Archive for the ‘Natural History’ Category

Spent the morning at the RSPB reserve at Lodmoor, just outside Weymouth.

On the islands, there were about 12 Common Snipe along with some common waterfowl.

As I walked down the western edge I was surprised to find a Black swan, This bird is native to Australia, so all birds encountered in the UK are escapes from bird collections.

Apart from around 50 Lapwing, the only other wading bird was a single Common Redshank. In with the flock of Black-headed Gulls was a single Mediterranean Gull and a couple of Common Gulls. In the reed-bed, a couple of Water Rail were heard calling and a flock of Common Pochard were seen on the northern pools.

In the afternoon Sue and I went to the cafe at Chesil beach for afternoon tea, which also gave me the opportunity to have a look on the southern end of the Fleet, where there was a Little Egret, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers and about 30 Dunlin.

The Fleet at Chesil

Day one of our 2020 trip to Dorset saw us travelling down from London to Weymouth. We stooped off at Blashford Lakes in Hampshire for a couple of hours in the afternoon and although we didn’t record a large number of species, we did see some good ones.

Arriving at the reserve we went straight to Tern hide and were soon watching a distant Long-tailed Duck, a species which is more commonly found on the coast. Also present were 6 Common Goldeneye and 2 Goosander and large numbers of Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Pintail and Gadwall plus smaller groups of Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Tufted Ducks and Common Pochard.

Photo by Damian Walmsley (

The Woodland hide was quite quiet with only Great Tit, Blue Tit, Robin and Goldfinch present. Elsewhere on the reserve we also saw Chaffinch, Blackbird, Dunnock and Long-tailed Tit.

After a couple of hours, it was time to recommence our journey west, but an excellent start to our trip.

Naturelog: 10th January

Posted: January 16, 2020 in Birds, Mammals, Natural History

After a morning meeting in Blackheath, I went for a walk through the northern part of Greenwich Park visiting the Deer Enclosure, which occupies the northern edge of the park, east of the main gates.

The Deer Enclosure is an excellent spot for seeing wintering thrushes and a quick scan showed around 15 Redwing present along with some Blackbirds. This can be the best local spot for the rarest of our wintering thrushes, the Fieldfare but there are none to be seen today. This may be because the so-far mild winter has meant that not many have migrated this far south.

Photo by Alison Day ( )

A good selection of woodland birds are also present – Blue and Great Tits, Robins and a few finches plus 4 species of Crow and a brief view of Goldcrest.

Naturelog: 6th January

Posted: January 8, 2020 in Birds, Natural History

A trip into the Dockland area of South London this morning. These docks dealt primarily with Timber and the dock names reflect the sources of the imports – Canada Dock, Russia Dock and Greenland Dock. Although the docks have long since been decommissioned this is still an area with potential for wildlife. My first stop is the Russia Dock Woodland. This is a park and woodland built on the infilled Russia Dock, traces of which can still be seen in the park.

I have not visited this site before but have been keen to see if I can see a Yellow-Browed warbler which has been present here for a couple of weeks now. The Yellow-browed Warbler is a small warbler which normally breeds in northern Asia and winters in Southern Asia but which has increasingly been wintering in small numbers in Western Europe. It is a fast-moving bird, which never seems to keep still as it flits from tree to tree.

Yellow-Browed Warbler
Photo by Sergey Yeliseev ( )

Waiting by its favourite location, it is only a matter of 20 minutes before it appears flitting through the trees and bushes before flying above me into a tree and then off to the other side and lost from view. I got a good view – well at least a good view as you usually get for a Yellow-browed Warbler as it continually moves from branch to branch.

From Russia dock, I move onto Canada Water. This is a remnant of the old Canada dock. There are a good number of Tufted Duck plus a single Great Crested Grebe, 3 Mute Swans and a flock of Black-headed Gulls in which is a single Common Gull and a couple of Herring Gulls.

On the way home I decide to do the weekly wildfowl count on the Tarn and find my first Greylag Geese of the year plus a single Little Grebe.


The first visit of the year to London Wetland Centre. In truth, it seemed very quiet with no sightings of any of the wintering specialities (Eurasian Bittern; WAter Pipit; Jack Snipe) during the day, so I was surprised to find that I had seen 37 species in the period of a couple of hours I was there.

Undoubtedly, the highlight of the visit was watching the pair of Peregrine Falcons hunting over the marsh and lake for about 10 minutes giving a wonderful display of acrobatics.

Autumn Colours 2

Posted: December 24, 2019 in Landscape, Natural History


Posted: December 23, 2019 in Birds, Natural History

Wood Duck

Posted: December 20, 2019 in Birds, Natural History

Canada Goose

Posted: December 19, 2019 in Birds, Natural History

Shady River

Posted: December 17, 2019 in Natural History