Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Sunday, 28 March 2010

The Kensington Tawny Owls


Yes another sure sign of Spring: the Kensington Gardens Tawny Owls have produced a remarkable four baby owlets. That is pretty good going considering the hard winter. Clearly this posh West London neighbourhood (convenient for Harrods) is well provisioned with juicy Starlings, plump pigeons and no doubt the odd tasty rat.

An early Saturday morning filming expedition to the park soon brought success in the form of one adult, one anti-social owlet all on its own, and the three young Tawnies pictured jammed together on a uncomfortably small branch. Some hilarious footage was obtained of them fidgeting about and generally playing sardines. I'll hopefully put a clip up on the BirdGuides YouTube channel in the next couple of days and post an update here.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Spring Migration

And so it begins... the steady trickle of Wheatears, Sand Martins and Swallows is making its way northwards. Chiffchaffs are singing, bumblebees are bumbling and my hibernaculum of Harlequin Ladybirds has dispersed at last. Alpine Swifts have been appearing here, there and everywhere - causing me to be duly gripped. Everybody I know with a pond has frogspawn at last, and the office daffs have finally started to bloom.
I was invited to the Eilat Spring Migration Festival to see how things were progressing further south. The Swifts are on their way - with White Storks, and skeins of Cranes and Black Storks. Hordes of Steppe Buzzards are pouring north through the Negev. Lesser Whitethroats are arriving in Eilat at 1/3 of their normal bodyweight and feasting before continuing their journey (possibly to Britain).

I spent an exhausting 3-and-a-bit days doing dawn-til-dusk birding, followed by lectures. What a treat. I'm currently preparing a proper article and a short film about my adventures, but in the meantime here's my 'spot the Ibex' competition. My excuse is that it was taken from a moving bus through glass.