Wednesday, 30 March 2011

All our Yesterdays "On the Border"

Cycled from Denham Way to Harefield following the route  I would take to work in 1966 passing Lynsters farm and left at the Royal Oak "The Oaks" along Coppermill lane the only real traffic along here was the lorries of Rickmansworth Gravel Company in the 60's.
Also those of us cycling to Work at Winstones Printing Ink Company and the Bell Works, a wet  Kestrel obliged as I reached the Coy Carp,  crap name  it was called the Fisheries Inn.
It was here I turned right along the canal towpath towards Horshoe Bay straight away I saw 6 Sand martins and a pair of Grey Wagtails while overhead Red Kite  obliged, many summers ago the sky was full of Swifts here hawking insects and nesting in the Belfry opposite the Coy Carp.
Today I was in search of Perch I fished for 2 hours in vain ,along the tow path came an old friend Jack Edgell who had worked with me in the 60's at Winstones,just recently another work mate's brother Pat Boyle had died ,his funeral was attended by Arsene Wenger,Liam Brady and Cesc Fabregas,Pat had taken me to the semi finals to watch Arsenal in 1972,Jack and I went to White Hart Lane in 1971 when Arsenal won the double,Jack is a Spurs fan but we are still good friends,so we planned a reunion drink in Harefield soon.
Reluctantly I made my way home before the threatining rain arrived.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Migrants moving

First stop was Croxley moor flying solo I parked on the River Gade bridge as I followed up Geoff Laptop's report of Wheatear on the moor I was ecstatic to find three individuals which I tried to photograph.Also present chiffchaff,reed bunting etc.
Met Paul Lewis back to the common so he could get a year tick then on to the Withey beds where Chiffchaffs were belting it out.
Finally Stockers farm produced a dust bathing chaffinch and 30c Wigeon flushed by Led Zep 2 creating a whole lotta birds in flight.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The H ides of March

From the 20th to the23rd of March the old Marvin Gaye kicked in "thats the grapevine" to the uneducated.
I had overslept Sunday and missed the working party at Springwell GP,but Maple Lodge produced two Oystercatchers and over the last few days Lewis and I found 5 Long tailed tit's nests in or around the reserve 2 in the perimetre fence ,one in a reed bed and one on Lynsters.
The next morning a call from Geoff Laptop a Green Sand from Rotunda at Maple Lodge,I missed it due to work but saw 8 Golden Plover flying around Woodoaks farm around 1700 hrs as I walked Ted also of note 54 Fieldfare.
Today Maple Lodge was quiet as I rushed down around 1500 hrs,on leaving I met LRG (Lee Evans) who was looking for Oystercatcher and Little Owl, I sent Lee to Woodoaks and I followed shortly with Ted.
Of note I  saw Buzzard and Red Kite then it was home to feed a weary dog and a cup of tea  for yours truly.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Marsa Alam Bird Report

Dates 3rd of March to 9th of March 2011.
Arrived around 17.00hrs local time,first bird Fan tailed Raven as we boarded the coach to our resort.
The area is hotel complexes sandwiched between the Red Sea and the desert,the main habitat being hotel gardens and rocky shoreline.
The following morning a Lanner flew over,Little Egret was on the beach,I also heard Redshank.
Passerines of note were Chiffchaff and Red throated pipit,skulking Sardinian warblers were giving me the the run around,these were eclipsed by superb white spotted bluethroats.
After lunch an Osprey obliged and was grilled from ten feet away at a variety of posts notably the green flag on the beach every day and at other times eating a fish from the floodlights on the tennis court.
The following morning the Osprey was posing as was the Little Egret,a few Swallows were passing through,also a Hoopoe which was bonus seen in flight and at rest,things were quiet most of the day untill the following morning when a Cattle Egret sat around the swimming pool,every day was an Osprey day and today it was being mobbed by a Lanner and Raven. A few Chiffchaffs obliged before breakfast.
After breakfast walked around the bay to the jettys on route we saw jellyfish,viewing the coral was amazing as we crossed the jetty.On the return we saw a European kingfisher fishing from the rocks
On the 6th we saw a snipe fly over while having breakfast then we were going snorkelling at Abu  Dabab about 40 km south on route I got a brief view of Isabelline wheatear.
On arrival at Abu Dabab we met Mahmoud and Abdul and we soon put through our paces on reaching the deeper water we were soon viewing turtles with their accompanying cleaner fish,later we followed the reef seeing Scorpion or Lion fish as it is known and the Guitar fish the list was endless, our whole day is on video and I will download this asap.
The next day my cousin and I took a taxi to El Quesir an old fort daing back to the Ottoman empire,good birds on route were Nile valley sun bird and Whinchat,at the fort another Ospre an Hooded crow.
The journey  back was livened up by a covey of Crowned Sandgouse a new bird for me and a single Black Kite.

On the 8th a great variety of warblers,wagtails and a splendid Turtle dove.Our last day had arrived up at 06 30 hrs again the warblers were increasing as was the identification as none were singing and most were not in ther right habitat,the resident Osprey was eating a fish and yesterdays Turtle dove was still present but the Yellow Wagtails the impressive black headed felldegg race and Grey headed beema were long gone.A final snorkell before noon and another adventure had come to an end.
                                              CHECKLIST OF SPECIES

Lanner falcon 2,Little Egret1,Redshank1 heard,Red throated Pipit3,Pied Wagtail alba race common,Bluethroat 6 white spotted race,Sardinian Warbler4 2 pairs, Chiffchaff 2 confirmed sub species ie albienetus and collybita,Fan tailed Raven,House Sparrow,Rock dove,Collared dove1,Pintail Snipe,Crowned sandgrouse,Laughing dove,Swift,Kingfisher,Hoopoe,Sand Martin,Rock martin,Swallow,Whinchat1,Isabelline Wheatear,Desert Wheatear,Nile Valley Sunbird,Fan tailed Raven,Hooded Crow,Desert Finch,Yellow Wagtail,Turtle Dove,Sedge Warbler,Bonelli's Warbler,Sav'is Warbler.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Stockers wildlife

The Staines massif and Stockers lake

Well Paul Lewis and I were off to Staines res to check out divers,we searched on a cold spring morn amongst the tufted and goldeneye and wigeon etc and eventually found two great northern divers at some distance,scoped only we returned along the causeway telling another birder of our joy,he was disinterested and replied right right right perhaps his name was Ian.
So we left Ian in his own world and made our way back to Rickmansworth and Stockers Lake where we parked at the pumping station.We bumped in to Harrow NHS saw a male goosander ,spotted two poachers then photographed red crested pochards.
Moving on around Stockers found a chiff chaff singing and displaying goldeneye,from another hide a fox hunting in day light,at the point from the kingfisher hide nuthatches and two rolands{rats} posed for the camera.Moving on Stockers tsunami has blitzed the trees canal side, next stop the dragon fly ponds where frogs spawn was in evidence.We returned via Stockers farm where displaying lapwing obliged.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Marsa Alam Egypt

A weeks holiday in the red sea resort of Marsa Alam produced some good birds in an area renown for coral and fish,if you can snorkell or scuba you are in your element, I tried to get a balance, every morning an Osprey obliged as did migrants passing through.
Here are a few examples of wildlife seen.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Bailiff,Birds and old Esox last day of Feb

Arrived Stockers gravel pit,HMWT were still working on the felled trees,although it was cold wet with sleet and rain I trudged to the point near the car park,it was here a flock of 80 siskins buzzed around the alders on the adjacent islands, I quickly set up two pike rods with mackerel to tempt old esox,but I was distracted by a pair of great crested grebes doing the weed dance,just after Graham White an officer of HMWT stopped for a chat I said its bloody freezing probably pack up around 1230 hrs.
I carried on patiently watching goldeneyes display when the buzzer went I connected and caught a 7 LB male pike ,then two dog walkers were on the other side of the lake their dogs were running through the reeds causing mayhem,then ten minutes later they ignored the sign for road closed and came through the bushes to where I was fishing,I politely told them two old girls with two lurchers and two terrriers to keep control of their dogs and not too ignore safety signs,they took the hint and left.
The general public need to be more aware of SSI areas and nature reserves what with their carefree attitude and feeding of wild birds is inprinting them to people making them an easy target for poachers.