Sunday 29 April 2012

Stormy Sunday


Spent this morning trying to catch hypothermia in the company of ten other regular sorry souls, a strong/moderate north east wind and driving rain in the irrational hope that a skua might visit Beddington (there was a Pom at Queen mother and a Bonxie and Arctic in the inner Thames).
A group of Swallows were flying round the lake looking rather exhausted and probably wondering why they had bothered tranversing the African and Eurasian continents for this sorry state.  A Hobby looked like it was taking advantage of the situation.
A White Wagtail and a couple of Yellow Wags on the lake (which is well flooded- probably drowned all the reeds we have been trying to grow for two years).
Had to cancel the Bird and Wildlife Walk today because of the weather.
Looks like I have discovered Brown House Moth in the obs- made a mess of my taxidermist specimen of a Great Black Backed Gull which I have had to chuck out (but got the moth for the pan species list).

Saturday 28 April 2012

Beddington Spring Bird Race Day

Great Crested Grebe (in flight- an uncommon sight at the farm)

Moderate north east winds, overcast and rain set the scene for the Beddington Spring Bird Race Day- good for vis mig but bad for photography. Highlight of the day was the wader passage and included Turnstone on the lake, a male Barwit over, 4 + 1 Whimbrel, 1 Greenshank, 6 Ringed Plover, 3 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Snipe, 1 Grey Plover and the with the local Lapwings that makes 11 wader species for the day. I had an Oystercatcher calling last night from the obs at 2330 too but unfortunately doesn't count on the day list.
Also a good hirundine passage with 25+ House Martin, 40+ Swallow, 2 Sand Martin and 40+ Swift. Also a couple of Common Tern, 4-5 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Wheatear and Hobby.
82 species recorded in total by the team.


Fox Cub in the garden (Three of the little fellas have appeared in the last couple of days)
Early Mining Bee 
Incurvaria masculella 
Ant Damselbug

Had a few busy days bug hunting last week. My Beddington pan species list is now at 661. More on this here:

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Seawatching at Beddington

Black Tern 
Grey Plover 
Arctic Terns

Southeast winds, low overcast and rain means only one thing at Beddington in late April/May- seawatching! Ok we cant actually see the sea but coastal migrants get deflected from coastal routes in these conditions and take short cuts overland and the low clouds ensures they are low enough for us to see them. Presumably these migrants take these short cuts overland in other weather conditions but we don't often see them if they do (presumably too high most of the time).
Anyway by the end of the day we had 19 Barwits, 8 Whimbrel, 6 Arctic Tern, 1 Black Tern and 1 Grey Plover. Also 10+ Swifts (first ones in yesterday), 6-7 Swallow, 4 Sand Martin, 1 House Martin, 1 Hobby (first for the year) and the Iceland Gull is still about (which may actually be the Kumlien's in a bleached disguise).

Monday 23 April 2012

Beddington Farmlands Spring Bird and Wildlife Walk 29th April 2012

Male Northern Wheatear 
Male Blackcap 
Red Admiral 
I am leading a walk looking for spring migrants and spring wildlife on Sunday 29th April. All are welcome. Meet at Hackbridge Station at 0915 for a 0930 start. Walks generally last 2 hours.
Wellies recommended.
Please book a place by emailing me on

Sunday 22 April 2012

Panning for Species

Reed Warbler 
Holly Blue 
Rove Beetle sp 
Ground Bug (Raglius alboacuminatus) 
Owl Midge sp (Psychodidae)

Not much in the bird nets this morning and only an Early Grey in the moth trap (it has been rubbish for moths in these cool evenings for much of April). Not much in the way of vis mig either (just a handful of Swallows) so I went round checking the insect mats. I attempted putative identifications
(with the help of I-spot and Frank) and reckon I've got an additional 8 ticks over this weekend- Velvet Mite, Common Cryptops, Salsify (growing near the ringing station), Rove bettle sp (above), Common Striped Woodlouse, Ground Bug (Raglius alboacuminatus), Owl midge sp (above) and Long Worm. That puts me on 646 (dodgy) for the farm.
Pics here:

Saturday 21 April 2012

London Wild Bird Watch 2012

My neice Francesca being a London birder for a day
Male Wood Duck (Francesca Drinkald)
Chiffchaff at Beddington 
Brent Goose at Beddington (above and below) 

Did the farm this morning and got a surprise with a Brent Goose on the lakes. Also lots of Whitethroats in now, more Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, a Lesser Whitethroat on the Horse Field, a few Swallows, a Wheatear on the mound and a noticeable drop in the number of wildfowl with only 15+ Teal about.
In the afternoon went to the London Wetland Center for the London Wild Bird Watch event- bought a few books, got some food, had a look round the reserve and made a substantial donation to the swear box after my neice hit me in the eye with a plastic frog because she started getting bored.

Friday 20 April 2012

Window watching

I've been stuck at work most of the week but still managed to keep an eye out of the window- a few Swallows, my first House Martin and also an Iceland Gull (could be the Kumlien's which has bleached beyond recognition now). Had a Blackcap in the Apple Tree and been Linnets and Goldfinches feeding on the lawn which we've let grow up instead of mowing it. Seems to have done the trick.

Sunday 15 April 2012

Weekend Beddington Birding

Top to bottom pics: Pair of Garganey, Wheatear, Sedge Warbler, Blackcap, Ringers and Fox.
Plenty of migrants in this weekend over the farm. Yesterday a pair of Garganey on the south lake, a Nightingale in the storm tanks, 14 Wheatears, 15 Yellow Wagtails, 27 Swallow, 4 Sand Martin, 15 Blackcap, 12 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler and the first Reed Warbler and Whitethroats for the year.
Did some ringing this morning- plenty of migrants still about.

Saturday 14 April 2012

Bat Inspection

Brown Long-eared Bat



Above and below: The Bat Inspectors

Had a fascinating day out at nearby Addington Hills taking part in a bat box inspection. We found 30 bats in total of two species; Brown Long-eared Bat and Noctule Bat. This represents an increase in the bat population using the boxes from last year and all the bats weighed in okay and looked overally pretty healthy so.. all good.

Friday 13 April 2012

Buzzards and Bugs

Common Buzzards

Earwig nymph

Popped over the farm this afternoon. A bit of migration going on with 25+ Sand Martins moving N, 2 Swallow, 3 Skylark, 3 Wheatears on the mound and a couple of Common Buzzards going over.
I had a look under the survey mats for some more pan species ticks- kind of identified another 9 or 10 bugs and stuff. More here:

Thursday 12 April 2012

Beddington Biodiversity



Red Underwing

Purple Loose-strife, Reed Mace and Willowherbs

Pea sp?

Common Inkcap

Been making a start on doing my Beddington Biodiversity (Pan Species) list:
I make it 626 speices so far.
Still trying to identify the spider that lives in the obs kitchen.