Archive for April 24, 2013

A morning stroll around the Tarn.
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Alongside one of the Islands I saw a bird and at first thought it was a young coot or Moorhen but once located in the binoculars it turned out to be a stunning Little Grebe in breeding plumage.

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This is my first sighting on the Tarn since a long-staying individual in the late 1990’s so quite a turn-up.

The coots are nesting
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One pair of Greylag geese has already produced its family

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Later in the morning 2 House Martins fly over the garden heading NW – another year bird. A small white butterfly was briefly in the garden again today.

Bird List
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Butterfly list

Small White (Artogeia rapae)

The morning started with a visit to the London Wetland Centre at Barnes.
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There was plenty of migrant activity with Willow warbler; Reed warbler and Chifchaff singing. the tresident Cetti’s warblers were also in full voice. A large party of Sand martins flew overhead catching insects.

There were also a good number of Robins and wrens singing from the bushes. The Lake was busy and 3 Common Terns were the first I have seen this year.
Common Tern
Common Tern photographed by Sergey Yeliseev ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/ )

Also distant view of Common Sandpiper.
Common Sandpiper  (Actitis hypoleucos)
Common Sandpiper photographed by Lip Kee ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/lipkee/ )

A single Comma was the only butterfly seen.
Comma Butterfly, Martin Mere WWT, Burscough, Lancashire, August 2012
Comma photographed by Gidzy ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/gidzy/ )

It is amazing how the number of species grows and after 4 hours I realised that I had seen 50 different species, the first time I have done this for a site within Greater London, just proving that even within our cities there is still a wealth of wildlife to be seen,

In the afternoon went to see the new butterfly exhibit at the Natural History Museum. It was quite spectacular and I have taken lots of phots which once I have identified the butterflies I will post, but here is a couple to wet the appetite.

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The Common Morpho or Emperor butterfly which comes from Central and Southern America.

The magnificent 50
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Little Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius dubius)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Willow Warbler [sp] (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

The site of the Great Western railways Swindon works was a massive site adjoining the north side of the London to Bristol Rail line.

from Swindon history blog

from Swindon history blog


The works, which once boasted a production of 2 new locomotives a week, finally closed in 1986. It would have been easy for the whole lot to have been demolished and new premises built on the site, but in Swindon they have worked to preserve as much of the site as possible. In addition to the STEAM museum housed in one of the machine shop buildings, there is the designer outlet centre which has been built within the preserved building of the foundry, boiler and machine shops. I wouldn’t normally recommend a shopping centre as part of a historical trail but this one has something to recommend it as much of the original architecture is on show and there are objects from the original works displayed in the malls. The crowning glory is Hagley Hall, a GWR locomotive which is on display in the food court. Unfortunately its position does not really do justice to the magnificence of this loco as it has a wall on one side and a number of pillars obstructing the view on the other (well I suppose you cant have everything as you want it!).

Also close to STEAM building are Churchward House which was the original stores building and the works managers office.

Churchward House

Churchward House

Further on is Isambard House, the original wheel machine shop and now refurbished industrial units.

Isambard House

Isambard House

The national monuments record centre is now located in a building which once contained the pump house, offices and stores.
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Also restored is the workers tunnel which linked the works directly to the Swindon railway village and which now forms the link between the works site and the town centre.
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Swindon are to be congratulated for preserving as much of the architectural heritage of the one World’s busiest railway works.