Friday, March 30, 2012

Late March garden moths

Oak Beauty, new for the garden, and the first in TL19 in VC32 since before 1979

Two Early Greys, the right one having a lovely pink flush

Brimstone Moth
All moths caught last night in my MV Skinner trap (also Light Brown Apple Moth, Double-striped Pug, Pale Mottled WIllow and Small Quaker)

Sunrise on the Nene Washes

Friday, March 23, 2012

Great Grey Shrike

I stood in very cold fog for an hour and a half this morning, waiting for the sun to burn it off and the Thorney shrike to appear. Both happened as if by magic at 7.25am, and I had to leave at 7.30am to head home. So I had just enough time for a distant digiscoped shot or two (and I mean distant) before I had to leave. I love this bird and will return when there are better conditions and more time...
By the way, yesterday Brian Stone even managed some digiscoped video of the GGS hovering to hunt. Check it out here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Grey Grey Shrike etc

Last night, I popped out to Tanholt pits, near Eye to check for Rock Pipits at the newly drained 'new' pit. Brian H Stone had one there a few days ago, and it looks ripe for another visit. I saw a Red kite and at least five White Wagtails, but that was that really. So, I headed up to see even less at Maxey pits. When I got home at about 6.30pm, I checked Peterbirder and my jaw dropped. There was a simple report of a Great Grey Shrike near the first roundabout heading east onto the Thorney bypass.
Back in early October, I had heard of a GGS in virtually exactly that spot, but after a couple of hours of searching had given it up. Now came a report that suggested that the shrike may even have overwintered there.
I parked near the roundabout at 6.30 this morning, expecting a typically fruitless search, and having crossed the road looked up to see a Great Grey Shrike looking back at me less than 50m away.
This is the first Great Grey Shrike I have seen in the Peterborough area since October 2002 and only my fourth shrike in the PBC area ever, and first in spring (the others were an Isabelline Shrike in September 2000 and a Red-backed Shrike in September 2004). It has been a long wait for another shrike. But, boy are they good birds. I will return at some stage and try to get some images.

GGS is my 20th 'elite' species in the PBC area this year, out of 127 I have seen; which represents a pretty good start to the year list (despite being away for a couple of weeks in January). Particular highlights so far include the shrike, Glossy Ibis and Snow Bunting and it has been a good year for geese with Brent and tundra Bean being among the pick of them.
I'll let you know how I am doing again, at the traditional time at the end of March...


This moth was on our kitchen window last night, my first Herald. It is not uncommon, but is a rather good-looking beast which I had hoped to encounter before.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ed skateboarding at Eye

Ed on the board, filming and music by me...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Skatepark by Weedons World
I recorded this wee tune on the iKaossilator app in less than ten minutes (from scratch), while Ed was on his skateboard at the skate park yesterday evening. It is ridiculously easy to create a passable dancy track to get your foot tapping on the app.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Garden Reed Bunting

Garden Frog gallery

Video: Glossy Ibises

Video: Lesser Spotted Woodpecker drumming

This male was drumming at Castor Hanglands this morning. There were also a few Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming in the area, and the 'kik' call you can hear is one of them (not a Lesser).
Distant digiscoped video using Canon PowerShot S95 through Kowa TSN-823 + 32xW. The sound is particularly impressive on the S95 in video mode.

Glossy Ibiseses

Great find by Jonathan Taylor and Charlie Kitchin this morning on the RSPB Nene Washes. On a tidy extended lunch twitch, I saw these two ibi, seven Cranes flying by and had a flyover Snow Bunting, neatly picked out by JT by call and then seen (by him) in flight.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

This lovely male was drumming its head off at Castor Hanglands this morning. Video to come later...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Thursday, March 08, 2012

First dibble with iKaossilator app

Dansik1 by Weedons World
This lickle disco dance tune was whipped up on an app I got for my iPod Touch yesterday called iKaossilator. I love it. It is very easy to whip up some ok loops and mix the stuff together the parts live while recording. What do you reckon of my first effort?

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Common Pigeons

One of the most striking things about the Columba livia population in Gujarat is its remarkable uniformity of appearance. Over here, indeed, everywhere else I have been (with a few exceptions in Europe, where there are some wild Rock Doves), the Feral Pigeons are a motley crew and a hotch-potch of crazy coloration, after centuries of messing about with captive breeding.
In Gujarat, though, they seem to be almost all untainted by man's dibblings in the genetics department. ANd rather handsome grey beasts they make, too.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Caterpillar animation (now with added pathos)

I had a wee go at GIF animation for a bit of fun...You will probably need to click the picture to get it to work.