Sunday, 26 April 2009

Red-rumped Swallow

Just a quick post on my sighting today of an adult RED-RUMPED SWALLOW near my local patch at Bockhill this morning. If you don't believe me (I know there are still those of you who WON'T) check The bird was seen by several others too, although I found it on my own with no prior knowledge of the bird being there.



Friday, 17 April 2009

Patch joys

I had a great time at my local patch today, with four Beddington SF ticks (three of which were British year ticks). My year list is now on 166 (or 167?) for Britain, 100 for Beddington SF and my Beddington SF list is 118 now!

First of all, highlights that were not ticks of any kind were: the immature Iceland Gull showing well on+off, 20+ Yellow Wagtails, 1 male Peregrine, 1 singing Lesser Whitethroat and a Green Sandpiper.

The Beddington ticks were: 8 Little Gulls north, 5, 1 and 7 Whimbrel north west plus 1 on the enclosed lagoons, 2 Arctic Terns through and a male Ring Ouzel in flight (all apart from Little Gull were British year ticks).

Probably my best day there ever.
Above: 2 different crops of the best Arctic Tern photo. I believe this is the first flight shot of one at the farm.


I was just chilling out in the garden yesterday, avoiding doing revision for just a little bit longer, when I noticed how many birds were singing. It was a really nice afternoon and a male Blackbird had made a favourite perch on top of one of our apple trees. It was singing so I got my scope out and digiscoped a few shots of it. I was really concentrating on the bird, noticing how it drew its wings out slightly when belting out its tune as if to propel the sound even further. I caught the bird ducking its head a couple of times in this video, but couldn't figure out why. I think it may have seen another male within its terrotory. It was really rewarding to get some nice shots of the bird and to get a video which picked up the birds song quite well, instead of thinking "oh, it's just a Blackbird". My point is, the bird doesn't have to be rare to be enjoyed. Take your time to appreciate all of nature...

Thursday, 16 April 2009


Hey there,

Many of you were young birders once or involved in young birders
events, so we thought you may be willing to help us spread the word
about a new opportunity for young birders. The Cornell Lab of
Ornithology is hosting its first Young Birders’ Event this year from
August 6-9, 2009. We’re looking for ten keen young birders to join us
in Ithaca for a long weekend of birding, workshops and networking

The Young Birder’s Event will feature:
· two days of field trips
· presentations by Cornell Lab of Ornithology staff including
professors, researchers, and students who will share various
ways to incorporate birds into a career
· eBird and field notes workshop
· specimen preparation workshop
· sound recording workshop
· tour of CLO including the Macaulay Library and Museum of
· dinner with CLO Directors and Staff

The application and more info attached, deadline 10 May 2009.

Please spread the word to high school-aged young birders who you think
would be interested. The Lab is picking up most of the tab this year,
so tuition is $100 plus travel expenses for the young birders. We’re
doing all our “advertising” via email, word of mouth and Facebook, so
we can really use your help making sure all the high school-aged
birders you know hear about it. Feel free to contact me with


Jessie Barry
Assistant Curator of Audio
Macaulay Library
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
tel. 607.254.2498

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


Spring is well and truly here now. A few nice birds are starting to arrive on our shores and the yearlist is being bumped up with every visit I make to the coast. A recent trip saw me at Hunstanton (Norfolk) where I could see a male Common Redstart and 2 Black Redstarts in the same scope view on a garden wall, whilst on the Golf Course next to me there was a stunning Blue Headed Wagtail (my first) along with 15 Yellow Wagtails, 3 White Wagtails, 7 Pied Wagtails and over 250 Meadow Pipits!
It all happened so quickly!
I also saw quite a few Warblers. 8 species were counted; Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow, Sedge, Cetti's, Grasshopper, Common Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Coto Donana April 4th-11th 2009

Hey all, Ben here.
I just got back from Spain... well, I returned at about 1 am on Sunday morning, but still... it's taken me a while to edit all the photos, all 874 of them! Still, the Coto Donana did not fail to disappoint at all! This year's best moments were close views of Collared Pratincoles, Great White Egrets and Bee Eaters; a Red-knobbed Coot in a lake margin right next to the road; displaying Black-necked Grebes; a Booted Eagle no more than three metres above me in a tree plucking a Hoopoe; a Little Bittern out in the open; and finally, large numbers of Temminck's Stints in a small pool!
On the special birds side, I must say that there was a WILSON'S PHALAROPE in Donana when I was present. A young Swiss birder was busy scanning the Brazo del Este marshes for it, but as far as I know he had no success; neither did we. :( . Actually, to be perfectly honest, I didn't actually try looking for it... ehehe, I had no scope, there was lots of vegetation and anyway, I was busy watching several Purple Gallinules dashing about!
Here are some of my favourite photos from the trip:


Cattle Egret

Collared Pratincole

Great White Egret
Little Bittern

Red-knobbed Coot

Temminck's Stint

Pin-tailed Sandgrouse

Whiskered Tern

White Stork

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

A Swallow in the Garden

I was casually going about my business in the garden- by that I mean eating a sarny ;) when I suddenly hear that unmistakable 'chitter chatter' call above my head... yep, my first Swallow of the year!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Early Migrants in New York

After weeks of being stuck inside, I was determined to get out today. So I biked 5 miles to the nearest state park and tried my luck with migrants.

There were several birders there already, who quickly let me know there was an early Northern Parula on site. It was a remarkable third species of wood-warbler at the site, following the very common Yellow-rumpeds and less common Pines. Other small birds were also present, including Golden-crowned Kinglets, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and an Eastern Phoebe. The first swallows of the year, Trees and Barns, were coursing over the big lake. Most of the ducks had left, except for a pair of Common Merganser and some coots. The only returning heron that day was a Black-crowned Night-Heron. A group of about 17 vocal Rusty Blackbirds and two Red-wingeds wasn't new to my BIGBY list, but was very nice to see and hear.

My only other BIGBY birds today were singing Carolina Wren and Brown-headed Cowbird, which I picked up while biking to and from the park. My BIGBY year list stands at 55.