Sunday, December 23, 2007

Now I have to promise to myself

I will blog more frequently ...I'm sure its just a matter to routine.

So I shall try for 2008 ( and its not a New Years Resolution as that always fails!) to blog daily.

So I expect it will be mainly birding or wildlife but with other things in as well.

Yesterday I went to one of my local patches and saw a Great White Egret.Staines Moor.

This was especially pleasing as I can grip off my birding friend Bob who is in Espana for a while...he deserves being gripped off for being there! Bob kept missing the Mockbeggar bird( in Hampshire)....and one turns up on our doorstep.
Life is funny like that isn't it?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Remembrance Sunday

Meant to post this yesterday and couldn't access my blog.

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

8 October 1917 – March, 1918

1 DULCE ET DECORUM EST – the first words of a Latin saying (taken from an ode by Horace). The words were widely understood and often quoted at the start of the First World War. They mean “It is sweet and right.” The full saying ends the poem: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori – it is sweet and right to die for your country. In other words, it is a wonderful and great honour to fight and die for your country

Wilfred Owen

It may be well known but read it again..slowly amd let the full force surround you.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I dont believe it!

Please click on the title

I was lost for words. That says it all to those who know me.

Humanity what? I hate fireworks unless its a properly organised event. I would ban them from ordinary backgarden and ordinary people.

Because a friend of mine lost some fingers and a thumb when we were 5...and since then the abuse of the Fireworks the fact that animals wild and tame suffer...I could go on...I'm usually quite libertine in my attitudes but fireworks? Grrrrrllllll.Real spoil sport on this.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Very angry

Rare birds found dead on Queen's Estate.

Two Hen Harriers were found dead on the Queen's Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, the police are investigating.

The Gamekeepers are allegedly suspects as they have been found guilty of setting illegal traps in the past...

Hen Harriers are lovely birds and whilst there are more nesting pairs than the BBC had reported nearer 500 they are still at risk.

Irony about this is that there is hunting allowed on the Sandringham estate...which we know the Royals indulge in.

What will come of this I'm not cartain but I do hope they get more than a slapped wrist!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

October birding

Here is a photo of an adult with thanks to the photograher who I havent been able to trace- so copy and paste- as I havent permission to show it!

I have been out and about seeing rare and common birds. I have written these up on The Bigg Bird Forum under Corinna's pages 2007 in the Birding Outings section.

I have also decided on my birding holidays abroad for next year.

In early May I'm off to Poland with Ken Shaw (Oliva Rama Tours)and we might get to Belarus for a day- talons crossed.(10 days)- hopefully some lifers there.
In June I'm going to the Picos de Europa (8 days)with a birding friend Bob and Jules Sykes (oliva Rama Tours)1 possible lifer but its the scenery, butterflies, orchids and seeing birds I've seen before but with no pressure(for me!!)I love Espana.
Later in the year - November will find me in South Africa combining a safari with first class birding!(17 days)

An advert now for a top class birder, guide and all round top man Jules Sykes.

He also has a sound sense of humour (for a Yorkshire lad!).

Ken Shaw is a top birder and has a wealth of birding tales of rarities found. He also has a good sense of humour.

oh today saw another Red Admiral...must be the weather!Garden tick for October
and a Hawker in Osterley Park.

Good news about a pretty Lapwing

Well its been ages since I last blogged due to some technical reasons!

Hopefully those are all over now.

Sociable Plover or Lapwing Vanellus gregarius which is a rare bird well a mega.
Its got to be a really pretty lapwing IMHO and I'm thrilled to hear that they are no longer as rare as everybody thought.

story click on title

I saw one from the seawall at Rainham Marshes before the Reserve opened, in Dec 2005,
it was a 1st winter so not as beautiful as the adults it was very however very special to me.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Just a couple if pics from my visit to Richmond Park on Friday afternoon. The morning I spent at Staines Res , Stanwell Moor and Staines moor (top bird - Little Egret)
went for light lunch in the park and was entertained by the Jackdaws. Then on route to Henry's Mound (from there you can look through the trees over a view towards St Pauls Cathedral (10 miles away!!)a Robin flew down and posed for a pic!!
The view is the opposite way.
In the gardens later in a very quite part I heard a flock of Goldcrest's cant remember seeing any there before so that was nice!

Finally England win an IOD series!

Yes you see I stopped talking about it and we finally wom 4-3.
On a day I couldn't watch either!!

Went to s Christening and party afterwards!!

Anyway finally KP actually batted well and was given man of the match altho some people think James Anderton bowled well enough to win it!

So the Twenty Twenty Team have flown off to SA for the World Cup.Some debate about the name but to be honest I dont really care. It will be interesting to see games between the top teams and see if the top test teams turn out to be the best at 20/20.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Good news!! Divers.

The very beautiful Red necked Diver is breeding well in Scotland and the experts are not exactly sure why!
The Black necked Diver which is rarer in the UK is also on the increase!

Good news day!

Click on title for the article.

Having seen both divers (along with the Slav Grebe - a stunner in full breeding gear!) in Scotland in the summer with chicks, I am really glad to hear this news!

Still in search of the elusive Kingfisher(s) at Barnes! Maybe see one sat week with some friends.
Went to a local patch this morning. On way to another after a pit stop at home to pick up post and feed the reluctant to get up at 6am cat, Cagney!! The others all appear as if by magic whatever time I get up- must have CCTV on me!!

Out for an Italian meal tonight with friends for a celebration.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Went to Barnes

saw Hobby chasing Sand Martins...what a sight.
(Red backed shrike at Rainham...seen earlier this year in Espana.)

Lots of wetland wildlife...
no Kingfishers again!! They are there.... perhaps they will show on Tuesday!!

last time I speak before....

Knew I ought not post!!

its now 3-2 in the series due to rain mainly!! Maybe we would have made it maybe not but its time for KP to have a decent bat .

Failed each time as far as his ability goes!!

The oval on Wednesday.....awaits IU am saying nothing!!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Man of the match Stuart Broad

Well I am very happy about the narrow squeak victory! 3-1 (but the Indian team may make a comeback as their batting is usually good...)

Sunday and its Headingly.....we will see.

I was very excited by Broad the first time I saw him bowling in 20/20 last year. He was going to be an opening batsman like his dad- Chris Broad...but grew and grew so was developed as a fast bowler...he can bat!

I do think we have to be a bit careful not to bowl him out by taking him to Sri Lanka but to go on an A tour and then maybe to New Zealand next year. He will enjoy bowling in NZ.
Good to see Bopara batting well augers well for the future.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Golden Eagle poisoned

I was going to write up my encounter with a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper at Oare Marshes in Kent on Friday. I may come back to this but yesterday I heard about a Golden Eagle female who had been found poisoned. story from BBC click on the title above. I am gutted as always when something like this happens to a beautiful bird.

This bird was one half of the only breeding pair in the Borders, where was she found? On a grouse moor. The date on Sunday? Twelth of August. For the uninitiated this is the start of the Grouse Shooting season.

I wonder if there is any connection?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Spent a lot of time at Barnes WWT over the season this year very interesting watching the trials and tribulations of the birds locally!!

Went to Arudel WWT for a first visit with my friend Pat who has just aquired a new macro lens for her camera.

Day out to Sussex, opportunity for her to practise with her new lens anda nice sunny day!!

Arudel is a pleasant rather attractive town with an imposing and impressive castle...have to visit another day. Passed a beautiful church St Giles on route after Pulborough...I expect Pete has been there!! The countryside looked really at its best - there had to be a reason for all that rain..the green were very green!!

WWT provided good coffee on arrival although we didn't eat there as we were too late for the hot food on our return from exploring the" estate".

We first went on the safari boat which despite the weeds and wind was really pleasant and the 3 children in the boat with us were very well behaved!!We saw a young Water vole feeding and an adult swim across the channel in front of us which was really good...Pat may have captured the young vole but she will have to look later today to see.

Plenty of young about- Little Grebes, Tufty,Mallard, Coot and Moorhens mainly.

Dragons and the others about...Emperor Dragonflies and some wide bodied something...I have to look them out but they were huge and impressive!! No pics of them as they were busy hunting.
Peacocks and some small blue butterflies (looked like Holly Blue ) but will await the photos to really id them. and some large purple butterflies which we wondered might be yet unidentified!!
Said I was just beginning this butterfly lark!!

There are quite a few collection wildfowl here.....
and amidst the Blue Ducks (from NZ and I diud see them in the wild!!) was a juvenile Grey Wagtail looking very dapper!!

A Juvenile Robin all spotty (in a nice way not that teenage acne stuff)a with just a hint of red on his breast was busy in and out of a tree and on the path just outside of a pen containing some foreign Geese with their 5
very attractive juveniles!! Know the name just cant quite remember it!!)

Plenty of our garden birds there too. nice to see our breeding birds taking advantage of the collection araeas!!

Reed and Sedge Warblers about and confiding Dunnocks!!

Mute and Trumpeter Swans along with Black Swans all seem to get along.

The collection birds appeared to be very successfully breeding especially the Hawiian Geese

A lovely wander about alas no Kingfishers!!

We then went into Arudel walking past the moat surrounding the Castle into the main street complete with local butcher and lovely shops - antique shops which we resisted as we were looking for somewhere for a late lunch - it being after 3!!
The Red Lion Pub with delightful young man serving both food and drinks is to be recommended.
Local meat obviously supplied from the local butchers- my Steak was delicious and Pats local Sausages v.v.v tasty!! Sitting outside in the garden with a refreshing glass of Rose.

We then drove to Littlehampton to see the Sea. Eventually parked up and the smell of sea, seaweed and salt (well the taste really!!) assaulted our senses! Lovely...walk on the beach where local dogs were enjoying themselves...a lovely un spoilt beach...lots of Herring Guls about of all ages....and BH Gulls with some Commons.

We then went back to another car park nearer the town and walked in pursuit of real ice cream...which was sadly lacking! Every where was by now packing up except for the fish and chippies....obviously time for supper (not for us as replete) an old fashioned seaside in the to be recommended way....

I'm sure the day was tinged a little by the fact it didn't rain and that it was sunny!!

I expect I have left out some species of birds - it really wasn't a listing kind of day!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Good news about Woodlarks in UK

Listening to the radio this morning I heard an RSPB spokesperson reporting on the good news for Woodlarks this year.

However as always there was a but....the Wioodlark has done well due to "set aside land" that farmers do not farm but leave to itself. So what does the EC wish to do? Take "setaside out" apparently farmers wish to farm it again.

The RSPB wish that the setaside not go straight away as proposed but be left for one more year so they can get some proposals tothe farmers as an alternate or we we lose the gains made for the Wood Lark as well as other wildlife.

Read the article by clicking on the title.

Friday, July 13, 2007

To my readers

Sorry I have not blogged in ages...problems mainly with the pc but also I havent really felt like it!I am told that this happens to bloggers...but since I have never blogged daily cant see how I'm blogged out as in tombed out as any traveller to Egypt will recognise!

Not sure what to write except I have seen some Football from Canada under 20's World Cup, some footie from South America...some of the final parts of the Tour of France (ie about 20 k to go....and rain and rain and rain.........

and rain...and rain and rain....
Thats it I'm rained out!!

I have to sort out my Espana Birding trip...awaiting photos from a couple of the people who went with us...and notes from one of the leaders who promised to send me his nots as I couldn't keep up with the plants and Butterflies!!

I will try to do better in the future!!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Whoops clicked enter too soon- the good news

US keeps eagle eye on National Bird!!

What a magnificent bird.I remember seeing my first truely wild Canada in 2004.
The sight will stay with me forever!

I love Eagles you would never realise it would you? And Birds of Prey too.

But I do like all birds even the dull brown ones as no bird is really dull!!

Some good news and some bad

Well two items of news regarding birds I see today.

Good news re Bald Eagles in the States.
But some bad news about our seabirds around St Kilda.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tropical giant penguin discovered

Well so much is being uncovered a giant penguin!!

Historic day.

Today we see a new Prime Minister as Gordon Brown takes over from Tony Blair.
I am looking forward to seeing a fresh approach and some different styles of working.

After 10 years in power it is time for Labour to refresh the Government, the Party and the Country.

I am looking forward to seeing Gordon's new Cabinet and other appointments.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Been away!!

Not been blogging as I went to Espana on a birding trip and lots of stuff has happened since I got back!!

I will blog my trip which was fantastic....went from Oliva in Valencia- to the Pyrenennes and back via the Ebro delta.

Went with If you click on the title it should take you to Jules website.

Jules was helped with the driving by Ken Shaw and there were 5 of us...I knew 3 others(met biurding in Espana a couple of years before!!) and had met another on Birdforum.-awaiting their photos...mine were typically record shots!!

A brill time birding, id ing Butterflies and we all had a great time good company and some terrific laughs!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Nesting owls swoop on dog walkers

This is for my North American friends (and any one else outside of UK) as you will have missed this.
Recently I heard about some nesting Eagle Owls in Lancashire (we have had Eagle Owls nesting in the NE before)- these were originally escapes but seem to be able to rear their young sucessfully.

Then on the pager the other day came the news "Collie Dog taken"!!
I waited for the BBC to gather the news and to my relief see it wasn't "taken" to the nest as my imagination had run riot!!

There had been warnings so what this "dog lover was doing...goodnesss knows!

click on the title to read all about it!

England win 2nd Test

Despite the rain and the cold (7 degrees c at one point) England finally and in fits and stops put this test to bed with a record win over the Windies.

Viv Richards, Gary Sobers and the wonderful fast bowlers of yore will be soooooooo
upset to see the sorry state that the WI have come to...not the fault of this team particularly but the mess that the administration have let happen presumably over petty bickering!For soo many years now....I guess Brian Lara papered over the cracks somewhat with his runs but.......he too played his part in the WI downfall.
Sounds like an exam question
How far and in what way were the Cricket Administrators of the West Indies to blame for the ignominy faced in 2007 in Headingley?
Or "Brian Lara - his part in our downfall" Discuss.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

30 years of Star Wars

30 years since Star Wars burst onto our screens.
I dont claim to be a Trekkie but I did see the film almost as soon as it was released.
I was an avid cinema goer then and went to lots of films in the West end before they hit the High Streets.(I usually wait til films are on in Richmond, nowadays!!)
I fell in love with a Wookie!
Actually R2D2 was my favourite and Hans Solo was such a great character!!

Some parts of the film still stand up to todays computer generated special effects but some parts dont. The first film to be released has a special place in our sf history.

Click on the title and discover 30 facts about SW!!

2nd Test and other matters

KP does it again! scores over 200 runs and the slightly unorthodox call up of Ryan Sidebottom worked a treat!!
Whoevers call that was well done!!

6 wickets in one day, he also fired the other seamers up!!

Even tho the weather might be against us with a lead of 400 runs and 8 wickets to get- well they have done well! If The forecast is correct and Tuesday is okay then it is a possibility of a win.We will see!

David Beckham called up again for Englands football team.

Now I know he has been playing well in Espana.but is this a backward step?
I think I would have preferred it if we had gone with the future and not the past.
David Bentley played well enough to show he could be on the bench if Mr Lennon is fit and I would prefer to play a wide man who can actually go past defenders something Beckham hasn't been able to do in a long time.
Yes he can take free kicks.....but do we really want to go back to all the media speculation and not progress.
I think the manager has lost the plot again....still there are 3 matches in Espana and DB might have an injury and we can wonder all we like!!
See I'm talking about it!!

Move on!!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Goose smashes sea crossing record

Well a Barnacle goose has now broken the record for a sea crossing!!
Click on the title to read more!!

Cricket again

I havent been very well lately and didn't finish the blog on the first test...the rain won and it was a draw but not until England could have won!!

KP scored a wonderful century.

We are now into the 2nd Test.

Same team with Sidebottom in for injured Hoggard..not sure about that!! And the Captain who hasn't played any cricket for 18 months or so back in...I had my doubts...

What does Vaughan do scores a Century and some of the shots were like his old elegant self!! Well done to him!!

KP scored an impressive century again and England are in a good position.

Guess what is expected on Sunday and Monday yes rain...fingers and toes crossed it is just cloudy over Leeds!!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Gorgeted Puffleg Hummingbird

Just look at this beauty!!

Newly discovered but also endangered

What a stunner.....Pufflegs are but this one wow!!

1st test - 2nd day

Well 550 runs for 5 wickets and 4 players scoring centuries.

OK its the Windies attack...well their attempt at an attack!! However batsmen still have to get those runs and boy did they.

Prior on debut a magnificent 126 not out - terrific now to hold them catches!!

I am happy to see England playing at Lords and enjoying themselves!!

Famous Galápagos Tortoise, Lonesome George, May Not Be Alone

Well some good news from the Galapagos...

click on the title.

I have been looking at Galapagos on the net as I am thinking about a trip there next year!
I wonder if Lonesome will still be alive by the time I may get there.

On another note I have just watched 4 Great Tit babies fledge from their bird box

you can read about this years stories here

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cranes are breeding in the Fens

The RSPB have reported finding a nest at Lakenheath Reserve in Suffolk...better known as one place we can hear and sometimes see Golden Orioles.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Here we go Cricket Test

Indeed it is time for test matches again...starting on Thursday.

The new coach and new Captain.

Ok Andrew can we beat the new look Windies?

Well Pete will be pleased as the wicket keeper is Prior ( Pete has been on and on about him being the best for lets see..

The Team have injuries...Harmison and Freddie but we will see.

We ought to beat the Windies!!

Charles Darwin online

Charles Darwin is now online!!

Well his letters and some other written papers!!

This could prove a very interesting site.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bar tailed Godwits migratory journey

How about this....

The kiwi might be New Zealand's iconic flightless bird, but another inhabitant of these antipodean islands more than makes up for the kiwi's ground-dwelling nature.

The bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica baueri) - or kuaka in the Maori language - sets off at the end of each austral summer for Alaska, stopping en route in Asia.

This year, for the first time, scientists have tracked the godwits' northern route with satellite tags. And it shows the godwits really are the champion migrants of the avian world.

"When you feel them in your hands, they're not fragile little things," says Massey University ecologist Dr Phil Battley, the New Zealand coordinator for the international study.

"They are built to travel. They get incredibly fat. When you get a really fat one, it almost has trouble balancing - it's like it has a pound of butter under its skin.

"Once they get into the air, it's flap-flap, and that's all they do really."

See where the birds are flying

By tagging them, the researchers hope to show just far these birds fly.

"We know that the godwits leave New Zealand, and we know that they arrive in the Yellow Sea, but we really haven't had any information in between that," Dr Battley explains.

"We don't know whether they make stop-offs on the way; and if they do, where they are. And we don't know anything about the security of those sites - how safe they are from development."

Back in March and April, after their summer sojourn, 13 satellite-tagged bar-tailed godwits left New Zealand to fly north.

Six of those birds flew directly to South Korea, China, and Japan, flying more than 10,000 kilometres (6,000 miles) in just over a week.

With some of the other birds, the tracking device fell off en route, and in one case a bird island-hopped his way up to the Yellow Sea. "We suspect this is because he doesn't like having a 'matchbox' strapped to his back," says Dr Battley.

The direct flights are some of the longest migratory bird flights ever recorded - and some of the toughest.

Seabirds feed and rest on their long journeys, swifts feed whilst in flight; but for the godwits, says Dr Battley, it is essentially a non-eating, non-drinking flight. They also fly pretty well true.

"Their navigational expertise must be very high because the distances they were actually flying, as best we can estimate from the data, are not greatly different from the shortest possible distance between those two spots," the researcher says.

Also the godwits are very faithful to the stopover sites they use. One godwit, for instance, looks likely to have only two stopovers on the whole round trip: Yalu Jiang in China and then the Yukon Delta.

"It really reinforces how critical these sites are to these birds," says Dr Battley.

"If something were to happen to that area, [the godwit] may not know any of the other areas around that, and that would put it at a disadvantage in trying to find food."

And the godwit population is in decline.

New Zealand hosts 70,000 godwits each summer, but it used to be home to 100,000. It is the same throughout the East Asian and Australasian flyways, where up to 85% of the shorebird populations are declining.

Just what is going on is part of what the godwit tracking and the broader Pacific Shorebird Migration Program, a joint initiative between the US Geological Survey and PRBO Conservation Science, hopes to find out.

The increasing reclamation of tidal mud flats in Korea and China, and the changes in geography due to projects such as the Three Gorges Dam, are part of the problem, Dr Battley suggests.

Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Dam is accused of damaging bird habitats
"Everywhere is under threat to a certain degree. You just have to zoom in on any spot around the Yellow Sea [on Google Earth] and it's getting reclaimed in one way or another."

But one thing the godwits are probably not is a potential carrier of avian influenza, scientists believe.

"It's clear these birds are going straight up to their destination and that's where they are stopping and then moving on," says Dr Battley.

"It's not like they are going around the coast of Southern China and stopping off in lots of places where they have the potential to pick this up."

Four of the tagged godwits have now left Asia for the 5,000km (3,000 mile) journey to their breeding grounds in Alaska.

That's where they will stay for the Northern Hemisphere summer before returning in September to New Zealand.

Godwit migration (Source: USGS Alaska Science Center)

What I really am thrilled about is I saw Bar tailed Godwits in NZ in NOvember 2006- just think of their journey!!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Confused penguin strays 5,000km

A Magellanic penguin whose natural habitat is the cool climes of southern Chile has strayed thousands of miles from his home, arriving in Peru.

The penguin, native to the Strait of Magellan region of Chile, swam all the way to Peru's Paracas national reserve.

Scientists say the bird appeared to have made the 5,000km (3,000-mile) journey alone.

They say the penguin must have "got off course" to end up just 14 degrees south of the equator.

Read the rest here(click on the title) there is also a link to a video

Saturday, May 12, 2007

World Migratory Bird Day

Its all weekend. Click on the title for more information.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Boy hatches chick from shop bought eggs.

see here


Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Golden Compass

Just been alerted to this book (well books) by a fellow blogger. As a kinda tribute to a friend I have met online whose funeral was yeaterday I decided to see what my Daemon might be.
People who knew Boo will understand why I think this might be the kind of tribute she would appreciate.


Dont know if this will work or I have to do some thing else!
Here goes

Thursday, May 03, 2007

More Costa Rican photos these and the Aracari are Sean's again!!

Keel billed Toucan.

Shock cool weather!!

So more Photos from Costa Rica to make me feel warm!! We have had such hot weather for April now its cloudy and quite cool!!

The Fiery Billed Aracari.
A good name for a fine fella!!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Well after a knock of 149 from one wicketkeeper batsman...we nearly had a contest in the end the most consistent team won. what a shambles at the end...I didn't see it live but neither did some of the crowd or the players!!!

Much too long for an event that is about one day cricket and tense and excitment grew less and less!

They ought to have a knock out event after the initial rounds to make it more exciting.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

World Cup Cricket Final

Well its here ...inevitably Australia are there.....and so too are Sri Lanka.

Disappointing semi finals with both SA and NZ capitulating!

So I am backing Sri Lanka because I cant a) stand the crowing from the Aussies
and b) I'm being a "typical" English person and supporting the underdog!!

Also I actually like the way they play their cricket and several of the team are outstanding
batters...and the M's can bowl a bit!!

(Mind I cant help but admire in a grudging way the outmost professionalism of the Oz team ...grrrl..but then I am a Pom!!)

The best team will win ...just hope its a terrific final.

City birds sing for silent nights.

Interesting research this- even more interesting for me is I have met the scientist quoted here..on a birding trip to Cornwall last year during my Big Year birding when I aimed to see over 300 birds in UK and managed to do so!!

Robins in urban areas are singing at night because it is too noisy during the day, researchers suggest.

Scientists from the University of Sheffield say there is a link between an area's daytime noise levels and the number of birds singing at night.

Until now, light pollution had been blamed because it was thought that street lights tricked the birds into thinking it was still daytime.

The findings are published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

"You generally only seem to hear nocturnal singing in cities," explained Richard Fuller, one of the study's co-authors.

"So this led us to think that there was some aspect of the urban environment that was driving this phenomenon."

Light pollution had been widely held as the prime suspect. It was thought to prevent the birds from roosting, leading to them remaining active through the hours of darkness.

"That was the stock answer you would get," Dr Fuller said, "that it was basically tricking the birds into thinking it was daylight and tripping some sort of physiological threshold.

"But we thought that was pretty unlikely because birds are much more complex than that."

He said that there had never been a scientific study to measure the impact of light pollution on the behaviour of urban robins.

"So we went out and measured both noctural light and daytime noise levels and we found that daytime noise had a far stronger effect.

"We found that night-time light had a small effect, but very much smaller than the impact of noise levels."

This led the team to conclude that it was an active decision by the birds to sing at night rather than passively responding to light levels.

"The birds appear to be singing at night to avoid competition with high noise levels caused by our cities during the day," Dr Fuller suggested.

"Noise levels were 10 times higher in places where birds were singing at night."

The findings form a part of a seven-year research programme by the university's Department of Animal and Plant Sciences to measure the impact of urbanisation on biodiversity.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


9 wickets NINE wickets yes NINE WICKETS

Cant believe it - well I can unfortunately in the BIG game where even tho they didn't deserve it England had the chance to make the semi final what did they do yes.
Stuck to the losing system...same top 3 batters , not go on the attack during the power plays...
keep the wickets so that you blaze through the last 10 overs. one else plays that way any more we cant keep our wickets and we dont get to the last 10 overs!
Well any muppet can see that what has changed? Well our players have grown more and more lacking in any confidence except misplaced confidence of a terrible one day batter who is a great Test Skipper!

We all knew what would happen and it has.....

growl growl.

Wonder if it will make any difference.

Still I shall now enjoy watching the semis and the final.

Do I care who wins? well I would much rather it was the Kiwis or the Sri Lankans-

but then if they are really great wins and maybe our ECB will watch and learn rather than think we can keep it the same old same old.

Still awaiting my first Swift.....and Swallow... maybe when i travel up to Rutland Water on Friday I'll be rewarded....perhaps Paxton Pits for my first Nightengale too....we will see.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Costa Rica

Well just before I watch the World Cup in the sunny Carib- we have yet another day in sunshine here in London!

Emerald toucanette!! Au natural....I may be able to find mine...on a feeder didn't get as close a shot as Sean's!! Yes there he is!!
Prong-billed Barbet another of my record shots!!

Flamecoloured Tanager.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Yet more photos from Costa Rica

Well the World Cup Cricket throws up continuous surprises....mainly The Irish and the Bangra Boys!! Good on 'em I say!

Well i thought it would be Oz, SA, Kiwis and SL in the finals......will i be correct?
Englands batting looked a bit wobbly at the begining.....come on KP!!!

So to the pics...once again Sean Dennis photos....
1st a Black and White Owl....roosting and living in a village public square...I kid you not along with a Sloth(Two toed) and some other birds!!

Double striped Thickknee and a Jabiru sitting on its nest with chick!

and a Black-headed Trogon.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bob Woolmer RIP

Well it was bad enough to hear of the death of the innovative Cricket Coach (and ex-Kent County player) but now his death is suspicious.

We await further details.

The Pakistanis will play their last game in the World Cup...with heavy difficult will it be for them.

Its all very very sad.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

More photos by Sean Dennis

Acorn Woodpecker and Lineated (male)Woody

Kingfishers are Green and Amazon. The Amazons are bigger and have less white in their wings.The Green has more colour on its belly.

These are both females, males have a rufous breast.

Some photos by Sean Dennis

Oropendula - an interesting bird which sounds rather tropical!! I love their display!! These are Montezuma's ......



What happened to our batting?
Even KP decided to throw away his wicket when he looked set for a big score and then dropped a sitter!!

Help its hard watching England!!

It will get better as we play Canada next!!


Friday, March 16, 2007

Cricket lovely Cricket

I will return to post photos by Sean from our Costa Rica trip.

But first Cricket. I dont like cricket I love it!!

England play their first One day Game in the World Cup this afternoon against New Zealand.

After the end of the Aussie series when totally unexpectedly we beat the Aussies...I wondered what might happen.
I had a discussion with Pete re the make up of the squad and the selectors didn't listen to either of us. Actually the majority of the team is the same!
Wicket keepers being of greatest concern.
But also not picking some of the younger players for experience- as we wont win the thing this time anyway!!

My predictions Australia to play South Africa in the final. Windies to play their best and get to the semis....but who with them....?

Did think India...possible or Sri Lanka...I hope England but....

I'd love to be wrong!!

I will return to this topic after the game!!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Photographs from, Costa Rica bySean Dennis

Sean was on the birders trip we made in Jan/Feb this year.
His photographs are very good , in fact some are stunning. I am really glad that Sean has allowed me to share these.
Unless I say a photograph is mine all will be his!! There was another photographer on our trip and some of her photos can be seen here
scroll down to see Wendy's photos...she digiscopes...both use digital cameras.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Busy day!!

Busy day so only time to look at Garden birds in two gardens. Mine...well its a number of gardens really as they are all small...its a little oblong...but we have House Sparrows, Starlings, Woodpigeons, Blue and Great tits, Robins (one pair) and Blackbirds (one pair).

Visitors or passers by
feral nasties, Carrion crows and Magpies (they live down the road in a local Park), Blackheaded and Lesser Black Backed Gulls (from the River....Thames) RN Parakeets and a Grey Heron

My friends....we have feeders there....

RN Parakeets (too many!!) (from Osterley Park where they roost)
Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Robin (a pair), Blackbirds (a pair)
Blue and Great tits, a couple of Starlings (fat balls) and a Wren and a Dunnock - they nest next door but only ever see one at a time!!
Lots of Feral pigeon sometimes with a Woodpigeon....Carrion Crows and Magpies pass through
and the Gulls.......

So took Zeta the German Shepherd to Chiswick House for a couple of hours run today......

heard a number of Yaffles (Green Woodies) and Song Thrushes.....the usual suspects (Garden
birds as above!!) lots of RN Parakeets...they are everywhere.

Then the Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Mallards and Tufties.....Coots and Moorhens.
3 Coot nests....and lots of pairing.....

I though I heard a distant drumming...or was it that I am looking for my first Lesser Spot Woody...searched Richmond Park the other day....they should be about!!

I shall have to visit Barnes soon.....Caspian Gull there recently.....

Monday, March 12, 2007

Albatross rule the skies!!

Well thats how I feel today...usually its Birds of Prey but I was looking at a website today and I thought I'd put some of my photos from Kaikoura here!
Now I have worked out how to post pics!!

A visit from a Coati Mundi

The wild Coati mundi reminded me of the Coati that visited us one morning for Bananas.
They obviously help themselves to the bird feeders...and when there are no bananas left....well they come to the breakfast area!!

Oh the Dogs are ahhh factor after Crufts where a dog I liked the look of won!!


Once more its another month!
Its not like I dont like blogging I'm just not in the habit!!
I have added a link to Ocean and Forest Walks blog. I like it!!
Digiscoper link has been deleted as I cant access it anymore!
I have a number of photos to add from my Costa Rica and New Zealand trips and I'm hoping to post these over the next week!

I have been out and about Birding in the Uk since my last blog post. I have added another blog site where I am going to keep my lists, I would have prefered to do tags on my main blog but I cant work out how to do them!

Coati Mundi seen on the roadside in Costa Rica.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tails of Quetzals,Trogans,Tanagers, coati mundi and other animals

Well I wonder if I can actually keep the blog this time !!

Just returned from Central America...Costa Rica. What a wonderful country. No army and an education system that has a very high literacy rate. The people whilst very friendly are clearly educated and only in some rural villages did I find any who couldn't speak at least a little English.
My spanish has improved from haltingly dreadful to a bit better!! Evening classes will be a must as tapes in the car dont check your spoken pronunciation!
Ok so the Ticos speak a slightly different form but do understand ...well I think they were too polite to say anything!!

Birding was super fine with over 330 birds seen by myself...many more seen by our Guide Paco
from Cotinga Tours - yes we could have seen even more but it wasn't only about the numbers game. Much more with seeing the actual bird and watching it au natural.

Read about Paco and his guiding here

I went to Peru in August 2005 and was utterly overwhelmed with seeing 315-20 birds all new.
The different names and families.....
This time it was great, knowing the families helped and some were the same species but since CR has birds migrating from North America and South America there was a range of known birds.

The heat and humidity was sapping at times. When I returned to find my car covered in ice and had to defrost it before driving home through foggy weather on the M23 I was sooooooo
cold!! The contrast could scarcely have been greater!

I particularly liked this chap, spotted in Miriams garden. Perched in a tree for 20 minutes at least.A top bird and a top target for me. I also saw my second top target the same day but no photos.The Long tailed Silky Flycatcher. I bought a copy of a photo home with me but to enjoy this bird look here.

with all acknowledgements to rod ostoski ...what a bird and stunning photography.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Eagles eye on life!!

Mainly about New Zealand

Well it now a New Year. Stuff happens and has happened to me and delayed this blog .
In November I went to New Zealand, for almost a month.
What an amazing Country. The scenery, the people.

The birds.
Added 88 to my world list.

Albatrosses, penguins,Kiwis, rare waders, rare birds and dolphins and whales.....

The travelling...the sea trips, the flight to Stewart Island.

The week in Auckland with my friends was really great and I enjoyed having the time to re adjust and get to know some of the local birds fbefore the birding trip.

I finally managed to down load my photos. I really should have done this when I first got back and I guess it may be a little trucated.I got a cold in NZ for about a week and bvrought it back with me now either it is still with me or its a different cold who knows. That was part of the reason for not getting going.

I really ought to be learning birds for my up and coming trip to Costa Rica.

Not completed and will be edited!!