The other ones...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

You might think from my scribbles and rants, dear reader, that there is little other than coots here. However, yesterday lunchtime I clocked up 24 mainly resident species, which is a good enough opportunity to run down what is hot, and what is not. This listing follows the system recommended by Voous (1977), but when he was a bit pissed up, yeah?

Mute Swan. 1 pair, on a nest for a couple of weeks now.

Tufted Duck. 11 pairs kicking about on the wandle, maybe more by the barges. Unlikely to breed.

Grey Heron. 2 regular with occasional others. Breeding not suspected.

Coot. 4 pairs. 1 pair more than last year. The extra pair have been forced onto the Thames. Successful breeding unlikely.

Herring Gull. Mainly non-breeding birds with the occasional adult. If they are nesting, I don't know where.

Wood Pigeon. I know of one nest being built - I suspect there are a couple more, and would be surprised if there are five or more.

Grey Wagtail. Not so prominent over the last few weeks, but did find a male yesterday in good habitat so hopefully the female was on a nest. Good prospects.

Wren. 3 or 4 singers - nesting suspected and likely.

Robin. Half a dozen singing throughout the patch. Likely breeder.

Carrion Crow. One nest known. At least 30 birds in the wider area. Will succeed in breeding.

Greenfinch. Common overwinter, but don't know if the noisy sites they liked then will be good for breeding. Tentative on their success.

Canada Goose. They fly up the river, they fly down the river.

Cormorant. Autumn numbers peaked at 93, but there are a few around but they don't much look like breeding adults to me.

Moorhen. 3 pairs. Have nested, but may have failed.

Lesser Black Backed Gull. 3 or more adults knocking around. Possible breeders but they need to hurry it up a bit.

Feral Pigeon. Don't care.

Ring-necked Parakeet. A few around - probably got a hole in Wandsworth Park somewhere.

Pied Wagtail. Occasionally seen, but wouldn't be surprised if they are tucked up in a corner.

Dunnock. 3 territories? Gawd knows how many birds, but should succeed.

Blackbird. At least 4 males around, almost guaranteed success.

Magpie. At least one pair, likely to nest but don't know if they will succeed.

House Sparrow. One nest known, same as last year - likely to succeed. There seems to be many more birds than nests.

Goldfinch. Present, but fuck knows what they are up to.

Others regulars but not suspected of breeding - Great Crested Grebe, Gadwall pair last week, GBB and the occasional fly by Black Headed Gull. Swifts have been seen in Wandsworth over the weekend so they should be around soon, followed by not bloody much else.

So here is a Heron, a chair, a fence post and a stone.

The brains of twenty mussels

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Yes - it's Bananacoot!

Quite simple this one. Apple cores and banana skins get chucked in the river when I have finished with them. Gulls ignore apple cores and everything ignores banana skins.

Except coots.

They go wild for an apple core and are quite amusing when they peck at them in the water and they bounce back onto their heads. And yesterday, a pair went wild for a banana skin.

I've even seen them tackle a floating orange. Now that was funny.
Look, if you had a patch like this one you'd watch coots far too much aswell.

Pea souper

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Left home this morning, in fog.

Got to work, no fog. Lots of sun.

Was going to write something for your delectation dear reader, but thought better of it and headed out to the river to catch something interesting in the early morning sun, as the fog had cleared. Swifts I hoped. Red Rumped Swallow I dreamed.

Instead, I was met by this apocalyptic scene.

Mist floating down the river, Ripperesque.

Suffice to say, I didn't see many birds. I did however, see a coot.

All is well...

Monday, April 27, 2009

I nicked this photo from
On Sunday morning I sat down in the garden with my copy of the latest issue of Birdwatch (the one with Rollers shagging on the front - nice touch!) and toast and a coffee, to enjoy the peace and quiet as much as you can under the Heathrow flight path and hopefully to connect with the Willow Warbler that was out there on Saturday morning. Just after the last of the four slices of toast had been rammed into my gob, a raptor appeared (honestly), so I grabbed the optics that were in my lap (that's pretty sad, I know) and got right on the Kestrel that was there. As soon as the focus was right, I could see a trio of Swifts behind/above it. Rock the fuck on! Swifts are BACK!
Swifts are without a shadow of a doubt my favourite bird (good job it's not a Crossbill), and I look forward to the arrival each year. They are the birds bird, the 'peace du resistance Rodney' of the bird world. Birds fly - swifts fly the most and the best and the fastest and everything. They rule. Most of you will know that there is superstition and legend surrounding them, but they don't seem to have entered into the consciousness of the nation as much as similar species like the weak-assed Swallow for example. The former Poet Laureate Ted 'Laughing boy' Hughes did pen some lines about Swifts (something about their arrival meaning that the world was still working and everything was ok) and it is with this in mind that I have tried to convey my feelings regarding my favourite bird in some kind of verse for you, dear reader, to take with you on this spring day.
Oh, the fucking swifts are back,
The fucking swifts are back,
The fucking swifts are back!
Oh the fucking swifts are back,
The fucking swifts are back,
The fucking swifts are back!
United! United! United! United!

On a brighter note...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

...there are a pair of Moorhens that have nested higher up the river wall than last year - and I am very hopeful that they can produce at least one brood of Heron food in about 20 days...
There is a red dot in the middle of the picture. That is a Moorhen.

Didn't they do well?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Yes, they are back. Assumed to be brood two. Much less inclined to move when on the nest so I cannot tell you how many eggs there are. The tides have not been especially high this week, so they may not have been flooded out, but I expect that this is just a temporary situation.

Note in picture two that the nest area has obtained a new addition, in the guise of an upturned trainer. Nike for those that actually care about these things.

This got me thinking about how much detritus I have seen floating down the Wandle (this river was so abused from the time of the industrial revolution that it was declared dead in the sixties - so what I get now is a vast improvement) and in true Generation Game stylee I present you the list. This is just for the Wandle, not the Thames where the list starts to include boats and guns and things. I shit you not.

A used condom

A shoe

A ski

Four car tyres

Beer cans

A filing cabinet, with drawers


A shopping trolley (Sainsbury's)

Beer bottles

Tennis balls

A microwave oven

A cuddly toy

A lifebouy

Empty cider bottles

Traffic cones

A pair of gloves

A junkie's hypodermic

Flourescent jackets

A mattress

A colour television.

Give us a twirl Isla, or whatever your name is.

The stupidest thing about this list is that I don't have to make any of it up.

Finally, a big shout out to the London boroughs of Wandsworth, Merton and Croydon for the assistance in making this post happen and fly tipping into the river. I couldn't have done it without you guys!

Patch tick!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Eat these facts!

Fact - there was a Blackcap singing in the trees by the Hurlingham Club at lunchtime.

Fact - I have never heard or seen them in this area before.

Fact - that makes it a patch tick.

Fact - that makes it 72 for the patch. Seventy two!

Fact - that makes it 50 for the year.

Fact - er, result.

Fact - um...

Fact - this semi-albinistic Blackbird has held it's territory from last year.

That'll do on the facts I reckon.

Have a gander at these...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It seems that most London birders seem to be able to just look into the sky to pick up raptors at the moment, Kites, Buzzards, Ospreys and not long before some Honey Buzzards are popping through I guess (ie

Of course, large raptors have never ever been seen in Fulham. Ever.

So I have had to suffice with Geese. There are other birds around (including Coots - worry not dear reader - my inbox is inundated with no requests for an update, but an update on the mentalists you will get!) but the geese are the only ones that hang around long enough to take a shite picture of. So here goes - shite pics ahoy!

Greylag, with the obligatory traffic cone in the river.

Canada. They fly up the river, they fly down the river.

Egyptian, this one was doing a spot of preening after falling out with it's missus.

And er, that's it.

Have a picture of some Brent Geese that I didn't take in Fulham.

Call the cops!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Smack bang in the middle of my patch, right now, an episode of 'The Bill' is being filmed. Obviously they wanted some gritty urban wasteland to shoot in, and that part of my patch fits it perfectly.

So if you see a dodgy looking birder not finding any birds in the background shot of an episode of a programme that you don't watch....


Monday, April 20, 2009

I woke up half an hour before the alarm was due to go off, and thought fuck it - I'll get up anyway. I'll get in to work early and maybe have a walk round the patch, work out where the tide will be at lunchtime and check out the early passage birds and pick up the Osprey that is due to come through. Unfortunately there was a Ballardian incident on the A4 (how's that for topical!) and it was shut. So I got in later than normal, which is an arse.

The obvious, topical thing to do here is put in a picture of a Crash, or a picture of a sun, or an empire - so here is an action shot of a Fulmar.

Well, hello duckie!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The dampness subsided, the sun came out, the temperature rose and the wind stayed down. Yup, yesterday lunchtime was ideal weather for watching high flying raptors bumming about in thermals. Or as they are known in Fulham - Herring Gulls. Bloody things.

Observe the Tuftie below dear reader.

It thinks it is a Mallard, or at the very least it fancies a Mallard.

It was following these two around the Thames all day, and unlike all the other Tufties round here (which are knocking about in the Wandle) it actually got out of the water - very unusual.

It flies when they fly, feeds when they feed, fights when they fight; damn it - it even cries when they cry man... he's definitely got 'issues'. But he is vulnerable - and needs to be careful. This is a big bad city, and there are a fair few big gay Mallard out on the Thames that would just love to have a piece of sweet Tuftie action...


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Let me qualify a statement I made on the first post since my return from holiday. (Had I mentioned that I had been on holiday - forgive me if I had let that little snippet pass by).

"I refuse to believe that Crossbills actually exist".

Many birders have a bogey bird, the bird that they really should have seen by now but haven't. Not the kind of bird that you go to a specific reserve to see as the chances of seeing it away from it are slim (Stone Curlew type of effort). Now I have seen lots of common birds, a fair few rare birds and some nice looking and some dull birds. I have been to many differing types of habitat, and have often found the birds there that one would expect to find there. However, I have never ever seen a Crossbill. It is my bogey bird. Loxia is obviously some Linnaean joke about fictitious species to wind up the unwary.

Ever been to Wells next the sea? Tis mighty purdy. There is a great big stretch of PINE TREES FFS that should be interesting to birders. They even have a little sign at the entrance to tell you what an interesting place it is for birders, with a picture of a Redstart on it. With lots of pine trees around you would expect to find some birds that specialise in eating fucking pine cones. Well, you might dear reader, and in my folly I thought that I might too. Twat. Ever been to Holkham? It is especially lovely when the tide is out and the children are at school. It is the other end of the large stretch of PINE TREES that is at Wells. Thought that I might bump into a Crossbill there too. Twat. Ever been to Thetford forest? It is a big forest that is full of fucking pine trees. So much so that Mrs Thing and I got lost because all we could see was PINE TREES! I really thought that I would pick up a Crossbill there. Twat. In the many visits to these places, I did see birds. Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Siskin, Brambling, Great Tits, Coal Tits, Treecreepers etc etc. The list goes on but there is no entry for Crossbill.

This is not a new thing for me - I have been to Thetford forest many times over many years and I have been many other places that a half decent birder would reasonably expect to find a species that specialises in living in that area. Twat.

And we are at the tail end of an irruption.

Avocet's arse to 'em.

Was that, no, wasn't it? Was it? Where did it go?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

There was my first hint of a passage bird this morning when I thought that I heard a Common Sandpiper, which I get at the beginning and end of the summer. I thought I did, I might not have. Usually once they call they can be seen skipping across the river when the tide is up, but I couldn’t find one. Will do soon I expect, as they come through here each year. Migrancy has not quite got here yet (while I’ve been here anyway) – but I am hopeful for something this lunchtime. It has been misty all morning and it is beginning to warm up and the sun is coming out and the tide will be down too. There was a Black Kite over the Gherkin the other day, so the eyes will be skyward! Stayed tuned kids – for the next instalment of What Thing Didn’t See Today!

This is a picture of a species that I will not see today in a place that I am not going to. It's the first in a series of guerilla type picture posting where I add pictures from my holiday to posts about my patch as they are more interesting.

No longer...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Yes, dear reader, I have returned. I have been away, and I did do some birding, but I will resist the long and perhaps tedious 'lookwhereIwentonholiday' report. It is perhaps worth noting that in my absence, my Fatbirder ranking has turned to shit. From the position of nearly breaking into the hallowed 500, I came to find this humble site at 787 this morning, which personally I find quite funny.

Suffice to say, I Digimonocularised this, no honest - it's nearly half decent.

Also, I refuse to believe that Crossbills actually exist.

And at lunchtime I am going to look for Coots.

Related Posts with Thumbnails