Posts Tagged ‘Birdlog’

Birdlog: Blackcaps are back!

Posted: December 7, 2018 in Birds, Natural History
Tags: ,

Continuing my look back over the 5 years of the blog. This was certainly a highlight for our garden (posted April 2013). For a couple of years, we had both summering and wintering Blackcaps in the garden, But sadly none since although I did find a pair by the Tarn in both summer 2017 and this past summer.

April 2013

Following on from my brief sighting of a female blackcap a week or so ago I have had no more summer visitors in the garden. Imagine my surprise this morning when I pulled the curtains to find these two in the bushes. The male was hanging on a branch and then reaching out as far as he could to feed on a flower head below him
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Been busy over the last few days so have not had any time for nature watching but did see the first Common Swift that I have seen this year in the Eltham area this morning and later a pair of House Sparrows on the Mottingham estate. There has also been sightings of a single starling in the area of the Tarn over the past weeks and this morning whilst sitting at the traffic lights (I was the passenger not the driver) I observed the bird going into a hole in the wall at the side of a building so I presume it is nesting there.

I got some time this afternoon to watch the garden. Was rewarded with sighting of the female Greater Spotted Woodpecker out in the open on a tree. She stayed there long enough for me to get the camera and get some photos. Not the worlds best photos but I had to shoot them through a closed window for fear of spooking her if I opened it as she was very close to the house

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Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)

After a long weekend away it was a day for catching up in the office. Went down to the Tarn at lunchtime to see if the Little Grebe was still present but could not see it. The 6 Greylag Goose chicks are doing well and seem about twice the size they were last week. A second Muscovy Duck (a female) has appeared since last week to join the male that has been present since the beginning of year. 2 pairs of Coots are on nests and I think there are at least 2 Canada Goose nests on the Islands. Otherwise fairly quiet.

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In the afternoon a Holly Blue butterfly was in the Garden.

Celastrina argiolus (m) - Holly Blue

Photo by Sarah ( http://www.flickr.com/people/dluogs/)

Bird List

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser) inc 6 Juveniles
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
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)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

Butterfly list

Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)

Our destination for today is Burnham Beeches NNR just north of Slough. This is an ancient woodland. During our walk we see a number of common woodland birds and hear both Green and Greater Spotted Woodpeckers.

Photo by Sue

Photo by Sue

photo by Sue

photo by Sue

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Photo by Sue

Photo by Sue

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But at last we see some butterflies and by the end of the walk have seen five different species. The only one on the ground was a Peacock which refused to open its wings so I could photograph it

Peacock Butterfly

Peacock Butterfly

We also found an ants nest which was fascinating to watch as they went backwards and forwards carrying things into the nest

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On the way back home we stoped off at my mother in laws house and record a 6th butterfly species for the day as there is a Holly Blue in her garden.

Bird List
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Eurasian Treecreeper [sp] (Certhia familiaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

Butterfly list
Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Green-veined White [sp] (Artogeia napi)
Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)
Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)
Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io)

This morning we went to Spade Oak LNR in Bourne End just outside Marlow. these are lakes made form old gravel pits.

Spode Oak LNR  photo by Sue

Spode Oak LNR
photo by Sue

There are breeding Grey Herons and Cormorants here. There are good numbers of ducks, geese and Gulls on the Islands in the lake. The first Common Swift of the year flies overhead and we get some good views of a Sedge Warbler in the reeds.

Nesting Herons photo by Sue

Nesting Herons
photo by Sue

Nesting Cormorants Photo by Sue

Nesting Cormorants
Photo by Sue

In Marlow in the afternoon we see a Eurasian Sparrowhawk which is spiraling with the Red Kites.

Bird List
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
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)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
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)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

This morning we went for a walk in Higginson Park in Marlow. The park consists of a formal park which is adjacent to the Town bridge and runs alongside the River Thames and beyond that a wildlife area which is fenced off and can only be viewed from the paths that surround it and cross it.

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Early on into our walk we hear the call of a distant Common Cuckoo but we are not lucky enough to see it. This is an excellent site and would repay a longer visit but we are booked on a boat trip down the River to Temple Lock. We find a Mandarin duck close to the mooring in Marlow and there are a good number of Great Crested Grebes on the river.

Temple Lock

Temple Lock

Temple Lock

Temple Lock

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photo by Sue

photo by Sue

photo by Sue

photo by Sue

In the Afternoon we visit Aston Rowant NNR which is on the chalk downs, not far from the original release point for the re-introduced Red Kites. Hope to find some butterflies but am disappointed not to see any. Begin to wonder if this is going to be a bad year for butterflies?

Bird list
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Common Cuckoo [sp] (Cuculus canorus)
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)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Eurasian Treecreeper [sp] (Certhia familiaris)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)

Sue and I are spending a long weekend in Marlow in Buckinghamshire. Marlow is on the River Thames about halfway between London and Oxford. We arrived mid-afternoon and were immediately greeted by a Red Kite flying low over the car park.

Red Kite 3a

Photo by Tony Hisgett (http://www.flickr.com/people/hisgett/)

Red kites were nearly driven to extinction in the United Kingdom by human persecution. A small population survived in Wales and I remember traveling up to the Aberystwyth area in order to see one of the handful of birds left in the wild. In the 1990s Bird from Europe were released in the Chiltern hills between London and Oxford and they bred for the first time in 1992. There are now reckoned to be over 600 pairs in the Chilterns with a population of between 1500 and 2000 birds. The re-introduction was so successful that by 2000 birds were being taken from nests in the Chilterns to be re-introduced into other areas of the UK.

And so as we walked down the main street of Marlow we can see 6-8 birds flying over the street. Truly this is Red Kite central and an easy place to see these once rare beautiful birds.

In the evening we walk down to the River Thames and are accompanied by a flock of Swallows,Sand martins and a few House Martins all feeding on the evening insect swarm.

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photo by Sue

photo by Sue

photo by Sue

photo by Sue

Bird List
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Tarn Park

36 species seen on the patch this month with four new species bringing the year total to 43 species. The four new species added were Goldcrest, Common House Martin, Common Chifchaff and Little Grebe.

The highlights of the month were a pair of Blackcaps in the garden on the 13th and the arrival of a Little Grebe on the Tarn on the 24th (still present at end of month).

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April has been a really strange month. On the fourth we had a heavy downfall of snow and it was really not until the second week that we had any real evidence of spring. Consequently it seems that much of the spring migration and spring occurrences have been set back by a number of weeks. Despite this weather we have still had our first broods of Mallard and Greylag Goose chicks.

April was a particularly disappointing month for butterflies with only odd random occurrences of single small whites recorded.

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)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
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)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Butterfly list
Small White (Artogeia rapae)

Went for a stroll this morning starting by visiting the Tarn to check if the Little Grebe is still present. I didn’t locate him at first but later saw it feeding in its favourite area near the western island. As I walked along the side of the Tarn I noticed a small bird in a tree on the eastern island. It was very active and it took me a while to catch up with it as it flitted backwards and forwards through the tree. Eventually I got a good look and it was a Common Chiffchaff, a first site record for the year. Also first Mallard chicks of the year.

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I then went onto Eltham Palace Gardens which were busy with visitors but there are some places in the park are still quiet and unvisited. There were 2 stock Doves feeding with the Woodpigeons on the surrounding fields and a Grey Heron flew over causing some connsternation amongst the birds especially the Crows and Thrushes.

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Still the only butterfly seen was a single Small white

Day List
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
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)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

A lovely sunny day. Sue and I went for a walk down to the Tarn.

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The little Grebe was still present and seems to be feeding well

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The Greylag geese pair with their chicks are still being very vigilant and warning off anyone who comes too near

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The only butterfly seen was one small white.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser) inc 6 Juveniles
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
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)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)