Nuthatches and woodpeckers

An old ash tree probably suffering from ash dieback, has three woodpecker holes in its dying wood. The middle hole is occupied by a pair of great tits that carry in beakfuls of moss. The other two holes are being inspected by a pair of nuthatches but also, from time to time, a pair of…

Taurus Mountains Bird Surveys

After the lowlands, we head south east to a 50-km square in the Taurus mountains near Darboğaz and race to get two more transects completed in the evening, because the weather the next day (20th May) is predicted to be cloudy and wet. The mountain road runs the ridge high above the mining village of…

Stodmarsh

In the late afternoon, the warm wind blows from the west and the sun shines over the wide, grazing marshes and rare, reed bed remnant of the Stour valley. The mere at the east end near Grove Ferry is full of moulting teal and shoveler and lapwings, gulls and starlings. Some of the ducks splash and dive into…

Eleven Severn Goosanders

July 31, 2016 The River Severn is low and slow-paced, sliding between gravel braids and petty sand banks. Beef cattle and sheep graze the wide water meadows, mallards Anas platyrhynchos shelter in deep oxbows. The weather is kind with a gentle breeze of warm air under slate grey, rainless clouds that drift above the distant hills. Field ornithologist, Tony Cross soon shatters…

Bonaparte’s Gull at Oare Marshes

14th July 2016 Bonaparte’s Gull Chroicocephalus philadelphia, as its scientific name testifies, is a North American species, and as ubiquitous as the similar black-headed gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus is here in Western Europe. A single Bonaparte’s turns up at Oare Marshes, and immediately the record is run out as an alert online; rarity is prized by many and, like many stormblown ‘Yankees’, the…

Suffolk Sand Martins

A small sand martin Riparia riparia colony of no more than 30 occupied holes is located on a sheer bank some 2-4m high in a disused part of a sand quarry. The sand martins come and go in chattering waves in the warm, rain. A kestrel Falco tinnunculus lurks on a nearby wire and flies over…

Bough Beech at Dusk

The evening of Friday 6th May is warm, still and silent; a band of low cloud threatens to steal the light from the low sun but never manages to for very long.  The water across the long reservoir is blue smoked grass in front of a dark lines of waterside trees that look like an ink…

Bough Beech in Late April

Bough Beech reservoir sits beneath the woodland that cloaks the North Downs. In late April, the long expanse of bright water is hardly stirred by a cold breeze. The south end of the reservoir is given over to sailing and the flotilla of dinghies, lit brilliant white in the sun, runs back and forth.  The northern end is…

Wealden Winter

Charcott, West Kent A huge rambling flock of jackdaws, rooks and carrion crows is lit by the silver and grey of stock doves. The corvids lift and sway, then slew off to another field but the stock doves wheel and land; elegant and fast flying in tight formation. Then they are up again and this time they quickly…