Wednesday, 30 April 2014


Bar-tailed Godwit found by Frankie. The first one since 2012.

"Bluebell Woods' Wimbeldon Common

Went to visit the area of oak woodland that we coppiced in the winter (bottom pic). Seems to have worked well. Previous post on this here: WORKING IN THE WOODS
Great and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper, Nuthatch and Coal tit too. 

Tuesday, 29 April 2014


 Male Whinchat
 Yellow Wagtail
 Northern Wheatear
 Reed Warbler
Lesser Whitethroat
A few migrants around in the last couple of days. Yesterday; 1 Whimbrel, 1 Whinchat, 3 Wheatear, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Meadow Pipit, 20+ Swallow, 9 Sand Martin, 10 Whitethroat, 10 Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Reed Warbler, 1 Common Buzzard, 1 LRP , 1 Hobby and today not so much 2 LRP, Lesser Whitethroat in the nets, Hobby again and a few Swallow.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Hobby and a first for the farmlands

 Hobby- first of the year yesterday and still present today
 Common Stork's-bill- Frankie found it on 100 acre bridge, a first for the farmlands
 Hoverfly sp. Planning this year to tackle the hoverflies at the farmlands. Got my copy of Ball and Morris- just need to find the will to start reading it!
New village sign. Designed to promote Hackbridge as a bio-diverse urban area and gateway to Beddington Farmlands and the Wandle Valley Regional Park. Classic community effort and scrambled information- Roger's owl shot got used without permission and instead of a Tree Sparrow we got a Kookabarru ! Love it still. 

Four Walls

Here's a track from Thee Bryans about the inevitable end of every main stream element of society i.e. extinction and suggests the solution for survival is evolution.

The key figure is a moth like creature that is easily seduced into self imprisonment and going round and round in circles by an elusive force- an irresistible bright light (the delusion of safety in numbers).

Evolution involves a restructuring of the individual within a society- to play a prominent role in societal organisation and leadership (basically people empowerment) rather than hide within the inactive masses (bound within walls of fear and social conformity- hence Four Walls).

An underlying theme is the primary cause for environmental and social decline is individual behaviour, behaviour which is a choice, a choice between co-operating with unsustainable practises or sustainable practises.

In an era of consequence, it is in the individual interest to 'switch sides' and take a lead role in the evolving new sustainable society.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Ridgway's Canada Goose? and a few migrants

'Cackling Goose'- possibly B. h. minima. Presumably the same bird that has been seen in the region recently and also presumably an escape. It was present on the farmlands yesterday. Dominic Mitchell commented on Birding London re: the subject of English names (which are currently being proposed and discussed) for the different forms of Canada Goose as follows: 

"The widely used English names for the four extant subspecies of Cackling Goose B hutchinsii (= Lesser Canada Goose) are as follows: Aleutian (Canada) Goose (B h leucopareia), Cackling Canada (or Ridgway’s Canada) Goose (B h minima), Richardson’s (or Hutchins’s) Goose (B h hutchinsii), Taverner’s (or Alaska) Goose (B h taverneri). A fifth taxon, asiatica Bering Canada Goose, is now extinct." NB These are historic names and not all are in use post-split (hence frequent references to Canada in Cackling names!), but it's worth getting to know them for when e.g. checking pre-split records of vagrants etc. Still confused? Want more on ID? Fear not - David Sibley is preparing a major ID paper for Birdwatch magazine on the forms of this species and Canada Goose likely to be a problem in Europe - the only snag is it won't be published until later in the year 

The first Swift of the year
Wheatear- one of nine present today. Also Red Kite, Whimbrel, 6 Reed Warbler, 10 Whitethroat, 15 Blackcap, 1 Sedge Warbler, 2 LRP, 1 Hobby today and yesterday 2 Dunlin, Commic Tern and Oystercatcher. Weather looking good again for tomorrow so fingers crossed. 

Friday, 25 April 2014

Beddington Farmlands Judicial Review Update

Despite my best efforts I have been unable to be a claimant in the judicial review case but will be a witness. Surprised to find that even martyrdom was highly competitive these days  :-)   so the sole claimant will be Shasha Khan, leader of the Croydon and Sutton Green Party.
Files have been submitted to the Administrative Court Office at the Royal Courts of Justice and confirmation has been recieved. 
Croydon Guardian Report here

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Defending the Patch- Birdwatch Magazine

An article in this month's Birdwatch about Beddington Farmlands, the conservation issues, the failings of the planning system and the work of the local community groups.
Looks great - thanks to Dominic and Rebecca at Birdwatch!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Grey-headed Gull on the Beddington Farmlands List?

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Spring Trickle

A few migrants today at the farmlands- 1 Common Buzzard (above), Yellow Wagtail, a few hirundines, LRP and still one Green Sandpiper around. Also quite a few Lesser Black Backed Gulls about which have been staging in numbers recently. Derek had the first Reed Warbler of the year.

The wind is a bit cold so not many insects out. The frontal conditions are still due tomorrow but the wind is cold so not sure what affect it will have- I am down grading my forecast of birds (from below) but still expect something of interest.

As usual all bird news from Beddington Farmlands here

Maltese hunting and Celebrity Suicide - click on 'Comment' in box to view discussion

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Easter Local Birding Forecast

Tomorrow: Light north winds, high pressure. Presumably clear skies with little or high cloud.
Birds: Raptors moving from late morning to mid afternoon, altitude of migration will be high if clear conditions prevail. Further arrival of summer breeders eg. more Whitethroats, Sedge, Reed Warbler etc.

Saturday: Light easterlies with some chance of cloud cover.
Birds: East winds could encourage tern and wader movements to track this direction but cloud cover need to bring them down to visible height. The odd one might drop in. If cloud is present good chance of a tern or wader or other drift migrants.
Sunday: East winds with frontal rain.
Birds: YES! If this forecast is correct than waders, terns and grounded migrants are more or less guaranteed. Will require the winds to be moderate easterly with low cloud and steady rain preferably with broken spells and not too persistent or heavy. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014


Popped over the farm yesterday for a quick break in the midst of loads going on with the judicial review. 3 Wheatears on the mound, my first Whitethroat for the year and a Common Buzzard in an hour so a good little break.

Sunday, 13 April 2014


Here's a track from an apocalyptic minstreling monk from Thee Bryans suggesting the only way to avoid environmental and social catastrophe is for individuals to fight for what is of true value by developing a deep self awareness and addressing personal behaviour as the driving force towards a sustainable future.

The song promotes the avoidance of putting the blame elsewhere other than self and asserts that even though an advanced society may consider itself civilised by adopting pacifism it should not forget that the greatest battle is the personal internal battle that each individual must face with their own negative and destructive emotions. It is those emotions and the projection of that consciousness which is the cause of the environmental crisis- a breakdown of the value of self, the loss of self complexity, the loss of positive energy and a decline to increased state of entrophy, apathy. lethargy and hopelessness which is projected in the material world as low grade lack lustre and reduced diverse environments . It is fundamentally a crisis of consciousness that can only be addressed at the individual level by individuals making a conscious choice to rebel against that part of themselves which is self destructive- the cumulative effect of which, if left unchecked, is to slowly be destroying the world around them.

A sustainable future can only be formed by individuals (or enough of them) which have adopted that choice.

More Ranting

Many 'conservationists' will bang on about Maltese hunters and the likes but then go down the supermarket and purchase intensively farmed foods. Intensive agriculture has caused a 60% loss in the UKs biodiversity and up to 85% loss in certain bird species. Supporting the industry through buying those products and being part of the unethical cheap food culture is directly leading to the loss of millions upon millions of birds and other wildlife which makes the maltese hunting culture and its effects pale into insignificance.
Suggested solution: Stop being a tight-arse and a hypocrite and start becoming a nature friendly consumer?

Environmental genocide occurring- sustained by consumer choices 

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Chocolate Tip and Hedge Mini-Rant

 Caught this Chocolate Tip in the trap last night- also Frosted Green, Muslin Moth, Pale Mottled Willow, Hebrew Character, Early Grey and Brindled Pug
A lot of people moan about the removal of hedges in the countryside and the resulting loss in biodiversity. A lot of those moaners are landowners themselves, private home owners or maybe land/business owners/managers who choose to manage their own urban boundaries with fencing rather than hedging so its maybe a bit of  urban/country eco-hypocrisy going on? Here's a hedge we planted a few years ago to replace a fence for a local private estate. 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

One Grand Wildlife Friendly Garden Makeover

 Typical Hackbridge problem garden
 Problem beds and borders 
Over-sized Sycamore and Conifer screen
 Stage One- Reduce conifers to tidy screen and reduce Sycmaore to garden size
 Stage 2: Re-build beds and borders, fit weed suppressing membrane and replant with range of wildlife gardening plants.
 Stage 3: Apply decorative bark to create a low maintenance wildlife friendly border
Stage 4: Cut the grass, dig in a small low maintenance border along other boundary and plant climbers against wall and trellis. Areas of bluebells have been retained.
Been spending the last several months developing some affordable wildlife gardening models as part of a programme to increase biodiversity as part of the Hackbridge Plan to develop Hackbridge as a gateway to the Wandle Valley Regional Park and Beddington Farmlands. The ambition is to blur the lines between the nature reserve and the urban area by linking the two with green corridors and habitats to the River Wandle Green Corridor.  
The problem has been to come up with some solutions which are low maintenance and affordable in an area of relatively low income so the emphasis is on re-structuring existing features, soft landscaping and planting. A grand well spent I reckon and a good investment as goes straight on the value of the property. Nothing too fancy at the moment but will grow into a nice mini-habitat. In terms of maintenance just needs two to three week lawn trimming and attention during the summer months, watering on beds when required, monthly low effort weeding, 2 year trimming cycle for conifers and 4 year re-reduction cycle for Sycamore.

Little Oak Website

Monday, 7 April 2014

Vis Mig Day

 Black-tailed Godwits- a flock of 17 with a group of 3 earlier. One of the largest spring counts. Also 1 Sandwich Tern, 2 Redshank, 2 White Wagtail, 2 Willow Warbler, 20+ Swallow and 20+ Sand Martin recorded as new migrants today by the bird group.
 House Martin- my first for the year
Lunar Marbled Brown- another first for Beddington, caught last night. Also a Dark Sword Grass. 
 Weather chart for today: Cold/occluded front over south east England and local area bringing low cloud and rain with a steady south to south west air flow. Conditions conducive to visible migration by low cloud affecting flight altitude and birds being encouraged to stop by rainfall creating difficult flying conditions.
 Weather forecast tomorrow. Frontal conditions have moved on and steady westerfly airflow.
Birding forecast locally: Perhaps a few passerine migrants lurking after today's fall conditions but otherwise reduced visible migration. Steady westerfly airflow should keep migration lines towards the continent.
Weather forecast for Thursday this week: High pressure over local area and southern England.
Local Birding Forecast: Few barriers to migration so arrival of summer visitors likely and also conditions good for raptors moving.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Weekend- Red Kites, migrants and spring moths

 Red Kite- been up to five birds over last three days. Possible to distinguish individual birds by distinctive moult features. On this bird some of the inner secondaries are missing.
 Red Kite- different bird to above. Inner primaries missing.
 Red Kite- another bird- no gaps in wing.
 Curlews. A few migrants this weekend including LRP, Redshank, Swallows, Sand Martin, House Martin today, Common Buzzard, Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and also quite a few Lesser Black Backed Gulls (including 200+ on Friday)
 Tawny Pinion- if I've identified this correctly it's a site first
 Acleris notana- if I've identified this correctly it's also a site first. (Just heard back from Surrey moths group- has to go down as Acleris sp as it's a dissection job to separate it from A.ferrugana)  
 Moth All Sorts: Common Quakers, Small Quaker, Angle Shades, Tawny Pinion and Clouded Drab
 Clouded Drab, Common Quaker. Twin-spotted Quaker. Knot Grass and Nut-tree Tussock
Field forget-me-not? Other flowering plants at the farmlands at moment include White Comfrey, Red and white dead Nettle, Honesty, Ground Ivy, Bitter-cress, Charlock (been flowering all winter), some prunus trees still

Friday, 4 April 2014

This week, bits and bobs

 Muslin Moth (new one for me, third for site)
 Spiders in the artificial Sand Martin bank. Following discussions it's either a False Widow sp? or a Cave Spider sp?  
 Putting in a wildlfower meadow
 Just back from South America and dividing the bulk bag (wildflower seed from Sheffield University, Pictorial Meadows- about a monkey a kilo)
Obs frontage- border maturing, plenty of insects on wildlife planting