Wednesday 29 February 2012

Calm after the storm

First-winter Iceland Gull. One of three today.

Red Dead-nettle? Another sign of early spring.

I finally managed to get over the farm - two days after the 2nd Great White Egret for the site and some other good birds. Grippage here:

Saturday 25 February 2012

Late winter

Certainly a feel of change in the air. An influx of thrushes today, high flying gulls presumably migrating, lots of birds singing, Lapwing taking up territories and a few bees buzzing around. 2 Water Pipits, 3 Curlew, Lapwing, 15 Snipe, 5 Green Sandpiper and 40+ Teal on 100 acre. 60+ Shoveler, 30+ Gadwall and 20+ Teal on Southern Lake and a 1st winter and a 2nd winter Iceland Gull on the main lake.

Second-winter Iceland Gull (bird No. 6 known as Daz (whiter than whitest)
Three Curlew- these birds have been present for over 3 weeks
A noteable influx of Fieldfare (200+) and Redwing (30+) on the Horse Field today.
Hebrew Character?- a few moths in the trap last night
Pale Brindled Beauty

Thursday 23 February 2012

Let the Stringing Begin

Satellite (I don't think I can get this wrong- kidney shaped white spot with moons each side of it)

Small Brindled Beauty?

March moth?
Felt like spring today so I've put on the moth trap- these so far.
A couple more here:

Sunday 19 February 2012

Beddington Farmlands Nature Reserve Update

Things pushing forward slowly. The incinerator proposal has focused the debate on the progress of the restoration and hopefully according to Viridor the incinerator will speed up the development of the nature reserve and Wandle Valley Regional Park. Our bird group has put together a briefing report (top pic) of all the main issues surrounding the development of the reserve and as a seperate micro project we are working with the local authority and local planning group to link the reserve to the River Wandle by strengthening wildlife corridors through the adjacent Hackbridge area (bottom pic). Effectively this will bring the nature reserve and willdife into the nearby urban area to reinforce the concept of this being a true urban nature reserve with people, urban development, industry and wildlife co-existing in an amicable (?eventually?) way.

Saturday 18 February 2012

Back to Normal

Iceland Gull- three again today

Water Rail- a tame bird that likes walking around the front of the hide- scared of squirrels but not birders

Shelduck- since the thaw many birds have returned including the waterfowl. Up to 6 Shelducks today and 8 in the week. Diving ducks have also returned with 30+ Pochard in the week. An increase in Lapwing numbers (up to 86 recently) and Snipe (c25 today) indicate some kind of return passage following the hard weather movement.

Friday 17 February 2012

International SeaGull Conference

Unfortunately I got struck down with swine flu (or something) and couldn't make the International Gull Meeting in Zagreb (Croatia) so I was stuck at home watching the gulls from my window; 3-4 Iceland Gulls (pic) and a blooming Glauc from the sick bed!!!! Next year I reckon we have the IGM at my place.
For more on all the white-winger action at Beddington:
And just a reminder that this represents a southern extension of a regional influx concentrated in the North-east Atlantic:
and BTO analysis here:

Sunday 12 February 2012

Winter Wildlife

Adult Water Rail- Beetlejuice (aka our very own Natural History Museum team member and world bettle expert) informs us that younger birds have a pale area around the 'forehead'

Brown Rat

Fox on Ice

Colt's-foot already beginning to flower. Also called son-before-father as the flowers appear before the leaves

Turkey-tail (we think)
A lot of the movement has stopped today although there were still about 80 Fieldfare and 60 Redwings about. About 50 Meadow Pipits on the mounds and early morning there were the 3 Curlew which have been hanging around for a while now and one of the Iceland Gulls was breifly on the lake.

Saturday 11 February 2012

Ice Land

The cold spell continues with most of the open water frozen and settled snow. There have been up to 4 Iceland and 1 Kumlien's Gull on the farm in the last couple days. Also the thrushes were on the move this morning with over 750 Fieldfare and 200+ Redwing heading southish.

First-winter Iceland Gull

First-winter Iceland Gull

Second-winter Herring Gull showing a rather marbled tail and covert pattern- perhaps a 'Northern' influence.

Caspian-type Gull- showing several features of Caspian Gull. A more typical bird Caspian Gull was also seen today.

Adult Common Gull, seems to be a few more around including the odd darker mantled bird

Gulls on the lake ('obs' in background)

Sunday 5 February 2012

Snow Patrol

Most of the hardcore team were out today scouring the site and skies for more hard weather birds. Together we logged 4 Curlew, 3 Dunlin, 50 Golden Plover W, 40 Lapwing, 1 Jack Snipe, 2 Woodcock, 10 Snipe, 2 Green Sandpiper, 1 Ruff, 1 Med Gull, 1 Mandarin, 3 Goosander N, 6 Pochard 38 Skylark, 70+ Fieldfare, 25 Redwing and a Redpoll sp.

Water Rail-this bird was coming to the millet feeder. Another bird was on the Beddington Park Mill Pond.

Golden Plover moving W

Dunlin- one of three present feeding on the ice

The obs (my flat) today

Redpoll sp. Mantle tram lines, fairly long primary projection, pale flanks and overall large size all point towards Common Redpoll but the bird is rather brownish overall and not cold toned as a classic Common Redpoll. Also too much buff in the wing bar?

Saturday 4 February 2012

Ruff Weather

The cold spell continues with most of the lake and beds frozen. About 150+ Redwing yesterday heralded some further hard weather migration today. 9 Pintail flew SW, a Curlew and a Ruff were on the Southern Lake, I missed 2 Grey Plover, 2 Dunlin remained and passerine numbers included 60+ Fieldfare, 170+ Redwing, 80+ Linnet, 30+ Goldfinch. 30+ Chaffinch, 15 Skylark, 5 Reed Bunting, 4 Pied Wagtail, 3 Meadow Pipit and 1000+ Starling. A lot of the ducks and the Lapwings have left the site. Also 2 Green Sandpiper and 10 Snipe. A Buzzard yesterday. Also a 2nd win Iceland Gull.

First-winter Ruff

First-winter Ruff (note contrast in the coverts indicating a first winter bird)

Curlew (flew out of long grass on the banks of the southern lake)

A flock of 9 Pintail heading SW.

Juvenile Sparrowhawk

Skylark- one of 15 on the mounds

Shovelers- the majority of ducks have left the site

Beddington on Ice

Some more photos here from Roger including Jack Snipe:

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Getting Cold

The temperature has dropped which usually means a few birds might drop in too. Yesterday four Dunlins arrived on the lake (pic 1). Also a ringed Caspian Gull (more on this on Johnny's blog:

We did some cutting back of vegetation ahead of setting up a ringing station around the hide and I also met Tony Juniper yesterday (ornithologist and environmental campaigner) who popped into the area in relation to the on going environmental initiatives which are developing around here.