Archive for the ‘Natural History’ Category

On the way to Ferrybridge for coffee this morning a Eurasian Sparrowhawk flew over the harbour at Weymouth. On the rising tide, a flock of 25 Ringed Plovers together with 3 Ruddy Turnstone and a single Dunlin were feeding on the mudflats. There were only 6 Brent Geese today and a scan through the gulls revealed 4 species but no Mediterranean Gull. There was still a good number of Red-breasted Merganser present. Two Rooks were rather a surprise visitor and a Eurasian Skylark was heard singing.

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Ringed Plover

On the way back to our cottage we dropped in at Lodmoor where we flushed a Kingfisher as we approached the viewpoint. Once again there were good numbers of Common Snipe along with Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwits. A single Mediterranean Gull was present with the other Gulls.

Common Snipe

House Sparrow (top left), Dunnock (bottom left) and Northern Lapwing (right)

Late afternoon we heard that a Eurasian Spoonbill had been seen arriving at Lodmoor so we re-visited the viewpoint and after a few minutes the bird was seen flying from the reed-bed into a ditch out of view. Shortly afterwards it took flight and was seen flying away towards Weymouth.

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Spoonbill. Photo by Joe Pell (https://www.flickr.com/photos/pellyutd/)

 

Brent Goose [sp] (Branta bernicla)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Eurasian Spoonbill [sp] (Platalea leucorodia)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Ruddy Turnstone [sp] (Arenaria interpres)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Skylark [sp] (Alauda arvensis)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

A visit to Ferrybridge today. It was reasonably quiet bird-wise but it was a lovely day and very pleasant as I walked along the Fleet.

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The best sighting was 30 Red-breasted Merganser present at various places along the Fleet. Today only 3 Mediterranean Gulls could be seen with the Black-headed Gulls but the only waders present were 3 Oystercatchers.

Oystercatcher (top left), Herring Gull (top right) and Red-breasted Mergansers (bottom)

Brent Goose [sp] (Branta bernicla)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
European Shag [sp] (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Today some birding mixed with a trip to Poole. Our first stop was at Hamworthy beach on the north of Poole Harbour. A group of Red-breasted Merganser were present and eventually, a distant Black-throated was located out towards the main harbour.

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Black-throated Diver. Photo by Tony Morris (https://www.flickr.com/photos/tonymorris/)

Our second stop was at Poole Park, where a good number of Goldeneye were on the lake together with good numbers of common waterfowl. 7 Little Grebe was a notable number.

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Poole Park

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Common Goldeneye (m)

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Black-throated Loon [sp] (Gavia arctica)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)

Started the morning at Hamm beach on Portland Harbour, where the conditions were arctic with a strong wind blowing in from the bay. A single Red-breasted Merganser was present along with 14 Ruddy Turnstone and a Meadow Pipit, but no sign of the divers or Grebes that had been frequenting the harbour.

Ruddy Turnstone

A Common Kestrel was actively hunting along the vegetation at the edge of the water and allowed me to come quite close

Walking along the Fleet, an inlet from the harbour, a Male Eurasian Stonechat was active in the vegetation.

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The Fleet at Ferrybridge

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Eurasian Stonechat (m)

A small flock of Brent Geese were by the visitor centre and 40 Mediterranean Gulls were on the high tide gull roost along with Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls and a single Lesser Black-backed Gull. Had a distant view of a Black-necked Gull along with a Little Grebe, which gave a good comparator. Also present were 14 Red-breasted Merganser.

                   Meditteranean Gulls with Black-headed Gulls (top), Brent Geese (middle)                         and Red-breasted Merganser (bottom)

In the afternoon I visited RSPB Radipole Lake where along with a good variety of water-birds the highlights were a Water Rail, a Bearded Reedling and 2 Western Marsh Harriers.

Shelduck (top), Great Cormorant (bottom left), Herring and Black-headed Gulls (bottom centre) and Northern Shoveler (bottom right)

Brent Goose [sp] (Branta bernicla)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Black-necked Grebe [sp] (Podiceps nigricollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Water Rail [sp] (Rallus aquaticus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Ruddy Turnstone [sp] (Arenaria interpres)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)

Common Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Bearded Reedling [sp] (Panurus biarmicus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)

The weather this morning could not have been more different to yesterday. Crisp and clear and with the sun shining. I decide to take a walk around RSPB Lodmoor, the local nature reserve. But first a stop at the Oasis Cafe at Overcombe on Weymouth Bay, where a Red-Necked Grebe had been seen the previous evening. But sadly, it is not to be seen this morning. The marshes at Lodmoor are separated from Weymouth Bay by the coast road and the first thing that strikes me is a large number of Common Snipe that can be seen sunning themselves in open view (By the time I had completed the walk I must have seen over 20 of this normally secretive wader).

Other species present include a number of ducks together with a group of Canada Geese and a single Brent Goose. There were 2 Black-tailed Godwits and a group of around 20 Dunlin. On the north side of the reserve, I got a quick view of 2 Bearded Reedlings, but there was no sign of the Greater Scaup which has been wintering on the pools here.

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Canada Geese with Brent Goose (on right)

Robin (left), Teal (top right) and Black-tailed Godwit (bottom right)

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Brent Goose [sp] (Branta bernicla)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Great Snipe (Gallinago media)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Bearded Reedling [sp] (Panurus biarmicus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Naturelog: 3rd February

Posted: February 12, 2018 in Birds, Hampshire, Natural History, UK
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Not an auspicious start to our trip to Dorset as it poured with rain from the time Sue and I left London. We had planned to make a stop on the way and as we made our way south-west we debated whether or not to stop. As we approached Chawton in Hampshire, the rain eased a little and so we decided we would stop. Chawton is best known as the home of Jane Austen’s brother and the place where she spent her last years, but this is not the reason we are stopping. Chawton has become home this winter to a flock of Hawfinches, usually a rare bird in the UK. Last Autumn, however, there was an eruption and it is estimated that the wintering population is at least 10 times normal. In some places, flocks of up to 200 have been reported. Chawton village has hosted a flock of around 30 birds. As we park in the car park, the rain starts again but we decided to check out if the tea shop was open. It’s not but from the car park, we can see 4 Hawfinches in the top of a tree, so our visit is not in vain.

Hawfinch. Photos by Segey Yeliseev (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

And so onto Preston, just outside Weymouth our base for the next week.

Naturelog: 1st February

Posted: February 5, 2018 in Birds, Natural History, Surrey, UK
Tags:

A west London trip, primarily to catch up with the American Horned Lark which has been seen at Staines on and off over the winter. It was a blustery, wind-swept reservoir that greeted me as I made my way along the causeway between the Southern and Northern basins. Due to the wind there was little to be seen and the birds were clearly sheltering from the wind.

The Lark was feeding in the vegetation and was not difficult to find with the group of birdwatchers admiring it. But seeing it was something else as it made its way through the vegetation with only it’s head occasionally visible. Eventually, it disappeared and most people wandered off. I decided that instead of going back along the causeway I would walk down the sheltered west side of the reservoir. As I made my way along I saw a small bird not 30 foot from the path out on open grassland and had 10 minutes observing the Lark clearly before it flew off along the edge of the reservoir.

With a couple of hours left I dropped into the London wetland centre in the afternoon. The usual winter visitors were present but I didn’t get to see any of the specialities (Eurasian Bittern, Jack Snipe).

Lapwing and Gadwall

The best sighting was on the playing fields as I left when a large flock of Thrushes could be seen feeding amongst the Canada Geese. These were predominantly Redwing but also a single Fieldfare and Mistle Thrush.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Horned Lark [sp] (Eremophila alpestris)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Keith and I spent the day in Gravesend, a town of the south bank of the Thames estuary in Kent. We visited sights of interest (see posts later this week) but also found time for a walk along the riverfront to see what was feeding on the mud exposed by the falling tide.

3 species of Gull and Mute Swans were present together with 3 Ruddy Turnstone, 15 Common Redshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Mute Swans and 2 Shelduck. At the end of our walk, we explored the lake area in Fort Park where we got some excellent views of Eurasian Wren. Returning to the Railway station and moments after Keith had got his train, a Eurasian Sparrowhawk passed overhead. A good way to end the day.

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Ruddy Turnstone

Black-headed Gull (left above), Common Gull (left below) and Herring Gull (right)

Common Redshank (left), Black-tailed Godwit (upper right), Shelduck (lower right) and Mute Swan (bottom)

Eurasian Wren (top), Collared Dove (bottom left), Chaffinch (bottom centre) and Moorhen (bottom right)

 

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Ruddy Turnstone [sp] (Arenaria interpres)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

A Penguin comes to call

Posted: January 26, 2018 in Mammals, Natural History
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They weren’t expecting this to happen

 

https://www.aol.co.uk/video/penguin-makes-surprise-visit-to-antarctic-research-boat-5a601eee55935e038850cfb8/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl1%7Cdl_lnk1%26pLid%3D236637499_uk

 

 

1-20-18 I got this image of two Acorn Woodpeckers touching beaks. Was this an adult and young so long after breeding season? Was this some pre-courtship or pair bonding activity as it would be with ravens? I can find NO mention of such behavior in any of my references. Here is suggestion from Pamela […]

via A TOUCHING SCENE, BUT WHY? — Towheeblog

Fascinating when you see things like this. I saw these two Black-tailed Godwits ‘fencing’ last Autumn in Norfolk and still wonder whether that was courtship. Maybe that was the same as suggested here – that they were showing feeding capability.

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Black-tailed Godwits