Wednesday 31 May 2017

Morden Hall Park again, 31st May 2017

This afternoon, while the sun was out, we went for a walk in Morden again. Immediately, many more insects were about with hundreds of bees and wasps, as well as damselflies. By the mill, a pair of Grey Wagtails were bringing food to their young, who seem to be in the crevices of the old mill. 

Grey Wagtail - left is male, right is female

m Grey Wagtail
On one of the quieter, wilder path through the woods, many more creatures were busily going about their lives. During this, a Great Tit was picking off insects when a male Sparrowhawk darted through the trees about 10 metres from me, narrowly missing the bird and then flying out into the open again. Another awesome experience! 
Canada Geese and 3 Gosling
The reedbeds were once again very pleasant, with 2 pairs of Reed Warblers now hiding. Unfortunately, there was no sign nor sound of the Cetti's Warbler, but it might have been on the far sound, where we probably wouldn't be able to hear it. 

Reed Warbler 1

Reed Warbler 2
Also, at least 4 pairs of Blackcap, 2 Nuthatch and 3 Chiffchaff - 1 with some mixed notes with Willow Warbler, Blackcap and a tiny bit of Iberian Chiffchaff too, which I am familiar with after going to Spain last year. it was definitely a normal Chiffchaff though, with the majority of the song being normal. A Kestrel flew overhead, but not much else was around bird-wise. Butterflies included Speckled Wood, Brimstone, whites and blues.

Speckled Wood
A huge variety of damselflies were around, including the below. 
Banded Demoiselle
Southern/Northern? Damselfly - need some help on these ones 

Small Red Damselfly

Banded Demoiselle 

Thursday 25 May 2017

Garden Raptor and pics, 25th May 2017

Yesterday, with more bright sunshine and clear skies there was a steady flow of gulls and a few raptors. A single Common Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawk and a Red Kite were noted, with with the Red Kite heard not seen. Almost 200 Herring Gulls around, with some LBBs. One raptor came over as well during the early afternoon, flying over rapidly very high up. It kept moving its tail left and right, changing direction; I thought it was a Buzzard originally, and still think so but it looks a little bit off
A highlight was a Little Egret at 1819 yesterday, which flew over towards Beddington - this is a 'garden' first. (I have got to apologise about the awful picture quality!)



With half term next week, I'm hoping to get at least one birding trip in, considering I have exams two weeks afterwards.

Tuesday 23 May 2017

Morden Hall Park 23-May-17: An array of Warblers

Today we visited Morden Hall very briefly in the afternoon for a stroll. The park seemed much more wild than before, with reeds and nettles springing up 6 foot above the ground. On the way to the boardwalk, several common species hustled around collecting food for young. 

Blue Tit
As we approached, the Cetti's Warbler exploded into song, but hid from view for the hour I was there. After eating, the slightly unexpected song of a Reed Warbler came from the reeds. It showed among the reeds, but only in brief intervals. 

Reed Warbler #1

Reed Warbler #1
A Blackcap posed on a branch, and several Chiffchaff sang away in the treetops. A one-call appeared from a distant Willow Warbler, as did a single piece of song from a Whitethroat. 

m Blackcap

The single Reed Warbler turned into a pair, and a Reed Bunting flew off further into the reeds. A possible first for 2017 with 3 calls from a Hobby, but not clear enough for a tick (yet!) All in all, a successful visit to a park within reach of Morden! 
Reed Warbler #2

Reed Warbler #2

Holly Blue

Garden Birding in late May

With the sun reappearing again, I've been spending a little time in the garden, sitting on a chair staring up at the sky. A steady flow of mostly Herring Gulls have been around, as well as the local Swifts which are swirling around non-stop at the moment. A pair of Sparrowhawk have often appeared, and local birds are nesting again.
m Sparrowhawk

Gull sp. (Herring?)

juv Greenfinch


One thing, like many intermediate nature-lovers, that I can't get my head around too well are gulls. If all the gulls seen here in Britain lined up next to each other, I would possible get ID right. But this definitely needs a lot of work!

Sunday 7 May 2017

Banstead Woods, 7th May 2017

After cricket in the morning, I went to Banstead Woods for an afternoon walk. The woods looked spectacular at times; hundreds of bluebells surrounded the trees almost everywhere. 

3 Buzzards called intermittently, and a Peregrine flew by. At least 5 pairs of Blackcap were noted and a Garden Warbler sang and flew off near the border between Canon's farm, but not relocated. 3 Great-spotted woodpeckers, 6 Chiffchaff and a pair of Green Woodpeckers were seen too. Butterflies included Peacock, Large White and a Skipper sp. With there being dense woodland, it was hard to see anything like the Goldcrest and Coal Tits, which were frequently heard.

Great Spotted Woodpecker




Wednesday 3 May 2017

Spring Firsts and Winter Highlights

Over the last two weeks, the cricket season has kicked in so I haven't done very much at all since the Beddington Farmlands visit. On the 1st May, while en route to a cricket match, we passed Staines Reservoirs (no stop though) and I had my first 2 Swifts of the year (made my day) as well as a tern sp. which flew over the car (possibly Arctic, if not Common.) Also, on a fence post, there was a bird perching, looking like a Meadow Pipit. To me, spring doesn't start till I see my first Swallow, so according to this it started on the 13th April. Or should it be the first Swift?

Over the winter
In October, a visit to Barnes had no rarities but I got some great views of a Cetti's Warbler. 
Cetti's Warbler
Most of the winter was spent garden birding. A highlight was 2 Waxwings by the Grange in Beddington Park, in February. The same birds (probably) flew over my house the same day. No pics 😒. A real treat was over two weeks in January, where a huge flock of up to c. 200 Redwing visited the gardens nearby, including ours, literally destroying the berry trees! A shame that my pictures weren't great through my window. 2 Fieldfare also visited one day. A regular Great-Spotted woodpecker, and other general garden visitors hung around.


Great Tit

Long-tailed Tit
Otherwise, this winter has been pretty good by way of park and nature reserve visits. Barnes' Bitterns were great, and everything at local parks has been pretty solid. Rainham was enjoyable, while finally, Beddington Farmlands was just perfect for a first trip. 



Sedge Warbler
New life additions:
  • Water Pipit
  • Siberian Chiffchaff
  • Goshawk
  • Sedge Warbler
  • Wheatear
New Garden Additions:
  • Goshawk
  • Peregrine
  • Fieldfare
  • Song Thrush
  • Mistle Thrush