Sunday, 25 January 2015

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

Tried the suet pellets instead of peanuts. Note home made pigeon proof ground feeder beneath the feeders. Reduced my pigeons from 30+ in the past to 4-5 recently. Squirrel proof feeders keep squirrels away but Parakeets still get the small squirrel proof feeder contents. 
In addition to the feeders got some natural food in the garden- cotoneaster, berberis and Rowan berries.
Great Spotted Woodpecker 
Kestrel past the window from today

Some video from last year

My totals were 40 individuals of 12 species actually in the garden, an additional 23 species from the window and including the roost flight path counts of Jackdaw (2640) and Ring-necked Parakeet (only 465) I had 3913 individuals in total (from the window).

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Caspian Gull





Here's a few pics of a first-winter Caspian Gull from yesterday. Some of the mantle and scapulars feathers look rather 'filled' and the inner great coverts look a bit barred. The bill colour is rather odd too with an area of pale towards the base. Might not be completely 'pure' but a rather striking bird nonetheless.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Early Moth- a first for Beddington Farmlands

 Early Moth- found on the 'obs' door entrance
 Teal (and Grey Heron)
 Common Kestrel
Jack Snipe- flushed four from the lake islands yesterday and there have been five on the enclosed beds and the odd one elsewhere- perhaps up to 10+ on site (also 40+ Snipe). 

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Lake works

Pic by Roger Browne





This week been working on the lakes at the farmlands, cutting back willows, clearing vegetation from in front of the Sand Martin bank, strimming the islands and mowing the meadows.
We rarely get to go out on the island- flushed 4 Jack Snipe, 8 Snipe and also found the elusive Bearded Tits.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Last week

 Green Woodpecker in 'obs' garden 
 Lapwings (27 around)
December Moth and Mottled Umber (the only moths recorded this year so far) 

A rather quiet week. The odd Blackcap on the 'obs' feeders again, mainly too cold for moths and despite quite a lot of looking not been finding much in the gulls.
Other bird group members had 2 Water Pipit, 1 Jack Snipe, 2 Stonechat, 25+ Snipe, 20+ Reed Bunting and 10 Skylark today.
Getting colder next week so might shake things up a bit.
Had a meeting on Tuesday about the ecology park and visitor's centre for the farmlands with a few first steps made. 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Teal

Displaying Teals at the farmlands from today:








Thursday, 8 January 2015

Azores Natural History Tour 2015

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE NATURAL HISTORY OF THE AZORES
Birds, butterflies, dragonflies, mammals and endemic botany of the Azores


Tour dates: 30th May to 06th June
Cost: 1456pp

ITINERARY

Day 1. Fly Gatwick to Sao Miguel. Accommodation at Hotel Matriz.

Day 2. Today we shall take a jeep safari to the western side of the island with our expert volcanologist. The day will give a basic introduction to the geology of Sao Miguel and an excellent overview of the island's stunning landscape, its geological formations and its relevance to the many aspects of the Azorean wildlife that we will be looking for during the week. We shall take a restaurant lunch in the coastal town of Mosteiros and then spend the afternoon taking in the wonderful scenery of probably the most famous of all Sao Miguel’s volcanic craters, Sete Cidades, as we drive around the edge of the crater!  (Lunch included).

Day 3. Transfer to the airport and fly to Graciosa - The afternoon will be spent exploring the island.

Day 4. Included - Full day (usually split unto 2 x 3 hrs trips) whale and dolphin watching trip.  This is the baleen whale migrating season and our focus will be to search for the blue whales which pass through the islands in late spring.  In the afternoon we'll head back out to sea in search of sea birds and the endemic Monteiro's Petrel (includes lunch).

Day 5. Included - Full day (usually split unto 2 x 3 hrs trips) whale and dolphin watching trip.  This is the baleen whale migrating season and our focus will be to search for the blue whales which pass through the islands in late spring.  In the afternoon we'll head back out to sea in search of sea birds and the endemic Monteiro's Petrel.  (includes lunch).

Day 6. Transfer to the airport and fly to Terceira for the afternoon.  On arrival we shall be met by a local botanist and travel to Santa Barbara National Park for an introduction to some endemic plants of the area.  The reserve is located around 1000m above sea level and gives fantastic views around the island (if the weather is unsuitable then we will spend time on the coast). The interior of the island has pristine forests of juniper (juniperus brevifolia) and areas of dense Sphagnum moss. If time we'll also visit the Cabo da Praia quarry area which is without doubt, Europe's premier wetland for American wading birds (lunch included). Evening flight back to Sao Miguel.  On arrival transfer to the volcanic basin of Furnas.

Day 7. Included - full day tour visiting the east of the island including a visit to the Priolo project (Azores Bullfinch protection area), where we shall learn about the hard work that is being done to protect this vulnerable species and the Laurel forest in which they live. 

Day 8. Transfer to the airport and depart

TOUR COSTS INCLUDES

The tour cost quoted above includes :
*             Accommodation as detailed above on a bed and breakfast basis in single en-suite rooms throughout
*             Return airport/hotel transfer on Sao Miguel
*             Return airport/hotel transfers on Graciosa
*             4 x 3 hour whale and dolphin watching trip per person from Graciosa
*             1 x full day Geo-tour per person on Sao Miguel (with lunch)
*             1 x half day botanics tour per person on Terceira (with lunch)
*             1 x full day birds and botanical garden tour per person on Sao Miguel
*             Return flights from Gatwick to the Azores with SATA International / TAP Air Portugal via Lisbon
*             Inter island flights as detailed above with SATA Air Azores
*             Comprehensive pre-departure booklet detailing information about flora, fauna, and the history of the Azores and a list of restaurants recommended to us by previous clients.



To book a place/ more information please email:  littleoakgroup@btinternet.com