Saturday 31 March 2012


North east winds and low cloud finally replaced the high pressure conditions and immediately the migrants have become evident (instead of migrating out of sight at height). Today we had 3 Swallows, 2 Sand Martin, 2 Willow Warblers, 1 Common Buzzard, 6 Fieldfare and an increase in Blackcap and Chiffchaffs. Highlight of the day was 2 Avocets which dropped onto the lake for a few minutes. Also a Jack Snipe.
A big day tomorrow- the first day for our new ringing group!

Thursday 29 March 2012

Early Grey

At last- got my first Early Grey last night. Also Brindled Pug, Small Quaker and Common Quaker in the last couple of evenings. Not much though- the days are warm but the nights get cold and not a lot of moth activity (round here anyway).
Bittern was brilliant yesterday! Another Beddington tick.

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Wildlife Corridors

Things are pushing on nicely with creating wild life corridors between Beddington Farmlands and the Wandle through Hackbridge. The council are experimenting with wildflower meadows outside the eco village and yesterday we made a strip and seeded it (above) - so will see what happens.

Some previous stuff on this here:

Sunday 25 March 2012

Spring Forward

Bee-fly on Lesser Celendine

Comma on Blackthorn flower

Ground Elder (!Ground Ivy- cheers Steve)

2nd winter Iceland Gull

Clocks sprung forward today which was marked by our first Swallow (I missed it) and Little Ringed Plover (saw that). Some good raptor passage also today. See here:

Saturday 24 March 2012

Spring it on

Red Kite- flew NW. Also 2 Buzzards over this morning.

At least 8 singing Chiffchaffs and 2 Blackcaps today . Not much in the way of vis mig or grounded migrants due to the high pressure conditions with migrants heading straight into breeding positions.

The first Speckled Woods, Small Whites and Orange Tip (Steve saw one) today and also 20+ Small Tortoiseshell, Peacocks, Red Admiral, Brimstone and Comma. Not too much in the moth traps due to the cold nights but Brindled Pug recently and still Common and Small Quakers.

Bee sp ( Red Mason Bee?). Plenty of bees, hoverflies and insects (flies and midges) beginning to build up.

Green Long Horn Moths (Ardela reaumurella)- about 30+ today flying around the tops of the goat willows.

Sunday 18 March 2012

Azores Pelagic 2012

Monteiro's Petrel (Gareth Knass)

Black-capped Petrel (Killian Mullarney)

Barolo's Shearwater

Common Dolphin (Gareth Knass)

Wilson's Petrel

Sperm Whale

Loggerhead Turtle

Blue Shark

Azores Bullfinch

This years Exploration Pelagic is planned for late July/early August. The plan is to explore unchartered waters off the Azores (out of Graciosa island) looking for vagrant seabirds but also seeing all the endemic and local specialities.

There are 2 options:
1) 28th July to 4th August.
Sao Miguel-Terceira-Graciosa: Azores Bullfinch, Monteiro's Petrel, local seabird specialities (Barolo's Shearwater, Wilson's Petrel, Cory's Shearwater, Bulwer's Petrel and chance of seabird vagrants) endemic races (Azorean Chaffinch, Azorean Goldcrest, Azorean Gull etc) , cetaceans and marine life (world class whale and dolphin watching) . Cost £1,127 (everything except for food)

2) 29th July to 4th August
Terciera-Graciosa: as above but just pelagic part and not including Sao Miguel island for Azores Bullfinch or international flight. Cost £740

A few more details here:

If you are interested in booking a place or more information please email me


Three Wheatears, 5 Water Pipit and few Redwings and Fieldfare today.

Saturday 17 March 2012


Male Wheatear (2 males and a female present today, 6 males yesterday)

2nd summer Mediterranean Gull (a migrant as all Meds this winter have been adults)

2nd winter Iceland Gull (known as Old Whitey- arrived in 2011)

1st summer 'Caspian Gull' - difficult to be sure in these worn plumages

Female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker- this bird has been present along Parkside for a few weeks. Finally caught up with it. The first I've seen at the farmlands in years.

Eudonia angustea (I think)
A real winter and spring mix today with 3 Wheatears and a couple of singing Chiffchaffs but also Iceland Gull, Med Gull, Caspian Gull, 1 Dunlin and 3 sum plum Water Pipits . A bit of Chaffinch passage with 20+ birds flying south and looks like some Lesser Black Backed Gulls on the move too.
Good to see the first classic summer migrants but spring migration has been underway for several weeks over the farm with Fieldfares, Redwings, Gulls, waterfowl and waders all heading towards their summering areas.

Friday 16 March 2012


Won an award for Environmental Excellence from an EU/Bioregional/London Borough of Sutton Initiative (Local Green Business Network) for our local tree and garden company. In good local fashion the award ceremony was held in the local pub and the awards were a bag of local veg or a green gadget ( I got a mini solar panel). Good Fun. Here's what we do:

Wednesday 14 March 2012


Top: Comma, Bottom: Female Pintail
Had the first Comma of the year today. Buzzard and Pintail were the birding highlights of a quick visit.
I had 18 moths in the trap three nights ago and now the evenings are colder only two the following evening, none yesterday and nothing so far tonight.

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Spring weather

8 Ruff migrating- circled farm before heading on

Little Owl- the regular bird along Commonside- also one heard from the Park

A pair of Teal. Quite a few of the wildfowl are paired up. Still about 60 Teal, 30 Shoveler, 12 Gadwall and the Pintail around.

Male Spring Flower Bee feeding on Goat Willow flowers

Lesser Celandine
Nice bit of weather today encouraged more flowering and insect emergence. A group of migrating Ruff was interesting. Also a few Buzzards over the last couple of days heralding the beginning of the spring raptor pasage.

Monday 12 March 2012

Hackbridge Wildlife Corridors and Gateway to Beddington Farmlands

Wildflower meadows are an option that is being explored for the verges in Hackbridge

Lavender has an historical significance in the area and is also good for insects. The artist impression above is of lavender planting at Hackbridge Railway Station (Lysanne Horrox)

Even simple bulb planting can provide interest and nectar for insects. Artist impression of The Green, Hackbridge (Lysanne Horrox)

Neighbourhood Planning Group including members of London Borough of Sutton, CABE (Design Council), University College London, Bioregional, Beddington Farmlands Bird Group and local garden designers, green businesses, architects, estate directors and residents (Helen Barrowclough)

It has been non-stop meetings recently as things move towards presenting draft copies of the Neighbourhood Plan as part of new Localism developments. Beddington Farmlands is an integral part of the Hackbridge Neighbourhood Plan as one of the main objectives is connecting the Beddington Farmlands nature reserve to the River Wandle via Wildlife Corridors and wildlife networks through Hackbridge village. This will be a great development as it represents an important development in the way that wildlife is planned for- not just in reserves but as an integral part of the whole planning process connecting reserves through corridors via urban areas.

The proposal to develop the Beddington Farmlands Nature Reserve gateway and visitors centre in Hackbridge is also a priorty issue in the neighbourhood plan.

Sunday 11 March 2012

Native Spring at Beddington Farmlands

Red Admiral on Prunus flowers

An increase in Tufted Duck numbers

Common Quaker (One of the commoner moths around at the moment. Also March Moth, Small Quaker, Twin-spot Quaker, Pale Mottled Willow, Clouded Drab, Double-striped Pug and Hebrew Character

Goat Willow in flower. An increase in bees as the trees start to flower. Mainly Salix and Prunus at the moment but Hawthorn and Elder coming into leaf.

Colt's Foot

Speedwell sp probably Slender (cheers Steve) - a few early flowering plants providing food for the first emerging insects

Native birders waiting for Spring migrants

Still no spring migrants but plenty of spring activity amongst the native wildlife. On the bird front today 1 2nd winter Iceland Gull, Cetti's Warbler, 2 Curlew, 3 Water Pipit, 5 Snipe, 4 Green Sandpiper and loads of singing resident passerines.

Saturday 10 March 2012

Real early Spring

2nd winter Iceland Gull

Small, Common and Twin-spot Quaker and Clouded Drab (above). March moth (below).

Treecreeper in the same tree as a Little Owl and a group of 8 Redpoll were the high light of the day. Still looking for the first Wheatear or Sand Martin with no luck yet. However the native spring continues to unfold. Displaying Lapwings, lots of singing passerines and some subtle migration including an increase of Tufted Ducks (80+) and about 8-9 Green Sandpipers.
Plenty of moth action in the calm mild evenings- March moths, Common and Small Quakers predominate with the odd Twin-spot Quaker, a few Beauties and some micros.
Colts-foot is beginning to turn the side of the mounds yellow.
First and second winter Iceland Gulls still present.