Thursday, 31 March 2011

31st March, a glorious day on patch.

Common Kestrel hunting over Duke's Meadows, you absolute beauty.

Walked down the river in some of the winter dream type early evening sunshine to Duke's Meadows and then Chiswick House. Three Great Black-backed gulls gave a good show, one of the two enormous adults helping one of the 4 Lesser Black-backs present mob a Heron heading upriver.

Something out of a horror movie. They will rip your eyes out and then slowly devour your soul.

As well as the Grey Heron being mobbed upriver there was one more wisely sticking put on the Eyot itself along with a Great Spotted Woodpecker and not much else. Haven't heard any Reed Buntings here for a while so I wonder if there are any around?

Gunning through WNW over Duke's meadows 2 Sand Martins were a little too fast for my lens and were a pleasant reminder of spring along with the 2 Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap in full song. The Kestrel hunting overhead also gave a nice opportunity for photography, with the shot above turning out by far the best of the bunch. Still very new to photography I'm finding it amazing how with similar settings dialled in how different the background can make the subject bird look.

 Why does it always rain on me...

Is it because I lied when I was 17?

Two Stock Doves seem to have taken a liking to foraging on the foreshore and are pretty regular on the stretch between Chiswick Pier and Duke's Meadows now. Chiswick House grounds yielded loads (7) of Goldcrests with 5 singers and 2 Coal Tits along with 2 very noisily drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a yaffling Green Woodpecker. All the 'usuals' were present and accounted for with 2 Song Thrushes singing and a lone Mistle Thrush trying it's hardest to look like an enormous Wheatear on the ground.

On the way back down the river were these gorgeous little Egyptian Goose goslings. Sadly anybody playing spot the difference with them from yesterday would have noticed that five have become four, and with the male only occasionally to be seen anywhere near them (Broken Britain etc...) I wouldn't be surprised if four become three. Let's hope not for the moment though.

Sexy Chicks.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Long periods of inactivity

And then flurries of activity. The title accurately describes this blog, I think.

After a very long hiatus I thought I better post something to enlighten any dedicated, check-every-day type readers I might have!

Local highlights were finding my first ever self found Waxwings! 15 in Netheravon Road South in Chiswick on the 3rd of March gave me a pleasant surprise when they flew over trilling, 5 of them stopping to grace the pages of one lucky oblivious person's garden list:

Phwoar. Get in there.

Having started ringing very recently however gave me an opportunity to get some much better views of Waxwings!


In a close second in the most-exciting-patch-bird competition comes this pair of beauties that were present on the 5th March:

Redshanks. Any waders on the patch are quite an excitement.

So far on the river by Chiswick Eyot I've actually only had 5 species of wader: Redshank, Oystercatcher, Common Sandpiper, Snipe, Lapwing. Considering that it's a River this is a little disappointing. And considering the close proximity of the Wetland Centre (which gets Godwits, Dunlins and Green Sands along with occasional Avocets and Wood Sands) it's more than a little disappointing! I suppose it's a combination of the dearth of inviting mud other than at low water, not spending that much time on patch and the high level of disturbance in comparison. Perhaps I might add some more to that list this year.

I didn't notice this Blue Tit in my garden was ringed until I took this photo,

Another very odd record came on Friday the 25th March in the afternoon when I watched a female Pheasant nearly get run over on the train tracks. Twice. Not really having much of a contiguous area to call the patch I'm having it anyway.

And a Chiffchaff just outside the front door only the other day provided a pleasant summery surprise.

P.S. Hi Jona