Posts tagged with ‘birds’

Bird of the Year 2013

Notable birds from last year: Whitethroat was a new one for the garden list; a fine male Red-backed Shrike at Barnes WWT was a real treat (and incidentally a London tick). A Glossy Ibis was the first I’d seen in Britain although I didn’t get great views of it. Bonaparte’s Gull — an American species — was a first for […]

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2014

I got 19 species this year, which equals my previous best. blue tit × 4 great tit × 3 long-tailed tit × 2 coal tit × 1 chaffinch × 3 greenfinch × 1 dunnock × 2 robin × 3 nuthatch × 1 blackbird × 2 redwing × 1 song thrush × 1 ring-necked parakeet × […]

Code-switching warblers and birch sap bingers

It’s a lovely time of year to be out and about, now that the horrible weather has lifted: all the summer migrants are just arriving, some a bit late because of the weather, and the countryside is absolutely ful of birdsong: I went to the Lee Valley yesterday, and there seemed to be a whitethroat behind every leaf. […]

Bird of the Year 2012

Starting with my garden, the most surprising record was a woodcock. Sadly not tickable, because it looked like this: Presumably the fox got it. Which is a pity, although if it hadn’t I never would have known the woodcock had visited. The other notable bird, also nocturnal and also slightly frustrating, was a little owl. […]

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2013

This year’s list: robin × 3 blackbird × 2 dunnock × 2 great tit × 2 blue tit × 4 coal tit chaffinch × 3 siskin × 3 carrion crow ring-necked parakeet × 2 starling × 2 pigeon × 4 woodpigeon Which is pretty terrible, frankly. The siskins were a pleasant surprise, but I’m missing long-tailed tit, goldfinch, magpie, jay, song thrush, both woodpeckers, wren, […]

Birds in London by W. H. Hudson (1898)

I downloaded this from Project Gutenberg after reading Hudson’s novel Green Mansions. The novel — a rather peculiar romance about a wild girl found living in the Venezuelan jungle — has has not aged particularly well; personally I found Birds in London much more interesting, although non-London non-birders will inevitably find it less so. Some of it is interesting […]

The Thames path, Crayford Marshes to Charlton

Crayford Marshes is a patch of grazing marsh on the south bank of the Thames east of London — Dartford, roughly. I heard about it as a birding spot, and a few weeks ago I went to check it out. But it’s quite a small site and quite a long way away, so I decided to combine it […]

Barnes

I popped along to the London Wetland Centre at Barnes and had a very pleasant day; it was chilly but, crucially, not raining for once. The most unexpected birds were a flock of at least fifteen yellow wagtails. It’s a very attractive bird, and a species which has declined dramatically over the past few decades, […]

Furry great tits

The cats are shedding at the moment — at times recently Dolly has seemed like a walking cloud of hair with a cat faintly discernible somewhere in the middle. So I got a Furminator to help collect some of the excess, and that means great big clumps of cat hair to dispose of, so I put it […]

Happy spring, everybody.

There has been plenty of evidence of spring for a few weeks now — crocuses, bumblebees, birdsong, hay fever — but yesterday was the vernal equinox, which is the cue for lots of people to say that it’s ‘officially’ the first day of spring. I don’t really see why astronomy should get to trump biology; the self-importance of the mathematical sciences, […]

Foggy finches

I made yet another trip to Bookham Common today, about my third this winter, to try and see the hawfinches there. People have been seeing them in ones and twos for some time, but over the past week there have been sightings of five or six, so it seemed like time to try again. And: […]

Wild geese

I went along to the Swale yesterday — on the Kent side of the Thames estuary — on what turned out to be a startlingly warm day, for February. Bare arm weather! And very nice it was too, to have several hours of uninterrupted warm sunshine. Spring was breaking out all over: loads of skylarks all over the place […]

Bird of the Year 2011

As I mentioned in BOTY:BPIASR, I’ve been a bit slow about this because it wasn’t a particularly interesting year for birds.But there were a few things worth a shout-out, including some I’d forgotten — I’m not very efficient with the records. Last year waxwing was my Bird of the Year, and I could do worse than go […]

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2012

It’s time for some citizen science again. I got 19 species, which turns out to equal my previous best. Not that I saw anything very surprising; it was mainly that I didn’t miss any of the very common species. As usual, the counts are for the maximum present at any one time. feral pigeon × 5 woodpigeon × […]

‘Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination’ at the British Library

I went round this exhibition of illuminated manuscripts from the Royal collection today. Any of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I got a bit distracted by finding birds in the margins. I found 17 species in total*, which is pretty good. And I mainly started looking for them because it was […]

The next sacrifice on the altar of mammon: British wildlife

The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement was pretty depressing all round, but there was one particular part of it that seems worth a comment. Which is that they will ‘review the implementation of the EU Habitats and Wild Birds Directives’. The Chancellor said: We will make sure that gold plating of EU rules on things like habitats […]

Provençal wildlife roundup

It was really a bit late in the year for the best of the wildlife; many of the classic Mediterranean birds — bee-eaters and what have you — were probably already in Africa, and there weren’t many flowers around. Although the oleander everywhere still looked spectacular. Not that it was a complete bust on the bird front. It was […]

Wildlife round-up

I’ve actually done quite a lot of birding this spring, making the most of the freakishly hot weather, but I haven’t really blogged about it. So here are some pictures and whatnot. First, some audio; this is all recorded with the built-in microphone on my phone, so apologies for the quality. These are marsh frogs, […]

Birding again

The glorious summery weather is back, and I had a good day of birding today, just out of London. On the spring migrant front: masses of chiffchaffs and blackcaps, the odd willow warbler, a single swallow. Also treecreeper, nuthatch, buzzard and so on, but the bird of the day was bullfinch. To capture my immediate, […]

Folk wisdom empirically confirmed

I made plans to go birding yesterday in the expectation it would be sunny again; in the event it was grey, overcast and drizzly. But I did see one swallow.

Sumer is icumen in

Well, not actual summer, obviously. But it has been a week of glorious spring sunshine here, and I’ve been out and about enjoying it and doing some birding. On Monday I  failed yet again to see Lesser-spotted Woodpecker in Richmond Park *shakes fist in general direction of south-west London*, but that was more than made […]

Binocular vision

I got some very nice new binoculars at Christmas, so various people have asked to try them; and it appears that if you give a pair of binoculars to someone who doesn’t use them much, the first thing they do is point them at the furthest object they can find. Or they ask ‘How far […]

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2011

It’s that time of year again. Time for some citizen science! I got off to a great start with two siskins, and ended up with a respectable 17 species: Blue Tit × 6 Great Tit × 4 Long-tailed Tit × 3 Chaffinch × 5 Greenfinch × 7 Goldfinch × 3 Siskin × 2 Dunnock Robin Blackbird Nuthatch × 2 Woodpigeon × 2 Feral Pigeon […]