Monday, 13 April 2015
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 OuzelEvery 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
A gorgeous Blue Tit
A drifting female Sparrowhawk
Wednesday, 8 April 2015
A lone Montagu's Harrier drifting over the Extremadura landscapeI 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 www.theurbanbirder.com 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
Iberian Imperial Eagle
Montagu’s Harrier – darkish morph male seen also
Little Ringed Plover
Great Spotted Cuckoo
Iberian Green Woodpecker
Blue Rock Thrush
((Great Reed Warbler))
Iberian Grey Shrike
Monday, 6 April 2015
Sunday, 5 April 2015
Saturday, 4 April 2015
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 http://lonelybirder.com 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
Alpine SwiftsWe 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!
Friday, 3 April 2015
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
A pair of Magpie
Kestrel in the Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park
One of a pair of Oystercatcherson the Thames foreshore
The Ecology Park visitor centreI 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 http://www.spacehive.com/frog