Thursday 31 December 2015

2015- Azores Review

A few personal highlights from the Azores in 2015

Did a winter gull watching trip to collect some more information on Azores Gulls and have a look for vagrants: MORE HERE
 Glaucous Gull
 Ring-billed Gull
 Presumed adult American Herring Gull 
 Chris, Peter and Darryl


We did our first AZORES NATURE Natural History Trip. Here's a few highlights:

 Barolo's Shearwater
 Monteiro's Petrel
 Cory's Shearwater
 Fin Whale
 Azores Chaffinch- one of several endemic local races of birds
 Serra de Santa Barbara, Terceira.
 The 2015 group

Rich Bonser led the annual pelagic to the Bank of Fortune on Graciosa. Rough seas meant it was a difficult year but the group still scored Swinhoe's Petrel, Sooty Tern and Monteiro's Petrel. MORE HERE

Swinhoe's Petrel from 2012. 

 We published the 2nd Rare Bird Report MORE HERE
Friends ART won the best tourism stand at the Bird Fair 


A vintage year.  For more check out all the birding periodicals and journals. 
 Blue-winged Warbler 
 False Killer Whales (photo by Vincent Legrand) 
 Two Blackpolls
 Eastern Wood Pewee- two birds on Corvo
 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks

Looking forward to another great year. There's two organised trips and the usual autumn gathering on Corvo/Flores. 

If interested in either the 2016 Pelagic or the Natural History Tour please email me

Special thanks to all friends and partners on the Azores:  Ian at Archipelago Choice, The Azores Tourist Board, Anna and Sofia from ART, Kathy!! at the Commodore Guesthouse Corvo , Rolando from DivingGraciosa, GerbyBirding, The SPEA guys,The Birding Azores Team and of course all the Azores Birders and team mates. 

Wednesday 30 December 2015

Gulls and the obs

First-winter Caspian Gull
Looks like a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull (only got this shot). Also had the Iceland today. 
A view from the obs
Spent the afternoon setting up a music studio in the obs loft

New Directions, Birdwatch January 2016

My article in the January issue of Birdwatch.

Tuesday 29 December 2015

Iceland Gull, Med Gull and Marsh Harrier

Not a bad little afternoon at the farmlands with Kojak.

2015- Beddington Farmlands Review

A few personal highlights from 2015 at Beddington Farmlands:

 Displaying Teals in January
 Bullfinches in the nets in January 
 A wintering Garganey!
 A steady raptor passage in spring including this interesting (very) pale morph Common Buzzard
 3 Ring Ouzels in one tree during an exciting fall of migrants in April  
 Stone Curlew found by Glenn Jones. The first site record since 1982. My 216th bird species for the site.
 Northern Wheatear- overall a pretty good passage of summer migrants 
 Some great successes in the breeding season with three pairs of Mute Swans....
  Breeding Shelducks
 The best year on record for Tufted Ducks
 The first successful breeding of Great Crested Grebe 
 Peregrines bred locally and the young were seen feeding over the farmlands
The autumn migration is heralded by the arrival of Green Sandpipers 
Spotted Flycatcher- a good showing this autumn
 Little Owl 
 Dartford Warbler- a classic late autumn local scarce migrant 
 Serin! A first for the farmlands- the 257th species for the farmlands 
 Iceland Gull in December 

 Oak Beauty- a site first in March
 Dotted Chestnut- a site first in April
 Neoascia interrupta- a new hoverfly for the site. We've now got a local list of 61 hoverfly species. 
 Cowslips- have colonised the Southern Mound 
 Leucozona lucorum - another new hoverfly species
 Orellia falcata- a site first
 Vestal- a new species for the farmlands
 Bordered Sallow- a first for the site
 Hornet Moths- in Hackbridge in summer

Maintenance works were carried out to the lakes in January 
 Ploughing of the mounds in spring for seeding of new restoration habitats 
 Additional tree planting 
  New entrance under construction 
 New entrance finished. Excellent work coordinated by local company Bioregional. 
 The Bird group Wildlfower meadow 

  Regular bird and wildlife walks 
 Rain gardens in Hackbridge near the farmlands entrance- all part of the integration of the local urban area to the reserve and the wider Wandle Valley Regional park 
 Wildflower strips on the road sides in Hackbridge 
Wildlife Gardening in town
   Great work by Alan and the Church Ground's Project- another local village biodiversity project  
 Even producing food in the local green spaces- this crop from Silverdale Estate
The 2014 Bird and Wildlife Report ready by early autumn. For more details on Beddington Farmlands see the annual reports and web spaces. 


and here's the latest on the on going incinerator issue which is due to escalate in 2016: Holy Smoke and Sian Berry takes on fight