Friday, February 29, 2008

Night Singing

Night singing Robins, showing matched counter-singing, bird #2 more distant.
0323h, North London, clear sky.

Click the sonagram for a larger version.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Drum 'n' oak base

Great Spotted Woodpecker: territorial drumming on mature Oak, c1 metre from ground, 11 strikes in c0.5 seconds, 0755h, 24/02/08, Sunny Hill Park, North London (also Robin song at 8kHz).

Green Woodpecker: territorial 'yaffle' in Cedar, c3 metres from ground; 9 'rings' at 2 kHz, the inital one lower, followed by 8 descending, (series of 'harmonics ' at roughly 4, 6 & 8kHz with background Chaffinch calls); 0800h, 24/02/08, Sunny Hill Park, North London

Goldcrest: territorial song in Cedar, c3 metres from ground, c5 high-pitched cycles followed by rising, then falling terminal trill, 0725h, 24/02/08, Sunny Hill Park, North London.

Wren: territorial song from bramble scrub, c1 metre from ground, 0635h, 24/02/08, Sunny Hill Park, North London.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Dunnock Sonagram

Single song phrase from a Dunnock
0735h, 22 February 2008, Sunny Hill Park, North London

Monday, February 18, 2008

Furry Boots City

(as in "Fur aboots are ye fae?") Was up in Aberdeen at the weekend visiting Lisa. The Aberdeen University campus and the adjoining River Don and Donmouth Nature Reserve seem like good places to bird. Casual obs included 24 Waxwings near Queen Mother library; two or three drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers in Seaton Park; Goosander, Red-breasted Merganser and Goldeneye on the river; Turnstone, Redshank, Dunlin and Sanderling near the (locked) hide in Donmouth Nature Reserve. The Chaffinches this far north are just gearing up for song now, while those in London have been singing for several weeks.I looked for the famous Nik-Naks stealing Herring Gull (or was it Doritos?) but no sign. Maybe it has a new job cleaning up human rubbish around the city

A rare photo of people (posing) on the blog...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Walthamstow Colonies

Observing the breeding activities of Cormorants and Grey Herons at Walthamstow Reservoirs today. Large numbers breed on the wooded islands but they are a bit too far from the banks for decent shots. At least 17 Shelduck were present with several birds displaying. They are extremely nervous birds here so I spent about 20 minutes creeping on my knees along the water's edge along the narrow bank separating two of the basins. After a further 10 minutes allowing them get used to a head appearing on the horizon, I lay flat and attempted some unusual shots. Another great sunset for some silhouettes. I also attempted to get a Robin singing under the moon though there was too much 'twig clutter'.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Mediterranean Gull, Kensington Gardens

I'd almost given up hope of photographing the wintering Mediterranean Gull on the Round Pond having failed on every trip there this winter. Today I had the lens trained on a Black-headed Gull, waiting for the moment of take-off when it was knocked of a buoy by the Med Gull! It has a green leg ring AASZ from a capture at Elbe Estuary in Germany in 2004.

Pair Bonding

What a fantastic weekend! The light was beautiful, butterflies and other insects were active and many birds were conspicuously preparing for the breeding season. Mute Swans were displaying on the Round Pond though I couldn't get a clear shot without any people in the frame.Slightly easier, though high in the trees were pairs of Stock Dove and Ring-necked Parakeets engaging in some mutual preening. Starlings were excavating or refurbishing holes, Chaffinches were singing full throttle, and the Tawnies probably sitting on eggs.

Friday, February 08, 2008

London Life

Crush Hour on Baker Street...

Greylags in preparation for 2012...

Waiting on a (big yellow) taxi home...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A new bird species from Colombia

News from ProAves Colombia...

A new bird species - the Antioquia Brush-Finch or Atlapetes blancae - has been described as a result of studies supported by Fundación ProAves in Colombia. Ornithologists are concerned about the conservation of the new species, as nobody knows whether or not it still exists.

Read the rest on their website:

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Fulica Fights

The Herons were much less active today but the Coots were going crazy! Fights are frequent among this dense group of normally docile birds but at this time of year there is a lot of aggression between the early breeders and the rest of the crowd competing for handouts from the tourists. When one interaction starts it often escalates and sets off other birds with several Coots kickboxing, much to the amazement of passing people.