Thursday, September 18, 2008

Honey Buzzard from the garden!

Wow - a really brilliant from the garden tick!

This morning I was in my garden about 7.15 doing the normal check of the local birds in the "patch" - and a large raptor appeared flying in the clear cloudless skies!

It didn't actually fly over my garden but I could clearly see it from my garden! Thankfully I had my bins with me but having watched lots this summer in Espana - I recognised its jizz!

I rushed through the house and out into the road and watched it turn south and fly on south...

Honey's have wide wings , a long tail a very clear stripe/band on their tails and they lead with their head - I'll try to explain that - on some birds when they fly you dont notice the head (Common Buzzard) but with a Honey you really see the head!

(I was shaking - and this is only a from the garden tick - rivals my Whooper Swans !!!!)

Apparently we are having a Honey buzzard invasion from Scandinavia - most of the birds appear to have by past London but some have come straight through.

Reminds me of Logie - Osprey who flew across Terminal 4 on her route back to Scotland earlier this year!

Oh boy - got to have another cup of tea!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rain and more rain!

Well sea watching proved a damp squib - so am hoping to go again this w/e Saturday or Sunday or both!Somewhere out there is a Sabine Gull with my name on it!

Found a small flock of Fieldfares in Syon Park the other day. I love to see these birds again as it shows that migration is in full swing! Their plumage was so smart - just like all the feathers had been through the dry cleaners!
There were a few House Martins busily feeding.

There was also a juvenile GSW with two adults.

Staines Reservoirs had a visit from a Great Skua - known as "Bonxies" in Shetland.It stayed for part of the afternoon before going off - presumably to find some sea!

I have to get used to "Bonxie" as I shall be going on my first visit to Shetland next October. I'm excited as I have been thinking about a proper visit for ages.
I say proper just in case something spectacular is turned up there that I have to twitch - that would be unlikely as its a long way to go - and I do have commitments down south!I will be travelling all over the Islands and getting to see all the "hot-spots" - with a view to going back if its as brilliant as birders say!

More about this trip later!

I am currently watching videos of birds in Southern Africa. I am trying to learn to id as there are many that I havent even seen on TV! Its a good video - I'll do an ad on it later - its in the wrong room!You get a clip of a bird then the name comes up so you can quickly have a go at its id! There is no commentary - oh bliss but good views and the calls/song - so you can then look it up in the field guide.
I am off for about 3 weeks towards the end of October into November.Kruger Safari - staying in 3 Rest Camps - cant believe I will rest as there will be too many birds and mammals to watch!This is a trip I wanted to do since I was 14 - quite why its taken this long I have no idea!Dreams are great but to be about to fulfill them... well.I wanted to be a Wildlife Photographer then (age 12 -14) and if I had gone on Safari to Africa then....who knows maybe I would have been as famous as Simon King! Or perhaps I would have stayed forever!Haha couldn't have afforded it then!

We are travelling about quite a bit and covering quite a lot - including St.Lucia wetlands and the Drakensburg Mountains!

I will blog later about this, now back to earth and some shopping!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Ospreys on migration

I was going to follow Logie on her migration back to West Africa but it appears either the transmitter has fallen off/stopped working or Logie has, I'm hoping its the transmitter and not Lodie that has suffered the demise.
We will have to wait until Spring next year to see if she turns up at her nesting site or not.

So I am going to be following these Ospreys instead

Loch Garten ospreys take flight

Loch Garten's two osprey chicks have upped and left for their 3,000 mile journey to West Africa for the winter - and anyone can log on and see how they're getting on for the first time here

Nethy and Deshar - named after local primary schools - began to fly South late last week. Nethy seems to be flying strongly, making a beeline South, crossing the Forth and reaching Durham by last Thursday. She then flew South over Bradford, Huddersfield and the outskirts of Coventry.

Deshar, on the other hand, had a bit of a nightmare start, with a couple of further hiccups on the way. At the beginning of his marathon journey he headed almost due east far out over into the North sea before realising he'd made a mistake, and coming back to dry land to start again.

Since then he's made solid progress down the country, passing directly over Leeds, down the backbone of England over the Pennines to Nottingham, before heading south east over Cambridge. He then flew straight over Colchester and again charged out to sea over the Greater Thames estuary, before deciding against it and turning back towards Margate and on to the west of Folkestone.

Both birds had reached the South of England last night, and are expected to be over France today.

Nethy and Deshar have been travelling at speeds of up to 35 mph, and may take four to five weeks to reach their destination. Until that time, people in the UK, Southern Europe and Northern Africa will be able to see whether the birds will pass near them on their way. For the first time, we'll have an accurate idea of where these birds winter and how long it takes them to get there. As well as teaching us more about their behaviour, we hope to link up with people and schools along the migration route, to share information and enhance protection for these magnificent birds throughout the year.

Richard Thaxton, RSPB Loch Garten Visitor Centre Manager said: 'The new webpage builds on the blog and the live nestcam in opening up the enjoyment of following these birds to a huge online community. These innovations have proved hugely popular, with the nestcam alone receiving a phenomenal 200 000 unique visitors this year. We hope that the birds do make it to West Africa, and for the first time ever we'll know whether or not they have.'

It’s been a successful year for the Loch Garten nest, especially after last year’s disappointing season when no chicks survived. This year, three chicks were born to parents EJ (female) and VS but unfortunately, the third one proved to be just too weak to survive. However the two older chicks are very healthy, and this year has to be regarded as a success in the illustrious history of the Loch Garten nest.

Actually one has been in Gloucestershire and the other in Kent (Hythe area)for the last 12 days! Inclement weather and lots to eat has delayed them. This I think is a good thing as they left a fortnight earlier than they should have done.

Lets see where they go next.

NB An Osprey has been seen in the Hythe/Dungeness area altho I didn't see it on Sat!