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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in UK Birding's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, January 22nd, 2015
2:34 pm
Sunday, January 30th, 2011
11:02 pm
BGBW 2011
Must apologise UKbirding people, I've rather neglected this communty lately. It's been Big Garden Birdwatch weekend and that seems like as good a reason as any to wake this place up a bit. So let's hear your results.
These are mine:

Woodpigeon 2
Siskin 1
Blackbird 5
Magpie 2
Chaffinch 7
Dunnock 3
Collared Dove 6
Reed Bunting 2
Great Tit 2
House Sparrow 1
Goldfinch 4
Blue Tit 3
Greenfinch 5
Robin 2
Starling 1

Any no-shows? Oh for sure, the GSW will have to account for itself, so too the Bullfinches and Coal Tits and Long-tailed Tits too. I'd like to think wherever they'd gone they were being counted by the homeowners there instead of by me here.

How'd did everyone else do?
Friday, May 21st, 2010
6:29 pm
Thought you guys might get a kick out of this picture. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
4:37 pm
iSpot - a new nature ID community from OU
Featured yesterday on radio 4 "Best of natural history radio" program

i-spot bird group - http://www.ispot.org.uk/birds

the place to learn more about wildlife and to share your interest with a friendly community. Take a look at the latest spots, start your own album of observations, join a group and get help identifying what you have seen.

iSpot is provided by The Open University as part of the OPAL project, which is funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.

You could join in using your google account or a few others.
Monday, November 23rd, 2009
6:53 pm
Hey! Hope this is relevent enough.

Just looking for ideas here. I've got a major project for my uni course coming up soon. Devise study & report on a topic of my choice.Read more...Collapse )

Thanks in advance!
Wednesday, November 4th, 2009
2:50 pm
As October Flies By

Bad bird-blogger, I haven't updated for over a month. To keep it brief mid-October we had our first big trip to Spurn. Not a classic day despite a favourable easterly from the sea, a netted Radde's Warbler released as the Anchor pub car park made for a very cheap life tick (not sure it really counts for that matter), and I chalked of another long-term bogey with a Jack Snipe skulking around the pond at Canal Scrape or whatever it's called. Black-tailed Godwit, loads of winter Thrushes, a Merlin and smattering other nice birds made it all enjoyable enough. Only bummer was another from the nets - a Red-flanked Bluetail - missed the release for that one and then the bird refused to pop out of the bush it dived into. Invairably whichever side we chose to look from the bugger would briefly show from the other. Grah!
For a first experience of Spurn in autumn it was all right, and we'll return next year. The spectacle of dozens of birders and the near-miss car accidents when a report of a mega goes out is something altogether different to local patching.

More recently we dipped on a Cetti's Warbler at Potteric Carr (might it winter there?). We picked a day when it chose to keep schtum, the regulars told me the bird has days like that and then others when puts on a real performance. Ah well, loads of Cetti's around the region at the moment, we'll pick one up sooner or later. Superb views of Bittern (video above) made up for any disappointment and I'll agree that Potteric Carr is quickly becoming the best place in the region, some dare even say the country, to see the species. One bird resident, with five expected as winter takes hold.
Slightly annoyed by some photographers camped in the hide near the Field Centre, the one with the feeders right infront. Giggling and saying 'poor thing' each time you scare off a GS Woodpecker with an assault of loud photo shutters, and would you believe a flashgun, isn't really on. Hardly what they call fieldcraft is it?
Otherwise hugely impressed by the new hides, lots and lots of new hides, overlooking the lagoons where all the Golden Plover hang out. It was always a big nature reserve and now you can access the whole thing, brilliant.

Finally, had a day RSPBing at Carsington yesterday. More schoolkids, more exclamations of 'wicked' after first views of Lapwings through a telescope. Bird of the day was a rusty Garganey that looks more like a juv male than a female. Frustrating to lose the bird when a low-flying Spitfire put up probably every bird on the reservior. Later it was refound at the other end of the water, with a Great Northern Diver, yes - they're back, or at least one so far. Now if we're really talking about the best place in the country to see a particularly scarce bird, Carsi genuinely rates for its GNDs.
The Carsington Kingfishers continue to put on good shows...

Last word, Lesser Redpoll in the garden, thats species #41 since January.
Friday, October 9th, 2009
2:16 pm
11:50 am
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
1:52 pm
102 buzzards killed within a few months on the 5000 acres shooting gound at Kempton estate
I heard this on 'Farming Today' on BBC radio 4.

Burden's notebook, in which he used the five-bar gate notation to keep a tally of the number of rabbits, crows and other animals it is legal to kill, and then used coded headings for illegal kills: 40 under BB - black buggers, meaning ravens; 37 under Billy - a country name for a badger; and 102 under an asterisk - which stood for common buzzards


That was quite a lot of buzzards, badgers and ravens within 8 square miles. I hardly see any of them even if I tried hard when I go walking. How big exactly a buzzard's territory is?
Monday, August 10th, 2009
11:42 am
Isle of Mull

(Otters, promise.)

So, Mull, huh? As good as they say? It sure is!

Expectations had already been boosted on the long journey up there when a lay-by along Loch Awe produced a family group of Ospreys, a couple of adults and two or three fledglings. The skies were bucketing it down (too heavy to get out of the car even) so no pictures , just fantastic memories for us.

Onward to Mull we had booked one of the wildlife safaris you simply must go on when you make it to the island. There are seven currently running and we chose the Wild About Mull tour because it could pick us up from our campsite right on the tip of the Ross peninsula. Bryan, our guide, did us well with an Otter early on, a WT-Eagle in a tree across Loch Scridain and then Golden Eagles sailing across the highest ridges on the island. That's the big three ticked. The Goldie was a lifer for me (#218). Seals, Red Deer, Raven, Golden Plovers, Stonechat soon followed, with Red-throated Diver coming earlier in the day, and all in all it was £37-each well spent.
Like most visitors we did the tour at the beginning of the week so we'd have a handle on the place for the rest of our holiday.

We camped for the whole week at Fidden Farm just a mile or so south of the Fionnphort and the ferry for Iona. Like the wildlife tour, Iona really demands you devote a day to it, at least then you might stand a chance of actually spotting one of the many calling Corncrakes that excite, frustrate, but mostly excite, all around the enchanting isle (video). Not a bad island if you enjoy your history or you're in with Jesus either. We failed on seeing a CC, so to tick or not to tick? That is the question. A lot of people have been pondering that all over England during this good Quail summer, another noisy skulking bird. I'm still undecided.

Back on Mull, we connected with the WT-Eagles again a couple of times, once back at a nest site we'd seen on the tour. The one chick apparently fledged the day before (grah!), but the good news is they tend to go straight down into the nearby woodland and stay there for several days so you still get to see the parents bringing in food.
Early mornings around Fidden did well for the holiday list, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Snipe all in the brook beside the farm, and the buildings themselves housed a not unspectacular summer Starling roost with perhaps a 150 birds funneling during the evening. Wheatear everywhere, same with Oystercatcher, Redshank, Hooded Crow of course.
Nearby the farm a dead end track leads off past Fidden to the scatterings of other farms on the south-west tip of the Ross to where we had some of our best birding of the holiday. Within a minute of each other we had a WT-Eagle sail in quite low from the west, and then sitting on a rocky pinnacle a Golden Eagle, which then took off to glide along the rolling ridges in the distance. Impressive!
An impromptu visit to Tireragan nature reserve followed after we picked up a map leaflet from the farm at the end of the track. A warning to visitors, the paths may start easy, but they soon disappear into a dense jungle of bracken, so taking a compass and an OS map would probably be a good idea. Do go though, we had a family group of ring-tail Hen Harrier careering across the sky, looked like they were tossing each other around the sky actually. Close views of Ravens checking out us checking them out followed, and then the briefest view of an immaculate male Hen Harrier - which be honest are the ones we really want to see - frightening every Mippit and Stonechat in the area.

Must briefly mention Carsaig bay, a short visit there discovered Spotted Flycatchers, they're always a pleasure.

Finally, for the girlfriend's birthday I promised we'd go find our own Otters, and this we did. I don't want to say quite where - somewhere west of Glen More will do - we found a mother and cub hunting on a rising tide. I say hunting, it really looks like play.
On the day we left for home, one more stop by the same area brought us a dog Otter and we had reasonable close views of him 'sprainting' a small rocky island in the loch. A charming, if poo-themed, way to end our holiday.

There's gotta be a next time when it comes to visiting the Isle of Mull.
White-tailed Eagle at something toward half a mile distance.

Had a special invite to the ladies loos in Bunessan to see these fledgling Swallows.

Friday, June 26th, 2009
4:04 pm
“More cheese, please!”
I haven’t fed the jackdaws, rooks and crows for two months, but they still remember my feeding table and must have been checking on it every now and then. Half an hour after I put the grubs down, they flocked in on to the cheese and the bread.

How long a crow can remember things? Forever?
Monday, June 15th, 2009
3:24 pm

Staying on the Blue Tit chick theme, here's a little fella inspecting my patio windows last week. You may just about hear Springwatch on the TV in the background.

Just had some Great Tit chicks in the garden too, a couple of them sunbathing together, which I've never seen any number in a family group do before.
Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
4:43 pm
First Lady

Did Budby Common at the weekend, had promised the girlfriend a Cuckoo. Plenty heard of them and one of the two calling males gave a couple of fleeting views. We've done better there before, but these are always skittish birds. The usual suspects were also around, loads of Tree Pipit, although surprisingly saw only one Woodlark.
Had our first Painted Lady of the year, a real faint one. Ours was ahead of a big influx that has hit the UK over the past couple of days.

Elsewhere Barn Owls are back for another season of train dodging on one of my local patches, and I'm seeing more Red-legged Partridge on my way to work (which may be bad news for any local Grey Partridge left around here).
Friday, May 22nd, 2009
9:23 am
newbie intro and feather question..
Hiya! New to the community. I like all birds, but do have my favourites. I keep feeders on my clothes line. Recently the blue tits have been visiting again since the starlings havent arrived yet. I have four indoor cats, they never go out side. They love sitting in the window watching the birds on the feeders, especially pigeons. Any questions, just ask!

I was hoping someone may be able to identify these feathers I found on my walk yesterday.


I live in Sheffield, England. I found the feathers near a road near some by woods. The back feather is almost 11cm long and the front one is 9 1/2 cm long.

Anyone know?

Current Mood: curious
Monday, May 11th, 2009
3:49 pm
Wow, Rutland Water

The plan was to scooch down to Rutland to finally bag one of the many Cattle Egrets in the country these days, by the end of a very long day we'd scored a list of 81 species and some memorable views - this despite missing out several hides and the Manton Bay area.

Big surprise was the new lagoon on the north side of Egleton Reserve, even googling after the visit I find very little online to cover quite what an interesting development it is. Being Rutland it's another big area of water with islands and scrapes that are an obvious magnet for all kinds of waders, and crowning glory of this achievement is an Osprey platform with attending bird. To give an idea of what it's already getting we saw Sanderling, Sandwich Tern and Avocet on or around that lagoon (gales over the last few days certainly helped with that). At one point the two Avocets mobbed the Osprey, which really underlines two of the big successes in British bird conservation over the last couple of decades. Who'd have imagined that even 15 years ago?

On other lagoons, three Black Terns, a pair of summer plumage Black-necked Grebes, and dozens of Hobbies hawking high and low, are all birds to make any day. Early evening a Cuckoo finally showed itself after teasing with distant calls all day long.

Shouldn't forget the reason we travelled in the first place, the Cattle Egret. Always kind of distant, invariably gorgeous, and yes it was among the cows (substituting for the elephants and rhinos of Africa).

An apparently plastic* Ruddy Shelduck hybrid raised and disappointed hopes, and yet what a richly coloured bird nonetheless.

Get thee to Rutland!Osprey nidifying...
...Hobby... flying.

Ruddy/Cape/Egyptian Goose/Shelduck thing
Cattle Egret

Plus, a bonus video, shot from a good distance...

*plastic - noun, slang: A wild bird of dubious origin, usually an escapee from an ornamental wildfowl collection.
Monday, April 13th, 2009
9:44 pm
Bird ID anyone?
Hi there; would like to get an ID on this bird:

Seen today in Brighton, about the size of a sparrow. Anyone?
Tuesday, April 7th, 2009
4:31 pm

Loving life in Derbyshire, albeit just about 100 yards into the county. We can take a 10 minute walk and there's Dipper, Little Ringed Plover and Little Owl variously around the village. It's also a little pleasure to see Mallards in the street when I go to work in the morning.

Went to a talk at the local RSPB group, good stuff on farming with wildlife and the Higher Level Stewardship scheme. Learned a wee bit about margins, scrapes, etc, travelling through the countryside in the week after it's easy to spot the what ifs on the local farmland. What if the hedgerows weren't all massacred at the same time, what if the roadside verges weren't mowed so short, what if more farmers became stewards of our natural heritage as well as providers for the table. I suppose there's a whole can of worms there, economically and politically, but what if it saved the future of our wildlife?

And what if I posted another video?

Down at the mill, it's the Dipper again, for a cool half a million you can get it on your garden bird list.
Saturday, March 28th, 2009
5:32 pm


(picture courtesy of the girlfriend)

Inspired by some epic photographs on Birdguides we finally took the trip down a bit south of Derby to catch this long staying Red-necked Grebe that's more or less reached full summer plumage. Real glamour bird this one, a rare specimen of Russian chic and proper little show-off drifting around 20 yards in front of the car park (this beats the pale distant RNGs I usually freeze my bits of for in the mid-winter at Rutland Water).
Also picked up my first Wheatear of '09, hopefully to be met with again in July if all plans for a week on the Isle of Mull come together.

What's missing from this entry? Oh yes, the dodgy digi-video-scope effort...

Friday, March 27th, 2009
7:59 pm
Semi-intro post
Hi, I've been watching this Community for a while, but not joined until now.

Some of you will know that I'm gipsy_dreamer's OH and like watching and encouraging birds into our garden.

Today I visited my dear old mum in her cottage in Suffolk (A lovely old house, which she and her husband have been restoring since shortly after they retired from work).

I was stunned by the variety of birds that visited their feeders over a short time. There were at least seven blue tits, two great tits, two chaffinches, a robin, a dunnock, a sparrow, some collared doves and five pheasants.

They also get woodpeckers, little owls, barn owls and partridges. I heard one of the little owls calling this afternoon. Mum even saw a barn owl on her bathroom window ledge a few days ago.

One funny thing happened. One of the sparrows was on the ground near the bottom of the feeder stand (which is in a small dip, thanks to the pheasants digging away at it) and it suddenly fell on it's side, rolled down into the dip, then got up again and started pecking away at the seed again. I swear it actually enjoyed doing it!

Oh, and serious *envy* - mum doesn't get *any* starlings at all, whereas we (with a tiny garden) get dozens which eat most of the food we put out.
Wednesday, March 25th, 2009
2:47 pm
Just Chipper

Nice bird in the village today, unusual this far east, it's a Dipper. Well worth all of that 5 minute walk down to the mill. Looked territorial too, so fingers crossed on that, even if it means a hard time for the regular Grey Wagtails.

more picsCollapse )

Couple of good birdy articles in the Independent this week, well, one good, one bad:

Triumph of the Bumbarrel - AKA the Long-tailed Tit

The Sound of Silence - The Cuckoo is Vanishing
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