Monday, 31 March 2014

Things are livening up

A nice day on Staines and Stanwell moor(s) today, one of those days where I forgot that I had to be back for a certain time and had a few mild panic attacks when it dawned on me to actually check the time - I could've lost myself there all day today.

Straight away, from Hithermoor road, the airwaves were alive with birdsong. Chiffchaffs were busy chiff-chaffing away, two male Blackcaps were competing too, a single Cetti's Warbler was bellowing its unmistakable song a little further down the path, Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Robins and even the usually peaceful Collared Doves were having a good crack at it!
The Blackcaps for me, had already made my day. Any sign what-so-ever that Spring is in full swing, makes for a happy Keith.

At the gate through to Stanwell moor was another male Blackcap, not particularly bothered by my presence and also busy singing, just above my head in the brambles. A lone Song Thrush was also perched and keeping an eye out:

From the boardwalk, I noticed 2 white blobs over on the Eastern side - these were to be Shelducks, and a pleasant suprise to see them busy feeding instead a quick fly over glimpse.
Excuse the shoddy photo, they were quite a way away:

A small flock of Meadow Pipits were darting around in the grass along the Colne, chasing each other about and calling. This one was kind enough to pose for a photo:

The Kingfisher; one of my favourite British birds has eluded me on the moor this year, until today! It zipped along the water from the boardwalk to perch for a few minutes on the metal rails of the concrete bridge - an absolute pleasure to watch.
A Buzzard drifted over from the South side but stayed at a nose bleed height before drifting off into distance, soon after. A male Peregrine offered much more generous views - as I was sat on the mound by Butts pond, it came tearing past at my eye level from the South, a great view but sadly too fast for a photo, sorry.

For a brief moment I got rather excited at a certain corvid, with an obvious broader bill, for it to be one of the Carrion Crows with a gob full of nest material!

It was a great day for butterflies today, I saw 2 Small Tortoiseshells, 4 Orange-tips and 6 Peacocks - all of which were absolutely immaculate.

I also noticed a lot of (what appear to be) the same species of Caddisfly, smaller than I've seen before but out in abundance and until I 'pot' one for ID, it will remain nameless!
2 Bee Flies (Bombylius major) were a nice suprise, as were a couple of 'Moth flies' dotting around in the NE corner, by the water. Again, I couldn't tell you what species but even with a specimen, that Psychodidae family is massive and hard to pinpoint.

A Red Kite drifted over the NE corner but was soon ushered off by a couple of very assertive Lapwings:

Nothing MEGA but there were quite few Stock Doves about today, a first for me on the patch, I counted 8 in total.

I'd thought most of the Winter thrushes had moved on but was soon put right when a flock of 34 Fieldfare made themselves known as I made my way back through Stanwell moor.

All in all a lovely day out on the patch, I wont list every little thing as this was supposed to be a 'quick' write up - sorry!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Place your bets - first Wheatear on Staines Moor??

The other evening, for a bit of fun (and some light-hearted competition) I asked people to guess when the first Wheatears of 2014 would drop in on Staines Moor.

Some of the local birders have given their predictions:-

  • MYSELF (@akkwildlife)         - 13th March.
  • Adrian (@SpelthorneB)         - 17th March.
  • Richard (@RichardWoolley2) - 18th March.
  • Rachelle (UrbanWildThing)    - 13th March.
  • Mark (@Mark_Elsoffer)          - 30th March.
  • David (@WildBritain77)         - 17th March.
  • Dominic (@ReservoirDom)     - 10th March.
  • Lee (@LeeDingain)                - 11th March.
  • Stevie (@steviem69)             - 20th March.
  • Sean (@SeanFoote1)             - 15th March.
  • Sacha (@sachab71)               - 10th March.
  • Kevin (@bbsbirder)               - 19th March.
  • Gordon (@GordonKape)        - 12th March.
  • Mick (@KerrMick)                  - 14th March.

With predictions covering the next 3 days, this could make for an interesting week! If no luck this week, it looks like Mark Elsoffer may have it...

well, well, well, it seems we have a winner! As per the London Bird Club Wiki, a single Wheatear has been reported on our beloved moor, near to the old rifle butts. 

I'd say that puts David Hicks, Adrian Luscombe and Kevin Duncan as joint runners up, to the Champ, in 1st place with his prediction of today, the 18th March.........RICHARD WOOLLEY! 

Well done Richard, if ever I find a suitable prize at some point in the future - it's yours. Scouts honour.

Thanks for joining in everyone, been a good laugh and maybe got some of us out on the moor on a day that we might not have bothered otherwise. Maybe another round for some of our winter visitors...