Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Cassiobury Park 30-11-17

I conducted a patrol of mainly the wooded area following the river and then the Grand Union Canal until I reached the bird hide. Fortunately the feeders had been replenished recently so many passerines were busily feeding. Below the feeders a pair of Ring-necked Pheasant were picking off the spilt grain with the hen bird giving very close views. I didn't notice at the time but the bill of this bird was slightly deformed with an extra upper bill seemingly present.

Above in the Alders a small feeding party of Siskin were noted and I managed to get a few half decent pics of a male bird.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Great White Egret at Maple Lodge NR

For over a week now we have had a Great White Egret at the reserve and it is usually observed from either Long Hedge Hide or Shell Hide. It spends most of the day fishing with great success to the annoyance of the resident Grey Herons. As our water levels are very low for this time of the year we have many areas of exposed mud which has also attracted a couple of Green Sandpiper and a very late Common Sandpiper. On the 11th November I visited the reserve late afternoon and gained fantastic views of the Egret from the Shell Hide.

Great White Egret.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Tawny Owl at Maple Lodge NR

It’s that time of the year when male Tawny Owls are frantically setting by up their territory ready for coming breeding season. Right on cue early this morning a singing male was heard from the north end of Maple Lodge Nature Reserve it’s quavering hoots very distinctive. Positive signs for a successful breeding season next year.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

New York, USA 25-29 Oct 2017

A short family break to New York provided me with a few birding opportunities during our visits to the main attractions.

Central Park 25-10-17
A very brief visit produced the following species:-
Canada Goose, Mallard, Feral Rock Dove, Mourning Dove, American Kestrel, Blue Jay, American Robin, European Starling, Dark-eyed Junco, White-throated Sparrow, Common Grackle, House Sparrow.

White-throated Sparrow.

Dark-eyed Junco.

American Robin.

Battery Park 26-10-17
While waiting to catch the ferry over to Liberty Island the following species were observed:- Double- crested Cormorant, Ring-billed Gull, American Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Feral Rock Dove, Hermit Thrush, European Starling, White-throated Sparrow, Brown-headed Cowbird, House Sparrow.
Hermit Thrush.
Brown-headed Cowbird.

Ring-billed Gull.

American Herring Gull.

Liberty Island 26-10-17
During our visit the following species were seen:- 
American Brant, Canada Goose, Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gull, American Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Feral Rock Dove, European Starling, White-throated Sparrow, House Sparrow.

American Brant with Canada Geese.

American Brant

Canada Goose.

American Herring Gull.

Laughing Gull.

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).