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Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Battersea nocturnal

 



As the Power Station itself nears completion, thoughts this year turn to relocating them back onto the main building after translocating them in 2013.A permanent nest site has been integrated into the structure of the Power Station, with the plan being to open it up in the Autumn of this year.

It is a real Des Res and hopefully they will accept it, however I never take anything for granted with peregrines, nature as they say always does it own thing. More on this at a later date.

As we know, due to the extensive CCTV coverage of 4 cameras, I am able to keep track of the pair night and day, nocturnal hunting features massively with this pair with the Falcon hunting more at night than day. Recently however, the Tiercel also hunted nocturnally and on February 25th at 10.10pm later that evening he came in with an Avocet.

Sad but that is nature, this is a rare bird to be seen in Central London, hard to say if it was on its own or one of a flock moving overhead nocturnally, but with those white wing flashes always likely to be spotted in the night sky.





Other than Woodcock nocturnally they have also bought in Song Thrush and Redwing recently, both of these, as with the Avocet taken by the Tiercel nocturnally.

Very busy of late with surveys etc, a couple further afield on the south coast, I count myself very lucky in the current climate still able to work, of course peregrine stuff is always high on the agenda as we rapidly approach egg laying this month.





                                 Myself and Paul came across these 2 crackers whilst surveying

In the last week or 2, when able I have made 2 new boxes, one is a replacement peregrine box for Parliament with works due to start this year.






The other is a Tawny Owl box that will be going up shortly, this is the first one I have made of these so hoping good things and early acceptance.



 

 

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Cooling Marshes

 




On last Saturday myself and Paul undertook the 1st survey of the month for the Marshes, extreme conditions to say the least, -1 with a biting easterly 4-6 wind. Cold is an understatement with the wind, hard enough for us but for birds; this weather can be deadly with the ground covered by snow and the search for food.

It soon became apparent that many species were on my section where there was a lot of thick weed growth and cover from the wind, nearly 250 Skylarks, 30 odd Corn Buntings, 60 Meadow Pipits and a Reed Bunting flock of around 50.

Other species that soon became apparent were Common Snipe, with many waterways frozen they were also feeding in areas that I never see them desperately seeking food. Of course this number of Snipe, there had to be Jack Snipe amongst them and so it proved, I think I ended up with 4 and Paul had even more on his section.

On the raptor front, at the start of the survey, I was lucky enough to catch a fleeting glimpse of a female Merlin, low over the ground and very fast, she was no doubt trying to snatch one of the many Skylarks we had just passed by.


























Other behaviour which may have just been opportunistic was seeing a Marsh Harrier surprising a flock of roosting Avocet over the sea wall and it looked like it made a play for one. Not really a pursuit specialist like Peregrine/Merlin, no doubt cold weather and hunger was playing its part.

Another good bird seen was a Cattle Egret, picked up distantly and eventually landing near the Cattle Corral.

A highlight for the Ducks was 7 Pintail dropping in to roost, not always regular here in the Bay.

 

 

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Beckton Sewage Works

 



Feb Cold Weather



I count myself a very lucky man in the current lockdown to be able to still be able to carry on as an ecologist, still undertaking regular winter surveys, monitoring of wildlife and of course all the peregrine monitoring at a number of sites. All my work involves just me so very fortunate to say the least.

With the arrival of the cold weather and snow at Beckton, numbers of wildfowl have really increased all over the site especially Teal, Shoveler and Gadwall, I would expect even more before the weekend with the overnight temperatures.

The Kestrels are around but as the nest box faces east, not in it as much in this weather with a biting wind straight in your face, they have wisely tucked up to roost/rest out of the bad weather.

The pale Common Buzzard is still on site; this is the male but haven’t seen the female for a little while.














Redshank continue to come ‘inland’ from the foreshore visiting the tanks, it coincides with high tide but they are now actively feeding on them similar to the regular Common and Green Sandpipers. Another species adapting it seems or possibly linked to the cold.

2 Dunlin on the foreshore were new for the year and very likely a cold weather related movement, there not regular at Beckton.

Rugby again this weekend, hopefully we can play better after last week’s poor showing, full credit to Scotland though for out muscling us, especially at the breakdown.

 

 

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Falcon

 



Series of photos I took whilst cleaning out one of my peregrine boxes in January under licence.

They show the female (Falcon) having a look at me for a short while before settling down nearby and watching me.

Its normal behaviour and obviously shows a good bond to the nest box at all times, I have had this happen in the previous year in November/December whilst cleaning them out.

This particular Falcon recently in late November 2020 lost her partner but he was replaced within 10 days by another adult Tiercel.
They have copulated a number of times so its looking promising again, despite the sad loss of the previous Tiercel, hope to have the results soon as to the cause of death.