Sunday 30 January 2011

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron on the Azores

I am going looking for this bad boy next week. Luckily it's rediscovery coincides with a planned trip to Lisbon and the Azores for me. Fingers crossed. It's been there since July, found by a non-birder. The photos were sent to SPEA and only came to the attention of birders a little while ago. The PRC were in the process of getting confirmation of the id and releasing the belated news when another unidentified photo was sent in from a week ago of the same bird in the same place. Some how this bird managed to avoid the attention of the army of last autumn birders. Perhaps it is spending a lot of time on remote rocky coastlines and if so- we might just need a boat to track it down. We will see.

Pics of from July and recently here- note the progress of the plumage.

Friday 28 January 2011

Beatles and Birds

Not much else to do in the winter but look for gulls and think of all the Beatles songs that have something to do with birds:

And your bird can sing

Norweigan Wood (And this bird as flown)


Blue Jay Way

Also there a song called 'Flying' which I reckon is about birds, Gerby reckons that Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was a bird and there is also a reference to birds singing in 'Till there was you'. Also there is Free as Bird- recorded from beyond Lennon's grave and a version of Across the Universe has the sounds effect of a swan taking off. Can't think of anything else..

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Beddington Farm Bird Group AGM

It was the BFBG AGM this evening. Some good progress with reports, the book, Tree Sparrow project (could be on Springwatch this spring), planning matters and planning new tours. All good.

Monday 24 January 2011

Bat Boxing

Spent this morning putting up bat boxes in the Beddington oaks with Hippy Steve and Marcus. We put up wooden Kent boxes and also schwegler large colony bat boxes for Noctules- which were made of Woodcrete.
Will keep an eye on them and see if the bats use them.

Sunday 23 January 2011

Top Listing in Hackbridge

Last Tuesday I did a presentation to the Hackbridge Forum about the plans for Beddington Farmlands. I had agreed to do a ten minute talk and when the schedule turned up I was relieved to see I was last up- so most people would have been fairly sedated by the time my turn came. However then the posters and flyers went up all over the village and I realised that I was heading the bill (pic 1) meaning my last place in the schedule meant that they were leaving 'the best ' till last. Luckily it was a friendly audience and I got in and out without too much trouble :-)

Friday 21 January 2011

Gulling at the Farm

Still looking for the Slaty-backed. All we had was a first -winter Caspian (or type)- (pic 1) and two adult Mediterranean Gulls.
Nice light today on this Grey Heron (pic 2) .

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Gulls on Film

The BBC Natural World team were back today filming our gulls. Iceland Gull, Caspian Gull, Yellow-legged Gull (pic 2), Mediterranean Gull (pic 1) were present amongst the 15,000 regulars- Herring, Lesser Black-backed, Great Black-backed (pic 3), Black-headed and Common Gull. I was hoping for the Slaty-backed but it was not be.... today.
The BBC programme will be on in 2012 and is about London Wildlife.

Sunday 16 January 2011


Images 1-4: The Birds of Beddington Farmlands. Image 5: Recent article in the Sutton Guardian.
The Birds of Beddington Farmlands by myself, Brian Milne, Derek Coleman and the BFBG is now available for purchase as a download or a hard copy at

This complete avifauna of Beddington Farmlands is packed with information, photos, illustrations and paintings and has been created, produced and published independently by members of the Beddington Farm Bird Group.
The book begins with a historical account that charts the origins of the Farmlands from 1860, to the developing of a sewage farm from 1940 and then to it's recent evolution as a multi-waste management site which over the next few years will be restored and developed into a major urban nature reserve.
Another section deals with the annual cycle of bird life at Beddington with a particular emphasis on migration and the important influences of weather and habitat condition.
The bulk of the book is a systematic list which includes records up to 2007. Over 250 species are documented in detail. Particular emphasis is given to key species like Tree Sparrow and Yellow Wagtail and to key groups such as waders, wildfowl and migrants. Rare and scarce birds are also documented including extreme vagrants to London such as Glaucous-winged Gull, Killdeer, Lesser Yellowlegs, Rustic Bunting and Citrine Wagtail.

The book can be purchased on line and we will posted within 3-5 days of ordering:

Beddington Farmlands wildfowl and wet lands

Pleasantly mild at the moment and seems to be increasing numbers of wildfowl and waders at Beddington. This weekend counts have included 350+ Teal (pic 2) , 120+ Shoveler, 25+ Gadwall, 3 Wigeon, 30+ Tufted Duck, Pochard, 5 Shelduck, 4 Little Grebe, 8 Green Sandpiper, 1 Redshank, 15+ Snipe, 95+ Lapwing (pic 1). Also 2 Peregrine, 2-3 Sparrowhawk and 1 Kestrel around.

Saturday 15 January 2011


I really should have been at Rainham today but I just could not fight off the irrational hope of it turning up at Beddington (as there is a degree of transfer between our gulls here and the Rainham birds). First winter Iceland Gull (pic 1) and an adult Caspian Gull (pic 2) were a distraction in the search which will be on until the end of the season.
Dominic's account of this amazing discovery here:

Thursday 13 January 2011

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Tuesday 11 January 2011

Beddington Gulls

Flicked through the gulls this afternoon with Dodge and Kojak. An adult Med (pic 1) and also a 3rd winter type Yellow-legged Gull.

Monday 10 January 2011

New Logo

Talks are still underway regarding setting up a steering group for the development of the Beddington Farmlands Nature Reserve. Been experimenting with some logo designs and came up with this one by Szabolcs Kókay ( ) - one of my favourite bird artists.

His illustrations are particularly rich in colour and character

Sunday 9 January 2011

Aythya influx at Beddington

75 Tufted Ducks and 30 Pochard on the lake today which is a marked influx especially since the freeze up. Teals were very vocal and displaying, Shovelers were shovelling in tight groups (although numbers were higher during the freeze up) and there were 10 Gadwall, 3 Wigeon and 4 Shelduck. A Redshank on the southern lake, Lapwings are back up to 30+ and a tit flock on the lake edge included a Goldcrest.

Friday 7 January 2011

BBC Natural World Recce to Beddington

Spent yesterday morning on a recce with Marcus and Gaby from Passion Pictures who is planning on filming the gulls and other wildlife at Beddington for a BBC Natural World on London wildlife.
Hopefully more on this as it unfolds.

Wednesday 5 January 2011


Black-capped Petrel, Graciosa, (26/05/07) by Killian Mullarney

We will be arranging a pelagic off the Azores for next spring, targeting speciality seabirds including the endemic Monteiro's Storm Petrel (at sea) and also Barolo Shearwater, Bulwers Petrel and Wilson's Petrel. We will also be exploring for Trindade and Black-capped Petrels. These species occur regularly in the Gulf Stream off Cape Hatteras and Trindade Petrel has been predicted to migrate into Azorean waters (see Flood, B & Danzenbaker, M 2009. Birding World 22:4) . This prediction is supported by a series of casual observations. Further exploration off the Azores, targeting these species at the prime time of year with modern chumming techniques is aimed at testing this prediction. This has not been attempted before.
The backdrop will be good numbers of cetaceans and other marine life.
Here's a few photos from previous 'recces'.

Top to Bottom: Barolo Shearwater, Monteiro's Storm Petrel, Great Shearwater, Wilson's Petrel, 'Fea's' Petrel, Loggerhead Turtle, Sperm Whale, Sowerby's Beaked Whale , Blue Shark and Cory's Shearwater.

For further details and to register an interest in joining this mini-expedition please send me an email (

Sunday 2 January 2011


This was an interesting gull that Mark disovered- Johnny thought he could have seen the same bird at Beddington:

Even better check out these tracks by Mark - Stepping out in front of cars!! beautiful :