Saturday, 31 May 2014

A few bits

 Broad-bodied Chaser
 Brown Argus
Wildlfower verge on London Road- part of the biodiversity improvements in town
Done the usual Saturday circuit today at the farmlands. Lapwing chicks on 100 acre, plenty of warblers still in song with Garden Warbler by the hide, a couple of Common Buzzards over and the other guys had Ringed Plover and Yellow Wagtail. Biggest news of the days is that there is one pair of Tree Sparrows- so not quite extinct- yet!  
A few insects about and still trying to work out some of the hoverflies.
Moth trapping in the bugry at moment. Little Rings are calling and there were 150-200+ Swift at dusk. A few moths so far including Heart and Dart, Pale Mottled Willows, Knot Grass, Vine's Rustic, Seraphim and a few micros. 

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Meadows etc

 Mother Shipton on Clover
 Burnet Companion- a few on the Southern Mound
 Large Skipper- my first for year
 Black-tailed Skimmer- 5+ on the Southern Mound, my firsts for year
 Bird Group meadow by hide looking even better
 Grass Rivulet?
Shelduck still with eleven young- safe and well! Great stuff

Had a walk round the mounds this afternoon to check on the meadow habitat. Quite lively. 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Little Oak Green Spaces

 (Top two pics) With garden pond, weeping willow, romping ground cover plants, wildflowers and a species rich lawn- there's not really too much maintenance required in this really nice garden. Looks good and loads of wildlife- and not too much work! Just a bit of tidying up every now and then and can spend most time watching the wildlife.

 A wildlife garden in the Bedzed eco-village. Not looking its best yet as waiting for things to flower but maturing shrubs and a clover rich lawn means hardly any maintenance required. A bit of shrub pruning and soon need to mow a border and path through the clover rich lawn.
A more typical sub-urban garden but still plenty of interest for wildlife. More maintenance in keeping lawn weed tree, paths tidy and large shrubs trimmed but a more formal look which is often favoured. Good for business as plenty of work!
Spent today doing site visits and pricing. Here's a few of the green spaces I visited. Garden environments increasingly important habitats for wildlife and luckily in this area lots of great little gardens hiding away. In the recent Cambridge publication 'Urban Ecosystems', Adler and Tanner detail how biodiversity is often at it's highest in these human created environments. Perhaps with a tweak in the perception of what nature is- the 'State of Nature' is probably not so bleak if embracing a wider definition. There is probably several hundred species in these small green spaces, indeed many introduced but biodiversity nonetheless. 

Monday, 26 May 2014

Oaken Wood, Surrey

 Marsh Tit (juvenile)
 Downy Emerald (we think?)
 Speckled Yellow- very common on the site
 Four-dotted Footman
 May Fly (and Lee)
Helen and Rachel (The ladies seem to enjoy nature more than just birds!? What's that about?)
Met up with Lee and Rachel and also Helen from Juniper Hall FSC to have a look for Wood Whites at Butterfly Conservation reserve Oaken Woods in Surrey. The first butterfly targeted trip (rather than birds) I've done. We dipped!
A few other bits and also Nightingales singing, a flock of Marsh Tits, a few Buzzards, Blackcaps, Willow and Chiff, Yellowhammer. A nice spot- will try again in improved weather.

More from Lee here ALMOST BIRDING

May bugs and stuff

 Long-tailed Tits - young birds have been out for a few weeks already. Flocks beginning to form on the wooded edges
 Adela cuprella?
 Black Sexton Beetle (Neocrodes littoralis) ?
 Chrysopa perla ? Like a Green Lacewing but a bluish-green tinge etc?
Bird Group Wildflower meadow by the hide- blooming well
A quick update on some records from earlier on in the month at the farmlands.
Will sure up the ids (hopefully with help of i-spot) asap. Any comments/ suggestions welcome as always. 

Friday, 23 May 2014

Finland, Day 5

 Female Three-toed Woodpecker
 Male Pallid Harrier
 Whooper Swans
 Black-tailed Godwit, presumably of nominate form
Willow Warbler- singing literally everywhere- one of the highlights of the trip
The last day in Finland and a very successful morning. The trip list closed at 146 with 10 personal lifers.
Top Ten highlights of the trip for me were (in reverse order): 10. Willow Warblers singing everywhere, 9. Singing Waders, 8. Little Gulls displaying, 7. Red-necked Grebes displaying, 6. Ruff Lekking, 5. Hawk Owl, 4. Three-toed Woodpecker, 3. Doug missing a Pygmy Owl inside a box! 2. Great Grey Owl and No 1...... Ural Owl.

Thanks to Jaffa for organising this trip through his nature tour company WISE BIRDING

and thanks for great company of Jaffa, Helen, Sue, Neil, Doug and local Finnature guides Petri and Antero. Brilliant trip- absolute magic.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Finland, Day 4

 Male Hawk Owl
 Red-flanked Bluetail
 Siberian Tit
 Siberian Jay
 Female Capercallie
 Female Black Grouse
 Willow Grouse
 Arctic Hare
Another great day in the Northern Forests. 

Monday, 19 May 2014

Finland, Day Three

 Little Gulls- flock of up to 150 over some lakes
 Red-necked Grebe- 25 degrees today produing a heat haze over lake making a peculiar effect to this pic. Very unusual weather conditions for this area.
 Slavonian Grebe
 Shades of Grey- 'Northern' Herring Gull, 'Baltic' Gull and 'Heuglin's' Gull 
Our group
Three WP ticks today- Pygmy Owl, Hazelhen and 'Heuglin's Gull'. Loads of great Arctic stuff on the bogs and lakes. Singing waders, displaying Little Gulls, calling Divers and displaying Red-necked Grebes. Magic! 

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Finland, Day Two

 Ural Owl
 Ural Owl
 Male Great Grey Owl
Female Great Grey Owl
A great day. Excellent views of Ural Owl and another pair of Great Grey Owls. Supporting cast included Black Woodpecker, Honey Buzzard, Temminck's Stint, Common Rosefinch, Red-backed Shrike, Short-eared Owls and Wrynecks.
Great to meet birding greats Killian Mullarney and Dick Forsman staying in the same hotel as us and leading a tour for Sunbird. Will try and get my Collins Guide signed. 

Finland, Day One

Female Great Grey Owl on nest
Having a look for owls and other specialities in Finland over the next week. Only three hours sleep last night so knackered!
Seen Tengmalm's, Short-eared and Great Grey Owl so far.
In a great back drop of pine forests, wader and bird filled farmland and bays. Cranes calling from the forests, lekking Ruff, lekking Black Grouse, drumming Snipe, singing Wood Sandpipers, trips of migrating Dotterel, singing Ortolans, Grey-headed Wagtails, Tree Pipits, Redstarts, Pied Flycatchers, Whinchats, Redwings and Red-necked Grebes, Goldeneyes and Whooper Swans in the bays.
Spring just unfolding here- Coltfoot is just coming out (so about six weeks behind back home), Willow catkins just emerging and still no leaves on the Silver Birches.