Friday, 31 December 2010


A 24 year search finally comes to an end today with my first Whitefronts at Beddington- now on 210 species.
Looks like a lot of birds are reorienting after the hard weather. I saw 2 Pintail over, 42 Wigeon heading east, a female Marsh Harrier (the first December record) and between us all there were another 6 Whitefronts, 80+ Skylark, 300+ Teal (only 50+ during the hard weather), 100+ Shoveler, 3 Shelduck, 20+ Tufted Ducks (there were 25+ Pochard yesterday), 1 Water Pipit and the year ended with 2 Firecrest on the bridge on the way out.
A great end to a great year. A record 164 species for Beddington Farmlands and Johnny beat the Surrey record with 195 species :

Thursday, 30 December 2010


It was Non-Stop all year with developments and events on all fronts.- local patch project, foreign patch project and music/art project.

On the Beddington Farmlands Front a record 164 bird species were recorded with highlights including Pacific Golden Plover, Common Cranes, Gannets and mass winter migrations. The restoration programme progressed well with landscaping and reed bed planting. Beddington birders took part in London wide bird races, skycraper city birding and led plenty of bird tours welcoming more and more visitors to the farmlands. In 2011 new tours, workshops and activities are in the pipeline. Watch this space. Beddington Farmlands review here:

Top to bottom: Beddington farmlands, Willow Warbler and Gannets
More on Beddington here:
Winter, spring and autumn expeditions produced many highlights including the Western Palearctic's first Lincoln's Sparrow.

Above: Lincoln's Sparrow and the recently described Monteiro's Petrel.
More on the Azores here:
More on Thee Bryans here:


The winter exploration trip produced the usual array of unusual winter birds including Hooded Merganer (pic 1), American Herring Gull (pic 2), Spoonbill (pic 4), Great Blue Heron (pic 5) and Bonaparte's Gull (pic 6) in addition to the resident and regular birds including Azorean Gull (pic 3).

The spring Graciosa pelagic expedition in search of rare gadfly petrels was held back by the weather but nevertheless produced the amazing breeding seabirds including Monteiro's Petrel, and Barolo Shearwater. Also Wilson's Petrels were found (pic 3) and lots of cetaceans including these rare Sowerby's Beaked Whales (pic 4).

Another great autumn for American vagrants on Corvo with the highlights including the Western Palearctic's first Lincoln's Sparrow.

This fantastic Northern Flicker (Vincent Legrand)

Rough-legged 'Hawk'

Northern Waterthrush

Indigo Bunting

Common Yellowthroat

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Double-crested Cormorant

American Black Tern

Me in the crater on Corvo.

2010 Crew

Vincent and David.

and... one of the highlights of the autumn was the publication of more articles and photos in the birding and european press including the Corvo 5 year review in Europe's exclusive birding periodical Dutch Birding.


The whole year was spent recording and painting and putting together the book and cd of the Snow Wars Parts One and Two (pic 1).
One of our videos here:

Tuesday, 28 December 2010


The year started off with a cold spell and good numbers of winter refugees visited Beddington. The highlights included this Lapland Bunting.

Large numbers of thrushes were witnessed migrating overhead and many (including this Redwing) were seeking refuge and food in the streets of Hackbridge.

Red Kite and Short-eared Owl (photos by Roger Browne) were involved in the winter displacement.

Three Scaups visited the lake in late January.

The Hackbridge Community Action Group (HCAG) was formed in late January with the aim of facilitating the progress of the sustainable village and nature reserve project.

The winter bird migrations caught the attention of the local press.

In March the RSPB visited Beddington to discuss the development of the reserve.

Conservation works in the winter included the re-landscaping of the southern and northern lakes, the installation of Shelduck boxes and seeding of the islands.

In April and May Beddington took part in David Lindo's London wide migration survey, co-ordinating migration sightings from Tower 42 in Central London to other London migration watch points. Beddington was visible from the top of the tower and migrating large raptors were tracked across the city.

Peregrine from the tower.

It was a good spring migration and set the course for a record bird listing year at Beddington.
Red Kite (Roger Browne)
Kittiwake (Roger Browne)

In late April Johnny and I attended the Wandle Valley Regional Park Forum and talked about the development of the reserve and it's integration into the wider ecological environment.

Johnny, Roger and I teamed up with David Lindo to take part in the Oystercatcher bird race. An event organised by Natural England to publicise public transport accessibility to London's wildlife reserve network. Our team the Urban Beddington Birders came second.
Birding in Covent Garden (below).

The Urban Beddington Birders.

Back at the farm the good run of spring birds continued with an incredible few days in early May. Two first for Beddington were seen in as many days- a Pacific Golden Plover (photo by Roger Browne) was the first one in London for over a century.

A Common Crane was also a first for Beddington.

The LNHS botany group visited Beddington in summer to carry out a botany survey.

The Wandle Valley Festival was a highlight of early June. An event that co-ordinates ecological activites along the entire stretch of the River Wandle.
Bob Steel (my old geography teacher) doing what he does.

Mid summer Foxes at Beddington.

The bird breeding season was successful. Lapwings raised several young across the site.

Peregrines bred in nearby Sutton and the young were daily visitors to Beddington.

Warm dry spells through the summer months provided ideal conditions for lots of bugs and butterflies.

Black-tailed Godwit as usual is one of the earliest autumn specialities.

A first winter Wheatear.

It was an excellent Willow Warbler passage.

The autumn migration local community birding tour proved popular.

Habitat restoration continued. A new reed bed was planted up on the Southern lake.

Tufted Ducks are a late breeding bird- the young hatch as many other birds are already migrating south.

This Spotted Flycatcher is unfortunately a decreasing migrant.

Beddington featured in Birdwatch in September.

The Hackbridge Carnival was a great achievement by the Hackbridge Community Action Group. The Beddington Farmlands stall attracted lots of interest.

The autumn birding pace quickened through September and October. Highlights included these amazing trio of Gannets and also a fly over pair of Bearded Tits.

Beddington Farmlands dawn.

WINTER (again) 2010
The cold weather returned in December and brought with it some great birds and set the scene for some bird list record breaking. Johnny beat the Surrey Year List record : and it was also a record year at Beddington with 164 species.
Snow Bunting

Iceland Gull
The nation wide Waxwing invasion reached Beddington.

The proto-type of the Birds of Beddington was previewed in December. The release date for the book is any day now.
Adult Caspian Gull- a winter Beddington speciality.

A juvenile Common Crane paid a three day visit to the lake in mid December- an incredible sight and proved very popular for birders across the whole of London. Roger's video here:
More of Rogers photos here:

And BFBG Beddington Farmlands website: