Author Topic: nature notes II  (Read 45620 times)

wigginhall

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nature notes II
« on: October 21, 2012, 03:34:11 PM »
The bittern has landed.  First bitterns have arrived at my local patch in London.  But the early ones usually move on, and eventually several of them settle in for the winter, and provide a great bird-watching spectacle, although they are elusive on some days. 

If you are in/near London, you can visit any day - just go to Hammersmith and catch the bus to the WWT at Barnes. 
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RobM

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2012, 07:02:38 AM »
The odd Bittern seen in Kent too. Always good to see.

enki

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2012, 12:21:37 PM »
Butterly migration is starting to reveal its secrets! And one particular butterfly, the painted lady, stands out as having an incredible migration pattern. In some years(2009) huge numbers are seen in the U.K., often in Spring, and their migration can span a distance of 9000  miles. One fascinating fact is that they undertake this migration in a 'series of steps by up to six successive generations'.

Richard Fox, survey Manager of Butterfly Conservation said, ""The extent of the annual journey undertaken by the Painted Lady butterfly is astonishing. This tiny creature, weighing less than a gram, with a brain the size of a pinhead and no opportunity to learn from older, experienced individuals, undertakes an epic intercontinental migration in order to find plants for its caterpillars to eat. Once thought to be blindly led, at the mercy of the wind, into an evolutionary dead end in the lethal British winter, this amazing combination of mass-participation citizen science and cutting-edge technology has shown Painted Ladies to be sophisticated travellers."

http://www.birdguides.com/webzine/article.asp?a=3493
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wigginhall

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2012, 01:41:24 PM »
Great article, Antithesis.  I never realized that they do a reverse migration.   2009 was amazing, they were everywhere. 
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RobM

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2012, 02:08:41 PM »
Fascinating stuff, Antithesis.

Not seen one Painted Lady this year  >:(

RobM

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2012, 03:15:21 PM »
That's the one with that odd booming call?

Julie
Indeed it is.

A sound that is, thankfully, becoming more common.

wigginhall

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2012, 03:18:18 PM »
We were at Lakenheath several years ago, and a bittern started booming, and my wife's face was a picture, as she had never heard one before, and she was frickin schemazed.

Just remembered that last year, one of the bitterns in the Barnes reserve started to boom, causing great excitement, but I doubt they would breed there.   
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 03:21:21 PM by wigginhall »
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wigginhall

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2012, 04:01:24 PM »
Decent amateur film of bittern, with loads of people going, 'oh look, it's a bittern'.  Also, you will not hear the booming on computer speakers - use headphones.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ky5IYXhraMg
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RobM

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2012, 04:12:28 PM »
That's the old hide.  I got some great photos of Bittern from the new Island Mere hide earlier this year.  Well worth a visit in spring

enki

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2012, 04:01:41 PM »
Went to Spurn yesterday to find 'fall' conditions with hundreds of blackbirds, redwings, song thrushes, fieldfares, robins with a scattering of ring ouzels, bramblings and siskins. Unfortunately, what's good for the birder, isn't necessarily good for the birds. Many birds started to migrate in clear conditions from the Scandinavian quarter, but met the gloomy, foggy and dismal conditions of the last few days on the U.K. east coast. Many became disorientated, and many have died.

http://www.birdguides.com/webzine/article.asp?a=3505
Sometimes I wish my first word was 'quote,' so that on my death bed, my last words could be 'end quote.'
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enki

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2012, 01:40:54 PM »
Just had 18 waxwings in my garden.  For those interested it looks as if it's going to be a 'waxwing year' with waxwings reported from a wide range of areas. It's an impressive bird which shows little fear of humans, and is often seen in suburban gardens and supermarket car parks!  Normally they are very scarce winter visitors, but this year looks as though it might be outstanding. :)
Sometimes I wish my first word was 'quote,' so that on my death bed, my last words could be 'end quote.'
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wigginhall

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2012, 01:45:22 PM »
Yes, seen locally in London as well.  Lots of stuff moving yesterday also, with waxwings, bearded tits, marsh harrier, fieldfares, redwings, goldeneye, red-throated pipit, moving through, (in London).  Of course, I missed most of them!
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Keturah

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2012, 01:48:56 PM »
The woodpecker in my mum's garden had me smiling this week.  He was trying his best to 'hammer' into her concrete garden post.  Ouch!  The visiting nuthatch is costing a small fortune in peanuts.  :o
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SweetPea

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2012, 05:40:23 PM »
Just a wee bit of a moan. Will someone please invent a hedgecutter that has a sensor that can detect the correct angle to trim a hedge, some of the hedgerows are looking decidedly ragged at the moment. :(

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Wonderful sight this afternoon - a huge gathering of Canadian geese on a local lake, and on the other side of the lake a heron, so, sooo, still - just watching.  A lot of chattering and then suddenly, 75% of the geese took off, flying low across the water.
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Floo

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2012, 02:06:43 PM »
Last week I was looking out of the window and there in a tree were approximately 20/30 black/grey birds with crests on their heads, the like of which I had never seen before. Fortunately our eldest was able to confirm I was actually seeing what I was seeing. We looked on-line, and in our bird book, and the only bird which matched the description of the birds we saw was the crested lark. However, they are very rare, usually inhabit the ground and unlikely to be seen in a village setting, very strange. Has anyone got another explanation?
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enki

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2012, 02:55:29 PM »
Last week I was looking out of the window and there in a tree were approximately 20/30 black/grey birds with crests on their heads, the like of which I had never seen before. Fortunately our eldest was able to confirm I was actually seeing what I was seeing. We looked on-line, and in our bird book, and the only bird which matched the description of the birds we saw was the crested lark. However, they are very rare, usually inhabit the ground and unlikely to be seen in a village setting, very strange. Has anyone got another explanation?

Hi Atteq,

Yes. They were almost definitely Bohemian waxwings. This year has been a bumper year for them. Size of starlings, pronounced crest, beautiful birds and entirely wild.  Have a nice day. :)
Sometimes I wish my first word was 'quote,' so that on my death bed, my last words could be 'end quote.'
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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2012, 03:24:01 PM »
Must have had about 50 Cedar Waxwings in my mountain ash tree yesterday. Very sharp looking birds.

Floo

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2012, 04:09:36 PM »
Everyone has suggested waxwings but they are much prettier than the birds we saw.
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enki

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2012, 04:36:34 PM »
Everyone has suggested waxwings but they are much prettier than the birds we saw.

Atteq,
Unless you get a really close look, it is often difficult to see any features such as the yellow in the tail, or even the white in their wings, and the red tips which provides the wax in waxwing are extremely difficult to see, unless you are very close indeed.  Lighting conditions also play an important part in how they look.  Crested larks are an extreme rarity in this country and more than one appearing in the U.K. at any one time is, I think, unknown.
Incidentally, Powwow, I once saw a cedar waxwing(great rarity over here) in Nottingham, U.K. amongst a flock of  several hundred Bohemian waxwings some years ago.  Lovely bird!
Sometimes I wish my first word was 'quote,' so that on my death bed, my last words could be 'end quote.'
Steven Wright

wigginhall

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2013, 04:39:23 PM »
Yeah, the first snowdrops have emerged!

I did my usual thing of counting the flowering plants locally (London), and about 20 at the moment, some of them of course, winter-flowering, e.g. cherry, jasmine. 

If you have a sweet box shrub (sarcococca confusa), you will be aware of its incredible sweet smell right now, as it is flowering.  We call it the handcream bush.  If you don't have one, buy one, as it is brilliant.  One note of caution, poisonous, so maybe not with kids around.

Anyway, I was sniffing a local one, and a bee was also flying round it!
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Rhiannon

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2013, 07:03:05 PM »
Feels like Spring here, soft sunshine and clear, sweet air. Not a lot in flower though except winter jasmine. Waking up to birdsong.

Roll on the daffodils coming out.

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2013, 07:08:00 PM »
Far, far from spring here in Alberta. I did manage to take my bike out for a ride along the river yesterday. Took pictures, they're on my blog on nglreturns. Some ducks and a lone Canada goose that didn't make the trip south for the winter.lol

Rhiannon

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2013, 11:10:03 AM »
We tend to be fooled into thinking Spring is just around the corner, but a change in pressure and we're back in wintertime again. It is possible that the rest of January may turn cold, maybe even enough for snow.

enki

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2013, 11:59:06 AM »
We tend to be fooled into thinking Spring is just around the corner, but a change in pressure and we're back in wintertime again. It is possible that the rest of January may turn cold, maybe even enough for snow.

Agreed!  I have been at Spurn in April observing wheatears,  chiffchaffs and  willow warblers(all Spring migrants) during a snow shower.  Tenacious little beasties. ;D 
Sometimes I wish my first word was 'quote,' so that on my death bed, my last words could be 'end quote.'
Steven Wright

torridon

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Re: nature notes II
« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2013, 01:21:04 PM »
First crocuses open today here in my garden south Bucks. Yo, spring is here  :)