Saturday, 18 April 2015

Watching flies- missed a Marsh Harrier

 Female Sparrowhawk- the irregular barring on the underparts and streaked cheeks  suggests this is a young bird- 2nd calender year. The moulting of the inner primaries seems quite early- usually starts in May and June. The size, strucutre and early moult support sexing as female (males moult later)
 Green-veined White. The first of the year in the week. Also the first Orange-tips this week.
 Eristalis sp? 
 Episyrphus balteatus (The Marmalade Fly)- Britain's commonest hover.
 Works have commenced on the new entrance to the farmlands
The daffs have come ok on the Hackbridge verges (part of the green corridor improvements adjacent to the reserve), Before pic HERE

Bit cool and windy today so I headed to the north lake path to look for insects. They concentrate there when windy because it sheltered by the taller trees. Problem is the trees keep the wind and view of the sky out so its a bit of a tunnel in there- which is why I missed the Marsh Harrier flying the other side of the trees. Not the first time birds have been missed by not 'looking up' BEETLEJUICE DIPPING

Friday, 17 April 2015

Wildlife Gardening Season

 Self seeding Primulas- stick em in and let em go all over the place- including the lawn
 Garden with nice structure and form in need of some colour and more interest. Proposed improvements include filling in the gaps in the beds with some wildlife friendly ground cover (e.g. violets, campanulas), a barrel of bulbs to emerge over the season (snowdrops, daffs, tulips, aliums), a sprinkling of wildflowers e.g. Poppies etc and a few shrubs to create some height in the right places e.g. Buddleia, Dog Rose, Berberis. Also some climbers along the fencing to create some boundary interest (e.g. Clematis sp). 
 A fairly typical garden with some nice simple improvements to create interest and plenty of insects buzzing round. Not too much to do here (important to appreciate the objectives of not necessarily nature mad gardener/ owner) except a bit of maintenance- primulas in the lawn were a nice touch. The owners here have got things in shape- we'll just do the high and tough digging bits.
Another fairly typical local garden but in need of some colour. Too much Green Alkanet - too much green overall. Proposed improvements include tidying up and adding a wildlfower seed mix along the border on the left, a small flowering cherry, with bulbs and violets in the planting pit in the centre and the edging re-defined. Just simple, inexpensive improvements can transform a garden. (A nice Cherry at the back- 5 species of bee on the flowers. The insects love the Alkanet too so good to leave a good patch in ((but needs to be kept under control))) . 

Things are picking up at work. Pushing the wildlife gardening this year across our service area ( a 3-4 mile radius from our yard) and also trying to focus on a village scale wildlife gardening initiative in Hackbridge. 

A bit more on this here: Little Oak

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Vote for Yourself ?


All these lovely ideas; a nature and well being act, upholding biodiversity action plans, supporting the London Green Grid and protecting London's Green Belt. 

Problem is all those things already exist in some shape or form but local events (the Beddington Farmlands ERF and the new school proposal) clearly show that parliamentary protection even when it exists is no match for corporate money and organisation. 

We don't really need more legislation and centralised power. What we need is more de-centralised power and more local people getting involved, defending the things they value themselves, holding big business to account, occupying territory, demonstration, legal challenge and taking over the management (in part or fully) of those resources. Voting for someone else to do all the hard work is simply a lazy fantasy. Voting for someone to uphold a central objective is sort of okay (the easy bit) but that has be  in concert with a ground swell movement which is the only thing that will drive real change.

Elect yourself to power!? 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Birds and the Bees (and the moths)

 Blackcap (about 20+ of these about at the moment.). The Willow Warblers have moved on, still 1-2 Chiffchaff, no sound of the Sedge Warblers and no increase in Whitethroat since yesterday. Big influx of Blackcap at Dungeness a couple of days ago- maybe birds filtering north?  Another Ring Ouzel today seen by the chaps, first Reed Warbler, 3 LRP. a couple of Yellow Wags, an extra Redshank and a few Buzzards in the hot clear conditions. 
 Marbled Lunar Brown. A bit more interest in the moth trap last night: Nut Tree Tussock, 5 Hebrew Characters, Small and Common Quaker, Early Grey and Double-striped Pug. About 20+ Dyseriocrania subpurpurella by the oaks on Horse Field this morning. 
 Mining bee sp (Adrena sp) Early Mining Bee? 
A colony of these burrowing bees on Bikers- using an area that the Bikers have torn up- Nature!, always makes good. Adrena Flavipes? Are these the same species nesting in the obs garden? Got some Bee mysteries to solve- any help greatly appreciated. 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015


 Male Whitethroat- the first of the year and caught by the ringers confirming it as a local bird arriving on territory

This Whitethroat has arrived one day later than it did last year. Africa and back with impeccable timing.
As suspected, a lot of migrants have moved on today but still 2 Wheatears, 1 LRP, Willow Warblers etc- and of course new arrivals, 3-4 Whitethroats and a few Yellow Wags overhead.

Incinerator Update

Nick Clegg made a visit to our borough yesterday. The Stop the Incinerator reception party were waiting to greet him:


As previously mentioned this issue has become so polarised between the Green Party agenda item of anti-incineration and the local authority led Waste Plan agenda that there seems little hope for careful consideration to come up with a best solution for the Farmlands, it's wildlife and the future of the reserve. Personally I'd say it was a better idea for the Green Party to be focusing on the pro-issue (Best way forward for the Reserve) rather than an anti-issue (Stop the Incinerator- at no matter what cost).  I reckon a minority group has got more chance of gaining support from building a strong positive image rather than this kind of negative, angry mob image...but at least they are doing something about the inadequate representation of environmental/social concerns which is more than can be said for a lot of others (pert lips).

Latest from Croydon Advertiser: HERE

Monday, 13 April 2015

Good Day Got Even Better

 Male and female Ring Ouzel and Wheatears at Little Woodcote 
 Three male Ring Ouzel
 Male Ring Ouzel 
 Male Ring Ouzel- what a beautiful shape, a Magic Blackbird.
Family twitch (Sid birding in pyjamas- missed his bedtime to score) 

After a great day at the farmlands went to my brother's house at Little Woodcote (Sid's patch) for dinner. Thought I'd have a quick look in the fields nearby (he's on the North Downs- chalk upland farmland some of it part of the Downlands Project). In the field behind my brothers : 4 Ring Ouzel and 9 Wheatear!  Blinding.

More from Kojak: KOJAK BLOG- Migrant Mania