STAINES RESERVOIRS (SURREY).

It is one of the many reservoirs in the London area and is undoubtedly the best known and most accessible. I like to visit the Staines Reservoirs during the spring-summer time and autumn-winter time. Being more open, it can be very cold during the winter season as you get the northerly wind coming in. A telescope is usually essential as there is no facility to walk around the reservoirs.

 

BIRDS OF STAINES RESERVOIR.

Great Northern (Diver) Loon- 2 April/1 May'11, 1 Jan 2012

Horned (Slavonian) Grebe- 31 March 2013

Black-necked Grebe- 1 Jan'12

Shag- 2 Oct'11, 1 Jan'12

Scaup (m+f)- 1 Jan'12

Common Scoter- 27 Oct'12

Goldeneye- 23 Jan/26 Jan'11, 1 Jan/27 Oct'12, 31 March'13

Smew- 1 Jan'12

(Pied) Avocet- 2 April'11

Whimbrel- 1 May'11

Little Gull- 21 April'12

Arctic Tern- 15 April'12

White Wagtail- 15 April'12

 

The right hand photo of Long-horned Caddisfly was taken at Staines Reservoir.  

                                     

DUNGENESS OBSERVATORY & RSPB RESERVE, KENT.

It lies in Kent, South-east England. Dungeness's position, jutting into the English Channel, makes it ideally placed to watch for migrant birds arriving or departing, with wheatears, swallows, martins and warblers regularly seen. The area is a flat expanse of shingle with ridges and hollows.

There are 3 places you can visit for birding, Dungeness Bird Observatory, ARC Pit and Dungeness RSPB Reserve.

 

       

My first trip to Dungeness was on 6th April 2013 with the Marylebone birdwatching society. I saw a total of 43 different bird species at Dungeness. Our first stop was at the Dungeness Bird Observatory, where we saw: - 4 Northern Gannets were flying over the North Sea, 5 different species of gulls Black-headed / Common / Herring / Lesser Black-backed / Great Black-backed, Black Redstart, Stonechat and a summer visitor a male Wheatear. We were so lucky to see a single White Stork, which is not often seen in the UK. Finally flocks of Brent Geese.

 

At the RSPB Reserve, we saw: - Peregrine Falcon, Curlew, Ruff, Great White Egret and a pair of Raven.

 

 

         

The following are the highlight bird species that we saw at Dungeness.

 

1. Northern Gannets     2. Great White Egret     3. White Stork     4. Brent Geese      5. Goldeneye     6. Smew     7. Marsh Harrier     8. Peregrine Falcon     9. Curlew     10. Ruff     11. Black Redstart     12. Wheatear     13. Stonechat     14. Raven

 

 

 

 

KENYA

In 2010 I went to Kenya for a 3 weeks holiday to visit my family and friends. During my stay with family, I had time to do some birding. Most of my birding was in and around Nairobi. The places that I went for birding within Nairobi were Loresho, Paradise Lost, Nairobi Racecourse, Splash and outside Nairobi was Lukenya. Most of my birding was done together with other birders from Nature Kenya. On the October 6, I joined the Nature Kenya Wednesday morning birdwalk where we went to Loresho. It was a fine day where we did birding about 3hrs and saw a total of 60 different bird species. The highlight species that we saw were: Long-crested Eagle, Eurasian Bee-eaters, Violet-backed Starling and Yellow-crowned Canary.

 

       

On the October 9th, I went to Paradise Lost not far the city with friends whom I met them at the Nairobi Museum. Our first stop was at a pond to look for waders or waterfowls. At the pond, we saw species like Great White Egret, Yellow-billed Egret, White-backed Duck, Wood Sandpiper, Malachite Kingfisher and a single female Greater Painted-snipe. From the pond, we went to a different habitat, mostly wooded and a large dam. Here we saw like Pied Kingfisher, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Grey-olive Greenbul, Spotted Flycatcher, White-starred Robin and Green-capped Eremomela. End of the day, we saw a total of 62 different bird species.

On the October 13th with the Nature Kenya birdwalk went to Nairobi racecourse. It was a fine day where we did birding about 2hrs 30mins and saw a total of 38 different bird species. The highlight species that we saw at the racecourse were Common / Green Sandpiper, Eurasian Bee-eaters, White-headed / Spot-flanked Barbet, a pair of Eurasian Golden Oriole, Willow Warbler and Blackcap.

 On Sunday October 17th with the group from Nature Kenya we went to Lukenya, which is on the west side of the city along the Nairobi - Mombasa highway. The Habitat around Lukenya is more dry country, the weather was quite hot. It was a half a day outing and we saw a total of 62 different bird species. The highlight species that we saw were 4 species of birds of prey Gabar Goshawk, Verreaux’s Eagle, African Hawk Eagle, Martial Eagle, Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Barn Swallow, Northern Wheatear, Red-throated Tit, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Violet-backed Starling and Speckle-fronted Weaver.

        

My last birding was at Splash on October 20th which was is a public holiday in Kenya. We went Splash to look for any Palaearctic migrants, which we did see a few. We did birding for 2hrs 45mins and saw a total of 49 different species. The highlight species were Common Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Common Cuckoo, Willow Warbler, Green-backed Honeyguide, Thrush Nightingale, Northern Wheatear, Common Rock Thrush and Spotted Flycatcher. 

In my 3 weeks holiday in Kenya, I saw a total of 164 different species of birds. See the list as follows:-

1. Yellow-necked Spurfowl. 2. White-backed Duck. 3. Spur-winged Goose. 4. Yellow-billed Duck. 5. Little Grebe. 6. Sacred Ibis. 7. Hadada Ibis. 8. Cattle Egret. 9. Black-headed Heron. 10. Great White Egret. 11. Yellow-billed Egret. 12. Hamerkop. 13. Reed Cormorant. 14. African Black-shouldered Kite. 15. Black Kite. 16. African Fish Eagle. 17. Gabar Goshawk. 18. Great Sparrowhawk. 19. Common Buzzard. 20. Augur Buzzard. 21. Verreaux’s Eagle. 22. African Hawk Eagle. 23. Booted Eagle. 24. Ayres’s Hawk Eagle. 25. Martial Eagle. 26. Black Crake. 27. Common Moorhen. 28. Red-knobbed Coot. 29. Grey Crowned Crane. 30. Crowned Plover. 31. Greater Painted-snipe. 32. African Jacana. 33. Green Sandpiper. 34. Wood Sandpiper. 35. Common Sandpiper. 36. Dusky Turtle Dove. 37. Red-eyed Dove. 38. Ring-necked Dove. 39. Namaqua Dove. 40. Hybrid Lovebird. 41. White-bellied Go-away-bird. 42. Common Cuckoo. 43. Klaas’s Cuckoo. 44. White-browed Coucal. 45. African Palm Swift. 46. Little Swift. 47. Speckled Mousebird. 48. Blue-naped Mousebird. 49. Rufous-crowned Roller. 50. Grey-headed Kingfisher. 51. Striped Kingfisher. 52. Malachite Kingfisher. 53. Pied Kingfisher. 54. Little Bee-eater. 55. Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater. 56. Eurasian Bee-eaters. 57. Hoopoe. 58. African Grey Hornbill. 59. Silvery-cheeked Hornbill. 60. Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird. 61. Red-fronted Tinkerbird. 62. Red-fronted Barbet. 63. Spot-flanked Barbet. 64. White-headed Barbet. 65. Red-and-yellow Barbet. 66. D’Arnaud’s Barbet. 67. Green-backed Honeyguide. 68. Cardinal Woodpecker. 69. Chin-spot Batis. 70. Brown-crowned Tchagra. 71. Black-crowned Tchagra. 72. Black-backed Puffback. 73. Tropical Boubou. 74. Black Cuckooshrike. 75. Northern White-crowned Shrike. 76. Long-tailed Fiscal. 77. Common Fiscal. 78. Eurasian Golden Orioles. 79. Common Drongo. 80. African Paradise Flycatcher. 81. Pied Crow. 82. White-bellied Tit. 83. Red-throated Tit. 84. Black Saw-wing. 85. Plain Martin. 86. Barn Swallow. 87. Rock Martin. 88. Red-rumped Swallow. 89. Fawn-coloured Lark. 90. Fischer’s Sparrow Lark. 91. Red-faced Cisticola. 92. Singing Cisticola. 93. Rattling Cisticola. 94. Stout Cisticola. 95. Tawny-flanked Prinia. 96. Buff-bellied Warbler. 97. Yellow-breasted Apalis. 98. Grey Apalis. 99. Grey-capped Warbler. 100. Common Bulbul. 101. Dark-capped Yellow Warbler. 102. Willow Warbler. 103. Green-capped Eremomela. 104. Red-faced Crombec. 105. Blackcap. 106. Brown Parisoma. 107. Banded Parisoma. 108. Montane White-eye. 109. Greater Blue-eared Starling. 110. Superb Starling. 112. Hildebrandt’s Starling. 113. Violet-backed Starlings. 114. Red-winged Starlings. 115. Olive Thrush. 116. White-starred Robin. 117. Thrush Nightingale. 118. Cape Robin Chat. 119. Ruppell’s Robin Chat. 120. White-browed Scrub Robin. 121. Northern Wheatear. 122. Common Rock Thrush. 123. White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher. 124. African Grey Flycatcher. 125. Spotted Flycatcher. 126. African Dusky Flycatcher. 127. Amethyst Sunbird. 128. Scarlet-chested Sunbird. 129. Bronze Sunbird. 130. Marico Sunbird. 131. Variable Sunbird. 132. White-browed Sparrow Weaver. 133. Grey-capped Social Weaver. 134. House Sparrow. 135. Kenya Rufous Sparrow. 136. Grey-headed Sparrow. 137. Speckle-fronted Weaver. 138. Grosbeak Weaver. 139. Baglafecht Weaver. 140. Spectacled Weaver. 141. Holub’s Golden Weaver. 142. Speke’s Weaver. 143. Village Weaver. 144. Chestnut Weaver. 145. White-winged Widowbird. 146. Red-collared Weaver. 147. Common Waxbill. 148. Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu. 149. Purple Grenadier. 150. Red-billed Firefinch. 151. Bronze Mannikin. 152. Black-and-white Mannikin. 153. Pin-tailed Whydah. 154. Village Indigobird. 155. Mountain Wagtail. 156. African Pied Wagtail. 157. Grassland Pipit. 158. Yellow-crowned Canary. 159. African Citril. 160. Reichenow’s Seedeater. 161. White-bellied Canary. 162. Brimstone Canary. 163. Streaky Seedeater and 164. Cinnamon-breasted Bunting. 

OARE MARSHES (KENT)

On 13th April i did a birding trip to Oare Marshes. I was with two others birders from the Central London RSPB group. We took at a train from London Victoria to Faversham. From Faversham rail station, we took a local bus to a pub from where we walked along the Oare creek. We did birding along the marshes and we saw a Common Buzzard flying over. And also a herd of Highland cattle.

       

At Oare Marshes, there a few hides where you watch birds without disturbing them. Access is restricted to the public footpath and nature trail to minimise disturbance to roosting, feeding and breeding birds. You have the Swale Estuary which overlooks the Isle of Sheppey.

       

We had a few summer visitors like Sand Martin, Barn Swallows, Tree Pipits and Yellow Wagtail that we saw. Other species included Pintail, Marsh Harrier, Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit and Common Redshank.

CROSSNESS

My first trip to Crossness was on 24th April 2011. It is about one and half miles from Belvedere rail station. The habitat within the reserve has pools, reeds with open grassland and scrubs.

       

At the pools, you get to see Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Little Grebe. In the reeds :- Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler. The open grassland is a good place to look for the (Northern) Wheatear. And finally the scrubs :- (Common) Whitethroat.

       

Some of the bird species that I have seen at Crossness and along the River Thames are as follows :-

1. Shelduck  2. Kestrel  3. Oystercatcher  4. Barn Swallow  5. Song Thrush  6. Northern Whitethroat  7. Sedge Warbler  8. Reed Bunting  9. Green-winged Teal (Rare Vagrant visitor from North America). I saw this species on 28 April 2013. It is a sub-species of (Common Teal).  10. Little Ringed Plover  11. Common Sandpiper  12. Reed Warbler  13. Northern Wheatear  14. Linnet 

Canons Park

The nearest tube station to this park is the Canons Park (Jubilee line). My first walk to this park was on 29 January 2012 with a group and this is where I saw a female Lesser spotted Woodpecker and on 1 April in the same year a pair of Lesser spotted Woodpecker were seen.

Beside birds, you get to see butterflies and spring flowers. A good place for families and dog walkers.

On 5 April 2013, we saw a single Barn Swallow which is a summer visitor.

BANK HOLIDAY BIRDING TRIP TO LEA VALLEY AND RYE MEADS

On the 6th of May was a bank holiday, so I decided to join the NW London RSPB Group for birding to Lea Valley. I was to met the group outside of Cockfosters tube station at 9.30am. I arrived at Cockfosters tube station an hour early, so I went to Trent Country Park which is about 5-10 mins by walk from the tube station.

The weather was sunny and hot. At the country park, i saw 4 males of Mandarin Duck and a Nuthatch. I did meet the group outside Cockfosters tube station and from there we left for Lea Valley to look for spring migrants.

At Lea Valley, we saw bird species like Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler, Barn Swallow, Cuckoo, Common Tern, Hobby and Lesser Whitethroat. We had lunch in one of the hides and from the hide we saw Marsh Warbler, Shelduck and Gadwall.

We decided to go to Rye Meads from Lea Valley. At Rye Meads, we were lucky to a drake (Male) of a Garganey which was my new bird seen in England. I have seen Garganey before in Kenya.

 Due to the hot weather, i saw 3 different butterfly species which were Peacock, Orange-tip and Green- veined White.

On 11th May 2013, i did a coach trip to Nagshead nature reserve, the Puffins, Parkend, Gloucestershire with the London bird club. This is one of the RSBP sites in Gloucestershire.

 

   

 
  

Some of the interested species i saw were :- Barn Swallow, Tree Pipit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler, (Common) Raven, (European) Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler. The (European) Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler were new in my world life and England list.

To know more on Nagshead nature reserve go to www.rspb.org.uk/nagshead

 

Holkham National Nature Reserve

 

I went to Holkham national nature reserve with the London Bird Club on 5 January 2013 from London by coach. And I have seen many Pink-footed Geese like that c100+. Best time is in winter went you get see other species like Wigeons, Brent Goose and (Greater) White-fronted Goose, Snow Buntings and Shorelarks.

       

This nature reserve covers about 4,000 ha. You get vary of habitat at the nature reserve from very extensive sand- and mudflats which are exposed at low tide along the coast and bordering these is a long series of sand dunes, planted with a narrow belt of pines. 

         

Below is the list of what I saw at the reserve and at the sea.

1. Great crested Grebe. 2. Cormorant. 3. Grey Heron. 4. (Greater) White-fronted Goose (Lifer). 5. Pink-footed Goose (Lifer). 6. Greylag Goose. 7. Brent Goose. 8. Shelduck. 9. Egyptian Goose. 10. Mallard. 11. Wigeon. 12. Teal. 13. Goldeneye. 14. Red-breasted Merganser. 15. Grey Partridge. 16. Pheasant. 17. Moorhen. 18. Oystercatcher. 19. Lapwing. 20. Sanderling. 21. Redshank. 22. Curlew. 23. Black-headed Gull. 24. Common Gull. 25. Wood Pigeon. 26. Barn Owl. 27. Skylark. 28. Robin. 29. Blackbird. 30. Coal Tit. 31. Magpie. 32. Jay. 33. Carrion Crow.

Mammals included Common Seal and Reeves's muntjac

To know more on Holkham Nature Reserve visit www.holkham.co.uk/naturereserve.

 

On 27 May Monday was a bank holiday here in the UK. I went to the lodge nature reserve together with the NW London RSPB group for birding. It was 30th Anniversary for the group.

 

          

End of the day, we had a total of 46 different species of birds (43 seen & 3 heard) and 3 species of insects (2 Butterflies & 1 Damselfly).

 

    

 

I got myself 2 lifers (birds) for my world list which was Red-legged Partridge and Corn Bunting. For insects which was Large Red Damselfly and Small Copper, Small Heath (new for my England list).

 

         

Here are some of the species that we saw: - Red-legged Partridge, Red Kite, Common Buzzard, Hobby, Cuckoo, Swift, Swallow, Coal Tit, Raven, Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting.

 

          

Some of the species like Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting were not seen in the reserve, but along the road as on my way back to London.

 

 

On 20th July 2013, with the Central London RSPB local group went to Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve. I had a great time and saw 2 new Damselflies :- (Large) Red-eyed / Variable and 1 new butterfly: - Large Skipper.

Beside damselflies / dragonflies and butterflies, I saw about 14 different species of birds. I saw 2 bird species like Chiffchaff and House Sparrow which had rings.

Below are the list of birds, damselflies / dragonflies and butterflies that we saw at Wicken Fen.

 

Check list of Butterflies.

1.    Green-veined White

2.    Peacock Butterfly

3.    Small Tortoiseshell

4.    Meadow Brown

5.    Ringlet

6.    Gatekeeper

7.    Large Skipper

Check list of Damselflies / Dragonflies.

1.Banded Demoiselle

2.Blue-tailed Damselfly

3.(Large) Red-eyed Damselfly

4.Variable Damselfly

5.Common Blue Damselfly

Check list of birds.

1.    Cormorant

2.    Marsh Harrier

3.    Stock Dove

4.    Woodpigeon

5.    Swift

6.    Swallow

7.    Reed Warbler

8.    Chiffchaff

9.    Carrion Crow

10.  House Sparrow

11.  Chaffinch

12.  Greenfinch

13.  Goldfinch

14.  Yellowhammer

Thorney Island, West Sussex.

On 15th February 2014, I went to Thorney Island in West Susssex with the RSPB Central London Local Group. It was a new destination for the group. Part of the peninsula belongs to the MOD, with access restricted to the coast path reducing disturbance to the wildlife there. It consists of mudflats, saltmarsh, rough grazing and sea shore. Somehow the weather was quite windy and due to that I had difficult in taken good photos of birds.



In total the group saw 41 different species of birds out of which I saw 31. I got to see a new (lifer) bird for my England and World list a Long-tailed Duck.

The highlight species for the trip were:-

Brent Goose

Long-tailed Duck

Red-breasted Merganser

Slavonian Grebe

Buzzard

Avocet





















 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        

 

 

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        

 

 

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

 

 

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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