peter scott's house for sale

Friday, August 27, 2010

A snip at £435,000!

See more by clicking this link - ooh get me with my parallel blogging!

what I will miss part 2

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I’m going to miss a website. As the website is not closing that may sound a bit strange, but I will miss it because it will cease to be entirely relevant to my new patch and I will have little cause to read it.

The website is the Londonbirders Wiki.

You may think that as London is a generally a more frosty place to live on an interpersonal level that you would have more coherence amongst birders in the idyllic flatlands of Norfolk than you do in London. It is my opinion that the reverse is true. Londonbirders seem to be able to work better as a unit in spite of the difficulties that the city presents whereas the individuals in the Norfolk birding scene don’t seem to be able to get it together to maintain a project as good as the wiki, which is a pity. They have yahoo groups and what not but they don’t seem to be able to unite behind a common technowebical cause. As far as I know the most popular venue for discussion is a thread on Birdforum that is as long as it is chaotic, and I’m willing to be corrected. Yes, it is true that the Londonbirders mail group does have the odd barny, and a certain Mr Evans of the parish of Amersham has been, erm ‘deselected’ but that was a rarity. I suppose it could be that Norfolk birders are all out in the field seeing birds, and London birders are all keeping the interweb up to date rather than doing their employers will. Something that I would obviously have no truck with. No that would be very naughty indeed.  The nub of my point is that the birders in London have got all this interweb thing all sorted and have an excellent resource. I will miss it.

Meanwhile in another land, a listers list is listed.

what i will miss - part 1

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Part 1 of how many, I don't know.  But certainly at least two. 

When I leave this patch to go here, I will miss this.

Yep, that is the view of the shopping trolley Coot nest from Friday.  Empty, no eggs or chicks visible but the adults were still knocking about (as they always are).  The nest really is enormous now, and is likely to last the winter to leave a much better base for earlier success next year. 

I would think that this is the last time that I will set eyes on this (eventually painful) scene for two reasons.  Firstly is that there is little point in going this far up the Wandle if the Coots are not nesting, and secondly the Coots are not nesting.

It has been quite a rollercoaster watching these bloody birds over the last few years, and to a certain extent they have come to represent the the blog itself (although the image that adorned the header for quite some time was from a bird that lives some 8 miles away), although qualifying that statement might be a bit tricky to be honest.  What I do know however, is that the day that I found that they had actually produced young was as high as the day was low when I found that they had all gone to the big shopping trolley in the sky.  Which might tell you something.

Anyway that's enough navel-picking-shoe-gazing-introspective nonsense for one day.  Yes I'll miss them but they bollocked my nut in for most of each year, see ya!

don't watch that...

Monday, August 23, 2010 this!

A stag party at cley...

if i build it...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Did I mention that I've got a new patch coming?  I did? 

Well, I reckon that a new patch deserves a new blog (might have mentioned that too).

It's still in it's infancy, and lots of honourable links are yet to be added and all that kind of malarkey, but for the moment feel free to enjoy the first, and reasonably uninspiring entry to Norfolk'n Birds.  

Click on the bluey bit - it's a link...

a gull eats a balloon

Friday, August 20, 2010

Have you ever been asked the question "will a gull eat a balloon?".  No, nor me.  Now, thanks to the wonders of modern technology you can answer that question.  Read on.

Initially I thought it intersting that a gull had found a balloon on the foreshore (and ironically only a few days after Thames21 had done a big clean up in the area) and thought that it might be investigating this new thing in it's life.

But it decided that it needed a wash, becuase it probably mistook it for a lugworm or something similar.

At this point I thought that it had realised it's folly and was going to leave it alone.   Sensibly.

But it picked it up again, and with a flick of it's head it had it in the correct place for an efficient swallow...

It was at this point that I realised that the bird was actually going to eat the bloody thing.  By waving my hands in the area and swearing loudly at the gull, I thought that it might be persuaded to take flight and drop it.  But with what it thought was a lugworm that big though, it wasn't going to budge.  With hindsight, I should have known that it may well of flown off, but it wouldn't have dropped it as that isn't what gulls tend to do.

It swallowed it. 

Completely.  Bloody thing.

It then proceeded to have a little drink and carried on feeding in the river.

Then it had a preen.

And then it had a kip.

Unless it regurgitates it (which I have seen in gulls before) it's shortly going to be a very, very,  dead gull indeed.  I know it's only a gull, and not an uncommon one and that I am not one for shying away from nature when it is at it's most raw and unforgiving.  If this gull was killed by a Peregrine I would have loved it.  But this is at the other end of the scale, the shitty end of urban birding.

it's ok, they are only gulls

Thursday, August 19, 2010

If you look at the Birdguides reports of rarities that are knocking about these fair isles, you will occasionally see that there are entries for Yellow Legged Gulls.  That means that they are unusual.  So I should make more of a song and dance about this bird as it is still hanging about in Fulham and seen yesterday.

Of course, just because it is on Birdguides (other rare bird information services are available) doesn't necessarily mean that the birds are hard to find or that significant.  How many times in a day do people need to tell everyone else that there are Spoonbills at Cley for example?

Anyhow, elsewhere in the patch, Common Gull numbers are on the rise, as there were two yesterday.  Here is one, ain't it purdy?

Else-elsewhere in the patch, this ringed Herring Gull (white A6LK) has been seen.  I'm not the first to have seen it but it's the first time I've seen it.

Now if you think that me moving to a new patch means that I'll stop yapping on about Larids, think again  (even if I'm able to find the time to do it, it will depend on servers and monitoring and stuff).  So it might not be Norfolk'n Birds, it might well be Norfolk'n Posts!  I digress, regardless of the blogability of my situation, this photo of the new patch gives you an idea of what kind of gullage I'll be up to.

Now ain't that purdy?

I can't bloody wait.

a list of birds what i saw

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

You know those waffle free posts where someone that birds in a patch actually puts up a list of birds they saw in the patch?  The ones like what I don't do very often?  Lets have one for yesterday.

Mute Swan - 2 adults, 5 cygnets
Mallard - loads
Tufted Duck - 1 female, 6 ducklings (no, really)
Grey Heron - 7
Cormorant - c15
Lesser Black Backed Gull - 5+
Herring Gull - 15+
Common Gull - 1
Black-headed Gull - 30+
Long Tailed Tit - c7
Blue Tit - 1
Goldfinch - 3
Magpie - 5
Carrion Crow - loads
Starling - c20
Moorhen - 2
Coot - 4
Pigeons - loads
Wood Pigeon - 10+
Ring-necked Parakeet - 3
Pied Wagtail - 1
Blackbird - 2
House Sparrow - 6+
Canada Goose - 2

Not very exciting I grant you.  The only notable from that list is the Tufted Duck with ducklings.  If they stay loyal to the site over the coming weeks it may be proof of breeding, which will be a first.  But there are Tufties on Wandsworth Common, and it is not unknown for ducks to take their progeny for a walk.  But round here it seems a little unlikely.

Tufted Ducks doing activity

the dalai lama and me

Monday, August 16, 2010

What was the relevance of the title of Friday's post?  What is the relevance of this one?  Firstly, none whatsoever and secondly none until I'm done here today.  You still with me?

Here is how it all ties together.  Trying to find witty or even slightly different titles for posts can be a bit taxing.  Now, on the way to work on Friday, rather than the dulcit tones of John Humphreys, I was listening to some of Screamadelica by Primal Scream, as you do.  In the track Don't Fight It, Feel It the backing singer(s) sing the line (taken from the superb Rocket Reducer No. 62 by the MC5 as some of you know) 'Rama Lama Lama Fa Fa Fa'. And it stuck in my head. So for my own amusement, I put it as the title of the post. So far so innocent.  That's the first bit out of the way.  The second answer, and a little installment of wierdness is that because of that post title a link to my blog ended up on a kind of daily whereabouts blog thing for the Dalai Lama.

No shit - click here.

How totally bizarre.

Erm, have a picture?

 A Heron doing itchin' an' scratchin'

another sparrowhawk post

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Don't worry, I'll stop soon.

However, if you want to know what a decent picture of a Sparrowhawk looks like check this out.

Birdguides photo of the week

rama lama fa fa fa

Friday, August 13, 2010

So I've been discussing with much erudition waffling on about how there are a couple of Sparrowhawks in Fulham and that I reckon that they are juveniles but they are never very close so I can't be certain that there is breeding in the patch and that I was waiting or looking for a third bird right so that I could confidently state that there was breeding, yeah?

[pauses for breath]

Well yesterday lunchtime I was going through the exact same routine as the previous days (standing, watching, waiting).  And I was watching one Sparrowhawk, which was calling a lot, and I could hear another which also was calling a lot.  So far, so the same, so fine - I'm not complaining.  After a while there was some man made disturbance at the bottom of the tree that they had been sitting in.  I cynically hoped that perhaps this would make them fly, perhaps revealing the toid boid.  It didn't produce da toid boid. 

It produced FOUR!  Four bloody Sparrowhawks!

Patch gold, no doubt about it.  Four Sparrowhawks circling above me and proof of breeding (as far as I am concerned).  Nice.

Have some pictures (It was a bit dingy, so if I say that I was trying to do arty farty silhouette pictures I might get away with the distinct lack of quality).

Three Sparrowhawks

Three Sparrowhawks

A Sparrowhawk

A Sparrowhawk

A Sparrowhawk

Yes, I know I said that there were four, but they don't exactly understand how to pose for a family photo you know.

mobbing in the morning

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What do you do if you know where to find Sparrowhawks in your patch?   Easily.  Well, if you are me, you just keep going to go and watch them. At every available moment.  So I did again yesterday, and have done so already this morning. I mean why not? What’s not to like about watching a couple of raptors in your patch? What could be better? Not much is the answer. Not much at all. Still not seen a definite toid boid, but I'm hoping that it is only a matter of time before a parent pops up with some food while I'm there.  Either way,  the two regulars are still well worth the effort. Yesterday lunchtime they were pretty static, but again this morning the Magpies were giving it some (do Magpies prefer mobbing in the morning?) and they were flying about lots and calling all the while.

Other than this excellent bit of patch birderism, there was an Egyptian Goose on the Thames this morning and a Common Sandpiper yesterday. Haven’t seen a Swift for ages, which is a bummer.

Have a picture.

A Meadow Pipit doing calling

da toid boid

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

On Monday I spent about 40 minutes watching a Sparrowhawk in a tree. It didn’t do much other than sitting in the tree and calling incessantly while looking west.

Yesterday, from a different vantage point, I watched what I assumed to be the same bird doing much the same thing. Occasionally I could see another Sparrowhawk moving around the area. From this bird’s behaviour, and reasonably shabby plumage, I have assumed that it is a juvenile. This is good. It makes me think that the Sparrowhawks that I have seen over the year in one particular area have bred again (again assuming that the juvenile that was seen last autumn was a local bird).

But this is an assumption. One reasonably distant and shabby bird acting up isn’t much proof of breeding. Ideally, I need at least a second bird.

This morning I was at my place of employ quite early. I considered getting stuck in for the good of the cause and all that, but as I will be leaving soon I felt more inclined to go and look for Sparrowhawks. So I did. Again I found a second bird, but this time it was sitting with the original bird and doing much the same thing as the first – calling a lot and facing west – and it looked pretty much identical. Like this.

Hmmm. That makes me think that there are two juveniles (which is very good) but they are still distant and shabby. Not quite the proof I was after. So now I need a third bird. Not quite a three bird theory, but certainly a three bird proposition. I thought that I might have found it at one point this morning. While the two probable juveniles were sitting on the tree they attracted the attention of some Magpies and after a short while there was at least half a dozen Magpies mobbing the hawks, who were giving plenty back. There ensued about half an hour of flying around at each other with some lovely views of the two hawks. Sometimes visible, sometimes not, but always audible. During the aerial skirmish I was certain that I saw a slaty-backed bird pop out of the foliage which may have been bigger than the other two. The third bird. I’m now reasonably confident that Sparrowhawks have been breeding on my patch in 2010.  I do intend to chase the third bird for a while though.  For the sake of proof.

Magpies doing mobbing.

The Heron ignored everything.

not what I had intended

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I was going to waffle on about discuss imprinting in wildfowl.  I was perhaps going to mention Konrad Lorenz (younger viewers may not remember black and white film of a bloke walking around with loads of geese following him).  I might have even mentioned his membership of the Nazi Party.  I was going to read some books and get some info and stuff.  To elucidate and enlighten and perhaps entertain.  Unfortunately, to justify all that nonsense, I needed a second view of a bird at a local park to check that my initial assumption was correct.  Basically, because the initial assumption was interesting, but unproven (that's science kids).  

Instead of all that, I proffer a picture and a brief synopsis (an abstract mayhaps) of what I might have waffled on about discussed had I found this bird last night, when in fact I found not much at all.

You see that Tufted Duckling? It thinks that the Mallard is it's mother. 



Monday, August 09, 2010

A brief visit to Brent Res on Saturday produced the goods that I had been hoping for in the shape of a small mainly brown bird.  On the way to the hide, there was a nice warbler frenzy and I managed to pick up a Lesser Whitethroat, juvenile Blackcap and Garden Warbler.  Once in the hide I set about finding the mainly brown bird, which took some time as it may have been sheltering from the recent showers.  However, once it was out, it stayed out.  It's name?  Wood Sandpiper - patch tick.  Nice.

A Wood Sandpiper doing nice.

There is a Wood Sandpiper in that shot.  No, really.  There is a small possibility that that was my last visit to Brent Res as I will obviously be moving to the new patch later in the year.

Tomorrow I intend to discuss imprinting behaviour in ducks.  Don't say you weren't warned.


Thursday, August 05, 2010

To assuage some kind of guilt regarding the eponymous Coots of this blog and the lack of interest I was showing (what, when there are Redshanks all over the show?) I went to check them out yesterday. I hadn't been to the shopping trolley since the end of the family that appeared against all belief earlier in the year.  Not once.  Which is a bit pants, but that particluar drama had left me a bit flat.  And besides, I had a fair idea of what was going to happen.  The days are still long, the sun is still warm, there is still plenty of food about.  What is a Coot supposed to do?

Nest, that's what.

A Coot doing sitting tight.  Yesterday.

And I reckon that this is high enough for success too.  Perhaps they have learned something after all.  Note the amount of vegetation that is now associated with this nest.  It has been there so long that it is turning into an island in it's own right.  A shopping trolley microclimate if you will.  Chicks may be only a week away.

I bet you never thought you'd see the words 'shopping trolley microclimate' juxtaposed did you?

An ending (Ascent)

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

I went to see a man last week right, and we had a chat about some stuff. He liked what I said, and I was intrigued by what he said. “We should have another chat” he said. “That’s a good idea” I said. So earlier this week, suitably attired, I went and had another chat with him. Another man was there too. We all chatted for, like, ages yeah? Then the other chap showed me around this place that we were at, which was nice of him.

Subsequent to all this chatting and stuff, they only went and offered me a bloody job. With money and benefits and stuff. I've only then gone and accepted the bloody job.


There is still the due diligence and what not to go through, but essentially I'm hired.  Professionally this really is very good news. But this blog is not about my chosen profession. Never has been, never will be. It’s about patch birding, and largely about the inadequacies of this particular patch by the Thames in Fulham. But it cannot be thus for ever dear reader, and nor will it be. This new job, you see, is nowhere near Fulham and thus nowhere near this patch. So I will need to go somewhere in the breaks between the times when I'm not contractually obliged to be sitting behind a desk or pointing at things and telling people to do stuff (I believe they call it 'managing').

“Now just hang on one cotton pickin' minute...” I hear you cry dear reader “...your patch isn’t that bad really, what with it being by the river and everything. Will you have anywhere to go in your new job? What could possibly be right outside the front door of your new place of employment that could compare? How lucky can one person get? I mean really, what’s the likelihood of finding something like that somewhere else?”

Exactly.  Life isn't like that.  I'm supposed to be resigned to the futility of modern life, in that I am forced to work for 'the man' and take the tainted dollar and abandoning what little morality I have left for the sake of an easy life.  I couldn't realistically apply for a job based on how close the birds are at lunchtime, that would be silly and financially I don't think it entirely sensible.  But what if it works out that both job and birding can reach some convenient geographical integration.  Yeah, right.  What are the chances of that happening, eh?  What are the real chances of being a hundred yards or so from somewhere worth watching on a daily basis?

Oh, I dunno.

Maybe this picture of the new patch answers the question...

A new patch, doing rock the fuck on!.

Related Posts with Thumbnails