Saturday 30 April 2011


Common Crane on April 25th was the highlight of the month. Two birds also flew over on 16th.

2 Wood Sandpipers on 30th were very approachable. There was still a Green Sandpiper on the last day of the month- the last of the wintering birds.

April is becoming known for it's impressive raptor passage over Beddington. There were up to 20 Common Buzzards on one day (reported nearly every day with 80+ through the whole month) and also nine Red Kites and 3 Marsh Harriers through .

April 2011 stands out for its impressive Wheatear passage with several waves of migrants utilising the new mound habitat.

Chiffchaffs seem to be doing well with 4-5 singing birds still holding territories by the end of the month. Singing Willow Warblers earlier in the months moved on.

The obliging Tree Pipit presented a rare opportunity at Beddington to see one well- usually they are seen in flight calling overhead.

Late April begins the prime time for wader passage which goes on into May and 2 Bar-tailed Godwits on April 29th were part of a regional movement right across the south-east. 2-3 LRPs were present throughout and by the end of the month there were Greenshanks (up to 11), Common Sandpipers (max 5), Redshank, Ringed Plover and Curlew recorded.

Four singing male Lesser Whitethroats by the end of the month mark a good showing of this species. Common Whitethroat also appeared in good numbers with 40+ singing males. Reed Warblers are also doing well with 15-20 territories. Sedge Warblers were pretty thin on the ground. One Grasshopper Warbler was recorded.

Wood Sandpipers

Two Wood Sandpipers were the highlight of the day (so far).
More Beddington news from today here:

Friday 29 April 2011

Marsh Harrier

Had a quick walk round this evening- a female Marsh Harrier (pic 1) flew north at around 1850 and that was about it. Cow Parsley is in full effect on the Horse Field (pic 2).


A regional movement of Bar-tailed Godwit was reflected at Beddington this morning with two birds over the lake for a couple of minutes before flying east. The weather and time of year for this species was typical with overcast skies and an east wind.
Large numbers of Barwits have been seen migrating off the south coast in the last day or two (6000+ at Portland and 7300+ at Dungeness yesterday) and this morning there were flocks over other parts of London including 9 over Wormwood Scrubs.
Also 2 Greenshank, 1 Redshank, 4-5 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 3 LRP, Lapwing and 1-2 Snipe on site.
Reed Warbler numbers continue to increase (now 20+ singing males), there are 4 singing Lesser Whitethroats and 40+ Common Whitethroats (including the male at the obs which returned two days ago).
I missed Hobby and Cuckoo this morning so all in- a pretty good Beddington day.

Wednesday 27 April 2011

What to do when you run out of birds

I've been birding at Beddington since 1985 (26 years) when i was 12. I have now seen 210 species out of the 253 ever recorded, have found a first for Surrey, numerous firsts for Beddington, one or two BB rarities so now basically I am running out of ticks and milestones.....until...I discovered PAN SPECIES LISTING . It is like being born again- Derek reckons (excluding fungi and bacteria) that there could be up to 10,000 species of all life forms at Beddington and I am only on 210 (plus a few other bits). That's as much biodiversity on my local patch as all the bird species in the world. Its gonna keep me busy as I can't identify hardly any of it at the moment. Here's a few species (pics above), I think the bottom one is a Tachinid Fly and lest we forget the top one is a Lesser Whitethroat.

Tuesday 26 April 2011


This is a song and animation about my first wildlife experience.

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Monday 25 April 2011

'Common' Crane


I spent the morning bugging with Gripper and Nick and didn't see much in the way of birds apart from the 2 LRP and a Yellow Wagtail.
I went back to the obs and shortly after Roger called to say that a Common Crane was going overhead. By the time I got to the window it had gone over the top and I thought I missed it. However 5 minutes later it returned and then circled Hackbridge and the Farmlands for about 10-15 minutes before finally departing off to the northwest.
This is the 4th record of Crane at Beddington in just under a year previous to which it had been unrecorded.

Sunday 24 April 2011

The Mob

This is what happens when a Buzzard enters Beddington airspace.

Constant High

The warmest April day since 1949 yesterday and the high continues today. Just a few migrants about including 1 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper and a couple of Swallow. Lots of singing summer birds including 2-3 Lesser Whitethroat (pic 1), 40+ Common Whitethroat, 15-20 Reed Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 10-15 Blackcap, 10+ Greenfinch and 2 Chaffinch.

Insects everywhere including these Longhorn moths Adela raemurella (pics 3 and 4) all over the place and black things (pic 5).

Tree Sparrows were posing by the feeders (pic 2).

Saturday 23 April 2011

Tree Pipit

Highlight of the day was a Tree Pipit (pic 1 to 4) in the Horse Field (pic 5). Also a Red Kite (pic 5) and several Buzzards. Beddington Birders Dodge (pic 8), Gripper and Nick (pic 9). I was told that the moth in Pic 7 is a Mother Shipton.

Friday 22 April 2011

Birding Forecast- Easter Weekend

Here is the forecast for Sunday. That cold front moving into this warm air cell could well act as a barrier to migrants and cause some kind of concentration/falls. Could concentrate overshoots too- in the SW. For local birding round here we really do need frontal conditions to bring down migrants.
I got today's forecast okayish- loads of Black Terns (mainly in mid-england), but just the odd Little Gull and Arctic Terns in the country but a good scattering of spring overshoots in the West Country and Southern Ireland- with the odd one elsewhere e.g. Bee-eater at Dunge and some okay sea watching too- some Poms off the South Coast.

More Migrants and more Sun

Finally found a scarce passerine this morning- a reeling Grasshopper Warbler behind the hide. Also had the first 2 Swifts (pic 1) of the year. More Reed Warblers, Whitethroats (pic 2) and the two Lesser Whitethroats still (pic 3) and a few Common Buzzards. One Common Sandpiper on the lake. Good light for photographing birds including Great Tit (pic 4) and Mallard (pic 5).

Thursday 21 April 2011

Birding Forecast

This weather chart for tomorrow with a strengthening south-easterly wind sourced all the way from southern Europe has got Little Gulls, Black Terns and Arctic Tern written all over it. Also more overshoots for the West Country and Southern Ireland and a chance of the odd one else where. Good seawatching off the South Coast too? Fingers crossed for a good Easter holiday.

A few migrants

With no significant change in the weather (still a high pressure with east winds but the shift to a southeast may be significant) there was an influx of migrants today: 1 Greenshank (pic 1), 1 Redshank (pic 2 with Greenshank), 1 Common Sandpiper (pic 3), a male Yellowhammer over in the early morning (pic 5), 1 Fieldfare, 1 Wheatear and summer visitor numbers were boosted to 30+ Whitethroat (pic 4), 15+ Reed Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Sedge Warbler. Seems like the singing Willow Warblers have moved through and Blackcap and Chiffchaff numbers are down implying that some of the early singing population were migrants.

Also 5 shelduck and 2 LRP. About 6 Gadwalls still but Shovelers might have gone and only about 10 Teal left. 20+ Stock Dove on the mound. No House Martins and only 7-8 Sand Martins. 1-2 Swallows. 1 Peregrine.

Wednesday 20 April 2011

Heat Wave

This persistent high pressure is not particularly good for grounding migrants at Beddington but I did have a Common Tern from the obs this afternoon.

There are lots of insects about- but I don't know what a lot of them are. Pics from top to bottom above are (I think): Speckled Wood, Hoverfly sp., Fly sp and Spring Flower Bee.