Search This Blog


Tuesday, December 06, 2016

New species of gull for the park

Regent's Park 5th December

It has been fairly quiet in the park for the past few weeks, with only the odd interesting record. These have been single Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, small numbers (less than 10) of Redwing, Fieldfare and Lesser Redpoll. Waterfowl numbers have increased with the arrival of Tufted Ducks, possibly from as far away as Russia. Mandarins and Shovelers also number over 30+ individuals.

I have been checking the lake most in the hope of finding something more interesting. Yesterday afternoon this happen, while checking the gulls out on the lake at 2.40pm my attention was drawn to a large attractive pale headed bird. My first thought was that it could be a 1st winter Caspian Gull, however this is a species that I have only seen twice before and they were distant adults up in Norfolk. The light was quite good and I managed to take a few distant photos of the bird perched and in flight. Once I got home I was even more convinced of the birds identity but so airing on the side of caution I posted 4 pictures on twitter @parksbirdlondon saying 1st winter Yellow-legged Gull in Regent's Park. I then sat back and waited to see what reaction I got, it wasn't long before the first of a few said that it looked more like a 1st winter Caspian Gull. I then posted a few more photos showing other features that all added up to the bird being Inner London's first Caspian Gull. It didn't stay long, heading off towards London Zoo after about 10 mins. 

Friday, November 04, 2016

Pictorial of from The Royal Parks that I have visited recently.

Regent's Park

Bird movement has slowed considerably in the past 2 weeks. There has been small movements of winter thrushes and finches, in the past couple of days on quiet misty mornings Wood Pigeons have also been seen but not in large numbers. In Regent's a couple of Ring Ouzel's sighted in area 39 and 42 one afternoon. The odd Chiffchaff and Blackcap can still be found, a female Firecrest was trapped in area 41 on the 2nd.

    Siskin's have been passing over in small numbers
    Passage Mistle Thrushes are harder to notice, these birds were very direct as they passed

    A lone Redwing heads south in the mist

    A flock of around 60 Fieldfare's dropped down just west of area 39.

    The resident Blackbirds have been joined by birds from the continent. 
    This Grey Wagtail dropped down on to this bench which is in the middle of the 
    open spaces.
    Crayfish numbers fluctuate in the park, they have only been present in the park since
    the early 1990's

    Richmond Park

    I have had to attend a couple of meetings in Richmond Park which has given me the chance 
    to checkout Pen Ponds.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Norfolk long weekend and many missed birds.

Norfolk 20th -23rd October

This time of year is a fantastic time of the year to be in Norfolk, this year even more so as the winds have been from the east for a couple of weeks.  I was there for 3 or so days most of it doing bits and pieces in the house, which means disappearing for hours isn't on, even my early morning joints are out of the equation as it doesn't get light enough to bird until 7.30ish. This meant I kept pretty much on the east coast of the county looking for migrants of my own. I did see quite a few recently arrived winter thrushes, skylarks coming in off  the sea and in some cases birds flying parallel to the coast but deciding to stay out there rather head for the safety of the land. Something that I really didn't want to happen was a text message from my friend saying that an Isabelline Wheatear a scarce vagrant  had been found on the other side of Norfolk. If I chose to get up early between late spring to early autumn the drive can be done in an hour and a half, followed by a 30 minute and hoping the bird is on show. If that all goes to plan it is a 5 hour jaunt. Did I see it? of course I did, that was the only bird that persuaded me to put the paint brush down.

Below are a few photos taken while away and I didn't take many

    Isabelline Wheatear Burnham Overy Dunes

    Common Buzzard over an old coastal watch point, great views unfortunately this lump
    flushed 3 Lapland Buntings before I could get a photo.

    These 2 Buzzards were mewing over theshouse
    This Hedge Accentor came in off the sea but wasn't accompanied by a Siberian Accentor. It 
    is a shame that this species unseen in the UK until 3 weeks ago and now recorded 9 times
    with all records north of  Spurn Point has not been found in East Anglia.

    Goldcrest and Continental Blackbird on the walk to the coastal watch point

    Starlings leave their reed bed roost
    These skeins of geese flew over the house daily

    These Pink-footed, White-fronted, Barnacle and Brent Geese were in fields near the 
    Isabelline Wheatear

    Guess who?