Posted by: atowhee | April 15, 2014

JOLLY GOOD CHAF

In English-flavored movies there is always the hackneyed moment with some British git (pretend git, of course) says about the known villain, “He always seemed like a jolly good chap.”
Well, I’ve been hanging around lately, here in outer Norfolk, with some jolly good ChaffsCHFF-2

CHFF3

CHFF4

CHFF5

CHFF6

CHFF7This sequence shows a male Chaffinch drinking from a moss=-covered stone bird bath in front of a three hundred year old flint and brick house near the center of Mundford, Norfolk, England. In the lasty image he launches himself into the air as he departs.

CHFF8

.CHFF JUMPS

Posted by: atowhee | April 13, 2014

STOP THE BIRD MURDER

American writer Jonathan Franzen has written of the senseless murder for fun across southern Europe. Now a British naturalist is trying to get something organized to stop this semi-annual slaughter of migrating birds. This takes places in numerous countries from Spain to Turkey. The poster-child for this killing has become Malta, an island amidst the stream of north or southbound birds twice each year. Gunners stand on cliff faces and fire away at the migrating birds each spring and each fall. Keeping score.
If you can help Chris Packham with his campaign to expose and eventually stop this bird slaughter, click here for more information. He’s hoping crowd-funding will support his campaign.</a
One of the birds you can help save is this talented songster, the Blackcap:
bc sings1

Posted by: atowhee | April 12, 2014

SATURDAY’S BIRDS

I have most of the easy-to-find urban birds but I did manage to add three more species to my trip list today:
Grey Heron, Long-tailed Tit (related to our Bushtit) and Goldcrest, one of two kinglet species found in Europe. I have yet to see a woodpecker or a cormorant or a falcon. Starting Monday we will be in Suffolk and in more rural habitats.
bc sings1
Blackcap singing from a trretop, a melodious, full-throated song. Looks very much like a smaller version of the American Catbird.
BC SINGS2

BROCK-MAP
Brockwell Park, situated between Brixton and Herne Hill in south London.
CROW-LAWN Crow out for a stroll.

magsx4 There is a folk rhyme here that even my grand-daughters know: “Magpie”
“One is for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a letter,
Four for a boy,
Five for a secret never to be told,
Six for silver,
Seven for gold.”

mstl-1 Mistle Thrush, larger than most New World thrushes, alover of grasslands.

mstl-2

mstl-3

brkwell green Looking to the top of Brockweel Park across its lush greensward.

cro-flk

gry-hern Grey Heron in Brockwell Park pond.

P1940449 Chiffchaff, looking much like an American Orange-crowned Warbler. The bird’s call can be characterized as “chiff…chaff…chiff…chaff.”

CHIFF

Below: Goldcrest moving through the treetops.
GOLDCSTgoldcrst leap

P1940444

Brockwell Park, London, GB-ENG
Apr 12, 2014 8:15 AM. 19 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) X
Gray Heron (Ardea cinerea) 1
Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) X
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 7
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Domestic type)) 35
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) 20
Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) 15
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 8
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) 60
Great Tit (Parus major) 2
Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) 4
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) 1
Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) 1
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) X
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula) 16
Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus) 3
Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) X
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 2

Dulwich Park, London, GB-ENG
Apr 12, 2014 3:00 PM. 19 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) X
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) X
Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) X
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) X
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Domestic type)) X
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) X
Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) X
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) X
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) X
Great Tit (Parus major) X
Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) X
Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) X
Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) 1
Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) 2
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) X
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula) X
Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) X

Posted by: atowhee | April 11, 2014

DULWICH FRIDAY

BTIT C-UBlue Tit in treetop.

cherry petals
Cherry petals in the gutter as nature’s profligacy makes April an ephemeral bouquet.
crowfileCarrion Crow in a shot that can be called a “crowfile.”

EUR-JAY CLR The reclusive Eurasian Jay, hasving gathered some food meant for pigeons.

jay-side

mag-hieMagpie.

MAGPIE GRND1

nuth “The” Nuthatch.

parathree Ring-necked Parakeets, a highly successful introduced species.

rbn in tree European Robin from below.

wopi stareWood Pigeon.

Dulwich Park, London, GB-ENG
Apr 11, 2014 4:00 PM. 18 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) X
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) X
Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) X
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) X
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Domestic type)) X
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) X
Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) X
Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius) 1
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) X
Carrion Crow (Corvus corvus)
Blue Tit X
Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea) 1
Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) X
Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) 1
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) X
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula) X
Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) X

Posted by: atowhee | April 10, 2014

GOOD GREBE!

LITL GRBEThis is the smallest European grebe, Little Grebe. Once widely called “Dabchick” in England.
PARA FEEDINGAn adult Ring-necked Parakeet feeding a fledgling. Dulwich Park. Below an adult Magpie feeding its fledgling.MAGP FEEDINGBLBD FMALAbove female Eurasian Blackbird, dark brown with barely visible chest streaking.
Below an uncommon House Sparrow. This species along with the European Starling is in sharp decline in England.
HOSP IN H-HILL

TUDU BACKTufted Duck male with tuft in tow.

TRKEY OAKThis huge tree is a turkey oak, growing in Dulwich Park for about 150 years. Beneath the oak is a normal-sized park bench with a tall man seated on it. This species is native to southeast Europe and Turkey.
Below: the Eurasian Robin after which our American Robin was named.

RBN ON PST

Posted by: atowhee | April 9, 2014

HERNE HILL GALLERY

BTIT-UP1Blue Tit, tiny member of the chickadee clan.

BTIT-UP2

CHAFF-SING1
Singing Chaffinch, larger than American House Finch. It’s song is like the emphatic trill of the Song Sparrow followed by the buzzy final notes heard from a House Finch.
CHAFF-SING2

DUNN2The secretive Dunnock, but the camera wanted to focus on the limb behind this bird.

SPARHWK-1Sparrowhawk circling over Herne Hill. Near cousin of the American Cooper’s Hawk, most common urban raptor in London. Buzzards, related to Red-tails, found mostly in rural areas as are falcons, harriers and kites.
This hawk appears to be carrying prey.
sphawk with prey

WOPI-FLWRWood Pigeon dining on cherry blossoms.B-FLY1
Eurasian Robin in the grass:
RBN ON GRND

Herne Hill, London, GB-ENG
Apr 9, 2014 8:00 AM. 11 species

Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) 1–photographed in flight
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) X
Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) X
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) X
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) X
Great Tit (Parus major) X
Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) X

Brockwell Park, London, GB-ENG
Apr 9, 2014 11:00 AM. 13 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) X
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) X
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Domestic type)) X
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) X
Rose-ringd Parakeet
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) X
Great Tit (Parus major) X
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) X
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) X
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula) X
Dunnock (Prunella modularis) 1
Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) 1
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) X
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula) X
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 1
Chaffinch singing constantly

St. Albans, Hertfordshire, GB-ENG
Apr 8, 2014 3:45 PM. 7 species

Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Domestic type)) X
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) X
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) X
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) X
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula) X
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 1

Posted by: atowhee | April 8, 2014

SUNRAY GARDENS, HERNE HILL, ENGLAND

The lobed toes of the Common Coot.COOT FOOT

COOT NESTNesting coot.

COOT NEST2

MOOR BEAK
Moorhen, little cousin of the coot but with long, slender toes. Noter the lipstick in this up-close facial image.
MOOR1

TFTD-FML-CU
Tufted Duck, female.
TIFTD-FEML
Male Tufted showing off his tuft:
TUFTED
Wood Pigeon on a walk.
WOPI WALX
All these birds plus a passing Sparrowhawk were seen in Sunray Gardens, a small park with a big pond in southeast London.
Sunray Gardens, London, GB-ENG
Apr 8, 2014 10:30 AM. 15 Species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) X
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) X
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) 1
Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) X
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) X
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Domestic type)) X
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) X
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) X
Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) X
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) X
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula) X
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) X
Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) 2
European Greenfinch (Chloris chloris) 1

Posted by: atowhee | April 6, 2014

DULWICH GALLERY

GTIT PRCHGreat Tit with a black keel stripe.gtit-clr
Below: Ring-necked Parakeet, now seen all over London. It can be found in urban areas scattered across Europe and Mideast. Its original range is across Equatorial Africa and the Indian sub-continent. It is also known as Rose-ringed Parakeet though only the adult male has the neck ring. It has been breeding in the London area for nearly half a century and there are now about 5000 wild birds of this species in England.

PARA-SIDE1

ImageImageOn the playing fields of Dulwich were Greater Black-backed and Herring Gulls, Magpies and Carrion Crows.

ImageEurasian Goldfinch, badly backlit.
ImageImageImageImageImageImage

Singing Eurasian Robin.cootCommon Coot

londn rat2 Rat in Dulwich, proof they’re not all in American politics or infesting Wall Street.

london rast

Posted by: atowhee | April 5, 2014

NUNHEAD SONGSTERS

Birding in southeast London today there were great songsters at both Nunhead Cemetery and later at Dulwich Park. Myfavoritesobthe day were the Song Thrush which can compete with America’s Mockingbird, and the Blackcap, a warbler that really warbles. American warblers have the looks while the drab Old World warblers (not closely releated) got the great voices. The Blackcap looks like a darker version of the gnatcatcher but has a melodic and liquid song that stops you.BLKCP1

BLKCP-2

BLKCP-3

BLKCP-4 These images are badly back-lit but give an idea of his drab plumage. The Old World warblers are sometimes shy (not this one, nor the Whitethroat or Sardinian) but are not as nervous as American wood warblers. So he sat and sang, like a thrush or Mockingbird. The image shows his drab plumage, and the Blackcap is about the size of a Blackpoll or Hermit Warbler.
Nunhead is a Victorian-era cemetery that has largely returned to the forest that once covered southern England…before the Romans, the Vikings, the Normans, the sheep and the shepherds over-ran the land and chopped down forest. Among the bird voices heard: wren, robin, magpie (more a stutter than a song), tits and the Eurasian Blackbird.
BLKBRD-WORM1 This is a Eurasian Blackbird, near cousin of our Robin. They share the Turdus genus. Along with a love of local species of earthworms as this pictures attests. Both our Robin and the Brits’ Blackbird have those great thrush song voices. And both hop around on lawns a lot, and they are the same size and degree of rotundity. Our blackbirds are Icterids, a family not found in the Old World in any variety.

BLKBRD-WORMS2

BLTIT-BELLY Blue Tit, in the chickadee family.

BLUTIT-1

BLUTIT-2

BTIT-BLLEY2

CRO-SIDE1
Carrion Crow…unlike American Crows these often have whiteish feathers.
CRO-STEP1

CRO-TRIO1

CROW-D

MAGPI-AThe local Magpie, camera shy. It rhymes: magpie, camera shy.

PAPAKEET1
Rose-ringed Parakeet with extra long tail making it an eighteen-inch bird. Now found all over London.
PARAKT-2

PARAKT-3

PIG-PAR Wood Pigeon and parakeet in same tree. Woody is about the size of our Band-tails but much more urbanized. In the days of Gilbert White (over 200 years ago) the Woody was almost hunted out. Now they abound while the house Sparrow disappears from its native land.

RBN-1 The European Robin,, not a thrush.

RBN-02

RBN-3

RBN-4

Nunhead Cemetery, London, GB-ENG
Apr 5, 2014 11:50 AM. 13 species

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Domestic type)) X
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) 40
Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) 15
Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius) 2
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 10
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) 25
Great Tit (Parus major) 2
Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) 6
Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) 10
Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) 2
Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) 6
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) 20
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula) 8

Dulwich Park, London, GB-ENG
Apr 5, 2014 5:00 PM. 17 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 20
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 30
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) 6
Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) 4
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) 10
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 4
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Domestic type)) X
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) 50
Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) 15
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 10
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) 8
Great Tit (Parus major) 4
Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) 2
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula) 16
Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) 2
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 2
European Greenfinch (Chloris chloris) 1

Posted by: atowhee | April 4, 2014

DULWICH BIRDS

After our mid-day arrival at Heathrow I wandered around Dulwich with our London friends, jay-lagged and birding starved. Not a single feather on our loooong BA flight over the pole.blbd-lndnEuropean Blackbird–not related to New World blackbirds but a near cousin to our American Robin in the thrush family.

COOT-MALLRDEuropean Coot and global Mallard

CROEW TOOCarrion Crows feeding in lawn.

CROW-CU-X

PIGEONS Wood Pigeons (native) and
Rock Pigeons (non-native).
Dulwich Park, London, GB-ENG
Apr 4, 2014 3:00 PM. 13 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 12
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 15
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) 8
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Domestic type)) 10
Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus) 50
Eurasian Magpie (Pica pica) 6
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) 20
Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea) 1
Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) 1
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) 5
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula) 4
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) 1
Chaffinch, Eurasian Goldfinch
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 2

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