with a Red-eyed Vireo.
Bird of the day for me was an Alpine Swift (2nd record for the Azores) found by Fred. Takes me to 175 for the Azores- 2nd to Staffan.
Darryl got Willow Warbler for his Azores list.

Monday 12 October 2009


Darryl found Canada Warbler in Fojo today- a third for the WP we believe. Superb but elusive bird- took me three hours to see it. Still present on the island are Black and White Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler and a new American Redstart.

Below: News breaks as the Canada Warbler is relocated.

Darryl's personal account of finding a mega:


Ovenbird by Rafael Armada

Sunday 11 October 2009


Bobolink and Black-throated Green Warbler by Vincent Legrand (top two photos)

A new Bobolink today by the village in bad weather. The Rose-breasted Grosbeak was still present, the Pectoral Sandpiper still on the airfield, 2 Wheatears and a fly over Merlin.


Saturday 10 October 2009


Found a Rose-breasted Grosbeak today and saw the American Redstart again.
Birding teams present on Corvo now include the Spanish Armada (Rafa and Ferran), the Belgian Chocolates (Vincent and Fred), the French Fries (Pierre and Eric), the Swedish Meatballs (Staffan and Olof) and the English Breakfast (Me, Darryl and Simon).
The Armada found a new Ovenbird and the French found a Baltimore Oriole- which I 'need' for the Azores.
Other birds still present on the island include Black and White Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo and 3 Willow Warblers. The Barwit is still on the airfield.

Friday 9 October 2009


More here:

Finally made it here. Within an afternoon we tracked down American Redstart, Black-throated Green Warbler, Black and White Warbler and Common Nighthawk. Enough said. Cheers for the photo Darryl.

Azorean Gull Could be one of these in Oxfordshire, UK. Looks good to me.

Thursday 8 October 2009

Corvo awaits

Still on Terceira waiting for the next plane to Corvo. This will be my third attempt at getting there in the last week so fingers crossed for tomorrow.
We went round the Terceira sites today to kill time. The quarry still held the White-winged Black Tern and pretty much the same waders and ducks as yesterday.
At Angra we found a Sandwich Tern and 3 Common Scoters, which we tried to string into Black Scoters but the bill shape and the taperng rear neck line point towards a European origin.

American Golden Plover at Cabo da Praia quarry.

Wednesday 7 October 2009

Terceira, the Azores

Back on Terceira today.
In the quarry a juvenile White-winged Black Tern, 2 Semi-palmated Sandpiper, 2 Semi-palmated Plover, 2 American Golden Plover, 1 Pectoral Sandpiper, 1 Long-billed Dowitcher, 1 Spotted Sandpiper (the one with the long tail?) 1 Blue-winged Teal, 2 Teal, 5 Ruff, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 7 Whimbrel, 7 Blackwit, 5 Grey Plover, 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 50+ Turnstone, 40+ Sanderling, 30+ Kentish Plover and 10 Knot.

Found this juvenile American Herring Gull in the harbour. Also Common Sandpiper there.

Sunday 4 October 2009

Beddington Farmlands Community Tour with BBC's 'The One Show', David Lindo (THE URBAN BIRDER)

A good turn out for today's Beddington Farmlands Birding Tour. Highlight was a single Jack Snipe and also 2 Common Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Green Sandpiper, 8 Shoveler, 40+ Teal, 30+ Lapwing, 24 Grey Herons, 5 Little Grebe, 10+ Tufted Duck, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher, 1 Sparrowhawk and 2 Kestrel. Overhead migrants included 15+ Meadow Pipit and 3 Skylarks.

Other members of the BFBG also saw 7 Dunlin, Stonechat and 3 Water Rail.

Jack Snipe

Common Snipe

David Lindo (right)- 'The Urban Birder' A Beddington Farmlands Urban Nature Reserve Champion with Roger Browne (left) and Kim Dixon.
More on the Beddington Farmlands Campaign here: