Wednesday, 30 May 2012

People Power

This post was going to be a rant about Tory toffs and the unbelievable news that the Governments` Wildlife Minister (a millionaire land owner that just so happens to include a shooting estate) was proposing to licence the destruction of Buzzard nests and to bring adult birds into captivity around shooting estates.

Instead, it is a post about how the great British public have once again made the government have a re-think about a proposed policy. Today the RSPB released the following;


Wednesday 30 May, 2012


The RSPB is pleased that an outpouring of public concern for a much-loved bird has encouraged Richard Benyon - the Wildlife Minister - to drop proposals to licence the destruction of buzzard nests and to bring adult buzzards into captivity around shooting estates.
Martin Harper is the RSPB's conservation director. He said: "We're pleased the minister has listened to people's concerns and acted in the public interest by cancelling this project. This is a strong decision, reflecting the strength of the nation's desire to see Government protecting precious wildlife.
"The recovery of the buzzard is being celebrated by the public after many decades of persecution. It is clear they don't want their taxes being spent on removing buzzards and the Government has to ensure that no bird of prey will be killed in the name of sport.
"We don't want anything to distract Defra from the pressing task of saving our threatened wildlife. It should be putting its limited resources into areas such as preventing the extinction of hen harriers in England.
"Government-backed research has already concluded that illegal persecution is limiting the populations of golden eagle and hen harrier. The RSPB believes there are well-tried non-lethal solutions to reducing impacts of buzzards at pheasant pens."

Hurrah for People Power!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Willow Warbler

Another Phylloscopus warbler and a cousin to the Chiffchaff from my previous post, is the Willow Warbler. This bird can lay claim to being Britain`s most numerous summer visitor with over 2 million territories, although in recent years there has been a 37% decline in numbers recorded.

Superficially, very similar to the Chiffchaff, but differs by having longer wings, a slightly longer body, cleaner yellow underparts and a clearer, more defined supercilium. Also, the legs tend to be paler in colouration. The voice is completely different and when unsure of identification this can be the clincher. The song is liquid series of descending notes that start softly and ends with a flourish.

The bird in the above digiscoped photos was putting on quite a show, singing well, enabling me to identify him with ease!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012


The Chiffchaff is one one of the earliest migrants to return to our shores in Britain. They start to appear in March and start to sing their onomatopoeic song immediately. There are approximately 800,000 breeding territories of this bird in the U.K.

A bird that is smaller than a Blue Tit, with dull green upperparts, off-white underparts, dark legs and a rather indistinct pale supercilium. This bird is superficially very similar to its cousin, the Willow Warbler, but can be told apart, not least when they start to sing!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

In the open

Apologies for continuing with my Nightingale posts for just a little longer.

This bird was singing in the open, something that is not very usual, to say the least. These photos show the birds warm brown tones of plumage, with the rusty coloured tail.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Another Nightingale

Another Nightingale, but this time in a more `exposed` perch. This time I am including a couple of little video clips to give a taster of the birds song. As I said previously, these birds do sing in the day, but the true virtuoso performances are given at night. Enjoy!

The above clips were taken by using my Canon A640 Powershot shooting through my scope, `videoscoped`, if you will!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


A bird that is surrounded by folklore and was made famous by a 1940`s song, the Nightingale is perhaps one of Britains most well known birds. Known to be a bird with a tremendous song, but this bird is notoriously difficult to see well as it tends to sit deep inside a bramble bush and belt out its tune. The bird is quite plain in the plumage department, being a warm brown with a reddish-brown rump and tail, grey-brown underparts and a paler throat.

We are lucky in the Peterborough area in the fact that we have a number of breeding sites of these summer visitors, one of which I visited at the weekend, where I encountered the above bird, perched inside a bramble bush, but easy to see. Contrary to common belief, they do sing in the day, as the above digiscoped shots show.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Whitethroat on a wire

A Common Whitethroat singing its `scratchy` song on a telephone wire near Maxey GP yesterday. The sun was shining, a novelty in itself and the warblers were taking full advantage.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Male Wheatear

This male Wheatear has been hanging around Maxey gravel pits for the past few days and has become more accustomed to a strange man approaching him with scope and camera in hand.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Sunshine on a cloudy day

Sunshine is at a premium at the moment, so this Yellowhammer is the only brightness I have encountered lately.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Great White Egret

This Great White Egret has been present for the past few days at Eldernell, part of the RSPB`s reserve on the Nene Washes. It is showing signs of being in breeding plumage, having a black bill instead of the yellow bill which it sports in the winter. The definite `kink` in the neck is an identification hint when confused with a Little Egret, although the size of the bird should negate that problem on its own. This bird is about the same size as a Grey Heron.

The Great White Egret is a bird that used to be seriously rare in Britain with less than a dozen birds reported from 1825 - 1975. This has increased somewhat with 25 birds being reported annually since 2000, although, as far as I am aware they have not bred in this country as yet, but surely colonisation is just a matter of time?

A very nice addition to my PBC year list, which is going along quite nicely with the addition of Raven, Whinchat and also Red Knot to hit the heady heights of 160.

As a postscript, I have just noticed that in the second photo there is something in the bill of the Egret, I assume a prey item of some sort, although the photo is too blurry to see what it is! If you click on the photo you can clearly see something in its` bill, although not that clearly! I really must become more observant!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Black Tern

This Black Tern was present on Gunwade Lake at Ferry Meadows CP in Peterborough today and is another `tick` on my PBC year list. As is normal at the moment, the rain was falling down and the sky was as black as night, but I managed to get this `record` shot of a bird that is an annual visitor to the Peterborough area.

The Black Tern does not breed in the U.K., but is seen on passage in Spring and Autumn on its way to and from  breeding grounds which range from Denmark to Spain and east Russia to Asia. The American Black Tern (currently classed as a sub-species) breeds in North America. European birds winter along the coast of West Africa.

A lovely bird, that is not done justice by the above photo!