Sunday, 19 April 2015

Patch life

 Mute Swan
 Carrion Crow
Canada Goose

Monday, 13 April 2015

Spring is Scrubbing up!

I'm back on it!

Whilst I see out the final weeks of the Vote National Bird Campaign it will mean that, by and large, I will be able to scour my beloved patch for migrants. April along with September are the months to be loitering around on The Scrubs looking for the unusual amongst the usual.

It certainly paid off today. Not only did I hear the very last quiet strains of a Nightingale coming from Chats Paddock - our first record for a couple of years - but I also bumped into a female Ring Ouzel in Central Copse.
 Female Ring Ouzel
Every year I sweat, worrying about whether or not I will see one or that the very least, someone else sees one during the year on the patch. It was a relief. It was also a magical moment as the enigmatic Ring Ouzel is also my very favourite bird and it came looking for me.
 A male Wheatear - our first of the spring seen last week
 The Wheatear
 A gorgeous Blue Tit
A drifting female Sparrowhawk

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Extremadura: The final countdown!

A lone Montagu's Harrier drifting over the Extremadura landscape
I spent a fantastic Easter period roaming the southern portion of Extremadura visiting places way off the beaten track. Some of the places I visited will feature in a forthcoming tour that I'm planning in September especially seeing that my original tour became fully booked within a couple of weeks.

Keep an eye on my website for the tour details but in the meantime, I have listed the species that I saw on my trip. I was particularly happy to connect with vagrant Ring-necked Ducks and a Lesser Yellowlegs. The Garganeys were a pleasure to see, the Quail a pleasure to hear and I was delighted to self-find a day roosting Eagle Owl on a mountainside. A real needle in a haystack job!

But the 14 species of raptor (excluding Eagle and Little Owls) was something special. Extremadura truly is a birder's paradise!

Great Crested Grebe
Black-necked Grebe
Little Bittern
Night Heron
Cattle Egret
Little Egret
Great Egret
Grey Heron
Purple Heron
White Stork
Glossy Ibis
Greater Flamingo
Griffon Vulture
Black Vulture
Golden Eagle
Iberian Imperial Eagle
Short-toed Eagle
Booted Eagle
Bonelli’s Eagle
Black Kite
Marsh Harrier
Montagu’s Harrier – darkish morph male seen also
Common Buzzard
Lesser Kestrel
Tufted Duck
Ring-necked Duck
Red-legged Partridge
Purple Swamphen
Great Bustard
Little Bustard
Black-winged Stilt
Little Ringed Plover
Little Stint
Wood Sandpiper
Green Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Lesser Yellowlegs
Black-headed Gull
Yellow-legged Gull
Lesser Black-back
Gull-billed Tern
Whiskered Tern
Wood Pigeon
Collared Dove
Great Spotted Cuckoo
Eagle Owl
Little Owl
Pallid Swift
Alpine Swift
Iberian Green Woodpecker
Crested Lark
Thekla Lark
Calandra Lark
Red-rumped Swallow
House Martin
Water Pipit
Meadow Pipit
White Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail
Black Redstart
Blue Rock Thrush
Song Thrush
Sardinian Warbler
Subalpine Warbler
Zitting Cisticola
Cetti’s Warbler
((Reed Warbler))
((Great Reed Warbler))
Willow Warbler
Great Tit
Blue Tit
((Long-tailed Tit))
Penduline Tit
Iberian Grey Shrike
Woodchat Shrike
Azure-winged Magpie
Spotless Starling
House Sparrow
Spanish Sparrow
Corn Bunting

125 species

Monday, 6 April 2015

Spring in Extremadura

 Corn Bunting
 A swarm of Alpine Swifts with Pallid Swift, House Martin & Yellow-legged Gulls
 Gull-billed Tern riding the storm
 Lesser Kestrel
 Iberian Grey Shrike
 A pair of Montagu's Harriers
 Alpine Swift
 Great Crested Grebe

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Getting all rural in Extremadura

 Spanish Festoon
 A rather large grasshopper!
 Small Copper
 Peek-a-boo Little Owl
 Crested Lark
 Corn Bunting

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Easter in Extremadura, Spain

I decided to spend a few days of rest over Easter in Extremadura ahead of the massive last surge of activity with the Vote National Bird Campaign that I am spearheading.
 Birding from the back of a car (Vanesa Palacios)
I spent a great day birding with the Lonely Birders and Vanesa Palacios at Alange in Extremadura. It's a site consisting of a newly constructed reservoir with reed beds and marshy foreshore.
 Marc Galvez, Jose Guerra (Lonely Birders) and Vanesa Palacios
 White Stork
 Alpine Swifts
We watched Extremadura's largest Alpine Swift colony, over 300 pairs, swirl above the reservoir dam  where they nest. We clocked Bee-eater, Cetti's Warbler, Nightingale, Garganey and refound Extremadura's first Ring-necked Duck - at least 1 male and 2 females!
Pallid Swift

Friday, 3 April 2015

The Greenwich Peninsula

The other day I took a stroll around the Greenwich Peninsula in the shadow of the O2 Arena. It was a rare sunny morning albeit rather nippy.
Looking east along the Thames with the O2 Arena partially obscured on the left
Singing Wren
A pair of Magpie
Kestrel in the Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park
One of a pair of Oystercatcherson the Thames foreshore
The Ecology Park visitor centre
I visited the lovely Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park, a tiny urban oasis with a lake, reedbed and small woodland and registered my first spring Chiffchaff in the UK. I have since been contacted by the park because they are trying to raise money for an outdoor classroom. If you feel so inclined the please donate to