Thursday 30 April 2015

Spotlight on Wheatear

 Adult male Wheatear (April). Extensive black face mask, dark black remiges and plain blue-grey upperparts indicate an adult male. The peach suffusion on the underparts is largely restricted to the throat and upper breast area on this bird.
 Female Wheatear (April) (presumed adult). 
First-summer male Wheatear (April) with less extensive dark on ear coverts than adult male (top pic), brown pale edged remiges and brown markings in the mantle, scapulars and also faintly in the crown. This bird has a particularly warm and extensive peachy suffusion to the underparts (More from Lee on Wheatear racial id here
First-summer male Wheatear (April). The underparts colouration appears less intense which could be due to individual variation or light conditions
Wheatear (autumn)- a first-winter bird
Adult male Wheatear- on it's way up north via London 

Firstly just to make this absolutely clear this post has nothing to do with an eleventh hour attempt at trying to win the White Arse Competition SEE HERE


Earliest date: March 4th 1992
Highest day count: 87 in spring 1955 
Worst year: 2002- only four records in the whole year
A male with a juvenile on June 29th 1952 suggested locally breeding birds
One ringed at Beddington on April 30th 1972 was controlled on Fair Isle on April 24th 1975, 915 km to the NNE
Current local status: Recovering from a low point in 2002. 35 on April 15th 2013 was the highest spring count since 1985. 

Just another five for no reason at all 

Just seen this:  Wanstead Birder
So here's a bullseye of Wheatears:

Wednesday 29 April 2015


 Sanderling- This is the 31st record at the farmlands- the last one was in 2009
Iceland Gull- still present 

The guys had a flyover Great White Egret today and a couple of Common Tern before I arrived. Sanderling- looks like a first-summer (lots of contrast between the new moulted scapulars and mantle and the remiges) was bird of day. A few Swallows (30+) flying around the lakes, 4-5 Common Sandpiper and seems like a few more Sedge Warblers around. 

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Fly ID

 Cheilosia sp? First I'll add my feeble attempt at an id and then check with UK Hoverflies.
Neoascia interrupta- A rare one!  (UK Hoverflies ID HERE
 Eristalinus sepulchralis
 Sphaerophoria sp
 Myathropa florea- Easy one with 'Batman' marking on thorax 
 Cheilosia pangana 
 Helophilus pendulus
 Cheilosia sp? No this is Pipiza.
 Dark-edged Bee Fly mating
Early Mining Bee- Andrena Haemorrhoa 

Sunny (The Simpsons Sky) conditions today with a prevailing south west wind- usually means very quiet for birds at the farmlands. The nets were quiet, a couple of Whinchat, a few Sand Martins going through, a White Wagtail and a couple of Common Sandpipers.

Therefore I headed off to the path along the North Lake for a bit of fly action. BEDDINGTON HOVERFLIES UPDATED


Monday 27 April 2015


Whitethroat drinking sweet nectar from the flowers of a Field Maple
7-spot Ladybird. The tiny wasp Dinocampus coccinellae has laid its eggs inside the beetle, eaten it from the inside and also transferred a virus which has paralysed the host. The zombie ladybird has then been compelled to stand over the emerging pupae to protect it- providing food and protection for its parasitic  host. More here

Heard a Cuckoo today by the bridge. Quite a few Buzzards about. Loads of insects down the North Lake path- still trying to work out some of the Chelosia hovers. A few Mayflies about and more Green Longhorns. Orange-tip again. Collected a few more un-identified bits:
April Un-identified

Oak, Plane, Robinia and Poplar now coming to leaf (Previous here)

Sunday 26 April 2015

Members Day

 Two Whinchats- firsts of the year
Common Sandpiper (one of four ), A good influx of waders today (see below).  
Male Wheatear. All the males (3 of five birds) looked like first-summers. These birds looked like they had more extensive peach tones on the underparts than birds earlier on in the month (see here) but it could have been due to different light. Good to see the ploughed area working to plan. 
 Swallow- about 60+ birds today, hawking low over the lakes and resting on the new tree planting
 Common Tern (probably)- the inner primary window (is just visible)
Photo by Lukas Becker

Good visible migration conditions today for the Beddington Farmlands associate members spring walk (More here). A north-easterly airflow, low cloud and light rain produced ideal fall conditions. We saw 1 Hobby, 2 Whinchat, 3 Wheatear, 10+ Yellow Wagtail, 30+ Swallow. 3-4 House Martin, 2 Common Sandpiper and 1 Skylark. We also had Shelducks, Gadwall, Teal and Lapwing and heard Lesser Whitethroats, Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers singing.  

The full Bird Group counts for the day were as follows : 1 Hobby, 3 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Ringed Plover, 14 Dunlin, 4 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Snipe, 2 'Commic Tern', 2 Skylark, 4 Sand Martin, 60+ Swallow, 6 House Martin, 6 Meadow Pipit, 3 Tree Pipit, 4 White Wagtail, 1 Blue-headed Wagtail, 37 Yellow Wagtail, 5 Wheatear and 2 Whinchat.

The moth trap was relatively busy (first mild night in a long time)- 10 species- the highlight being a Least Black Arches (only a few site records).

 Least Black Arches
 Platyedra subcinerea (Thanks Martin for id) 
 Brimstone Moth
 Brindled Pug
Eudonia angustea

Saturday 25 April 2015

Steady Movement

 The change in weather seems to have had an impact. Whimbrel on the Southern Lake today, 1 Woodlark over (seen by Glenn- I still need it for the site), Hobby and Garden Warbler firsts for the year, an influx of at least 14 Shelducks, 30+ Sand Martin, 20+ Swallow, 1 Yellow Wagtail, ), 2 LRP (prospecting locally), 1 Greenshank, 1 Red Kite and 1 Wheatear. The 2nd-summer Iceland Gull also back (looks like it went to Staines in the week) 
 Whitetroat- a good influx of warblers today: 10 Chiffchaff, 20 Blackcap, 20 Whitethroat, 3+ Lesser Whitethroat, 7 Reed Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler
 Eristalinus sepulchralis- The loop in the wing vein R4+5 and spotted eyes is unique for this genus in Britain. Recently emerged- this species is mainly in the rank vegetation on 100 acre. 
Sawfly sp- 10s of these today along North Lake Path on Roses
 Holly Blue- A few of these, also Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Green-veined White, Peacock, Brimstone
Baccha elongata- finally seen (noticed) one of these distinctive hovers. The very long, slender, wasp-waisted shape is unmistakable.