30th April 2013 - Holmer Green

I had a great birdwatch on the morning of the 30th - I counted 18 species whilst lying in bed!  We were visiting Stuart's mum and her garden gets all sorts of goodies, I'm very jealous.  There were lots of finches - something when thinking about I found interesting, as my mum's garden doesn't get a single finch!  A Treecreeper climbing up the tree in the next door garden is a great sight to wake up to and a pair of Blackcap on the feeder with a Great Spotted Woodpecker is awesome.  A quick visit by a Siskin was a surprise too.

Trip* list: 18
Year list: 149
Lifers of year list: 16

*I got out of bed to go to the window.  This counts as a trip.

Blue Tit




Male Blackcap eyeing up the fruit



29th April 2013 - Wormwood Scrubs

I had an hour to kill as I waited for Stuart to finish work, so I had another wander around Wormwood Scrubs.  Unfortunatly, the Pied Flycatcher had moved on by then, but I did spot what I think was a lifer for me - a Whinchat.  I've only got one photo which is of any use and I've stuck that below, so please confirm if it is!  That is also the only photo I have from that walk for some reason, I have no idea what happened there.

There were plenty of Meadow Pipit doing lovely display flights which I sat and watched for a while.  There were also Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff around.  I really like Wormwood Scrubs, can't believe Stuart doesn't go there more often when he only works across the road!

Trip list: 17
Year list: 149
Lifers of year list: 16

Is this a Whinchat?

24th April 2013 - Crayford Marshes

On your first long walk out by yourself during an illness, don't choose a circular route with no options to get off the path.  This was a big mistake, I was practically dragging myself along the ground by the end of it.  Doh!  It was a lovely walk though, resulting in a lot of sunburn.  Double doh.

I spent most of the walk round inundated with Whitethroat and therefore most of the photos below are of Whitethroat.  It was a desperate attempt to find a Lesser Whitethroat by hopefully getting home and spotting one I'd missed out in the field.  It was not to be.

There were 2 Sand Martin and many Swallow about, no Little Owl to be seen but the trees were full of Parakeet as usual.  A Little Egret was lurking and a couple of Oystercatcher sitting on the side.

Trip list: 29
Year list: 148
Lifers of year list: 15



Another Whitethroat

Yet another Whitethroat

Anybody feel like trying to ID this for me please?!

21st April 2013 - Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens

It was off to Hyde Park again in the glorious sun to meet some friends and drag them to try and find the Little Owl and the Tawny Owl family.  Needless to say, I didn't find them.  I'm beginning to think they see me coming and specifically hide.  In fact, I found Hyde Park overall quite quiet bird wise that day, possibly due to it being overrun with people.

There were a couple of geese around - Canada, Greylag and Egyptian.  Only a couple of Parakeet were in attendance and a Grey Heron was kindly posing for photographs.  When I popped over to the location of the Little Owl, I was surprised to see a Treecreeper happily hopping about on the tree next to his tree - apparently they're nesting there!  Very exciting.  The last sighting was also unexpected, a Mistle Thrush in a tree on the way out.

Trip list: 24
Year list: 148
Lifers of year list: 15


More posing

Tiny Treecreeper!

20th April 2013 - Pulborough Brooks

I've probably said it many times before, but Pulbrough Brooks is one of my favourite reserves.  It's such a lovely place and a nice walk.  It probably helps that it's always been pretty much a glorious day when I've been there too!  Highly recommended.

One of the first birds we saw was a Nightingale, great!  First for the year and whilst a little covered by branches, sitting obviously on a tree.  We saw 4 overall with one obligingly hopping around on the floor for us.  There were plenty of Green Woodpecker around, with 4 sightings throughout the trip.  Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff were also in plentiful supply but we were surprised not to see any Bullfinch.  A selection of Swaloow, House Martin and Sand Martin were all spotted.  Mammals were doing well here too - another mouse, many deer and hundreds of rabbits.  There was also a single Skylark singing away.

Trip list: 46
Year list: 148
Lifers of year list: 15

First Nightingale of the day


Deer being chased by a dog :(

Grey Heron

Whitethroat.  The best of about 50 photos, sigh.

Teeny tiny bunny!

20th April 2013 - Warningcamp and Arundel WWT

It was a toss up between Dungeness or Pulborough Brooks, but a Glossy Ibis turning up 20 minutes from Pulborough sorted that choice out for us!  It was off to Warningcamp in the glorious weather first, to look for the Ibis.  A strong haze made the viewing quite hard but Stuart eventually spotted the bird popping its head up from a ditch over by the railway line.  About 15 minutes later, after disappearing again, the bird came out of the ditch so we could get a better view.  There were also two Oystercatcher in the field, with a couple of Blackcap and Greenfinch.  A lone Moorhen in the same area as the Glossy Ibis provided us with a couple of false calls of 'there's the bird'!  An incredibly noisy Swallow also flew over.

Arundel WWT was very close by so we also popped in there for a 'quick' walk.  We left nearly 3 hours later.  Ooops!  Before we even entered the visitor centre we had a new one for the year, a very loud Sedge Warbler in the reeds outside.  The Nuthatch were out in force, as we saw around 4 (for me this is a lot!) and there were plenty of Pheasant around as usual here.  I embarrassed myself when I squinted at a female Reed Bunting and tried to make it into a House Sparrow but redeemed it by spotted a lovely little Wren singing at the top of its lungs.  There were a couple of Lapwing hanging around, with 2 Teal and 1 Pochard.  On the mammals front a tiny mouse came out to see what all the fuss was about when we were watching a Chiffchaff and Blackcap and a Water Vole was seen from the boardwalk later.  An awesome sight was the second Cetti's Warbler of the year, but a much better view than the previous time.  There was also a bird call that kept recurring and annoying me as I have no idea what it was.  A very clear 'pew pew pew pew'.  Any suggestions welcome!

Trip list: 40
Year list: 147
Lifers of year list: 15

Arundel Castle, the backdrop to the Glossy Ibis
Worst ever picture of a Glossy Ibis. *bows*


Tra la la la

Blackcap darting off


Wanted to make friends

Ickle mousey

Rubbish picture of the behind of a Nuthatch that looks as though it's dancing

Stuart also made a friend

Happy Robin

18th April 2013 - Reading: Christchurch Meadows and Hosehill Lake NR

Whilst waiting for Stuart to finish his meeting in Reading, I wandered around a little green area called Christchurch Meadows on the north bank of the Thames, just north of the station.  The first bird I spotted, before even getting there, was a gorgeous Great Crested Grebe sunning itself on the Thames.  I was hoping to get some good photos as the lighting was excellent, but when I got down to the riverside path, I realised on the other bank directly behind the Grebe was a man smoking.  I decided it was probably best not to look creepy and start taking photos... The next great looking bird was a Song Thrush, hopping around.  My first goslings (or goslets, if you take my method of any baby animal just being the parent with a 'let' - Sheeplet, Crowlet, Piglet...oh) of the year were being super cute, as is to be expected.  I just try not to think that they'll probably all be dead soon.  Sigh.  The final awesome bird of that walk was looking up to see a huge bird right above my head.  After mildly freaking out (it was VERY low), I realised it was a Red Kite.  Gorgeous.

Luckily, Stuart was done by then, as the rowers were now out in force and I was starting to look odd with my binos staring at the water.  We drove down to Theale GPs.  I should probably mention at this point that the reason I was in Reading was for the Pallas's Warbler.  Of course, despite having being there for 3 months, happily being seen by everyone, it decided to disappear about three days before I was due to go and look for it and of course, after I had booked and paid for my train ticket.  Typical.  Anyway, on to the Hosehill Lake at Theale.  The first thing we saw definitely made up for the Warbler as it was a life lister!  Hello Arctic Tern.  This was my 200th bird on my UK list.  Other birds around were a pair of Blackcap, a pair of Goldeneye and three Red-crested Pochard.

Trip list: 27
Year list: 145
Lifers of year list: 14

Song Thrush


My camera ran out of battery, so have a pretentious photo of my dinner instead.

15th April 2013 - Wormwood Scrubs

This was our first ever visit to Wormwood Scrubs, despite it being right next to where Stuart works (no, not the prison).  I'll certainly be going back again as it was wonderful and the other birdwatcher we met whilst there was lovely.  It helped that it was a gorgeous day and all the missing migrants had arrived.

The first thing that we saw (after the millions of Carrion Crow) was a Whitethroat, something I wasn't actually expecting!  Seconds after, my first ever Common Redstart zoomed past.  Beautiful bird, I got to see a lot more after, perching out in the sun!  There were 4 Wheatear on the playing fields, another first for the year.  I adore Wheatear, so this was a good sighting.  Lots of Meadow Pipit popping up from the grass was a great sight.

As we were heading off something that looked suspiciously like a Pied Flycatcher flew past, but unfortunately landed out of view.

Trip list: 17
Year list: 144
Lifers of year list: 13

Little woodland part


Meadow Pipit

Common Redstart

Wormwood Scrubs

Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit

14th April 2013 - Rye Meads and Amwell

Rye Meads is a great place, but we rarely visit for some reason.  The day was gorgeous and actually warm, a turn up for the books.  We had headed to both Rye Meads and Amwell for Jack Snipe, but they must have moved on as none were to be found.  However, we saw a decent selection of species, including a couple of cute Green Sandpiper wading about with a lone Redshank.  There were a couple of Snipe and a selection of Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Herring Gull.  A Swallow flew over as did a Stock Dove, the second for the weekend.  We also heard an unidentified bird at the end of the walk, probably a Great Tit though, knowing their range of calls!

On the way over to Amwell, a lovely Red Kite flew over the road in the direction of Rye Meads.  There was a happy Chiffchaff singing on the path to the Great Hardmead Lake but no Bullfinch this time.   There were Swallow, Sand Martin and a first for the year, House Martin all flying over the lake.  Another first for the year was a Blackcap in the bushes beside the railway.

Trip list: 44
Year list: 140
Lifers of year list: 12

You think this is cute?  Wait until you see it with a tiny version paddling alongside.

Tufted Duck

Little Grebe

Butterfly!  Lots of Bumblebees about too.

I liked the purple on the head of this Mallard.

I think he said he was listening for bees.  Hmm.

Lots of people watching the Kingfisher!

Above mentioned Kingfisher

Pretending to be the Kingfisher.

Lovely lady Pheasant