Friday 31 August 2007

Red-Backed Shrike (juv)

After seeing the reports for this bird yesterday I made sure I was at Rainham Marshes for sun rise this morning. After 2 hours of scanning buddleia bushes my patience was rewarded when the bird popped out 10 meters in front of where I was sitting. This is an excellent bird for a slow handed photographers like me. It spent up to a minute at a time on exposed perches looking for insects. A really magic moment.

Tuesday 28 August 2007

Death's Head Hawk Moth Caterpillar

Surely the craziest looking creature we've seen on one of our trips. This Death's Head Hawk Moth Caterpillar at Rainham Marshes was stunning. We also saw a Spotted Fly Catcher. A lifer for me. Whoopee!

Monday 27 August 2007


Sadly, it would appear that the trichomoniasis outbreak that has blighted Greenfinch populations throughout Britain for the previous few years may have reached my corner of London.

On Saturday evening I noted a strange-acting male around my feeders who, in hindsight of a brief trichomoniasis education, showed all the typical symptoms of the parasite-related disease. It appeared lethargic and slightly disorientated after appearing to struggle with its food. Having stayed in the area long after normal feeding hours it disappeared. After a fruitless search of the streets below for any trace of a body I put it to the back of my mind.

That is, until this morning, when I returned home from a brief trip away to find this dead, male Greenfinch lying close to the feeders.

So, on advice, I'll be closing down my feeding area for a couple of weeks to discourage the congregation of any possibly infected birds with their unaffected counterparts. The hope is that when I fire up the webcam again next month I'll still have some visitors.

The RSPB/GBHi have been informed and the body awaits inspection.

NB: I take great pride and care in cleaning my feeders weekly.

Saturday 25 August 2007

Well Spotted

My God I've put a lot of hours into this bird! Some birds surprise you when you see them for the first time but this Spotted Flycatcher at Kensington Gardens was text book. It gave a classic call to get my attention from, sure enough, an exposed branch, before 'hovering' to catch a passing fly. Can't say fairer than that.

Tuesday 21 August 2007

Dragon fly

Been restricted to watching wildlife from our work room lately. Luckily for me this handsome fella showed up on our banana tree. Any help with identification would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers Matt

Tuesday 14 August 2007

Pure Gold

There have been good numbers of both Goldfinches and Greenfinches around the feeders recently with the majority being this year's crop of juveniles. They usually queue up on the TV arial five feet above this image but sometimes, like today, there is no time for manners.

Saturday 4 August 2007

Why Did the Slow-worm Cross the Road?

We never found out because a couple of fishermen drove past and we had to shepherd this young lady back off the tarmac on the way to Potton Island.