Tuesday 31 July 2007

The Regent's Park Kestrel

Sunday 29 July 2007

Park Nutters

During a trip to Hyde Park on Saturday I had the good fortune to make a new friend in 71-year-old Colin who, he wouldn't mind me saying, was a complete squirrel nutter. During squirrel feeding, dog scaring and story telling (unrepeatable here) Colin shared his collection of wildlife photographs taken in some of London's other Royal parks.

Tamara and I took inspiration from Colin's enthusiasm and decided to spend Sunday taking in some new scenery at Regent's Park. That's where we found this Dunnock with three others. Thanks to the dedication of a Robin nutter's daily serving they were as tame as it gets.

Thursday 19 July 2007

Wasp Nest

After a mental week at work I took myself down to Kensington Gardens for some much needed tree gazing. There wasn't much to report on the bird front but I did find this [drum roll] smart looking wasp nest.

Friday 6 July 2007

Hyde Park Little Egret

I got a new patch tick tonight when strolling around The Serpentine with Tamara. Little Egrets have been spotted flying over Hyde Park earlier this year by Central London recorder, Des McKenzie but I'm not sure when the last one was noted on the ground. Actually it was up a tree before circling the lake only to be mobbed by a couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and dropping out of site. I hope to relocate it tomorrow and take a better shot than this poor effort taken through my Binoculars.

India Correspondent Maiden Report

I've been chasing anything with feathers around the ashram for the last couple of days, book in one hand and camera in the other. It's good to be able to put a name to all the birds I've been seeing for the last year or so. The ashram (nr Madurai) is on the edge of forest and until a couple of years ago the land here was uninhabited so there's lots of wildlife still venturing in (scorpions, snakes, monkeys, wild bison ....)
Some of the regular avian visitors to the ashram that I've been able to identify include Indian Peafowl, Indian Roller, White-throated Kingfisher, Common Myna, White-browed Wagtails, Black Drongo, House Crow, Large Billed Crow, and recently some Spotted Doves and a group of Asian Palm Swifts have been around.
Lately in the morning I can watch a Spotted Owlet sitting in the mango tree as I brush my teeth. Yesterday morning there were also three baby Spotted Owlets dotted about the branches all doing their funny neck exercises as they tried to work out if I was dangerous. Mum was keeping a close eye. In the afternoon I went down to the pond and saw a pair of Red Wattled Lapwing and an Indian Pond Heron.
This morning there was a big owl (maybe 50cm) out by the pond but I couldn't get close enough to identify it. I'm going to have to look into the price of binoculars!

Thursday 5 July 2007

Here's my picture of the swifts.
For what it's worth, I counted 187.

Tuesday 3 July 2007

New Tick

It's been a long time coming but after over a year of trawling through my Birdcam archive I have finally recorded a new species. This female Chaffinch was spotted a few weeks ago on the ledge outside our flat and a male can be heard singing from the estate (background) but this is the first time it's ventured up to the feeder. Bingo!
The other recorded species can be seen here.


When I went up on the roof this morning to survey my surveillance I was confronted with a vision so hideous I almost fell off the fire escape.

'Baby' Pigeons must be one of the ugliest creations known to man and any sign that the local pigeon population is growing only serves to remind me how much of my prime sunflower hearts go to the feral population, not to mention the hard hours of Guano sweeping I've put in over the years.

But, somehow, this pathetic little maverick stole a piece of my heart. Perhaps it's the way he refused to take flight despite the rest of his family fleeing for their lives or perhaps it was the way he belligerently walked back to his favourite position after I'd shooed him across the roof.

Monday 2 July 2007

Hanningfield Reservoir Swifts

After a wet walk around more Canewdon Farmland and a quick stop at Hockley Woods we abandoned our original plan to see how the Wallasea wetlands project was developing. We met up with Dad at Hanningfield Reservoir instead to make the most of their hide facilities were we were treated to the uplifting spectacle of a thousand Swifts hawking over the main stretch of water. Click the image above to play a QuickTime movie taken through my scope (Nikon ED50) on my mobile phone (Nokia N73).
Other sightings of note included 4 pairs of Red-crested Pochard and a Black Swan, totally untickable according to the BOU list but relatively new for this patch.

It all proved too much for Matt.

Lion Creek, Essex

On Saturday morning we set off early for a trip to Lion Creek, an arable farmland and meadow with a creek running through it just off the River Crouch and managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust. The hope was to reacquaint ourselves with some of our favourite farmland species and maybe catch a glimpse of a Hen Harrier (a lifer for both of us). Alas, there was no Hen Harrier to be seen but, sure enough, the Yellowhammers were showing in the same spot as Matt's last visit. In fact we saw about seven of them during our stay including a youngen and much singing and displaying. We presumed the adult male shaking his wings with a fly in his beak was displaying anyway. Perhaps it was trying to gain the attention of its offspring? Other highlights included a couple of Yellow Wagtails (below), two Turtle Doves, a Hobby and a singing Corn Bunting.