Sunday 30 June 2013

High Summer at Beddington Farmlands

Small Elephant Hawk Moth 
Biting Stone-crop 
Short-cloaked Moth 
White-tailed Bumblebee- 200-300 bumble bees on site at moment 
Eristalis intricarius
Good mothing recently
New recruits

Been pretty busy recently with a bit of summer weather and a rush of activity. On the birding front it is relatively quiet but 12 Green Sandpipers about and Hobby putting in a few shows recently. Two Shelduck young are still surviving, at least three broods of Mute Swan, up to 12 Gadwall still around (will they breed?) and good numbers of Swift around. There are 60+ Stock Dove on the mound and also a post breeding flock of Lapwing is beginning to form on the Southern Lake- 15 there now. Skylark were carrying food on the mound. The ringers caught a few young tits and Robins this morning. Still a few warblers singing- Chiffys, Lesser White, Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler and Blackcap but also a few families out now- with young tits in the hemlock on 100 acre and Whitethroats in the brambles.
The brambles are completely buzzing at the moment with bumblebees on the newly emerging flowers. I must have seen 2-300 bumblebees today. Also quite a few butterflies about- Meadow Browns have emerged now, quite a few Common Blues and lots of day flying moths- Sitochroa verticalis are particularly numerous on the mound with a few Cinnabars, Burnet Companions and Yellow Shells. Also quite a few dragonflies about now too- mainly Black-tailed Skimmers and a few damsleflies.
Recent pan-species ticks include Biting Stone-crop on 100 acre bridge and a Short-cloaked Moth.

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Balkan Ecology Project

Back home now with some plans to do a bit more planting round here inspired by Paul's project.

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Balkep Day 5

Shipka and the Shipka Monastery- Balkep location

European Pond Turtle
Bee-fly sp

Final day today of this short break. Spent some more time recording the garden wildlife in between doing a bit of tree work and a visit to Kazanlak- the nearby town. So far photo-logged the following just in the Balkep back garden (will be a bit of winter work trying to identify them all) :

Bees, Wasps, Sawflies and Ants: 30+ species
Beetles: 35+ species
Butterflies and Moths: 38+ species
Dragonflies and Damsleflies: 2 species
Grasshoppers, Crickets and Locusts: 10 species
Bugs: 18+ species
Flies: 39+ species
Other: 4 species

Hoping to come back in early spring to explore the forests in this area.

Monday 24 June 2013

Balkep Day 4

Syrian Woodpecker in the Mullberry Tree
Large Copper?
Mallow Skipper? 

Balkep Centre- eco farming
More photo-logging of the Balkep Centre grounds biodiversity today and in the afternoon went to Nick and Tanya's next door for a nice lunch, a tour of their eco-farm and a walk in the nearby forest.
Prepared a rabbit for dinner.

Sunday 23 June 2013

Balkep Day 3

Looking eastwards along the Valley of Roses with The Balkans in the background 
Looking westwards  
Organic Eco-Farm in the Valley (Happy Horses Ranch)
Longhorn Beetle 
Banded Demoiselle (?)

This morning was spent photo-logging more of the entomology at the Balkep Centre and this afternoon we visited a nearby organic eco-farm and then had a look at various habitats and land uses in the Valley of the Roses.
Plenty of birds scattered around the landscape including Rough-legged and Common Buzzards, Golden Eagle, Booted Eagle, Red-backed and Lesser Grey Shrike, Cuckoos, Turtle Doves, Quail, Woodlarks, Golden Orioles, Bee-eaters, Ortolans, Black-headed Wagtails, Black-headed Buntings and Isabelline Wheatear.

Gangsta Gardening

'Growing your own food is like printing your own money'

Saturday 22 June 2013

Balkep Day 2

Booted Eagle 
Spotted Fritillary
Nine-spotted Moth
Scarce Swallowtail 
Silver-washed Fritillary
White Admiral
Bush cricket sp?

Spent today in and around the Balkep Centre in Shipka. Whiled away most of the day re-directing water from the mountain slopes to a forest garden area in the valley. Got a few pics on the way.
Will try and add some identifications asap but please feel free to help out if possible.
More on previous visits to Bulgaria here:

Thanks Russel for the ids!

Incinerator latest- response from the Green Party

Friday 21 June 2013

Balkan Ecology Project

Male Red Backed Shrike
Eastern Festoon on Lavender
Chaser sp?
Assassin Fly sp
Graphosoma Italicum on Loveage

Balkep Centre- a fine grained agro-ecosystem
Spending the next week at my brothers house in Bulgaria which is the centre of  Balkep- 'The Balkan Ecology Project'.
Here's a few photos from today of wildlife in his garden.
More on the Project Here:

Wandle Conference

Had a good day on 19th June at the Wandle Conference where I did a talk and presentation about the farmlands 'The Sleeping Giant of London's Natural World'. Other interesting talks about other developments in the generation of the Wandle Valley Regional Park.  

Sunday 16 June 2013

Juvs and bugs

Juvenile Chiffchaff- three to four pairs on the farm 
Shelduck young- orginally 10 but only 3 seen today. The second breeding record for the farm. Quite a few Lapwing chicks around too today and a total of 14 Mute Swan young from three pairs. 
Freyer's Pug (?) 
Buff Ermine (First record for Beddington as far as I can tell)
Epiblema cynosbatella (another first for the farmlands according to my records)
Common Blue Damselfly
Still not quite high summer out there, bit grey today and lots of stuff keeping its head down still. The temperatures are still fairly low particularly at night but there is a bit more moth action now.
A few day flying moths are evident with Cinnabars, Burnet Companions, the odd Grass Veneer and pyralids flying around. A few Common Blues and a few damselflies and the first Black-tailed Skimmers. The moth trap has had up to 8 moths recently- not great but better than the last few weeks.
 More young passerines around with flocks of young tits, Garden Warblers are feeding young in the south east and one pair of Shelduck have got young.
Could do with a bit of sun to give things a boost.

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Azores Pelagic 2013- last spaces available

Swinhoe's Petrel recorded on 2012 pelagic 
Monteiro's Petrel - endemic to the Azores
Zino's Petrel (Harro Muller) recorded on 2012 pelagic and featured in Bob Flood's latest episode of North Atlantic Seabirds:

Barolo's Shearwater 
Common Dolphin (Gareth Knass)

Still a couple of places left on this years boat.
Dates are from September 1st to 6th and the cost is £688 plus international flight (around £300) .
More here and also other trip extension options:

If you are interested in joining please email:
or myself on