Saturday, 23 October 2010


In two days time I'm going to (all going well, inshallah etc.) be enjoying a couple of slightly warmer days with significantly more birds in Extremadura! As a very last minute thing my absolute wonder-woman of a mother booked us a flight to Extremadura for the half term. Grazie mille or whatever else it is they say in Italian with a lisp. Photo of a Green Woodpecker today from a quick dog walk around Chiswick house, from an otherwise very unbirdy day:

Taken at full zoom with awkward light, Okay?

Maybe my next post will contain a photo of a bustard? I'm not going to jynx it so I'll only say OH PLEASE LET ME SEE SOME BUSTARD PLEASE I HOPE SO.

If I don't see any at all I'm blaming it on this blog.

Friday, 22 October 2010


Haven't really seen much over the past couple of days but letting the blog go quiet so early on seems wrong. Have some photos of the bits and bobs I've been seeing. 4 Common Gulls have been present along my stretch of the river and on one day this week at least 6 were at my school along with the hundreds of Black-headed Gulls feeding on the general detritus of humanity (aka crisp packets), which is definitely more than I saw at any one time last year.

As well as photogenic common gulls today there was also a pigeon behaving very oddly, dive-bombing the black headed gulls and also happily plonking itself down on the river pretending to be a little auk, this was the only reasonable photo I managed to get but it was very odd behaviour indeed.

Aquatic pigeon, evolution in progress?

I also went to London Zoo on thursday in order to do research for a piece of coursework for my Biology AS. I got a couple of nice shots but don't feel they've got any place on a bird blog. One that does, however, is this shot of the local House Sparrows taking advantage of some meat left out in the Ruppell's Griffon Vulture area. A pretty weird sight.

 House Sparrow with fresh Kill.

Had a really interesting talk from a Cetacean researcher about mass beachings and spent the rest of the day wandering around the zoo with my camera like a numpty. Overall the trip reminded me how little of a fan of zoo's I am :( I understand the value they hold for captive breeding programs and behaviour research and the like but to see these enormous vultures in a cage where their lives extended to flying from one end to the other and waiting to be fed, as much as it may be a crass anthropomorphism of the birds, made me sad to see them so confined. I guess zoos just aren't my kind of thing.

Have a shot of a Lesser Black Backed Gull dreaming of space travel to end things on a lighter note.

 One day...

Monday, 18 October 2010

18th October, A dull day for disputes.

 Had the day off school today owing to an INSET day so I decided to spend it trawling the streets of Chiswick looking for a good bird. Alas, nothing more exciting than a two woodpecker day with good views (but no photos!) of both the common species around here Green and Great-spotted Woodpecker. A walk around Chiswick House Grounds with the dog provided ample time to attempt to photograph a tit flock of around 60 Birds, mostly Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits as well as a somewhat associated group of 3 Nuthatch and 9 Blackbirds including one with an almost-excitingly pale breast band and greyish wings, sadly not a Ring Ouzel though. Unfortunately almost every single one of my 'shots' could also accurately be described by changing the one vowel in that word. Have some anyway:

Noisy shot of a wren.

Almost a Rouzel.

If I ever get bored or fed up of Robins, shoot me.

View from Chiswick Pier towards the Eyot.

 Highlight of the day was probably seeing 'Nick' the old guy who apparently lived/lives on the Eyot, which the BBC ran a story on, cycling his bright orangey red bike down the tow-path. I've seen him a couple of times although never actually on the island, I'd be surprised (and chilled to the bone at the thought) if he's still living there in this weather.

 Other highlights down the river were a juvey Great Black backed Gull, Mistle Thrush flyover and feeling like I somehow knew Nick even though I don't.

Just to prove I can take flight shots.

Also had a big bust up with my girlfriend today (hence the title) which thankfully was happily resolved, for that reason you get a happy photo of two deer taken yesterday in Richmond park. Where, incidentally, I saw absolutely nothing else.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

16th October, A nice day for photo-ing

Well today (the 16th, I'm backdating the blog already...) was my first day properly out with the camera, I bought a Panasonic FZ45 with *long list of boring marketing talk features* and a big zoom that gives me the ability to take photos of Birds fairly far away. Took the camera down the river and to Chiswick House grounds where I managed to get a couple of decent photos of the few birds I saw. Highlights being nothing/a very obliging Mistle Thrush. Which I will attach to this post in smug pride. Cue photos:

Sexy Mistle Thrush
Sexy Mistle Thrush 2

Also managed to get a picoftheweek-worthy shot of a Goldcrest trying its best to hide and screw up my camera's best attempts at auto focus. I can see getting record shots of the Hume's Yellow-Browed I found in Gunnersbury Triangle today is going to be difficult...

Don't look, I'm not here.
Not to mention the Highlight of the day this morning whilst sat in the garden eating toast for breakfast which was a flock of Fieldfare heading North seen from the house. This was the first of what I'm sure will be many 'Birds in the distance!' moments without my bins to hand but which I managed to get the camera onto, also my first Fieldfares for the year. I'd rather ID them whilst looking at them rather than staring at photos after but I guess that's just what makes me an infinitely more respected pro-birder type guy instead of one of those foul 'tographers.

Real Genuine migrants!
Thoughtful Gull is thoughtful.

Now I promise not all of my blog posts shall be so long and inane... Actually that's a lie, welcome to the realities of patch birding in West London.

First Post!

Well this blog is essentially an attempt to vent my frustrations at the world, talk about birds and maybe annoy Andrew Marr (Thatcherite twunt...). After religiously following a number of (mainly birding) blogs on the net I decided I might as well give it a go but always held back for the lack of interesting photos I would have to post, so I always managed to put off giving it a go. Well I bought a camera for my birthday and now here I am, among the hordes of basement-dwelling, abuse-hurling, occasionally thought-provoking techno-literati known as bloggers.

Hopefully with my camera, new found addiction to late night TV poker and general interest in all things bird-related I'll be the progenitor of some insightful internal conversations in the heads of all my thousands of followers. I'm not holding out.