Sunday, 31 March 2013

First day of summer - freezing at The Scrubs!

 Male Chaffinch
 Male Blackbird
 Female Blackbird
Canada Geese

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Another cold spring day on the patch

It's so flaming cold! What gives?!?

Strolled around the patch today and despite the chilling northeasterly wind there were some signs of spring. Quite a few birds were in song although none of the expected Chiffchaffs or Blackcaps were either discovered or heard. They are decidedly late.

The surprise of the morning was an adult winter Kittiwake that swept low eastwards. I was too slow with the camera to snap it but it was our 4th record ever. Good bird.
 Meadow Pipit
 Northern Wheatear
 Grey Squirrel - with reddish bits
Male Bullfinch

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The other day at The Lodge - The RSPB's HQ

 Male Siskin
 Female Siskin
 Siskins and a female Brambling
Another female Siskin

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Streatham Common Nature Trail opening

 TUB being introduced by 'trail blazer' Peter Newmark from The Friends of Streatham Common
 TUB taking the stage
 .......and cutting the ribbon
Looking up ....... even in the snow!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

White-winged Crow - new to science?

 A Carrion Crow - so it seemed....
But then it flew... 
 Exposing nice white wingbars

Birding this morning at The Scrubs produced the interesting sight of a Carrion Crow with white wingbars. When I first saw the bird it was heading low towards me above the grassland. The white on the wing initially startled me. It was only as it flew past me that I suddenly realised that I had a camera - so I started snapping.

In truth, over the years there have been a fair proportion of the crows at The Scrubs that displayed varying degrees of white in their plumage. There was even a ginger individual that frequented the area around the prison for a couple of years.

This was the first bird I had seen with a complete white wingbar and of course, this is no new species but a Carrion Crow with a plumage mutation. But why do crows develop this? And why do I only see these birds in dense urban populations and not in rural districts?

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


Female Brewer's Blackbird
Alas my American adventure is over and I am now sitting here in west London jetlagged and freezing cold filled with memories of a very eventful past few weeks.

For those of you who are interested I have compiled the list of species that I saw in the US. Watch out for the stories that came from my trip within some of my future articles.

Great Northern Diver
Red-throated Diver
Pied-billed Grebe
Western Grebe
Black-necked Grebe
Slavonian Grebe
Northern Gannet
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt’s Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Brown Pelican
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night Heron
Tundra Swan
Mute Swan
Greater White-fronted Goose
Pale-bellied Brent Goose
Canada Goose
Cackling Goose
Wood Duck
American Black Duck
Green-winged Teal
American Wigeon
Northern Pintail
Northern Shoveler
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Lesser Scaup
Long-tailed Duck
Surf Scoter
Black Scoter
Hooded Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Black Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Prairie Falcon
Gambel’s Quail
Wild Turkey
Clapper Rail
Common Gallinule
American Coot
Grey Plover
American Golden Plover
Semipalmated Plover
American Oystercatcher
Black Oystercatcher
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Solitary Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper
Ruddy Turnstone
Black Turnstone
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Hudsonian Whimbrel
Long-billed Curlew
Marbled Godwit
Short-billed Dowitcher
Long-billed Dowitcher
Bonaparte’s Gull
Mew Gull
Heermann’s Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
American Herring Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Lesser Black-back
Western Gull
Great Black-back
Forster’s Tern
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
Band-tailed Pigeon
Feral Pigeon
Eurasian Collared Dove
Mourning Dove
Greater Roadrunner
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Eastern Screech Owl
Long-eared Owl
White-throated Swift
Broad-billed Hummingbird
Costa’s Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird
Allen’s Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Acorn Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Gila Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Gilded Flicker
Horned Lark
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
American Pipit
Rock Wren
Cactus Wren
Bewick’s Wren
Carolina Wren
Marsh Wren
Pacific Wren
Cedar Waxwing
Northern Beardless Tyrannulet
Say’s Phoebe
Black Phoebe
Vermilion Flycatcher
Tropical Kingbird
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Varied Thrush
Northern Mockingbird
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Curve-billed Thrasher
Bridled Tit
Tufted Tit
Oak Tit
Carolina Chickadee
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee
Bush Tit
White-breasted Nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Pygmy Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Blue Jay
Steller’s Jay
Western Scrub Jay
Mexican Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Common Starling
House Sparrow
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Abert’s Towhee
Rufous-winged Sparrow
Black-throated Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrow
American Tree Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Yellow-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Brewer’s Blackbird
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle
Great-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
Red Crossbill (type 3)
American Goldfinch
Lesser Goldfinch
Mealy Redpoll
Hoary (Arctic) Redpoll
Pine Siskin
Evening Grosbeak
Snow Bunting
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend’s Warbler
Palm Warbler
Common Yellowthroat

209 species

29 lifers

Monday, 11 March 2013

Golden Gate Birding

 Black-necked Stilt
 California Ground Squirrel
 American Avocet
 Grey Plover
 Yellow-rumped Warbler
 Male Varied Thrush
 Another male Varied Thrush 
 Mew Gull
 Great Horned Owl - adult with owlet
TUB with Golden Gate Audubon's Eddie Bartly & Noreen Weeden 
White-crowned Sparrow

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Catching the Clap(pers) in the Bay Area, California

 Clapper Rail - obsoletus race from the San Francisco Bay Area
 Long-billed Curlew
 Clapper Rail - obsoletus race
 Turkey Vulture
 California Towhee
 Horned (Slavonian) Grebe
 Lesser Scaup
White-crowned Sparrow 
 Forster's Tern
 Least Sandpiper
Sleeping drake Northern Pintail with a pair of dozing Green-winged Teal