Archive for August 2011

Wednesday 25th August.   Leave a comment

The heavy rain forecast for this morning passed during the night but ringing had been cancelled and it was too late to set up now.

It was mid morning before I got out for a spot of raptor watching at Rockley Point. This caravan site commands a superb view over Wareham Channel and is an excellent place to scan for raptors, especially in the morning when the sun is behind you. Views however are distant. I saw a single Osprey perched in a dead eating a fish over at Arne and had great views of a female type Marsh Harrier quartering Otter Island in Lytchett Bay (which is also visible from the caravan park) as well as at least ten Buzzards.

Spotted Redshank have been absent from Lytchett Bay this autumn so I was glad to find three, feeding with a couple of Greenshank in the Bay. Out in Wareham Channel there was an impressive gathering of over 100 feeding Cormorants.

Wareham Channel from Rockley Sands

Lytchett Bay from Rockley Sands









On the subject of Ospreys, recent genetic research has suggested that there may be as many as five species, although I don’t know of any world check list that has wholly implemented this.

If split they would be:  ‘Eurasian’ Osprey Pandion haliatus, ‘American’ Osprey P (haliatus) carolinensis, ‘Caribbean’ Osprey P (haliatus) ridgwayi, ‘Wallacean’ Osprey P (haliatus) melvillensis and ‘Eastern’ or ‘Australian’ Osprey P (haliatus) cristatus.

Well I have seen all five forms, but I doubt if I will be amending my life list in the near future.

Worth a tick .. probably not ! Although distant the snowy white crown and dark breast band of 'Wallacean' Osprey is visible. It is also smaller than the Eurasian and American forms. West Papua July 2011

Posted August 25, 2011 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

Tuesday 23rd and Wednesday 24th August.   Leave a comment

Tuesday morning was very wet and I took the opportunity to catch up with a lot of paperwork. In particular I made a start on my West Papua write up, something that has been put on the back burner with all the ringing and blogging that I do these days. I made sure my pre New Guinea fitness regime wasn’t wholly abandoned with a trip to the gym.

In the evening Margaret and I were invited round to our young friend Christine’s house where she and her friend Malcolm treated us to a meal. Malcolm is the author of numerous specialised books on old aircraft and has a very busy life travelling between international aeronautical and publishing conventions.

Christine Arnold


Kevin ringing a Kingfisher

During the post juvenile moult the greenish greater coverts of this Blue Tit were replaced by blue feathers, the greenish primary coverts are not moulted until next summer.

Its not all doom and gloom, some species such as the Little Egret are much commoner than thirty years ago……

…as this photo proves.

Posted August 25, 2011 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

Monday 22nd August – Durlston.   Leave a comment

Back to ringing after the weekend away. Kara asked to join me and didn’t complain at all when I told her it was a 0440 start. 

She did however feel just how cold it can be after a clear night in August.

A cold Kara

Things started quietly, but soon migration got going, with a  good passage of Tree Pipits (3 trapped, c30 overhead), hundreds of hirundines (14 Swallows and 14 Sand Martins trapped), 8 Yellow Wagtails and 4 Swifts over. Other ringed birds included a Chiffchaff, 14 Whitethroat, 3 Blackcap, 4 Garden, 1 Sedge, 2 Grasshopper and many Willow Warblers and to Paul’s delight – a Redstart. 

A total of 92 new birds were ringed.


The air soon filled with hirundines.


More Sand Martins perched on the net than went in it.

Pale tips to the tertials, upper tail coverts, wing coverts and mantle identify this Sand Martin as a first year.


First year Swallows lack the bright colours and long tail of the adults and often show a pale forehead.


Posted August 22, 2011 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

Sunday 21st August   Leave a comment

After further work on the house we returned to Poole. On arrival we called in on a garden party given by my former colleague Sheila Pearce for her husband Ken’s 60th birthday.

A very pleasant visit and a chance to meet a few old friends.

Are we nearly there yet?


Sheila Pearce - always cheerful !


Ken looks delighted to have turned 60


John, Ann, Jim, Linda and Margaret


Giant Jenga kept the girls amused

Posted August 22, 2011 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

Saturday 20th August – Derby   Leave a comment

regrettably my 90 year old mother, who is also named Margaret, suffers from Alzheimer’s and is now in a nursing home. We took this opportunity this weekend to visit her several times.

Margaret Lewis and Margaret Lewis

My brother Simon has been working hard to renovate her house. We were able to assist a little this weekend.

I lived here from 1965 - 1969 and for short periods after then.


Margaret worked on the extensive but overgrown garden, whilst Simon and I painted the interior.


A new carpet, then the lounge will be completed.

Today is my niece Miriam’s 15th birthday. Amber and Kara stayed with their second cousins and the four girls had a wonderful time.

L-R: Amber, Jennifer, Kara, Miriam


Are Peacock or Reeve's Pheasant tail feathers better suited for balancing on your nose?


Kara entertained us with some of her own compositions and Miriam played the piano

In the evening Simon and Viv, Margaret and I and the four girls were joined by Viv’s parent Ida and Dennis for an excellent meal in a nearby hotel.

My sister-in-law Viv and her mother Ida


Posted August 22, 2011 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

Red Arrows – a tribute   Leave a comment

As a tribute to the skill, bravery and sheer entertainment value of the Red Arrows pilots, one of whom of course lost his life at the Bournemouth Airshow, I am posting a few photos taken over Ballard Down a couple of years ago.







Posted August 21, 2011 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

Friday 19th August – Rutland Water, the Bird Fair.   Leave a comment

If you are a birder and haven’t been to the Bird Fair then you are really missing a treat. It’s the perfect place to check out cameras, scopes and bins, research that next foreign trip or browse for a book or DVD and of course meet old friends, complete with the knowledge that you are contributing to bird conservation just by being there.

As we wanted to be in Derby on the Saturday, for the first time ever we went on Friday, hoping, in vain, that it would be less crowded. The fair just seems to get bigger every year. The journey from Poole takes about 3.5 hours (allowing 20 mins for the mandatory getting lost on the Northampton ring road!). We took the grandchildren this year and they had a great time, going pond dipping with the RSPB, blagging freebies off various stands and almost getting a free invite to Brazil!

After the Fair we continued on to my brother’s house in Duffield, just north of Derby.

Book signing at the Wild Sounds stand


'Pandion giganticus'


Of course I visited the Birdquest / Wild Images stand and discussed plans for 2012. Linda Kilby, Hannu Jannes and Mark Van Beirs.


Rene Pop (aka Austin Powers) at the Dutch Birding / Sound Approach stand

Austin Powers and Mo Constantine - Dutch Birding / Sound Approach


'and they really are this big in Holland...' Kate and Matt on the Dutch Birding / Sound Approach stand.

Posted August 21, 2011 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized