27 August 2011

Autumn migration at Staines Moor

A reasonable passage of warblers today comprising 23 Chiffchaff (photos 1 & 2), including 15 associating with a large tit flock on Stanwell Moor, 2 Willow Warbler (photo 3), 3+ Lesser Whitethroat, 12 Common Whitethroat, 4 Blackcap and 1 Garden Warbler seen. Other migrants included 5+ Yellow Wagtails around the cattle (photo 4), 3 Hobby, 2-3 Common Buzzard and 41 Barn Swallow. Also on the moor were flocks of 60 Linnet and 20 European Goldfinch including many moutling juveniles (photo 5), 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel and a Kingfisher along the Colne.

Chiffchaff moulting its tail.

Juvenile Willow Warbler

First winter Yellow Wagtail (inset), one of at least five present.

26 August 2011

Rains Moor

An early morning visit to Staines Moor today proved a non-starter due to relentless heavy rain. A large mixed tit flock along the path between Stanwell Moor and King George VI Reservoir included a Garden Warbler, 2-3 Blackcap, 2 Common Whitethroat, 1 Willow Warbler and several willow-chiffs flitting about that defied positive ID in monsoon conditions. 4+ Barn Swallow were the only other migrants noted before I admitted defeat after 45 minutes of getting thoroughly soaked.

Back home, a group of juvenile Wood Pigeons on the paddy field (previously a lawn) were doing their best to clean out the feeders - yep, you know its a bad day when a photo of a Wood Pigeon makes it on to your blog!

22 August 2011

British Birdwatching Fair 2011

Just back from the Birdfair where for the fifth year running Rachel and I had a stand representing REGUA in Brazil. Sharing a stand with Rick Simpson Birding Services worked out very well and REGUA again received a great deal of interest. Each year more and more people we speak to have previously heard about REGUA and many had even visited the Reserve. Many thanks to everyone who came by to see us and show their support!

It wasn't all work though and we occasionally managed to get away from the stand to catch up with friends and take a look around. This year we bought some excellent prints from John Gale and Steve Cale and I decided to commission an original painting from Steve of Atlantic Forest tanagers. I can't wait to see the finished article! Many thanks to Alan Martin and Richard Robinson for their invaluable help on the stand and also to Rick and Elis for making the event so much fun!

From the left: Rick Simpson, Elis Simpson, Rachel Walls, Alan Martin and me.

Birdfair bribery - Rachel's 'Bellbird Brownie', 'Spadebill Shortbread' and 'Fruitcrow
Flapjack' went down a storm (click to enlarge)! For more excellent home baking
check out Rachel's blog at http://rawbaking.blogspot.com/

Sam Woods of Tropical Birding doing his bit to promote REGUA.

15 August 2011

Come and see REGUA at the Birdfair

The last few weeks have been hectic preparing the REGUA stand for the Birdfair this week. In previous years we've gratefully been allocated some space on the World Land Trust stand, but this year we are sharing a whole stand with our friend Rick Simpson of Rick Simpson Birding Services. This means we've got a lot more space for displays about our conservation work and the incredible birding at REGUA, and this has mean't a lot of hard work producing new banners and materials. We've also organised a competition to win a membership of the Neotropical Bird Club. If you are planning to come to the Birdfair then please stop by our stand in marquee 5, stand number 35. The Birdfair takes place at Egleton Nature Reserve, Rutland Water, from Friday 19th to Sunday 21st August.

The Birdfair is a lot of hard work but well worth it!

1 August 2011

The trouble with a foreign patch?

Is that it is far too far away to twitch and you can be seriously gripped! If there was ever an email that I dreaded receiving just days after returning from REGUA, it was the one I received from our project manager, Nicholas Locke, this afternoon: "We have just photographed a Stygian Owl in the wetlands last night!! WOOOWWWWW!! You are just going to have to come. I will be getting photos."

Owls are my favourite family and this email has completely and utterly destroyed me!! Stygian Owl is very scarce throughout Latin America and this is only the third record for Rio de Janeiro state, the first being recorded in 1985 and the second at Vale das Taquaras in 2009. Many thanks to Mikael Käll who has kindly given me permission to use this fantastic image he took of the bird. Somehow I MUST see it!!

Whatever next from REGUA? Kinglet Calyptura?