Posted by: Molecule Man | January 17, 2012

Magpie Party, Parakeet Buffet

There were 12 magpies all in the same tree seen from the back of our flat this morning.

Courting behaviour? Like a school disco?


Also, a parakeet that has worked out how to pull up the fat balls hanging from our downstairs neighbours’ tree, scoffing half of it and spilling most of the rest on the ground below for the sparrows to feed on.

Posted by: Molecule Man | January 3, 2012

Scotland at New Year

We’ve been visiting my family in Scotland at New Year, in Dundee for a couple of days and up near Bonar Bridge for New Year.


As well as the New Year’s day sightings, while up north we’ve seen siskins on the garden feeders, along with the blue/great/coal tits, robins, dunnocks and chaffinches. While out walking in the hills we’ve seen ravens, and heard crested tits in the woods at Glen Calvie. We’ve seen Canada geese and pink-footed geese on the fields near Bonar Bridge. Near the cottage, we’ve seen long-tailed tits in the woods and curlews and bar-tailed godwits on the estuary shore.



Posted by: Molecule Man | January 1, 2012

New Year’s Day 2012

Hogmanay was spent in a cottage near Ardgay in Sutherland with Mum and Dad and their friends Jacqueline and Conor.

Lots of activity in the garden this morning around the feeders:

  1. Coal tits (3, one flew into the window but recovered fairly quickly)
  2. Great tit
  3. Blue tit
  4. Blackbirds (1 m, 1 f)
  5. Chaffinches (2 m, 1 f)
  6. Robin
  7. Dunnock

Then we drove to Portnahomack, and had a walk up to the lighthouse along the beach and back.

A few things spotted from the car on the way:

  1. Buzzard
  2. Rooks
  3. Whooper swans
  4. Pink-footed geese

During the walk:

  1. Oystercatchers
  2. Redshanks
  3. Curlews (also seen in fields by the road in)
  4. Ringed plovers
  5. Herring gulls
  6. Lesser black-backed gulls
  7. Greater black-backed gull
  8. Kestrel
  9. Eider
  10. Wigeon
  11. Goldeneye
  12. Starlings (doing good impressions of curlew and gulls)
  13. Cormorants
  14. House sparrows
  15. Tree sparrows
  16. Goldfinch
  17. Goldcrest
  18. Carrion crows
  19. Jackdaws (in Portnahomack)
  20. Hooded crow
  21. Wood pigeons
  22. Hen harrier

Also great tits, blue tits, coal tits, dunnocks and robins among the sparrow flock at the lighthouse car park, and a couple more buzzards patrolling the shoreline. We also spotted several flocks we couldn’t identify on the way back at twilight, one that looked a bit like thrushes (redwings?, fieldfares?), and a couple that looked more like finches of two different sizes (greenfinches?, linnets?, goldfinches?, twite?).

So a grand total of 33 for today.

Posted by: Molecule Man | February 19, 2010

New Ticks

(Oh dear, I kind of let this blog slip)
Anyway, got a new life tick today, I finally spotted a mediterranean gull, at Burgess Park of all places. Maybe it’s easy for experienced birders, but I still find gulls a bit challenging. I was following up a report on the London Bird Club Wiki. After scanning several dozen black headed gulls, I was about to give up and then I found it, just before it flew off away from the pond. No question about it, lovely grey and white wings, no black edges, and well developed black hood markings.
Also acouple of egyptian geese (new to me this year).

Posted by: Molecule Man | June 2, 2009


Just a quick visit today. The grebelet from the nest at the west end of Greenland Dock is doing fine still, the parents seem to have given up making a new nest for the time being, and they have moved up to the middle of the dock.

There are tern chicks (at least two) at Canada Water!

No sign of reed warblers there yet though.

Posted by: Molecule Man | May 27, 2009

Grebe Update

Just a quick update on the grebes at the Rotherhithe docks. More detail to come later.
The lone surviving chick at the west end of Greenland Dock is doing well, it is learning to dive and I saw it eating a crab yesterday! Although it was only the body and two legs, I was still amazed how easily it slipped down. Its parents are busy building a new nest, though the platform is very close to the edge. One of them was fending off ducks by swimming under them and launching itself up at them from underwater. They previously built a new nest and laid three eggs while the first chick was still quite young, but the platform came loose and the eggs were lost.
The east end grebe family is doing well, three chicks growing well and learning to dive, the next brood must be close to hatching, I saw the parents mating about a week after the first lot hatched.
At last, after much coming and going, there is a pair of grebes breeding at Canada Water.

Posted by: Molecule Man | April 11, 2009

Kensington Gardens – Owls and More

I recently found out from the London Birders forum and various blogs about the breeding pair of tawny owls in Kensington Gardens. I finally got out to look for them in the last couple of weeks, and got good views of the adults and of the three owlets on a couple of occasions. They are amazingly well camouflaged, so I was grateful for help in spotting them from other visitors. The owlets were still quite fluffy and downy when I saw them, but I guess won’t be for long. I was also lucky to catch them before the leaves start coming out and obscuring the view.

PawThe Bairns

I also got my first look at a treecreeper for this year, as well as a green woodpecker flying right in front of me.

I also noticed a couple of people feeding tits by hand, so on a later visit my girlfriend and her mother tried it with great success, attracting great tits, blue tits and robins. A few days later, we tried to get some photos, but only the great tits were interested:

coming inholding on
a bird in the handbalance

Posted by: Molecule Man | April 11, 2009

South Norwood Lake 02/04/09

I returned to South Norwood lake last week to see how the parakeets were doing that we saw mating a few weeks ago. I hung around their nest hole for a while with no sign of them, but then the male appeared and perched near the hole, before having a look inside. Then the female popped her head out for a look, before they flew off together.

Mummy ParakeetDaddy Parakeet

I met a bloke who feeds the birds there every day (the ducks spotted him a long way off and ran out to him), and he was saying that parakeets roost near his house.

I also got a nice close view of a singing chaffinch, also a couple of wrens, a song thrush, a few goldfinches and I heard a nuthatch singing further off. All the shovelers seem to have left, but there is a pair of great crested grebes, plenty of tufted ducks, and several young cormorants, as well as the usual coots, mallards, moorhens, blackbirds, robins, pigeons.

ChaffinchSinging Chaffinch

Posted by: Molecule Man | April 7, 2009

Keston Ponds 05/04/09

We had a little outing to Down House (where Darwin lived and wrote The Origin of Species) on Sunday, and passed by Keston Ponds on the way back, so I could see the source of the Ravensbourne at Caesar’s Well, part of a little project of mine to follow all the little rivers that make up the Ravensbourne watershed.

There was a pair of mandarins and two other males, I have seen reports of more in the last few months. I wonder if they are breeding there, and whether the one I’ve seen at Ladywell has come downstream from Keston. There was also a lone male ringed teal, and three or four large fish swimming around very close together and frequently breaking the surface like a seamonster.

Posted by: Molecule Man | March 14, 2009

London Wetland Centre

We spent the day at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Barnes reserve today, along with some people from the London Wetland Centre and London Flickr Meetups Flickr groups. It was good to meet Helen again, and to meet Laurence for the first time.

There were an amazing number of cormorants, many youngsters, and herons gathered together in the middle of the main lake, lots of teal, tufties, gadwall, shovelers, a few redshank and a couple of dunlin, 3 or 4 great crested grebe.

The highlight for me was to get some good close views of little grebes in pairs trilling to each other, I’ve never heard their song before. Also, I saw my first woodcock, thanks to a kind fellow birder who helped point my scope in the right direction.

Older Posts »