Wednesday, 27 July 2011

On a grey summer morning

I had checked the tide tables and decided that this morning was the best to go and have an early walk by the Thames. So it proved. Nothing much by some other patches standards, but I was treated to 2 rare sights on mine:

The wader I tend to find the most, a Redshank at the edge of the water:

A female Mallard with 4 ducklings:

Best luck to her, she looked pretty attentive, but the odds are against her. 2 years ago one managed to raise 9 to adulthood, so you never know...

Monday, 18 July 2011

Storks in Normandy

A month ago I went to visit my family back in Normandy and one afternoon, with my parents, we went to visit some of the White Stork nests that they know of in the Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin. Out of the 4 nests we checked, 3 had young in them but the fourth one, high up in a tree, had been partially destroyed.

We had some nice views of an adult looking for food in a field.

looking for food

looking for food

The first nest we saw, with 2 young in it, probably belonged to the adult above.

2 Stork young on nest

Second nest:

Adult and young Stork on nest

If you look closely at the young's leg, you'll notice it is wearing a colour ring.
If you look at the leaves, you'll also notice that it was really windy...

By the time, we got to the next nest, conditions were pretty dire and birds were barely visible. Quite an impressive nest though!

another nest

(click on any photo for a bigger version or to get you to the set which has a few more photos).
I chose and processed the photos while on the ferry back to the UK, but within a few days drama at the peregrines nest grabbed all my attention and I am now finally slowly catching up.
White storks are a bird I remember going to see in Alsace as a kid in 1976 during a family holiday, as the reintroduction programme was starting. It even was one of my younger brother's first words :) I never imagined then that they'd settle within an hour's drive of my parents.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Winter Thrushes are not only for Winter sometimes

What I had been hoping for back in February has happened :

Mistle Thrush are breeding in Margravine Cemetery!

I barely saw them in between, which is amazing considering how noisy and bold they can be, so I was thinking that they might have tried outside of the cemetery as I would see them quite often fly North, towards the Tube line.
Then about a week ago I heard their distinctive rattle a few times while walking through. Unfortunately I was so incapacitated at the time that walking on the rough ground looking for them was out of the question but I promised myself that as soon as I could I'd go looking for them. So Saturday morning Operation Mistle Thrush was put into gear and within 5 minutes, with a bit of luck, I located the nest with one of the birds on it. Happy time! Then yesterday I saw one of the birds bring food to 2 chicks.

Other birds not quite so far advanced in the breeding process are our local Peregrines, they started incubating 3 eggs about a week ago. I have started another blog to follow their progress: FaBPeregrines.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

They're at it for another year

Yes, the Canada Geese have started nesting again on the wharf by the supermarket in Fulham Sands End.  However, this year they have changed their spot. Nest is made up of coiled rope, worn out bag and a bicycle saddle, and some down...  4th year of trying at least, maybe it'll be the right one... Best of luck!

Friday, 11 March 2011

Nice surprise!

During a break at the allotment this afternoon, I went to check the 'Nature area'. I was initially looking for Blackcaps, but this up in a tree was a very nice surprise instead:

I had been looking for some elsewhere in the park without luck so far, in relatively quieter parts, by the Thames, but this is so close to one of West London's busiest roads, Fulham Palace Road, it surprised me.
A pity the light was terrible and the angles difficult...

Thursday, 10 March 2011

A gull with a bone to pick

At the supermarket yesterday I was taking photos of a Common Gull hoping to read its metal ring (unfortunately it was presenting the closure part) when I noticed the Herring Gull YW3T from last week.

I then noticed a Common Gull had found itself a (chicken?) bone to nibble on but it turned out I wasn't the only one to have noticed:

Where is my bone?

A pair of Greylags followed by 3 others flying over the Thames were the surprise visitors at the supermarket yesterday, as well as a pair of Coots, which I rarely see there.
Numbers of Black-headed Gulls have continued to dwindle with only 70 of them on the wharf at high tide and I am looking forward to concentrate my attention to these little guys once they're gone:
They've started being very active and vocal again. One male was calling under the eaves of one of the apartment blocks, a new site for this year as far as I am aware.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

2 for the price of 1

Like I do every week when I go to the supermarket, especially at high tide, I checked for rings on gulls' legs. In particular, I was hoping to see the semi-regular one, white A6LK, which I had last seen on 8th December. And bingo! at the end of the scan, when I thought all hope was gone, there it was:

I proceeded to take a few more photos, including this one. I am not entirely sure what is so attractive about this bush but a few gulls went and ate a few leaves off it.

Then on the panel with a few others (there was an exceptionally high number of them that day):

If you look closely at the one ready to land, you can glimpse an orange ring, and there it is, obvious once the bird had landed.

For once, the ring was very easy to read: YW3.T. I got the info back overnight: this Herring Gull was ringed at Pitsea Landfill site in November and mine was the first reading since. Map here.

Is that profile good for you?

I'm hoping that, like A6LK, it'll stick around and I can follow its progress from time to time.