Tuesday 30 April 2013

Orange Tip

First Orange Tip of the year 
Hoverfly- plenty of hoverflies along the path
The cold wind returns and combined with the clear skies is not producing too much in the way of vis mig. A few Swallows moving through.
In the sheltered spots out of the wind along the path, the sun is quite warm and insects are buzzing around. Plenty of hoverflies and flies, Early Mining Bees, Tawny Mining Bees, Bee-flies, a few Bumblebees, my first Wasp and Brimstones, Peacocks, Small and Large Whites and my first Orange Tip for the year. A couple of Speckled Woods on the bridge.

What's it all about?

Here's a new summary of what this blog is about:


Sunday 28 April 2013


Garden Warbler- first of the year, caught in the nets 
Whinchat- the first of the year recorded in the week 
Red Kite- several recorded in the last few days 
Wheatear- up to 20 were present on the mound a few days ago 
Willow Warbler- one of  7 caught today. Only one singing. 
Sedge Warbler- one of about 6-7 on site 
Ramblers on a wildlife tour through the farmlands today
Late April is peak migration period and the last week has been pretty steady. Interesting today that we had a significant catch of warblers in the nets- 7 Willow Warbler, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Whitethroat, 4 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler and 2 Sedge Warbler but only a few were singing in the trapping area suggesting that our estimates for the rest of the farm, based primarily on the presence of singing males, are probably under-estimates. At the moment we estimate that we have 30+ Whitethroat, 8 Reed Warbler, 7 Sedge Warbler, 10+ Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 6 Lesser Whitethroat, 25+ Blackcap and 1 Garden Warbler. 
A few sounds from today here: https://soundcloud.com/#peter-alfrey

Wood Warbler sounds

Just playing around with my new toys- a pocket sized sound approach kit. Sony, Linear PCM-M10 and free downloads of Audacity and Raven Lite software for the laptop. Also got a new mini-speaker for my i-pod and recently downloaded all WP and North American calls/songs onto the i-pod.

Click here for recordings  of the recent Wood Warbler at Beddington captured only with the recorders in built twin mics:

Saturday 27 April 2013

Garden Wildlife Showcase

Great Tit 
Painted Lady 
Wildlife Garden 

Exhibitions, talks and Q&A 
Female Sparrowhawk- found dead outside the event gates

Today Fran and I represented the Beddington Farm Bird Group at the Garden Wildlife Showcase. Exhibitors and speakers included Greenspace Information for Greater London (GIGL), Surrey Wildlife Trust, Croydon RSPB, Sutton Nature Conservation Volunteers, the Biodiversity Gardens Project, People's Trust for Endangered Species, Royal Horicultural Society, Buglife and I-spot.
Hoping to integrate our projects at the farmlands and Hackbridge into various regional initiatives.

Friday 26 April 2013

Wildflower Meadows

Meadow Brown on Wild Carrot from last year's meadows

Preparing Hide Field for a butterfly strip 
Council contractors putting in wildflower meadow strips in Hackbridge (Lysanne pic)

Bees are a hot topic at the moment : http://www.wildlondon.org.uk/News/back-a-ban-to-help-bees so our on going work over the last few days at the farmlands and Hackbridge to create wildflower meadows for insects was rather timely. The little buggers need all the help they can get.

Thursday 25 April 2013

Wood Warbler

The singing Wood Warbler still present today on Mile Road and showing well. I made my first bird sound recording today.

Deciding the future of Beddington Farmlands

Spent this evening at the planning control committee meeting to decide on the incinerator at Beddington Farmlands. I was one of ten speakers at the meeting and there was a crowd of 100+ people.

The committee decided to defer the decision and collect more information so at the moment the future of Beddington Farmlands hangs in the balance.
Bloody exciting meeting with all the sides of the arguments being delivered in style. Hopefully if all sides of the arguments are accounted for it should be a good result for the farmlands, the wildlife and the local community.
Almost eclipsed the fact that I found a Wood Warbler near the triangle this afternoon- a Beddington tick- my 214th bird on site. Unfortunately no photos and rather annoyingly my sound approach gear arrived in the post today which I could have done with to record the singing bird. Typically for a migrant it was not delivering its full song- mainly the trilling part. The other guys had a Redstart and a pair of Garganey.
All in all an action packed day.
More on planning meeting here:

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Sunny spring day

Sand Martin- about five birds investigating the Sand Martin Bank. Shelducks also looking for a nesting place around the lake.
Streamer- a first for Beddington 
Brimstone- 8+ today, also 10+ Peacock, 30+ Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Holly Blue, 5 Comma, 5 Large White and 5 Small White 
Leucophora sp
Drone Fly
A few flies- a big influx of insect life today in the warm and sunny weather conditions

Not too many migrants in this weather but plenty of local activity, insects, breeding behaviour and plenty of singing going on. A few Buzzards going over all day and Sparrowhawks displaying.

Garden Wildlife Showcase

Click on to enlarge
The Beddington Farm Bird Group have got a stand at the Garden Wildlife Showcase at Wallington Boys School  (my old school) this Saturday. We are hoping to encourage people to create mini-nature reserves in their gardens.

Monday 22 April 2013

Azores Pelagic 2013

Still a couple places left on the boat for the Azores pelagic 2013.
More details here:

Mystery moths

platyedra subcinerea? 
Pug sp? (Oak-tree Pug?)

Had a couple of moths last night which I don't readily recognise. If my preliminary ids are correct then they are both first for Beddington but not sure.
Spent today writing my speech for the control committee on Wednesday.

Sunday 21 April 2013

Bug Life

Blackcap- a big influx of warblers recently now the insects have emerged
Large White- first of the year, also Small White today, 25+ Small Tortoiseshell, 5 Peacock, 2 Comma and 3 Brimstone 
Comma on prunus flower 
Drone Fly on Prunus 
Common Carder Bee on Prunus- also quite a few solitary bees around including Tawny Mining Bees 
Bee-fly an early spring speciality 
Early Greys, Brindled Beauty and Common Quakers- classic early spring moths
Out in the sun again today enjoying the spring life. A few new bird migrants today but rather slow- a Redshank, a few hirundines and a handful of Buzzards. Lots of insects about.
A big week coming up with the decision regarding the incinerator and the future of Beddington Farmlands going to committee on Wednesday. I've been allocated a slot to talk to the committee to push for the best conditions for the nature restoration and regional park.

Saturday 20 April 2013

Spring Burst

Whimbrels- present for several hours on the lakes 
Buzzard- a good raptor passage today with 16+ Common Buzzard and 1 Red Kite 
Whitethroat- a significant warbler influx today with 20+ Whitethroat, 15+ Blackcap, 15+ Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Reed Warbler, 3 Sedge Warbler and 1 Grasshopper Warbler
Blackcap- a good influx today 
Grasshopper Warbler- the first photograph of one at Beddington and the 21st record.
Peacock- a good emergence of butterflies today with 5+ Peacock, 15+ Small Tortoiseshell and 2 Comma 
Small Tortoiseshell 
Territorial Shelducks

A really active spring day with a significant influx of warblers, a good passage of raptors, some vis mig, lots of singing and territorial behaviour going on and a good emergence of insects.
Good weather too so basically a great spring day.