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Saturday, 28 December 2013

Stockers Lake

An afternoon visit in sunny, mild conditions provided the following species:-
Great Crested Grebe, Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Black Swan (1), Greylag Goose (2), Canada Goose, Eurasian Wigeon (c40), Gadwall, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Goldeneye (3), Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Northern Lapwing (28), Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet (2), Common Kingfisher (1), Green Woodpecker (1), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1), Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Common Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Common Chiffchaff (3), Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Treecreeper (1), Nuthatch (1), Common Magpie, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Siskin.
Along the bank of the River Colne I observed 3 Chiffchaff feeding above the water among Crack Willows with at least one individual showing characteristics of the Siberian (tristis) sub-species.

                                                                   Black Swan

                                                     Possible Siberian Chiffchaff

                                                                European Robin



 


Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Stockers Lake in the fog



A morning visit to Stockers Lake with Steve Carter proved to be a challenging experience due to heavy fog covering the lakes with visibility down to approx 30 feet. We did find a small flock of Siskin feeding amongst the Alders adjacent Stockers House. On the lake an adult Mute Swan was doing its best to chase off an immature bird but it too was struggling to see in the fog. From somewhere out on the lake a few Eurasian Wigeon and a Common Kingfisher called. We soon made our way back to the car and headed off to Rickmansworth for a hot cup of tea. 

Sunday, 24 November 2013

23-11-13 Broadwater Gravel Pit Nature Reserve

An early afternoon visit in dry, mild conditions provided the following species:-
Little Grebe (1), Great Crested Grebe, Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Little Egret (1), Mute Swan, Greylag Goose (6), Canada Goose (30), Gadwall, Common Teal (5), Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Goldeneye (7 inc 3 male), Goosander (4 over north), Red Kite (1), Eurasian Sparrowhawk (1), Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Northern Lapwing (62), Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet (1), Common Kingfisher (1), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1), Grey Wagtail (1), Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Common Blackbird, Redwing (4), Common Chiffchaff (1), Goldcrest (2), Long-tailed Tit (16), Coal Tit (1), Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Treecreeper (2), Eurasian Jay (1), Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Common Chaffinch.
   

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Rainham Marshes RSPB Reserve

An afternoon visit in dull, cold conditions provided the following species:-
Little Grebe, Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Western Marsh Harrier (1), Common Kestrel (2), Peregrine Falcon (1), Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Golden Plover (c200), Northern Lapwing (c200), Eurasian Curlew (4), Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, European Stonechat (1), Common Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler (4), Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch.
A female Merlin had been observed earlier in the day but unfortunately did not show during my visit.

                                                             European Stonechat
   
                                                            European Goldfinch

                                                            Northern Shoveler


Friday, 1 November 2013

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve & Lynsters Farm/Gravel Pit

An afternoon visit in dull, mild conditions produced the following species:-
Little Grebe (2), Great Cormorant (1), Greylag Goose (70 Lynsters Farm), Canada Goose (29 Lynsters Farm), Egyptian Goose (1 Lynsters Gravel Pit), Eurasian Wigeon (8 Lynsters Gravel Pit), Common Teal (8), Mallard (21), Tufted Duck (5), Red-crested Pochard (5 inc 2 drake Lynsters Gravel Pit), Eurasian Sparrowhawk (1), Osprey (juvenile), Water Rail (1), Common Moorhen (20), Eurasian Coot (15), Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull (1 over), Lesser Black-backed Gull (1 over), Feral Rock Dove (6 Lynsters Farm), Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet (10), Green Woodpecker (1), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1), Grey Wagtail (1), Pied Wagtail (5 on cricket pitch), Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Common Blackbird, Redwing (2), Cetti's Warbler (1 singing male), Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Treecreeper (1), Eurasian Jay (2), Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw (2), Carrion Crow, Common Chaffinch.
From the Long Hedge Hide I observed the juvenile Osprey as it perched for some time on trees near Shell Hide. Common Magpie and Carrion Crow all mobbed it to start with but eventually lost interest and moved on. Eventually it decided to fish and dived into the water near the new tern raft but was unsuccessful on this occasion and flew off to the north. I then moved on to Rotunda Hide where I noted a single Water Rail as it crept among the reed fringed marsh. 
If you are not already aware Maple Lodge Nature Reserve is a private reserve and is accessible to members only. For membership information please click on the Maple Lodge link which is located in the links column. 

                                                    Grey Wagtail from Rotunda Hide.


                                                    Osprey (record shot in poor light).



 

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Stockers Lake & Stockers Farm

An early afternoon visit in dull, mild conditions provided the following species;
Great-crested Grebe, Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Black Swan (1), Canada Goose, Eurasian Wigeon (17), Gadwall, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Red-crested Pochard (11 including 6 drake), Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet (20), Common Kingfisher (1), Green Woodpecker (1), Grey Wagtail (1), Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Common Blackbird, Redwing (15 over briefly), Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit (6), Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Treecreeper (1), Eurasian Jay (2), Western Jackdaw (1over), Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Siskin (6), Eurasian Bullfinch (male calling briefly).
From the causeway I also noted a Muntjac Deer swimming from island to island below the Osprey pole.
Stockers Farm
5 Northern Lapwing were present on the wet meadow.


                                                         
                                                                 Red-crested Pochard








 


Sunday, 27 October 2013

Broadwater Gravel Pit

An early afternoon visit in mild but windy conditions provided the following species:-
Great-crested Grebe, Great Cormorant, Little Egret (1), Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose (54), Canada Goose (3), Egyptian Goose (2), Eurasian Wigeon (3), Gadwall, Common Teal (8), Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Goldeneye (2), Red Kite (1), Common Buzzard (1), Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Northern Lapwing (75), Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Stock Dove (2), Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet (1), Common Kingfisher (2), Green Woodpecker (1), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1), Wren, European Robin, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Treecreeper (1), Eurasian Jay (2), Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw (c20), Carrion Crow, Eurasian Siskin (2). 

                                                       Goldeneye (female with juvenile)


Thursday, 24 October 2013

Osprey continues to perform at Maple Lodge

After spending a few days in Edinburgh with my better half I was desperate to get down the reserve and catch up with the juvenile Osprey that had been present since Sunday. I arrived at the reserve at 09:30 with birding pal Steve Carter and we headed off to the Long Hedge Hide. On entering we found the hide already occupied with Geoff Lapworth, Dale Ayres, Paul Ward and others all viewing the bird which was present on top of the Long Hedge. After gaining a few brief glimpses and taking a few record shots the bird took off and began to cirlce the reserve before landing on Alders opposite the hide. It remained on its perch for some minutes before eventually taking off again and briefly landing on trees near the Shell Hide. It then took off again and suddenly launched itself into the water and grabbed a small Roach which it carried away.
Other species noted included at least one singing male Cetti's Warbler and a single Kingfisher.

                                                             
                                                              Osprey with Roach



Sunday, 20 October 2013

Osprey at Maple Lodge

At noon today Geoff Lapworth and Tony Hulls observed an Osprey catching a fish near Long Hedge from the Teal Hide. It then briefly perched with the fish (no pun intended) before flying off.  

Monday, 14 October 2013

Common Raven at West Hyde

While out this morning conducting wetland bird survey counts at Pynesfield north gravel pit,  West Hyde I observed a single Common Raven in flight overhead calling briefly as it headed south. This is my first record of this species on my local patch. 

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve

An early afternoon visit in sunny, mild conditions provided the following species of note:-
Little Grebe (5), Common Buzzard (3), Red Kite (1), Eurasian Sparrowhawk (1), Ring-necked Parakeet (2), Green Woodpecker (1), Common Kingfisher (1), Cetti's Warbler (singing male from phragmites), Chiffchaff (1 in Long Hedge), Eurasian Jay (2).
Other fauna noted included a single Migrant Hawker dragonfly observed at the Long Hedge and a Muntjac flushed from the plantation.

                                                            Migrant Hawker (male) 

                                                       Kingfisher (female) from Teal Hide.


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve & Lynsters Farm

I visited the reserve early afternoon to find the work party busily working away while the contractors were finishing off installing the new tern rafts to both clubhouse and marsh lakes. Despite the disturbance 2 Common Snipe showed well from Rotunda Hide and from Shell Hide a lone Kingfisher was briefly noted. Overhead 2 Common Buzzard and a single Red Kite took advantage of the windy conditions to hunt while a single Rook struggled past. A full list of species encountered as follows:-
Little Grebe (6), Great-crested Grebe (Lynsters G.P), Grey Heron (1), Gadwall (Lynsters G.P), Common Teal (1), Mallard (7), Northern Shoveler (2), Common Pochard (3), Tufted Duck (Lynsters G.P), Common Buzzard (2), Red Kite (1), Common Moorhen (8), Eurasian Coot (16), Common Snipe (2), Black-headed Gull (2 over), Feral Rock Dove (2 over), Stock Dove (1), Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet (1), Common Kingfisher (1), Green Woodpecker (1), Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Common Blackbird, Redwing (3), Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Jay (2), Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw (5 over), Rook (1 over), Carrion crow, Common Starling (c100), Common Chaffinch.
  

 

Monday, 7 October 2013

Virginia Water, Surrey

A late morning walk with my wife following the footpath around the lake provided the following species:-
Great-crested Grebe, Great Cormorant, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-headed Gull, Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet, Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Common Blackbird, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit,
Great Tit, Eurasian Nuthatch, Common Treecreeper, Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Common Chaffinch.

Autumn is a good time of the year to find interesting fungi and I happened across a lone Fly Agaric amongst a small area of Birch. 


My wife discovered an odd looking moth caterpillar crossing the path which I believe to be the larva of the Pale Tussock. 











   

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Broadwater Gravel Pit

A late afternoon visit in mild conditions provided the following species:-
Little Grebe (4), Great Crested Grebe, Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Canada Goose (4), Eurasian Wigeon (10), Gadwall, Common Teal (6), Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Red Kite (1), Common Buzzard (1), Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Northern Lapwing (13), Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet (3), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1), Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Common Blackbird, Common Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Treecreeper (1), Eurasian Jay (2), Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw (5), Carrion Crow, Common Chaffinch.

                                                      View of the lake looking east.

While walking along the footpath adjacent the River Colne I happened across the remains of what I believe to be a young Mute Swan. All that remained was a stripped leg with colour ring attached. I have forwarded the information on and am now awaiting a reply.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Woodoaks Farm and Heronsgate

Following the footpath through the farm I arrived at the Old Orchard where a Red Kite was observed in a dead tree.


Then walking through Lady-walk Wood and crossing the footbridge that spans the M25 motorway I continued along the footpath finally reaching the Heronsgate side of the farm. On the ploughed field 3 Northern Wheatear were observed with one individual briefly landing on a fencepost.


I then continued towards Heronsgate where I noted 2 Whinchat on the fence line of the meadow while in the long grass a pair of Red Fox relaxed lazily before being flushed.








I then returned back to the farm via the footpath running from Shepherds Lane, Mill End where I observed a Eurasian Hobby hawking insects overhead. Then on reaching the manure pile another Whinchat was noted briefly before disappearing from view along an overgrown margin of the field. Further along the track a Large White Butterfly was busily drinking nectar from a Sow-thistle.



Species of interest observed  as follows:-
Red Kite (2), Common Kestrel (female), Eurasian Hobby (1), Black-headed Gull (c200), Lesser Black-backed Gull (15), Collared Dove (80), Green Woodpecker (2), Common Skylark (1), Barn Swallow (1), Meadow Pipit (1), Northern Wheatear (3), Whinchat (3), House Sparrow (25), Common Chiffchaff (2), Eurasian Jay (2).
Mammals:-
Red Fox (2), Rabbit.

  

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve & Lynsters Farm

A brief late afternoon visit provided the following species of note:-
Little Grebe (4), Greylag Goose (73 Lynsters Farm), Egyptian Goose (4 Lynsters Farm), Northern Shoveler (30), Green Sandpiper (1), Common Kingfisher (1), Common Chiffchaff (3).

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Woodoaks Farm

I conducted an afternoon visit around Woodoaks Farm following the footpath up towards Beechen Dell and Mill End returning back past the Heronsgate side of the farm. It was here I noted a single Northern Wheatear feeding on the ploughed field while opposite 2 Whinchat posed on the fence line bordering the meadow. Returning back towards the farm buildings 80 Collared Dove were noted in the Old Orchard while 5 Red Kite, C200 Black-headed Gull and 10 Lesser Black-backed Gull were observed following the plough. Reaching the Old Black Barn I happened across a female Sparrowhawk present at a kill notably a Collared Dove and managed to reel off a few shots with the camera.         


A full list of species observed as follows;
Red Kite (5), Eurasian Sparrowhawk (1), Common Buzzard (1), Common Kestrel (2), Black-headed Gull (c200), Lesser Black-backed Gull (10), Feral Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove (80), Green Woodpecker (1), Barn Swallow (15), House Martin (22), Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Whinchat (2), Northern Wheatear (1), Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw (2), Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, European Goldfinch (2), Yellowhammer (2), Common Reed Bunting (1).

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve

A brief late afternoon visit in sunny, hot conditions produced the following species of note:-
Common Buzzard (2), Red Kite (1), Eurasian Hobby (1).
Approaching the pudding stone a Common Frog was noted in the long grass.


 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve

A late afternoon visit in mild conditions provided the following species:-
Little Grebe (3), Grey Heron (1), Mute Swan (Lynsters G.P), Greylag Goose (1 Lynsters Farm), Canada Goose (1 Lynsters Farm), Eurasian Wigeon (1 Lynsters G.P), Gadwall (4), Common Teal (4), Mallard (10), Northern Shoveler (19), Common Pochard (8), Tufted Duck (16), Common Buzzard (2 Lynsters Farm), Eurasian Hobby (1), Common Moorhen (10), Eurasian Coot (42), Black-headed Gull (1), Stock Dove (4 Lynsters Farm), Woodpigeon, Common Kingfisher (1), Green Woodpecker (2 immatures on the cricket field), Wren, European Robin, Common Blackbird, Blackcap (1), Common Chiffchaff (1), Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Treecreeper (1), Eurasian Jay (1), Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw (c20), Carrion Crow.  

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

27-08-13 Maple Lodge Nature Reserve

A sunny late afternoon visit provided the following species:-
Little Grebe (7 inc 2 pairs with young), Grey Heron (1), Mute Swan (Lynsters G.P), Greylag Goose (1 Lynsters Farm), Canada Goose (16 Lynsters Farm), Gadwall (3), Common Teal (2), Mallard (10), Northern Shoveler (10), Common Pochard (7), Tufted Duck (17), Common Moorhen (5), Eurasian Coot (38), Black-headed Gull (3), Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet (1), Common Kingfisher (2), Green Woodpecker (adult and immature), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1), Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Common Blackbird (adult and juvenile), Common Chiffchaff (10), Long-tailed Tit (19), Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Treecreeper (1), Eurasian Jay (1), Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Common Chaffinch.
While in the Teal Hide a movement of Chiffchaff was noted followed by a large gathering of Long-tailed Tit.
In the clear shallows below a large shoal of some 50+ Common Roach were observed feeding.

 

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Western Australia Day 19

A brief late morning visit to Yanchep National Park after heavy rain produced two lifers Red-kneed Dotterel and Red-necked Avocet. A full list of species observed as follows:-
Musk Duck, Australian Shelduck (pair with young), Australian  Wood Duck, Grey Teal, Pacific Black Duck, Spotted Turtle Dove,  Australian Pelican, Purple Swamphen, Black-taiked Native-hen, Black-winged Stilt, Red-necked Avocet, Red-kneed Dotterel, Carnaby's Black Cockatoo, Galah, Little Corella, Australian Ringneck, Laughing Kookaburra, New Holland Honeyeater,  Red Wattlebird, Australian Magpie, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Australian Raven, Tree Martin, Welcome Swallow.


                                                              
                                                               Red-kneed Dotterel


                                                                  Australian Pelican

                                                               Red-knecked Avocet


                                                                Purple Swamphen




Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Western Australia Day 18

A family visit to Serpentine Falls and Dam located in the Darling Range to the east of Perth produced three new lifers, Golden Whistler, Wedge-tailed Eagle and Red-tailed Black Cockatoo. The latter eventually observed at close quarters while having lunch in the cafe above the dam. Dozens of very tame Australian Ringnecks were fed from the hand giving spectacular views. Many flowers were beginning to bloom resulting in dozens of Monarch butterflies taking to the wing in search of nectar.

                                                               Golden Whistler

                                                          Red-tailed Black Cockatoo

                                                             Common Bronzewing

                                           Splendid Fairywren (female) at cafe feeding table

                                                                Australian Ringneck


                                                      Monarch (wanderer) Butterfly







Western Australia Day 17

A family visit to the sleepy city of Mandurah provided us with an opportunity to watch Bottle-nosed Dolphins during a one hour cruise along the estuary and canal region. Unfortunately the Dolphins did not show but the following birds were observed:-
Australian Pelican, Australian Darter, Pied Cormorant, Little Pied Cormorant, Little Black Cormorant, Australian Grebe, Black Swan, Pacific Black Duck, Australian Wood Duck, Eastern Great Egret, Australian White Ibis, Australian Pied Oystercatcher, Black-winged Stilt, Caspian Tern, Crested Tern, Osprey, Nankeen (Australian) Kestrel, Spotted Turtle Dove, Galah, Australian Ringneck, Red Wattlebird, Australian Raven. 

                                                                    Pied Cormorants


Monday, 12 August 2013

Western Australia Day 16

A late morning visit to Joondalup Lake produced two new species, Pink-eared Duck and Inland Thornbill. The former a surprisingly uncommon species despite being listed as common in the Perth area. A full list of species observed as follows:-
Pied Cormorant, Eastern Great Egret, Australasian Grebe, Black Swan, Australian Shelduck, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, Australian Wood Duck, Musk Duck, Hardhead, Pink-eared Duck (1), Eurasian Coot, Swamp Harrier (1), Australian White Ibis, Feral Rock Dove, Spotted Turtle Dove, Galah, Little Corella, Rainbow Lorikeet, Australian Ringneck, Laughing Kookaburra, Inland (broad-tailed) Thornbill, Western Gerygone, Singing Honeyeater, Tree Martin, Welcome Swallow, Red Wattlebird, Grey Fantail, Splendid Fairywren, Willie Wagtail,  Rufous Whistler, Grey Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Australian Raven.


                                                               
                                                             Pink-eared Duck



                                                              
                                                                  Inland Thornbill


                                                                    Grey Teal

                                                                   Rufous Whistler




Sunday, 11 August 2013

Western Australia Day 15

A late morning visit to Moore River produced crippling views of the river meeting the sea while Caspian Terns and Silver Gulls rested on the sand.

                                              
                                              Rusty Pelicans, a new lifer? at Moore River

                                                       Caspian Terns and Silver Gulls

Then heading North along Indian Ocean Drive we finally reached the Pinnacles and Nambung National Park.
Here Limestone formations stand tall among the sand and it was on such a structure that a pair of White-backed swallow had excavated their nest hole. While driving around stopping to take photo's I noted a pair of Crested Pigeon resting in the sand. Then heading back south several pairs of Emu were noted along the road side.

                                                   
                                                        The Pinnacles and Indian Ocean

                                               
                                                 White-backed Swallow leaving nest hole

                                                                   Crested Pigeon