19 November 2013

A few Moroccan reptiles

A belated post showing a few photos of some of the reptiles seen in Morocco back in March. It was a shame we didn't have time to search for more species.

Male Atlas Day Gecko Quedenfeldtia trachyblepharus, Oukaimeden, High Atlas, 10 March 2013 - a Moroccan endemic found only
in the Toubkal Massif and the High Atlas Mountains.

Female Atlas Day Gecko Quedenfeldtia trachyblepharus, Oukaimeden, High Atlas, 10 March 2013

Duméril's Fringe-fingered Lizard Acanthodactylus dumerilii, east of Erg Chebbi, 15 March 2013. This well-marked
individual is presumably a male (compare below).

Duméril's Fringe-fingered Lizard Acanthodactylus dumerilii, east of Erg Chebbi, 15 March 2013

Podarcis sp. cf. Podarcis vaucheri, Oukaimeden, High Atlas, 10 March 2013

Podarcis sp. cf. Podarcis vaucheri, Oukaimeden, High Atlas, 10 March 2013

Spanish Terrapin Mauremys leprosa, Lake Sidi Boughaba National Park, 20 March 2013

Check out the diversity of reptiles and amphibians found in Morocco on the excellent website Morocco Herps.

17 November 2013

Great grey dusk

Spent a couple of hours at Thursley Common this afternoon. The Great Grey Shrike showed well near dusk in very gloomy conditions, but I managed a few record shots. Also 54 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing over, 2 Meadow Pipit and a redpoll species over SW were noted, but otherwise things were very quiet.

Great Grey Shrike

10 November 2013

A great day at the patch

The 10 November 2013 will go down as an excellent day at the patch, with a third record for Staines Moor followed by a second in quick succession. The first was a Great White Egret that dropped into the Colne for all of three minutes at 12:23 before flying off high west. This is the third record for Staines Moor, following 1 on 6 September 2002 and 1 from 22-24 December 2007.

Great White Egret, Staines Moor - the third record for the patch

Great White Egret, Staines Moor

Great White Egret, Staines Moor

Great White Egret, heading off west over Staines Moor

Great White Egret along the Colne, Staines Moor, briefly before flying high west

Then 18 minutes later, a flock of 7 Whooper Swan flew high over heading east, before appearing to drop down onto King George VI Reservoir. A quick text to Rob Innes resulted in Rob relocating the birds on the south basin of Staines Reservoirs, and fortunately I managed to get there before dusk to see them swimming around (many thanks to Rob Innes for following this up and relocating them). This is the second record for Staines Moor - 1 adult on 11 February 1956 being the only other record.

4 adult and 3 juvenile Whooper Swans high over Staines Moor at 13:48 (what do you mean you can't tell what these are?) - the first
record here since 1956! Fortunately, I had much better views of these birds this evening at Staines Reservoirs. They were also
seen over Lavell's Lake LNR, Berkshire, at 11:27 - pic here.

Other bits seen today include 3 Water Pipit together around the south flood, 11 Common Snipe, 3 (1m, 2f) Stonechat, 4 Common Buzzard over S, and 1 Goldcrest.

Common Buzzard - 4 over south today

1 Small Copper, and three Common Darters (included a pair mating and egg-laying) were also noted on Staines Moor. At Staines Reservoirs in the evening 2 Black-necked Grebe on the south basin and a Curlew flying west were also noted.

8 November 2013

Late autumn at Staines Moor

A few hours at Staines Moor today produced 1-2 Water Pipit along the Colne, 5 Common Snipe, 5 Stonechat (2m, 3f), 1 Grey Wagtail, 4+ Pied Wagtail, 16+ Meadow Pipit, 3 Redwing, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Little Egret, 2 Little Grebe, 37+ Black-headed Gull on the Colne, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and 3 Green Woodpecker.

Some vis mig: a meagre 276 Woodpigeon SSW (an incredible 50,800 were reported over Swanscombe Marsh today), quite a lot of Starling moving W (and another c100 around the cattle), 4 Skylark SSW and 18 Goldfinch. The best bird of the day was a probable Jack Snipe flushed, that I just didn't get enough on.

First of today's male Stonechats

Second male. Oddly, three of the five Dartford Warblers that have turned up at the moor were associating with Stonechats?
I'm keeping my eyes peeled!

Lots of Parasol Mushrooms Macrolepiota procera around at the moment, and Ragged-Robin Lychnis flos-cuculi is still flowering in the wetter areas.