Wednesday, 31 August 2011
Monday, 29 August 2011
Sunday, 28 August 2011
Getting ready for the Carshalton Environmental Fair tomorrow. It will be the Beddington Farm Bird Group's debut appearance at the event- the largest environmental fair in the country (I think) and luckily just down the road from us. We are trying to raise awareness about the Nature Reserve, the London Tree Sparrow Partnership and local wildlife. Are you local? Then pop over and get a free lolly.
Friday, 26 August 2011
We've spent this week planting up the reed bed on the southern lake and made a start on the wild flower meadow by the hide.
A lot of the reeds we planted last year died because the water levels got too high so this year we have planted larger reeds and I get to be in charge of controlling the water levels through the winter this time.
The wild flower meadow plan has been made with the help of John and Richard from the London Wetland Centre so looking forward to next spring to see how the reeds and the wild flower meadow get on.
A few birds on the move again today- a flock of Arctic Tern (which I saw from the obs) and the other chaps saw Little Stint, Ruff, 2 LRP and Garganey so a pretty good day (not as good as Rainham!) .
Wednesday, 24 August 2011
Top to bottom: Common Tern, Greenshank and 'Commic' Terns
Classic autumn skywatching weather produced some good visible migration across London. At Beddington we had 13+2 'Common' Tern, 8 Greenshank, 105 Sand Martin, 70+ Swallow, 20+ Swift and 8 Yellow Wagtail going over. On the deck were 1 Snipe, 7 Green Sandpiper, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Shoveler, 25+ Teal, 1 Gadwall, 3 Wheatear on the mound and 1 Hobby.
Other London sites wiped the floor with us with Barnes and Rainham witnessing exceptional skywatching.
Monday, 22 August 2011
Sunday, 21 August 2011
Nice weather today for the early autumn bird and wildlife walk. Birds seen included Black-tailed Godwit, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Teal, Shoveler, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Hobby. There were still 20+ Swifts about, a couple of Sand Martins and also 2-3 House Martins. Seems to have been a small fall of Whitethroats as there were up to 10 birds by the gate this morning. Bird of the day was a juvenile Whinchat on the mounds.
Butterflies seen included Large White, Small White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Common Blue and Speckled Wood.
Many of the thistles and sow-thistles are in seed now providing lots of potential feeding for goldfinches. Botany highlight was the area of Trifid Bur-marigold on the Northern Lake edge.
Went to the bird fair yesterday with my shopping list consisting of one moth trap, Steve Howell's molt, sorting out a trip to China and getting the latest volumes of HBW (Handbook of the Birds of the World).
The final main volume of HBW will be available in November 2011 and will complete a project that published it's first volume in 1992. I guess really the HBW project started a lot earlier than that as in many ways this project is a summary of all the work of ornithology... ever. From Antiquity to now a journey of discovery has led us to the present . The amazing jouney was first started by the likes of Aristotle, and continued by figures such as Frederick II of Hohenstaufen during the middle ages, next William Turner and other figures of the Renaissance such as Ray and Willughby next Carl Linnaeus before the arrival of the great era of ornithologists including Naumann, Levaillant, Bewick, Montagu, Wilson, Bonelli, Pallas, Temminck, Bullock, Bonaparte, Savi, Nuttal, Swainson, Blyth and Swinhoe.
All these people (and many others) were involved in describing species, behaviour, distribution and ecology, collecting information, storing it in museums presenting it in journals and books and teaching it at the universities and academies. That took us towards the modern era where ever increasing numbers of people became involved in this journey and began to organise themselves into Ornithological societies and Organisations of ever increasing complexity such as the BOU, AOU RSPB, Birdlife International, the BTO and the Beddington Farm Bird Group :-).
So all this led us to the here and now with a very thorough knowledge of the birds on our planet including countless answers to the questions what, where, why and when- all incredibly condensed by an alliance of organisations and individuals and beautifully presented in the Handbook of the Birds of the World - a culmination of the most incredible journey, in my opinion, ever.
And it aint over yet- I suspect the best bit is yet to come.
I have been having a go at a bit of farming recently at the obs. Living in a third floor flat with no private garden proved to be a consideration so I went for farming the area inbetween the secondary glazing. Well I have my first edible product today- a tomato and I am still waiting to pick a pepper which is actually quite enormous.
Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Tree Sparrow - colour ringed as part of London Tree Sparrow Partnership (red ring on right leg and silver ring on left). Keep an eye out for them and please report to LTS@rspb.org.uk
Adult Willow Warbler
Met up with ex-Beddington birder Sam Woods who is now a global bird tour guide and is in the country for the Bird Fair this weekend. We went over to the farm to photograph some species for the new book he is working on about the natural history of Australia!
So in keeping with tradition we didn't get any decent photos and saw bugger all- which always happens when Sam is around which is what drove him out of the country in the first place.
Sam's adventures here:
Tuesday, 16 August 2011
The Beddington pan species listing is going well- I think I've had at least one tick a day since I started. Here's a few moths from recently.
More August moths here: http://peteralfrey.blogspot.com/2011/08/august-moths.html
Help with the id, as always most welcome.
Monday, 15 August 2011
Spent most of today doing the gardens around the obs to tidy it up a bit- tried to plant things that will attract insects.
Went over the farm in the evening- lots of passerines about including 20+ Long-tailed Tits and 20+ Blue and Great Tits, 20-30 Willow/Chiffs- mainly Willows, 2-3 Blackcap, 2-3 Whitethroat and I had a few Sedge Warblers yesterday.
I didn't see the Wood Sands but the Blackwit is still there.
Sunday, 14 August 2011
The Carshalton Environmental Fair is coming up on Monday 29th August so we've been busy making preparations for our debut appearance.
We've also got a conservation day soon for removing brambles and also creating a wild flower meadow around the hide with the help of John and Richard from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.
Will also be promoting the RSPB led London Tree Sparrow Partnership at the Environmental Fair to raise awareness amongst the locals.
So all is going well and getting things done with various friends and partners working together including the Beddington Farm Bird Group, Bioregional, The London Wildlife Trust, The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, The RSPB, Viridor, MKA Ecology, Sutton Council and other personal friends.
Saturday, 13 August 2011
Juvenile Black-tailed Godwit with Grey Heron
Pretty impressive wetland birds at Beddington at the moment. 2 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Greenshank (another 5 went through yesterday), 25+ Green Sandpiper, 5 Common Sandpiper, 1 Garganey, 7 Teal, 5 Shoveler, 8 Little Grebe, 30+ Lapwing and then hunting them are 2-3 Peregrines, Hobby (taking the few remaining Sand Martins one by one), 1-2 Kestrel and 3-4 Sparrowhawks. Only about 40 Swifts left now.
Wednesday, 10 August 2011
The Shard and the City
Battersea Power Station and Post Office Tower
Ikea Towers and Croydon
The views from the Beddington Farmlands. Interestingly Beddington featured in Andrew Marr's recent series Megacities- really is a special place- one of the largest green spaces in London.
Monday, 8 August 2011
I'll be leading a bird and wildlife walk around Beddington Farmlands on Sunday August 21st. There should be plenty to see including migrating birds, the local Tree Sparrows and hopefully a range of butterflies and other wildlife (if the weather is favourable).
Meet up at Hackbridge Train Station for 0915-0930 with the walk lasting about 2 hours. Please book a place by emailing me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, 7 August 2011
Tree Sparrows feeding in Scentless Mayweed
Brick? (corrected to Rosy Rustic)
Maiden's Blush ? (confirmed)
The first Wheatear of the autumn today and also Tree Pipit- both on the mounds. Also the Tree Sparrows were favouring the natural food on the mounds rather than the feeders today- maybe supplementing seed with some invertebrates.
12 Green Sands, 7 Common Sand, 1 Greenshank, 1 Wood Sand, 4 Teal, 3 Shoveler, 1 Gadwall and a few Swifts.