Saturday 29 July 2017

Queen Mary Reservoir Ringing, 29th July 2017

Yesterday I was tearing myself up about whether I should stay nearby and go to the Banstead Woods butterfly walk at 10am or the ringing demonstration at Queen Mary Reservoir at 9am. In the end we opted for the ringing, as it was something which I was planning to learn as part of the BTO and I hadn't done it before. When we got there, we nearly left due to nobody being there; fortunately a treatment works person locking a gate let us in to meet them. Unfortunately we just missed a juvenile Green Woodpecker but managed to see Blackcap (juv, fem, male) in the hand. 

juv Blackcap
Goldfinches came in regularly, as did Great and Blue Tit. 

juv Blue Tit

juv Great Tit

juv Goldfinch
A single Blackbird and Song Thrush came in, and there were a fair few young Robins. 
juv Robin

Song Thrush
It was great to see some of the birds in the hand, with a pair of young Long-tailed Tits in together as well. A few Greenfinches were also around. 3 Wrens came in, with 1 flying back into their store room for a spidery snack! 
juv Long tailed Tits
Fortunately 3 Chiffchaff came in, with 2 of them being juveniles. 
juv Chiffchaff
2 Reed Warblers (including a nest) and 2 Whitethroat excited me. 


(old) Reed Warbler

Reed Warbler1

Reed Warbler2
A highlight was the capture of a tiny Goldcrest, which had evidently just left the nest!

Goldcrest fledgling
However, my highlight was the capture of a travelling Willow Warbler - this is my small bird which I never see (and this is my first for 2 years!)

Willow Warbler adult

Willow Warbler adult
Unfortunately, we didn't get a Kingfisher - last week they had. While being shown the nets there were Common buzzard, Common Terns, Green Woodpeckers and Nuthatches. Painted Ladies, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and Common Blues were also noted. 

Painted Lady

LWC Barnes, 28th July 2017

Yesterday we met up with family at Barnes allowing me a chance to try and spot anything of interest. 

Being a boring time of year, with barely anything of note except an Arctic Tern flyby before getting there, I wasn't as excited as I normally would be. Between the Dulverton and WWF hides there was nothing of note except lots of Sand Martins whizzing over, and Greenfinches, tits, the yellow-billed Moorhen and Robins at the feeders. A family of Reed Warblers flew around in the trees, driving me mad.
juv Greenfinch
From the WWF, I spotted a duck which reminded me of a female Wigeon. For good reason; it was a female Wigeon! A surprising bird to see, but it does show that autumn is coming! 
fem Wigeon
Once it started pouring with rain, I reached the Peacock Tower and spent a good time around there. There were lots of Sand Martin, Lapwing, ducks and also a Black-headed Gull feeding its chick. Though I saw one of the young Lapwing, it was miles away and I couldn't get a picture.  



Black-headed chick feeding time

 At the bottom, there were Reed Warblers in the sun after the downpour, and butterflies fluttered around.
Meadow brown

Reed Warbler
Emperor Dragonfly

Reed Warbler with caterpillar
After a quick lunch, I headed to the Wildside, en route stopping at the Headley Hide where a Sparrowhawk briefly disturbed the gulls. The Wildside was also busy with Sand Martins. It was the butterflies which stole the show however, with blues, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Small Heaths, Painted Ladies, Red Admirals and a first for the year through a Small Copper. A Six-spot Burnet also posed. 
Sand Martin

Six-Spot Burnet Moth

Common Blue

Small Copper
Common Blue

Small Copper


Meadow Grasshopper
A quick walk down the South Route had a Common lizard on a post and a damselfly. 

Common lizard

Beautiful Demoiselle?

Wednesday 26 July 2017

Spain - Day 4, El dia de los vencejos! 20th July 2017

This was the last day of our short trip, so we were just hanging around near our hotel in Torremolinos. I decided to try and get some pictures of the swifts, which were flying around in hundreds above everyone. I noted 3 of the 4 species- Pallid, Alpine and Common. I took a lot of pictures, merely to try and get a good one of any Swift. Also had a mystery small bird - I say mystery but the picture was just so bad I couldn't identify it.

Pallid and Common

Pallid and Common




A great trip to Spain. With it no being the holidays, hopefully I'll get a bit more time to go out.

Monday 24 July 2017

Spain - Day 3, Ronda y Mijas, 19th July 2017

Today was the day I was looking forward to the most. By 9.00am our coaches had set off on the journey to Ronda - the town on the cliffs. 
The journey itself was eventful, with incredible views and good birds as well. A group of Cattle egret flew overhead, while 2 Great white Egret sat by a boating lake. More birds of prey were seen, and more poor silhouette shots were taken. Alpine Swifts swirled around, as did White-rumped Swifts.


Cattle Egret




White Rumped Swift
After around an hour and a half, we arrived and were given some free-time to have a look around. By a little park, a Short-toed Treecreeper could be heard but not seen. Then we got to the cliffs - Crag Martins flew around in numbers, and a Rock Sparrow flew downwards. A large bird flew over very fast, leaving me frustrated. 

In the gorge, there were around 50 Choughs.


A pair of Kestrel clung to the cliff, and the Swifts and Crag Martins dashed by.


Crag Martin

Fortunately, I spotted a small blue bird leap across the cliffs around 300m down. A delightful Blue Rock Thrush!

Blue rock Thrush

Blue Rock Thrush
Now is a bird that I've spent every day trying to identify. It's probably something very common but I've missed it, but it looked around the size of a small falcon, circling the bottom of the gorge, then disappeared. This is completely unedited, only cropped. Please comment if you have an idea of what this is.

(I have absolutely NO idea what this is)
After a walk in a bullring, we were given a little more freetime, and I added Bonelli's Eagle, Booted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel and Griffon Vulture to the day's birds. 
Booted Eagle

Griffon Vulture
After leaving, we went to a small village called 'Las Mijas' where a House martin was feeding young in a little tower.
House Martin

House Martin
A great day, with lots of unknown species. With the last day being the 20th, hopefully some other things would get added to the list.