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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

31st July

Bushy Park

Again not much time to do any birding apart from moving between jobs.

Hobby: one seen carrying food over the Hampton Court Road.

Cettis Warbler: one singing by the Longford River just north of Dukes Head Passage. This bird has been in the area for several days and is a 1st for the park.

Willow Warbler: one singing in the same area as the above.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

30th July

Richmond Park

I had a few minutes to kill before the team that I was supervising in removing Oak Processionary Moth caterpillar nests arrived so I popped down to Pen Ponds.

Great Crested Grebe: each adult was tending one very large chick each. I am not sure where the 3rd one was.

Common Tern: the last 2 chicks had fledged and were chasing the adults around Pen Ponds begging for food. There was no sign of the other juveniles, but they may have moved to a better location.

Common Sandpiper: one was on the northern shore while I was a long way off on the southern. I drove around to get slightly closer but could not relocate it.

Hobby: a pair dropped in to a dead tree.


The A316 looking over Chiswick Bridge towards Richmond at 5.40 am the other day. It really is the best time to travel in London.






Which way is it going





Monday, July 29, 2013

29th July

Raptor with a jizz that puzzled me. It was quite away off but my first impression was that it didn’t look like a C.Buzzard. The weather was really hot but the head, bill and shape of the neck seemed out of place.

What do you think?



Saturday, July 27, 2013

27th July

Luckily for me I didn’t miss much in the park.

A flock of 5 Crossbills flying south east and a Nuthatch that has been present since early last week being the star birds.


Common Sandpiper: one was on the shore of area 8 this morning.

Norfolk could have been a little better, although there is always something to see. The weather was just to warm and we escaped most of the thunderstorms. I was gutted when I realised that I had left my camera at home and had to make do with digiscoping which can be okay if the birds are still and reasonably close. I even had to contend with a misty morning, which was frustrating as that day the birds were closer to the hides on Cley’s NNT reserve.

My highlights are listed below.

Red-throated Diver: an adult flew west past Cley.

Spoonbill: birds were present in a channel to the east of The East Bank every day. Birds could be seen flying in across the reserve, early morning and evening be good times to see them in flight.

Booted Eagle? there were reports from fairly reliable sources that dark morph bird was being seen around a nearby refuse tip and wood. I visited the area one afternoon and saw a broad, straight-winged raptor thermaling on level wings over the wood and not once in 8 minutes of thermaling did it show the u-shaped upward angled wings of a Common Buzzard. There  were also several Red Kites and over 14 C.Buzzards in the air when I scanned the skies. 

Common Scoter: flocks were heading west most days, possibly joining others off the coast of Titchwell. Here a large flock gathers, the only trouble is the fact they are normallyso far from shore.

Arctic Skua: 2 flew west, one very close in shore, just rubbing salt in to the wounds, that it would have been a great photo opportunity.

Wood Sandpiper (4), Green Sandpiper (at least 12 on reserve), Curlew Sandpiper (1), Spotted Redshank (2), Little Stint (2),

Two-barred Crossbill (Kelling Heath): several birds arrived in the UK last week. I had a choice of 4 birds 50 miles away or a single bird 26 miles away. I chose the latter, finding the car park from which you have to walk from wasn’t easy. However once found the site the trees the bird sometimes frequents was a short walk away. I had a 20 minute wait before the bird showed, the views and light were not the best. The location is am old railway cottage by a level crossing, in the middle of a heathland. It is a re-opened stretch, that runs from Sheringham to Holt. The annoying thing was that they sound their horns when approaching the crossing. Not knowing the train timetable, I was looking at the crossbill as a train approached the crossing and yes you’ve guessed it on hearing the horn the bird scarpered. Never mind it wasn’t the most attractive of birds.

Common Crossbill: There were 3 with the Kelling Heath called Two-barred Crossbill and one and others heard at Lynford Arboretum a site that held 4 Two-barred’s which has now dropped one bird. I called in on the way home but only saw a Common Crossbill.  



The week started with a beautiful moon in clear skies, however when I awoke at 4.40am on the Monday I was greeted by mist that took until 9.30am to clear completely.













Not the place you would normally expect to find a Swallow perched.



Saturday, July 20, 2013

20th July

Unfortunately I am off to Norfolk for personal reasons for the next few days. If the weather stays fine I will try and get out at least one of the coastal reserves. It is wader time and I would like to see at least one vagrant if not two.


       Pacific Golden Plover seen at Cley NNT Reserve in 2012

20th July

Regent’s Park

Coming towards the end of the month the first of the autumn migrants should start to turn up. If we happen to have a good number of Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers present, then it is worth spending some time looking through them for a Wood Warbler or two. In the good old days we used to have several of these little gems turn up during the autumn.

Today it was the same cast that has been present for the past couple of months. Some ducklings are still managing to keep out of the reach of the larger gulls. Though it seems that the local Sparrowhawks are taking the easy option and catching birds at the feeding stations.

It isn’t only the small birds that are vulnerable, the recently fledged Lesser Black-backed Gull are being attacked by the adult Herring Gulls and were looking slightly water-logged this morning.








The pair of Little Grebes were sitting on what looks like a very sturdy nest at the eastern end of area 7. It would be great if it was a nest but I have never seen one on such a solid platform.


One of 4 Red Crested Pochard ducklings by area 7.





Friday, July 19, 2013

18th July

Peregrine Falcon:

On Tuesday morning while do some early morning monitoring of the birds it became evident that that something wasn’t right. We, that is Paul and I from our vantage point could only see the adult female and she was tucking into a feral pigeon. She was chupping away as if she was hoping that at least one of the 3 juvs would come in for some food. This didn’t happen in the 40 or so minutes that we watched her, twice she made to short flights taking the prey item with her and returning to the same building. Not long after arriving on site I thought I heard the sound of Peregrines calling but it sounded slightly mechanical and only lasted for a few seconds. It wasn’t until we were just about to leave that we heard the call again, it wasn’t far off. In fact we new exactly where it was coming from. We rushed over to the building and made our way up several flights of stairs.

We opened up the door on the top floor and were stunned to see the juv male and female sat there. They were startled by our presence and began flying along the narrow roof space, luckily avoiding girders as they went. It was or so I thought going to be very tricky catching them, but within a couple of minutes I had caught the young male. He possibly recognised me from our meeting a few weeks back as he promptly stuck his talon in the palm of my hand. It took a few seconds for Paul to get to me having captured the capture on his camera. This we are unfortunately unable to show you for the birds benefit, not to save me from any embarrassment movements that I carried out. We were really worried that the female being so much larger was going to come to some harm. However her flying skills were quite remarkable as she ducked a dived over the girders.  I again caught her within a couple of minutes, my years of catching ducks by hand came in very useful. By the time she was free the flow of blood from my flesh wounds had stopped, though there was a little on her feathers.







Thanks to Paul for the picture

Bushy Park the latest news;

Little Egret: yesterday one followed the line of the River Thames just to the east of the park.

Shoveler: an eclipse plumage drake was on Heron Pond yesterday.  

Hobby: a male flew west along Lime Avenue.

Swallow: the families in the Stockyard showed well this morning.






A late Mallard brood on Heron Pond was followed by an early Shoveler a few hours later. However by then there were only 4 ducklings left.



Little Egret and Marbled White