Friday, 30 August 2013


Are you one of a growing number of birders who like to tell the whole world about every single piece of crap you see, every single time you leave the f***ing house?
Are your finger muscles getting a bit sore, typing up the same old bird names, day after day, after day, after f***ing day?
If so, it could be that you are suffering from Repetitive Shit Strain, also known as Dross Fever.
This new keyboard has been developed to help you. Different formats are available and can be tailored to your specific 'special needs', whether you're, for example, on a Sussex headland, at a nature reserve or seawatching in Ireland etc etc.

Now, to aid with your insatiable need to produce endless meaningless lists, all your crap sightings can be typed up with a single click.
Alternatively, just keep it all in your notebook.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

I got it wrong...but I wasn't alone.

"It's a Sykes's, it's a Sykes's. You can tell easily by the bill. It's definitely a Sykes's"
it wasn't.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

A Sussex tick...but which one?

Slough to Climping at mach2 for a possible Sykes's Warbler this afternoon. Loads of photos and discussion on other sites and forums as to what it was, either a Sykes's or a Booted. Once it's sorted I'm happy either way as I've seen neither of them before. I'd like to think, based on what I saw that it was a Sykes's, but I could well be wrong, and probably am.

                             A couple of pics of the bird kindly given to me by Mick Davis.

Just as interesting and much more fun was meeting up with a whole load of some of my favourite Sussex birders. Had a really good laugh with some old faces that I've not seen for a while, as well as some of those that I see all the time.

Christopher Glanfield
Christopher Glanfield
Christopher Glanfield
Christopher Glanfield

Matt, Jake and Stu

John King, John Dodd and Dave Snellor

The mighty Mick Davis

Mick, George Kinnard and Daniel Booker
All in all a very enjoyable afternoon in brilliant company.
Was slightly saddened to notice that Justin Timberlake has really let himself go.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

More Gos Stuff

Further to yesterday's post re: unseasonal Goshawk behavior, Dick Forsman was kind enough to get back to me this morning. He said that in Finland, he has from time to time witnessed the same behaviour as I saw yesterday. Usually it's juveniles that he has seen, but on occasions, adults have been involved in exactly the same way that I observed. Like myself, Dick doesn't have any real reasons as to why they are doing this so late in the year, but agreed that it appeared to take the form of play, or practise for the future. I still don't know if this behaviour has been noted in the Autumn in England or not....has anyone looked?
What makes this interesting, certainly from a monitoring point of view, is that rather than Goshawks being 'visible' just in February and March during the accepted display period, a possible second 'bite of the cherry' may well present itself later in the year. I guess that a lot of people, myself included, pretty much stop looking for them once the breeding season is over, and apart from brief isolated views, take it for granted that the birds have gone back to doing their thing under the canopy. Time will tell if this post-breeding behaviour is the norm. All jolly interesting me at least.
Gonna pad out this posting with some breeding pics from 2010,which most folk wouldn't have seen. Three youngsters were fledged this year.
The 2010 nest was initially quite a small structure, so much so, that from the ride it looke no bigger than a Crow's nest. It was only by seeing it from the back, that it became a Gos nest. I very nearly missed finding this.

Very apparent in this and the next picture, is how the nest grows throughout the course of the nesting season. As the chicks grow, and the amount of dead meat being brought in increases, so the flies and other insects build up. It's believed that the pine branches have a degree of disinfectant/insecticidal qualities and so help to keep the nest relatively infestation free.

The three youngsters starting to wander around the nest tree.

Spend their days sunning themselves on nearby branches.......

but still go home to bed in the evenings!


One week after fledging, but still next to the nest and quite approachable if you don't make eye contact. As soon as they are confident enough to wander away from the nest tree, they lose this approachability instantly and forever.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Gostastic afternoon

Went to have a look to see if I could see any juv honey Buzzards this afternoon. No sign of any HB's but witnessed some very curious and unseasonal goshawk behaviour. At midday I picked up a Gos stooping towards what I thought might be a HB coming towards me head on. As the attacking bird got close, the second bird rolled onto its back exposing its talons....another Gos. These two actually talon grappled for a split second before separating. As they did so, another two came into my view. For the next twenty seven minutes I watched four Goshawks, stooping at one another, talon grappling and even roller coasting briefly. If these birds had been juveniles or even a pair with two juvs, I wouldn't think too much of it, BUT  although fairly distant, I could clearly see through the scope that all four birds were in adult type plumage. So...what the hell were they doing in late August, acting as though its late March? Ive been lucky enough to spend many hundreds of hours watching Goshawks in Sussex, and I have never witnessed this behaviour at this time of year, nor can I find any reference to it anywhere. My own best guess would be that they were 2cy/sub adult birds, practising for next year. Surely, they don't just go straight into full roller-coasting mode the first spring they feel sexy? It would make sense that youngish birds put in some form of practise, wouldn't it? I've written to Dick Forsman to see if its behaviour he's familiar with. Does anyone else have any suggestions? I'd like to know if its something that others have witnessed, and would be grateful for theories. My email is The more I think I know about Goshawks, the more questions arise. I guess that's what it's all about.
Oh yeah, if anyone wants to give me a really good mega bucks HD video camera for nothing, I'd be ever so grateful...ha ha.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

another rubbish week

I know patch or garden ticks are of no interest to anyone other than the person whose patch or garden it is, but I was pretty chuffed to add this beautiful Painted Lady to my crappy little Crawley garden butterfly list this week. Christ, I really need to get out more...


My two year old grandson, Charlie.
Knows the difference between Owl, Duck and Pigeon,
thus making him far too qualified to ever sit on the Sussex Ornithological Society Records Committee.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Brown Hairstreak

Found my first Brown Hairstreak of the year today, a beautiful, scale-perfect male. Even managed to entice it on my hand and take a blurry pic. A nice finger tick.

The last of the Sussex butterflies to emerge, and in my opinion, the best. Gorgeous!!!