Tuesday 28 March 2017

Last few days in the Shire

A good few days up in the Shire with Holly- baby still not arrived yet. Sunday I carried on with Bioblitz at the Old Vicarage and did a bit more on the garden, Monday went to Otmoor and today on the way home had a great stop off at Staines Res.

Here's a few photo highlights: 

Grass Snakes at Otmoor- 30+ have been recorded recently basking in the sun along one of the ditches.
Common Lizard at Otmoor. I met up with Ellen (the non-bird recorder for Otmoor) and we had a look round the reserve and discussed some surveys that I'll be carrying out later on in the year including surveying for Black Hairstreak and also doing a Butterfly transect. 
Clouded Drabs, Common Quaker and Hebrew Character from the Old Vicarage moth trap. Also had Small Quakers on a different night. 
Plenty of territorial behaviour on the Old Vicarage grounds including Jackdaws at the Chimneys and also singing Stock Doves, Coal Tits and other common garden birds 
Goldcrests singing at the Old Vic 
Fritillaria sp (Imperialis?) No doubt planted but another addition to the bioblitz list- 185 species now (HERE

Did some night sound trawling at the Old Vic with a new addition to the Mobile obs- not much, was hoping to get the Tawny Owl but no luck. Also put out some camera traps but nothing. 
The mobile Obs doubling up as a hot dog van
Toiling around the Old Vic 

Great Diving Beetle- in the moth trap (above). Blackbirds at the Old Vicarage (below)

Pretty good stop off: 8 Little Gull, 1 Sandwich Tern, 1 Common Tern, 1 Redshank, 1 Water Pipit, 1 Red Kite 

 8 (6 adults and 2 first-winters)  Little Gulls on the Res (Adult top two shots and first-winters bottom two shots)
 Common Tern (I think- although can't say too much from this pic)
 Sandwich Tern on South Basin
Juvenile Wigeon trying to be a Wood Duck

Sunday 26 March 2017

Recent Meetings

Locality Community Control Event 
 David presenting our neighbourhood plan work. Included in the plan are biodiversity policies and projects to enhance biodiversity in Hackbridge to link Beddington Farmlands with the wider Wandle Valley Regional Park. 
 The Hackbridge Neighbourhood Development Group AGM last week. Ultra-localism at work- truly heroic efforts going on to influence local planning decisions, challenging development corporations and the council facilitators. Hopefully in the future ultra-localism will develop into a more influential movement and hopefully we can help to push it forward- certainly a good team. We've recently submitted applications for £60K worth of biodiversity and public engagement projects to the Viridor Community Fund. 
Met up with Sue in the week ahead of the Conservation and Access Management Committee meeting to discuss our future activism plans and volunteer work at the farmlands. Its the Bird Group AGM on Wednesday.  

Saturday 25 March 2017

Marsh Harrier

A productive morning with several migrants pushing through the brisk easterly.

Female-type Marsh Harrier - the first for the year. Flew north battling against a brisk easterly. Presumably an adult (older) female due to contrast in lighter underwing and dark fingers. A relatively broad-winged bird typical of females. Males are slimmer and 2cy males should be showing grey/silvery feathers in wing or tail by now. This individual is also quite fresh with few signs of wear (or contrast in moult) supporting the adult female idea as adults would have completed a full cycle of moult before migrating back. (ref Forsman 2016). 
Maybe the last of the Fieldfares heading north. Also a couple of Meadow Pipits, 9 Water Pipits, 1 Common Buzzard, 1 LRP and 4+ Kestrel and 2-3 Sparrowhawks maybe have also been migrants. 

 Good views of Kestrel hovering in the brisk wind.
Kestrel- topside (Still trying to work out what age/sex this is- leaning towards a 2cy male) 
 10 Greylags today- an increase in records is a feature of this time of year 
 2-3 pairs of Shelduck about 
 Two Cormorants heading north. Presumably 'Continental Cormorants'. 
 Black Swan still around 
 An interesting pale gull (either a pale Herring Gull or hybrid (Viking Gull type)). 
 Justice for Crows. Don't often photograph them. Often 50-100 birds around which is quite a gathering. 
The numbers of Fox records have reduced in recent years so good to see this individual in the Obs garden

Friday 24 March 2017

Ted talk with author of Sapiens

Peregrine Webcam

Peregrine are breeding on Merton Council building this year- here's the live webcam:

And here's the Sutton Pegs:

Presumably it's these birds that we see hunting over the farmlands. There's also a rumour that they are breeding in Croydon this year. 

Thanks John Boorman for links and information. 

Tuesday 21 March 2017

White Out !

A productive hour on the farmlands this afternoon:

 First-winter Glaucous Gull- a new, very pallid bird 
 The new Glauc
 Three Little Egrets- presumably migrants 
 One of the Little Egrets doing a fly-by
First-winter Caspian Gull (X319)

Sunday 19 March 2017

Birding Forecast

Looks like this brisk westerly (and sometimes wet) airflow continues until Wednesday so migrants are going to struggle making it through that. There's a bit of a window on Wednesday with a southerly airflow on a low pressure and relatively warm air , however according to the long range forecast on Magic Seawood (link below) a northerly and high pressure takes over from Thursday swinging round to an easterly cooler airflow by Friday/next weekend. 

Basically Monday and Tuesday doesn't look too clever, Wednesday could present some better chances for migrants and Thursday onwards could be interesting as the easterly develops. 

Raptors: A light northerly (headwind) and developing high pressure towards end of week looks best.
Passerine/landbird migrants: Wednesday looks best. Wheatears and other early passerines, Chiffs, first Willow Warbler, more Sand Martins, first Swallow, odd Ring Ouzel, etc.
Waders: Can push through in the westerly, more likely in frontal conditions before end of week. LRPS arriving, possibly odd Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Curlew.
Waterfowl: Maybe Garganey anytime.
Gulls: Can push through in anything- good time for rare gulls.
Seabirds: Maybe Kittiwake in the westerly early week.

Wednesday looking most interesting 

Long range forecast: MAGIC SEAWEED

Saturday 18 March 2017

Journey to Holly's

Spent this morning at the farmlands (1 Glaucous Gull, 2 Caspian Gull, 1 adult Med Gull and missed the first Wheatear of the year) and then set off for Holly's stopping off at Staines Res on the way (3 Black-necked Grebe, 2 Slavonian Grebe, 1 Scaup, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Oystercatcher and 2 LRP). 

The plan is to make stopping off at Staines a regular thing through the Spring on the way to and back from Oxford. 

 First-winter Glaucous Gull 
Adult Mediterranean Gull 
 Black-necked Grebe-  moulting into summer plumage with the breast still to complete
 Slavonian Grebe on left with two Black-necks. Interesting the Slav still in complete winter plumage (the other Slav has started moulting but not very advanced) 
 Male Scaup with Goldeneye and Tufted Ducks 
Little Ringed Plover 

Friday 17 March 2017

Night Life, Gulls, Migrants, Quakers and Toads

Been a busy couple of days and nights at the obs and on the farmlands: 

Been practising with the night trawling. Found the first LRP for the year and also picking up Redwings moving at night. Also Barn Owl and Little Owl calling and interesting to hear how active the waterbirds are at night. 

The first Little Ringed Plover of the year- found at night using the sound approach

Teal and other waterfowl


2 Caspians, 1 2nd-winter Yellow-legged and one of the Glaucs today.
 First-winter Glaucous Gull
 First-winter Caspian Gull 
First-winter Caspian X319 


Ring Ouzel. 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 1-2 Sand Martin and 8 Water Pipit on the farm today. 

Back of the cam shot of today's male Ring Ouzel by Roger Browne
Sand Martin 

Common, Twin-spot and Small Quakers (and a March Moth). Also Double-striped Pug yesterday.

These have been moving around recently, mainly a night. Almost trod on this one by the hide.