Patching

Saturday saw a touch of patch birding. The highlights being a young Great Crested Grebe on the lake at Hatfield Forest at a yoing Common Tern on the raft.

Saw a Little Owl on the way out of Harlow yesterday.i

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catching up

I’ve been away for a long weekend in Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

I didn’t do much specific wildlife watching but I did keep my eye out. I saw 3 Spotted Flycatchers in different locations. One in Hanwell churchyard, one by Worcester Cathrdral next the avon and another in the gardens of Hanbury Hall.

A trip to Brampton Marshes near coventry through up many common birds. Including Redshank, Common Tern, Great Crested Grebe, Ruddy Duck, Ringed Plover, Lapwings given a Heron grief.

Nice to see a Willow Tit.

Saw a few Dragonflies, including Blue Tailed  and a  Southern Hawker.

On the Wednesday I popped into Rye Meads lots of young about with young Terns on the raft. A few oyung pochard around which was nice to see.

Large numbers of animals discovered in Sudan

After fears of the loss of large numbers animals in the Sudan civil war the Wildlife Conservation society has discovered this.

How Old?

Just how old are animals? We refer to “our Robin” or “our Blackbird” year after year when the truth is that most small birds and animals have incredibly short lives.

I know that mammals have long lives but this story surprised me.

Apparently scientists have just extracted a fragment of a weapon (a time delay bomb) from a bowhead whale that was manufactured between 1879 & 1885. The scientists reckon that the wound was inflicted in 1890. This would put the whale at 107 and it would have been quite a few years old at the time and could have been around at the time of the US Civil War.

The bowhead whale was killed by indigenous hunters off Alaska as part of their subsistence quota.

catching up

Had an enjoyable spot of local birding yesterday. Nothing exciting you understand but very quiet and peaceful.

Hatfield Forest was full of young birds.  There were two Common Terns over the lake and one of them was sitting on the Tern Raft. A drake Mandarin was nice to see.

Then went on to Rye Meads. Lots more young birds including Coots and first Cygnet.  Little Grebe chicks doing well. There were young Terns on the rafts! Saw my first Broad Bodied Chaser.

Today i went to Lakenheath Fen.  And saw a brif glimpse of a Golden Oriole.

2 lifers in one day

Off early with Dave and Joy to Erith to twitch the Squacco Heron. Showing well, photos on main blog.

Then on to Rainham Marshes and rather pleased to catch the Marsh Warbler showing very well. Also frogs being very noisey and Dragons and Damsels about. First Hairy, Emperor, Darter (no idea what one) and Black Tailed Skimmer.

After an enjoyable lunch popped into Amwell to get a patch tick (Scaup) and first Little Ringed Plover of the year.

Return of the Dartford Warbler

The Dartford Warbler, once down to just 11 pairs after the winter of 1963, has enjoyed a dramatic comeback. By 1994 there were an estimated 1890 pairs and now 3208.

It’s not all good news. The popilation in Surrey, Berks and Hampshire fell by 40% between 2005 and 2006. No one is sure why.

Hatfield Forest and Rye Meads

I spent a pleasant morning and early afternoon birding Hatfield Forest and Rye Meads.

Hatfield Forest. Threw up a nice surprise in the form of a Little Owl. Lots of warblers about including Common Whitethroat. Bullfinches quite evident as well. The lake was devoid of Great Crested Grebes but there was a Common Tern over. Cuckoos calling as well.

Lots of young birds at Rye Meads, including Little Grebes, coots and Pochards. Fly through Peregrine as well. Common Terns returning. Highlight was the return of a pair of Kingfishes giving super views.

Another Barnacle Goose speed record

Barbow the barnacle goose has crossed the North Sea in 5 hours @ an average speed of 75!!

Breeding Cranes

The RSPB’s Lakenheath reserve is well known amongst birders as one of the best places to see (or try to see) Golden Oriole. Well now it has another spectacular bird as a resident, breeding Common Cranes.

If you have never seen a Crane in the wild they are a spectacular sight. I’ve seen them once. I wandered into the Bittern Hide at Hickling Broad and was amazed to find two sitting out in the open. I sat entranced as they were “buzzed” by Marsh Harriers.