Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Spotted Crake at Ingrebourne Valley NR and Hornchurch Country Park, London 22nd September

I finally caught up with my bogey bird at Hornchurch Country Park back in September and was amazed at how confiding the bird was. Viewed from the main viewing area overlooking the wetland I managed to take a few half decent shots.

Immature Spotted Crake.

Friday, 8 September 2017

London Wetland Centre

A late morning visit in wet unsettled conditions produced an extensive species list with birds of interest including Whinchat, Common Snipe and good numbers of Waterfowl. Two Black Swan that were present on the main lake are probably the same birds I discovered at Lynsters Lake on 31st August. From the Wader Scrape Hide a Grey Heron gave wonderful views as it hunted in the shallows.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Late afternoon at Springwell Lake

At the south end of the lake the two remaining juvenile Common Goldeneye were showing well.

Along the river side of the lake a pair of Cetti's Warbler were observed with two recently fledged young.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Little Ringed Plover at Ruislip Lido

A late morning visit to Ruislip Lido in very hot, sunny conditions provided an unexpected migrant in the the form of a Little Ringed Plover. It was present along the waters edge below the boat house probing for invertebrates. I say unexpected due to the fact there was a high level of disturbance going on at the time with dog walkers and family parties busily enjoying the sunshine. I approached with caution and managed to take a few decent shots before leaving the bird to continue feeding. Other species of interest included a pair of Common Tern present with a late brood of young on the floating platform opposite the pub while House Martin, Swallow and Common Swift buzzed overhead hunting insects.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Mauritius June 20th - 30th 2017

A ten day visit to the island of Mauritius with my better half produced an opportunity of seeing some endemic species as well as plenty of relaxation. We stayed at the Sugar Beach Golf & Spa Resort located on the south west coast which is ideally suited for many of the tourist sites and nature reserves. The weather was hot with light showers of rain present on a couple of occasions and these were mostly during the night, not bad considering it's the winter time in this part of the world. Most of my birding activities took place around the hotel grounds and beach area and there was a large freshwater pond behind our accommodation. This held a small waterfowl collection consisting of a single Pink-backed Pelican, three Black Swan and four Greater Flamingo. A small feral population of White-faced Whistling Duck and Egyptian Goose favoured this site too and were seen flying around the area on several occasions. Perhaps these birds were once part of the collection but have now found their freedom and have started to breed. Sadly many of the common species seen on the island are of captive origin or have been introduced with the only common endemic being the Mauritius Grey White-eye which favours parks and gardens. We did venture out to the south east of the island visiting Ill Aux Aigrettes Nature Reserve which is a very small island where endemics such as Pink Pigeon, Mauritius Fody and Mauritius Olive White-eye are protected and monitored. Below are some photos of many of the species I encountered.

Striated Heron.

Pink Pigeon.

Common Mynah.

Common Waxbill.

Mascarene Martin.

Madagascar (Red) Fody.

Mauritius Fody.

Red-whiskered Bulbul.

Mauritius Grey White-eye.

Village Weaver.

Yellow-eyed (fronted) Canary adult with juvenile.

Yellow-eyed (fronted) Canary juvenile.

Zebra Dove.

Common Moorhen.

Spotted Dove.

House Sparrow.

Egyptian Goose.

Madagascar Turtle Dove.

Scaly-breasted Munia (adult).

Scaly-breasted Munia (juvenile).
Captive species present at the hotel:-
 Pink-backed Pelican.

Greater Flamingo.


Oriental Garden Lizard.

Mauritius Ornate Day Gecko.

Gecko Sp

Telfair's Skink (Round Island Skink) present at Ill Aux Aigrettes Nature Reserve.

Aldabra Giant Tortoise present at Ill Aux Aigrettes Nature Reserve.
Dragonfly Sp.
Cricket Sp.
Red-legged Golden Orb-web Spider.


African Grass Blue.

A comprehensive list of bird species observed as follows:-
 1. White-tailed Tropicbird
 2. Striated Heron.
 3. Egyptian Goose
 4. White-faced Whistling Duck
 5. Common Moorhen
 6. Whimbrel
 7. Brown Noddy.
 8. Spotted Dove
 9. Feral Rock Dove
10.Zebra Dove
11. Madagascar Turtle Dove
12. Pink Pigeon
13. Mascarene Swiftlet
14. Mascarene Martin
15. Red-whiskered Bulbul.
16. Mauritius Olive White-eye
17. Mauritius Grey White-eye
18. Common Mynah
19. House Crow
20. Madagascar Fody
21. Mauritius Fody
22. House Sparrow
23. Village Weaver
24. Yellow-eyed Canary
25. Scaly-breasted Munia
26. Common Waxbill
27. Cockatiel (escaped).  


Thursday, 18 May 2017

Swan Lifeline to the rescue

This afternoon while out walking with my wife at Ruislip Lido we happened across a distressed adult Great Crested Grebe. The poor bird had garden netting trapped around its bill and neck and was unable to feed. I phoned Swan Lifeline who attended the Lido about 30 minutes later and within the hour it had been caught, netting removed and successfully released back into its natural environment. Below are a couple shots of the bird immediately after release. It began to preen and looked much happier after its ordeal.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve 05-04-17

An afternoon visit in sunny mild conditions provided the following species:-

Little Grebe (3), Great Crested Grebe (3 including pair at nest), Great Cormorant (1), Grey Heron (1), Canada Goose (2 pairs), Gadwall (3 including pair), Common Teal (3), Mallard (24 including female in nest box), Northern Shoveler (2 pairs), Common Pochard (4), Tufted Duck (10 including 4 pairs), Red Kite (1), Common Buzzard (1), Common Moorhen (3), Eurasian Coot (22), Black-headed Gull (18), Stock Dove (2), Woodpigeon (4), Green Woodpecker (1), Pied Wagtail (1), Wren (19 including 18 singing males), Dunnock (7 including 3 singing males), European Robin (5 including 3 singing males), Blackcap (6 singing males), Common Chiffchaff (3 singing males), Willow Warbler (1), Common Blackbird (7), Mistle Thrush (1), Goldcrest (singing male), Long-tailed Tit (1), Blue Tit (7 including 3 singing males), Great Tit (11 including 4 singing males), Eurasian Jay (1), Common Magpie (6), Western Jackdaw (6), Carrion Crow (2), Common Chaffinch (2 singing males), European Goldfinch (3 including singing male). At the Shell Hide I discovered my first Willow Warbler of the year busily feeding on insects.

 Male European Robin in full song.

Broadwater Gravel Pit Nature Reserve 02-04-17

A late morning visit in sunny, mild conditions provided the following species:- 
Great Crested Grebe (30 inc 4 pairs), Great Cormorant (28 inc 26 occupied nests), Grey Heron (4 inc 3 occupied nests), Mute Swan (10 inc 2 pairs), Greylag Goose (14 inc 4 pairs), Domestic Greylag Goose (1), Egyptian Goose (2), Mandarin Duck (3 inc 2 males), Gadwall (3 inc pair), Common Teal (9), Mallard (40 inc 5 pairs), Northern Shoveler (8 inc pair), Common Pochard (15), Tufted Duck (151 inc at least a pair), Red-crested Pochard (male), Common Goldeneye (female), Goosander (pair on river colne), Common Buzzard (2), Common Moorhen (13 inc pair), Eurasian Coot (100 inc copulating pair), Eurasian Oystercatcher (pair), Northern Lapwing (pair), Black-headed Gull (34), Herring Gull (8), Lesser Black-backed Gull (1), Woodpigeon (6), Common Kingfisher (1), Grey Wagtail (2), Wren (50 inc 49 singing males), Dunnock (5 inc 3 singing males), European Robin (14 inc 12 singing males), Common Blackbird (6 inc 2 singing males), Song Thrush (3 inc 2 singing males), Cetti’s Warbler (5 singing males), Blackcap (25 singing males), Common Chiffchaff (10 inc 9 singing males), Goldcrest (3 singing males), Long-tailed Tit (2), Blue Tit (6 singing males), Great Tit (9 inc pair), Common Treecreeper (4 inc 2 singing males), Eurasian Jay (1), Western Jackdaw (8 inc pair), Carrion Crow (7 inc pair), Common Chaffinch (6 inc female collecting nest material), Common Reed Bunting (singing male), European Goldfinch (17).

 Blackcap (male).

Costa Rica Birding Part 2

Day 8.

San Bosco Inn, La Fortuna.

Early morning birding around the hotel and nearby area provided the following species:-  
Cattle Egret, Roadside Hawk (1), Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Southern Rough-winged Swallow (50), Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Red-billed Pigeon, White-winged Dove, Ruddy Ground Dove, Piratic Flycatcher(1), Great Kiskadee, Social Flycatcher (pair nest building), Tropical Kingbird, Clay-coloured Thrush, Tropical Mockingbird, House Wren, Yellow Warbler, Blue-grey Tanager, Palm Tanager, Variable Seedeater, Grayish Saltator, Rufous-collared Sparrow, House Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle (adult feeding juv), Baltimore Oriole, Black-cheeked Woodpecker.

Black-cheeked Woodpecker at nest site located in telegraph pole.

Ecocentro, Danaus  
An early afternoon visit to this charming nature reserve provided some close encounters with the most colourful of bird species as they visited the feeding station. Below the feeders a couple of Agouti's put in a brief appearance as they foraged the forest floor in search of food. At the lagoon Boat-billed Herons were busily looking after their young at their nests while below in the water the ever present Caiman looked on in hope of an easy meal.

A full list of birds observed as follows:-
Bananaquit, Yellow-throated Euphonia, Buff-throated Saltator, Blue-grey Tanager, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Broad-billed Motmot (1), Rufous-tailed Jacamar (1), Boat-billed Heron (several pairs with young at nest), White-collared Manakin, Bay Wren (1), Yellow-crowned Night Heron (2), Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, Golden-hooded Tanager, Crimson-collared Tanager, Melodious Blackbird, Red-legged Honeycreeper (pair), White-lined Tanager (pair), Passerini’s Tanager, Collared Aracari (2), Grey-headed Tanager, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, Clay-coloured Thrush, Great Kiskadee.


Collared Aracari.

Yellow-throated Euphonia (male).

Yellow-throated Euphonia (female).

Passerini's Tanager (male).

Passerini's Tanager (female).

Great Kiskadee.

Grey-headed Tanager.

White-lined Tanager (male).

White-lined Tanager (female).

Melodious Blackbird.

Buff-throated Saltator.

Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park

An late afternoon visit provided the following species:-

White-collared Swift, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Black-mandibled Toucan, Violet-headed Hummingbird, Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher (2), Green Hermit(1), Crested Owl (2), Bicoloured Hawk (1), Black-cheeked Woodpecker (1).

Day 9.

San Bosco Inn, La Fortuna.
A morning bird watching the hotel grounds and surrounding area provided the following species:-

Great Kiskadee, Great-tailed Grackle, White-winged Dove, Blue-grey Tanager, Red-billed Pigeon, Black Vulture, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Social Flycatcher (visiting nest), Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Southern Rough-winged Swallow, Turkey Vulture, Common Tody Flycatcher, Clay-coloured Thrush, Tropical Kingbird, Baltimore Oriole (pair), Variable Seedeater, Tropical Mockingbird, Ruddy Ground Dove.

Dusky-capped Flycatcher.

Arenal Volcano

A morning visit walking the trails up to the lava fields provided the following species:-

Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, Common Potoo, White-throated Magpie Jay, White-collared Manakin, Crested Guan (2), Chestnut-sided Warbler, Brown Jay, Red-billed Pigeon, Squirrel Cuckoo, Buff-throated Saltator, Crested Guan (2). While driving around the perimeter of Arenal Lake we spotted two Crested Guan, Howler Monkeys and a Coati.

                                               Common Potoo.

                                      White-throated Magpie Jay.

                                          Crested Guan.
Day 10.
Hotel Ficus Lodge, Monteverde.
Early morning birding around the hotel grounds produced the following species:-

Red-billed Pigeon (3), Brown Jay (4 including nest building pair), Emerald Toucanet, Lesson’s Motmot (1), Great-tailed Grackle, Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, House Wren (2), Golden-olive Woodpecker (2), Social Flycatcher (pair), Hoffman’s Woodpecker (1), Clay-coloured Thrush, Tropical Kingbird, Yellow-faced Grassquit(1), White-crowned Parrot, Southern Rough-winged Swallow, Blue and white Swallow.

Monteverde Cloud Forest 
A morning walk along the forest trails and a visit to the hummingbird sugar feeders provided the following species:-
Slaty-backed Nightingale Thrush, Resplendent Quetzal(female), Collared Redstart (male), Black Guan (1), Slate-throated Restart (2), Tufted Flycatcher (1), Silver-throated Tanager (pair), Violet Sabrewing, Bananaquit, Common Clorospingus(2), Green Violetear, Purple-throated Mountain-gem, Coppery-headed Emerald, Green-crowned Brilliant.
                                                               Black Guan.

                                                         Silver-throated Tanager.

                                   Coppery-headed Emerald.

                                                        Green-crowned Brilliant.

                                           Green Violetear

                                       Slate-throated Restart

Day 11.

Hotel Ficus Lodge, Monteverde 06:00 – 07:00

Early morning birding from our balcony provided the following species:-

Baltimore Oriole, Red-billed Pigeon, Rufous-capped Warbler (1), Lesson’s Motmot, Great-tailed Grackle, Brown Jay, Blue and White Swallow, Southern Rough-winged Swallow.

Curi Cancha Wildlife Preserve,, Monteverde 08:45 – 11:45

A morning visit produced the following species:-

Great-tailed Grackle, Emerald Toucanet (pair), Yellow-faced Grassquit, Chestnut-headed Oropendola (occupied nest), Resplendent Quetzal (3 including 2 males), Black-crowned Tityra, Black Guan, Crested Guan (4), Slate-throated Redstart, Magenta-throated Woodstar, Coppery-headed Emerald, Black-mandibled Toucan, Lesson’s Motmot, Wilson’s Warbler, Band-tailed Pigeon(2), Swallow-tailed Kite (1), Paltry Tyrannulet (1), Rufous-collared Sparrow.


                                         Paltry Tyrannulet.                                            

Emerald Toucanet.

Day 12.
Hotel Ficus Lodge, Monteverde

Early morning birding around the hotel grounds provided the following species:-

Social Flycatcher, Clay-coloured Thrush, Great-tailed Grackle.

Social FLycatcher.

We then headed off towards the Pacific coast stopping off at the Cafe y Macadamia where the following species were noted:- 
Little Blue Heron, Great-tailed Grackle, Clay Coloured Thrush, Turquoise-browed Motmot(1), White-throated Magpie Jay (1).

Turquoise-browed Motmot.


Rio Tarcoles Crocodile Bridge

A brief stop off at Crocodile Bridge produced the following species:-
Southern Lapwing (24), Black-bellied Whistling Duck (8), Scarlet Macaw (over), Little Blue Heron, Yellow-crowned Night Heron.


Carara National Park

We continued south to Carara National Park where we spent at least two hours walking the tracks spotting more wildlife. 
Yellow-headed Caracara, Clay-coloured Thrush (singing male), Scarlet Macaw (13 inc occupied nest), Squirrel Cuckoo (1), Great Kiskadee, Northern Waterthrush (1), Orange-billed Sparrow (1), Slaty-tailed Trogon, Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher (2), Short-billed Pigeon (singing male), Riverside Wren, Chestnut-sided Warbler (1).

Orange-billed Sparrow.

Riverside Wren (juvenile).

Scarlet Macaw.

We then headed off to the El Faro Beach Hotel near Manuel Antonio National Park, arriving late afternoon where a single Sharp-shinned Hawk put in a brief appearance.

Day 13.

Early morning birding from our balcony at the El Faro Hotel provided the following species:- 
Tropical Kingbird, Magnificent Frigatebird (50 out at sea), Clay-coloured Thrush, Great-tailed Grackle, Great Kiskadee, Melodious Blackbird, Golden-hooded Tanager, Blue-grey Tanager, Buff-throated Saltator, House Wren, Black Vulture, Brown Booby (several out at sea), Cherrie’s Tanager (pair), Great Blue Heron.

A wonderful sea view from our balcony.

A late morning visit to Manuel Antonio National Park produced the following species:- 
Tropical Kingbird, Belted Kingfisher (1), Green Kingfisher (1), Spotted Sandpiper (2), Green Heron (2), Smooth-billed Ani (3), Black Vulture, Costa Rican Swift, Black-hooded Antshrike, Lesser Nighthawk (1), Red-crowned Woodpecker (2), Streaked Flycatcher(1).

Streaked Flycatcher.
After walking the wildlife tracks for a while we headed off to the beach area for a brief swim in the Pacific Ocean. It was a time to relax but with very bold Capuchin Monkeys nearby a constant eye on your belongings was needed. 
White-faced Capuchin Monkey with baby.

Day 14.

A morning walk around the hotel grounds and sea front provided the following species:-
Magnificent Frigatebird, Palm Tanager, Clay-coloured Thrush, Black Vulture, Roadside Hawk, Streaked Saltator (pair), White-crowned Parrot (pair), Buff-throated Saltator, Brown Pelican (50), Red-crowned Woodpecker (pair), Great Kiskadee, Great-tailed Grackle, Blue-grey Tanager, White Ibis (1), Inca Dove (1), Cherrie’s Tanager (pair), Tropical Kingbird (1).

Tropical Kingbird.

Late morning we began the drive back to San Jose arriving for our second stay at the Hotel Tournon late afternoon.
Final Day.

Early morning birding around the hotel grounds produced one last lifer in the form of Plain Wren. A full list of species observed as follows:- 
Clay-coloured Thrush, Blue and White Swallow, White-winged Dove, Plain (Cabanis’s) Wren (1), Great Tailed Grackle.

Plain Wren.