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Monday, March 26, 2012

26th March

Regent’s Park

Northern Wheatear: one flew west at 7.35am.

Chiffchaff: 7 birds singing.

Blackcap: 3 males singing.

Reed Bunting: male singing from area 1.


Blackcap in area 40


Bushy Park

Common Buzzard: west side of the park.

Kingfisher: a pair flew along the Longford River.

Blackcap: 1 singing in the Round Plantation.

Chiffchaff: 4 on the western side of the park.




Richmond Park

Common Buzzard: one drifted east at 12.45 pm.




glen said...

You've must be covering most of NW London... Great work.
Would like to have seen Northern Wheatear.

Tony Duckett said...

glen most of the regents records are from dave and birdman Ruston. I look during late afternoon and at weekends.

birdman_euston said...

27 Mar: Crisp, clear morning. (The high-pressure system responsible for the current dry weather is drifting westwards into the Atlantic, so the winds are gradually becoming less favourable for migrants - there was a very light NNE breeze this morning.)

(In response to Tony's query yesterday, unfortunately I'm still not certain that the wild first-year male Smew has left - more on this in a separate comment below.)

The native, deciduous shrubbery is leafing out fast [e.g. the hedgerows bordering the S side of the Wetland Pen (area 32) and the W side of the English Gardens (areas 20 & 21)], which may explain why I've heard more and more Blackcaps in the past couple of days, as the leaf-insect population increases.

Blackcap 6: singing males heard in areas 10&19 (pair that flew across the Inner Circle), 17 (NE of the Queen Mary's Garden pond), 40, and 42 (two males singing at opposite ends of the ornamental garden).

Chiffchaff 4: areas 1, 19&17 (probably the same singing male), 31 and 40.

Coal Tit 1: singing in area 18 at 09.20 and again in area 29 at the Inner Circle at 09.50; however, the songs were different - I'm assuming for now that it's the same male singing alternate songs, rather than two different birds.

Goldcrest 1: singing in a tall, thin, ornamental conifer (a cedar, I think) in the Mediterranean border of Queen Mary's Gardens, area 18; this could be the same male heard singing regularly (but not this morning) from the hillside yews in area 17.

Great Crested Grebe 3: single in area 6; a pair protecting possible nest in area 7, halfway along a tree lying prostrate over the water on the E side of Bandstand Island, area 7 - they appear to have lost the dispute I saw two weeks ago with a pair of Coots, over possession of the favoured nest site at the 'top' of the tree.

Little Grebe 5: single in areas 1&2; pairs in areas 13, and 36 (near Long Bridge sanctuary.

Shelduck 2: roosting on Heron Island, area 7.

Egyptian Goose 8: not including the family of 6 that's been feeding beside the pond in Queen Mary's Garden for the past month.

Mandarin Duck 4: seen roosting near the shoreline of area 10, in the grounds of The Holme - I suspect several more birds remain in the Park.

Gadwall 4: contrary to what I wrote yesterday, there are still a few around it seems - but I didn't see any wild Teal, and haven't for several days at least.

Pintail 1: drake in area 6.

Shoveler 9: areas 8 and 36.

Black-headed Gull 7: swimming on the boating lake.

birdman_euston said...

27 Mar: I looked for the first-year male Smew in the Long Bridge sanctuary this morning. Frustratingly, I found only one adult male and one 'redhead'; the rest of the Smews must have been roosting somewhere out of sight. Without another (female) redhead to compare with the redhead I found, I couldn't convince myself one way or the other. (Regarding pinioning, the flight feathers appeared to be the same length on both sides but didn't come close to crossing over the back.)

Tony, are the following text and linked pic accurate vis-a-vis the bird I'm looking for?

[Description of juvenile male Smew in "Wildfowl" by Steve Madge and Hilary Burn:

"Young male larger than female, with tertials longer and paler. Develops adult-like features towards end of first winter or in first spring, but can have blackish lores by autumn."]

Link (cut & paste to browser window) to pic, taken from Wiki Commons:

Tony Duckett said...

Hi Birdman.

juv male would possibly overlap with 1st winter drake. The bird was loosing it's juv feathers.

The tertials were clearly visible on the bird giving it that frosty appearance.

These features can be hard to see unless you get close views.

birdman_euston said...

Thanks for the tip about the bird's mantle, Tony. I was going cross-eyed over the past few weeks checking every redhead Smew for black lores, which would be hard to see unless the light is perfect. Both field marks are visible in this perfect photograph: First year male Smew