Wednesday 25 October 2017

Patch Update

25th October 2017
Today, I spent a great evening at Stocker's Lake, with me seeing Great Tit, Gadwall and Pochard for the first time at the reserve!

Coots and a female Shoveler

Great Crested Grebe in breeding plumage

Black-headed Gulls

My first Pochard in two years!

After swooping around the lake for some time, this Grey Heron rests on a fallen tree

The flock of Pochard are joined by Shoveler

It is almost bedtime for this Gadwall

Special thanks to this Great Tit for RUINING THE PHOTO!

A Grey Squirrel looking for nuts to cache

A last-minute shot of a Cormorant in the sunset

Not Just Birds in the Cotswolds

25th August 2017
in the summer, I visited the Cotswolds, an area of England near Wales. First, I went to Broadway Tower, Worcestershire, where I spotted my first wild Red Deer. There was a huge crowd watching the herd have their dinner!

A Red Doe calls to its fawn

The dominant Red Stag watches over his herd as they graze peacefully

A young stag enjoys a nutritious dinner of crushed carrots

A fawn trotting to its mother (the doe in the first picture)

26th August 2016
Today, I visited Bourton-on-the-Water, a little village situated on the River Windrush. The following photos are extras what I filmed for my channel.

A quick shot of a Buzzard flying over Stow-on-the-Wold

A local depiction of British Birds

A Black-headed Gull in winter plumage, wading in the river

 A male Mallard in eclipse plumage

Here are some links to my Cotswolds videos:

Visit to NT Broadway Tower:

River Windrush

Patch Update- 6th Trip to Barnes

3rd August 2017
This was my 6th visit to the beautiful WWT London Wetland Centre in Barnes, Hammersmith. This time, I showed my two-year-old cousin brother, who is gaining interest in birds, around the reserve.

Barnacle Geese

Preening Red-breasted Geese

A migratory Bewick's Swan from Scandinavia

A Ring-necked Parakeet treats itself to a berry 

 Magpie Goose

A Grey Heron hides near the reserve's borders, in the same place where I saw a Green Woodpecker on my 3rd visit

A Nene (Hawaiian Goose) with Plumed Whistling Ducks and a Moorhen 

 Southern Screamer

A plump female Chaffinch on a feeder


25th March 2017
In spring, I decided to visit Fray's Farm Meadows, an area filled with Mayflies, Lapwing and Snipe. Instead, I didn't follow instructions and go to Denham Country Park to find the reserve, I ended up at a Hindu temple!

These Egyptian Geese were outside the temple

Suddenly, through trees, I saw two massive lakes, filled with reedbeds, potentially a home for Water Rails and Bitterns. I looked everywhere for an entrance, and found a gate, secluded by trees. Thinking this was Fray's Farm Meadows, I opened the gate, unaware that I was trespassing onto private lakes! I didn't see many interesting birds, but here is what I did see:

A Ring-necked Parakeet, a very common sight in London

Tufted Ducks

Look closely: two Herring Gulls are on this lake 

I also saw Mallards, Canada Geese, Goldfinches, House Sparrows, Robins, Coots, Moorhens and Greylag Geese. The moral? Even trespassing can have good outcomes!

Monday 23 October 2017

Cambridge Trip

15th August 2016
In the summer, I visited Cambridge. This post will be shorter than usual, as I didn't see many birds. I did pass briefly through Trumpington Meadows Nature Reserve, where I saw a few Snow Geese, which might have escaped from a local wildfowl collection. I went punting on the River Cam, but didn't have time to do a YouTube video for my channel. However, when I passed the various colleges, I did see Moorhens and Mallards swimming alongside the boat, and Canada and Greylag Geese were waddling on the banks.
Greylag and Canada Geese trying to show off by walking on private land!

Sunday 22 October 2017

Spain Trip 2016

24th October 2016
The previous day, I had landed in Madrid, the capital city of Spain. On this day, before visiting the many museums the city had to offer, I noticed small birds, which looked much like our native House Sparrows, but had slightly different plumage. As soon as I turned the pages of my Collins guide, I knew they were Spanish and Rock Sparrows.

A male House Sparrow 

House Sparrows about to take off

After visiting the Reina Sofia Museum, We stopped at El Retiro, 125 hectares of park and garden.

A male Blackbird searches the banks of a lake for worms

A Great Tit forages a bin

a juvenile House Sparrow sits on a tall fir tree

House sparrows slowly congregate on the trees

It's not all birds here: a Wildcat prowls the undergrowth

25th October 2016
I woke up early to catch a train to the ancient city of Segovia. Spotless Starlings and Goldfinches darted around the the carriages, and when I got there, a vast Roman aqueduct stood before me. Above it, a lone raptor soared. a Buzzard? An Osprey? Once again, the Collins guide saved my life. It was a bird I had never seen before, probably scanning for carrion: a Griffon Vulture!

A blurry image of my first Griffon Vulture

It just happened that I came on the right day: the locals were celebrating the patron saint of birds! The shops were selling bird-themed food, caged birds were for sale (which I was against) and there was even a brass band performing! I walked along the cobbled streets to the city's castle, which had breathtaking views of unchartered landscape.

Black Kites glide in the distance

After exploring the castle, I noticed a great spectacle from the battlements: due to strong thermals, hundred of Griffon Vultures circled, allowing them to glide gracefully over the Segovian landscape.

A small area of the spectacle

I retreated into the town centre, where the Vultures were closer than ever!

I managed to snap this Black Vulture before I left

 26th October 2016
My last day in Spain was spent at a small city called Toledo. Before  visiting the city itself, I found its only area for wildlife, its river. Mallards, Tufted Ducks, Moorhens and Coots were the only birds on the river, while three Grey Herons soared above, one landing on a tree.

I apologise if this isn't a great Heron photo!

The next day, of course, I left. I saw the Wetland Centre at Barnes from my plane window, thinking if I should go there next....

(I actually visited Norfolk next, which was my first ever post. It had amazing photos, but terribly tiny text, which when I try to change, a glitch occurs and it stays the same! Use a magnifying glass if you want to read it). 

Saturday 21 October 2017

Provence 2016

30th May 2016
 Last spring, my family and I took a Eurostar train to the beautiful city of Avignon, southwest France. As well as ancient Roman walls and cathedrals, the area was screeching with Swifts, that had migrated from southern Africa. We walked around, noticing a small black bird watching my every movement.

 A Jackdaw conceals itself, high in the treetops 

We stood outside the city's cathedral, admiring the hundreds of swifts that danced above it. Eventually, they left to roost.

31st May 2016
On this day, we visited the Roman amphitheatre in Orange. We spent a good hour there, but as we left, I captured a Rock Dove by its nest, in the amphitheatre's walls.

A Rock Dove stands proudly outside its nesting area, in the artificial version of its natural habitat, cliffs 

Orange Station is home to many bird species. While we waited for a train to take us back to Avignon, Goldfinches darted about in the grass, and Tree and House Sparrows flew around the wires above the track. Train stations are great for birding!

 A decent shot of a male House Sparrow on a wire

2nd June 2016
After a day of walking around vineyards with no birds, apart from my first Redstart, we travelled around mountainous areas of Provence, which rewarded me with the chirping of Ring Ouzels and the quacking of Mallards on the river. We stopped at an area sealed by stone walls, protecting us from wild boars, to visit a honey farm. I did not come for the honey, though: my eyes were glued to a group of Swallows, flitting about the farm, as if playing hide and seek.

Hiding from its companions, this Swallow looked away from the camera, wishing not to be photographed!

We sauntered around various villages for the rest of that day. The next day we left: I was very happy with my sightings. I would love to visit France again and see more wildlife, in places such as the Camargue. 

Saturday 14 October 2017

My Letter is in the RSPB Magazine!

14th October 2017
Today is a very exciting day for me: the letter I wrote for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has been published!

I have been waiting for this day for over three months, and finally, after a long period of tension and anticipation, my letter for the winter 2017 issue of Nature's Home, has come in print. Even though the great Mark Ward, the editor, didn't reply to my comment and edited it a bit (he called it Nature Connection, instead of Share the Moment), it is still pretty good, and I am not disappointed.

If you want to read it for yourself, here it is:

Friday 13 October 2017

Birding Around Greater London

This page features the wonderful bird species I find around London. despite all of the pollution, people and buildings in this city, birdlife still thrives here. From unexpected visitors in a quiet Stratford park to Terns soaring above the suburbs, London has a lot to offer! 

Whenever I get the chance, I will take my camera throughout this bustling city, photographing any bird that catches my eye. My favourite place in the whole of London to birdwatch ( which I highly recommend) is the Southbank. On that one stretch of the Thames, I have seen rarities such as Sabine's Gulls, Storm Petrels and even Sooty Shearwaters (all seen before I had a camera)!

 Herring Gull, Millennium Bridge, Southwark

Collared Dove, Pinner, Harrow

 Mute Swan, Ruislip Lido, Hillingdon

 A Common Tern soars over Ruislip, Ruislip Lido, Hillingdon

A Raven saunters round Greenwich Park, Greenwich

A juvenile Mute Swan sticks to its parents, Ruislip Lido, Hillingdon

Blue Tit, Pinner, Harrow

A family of Canada Geese hide around fallen trees, Fray's Farm Meadows, Hillingdon

A male Little Grebe forages around for food...

...while the female keeps her young warm, Wetlands Walk, Stratford, Newham

An Egyptian Goose strolls around the Southbank, Lambeth

A female Chaffinch and a Dunnock compete for food, WWT London Wetland Centre, Hammersmith and Fulham