Tuesday 31 March 2015

Last few Days

 Two adult Mediterranean Gulls. 4-6 birds moving through today (calling), 1 yesterday and 1 last weekend. A light passage this time of year has been detected in recent years e.g. HERE
 Sand Martin- had two on Sunday and one past the window today. The westerly winds are strong at the moment holding things back. Still no fall of Wheatears. 
 The Mute Swans have moved into the areas we cleared on the island and built a nest from the strimmings- Great to see the work making a difference:  SEE HERE
 Male Shelduck- currently eight birds on site. Hopefully will repeat last year's breeding success
 Tawny Mining Bee
Eristalis sp? 
Mird Bug Possibly Deraeocoris (Knightocapsus) lutescens. (I-SPOT ID). My 1104th species for Beddington. A few bugs about but the cool windy conditions are holding things down .

Monday 30 March 2015

The Elections and Beddington Farmlands

Great to see our local Green Party candidate campaigning for Beddington Farmlands as part of 7th May elections.
More from our local candidate here: SUTTON GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE

Sunday 29 March 2015

Updated Trip Report Section

I've updated the publication section on this blog to include some new trip reports from trips I've been on over the last few years. 
Section now includes trip reports from The Azores, Kenya, Ecuador, Turkey, Bulgaria, Syria, Jordan, Lesvos, Ghana, Morocco, Finland and India. Click below: 

A few pics published

Nice to see a few images from our pelagic trips published in a new book (The Birds of France). Here's my pics- Barolo's Shearwater and Swinhoe's Petrel in flight and a juvenile/first-winter Roseate Tern.
More pics from the Azores Pelagics here: Azores Nature Blog

Friday 27 March 2015

More Bugs

 Small Tortoiseshell on Coltsfoot
 Bee sp?
 Red-tailed Bumblebee
 The Northern Lake, new tree planting and ploughed area (still no Wheatears on plough. Apparently there is a hold up of migrants in Southern Europe)
Common Fumitory (new one for me on site) (amendment

A few more 'bugs' beginning to appear. Had Brimstone, a couple of Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral in last few days. Also a few bumblebees (Red-tailed, White-tailed and Early), a few solitary and mining bees and the first hoverfly. 

On the plants in flower front to add to this list locally I've had Common Fumitory, Cultivated Hyacinths, Chickweed, Photinia, Hebe and I forgot about Quince which has been flowering for a while.  

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Red Kites

 Bird 1: Primaries missing on left wing
Bird 2: Not good angle but doesn't look like any primaries (maybe one?) missing on left wing

Two sightings of Red Kite today, following one yesterday, two day before, one day before that and one on 20th (the adult-see below). The bird yesterday had a secondary missing so both birds today were different. Obviously a few on the move at the moment- either migrants from further afield or perhaps birds being pushed around as territories are being set up.

Also today 1 Brambling over calling, 2 Common Buzzard, 1 ad Med Gull, 2 Green Sandpiper and 4 Chiffchaff. Still no Wheatears on the ploughed area which looks perfect for them. Hopefully when wind changes they will come in. 

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Willow Warbler in

Female Greenfinch. 6 Chiffs in the net today and a few other bits. 
Red Kite- should be able to identify this bird to the individual if it returns with the missing secondary on the left wing and broken rectrices. 
Twin-spot Quaker
Oak Nycteoline
Agonopterix heracliana- first for the year
Common Quaker through the tube

Recording of Willow Warbler (with Wren, Herring Gull, aeroplane and Frankie treading on a stick) taken with handheld Sony

First Willow Warbler and Little Ringed Plover today, also more Chiffchaffs around, Red Kite and Common Buzzards moving around again, Redshank and lots of gulls moving high.
A few moths in the trap last night: Common Quaker, Agonopterix alstromeriana and heracliana, Twin-spot Quaker, Oak Nycteoline and March Moth. 

Monday 23 March 2015

A nice little day

 Adult pale phase Common Buzzard (Aged on broad trailing edge on under-wing. From Rough-legged by compact structure, lack of broad belly patch , lack of hooded appearance and dark tail with white restricted to bases of the upper-tail coverts). 

Female Garganey. The wintering bird still present. 
 Chiffchaff- several birds singing today
 Ploughing of the mounds. Perfect timing for attracting migrating Wheatears- fingers crossed for right weather over next few days 
Pied Wagtail (female here) moved straight onto the ploughed area for feeding

Great to see the mounds being ploughed as discussed in the last Conservation Science Group meeting (for once!). The ploughing has been timed to coincide with peak Wheatear migration in preparation for seeding for a sacrificial crop that will provide food for next winter.

A few bits and bobs todays including a very pale Common Buzzard (and other more typical Common Buzzards), Red Kite, a passage of Mipits, a female Stonechat and also good views of the over wintering Garganey. Still waiting for the first Sand Martins. 

The tube

 False Widow Spider (the dreaded!) (Thanks to British Spider Id Facebook Group for id)  taken with a 20mm extension tube attached to my 18-55mm lens- cost me £20 rather than spending £500 on a new macro. Not bad results. A step in the right direction for my current rather poor macro pics.  
Obs daffs are looking better now 

Saturday 21 March 2015

Spring Midge

 Non-biting Midge. The first of very, very many. 
 Waiting for help to id this from Surrey Moths Group! Just come in from Billy (cheers!) - Mompha Epilobiella- a new one for me and only one previous Beddington record. 
 Hairy Bittercress (like all my non-bird identification more than happy to be corrected if mis-identified. I kill anyone who tries to correct my bird id! :-)  ) 
Cherry Plum and Blackthorn in full blossom at moment. The recent north-easterlies have put the dampeners on Spring a bit. Noticed a few more plants coming into flower locally- Hairy Bittercress, Charlock (been flowering through winter too), Forsythia (just), Red Dead Nettle, first cultivated Tulips, Willows are in catkins, cultivated violets to add to this list from a couple of weeks ago: Winter hellibores, Snowdrop, Crocus, Daffodil, Primrose, Cherry Plum, Purple Plum, Blackthorn, Dog Violet, Sweet Violet, Speedwells, Colts Foot, Lesser Celendine and Viburnum Tinus. 

Quite a good day on the farmlands today- Curlew, Jack Snipe, Wheatear, 2 Water Pipit, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Garganey. Despite spending the morning there- I didn't see any of it. Highlight of my day was the midge (until the new micro). 

Friday 20 March 2015

Red Kite

 Red Kite. Adult bird with characteristic restricted median covert patch on upperwing, streaking on breast, deep rufous underwing lesser coverts and more rakish structure than a younger bird
 Andrena flavipes? Spring Bee Identification
A bit of gull variation- (left to right) second and third winter fairly typical Herring Gulls, first-winter 'Northern' Herring Gull, larger dark bird still with retained juvenile scapulars (late moult indicates late breeding period i.e. up north somewhere), two adult Black-headed Gulls, first-winter Herring Gull (hiding), first-winter Herring Gull- a pale variant- compare the extreme contrast with the 'Northern Herring Gull' of the same age, another first-winter Herring Gull (just the head) and a first-winter Lesser Black Backed Gull on far right (not in the fascist sense).

The solar eclipse didn't amount to much due to cloud cover but the sun came out in the afternoon and so did a few insects- a few bumblebees, a solitary bee (Adrena flavipes) by the obs front door and a Red Admiral. A bit moving on the bird front- 35+ Chaffinch, 1 Red Kite, 3 Buzzard, 1 Peregrine, Wheatear on the mound and a few Mipits.  

Wednesday 18 March 2015

First Wheatear

 Male Wheatear
Common Buzzard

Had our first true summer migrant today- a male Wheatear on the mound. Also a passage of 245 Chaffinch today, 5 Common Buzzards, 2 Bullfinch (caught by the ringers) 2 Redshank and a couple of Chiffchaff so migration is occurring!

Tuesday 17 March 2015


 Barnacle Goose with Greylags
 Gull sp? Maybe a hybrid Lesser Black and Herring Gull? Northern Herring Gull?
 More daffs- another phase of bulb planting coming good 
Marigolds, sunflowers, snapdragons and lobelias growing in ground coconut shell. Got them from LIDL- whole set £1.60! Will transplant into the guerilla gardening zone later in spring. 

Still waiting for our first true summer migrant at the farmlands. Had a few Chiffchaffs singing. Today a few bits moving around- a few Meadow Pipits, a Redshank, one Common Buzzard, a 2nd-winter Yellow-legged Gull and a Barnacle Goose (first one on site since 2010- presumably a feral bird) with 2 Greylags.