29 May 2012

Checklist of the Birds of REGUA second edition

For anyone who doesn't know, REGUA is an NGO and nature reserve in the endemic rich Atlantic Forest of south-eastern Brazil. I've been working as a volunteer for REGUA for six years and in that time the reserve has become my adopted foreign patch.

A lot has changed since the first Checklist of the Birds of REGUA was published in November 2010. The taxonomy and nomenclature of many South American birds has changed enormously as molecular studies reveal a better understanding of cladistic relationships. A further 10 bird species have also since been added to the REGUA list bringing the total up to a whopping 462, which surely makes REGUA one of the most avian rich reserves on Earth for it's size.

I've updated the list to include the latest taxonomy adopted by the CBRO (Brazilian Committee of Ornithological Records), and this edition also has all text in Portuguese as well as English. I've included revised seasonal abundance data for many species, and to the best of my knowledge this is still the only checklist for any site in Latin America that includes abundance/movement bar charts (click on the image below to see a preview of selected pages).

The list is currently with the printers and will be available for purchase in the UK (as well as Brazil) from this Saturday. If you would like a copy please email me at webmaster@regua.co.uk. Copies cost £3 plus £1.60 postage, and all funds go towards REGUA's conservation work.

Click to enlarge

19 May 2012

Robin nest

Got a pair Blue Tits and a pair of Robins nesting in our garden this year. The Robins have a brood of five chicks (which could be a second brood by now) and the adults are constantly bringing in invertebrate food, including as spiders, earthworms, caterpillars, flying insects and grubs. Managed to capture a few reasonable images over the last couple of days despite the gloomy conditions.

More information on here.

13 May 2012

'Greenland' Wheatears?

A few migrants in evidence at Staines Moor today, although no sense of any real movement going on. Most notable were a Spotted Flycatcher (along the west side, beside the Wraysbury River), 1 Cuckoo, 1 Yellow Wagtail over, 3+ Hobby, 5 Garden Warbler and 7 Northern Wheatear (4m, 3f) in the north-west corner.

Only the wheatears allowed photo opportunities so brace yourself for even more wheatear pics! Most males today were 'Greenland' types (leucorhoa) - large and bulky, long winged (7 primary tips visible on closed wing), well marked, and brightly coloured with extensive orange-buff on the underparts. I'm still not sure whether Greenland birds can be positively identified in the field though (see here)? Also, some more thoughts on Greenland Wheatear ID here.

Greenland Wheatears undertake one of the longest migrations of any passerine. Click here to find out more.

Male 'Greenland' Wheatear? This bird ticks most of the boxes, but the black tail
band looks rather narrow to me?

Male 'Greenland' Wheatear? Same bird as above. Note the bold white supercilium
and the brown ground colour to the wing feathers (compare the later with
this bird photographed on 15 April).

Male 'Greenland' Wheatear? Note the extensive orange-buff on the underparts
reaching the vent.

Female Northern Wheatear? Quite a bright supercilium on this bird, but the
pale grey upperparts suggest oenanthe. Compare with this female photographed
on 15 April.

Male Northern Wheatear taking a break

Also seen were c10 Swallow, 5 Swift, 2-3 Common Buzzard over, 2 Common Tern and 2 Little Egret along the Colne, 5 Redshank (including 1 bird on eggs), several Lapwing and 4 Shelduck over. Linnet numbers are now much reduced. A Reed Warbler heard singing from a hawthorn is also noteworthy. A couple of Banded Demoiselles Calopteryx splendens were also seen.

Stanwell Moor produced 2 more Cuckoo, 4 Garden Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler (H), 3-4 Common Tern, 1 Shelduck over, c10 House Martin and a few Swallow and Swift.

12 May 2012

A quiet afternoon at Barnes

Spent the afternoon at the London Wetland Centre for a change of scenery. With light northerlies and prolonged sunny periods, things were fairly quiet. The highlights were 1 Common Sandpiper and 3 Common Tern on the Main Lake, and 1 Ringed Plover and a pair of nesting Little Ringed Plover on the Wader Scrape. About 25 Sand Martin (including several visiting the artificial nest bank), c15 House Martin, c30 Common Swift, 5 Swallow and a Sparrowhawk were also seen, as well as many displaying Lapwing and a Black-headed Gull on a nest (I've not noticed them nesting here before). Still good numbers of Tufted Duck around with a few Pochard and numerous pairs of Gadwall. 1 Reed Warbler and 3 Cetti's Warblers were both heard only.

Adult summer Common Tern

2 May 2012


Overcast conditions and light north-easterly winds made for a great day at Staines Moor today, with plenty of grounded migrants. The highlight was a total of 5 Whinchats (2m, 3f) hopping around the anthills in the north-west corner.

Adult male Whinchat, on an anthill of course!

Female Whinchat on another anthill. Get the picture?

1st summer?

1 Cuckoo, 1 female Yellow Wagtail (around the cattle), 2 Lesser Whitethroat (1H) and 2 Garden Warbler were my first of the year. 18 Northern Wheatear (13m, 5f, including a possible Greenland bird) were concentrated in the north-west corner of the moor, and 1 Hobby, 50 Common Swift, 2 House Martin W, 13 Swallow N, 3 Common Buzzard over, 1 Sedge Warbler, 3 Common Whitethroat, and just singles of Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff were the other migrants logged. 1 Redshank, 2 Canada Goose, 2 Little Egret along the Colne, 2 Gadwall over, 1 Kingfisher and a Sparrowhawk were also noted.

Female Cuckoo - prospecting for mipit nests?

Female Yellow Wagtail

Male Northern Wheatear

Female Northern Wheatear. Big, dark and buffy - Greenland?

Patch mega!!! Canada Goose!

Adjacent Stanwell Moor produced 2 more Cuckoo, 2 Redshank, 50 more Common Swift, 1 House Martin, 2+ Swallow, 2 Sedge Warbler (H), 5 Common Whitethroat, 3 Blackcap (2H), 1 Willow Warbler and just 2 Chiffchaff (1H).