Sunday 30 April 2017

Great Spring Day

My prediction for the weekend was pretty much spot on SEE HERE (129 Poms past Dunge! and good numbers of terns and waders across inland reservoirs). Beddington had a great day- with Temminck's, Nightingale and good haul of waders, terns and migrants. I woke up at 630 (thanks to Jacob) and then waited for the first reports in from Birdguides to decide where to go first. With reports of Black and Arctic Terns coming in fast across inland reservoirs I decided I would do Farmoor Res first and then later head over to Otmoor to check if anything had come in during the day.

Farmoor was pretty good 2 Black Tern, 35+ Common Tern, 3 Turnstone,1 Whimbrel, 1 Oystercatcher, 5 Common Sandpiper, 4 Dunlin, 1 Whinchat, 1 Hobby, 4 Sand Martin, 10 Swallow, 20+ Swift and 6 Yellow Wagtail.

 Black Tern

 Common Sandpipers 
 Common Tern

In the afternoon (after a cracking Sunday roast at the Bull and Butcher) went over to Otmoor and found the bird of the day. Also had 2 Wheatear, 7 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Hobby, 1 Cuckoo, 2 Curlew and 2 Little Ringed Plover.
 Female Wheatear on Sheep Fields at Noke
 Male Yellow Wagtail with a Pig 
 Curlew over Otmoor
 Bird of the day- Temminck's Stint, one of four reported in UK today- maybe the Beddington bird making its way north (it wasn't seen after 10.05 at the farmlands and the Otmoor Bird was only seen in the afternoon?) 

Thursday 27 April 2017

Birding Forecast

 Looks like this northerly is losing its grip tomorrow and by the weekend we have a southerly drawing up from Southern Europe which switches round to a brisk south easterly on Sunday.

The Southerly could cause a surge of migrants but the level of cloud cover and precipitation will be a big influence on where and if things drop and concentrate. With such a deep southerly draw could be overshoots involved. The brisk south easterly on Sunday has got to be good for seawatching at Dungeness, surely Poms on the cards.

Raptors: The tail wind isn't always helpful to raptors but if its a light tail wind and a warm southerly airflow with clearish skies it could be interesting.
Passerine/landbird migrants: This really depends on cloud cover for dropping birds such as Wheatears, Yellow Wagtails, other chats and warblers. Even a chance of an overshoot such as Red-rumped Swallow with such a southerly airflow. Got to be good for Swallow and hirundine passage. Swifts are going to arrive in bigger numbers.
Waders: Peak time for waders now, just need a bit of cloud and preferably rain. The south easterly could push birds into the catchment. Could be interesting on the reservoirs.
Terns: That south easterly has got to be a guarantee for an influx of Little Gulls, Arctic Terns and other Terns especially on the reservoirs.
Waterfowl: Maybe Garganey still.
Gulls: Still not too late for a mega gull- the Glaucous-winged at Beddington was on April 17th and recently been a national mini-influx of Bonaparte's Gull and also an American Herring Gull in Suffolk.
Seabirds: The South-easterly could produce- spring skuas are gold inland but its a good time of year. 

Day out in the woods

Holly and I took Jacob out in the camper on his first day out to a nature reserve, to Aston Rowant NNR. The Bluebells were pretty spectacular and the picnic wasn't bad either.  

A field of rape behind the bluebells- a stunning contrast 

Cavier on blinis, brown shrimp, smoked salmon terrine, quail eggs, Orkney crab, makerel pate, french bread and greek salad- all MSC certified where relevant

Jacob in the field 

Monday 24 April 2017

Spectacular Staines

Had a meeting back in the smoke about the Wandle Metropolitan Park so popped into Staines on the way back- it was brilliant- the whole South Basin was full of hawking birds going low over the water. 1 Little Tern, 4 Black Tern, 47 Common Tern, 1-2 Arctic Tern, 2 Little Gull, 5 Whimbrel, 1 Greenshank, 3 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Black-necked Grebe, 300+ Sand Martin, 50+ Swallow and 30+ Swift. 

Unfortunately a lot of the good ones were right out the back so couldn't get any decent pics. 

 Common Tern 
 Common Tern on left, Arctic Tern on right 
 Not an everyday view of a Great Crested Grebe 
This morning met up with Sue at Holly's and we all went to Oddington (North Otmoor) to meet Bill who showed us my butterfly transect that I've volunteered to do. Only had a Speckled Wood but the area is great for migrants too- Gropper, 2-3 Willow Warbler (above), Chiffys, Lesser Whitethroat, 5+ Whitethroat, Blackcap, and 2 Sedge Warbler all singing away along a small section of hedgerow which will be my transect. Also gives a view over the Flood field- the north part of Otmoor.  

Sunday 23 April 2017

A Tory at the weekend, a Radical in the week

It's absolutely stunning round here- if I lived here I'd be a Tory too! Hold on- I do live here half the week- might have to become a Tory when up here and back to being a radical back in South London??  Shame that the money to keep this area so beautiful and full of nature has to come from building incinerators in places where not so well off people live and they have to destroy those people's wildlife too- an unnecessary and unfair high price to pay, there is more than enough to go round, plenty of clever solutions and plenty of fat bellies round here that could do with slimming down :-) 

A great few days exploring- Spring Magic! 


 Brown Hare - always on show particularly on Big Otmoor
 Third calender year Marsh Harrier over the Reed Bed. Bittern have been heard booming here recently. Both Marsh Harrier and Bittern breed at Otmoor in recent years- a recovery from over 100 years ago. Another completely impressive RSPB flagship success story. 
 Redshank- good numbers of breeding Redshank and Lapwing on the floods 
 1-2 pairs of Oystercatchers holding territory. Also had a Black-tailed Godwit on Big Otmoor but could only see one Golden Plover (strange to think there were 5000 here just a few weeks ago). 
 Sedge Warbler- loads around. Also Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Garden Warblers, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 1 Common Whitethroat, 10 Reed Warbler and 4 Cetti's
 At least three Cuckoos around including two males dog fighting. Also had my first Swift of the year.
 Leucistic Pochard 
 Red Kite being mobbed by Lapwing- a common sight over Big Otmoor
Bird of the day was one of the secret Common Cranes flying over the Sheep Field


The Old Vic bioblitz continues Previous Old Vic posts here . Here's a few provisional ids- will try and refine some of them- any help as always greatly appreciated. 

 Holly Blue
 Wren carrying food. There is already Song Thrush and Blackbird young in the garden. 
 I think the black stigma (the black line on the wing) makes this Dasysyrphus sp? 
 Leucozona lucorum- an easy hover! 
 Platycherius albimanus 
 Another nice easy hover- look at the 'beak' on that Rhingia Campestris 
 Melanostoma scalare
 Nomad Bee sp 
 Scorpion Fly 
Orange-tailed Mining Bee
Red Mason Bee 
Scorched Carpet - also Common Pug, Brimstone and Hebrew Character in the trap (the new mains powered safari trap) last night 

Friday 21 April 2017

A few recent observations

I've effectively now got three local patches- Worminghall area in Oxford (Otmoor and Holly's), Beddington as usual and also Staines in the middle where I stop off on the way between the other two. 
 Roe Deer - in the fields near Holly's 
 My first House Martin of the year at Otmoor RSPB 
 Bank Vole at Otmoor- a lifer - thanks Susy! 

  Primroses at the church in Holly's village- also Wood Anemone, Bluebells, buttercups and Cowslips in the church . Still surprised how few migrants in Holly's village- just the odd Blackcap, Chiffchaff and some Swallows. 
The first time I've been given evil's from a house
 Golden Plovers and Dunlin at Otmoor- e-bird list HERE
Chiffy at Beddington yesterday- also had 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Blackcap, 6 Whitethroat, 1 Sedge Warbler, 5 Reed Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 4 Little Ringed Plover, 8 Shelduck, 10 Teal, 5 Shoveler and 6 Gadwall 
Sacrificial crop growing well at the farmlands
 Kent Black Arches in the Beddington moth trap (Least Black Arches not Kent- cheers Lee)
Many-plumed Moth at Beddington