Tuesday 30 March 2010


Got fed up of waiting for the vandals to break a hole in the fence so decided to get Lukas the builder to put in a gate.

Sunday 28 March 2010


My first Swallow of the year, a male from the obs window. We estimated about 15+ Chiffchaffs today around the perimeter including one in the obs garden. I went searching for a Ring Ouzel but wasn't really concentrating, instead thinking about some interesting developments which are occurring. Birding is a great way of getting some thinking time.

Friday 26 March 2010


Went to David Lindo's Tower 42 Bird Study Group launch today with my nieces. (click on link below for BBC coverage).

Thanks to Lee for the photos, more here: http://leedingain.blogspot.com/

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Conservation Day- Beddington Farmlands

Marcus, Johnny, Frank, Terry and Little Oak were out on the lake today- spreading seed on the new islands, cutting back willow and putting in Shelduck boxes.

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Firecrest- Beddington Farmlands

Nick found a Firecrest today. Also 2 Blackcaps and a Chiffchaff on the same bridge and 8 Sand Martin over.


Well, if the local paper won't cover our stories how we like, we will do it ourselves! :-)) Although the new Veg Van beats us to the front page story!

Monday 22 March 2010


All going well on this front. For comments regarding recent planning proposals for Beddington Farmlands click on this link and then go to view comments (top right):

Sunday 21 March 2010


There were 8 Wheatears on the farm today. An early spring speciality. Wheatears were first documented at Beddington in 1934 and are seen each year, stopping off for a rest between their upland/mountain breeding areas in Europe and their wintering grounds in Sub-Saharan Africa.
One bird was ringed at Beddington on April 30th 1972 and was caught again on Fair Isle, Scotland on April 24th 1975, 915km to the NNE.

Also 3 Water Pipit, 2 Buzzard and being Sunday- lots of visitors- today was the London Natural History Society Group led by Derek. My next tour is on April 25th.
More photos from today here: http://dodge007.blogspot.com/

Saturday 20 March 2010


We had 15+ Sand Martins moving north this morning. My first summer migrants this year. There were a couple of Wheatears in the week and yesterday evening I had a Ringed Plover flying around so I guess that spring migration is here- so let the games begin.

Friday 19 March 2010


A couple of strange gulls over the farm today including one I think I recognise from Essex also featured on page 82 of Birding World Volume 22:2. This bird (pic one) is now in 2nd winter plumage and gained a dark primary on its right wing and we saw it in Essex earlier this year. Am I right?
The second bird (pic 2) is another leucistic Herring Gull.
Been a strange few days for gulls. Opened Birdwatch page 57 this month and saw the contents of my freezer:

Thursday 18 March 2010


Just got back from the local community council meeting. OMG- council meetings are soooooooooooooo boring. Helen, the HCAG chairperson got up and suggested that next time someone sings a song to liven it up- I can't wait to see that!!

Also another article by Leanne in the Local Guardian (pic). She in traditional press fashion twisted everything I said to give it a negative slant- which you got to love. That's why the readership of papers is declining- continual negativity leads to apathy and then people cant be bothered to read anything. To be fair she put a few positive bits (click on to read).

Tuesday 16 March 2010


Spent today planting up new shrubs in the garden- positioned around bird feeders and hopefully in time should get some interesting activity round here.

Monday 15 March 2010

RSPB Visit- Beddington Farmlands

What a pleasant day- first bit of sun in a long time and ideal for the RSPB visit. Johnny and Derek did a superb presentation and this was followed by a walk around the site.
The RSPB fully support the vision of a major urban nature reserve and pointed out that this area is the last chance of establishing an important wildlife and conservation resource for South London. They agreed to support the project and offer advise and help throughout its development. A very good day!

Saturday 13 March 2010

Restoration Works at Beddington Farmlands

Well, I'm very glad that the RSPB are coming on Monday because the restoration works at Beddington could do with a top expert opinion. The bottom photo shows the 'finished' lake. Well, I am no expert.
However I do think that big business could benefit greatly from bodies like the RSPB and WWT. These expert conservation bodies could advise and oversee development mitigation programmes such as the one at Beddington . Experience has taught us at Beddington that our big business could do with a helping hand to get things right.
Had a walk round this afternoon- 100+ Teal, 30+ Shoveler, 4 Pochard, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Kestrel. Pretty damn quiet.

Thursday 11 March 2010


Okay, thought I would do a quick update.
The mission is to help develop Beddington Farmlands into a major urban nature reserve and integrate that into the Hackbridge Project- which is a high profile environmental project aiming to create the UK's first sustainable village.

If all goes to plan things should develop into a forward thinking socio-environmental community in these parts. I hope so anyway, cuz at the moment its literally a dump.

So far, we've reformed the Beddington Farmlands Bird Group and the RSPB are coming on Monday to see how they can help out. Just got back from a Hackbridge Community Action Group meeting and there was talk about some more wildlife gardening and tree planting programmes- also talk about funding for it! The people behind the famous Bed-zed project were there tonight too. Also our band, thee Bryans is hoping to be part of the scene, hoping to get local musicians on board and then perform at carnivals and local events and mini-festivals.

It's all good stuff- social/environmental experimentation. Hoping to change our own world.

Wednesday 10 March 2010


Just had one of the first winter Glaucous Gulls fly past the window.

Monday 8 March 2010

Glaucous Gulls at Beddington Farmlands


I missed two Glaucous Gulls on the farm today. This is what I missed (by Dodge).

Sunday 7 March 2010

Essex weekend

Two things about this weekend. 1) it was dead (as was a Glaucous Gull that we found- now in my freezer), 2) it was one of the coldest times of my life.

The Slavonian Grebe was still on Vange Wick and there was also a plastic Red-breasted Goose there.

Looking good for the spring.
Photos top to bottom: Little Egret, Mediterranean Gull and Red-breasted Goose .

Friday 5 March 2010


I've got a gun problem. One of the residents down stairs has got an air rifle and shooting my birds on the communal bird feeder. See link: http://peteralfreybirdingnotebook.blogspot.com/2010/01/beddington-farmlands-observatory.html
I am from a hunting family, my mum comes from Malta (pic: Maltese hunter), so it's a familar problem but not one I was expecting to have to deal with in Hackbridge.
Mmmmm..... interesting development.

Wednesday 3 March 2010


Trying to get more grounds management jobs at work so we can get more into creating pro-nature garden environments. Got a stab at a pretty big contract but it arrived just before I went away which meant I had only two days to tendor for it. Spent the first half of today feeling good that I got the tendor completed and in by the deadline and the other half pleading with the company if I could get it back and amend it realising that in my haste I had made a fundamental error.... I explained that out of the 14 days I had to work it out I had spent 12 looking for Lynxes and Larid and two doing the tendor so mistakes were bound to happen. Luckily he understood and I got it out of the safe and switched the bad one over for the good one- fingers crossed. Hopefully the start of some really interesting work.