I have just been fortunate enough to visit Estonia for a few days. The flowers, as well as the birds, mammals, butterflies and dragonflies, were amazing. More details to follow soon.
My remaining programme of summer trips is outlined below. The trips are open to all, but please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to make a booking. For more information on each trip, click under its entry in Events.
10.30am-4.00pm unless stated otherwise. £15 per person per day. Bring packed lunch. Book early – places limited.
Tuesday 19th May – New Forest off the Beaten Track
Redstart, Wood Warbler, Firecrest, Hawfinch maybe.
Thursday 4th June – Marsh Common, Stockbridge
Warblers abound here, Water Vole.
Friday 19th June – Selborne, Hampshire FULL
Historical setting, variety of normal birds, butterflies.
Friday 10th July – London Wetland Centre (+ entrance fee).
If we get group rate (12+ people) entrance fee is £9.85 (no gift aid), concessions £7.34 (no gift aid), WWT members free entry.
Ducklings, chicks, coffee!
SPECIAL TEN-PERSON TRIPS
Special trips for small groups only. £25 per person.
10.30am-4.00pm. Bring packed lunch. Book early – places limited.
Thursday 21st May – Cheesefoot Head and Old Winchester Hill, Hampshire FULL
Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer, Lesser Whitethroat.
Tuesday 14th July – “Raptor Rapture”, New Forest
Hoping for Honey Buzzard, Goshawk, Hobby.
WEDNESDAY MORNINGS IN DORSET AND HAMPSHIRE
£8 per person per trip (price rise). Open to all. Please book.
20th May – Dancing Ledge
Chance of Puffin, Linnets, Whitethroats.
3rd June – Tarrant Rushton Airfield
Corn Bunting, other downland stuff.
24th June – Blashford Lakes, Ringwood
Loads of warbers, waders.
1st July – Middlebere, Wareham
Waders, Dartford Warbler
8th July – Stanpit Marsh, Christchurch
Returning waders such as Whimbrel.
I have been working on some new factsheets for this website. Do take a tour around them. Did you know that Scops Owls often migrate in families and that Red-legged Partridges double-clutch? If not, have a look at free bird factsheets.
THE PERFECT SWARM
Bat-catching on an English autumn night
There are many joys to mammal-watching, but one is undoubtedly a tendency to do peculiar things. Take visiting a cave on a September dusk and placing long nets outside it, and then waiting, chatting in the gloom in the hope that furry animals with wings will fly into the mesh. Take sitting down with bat in gloved hand, extracting measurements by torchlight, fiddling with calipers and fine spring scales, checking the bats’ teeth and private parts, in a manner suggesting that this is normal life. It isn’t normal, but it is classic mammal-watching. While the world sleeps, we have adventures. Continue reading
17 May 2014
There are many advantages of playing football in the garden with your children. However, one that I had never thought of was to look up and see a Common Crane circling over to the north – but that’s what happened today. Sorry, the shots aren’t up to much, but it was quite a moment.
A similar reward for good domestication happened a few years ago. On this occasion I was putting the bins out and happened to hear a Pied Flycatcher in the back garden! That was the first record of several that have turned up here in August.
Meanwhile, another shot of today’s visitor. Incidentally, we also had a Slow Worm on the lawn.
Why don’t you join me on one or two of these terrific field trips this summer? They are open to all, but places go quickly. The quickest way to reserve a place is to e-mail me on email@example.com. You will need to make your way to the meeting place (see Events)
DAY TRIPS (10.30am-4pm) £15 per person (please pre-book)
Thursday 8th May – Pulborough Brooks, West Sussex
Thursday 15th May – Farlington Marshes, Hampshire
Friday 23rd May – Titchfield Haven, Hampshire
Friday 13th June – Devil’s Punchbowl and Thursley Common, Surrey
You can pay £7.50 for each section or come to both.
Friday 27th June – New Forest off the Beaten Track
Tuesday 8th July – Medmerry, West Sussex
Friday 18th July – Selborne, Hampshire
SMALL GROUP TRIPS (10 or less), 10.30am-4pm, £25 per person, please pre-book
Thursday 5th June – Stodmarsh, near Canterbury
Tuesday 17th June – Martin Down and Garston Wood, Wiltshire/Dorset
Thursday 3rd July – Langford Lakes, Wiltshire
Tuesday 22nd July – Raptor Rapture, New Forest
SHORT (2 HOUR, 10.00am-12.00pm) WEDNESDAY MORNING SESSIONS IN DORSET/HAMPSHIRE
£7 per person per session. Please pre-book if possible (but spaces likely)
7th May – Longham Lakes, Ferndown, Dorset
14th May – Radipole Lake, Weymouth
21st May – Swineham, Wareham
4th June – Mark Ash Wood, New Forest
11th June – Badbury Rings
18th June – Blashford Lakes, Ringwood
25th June – Tarrant Rushton Airfield (north of Wimborne)
2nd July – Lodmoor, Weymouth
9th July – Arne
16th July – Blandford (for Otters, Kingfishers and lunch!)
As of yesterday, there is a Penduline Tit at Longham Lakes, on the bulrushes at the southern end, on the edge of the small pond.
Welcome to day 9 of the Crossley Blog tour. The idea of this tour is to publicise the new Crossley Guide to Britain are Ireland, written by Richard Crossley and myself. We are very excited, because we think it is revolutionary, and personally I’ve already been very excited by the response, especially of people I have been teaching in the field.
Don’t take my word for it. Instead follow the Blog Tour and see what others have thought – details below.
Meanwhile, here’s the front cover:
And here’s one of my favourite pages, the MEDITERRANEAN GULL:
The page captures the essence of what many perceive to be a tricky species to identify, and there’s no doubt that gulls terrify many birders. However, when you see all the images together of a bird, even a gull such as a Mediterranean Gull, you perceive the features – bruise around the eye, heavy bill, blood red legs and broad, blunt wings – almost without thinking. Hopefully, it will work for many:
This post is part of the Crossley Blog Tour, so to find more reviews and articles please follow the links to other bloggers. Tomorrow it’s:
For a chance to win a signed copy of this fantastic book please visit:
If you wish to see a list of contributing bloggers please visit:
Finally, if you have any questions for either Richard Crossley and me then we are holding a live video call on November 21st on:
The Crossley ID Guide
Britain and Ireland
Paper flexibound. £16.95. ISBN:9780691151946
304 pages. 300+ colour plates. 250 maps.
There’s nothing quite like a good autumnal dose of bat-box checking. Last Saturday I enjoyed a trip to Hurn (near Bournemouth International Airport) to see what was lurking in their boxes. As it turned out, a lot was. The Brown Long-eared Bat was a first for the site, and it’s always fun to see these “ears with bats attached” as Chris, bat-ringing trainee, commented. The other boxes were pretty much replete with Soprano Pipistrelles, of which there were about 10 in all. This species has the distinction of
being Britain’s smallest bat, usually very slightly more minute than the Common Pipistrelle, but both could fit in a matchbox as long as their wings were closed. Jan Freeborn, from the Dorset Bat Group, was delighted when we found a re-trap (a bat previously ringed), again the first from here. Meanwhile, we had a discussion about distinguishing the two almost identical Pipistrelles. Apparently they have different wing venation, and the Soprano Pipistrelle has several bodily parts that are orange or yellow, at least in the breeding season. One is the buccal glands, in the mouth, but for reason of decorum I will leave the others, dear readers, to your imagination.
…so why not book a birding session with me in the next few months? All are welcome, but please pre-book by e-mail.
FULL DAYS (10.30am-4pm) £15 per person.
Tuesday 8th October – Pagham Harbour
Friday 18th October – Calshot Spit, Hampshire
Tuesday 22nd October – Tundry Pond and Greywell, Surrey/Hampshire FULL
Tuesday 29th October – Hayling Island, Hampshire
Friday 15th November – West Wittering, West Sussex FULL
Tuesday 26th November – London Wetland Centre, London
Friday 6th December – Slimbridge, Gloucestershire
Tuesday December 17th – Wisley Gardens and Papercourt, Surrey
FULL DAYS (10.30am-4pm)WITH MAXIMUM 10 PERSONS £25 per person
Tuesday 19th November – Finches in the New Forest FULL
Tuesday 10th December – Gulls Galore (Weymouth, Dorset)
DORSET AND HAMPSHIRE WEDNESDAY MORNINGS (10.00am-12.00pm) £7 per person
9th October – Ham Common, Hamworthy
16th October – Blashford Lakes, Hampshire
23rd October – Swineham area, Wareham
6th November – Sandbanks, Poole
13th November – Arne, near Wareham
20th November – Maiden Newton, Dorset
27th November – Durlston Country Park, Swanage