Tuesday 29 November 2011

Bulgaria Birdwatch Article

Photo from Neophron Bird Tours http://www.neophron.com/

More on Bulgaria here:

The Bulgaria article from our spring trip is now published in the latest Birdwatch, World of Birds (supplement) 2012.

Sunday 27 November 2011

House and Tree Sprogs

Been trying to get a side by side picture for ages.

Friday 25 November 2011

Winter gulls

Adult Mediterranean Gull

Adult Argentatus Herring Gull

Yellow-legged Gull

Scarce Umber

Increasing numbers of gulls at Beddington now. Today I had a Med Gull, a couple of 'Argies' and Yellow-legged Gull.

Lapwing numbers have increased to nearly 50 now (thankfully), 50+ Shoveler, 15 Gadwall and 100+ Teal and 1 Green Sandpiper on the Southern Lake.

I put the trap out last night as it was quite mild and got this Scarce Umber (I think).

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Mushroom Magic

No idea what these are but looks like there's no end to this local patch pan species exploration. Need to buy myself a fungi book now.

Monday 21 November 2011

Waste not

Steve has been busy finding a use for all the waste we generate through our tree work and environmental management business. We are doing our own winter logs and planking up timber, our woodchip goes to a bio-fuel plant and Steve's house is powered by a bio-fuel boiler.

Sunday 20 November 2011



Mush sp.
I didn't last long this morning in the Fog. There was a Brambling flying around and seems to be more fungi popping up.

Saturday 19 November 2011


moth sp.
I gave this a try.

Hackbridge Re-visioning Day

This is going up.

New religion?

Spent today re-visioning the regeneration programme for Hackbridge including wildlife gardening and linking Hackbridge with Beddington Farmlands Nature Reserve through wildlife corridors and an ecological centre . We are at the stage now of drawing up a development plan using Localism legislation which is being developed as part of government decentralisation and local community empowerment (a critical phase in solving this current economic/social crisis).
Other posts on this here:

Friday 18 November 2011

Early Winter

Teal- about 150 present

? A few of these on the mound

The farm is full of gulls again which means winter is taking over. The Cetti's was singing this morning. Not a lot else.
Saw a first winter Caspian Gull a couple of days ago from the obs. Only a few moths in the trap recently - including November Moth and a couple of micros.
Winter sucks!

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Simon Aspinall

Attended the funeral today of former Beddington birder Simon Aspinall. When I was a young birder he was my idol and mentor- a wizard birder, explorer, traveller, author and conservationist. Certainly an endless inspiration and influence.

Monday 14 November 2011

Sprogs at the Obs

Finally got Tree Sparrows feeding in the garden. Winning formula was a 70% red millet, 30% mixed seed blend with anti Pigeon cages and spring loaded anti pigeon feeders. Three Tree Sparrows in this pic with at least two with red rings indicating they are this years birds from the London Tree Sparrow Partnership Project. House Sparrow on the right.

More London Tree Sparrow Partnership info here:

Sunday 13 November 2011

Wildlife Gardening





Spent this weekend doing Gillian's garden as part of creating wildlife corridors from Beddington Farmlands into Hackbridge. Gardens are increasingly important areas for wildlife (especially considering the decline in farmland ecosystems due to intensive agriculture). As Beddington Farmlands is an urban nature reserve one exciting opportunity is to create green corridors so that the adjacent built environment is part of that reserve- proving that people and wildlife can co-exist and thrive.

In order to tackle the unpopular concept of a wildlife gardens being untidy and impractical we have come up with some designs that are comprised of insect and bird attracting plants (Pyracantha, Berberis, Cotoneaster, Holly, Rowan, Sedum, Knapweed, Golden Rods etc) and mixed them up with some ornamental and architectural plants (Eunoymous, Dogwood, Hebe, Delpheniums) with spring bulbs and picked a selection for colour all year round. With a shrub dominance the maintenance will be minimum and we have reduced the use of annuals to a very small area so that the garden is largely self managing. Also totally organic.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Mission Statement

Pic by Twigg
Few are unaware of the current economic, social and environmental crisis that we are all in. An over-valuing of economic growth and an under valuing of the majority of people and the environment is, needless to say, the cause of this crisis. It is also quite obvious that the solution to the problem is finding a balance between economic growth and social and environmental well being. Economy, society and the environment are interwoven and a healthy economy is generated by healthy balanced individuals managing their environments well. Until enough people start doing that- overall decline will be the order of the day.

In my opinion the best thing that I can do through the decline is to sort myself out and to attempt to make a contribution to the solution by doing my bit towards improvements where I can.

To this end I am concentrating on three main projects:

1) LOCAL PATCH: To facilitate in the development of Beddington Farmlands Nature Reserve (and also greening in the nearby village of Hackbridge and environs)
2) FOREIGN PATCH: To explore the avifauna of the Azores and to help develop the birding community there to protect and enhance the environment.
3) To put together a music/art project about being part of an improved condition.

A bit more here:

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Mission Mini-Report

Just to remind myself that there is actually a point!

Beddington Farmlands
To facilitate in the development of the Beddington Farmlands Nature Reserve

Progress: Frigging slow:-) Two years ago (2009) moved into position- into the obs (Recorded three 'firsts for Beddington' from the window already) . Completed the 'Birds of Beddington' (Eight long painful years in the making) and in 2010 completed a series of talks, newspaper features and articles to publicise the development of the reserve. Also set up regular tours to Beddington and began building a reserve support group made up of local charities, conservation organisations and the local community. In 2011 completed some restoration works including reed planting, wild flower meadow development and bat box installation. In addition to bird recording started to record all other wildlife at the farmlands as part of developing a pan species inventory which can be used to assess the success of future restoration and conservation works. This has already led to discovery of a population of Dewick's Plusia moths- the only known population in the UK.

Outlook: Need to facilitate in the development of a focused management body that can direct the development of the reserve. To further develop the pan species inventory and set up monitoring systems to keep a health check on the ecosystem. To continue progress towards developing the largest nature reserve in London- through development of increasing support, improved reporting and publications and more access/involvement from the local community.

The Azores
Mission: To contribute towards discovering/ recording the avifauna of the Azores and to facilitate in the growth and development of birding on the Azores.

Progress: Following earlier success with discovering interesting gulls in winter and waterbirds further exploration for vagrants led to the discovery of Corvo in 2005. Recent efforts have focused on pelagic exploration and developing autumn birding on Corvo/Flores with regular publications of developing events. Through being a member of the Portuguese Rarities Committee efforts are intensifying to improve ornithological data collection and processing/reporting rarity records.

Outlook: Further pelagic exploration and autumn birding. Development in recording and reporting avifauna. Improvements in rarity record processing and reporting.

Photo by Gareth Knass

Thee Bryans
Mission: This is supposed to be for fun! To write, record and perform a musical comedy/tradegy about life on earth.
Progess: Recorded and published song book for parts one and two of story and almost completed part three.
Outlook: Complete part three and start doing live performances.

Links etc on the mission here:

Sunday 6 November 2011


Brent Goose heading SW. Also 40+ over Canons Farm today and a few in other parts of Surrey yesterday. Pretty classic weather for them with northeast winds and low overcast.
11 Pochard heading W. Also a flock of Wigeon going over today and an additional two on the deck. I managed to miss a flock of Red breasted Mergansers also today. Plenty of birds on the move in these classic conditions including 1550+ Woodpigeon, 50+ Stock Dove, 250+ Lesser Black-backed Gull, 30+ Redwing, 2 Redpoll and a few Fieldfare, Skylark, Mipit and also a Woodcock on the deck. The Redshank was still about.

Cetti's showed well this evening.

Saturday 5 November 2011

Grey Day

Dunlin- circling in the grey misty weather which looked good for grounding migrants . Was hoping for something better than this today considering Brents and Common Scoters were recorded in other parts of Surrey. Tomorrow?

Blackbird- presumably a migrant 10-15 present today feeding on Haws

Woodpigeon- a few hundred today going over and decked

Teal numbers are building up but other duck numbers have reduced since mid Autumn- maybe the Shovelers etc were doing a moult stage at the farm and now moved on or perhaps the increasing gull numbers are pushing them on?

Also Redshank, 10+ Snipe, a few Redpolls and Siskins, a couple of Fieldfare and a few Redwings, 500+ Woodpigeons and a few Mipits and Skylarks.

The Cetti's was singing on-off during the morning.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Back to Beddington

It is never easy coming back to the patch after high octane birding on Corvo but I was greeted back with a Beddington tick- the Cetti's Warbler (top) was still present. In fact I have heard it singing most mornings from the window too.

Also a flock of Lesser Redpoll knocking around.