Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Moving to the marshes

At the beginning of July we moved out of London and just into Essex. We’re living right next to Rainham Marshes RSPB reserve now, our living room overlooks the Thames estuary and I still cycle to work in central London, albeit with a train journey in the middle. Not surprisingly the birding is good on all fronts. In just over a month I’ve recorded 64 species (list in the side bar) from our living room window (aka the Observatory) including 16 species of wader (shorebird) and highlights like Little Ringed Plover, Marsh Harrier, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Whimbrel, Mediterranean Gull, Common Scoter, Little Egret, Kingfisher, Sanderling, Arctic Tern, Little Tern, Avocet, Sandwich Tern and a peak of 88 Yellow-legged Gulls. Morning and evening I cycle along the sea wall, overlooking Rainham Marshes, catching the train at Rainham town and seeing many good birds on the way including Little Egrets, Marsh Harrier, Barn Owl, Bearded Tit, Hobby and Corn Bunting. It’s been a great change for us and our 7 month old is getting some fresher air!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Ayrshire Bird Report 2012

The 2012 edition of the Ayrshire Bird Report is now available priced at £5.00. Essential reading for anyone visiting the county, it contains the most important bird sightings recorded in 2012 as well as informative articles on Ayrshire's avifauna. It is published by the Ayrshire Branch of the SOC (Scottish Ornithologists' Club). Details: 114 pages with 8 full-colour inner pages of photographs, plus artwork and b&w photos. Please visit the Ayrshire Birding website for details of how to obtain your copy or e-mail me. 

Fraser Simpson (Compiler & Editor)

Kindrogan Trip Report 2015

Earlier this month I returned from my thirteenth trip on an undergraduate university field course to the Field Studies Council's Kindrogan Field Centre near Enochdhu in picturesque Strathardle, Perthshire. Mammal highlights included an Otter on the River Ardle as well as the regular crepuscular visits by the Pine Martens. In terms of birds, it appeared that Crossbills had a very good breeding season and Red-legged Partridge was a new addition to my Kindrogan/Strathardle list. 

On two mornings the alarm clock was set for 02:55 to experience the dawn chorus. I now have times for about 25 June mornings since 2003 and the figure below shows the first song of six common and regular participants.

A full trip list, including records of Goosander, Red Grouse, Osprey, Woodcock, Green Woodpecker, Tree Pipit, Dipper, Whinchat, Redstart, and Ring Ouzel, can be found on the main site at: www.fssbirding.org.uk/kindrogantrip2015.htm

Friday, May 15, 2015

Ambience with a hint of birds

Here are a couple of new ambient tracks I've created recently, routing my synths through a Strymon Big Sky. Keeping it bird-themed, I've added a few sound recordings here and there.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

South-west Spain birding trip report

I've uploaded a birding trip report to the main website for the area around the small town of Zahara de los Atunes, situated on the Costa de la Luz in the Straits of Gibraltar in Cadiz province in south-west Spain on 8-18 April 2015. The highlights this year were two Lesser Crested Terns at Atlanterra on 12-13 April, and a Greater Flamingo and migrant Ortolan Bunting at Marismas del Barbate.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Yellow-crowned Night Heron drawing

A pencil drawing from the weekend of a Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea). This was based on a photograph taken in the mangroves of Cudjoe Key, Florida where it was hunting crabs as I paddled past on a kayak. More at www.fssbirding.org.uk/sketches.htm

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Blackbird (and Jack)

Here is a 10 minutes recording of an urban Blackbird (Turdus merula) singing from an internal garden courtyard, with four walls on either side enhancing the reverberations (plus some background contributions from my 8-week old son). Recorded at 05:35, 10 March 2015.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Red Kite drawing

Well, birding activity has been low since the turn of the year due to the arrival of a new hatchling in the family. This weekend I found some hours to do my first drawing in a long time, a Red Kite (Milvus milvus). March is typically the start of the peak period for this species in London (wanderers from mainland Europe?) and in fact two birds were reported over Hampstead Heath yesterday.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Grey Herons in low winter sun

Grey Herons seem to exhibit an endless amount of poses which makes them an inexhaustible subject. I've been photographing these birds since 2005 but it now seems more difficult to obtain something new and different.


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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Starling Murmurations

November did not have many sunny days, but the early December weekends have had some nice sunsets. I went to visit a Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) roost to photograph the murmurations. The birds arrived in some reasonable numbers quite late in the day and flew around for just 14 minutes before settling in for the night.


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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Summerland Key, Late Fall

Early November I was back in the Florida Keys on field work, kayaking around the mangroves of Summerland Key.

I've uploaded a trip report here:


Highlights included my first Würdemann's Heron, lots of herons and egrets including Reddish Egret, Tricolored Heron and Little Blue Heron; raptors including Broad-winged Hawk and Short-tailed Hawk; and migrant passerines such as Worm-eating Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Kentucky Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Northern Parula, Indigo Bunting, and Painted Bunting.