Monday 31 August 2015

Wash Out


Brightened up for a few hours in the afternoon

Was supposed to be at the Carshalton Environmental Fair today promoting our nature friendly gardens but the weather was atrocious meaning two things 1) It was going to be very hard work at the fair 2) Birds were probably going to be pushed into the farmlands. Therefore the decision was made to go birding, set a make-shift virtual stand up on line (pics above) and then we went to fair in the afternoon, when the weather was predicted to clear up to hand out flyers.

38+1 Common Tern over, 18 Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Wood Sandpiper, 5 Green Sandpiper, 4 Common Sandpiper, 5 Snipe, 3 Golden Plover, Lapwings and 1 Tree Pipit proved that it wasn't a bad decision. A good day.

Sunday 30 August 2015

Looking good for waders

 The enclosed bed looking in top shape for the autumn wader passage. Today there were seven species of wader on this bed; Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Wood Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 5 Green Sandpiper, 3 Common Sandpiper and 1 Ruff with Lapwing and Snipe on the lakes- nine species in total.
 The juvenile Wood Sandpiper still present- no sign of the Pec
 Juvenile Black-tailed Godwit- the only problem with the large enclosed bed is that the waders are at difficult to photograph at distance
Juvenile Whinchat. A few other migrants around today including 40+ Swallow, 10+ Sand Martin, 1 Swift (probably the last one now), five Yellow Wagtail over, a high probable Black Tern, 5-6 Sedge Warbler (the ringers caught five), a handful of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, a few Blackcaps, the odd Whitethroat and  the ringers also caught the third Kingfisher of the autumn (they have been prominent around the lakes recently)

Saturday 29 August 2015

Stone Age Lunch

Sid, Iris and I decided to see if we could collect our lunch from the wild today
 First stop was Beddington Park Spring for some water
Then over to the nature reserve to see what we could find to eat
 We got a bit distracted as the Birders were gripping us off - a Pec Sand was around and also raptors were on the move
 We had a Red Kite
and a Common Buzzard
 Then we went collecting- Apples, Blackberries, Wild Plums, Mullberries (actually from the Park), some Mallow leaves, Mints, Eleagnus berries (from the Obs hedges) and some Rose Hips.

  Lunch was served back at the Obs 
  Then we processed the moth trap and found this Small Mottled Willow- a first for Beddington Farmlands
 Then back to drop Sid and Iris back home, where we released this juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker that Steve had caught with his bare hands- saved it from the talons of a Sparrowhawk
Then I went back to the farmlands to look for the Pec Sand and came across this Mandarin walking along the path. All in all, a bit of an odd day. 

Thursday 27 August 2015

Review of Azores Report 2013

Here's a review of the Azores Rare and Scarce Bird Report 2013 from Birdwatch. Currently working on the 2014 report ready for this season with lots of new improvements and new sections.

Wednesday 26 August 2015

The Day after

 Lesser Treble Bar-a new one fore me and only second for the farmlands
 Agriphila tristella- a crambus-type with a broad central white stripe this time of year locally is most probably this species
 Agriphila geniculea- The double V shaped bands is a good indicator of this species
No sign of the Quail today despite a search in between the heavy rain. 2 Spotted Redshanks were the highlight of the day. Greenshank and Ruff still present and good waterfowl numbers again. A flock of hirundines were hawking low over the Southern Lake (10+ Swift, 20 House Martin , 20 Swallow and a few Sand Martins).
It was relatively calm and in between weather fronts last night so I put the moth trap on. Best was Lesser Treble Bar but also Vine Rustics, Pale Mottled Willows, Agriphilas (above), Straw Underwing, Jersey Tiger, Knot Grass, Lesser Broad Bordered Yellow Underwing, Greater Yellow Underwing and Mother of Pearl (also in the nettles).  

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Quail Twitch (Dip)

Roy Dennis found Beddington's third ever Quail this evening (flushed twice from long grass on the Southern Mound). Despite searching tonight till dark there was no further sign. Will check again tomorrow.
All in all an excellent day.

A Nice Drop

 Adult male (autumn) Wheatear. The striking mask, black remiges and grey fringes to the greater coverts identify this as a male. Adult Wheatears undergo a full body moult before migrating. This plumage will now spend the winter wearing away (with some partial moult) to reveal the stunning characteristic Spring male plumage.  
 Female/first-winter Wheatear. Difficult to tell whether an adult female or a first-winter bird. Some first-winters show a moult limit in the greater coverts- not visible here.
 Two adult male and two female/first-winter Wheatears
 Whitethroat and 2 Whinchat.  A nice fall (drop) of passerine migrants today including 6 Wheatears, 3 Whinchat, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Willow Warbler, 30 Chiffchaff, 2 Whitethroat, 4 Blackcap, 1 Sedge Warbler, 3 Yellow Wagtail and a nice mix of waterbirds too. 
 Juvenile Ruff- the first for the year 
 Juvenile Wood Sandpiper- still present. Other waders on site today included 1 Grey Plover (first for the year), 1 Ruff, 2 Greenshank, 17 Green Sandpiper, 2 Snipe, 15 Lapwing and 3 Common Sandpiper.
 Shovelers. There was also an influx of ducks with 18 Shoveler, 50+ Teal, 60 Mallard and a juvenile female Wigeon - the first of the autumn.
 Weather conditions yesterday (above and below). A moderate and variable southeast to northeast airflow with substantial rain that presumably pushed migrants across the north sea into the region (e.g. good falls of migrants in Northeast England yesterday). Little Tern and a few other migrants were recorded at the farmlands yesterday


Weather today. The complex area of three low pressures have produced a westerly airflow (opposite to yesterday). Migrants have switched from a tail wind to a head wind within a few hours with a series of frontal systems and rain to navigate round. Presumably the relationship between the deflecting tail wind and then the obstructing head wind and wet fronts have created fall conditions
 The last of the Swifts are moving through now- 18 yesterday and 15 today. 12 House Martin, 6 Sand Martin and 5 Swallow today also. The main hirundine movement is yet to come but an early autumn passage of Sand Martin this year could indicate we are post peak for that species already.
 Another interesting arrival today was an additional 9 Mute Swans (3 adults and 6 juveniles ) to add to the existing three breeding pairs (6 adults and 17 young) taking the total to 32. Things got a bit heated on the Northern Lake with the new group invading the defended territory there- it kicked off a bit but after a while the new group settled in the canal away from the others.
 Juvenile Kestrel- also 2 juvenile Peregrine and 1 Hobby today
Small Heath- the first one in three years to be recorded at the farmlands. An indicator of good meadow habitat (found in the Bird group meadow)

Sunday 23 August 2015

Bird Fair 2015

Pic by Sofia Goulart . ART website HERE

Spent today at the Bird Fair 2015. Great to see everyone and everything.

The Azores stand run by Sofia and Co won best tourist stand of the year . Excellent! Hoping to integrate the AZORES NATURE exploration trips further in the future with friends in the Azores. If all goes to plan will be at the Bird Fair next year promoting the trips further (both planned trips next year are already booked up so looking to add extra dates/ guides etc)

Will put up some more pictures as they come in (I didn't take any as busy looking round and ran out of time).

The REGUA Dream Team- Sue Healey (photo), Rachel Walls, Lee Dingain, Alan Martin and Andrew Proudfoot (also Jaffa in there photo-bombing). Here's the latest  excellent web site re-vamp by Dingers (REGUA WEBSITE)- a world class community model conservation project .
Jaffa and Helen at the Wise Birding stand. A partner with AZORES NATURE and my choice of tour company (he sometimes knocks off a couple of bob)- off to Sri Lanka with Jaff in December. WISE BIRDING

Bird Fair- great opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues, to talk birds and do some business (London style) (Photo: Lee Dingain)
Lindo's wheels. Good to see other London gents keeping up appearances. Photo by Sue Healey.
'Friends in Israel'- Me and Jonathan Meyrav from Israel Ornithological Center - hoping to be part of an Azores team for the Champions of the Flyway next Spring. 

Saturday 22 August 2015

Incinerator Update

Private Eye article 

Interesting meeting this morning. Local Lib Dem councillor rebel Nick Mattey (currently being expelled from the Party) was blowing the cover on some of the local planning internal processes.

Interesting the links between Viridor, it's charity wing Viridor Environmental Credits (they set up their own charity to receive their charity donations from landfill tax which they use as a PR vehicle for their commercial operations) the Anglican Church (happy to receive the donations on behalf of the Lib Dems so that the church can stop its churches falling down because the public don't believe in that shit anymore so aren't paying the tithes on Sunday) and the Lib Dems (who take legal back handers (( and party funding no doubt from elsewhere)) from corporations via the Anglican Church in exchange for using the church for political activity and also in exchange for granting planning permission (through controlling the Council) to the Corporation, Viridor to build incinerators on nature reserves in deprived areas which literally destroys biodiversity and can't be too healthy for local people  (reserves and communities which are poorly defended by a weak, fragmented social environmental movement, where major NGOs like the RSPB and WWT are becoming increasingly dependant on corporations like Viridor to keep themselves going through the Credits scheme (e.g Great Crane Project)- so not only are muted against the corruption-but are party too it). Beautiful!

Take a Bow.

Defending the Patch

Got a meeting with the Green party, Stop the Incinerator group today. Hoping to discuss some ways of bringing more attention to the failures of our local democracy that has led to problems at Beddington Farmlands. Playing with ideas of direct action, publicity stunts, shame campaigning and further legal challenge. 

Community action (symbiotic networks) is the holy grail to human thriving/surviving I would say but finding that is fraught with danger. Individual power is the greatest form of power and changing personal behaviour/ personal effort is the single greatest contribution to humanity possible . However without being able to connect with others in co-coordinating that effort- its a squalid, lonely and isolated position which will be stunted and have little impact. However however the price for connecting with others can be very high, if individual principle and belief is compromised for temporary confidence/company/support. A charismatic leader, hijacking a true emotive issue and taking the spoils from leading their minions to failure is the oldest trick in the book (its how the foolish learn the hard way). Movement coalescing into clans and small isolated groups that share core values but are in conflict with each other over minutiae or resources is basically holding bays for stupidity (the current state of the environmental social movement) . 

A true movement should be based on deep principle and conviction of individuals (the only place that Truth resides). They should all be leaders in one way or another, effort should be spread evenly and should be focused on helping to lead each other to collective victory/ survival/ benefit/ fun.  Basically the most un-natural state that can ever be imagined :-)... but what are humans in nature? In my opinion the only animal that can rebel against the natural order and create something independent, something in time which is an improvement .

Here's some beginner level stuff on patch defending that I wrote for Birdwatch:


and here is a little ditty about a call to rebel against an old order and the reply of those clinging onto an old fashioned decaying way :

Friday 21 August 2015

Teal and Spotted Fly

Speculum changes colour depending on angle
Spotted Flycatcher