Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Red is the Colour

The Blues have won the Champions League, the Sky Blues the Premier League and at last the the sun is out and the skies are blue, but the bird news at EIDB is mainly red. Today saw another Red Kite fly over going west, very similar to last week, except this one was a little higher. This is the fourth record at the site . Also today saw the return of the female red nasal saddle Portuguese Tufted Duck. Three Swallows flew north proving that migration isn't quite finished yet, though it does seem to be almost over. Reed Warbler numbers are very low and the reedbeds are quiet, about 10 pairs bred last year and at the moment there are only 2 singing birds. It looks like 2 Sand Martin pairs are breeding so all is not lost after the very late arrival of this species, though its unlikely that we will have a three brooded pair like last year.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mid May and its colder than a Penguins chuff

I am not particularly fashion conscious but my Spring  and Summer collection is still firmly ensconced in the wardrobe. |I am still wearing the old coat, pullovers, thick socks and gloves, and this morning I really needed them. It was freezing with a keen NW wind howling across the Basin. For a change I was the only person at EIDB and it was desolate,  like the land of Zin. There was also a lack of avian life, nothing was singing and very little moving, and I did question my sanity. But about 10 o'clock the sun broke through, it didn't produce much heat but brightened things up. A few birds chirped up, a couple of Reed Warblers, a Blackcap and a Whitethroat, and a Wheatear appeared on the Pura Foods site along with 5 Stock Doves. Then I noticed some Gulls buzzing a bird flying west over the Thames, a Red Kite, only the third record here and a species I had in mind as there has been quite a number around the London area recently. The same bird was later picked up flying over the Tower of London. The sky cleared a little and a Sparrowhawk flew over followed by 4 Swifts. Two more Reed warblers were singing, all of which were singing from bushes even though there is plenty of reed in the area. Eventually two Sand Martins emerged from the nesting hole though they soon went back in again. Though the sun was now fully out it was still cold and it was time to leave. Later on there was massive hail storm.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Boris in Birds out. Saturday 5th May

So Boris is back and whatever the politics it could spell disaster for London's birds. He is in a very strong position, he is the only Tory to win anything recently and this gives him the mandate to push for his various schemes,  the chief one amongst them being the airport in the Thames. He has Cameron by the goolies and will pile on the pressure. I am sure most birders will aware of what an airport in Thames will do for birds and other wildlife The Thames is an internationally important site for Wildfowl and Waders. I hope the RSPB are going to pipe up over this, they have been worryingly quiet of late. Also Boris wants to relax the planning laws in London making developments easier and swifter. I fear many of our biodiverse brownfield sites will be at risk, many which reside along the Thames.
I thought we were living in times of austerity but the government has made £200,000 available to eradicate the 100 Ruddy Ducks left in the UK. At £2000 per duck what are they killing them with, unless they are going to disturb them so they fly then shoot them down with surface to air missiles.
 Saturdays visit to EIDB was always going to be an 'after the Lord Mayor's show' type of event after John Archer's impressive haul on Friday. He recorded 4 unusual species (Yellow Wagtail, House Sparrow, Sedge Warbler and Garden Warbler) the first Sand Martin of the year plus good numbers of commoner migrants. There was no sign of the unusual species but I did record my first Sand Martins, 6 flying north and 2 hanging around the basin, hopefully to breed. Also I recorded the first Swifts at EIDB this year with a massive count of 6 (this is a big count at EIDB) and my first Lesser Whitethroat. So it was decent, but still no Chiffchaff.  But the main talking point was the weather, it felt like January and birds were very reluctant to move or sing and hanging around staring at bushes soon became toe numbing.