Sunday 27 January 2008

Yellow-legged Gull, Hyde Park

I had a quick spin around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens this morning. I didn't add anything to my year list and even missed out on a few of the regulars (Tawny owl and Mediterranean Gull), but was rewarded with this adult Yellow-legged Gull on the Serpentine.

The first winter White-fronted Goose (right) of dubious origins was still with the Greylags over near the Round Pond too.

Saturday 26 January 2008

Tree Sparrows, Beddington Sewage Farm

Tree SparrowsBeddington Sewage Farm is the most reliable spot for Tree Sparrows in the London circle and only twenty minutes on the train from Victoria. It was worth every penny of the £4.30 fare to see these endearing little creatures, a long-overdue and much-wanted lifer too.

Thanks to Dip or Glory for the directions.

Friday 25 January 2008


Went to Hanningfield Reservoir today.
Didn't see the long tail ducks that had been reported there, but did see 4 Barnacle geese (lifer for me) and 3 Brambling (female pictured here).

Saturday 19 January 2008

Mediterranean Gull, Still With Us

After a brief absence towards the start of the year the German-ringed Mediterranean Gull seems to have settled for a winter on Kensington Gardens' Round Pond. It was showing well again today, down to a couple of meters at times.

Thursday 17 January 2008

Goldeneye, Abberton Reservoir

There were loads of Goldeneye on Abberton Reservoir too, all of them easy on the eye, none of them easy to photograph.

A fine days birding

After 4 months away from birding (moving home and reinventing my business) the thought of a days birding with my brother sometimes felt like it would never happen. Well, yesterday it finally did and it was great!
The day started in Hockley Woods looking for the Hawfinch and Lesser spotted woodpeckers.
Neither appeared, but we were not downhearted. After hours of dedication last winter we had seen both birds and weren't feeling the pressure. We did see/hear some fine Song Thrushes, Greater Spotted Woodpeckers and a tree creeper. I practised my low light photography on the Redwings shown here.
Our plan B for seeing a Hawfinch was to stop at Braxted Hall (on our way up to Abberton) where numerous Hawfinches had been reported in recent years. Alas, we did not see a Hawfinch but were compensated with a cracking view of 2 handsome male Bullfinches and a pair of Buzzards. Braxted Hall had the 'feel good' factor and I'm sure will be a traditional stop off for future trips north.
We continued our journey north to Abberton Reservoir.
On previous visits to the reservoir we had concerntrated on the visitor centre and the hides there. This time we discovered just how good the 2 causeways spanning the reservoir were.
With a little bit of help we found the full set of Smews (drake, red head and juv) (drake pictured). Somehow, Paul found the 4 White Fronted Geese facing away from us in a field full of Greylags (see goose bum shot!). Both these birds were lifers for us both. I had 2 more lifers in the shape of a Goosander and an Egyptian Goose. We stayed at the most Westerly causeway until sundown. We had been told there was a chance of seeing a Bittern coming into roost. The Bittern didn't show, but while we were waiting Paul had a Kingfisher fly into his scope's eye view and we enjoyed the spectacle of every other bird positioning themselves for nightfall (including pictured heron). There on the causeway the dusk was still and eerily summer-like and with the sun, all the stress of the last 4 months disappeared, and I remembered why I love birding so much.

Sunday 6 January 2008

Peregrine Part II

A male Peregrine was back in the Paddington area again today. Cracking!

Saturday 5 January 2008


It's been a good day for Peregrine observation. I saw the first one for my Hyde Park patch list or rather Des put me onto it before I missed it, and then this one was perched up near the flat. Very possibly the same bird.

Lucky shot

As any practising digi-scoper will know, a little bit of luck is always much appreciated. Boy was I grateful when I pulled off this shot of a jay.
Not only did the bird strike the perfect pose, it managed to peek through all the tangled willow twigs and branches too.
To add to my flukiness the camera (canon ixus 55) I was holding up to my scope (Nikon ED 60) was telling me it wanted to use the flash because the light was so poor (I've never taken a decent shot through my scope when the flash goes off). I pulled the trigger regardless and hey presto.
So there you go, a little bit of hope for us all.

Wednesday 2 January 2008

My hero

My last post (over 3 months ago now!) was just before I moved house.
I'm now settled in my new place and getting used to my new patch.
Amongst the mass of starlings, passing gulls and odd tit there is one bird that rules the roost. This Robin.
I watch in awe as he fights for his favourite aerial with starlings, chases off great tits and sparrows, he even gave me and dad a close examination when we were putting up the shed.
I hope my next entry is a result of me finally going bird watching, but for now I'll keep drawing inspiration from my new hero.