Saturday 24th APRIL 2010

The Painshill grieving Grebe has left the lake and the nest has been taken over by a Coot. The other pair of Grebes have made a nest by the long thin island near the vineyard, and have at least one egg.

Update 27/4/10: The GC Grebes' vineyard nest (see above) was abandoned and the eggs gone. The Grebes were vainly trying to build a new nest by piling up weeds in the middle of the lake, needless to say without success. A single GC Grebe was foraging in the north lake; possibly the survivor of the original pair has returned.

Around the Grotto, a Wren was searching the rock crevices for insects.

Similarly employed was a Grey Wagtail, collecting insects presumably for a nest full of chicks.

While I was in the Grotto, a Swan flapped noisily into the confined space of the tunnel, frightening everyone there.

Painshill Park is at Cobham, Surrey. For further details, see


Thursday 22nd APRIL 2010

I decided to try out my new Brompton bits with a train trip, and Weymouth seemed a good idea. As I set off for the station, a pair of Blackbirds were fighting on the roof. I didn't capture the fight, but this is the male saying "I won!".

While I was watching the Blackbirds, I noticed that a Pigeon was bringing sticks into the thick coniferous tree, via our roof. Presumably she's building a nest.

When I arrived at Weymouth, I went straight to Radipole Lake. The first thing I saw was a group of Tufted Ducks accompanied by this stranger, a Hooded Merganser. The Tufties seemed to treat him as one of them. In fact he felt so at home that he was playing fast and loose with the ladies in the group.

The Hooded Merganser is normally found in North America. I was told that this one has been in the area for a couple of months, so he must have either got blown off course somewhere, or has escaped from captivity.

All the usual suspects were there, including Cormorants and Herring Gulls.

....and Shelducks.

There was excitement among the local birders because this pair of Garganey were making a rare appearance.

There were plenty of House Sparrows.

And under the road bridge was a nest of Pigeon squabs. Not the prettiest of babies.

Ham Moor

Tuesday 20th APRIL 2010

Another visit to the gravel pit at Ham Moor. I was entertained for a while by a display of aerobatics from the Crows and Lapwings.

Several Shelduck were present on the lake.

The Little Ringed Plovers were dividing their time between flying circuits and foraging for food.

The prize for the loudest and least harmonious singing went to the Marsh Frogs.

The Little Grebes tried to keep well away from me, but I caught a picture of this one!

The brown-headed Black-Headed Gulls look very smart at this time of year, especially matching pairs.


Monday 19th APRIL 2010

A walk along the Thames from Barnes to Kew Gardens and back. Most of the day's activities were social or horticultural, but this Jay posed nicely for me among the Magnolia droppings.

Barnes & Staines Moor

Saturday 17th APRIL 2010

A quick trip to WWT Barnes as I hadn't been there for a while.

A Great Crested Grebe was busy preening his feathers, which involved some rather convoluted positions with his feet in the air!

He then did some diving, and came up with a large fish held very carefully in his beak.

He stuggled for some time trying to swallow the fish, but it was too big and eventually he let it go.

I saw my first ducklings of the year.

... and my first cootlings!

As ever, the Little Grebes were hard at work foraging ...

... as were the Little Ringed Plovers.

On my way home I went via Staines Moor. The Reed Buntings were out in force ...

... as were the insects. These were rather too large to be called midges!

Finally, the Robin gave me a farewell serenade.

Esher & Weybridge

Friday 16th APRIL 2010

Robina was staying with us for a few days before flying home to Australia. This grew by a further ten days thanks to the Icelandic volcano. So she came along with me on a day of walks; Ham Moor, Claremont and Painshill.

At Coxes Mill, the Grebes have nade a nest on the millpond and are incubating.

At Claremont, a pair of Green Woodpeckers were working the amphitheatre for food.

Langstone, Pagham & Sidlesham


Pagham Harbour is a place I can't resist visiting at least once a year, and today was the day. On the way I called in at Langstone on Hayling Island, but it was such a cold wind I didn't stay long. My first sighting at Pagham was a Redshank, searching the mud in the rising water.

Near the sea entrance, I saw a group of birds swimming against the current. As I pointed my camera, they took fright and flew away. Examination of the picture afterwards shows this to be a female Red-Breasted Merganser.

In the shelter of an isolated pool, a flock of Turnstones were busy doing what Turnstones do.

... and as the wind was strong and cold, the Skylarks were feeding on the ground in preference to singing in the air.

As always, the Crows were stroppy.

A lone Oystercatcher looks for his dinner.

I walked north along the east side of Pagham Harbour past Church Farm. This Buzzard was in a conflict with a Crow, and flew off towards Sidlesham.

For a long time, I sat watching a pairof Swans apparently tacking up and down a pool, using their wings as sails. (Pictures to de added.)

And back at the coast, a Kestrel doid his rounds.

First Swallow


It was a grey afternoon with a promise of sun later. I needed a walk and Staines Moor is still one of my favourites.

I was slightly perturbed when I arrived to find about 20 horses and 40 bullocks in my path. I suppose it is common land....  When I had passed the livestock and crossed the river, a pair of Shelduck arrived.

Then I realised that significant numbers of Sand Martins were flitting up and down the river catching insects.

And further along the river, there were Swallows too.

As always, the Pipits were working the river bank, ably assisted by Pied Wagtails, Reed Buntings, ....

... and a Heron.