All the sparrows gone.

Sadly my neighbour’s obsession with clean lines has meant all the sparrow nests, probably 10 to 15 were destroyed.  Now the House Sparrows have left as have the dunnocks, the last 2 days in the garden have been so quiet.  It’s like it’s night time in the garden due to the lack of chirping and bird song.  Very frustrating.  Need to move from the city!  Want a hectare with many hedges and wildlife spots, but my generalised dystonia would not let me take care of that much land, can’t even take care of .15 of an acre.

In good news, loads of newt babies and the Rook has been showing up a bit.

Garden bird list and birds of Gardening Scotland

earlier today I posted a few pictures from the Isle of May trip, but a friend on twitter @RoseCottageFife wrote a much more in depth and informative piece about here trip to the Isle of May here: and there’s the Isle of May Blog from 15th of May announcing they do have puffins: – I would love to spend time out there as a scientist or conservationist, only problem is I have no degree in either!!!  Silly me for pursuing computers and photography… Maybe they need a professional photographer!?  Would love that, I’ll bring my own food!

My bird list today, there’s 2 lists as I went to Gardening Scotland and managed a few sightings there:

Garden list:

  1. Blackbird x 1 – singing very very early! My wife has started putting earplugs next to the bed so that when they start at 3.30am she can dull the sound a bit.
  2. Blue Tit x 2 – going into nest box
  3. Carrion crow x 4
  4. Coal Tit x 1
  5. Dunnock x 3
  6. Jackdaw x 2
  7. Magpie x 1
  8. Woodpigeon x 2

At Gardening Scotland:

  1. Moorhens
  2. Oystercatcher
  3. Rook
  4. Starlings
  5. Swallows – a few nests around the buildings there.

These are the photos to go with the Isle of May post from the 29th of May: hope they give you a bit of an idea to what the trip was like:


Tern on Post


Puffins Isle of May

Razor Bill

Razor Bill Isle of May

Tern in flight

Female Eider on nest

Rock Pipit

Rock Pipit

Guillemot grooming


Puffins with the Bass Rock in background

Below are comments that got lost when the website went down. 

2 responses to Photos from Isle of May, 29th of May 2013. Scotland UK.

  1. Wes Donze said on June 3, 2013

    excellent photos – very good selection

    • KiwiGav said on June 3, 2013

      Glad you liked them, I hope to get a few from last year up, I felt they were better, it was a brighter day and a lot more birds about, the storms and spills of whatever it was down south seem to have taken their toll on the birds up here.

At a wedding, not a lot of birds for May 25th 2013

I was at a wedding today and didn’t get to see a lot of birds.  The wedding was at Edinburgh Zoo and I did see a few birds from around the world, penguins, cassowary and a few other birds, but I don’t add birds that are in captivity obviously.

  1. Blackbird
  2. Carrion Crow
  3. Magpie
  4. Swallow

If you’ve never seen a Cassowary before there was a great BBC Natural World show, you can see the whole episode on youtube.

BBC Natural World – Cassowaries

New nest in the garden, already with young in it!

Not a bad day here in Edinburgh beautiful and sunny and decent list for the garden, found a new bird nest!
  1. Blackbird x 2
  2. Blue Tit x 1 – going into the nestbox, there’s still hope there’s something in there.
  3. Carrion crow x 2 Flyovers
  4. Coal Tit x 1
  5. Collared Dove x 1
  6. Dunnock x 5 – most I’ve seen at once, I also found a nest and a rejected egg, the egg was a bit away from the nest and sitting in a bush, I was surprsied to see something so bright blue amongst the green. Guess the poor little guy just didn’t survive, it did get very cold yesterday.
  7. Great Tit x 1 – first I’ve seen in the garden for a bit.
  8. Greenfinch x 1
  9. House Sparrow x 1 – also first I’ve seen in a long time in the garden.
  10. Magpie x 1
  11. Starlings x 1 – flyover
  12. Woodpigeon x 2

Below are comments that got lost when the website went down. 

Wes Donze said on May 25, 2013

good selection – nice to see 5 Dunnock – shame about the egg – could be the parent rejected it
Hope the Blue tit nests in the box – ned to get new boxes up for next year myself


Back at home and my garden bird list

Today was busy doing the Aussie finance updates and sadly spending too much time removing spam from websites!  I’ve added as many filters as I can find with no luck in reducing it.  After the work was done I was out for it, my legs just couldn’t stand any more use so had to spend the rest of the day in bed, so very very frustrating!  I’m used to happily walking 30 miles and then going out to a gig at night…  Now I walk 2 miles and I have to stay off my feet the whole next day.  My bird list suffered for time spent in bed and this is all I got to see:

  1. Blackbird x 2 – on way to where the nest is
  2. Dunnock x 2
  3. Woodpigeon x 2

Not even sure if the blue tits are still nesting, I haven’t seen them or heard them about.  I really hope nothing disturbed them while I was away, as I noticed a few entire half coconut feeders have gone missing from the garden, I’m hoping just blown off the trees and a fox has taken them whilst on the ground, but you never know, I’ve seen some decent sized crows at them.

Wildfowl & Wetland Trust London Wetland Centre Bird list for 22nd of May 2013.

I was hoping to have this list up a lot earlier today as it’s from 22nd of May however I was so busy doing the  (now closed as I move into gardening as a profession) updates for Australian best savings, credit cards and due to the fact many Aussies have to pay for bank accounts the best free bank account offers it took longer than expected as their saving interest rates are going the same way as the UK ones.

Now to birds thanks to the suggestion of Wes and the ease of getting to the WWT – Wildfowl & Wetland Trust in London Wetland Centre – see their twitter account here:  @WWTLondon I managed my best bird list for the UK this year, sadly I didn’t have my camera and my legs didn’t hold out for a long time, it was still great getting 28 different species at the WWT London and finishing it off with a kestrel at Luton airport for the longest list of the year so far!

2 new birds were on my list for life, and they were both cracking views, there was a pair of reed warblers nesting almost directly outside the Observatory which gave amazing views, they came right up to the reeds in front of the windows.  The other new bird was the Little Greeb I had amazing views of it feeding in clear water under the bridge just before you get to the Wildside hide,  Fantastic to see!

The bird list for May 22nd from WWT London Wetland Centre:

  1. Feral Pigeon
  2. Reed Warbler
  3. Mallard Duck – with young
  4. Moorhen
  5. Coot – with chicks
  6. Woodpigeon
  7. Starlings
  8. Carrion Crow
  9. Jackdaw
  10. Egyptian Geese
  11. Mute Swans
  12. Cormorant
  13. Grey Heron
  14. Blackbird
  15. Pied Wagtail
  16. Common Tern – new for the year
  17. Tufted Duck
  18. Lapwing
  19. Swallows
  20. Magpie
  21. Robin
  22. Black-headed Gull
  23. Great Tit
  24. Little Grebe
  25. Canada Geese – new for the year
  26. House Martin – new for the year
  27. Swift – new for the year
  28. Greylag Geese

1 more bird seen at Luton airport, hovering over the grass:

  1. Kestrel

Fantastic day of birding, can’t wait until I can walk for longer times and see more, I would often get 40 to 50 species at Musselburgh east of Edinburgh.

Whilst looking for bird sightings as I’d thought I’d seen something that I’m used to up in Scotland but wasn’t sure, I came across this Open University site: fantastic service and great for finding if a bird has been seen in the area!


Below are comments that got lost when the website went down. 

2 responses to Wildfowl & Wetland Trust London Wetland Centre Bird list for 22nd of May 2013.

  1. Wes Donze said on May 24, 2013

    Excellent list – glad you managed to get there and have some good sightings including the 2 new ones for you

    • KiwiGav said on May 25, 2013

      Wes, I really appreciate the suggestion, was great, wish I could have made it to a few more of the areas, next time! I’m sure my feet have to get better soon, looking at two more operations, hopefully after that I’ll be out and seeing loads of birds.

      The ridiculous thing is Little Grebe is so easy to see around my area in Lothians, if you go to the right place, I’ve just not been able to drive so haven’t got there yet. Going to try and get a lift from a fellow birder and watch them more intensely, the view through the water was great, but after that it was gone.

      sorry if I’m rambling a bit just back from a wedding at Edinburgh Zoo, great fun!

Birds of Chelsea Flower Show

Managed a good day at Chelsea, ankle only went out twice and added 1 new species to year and life list (although I think I have seen one silhouetted on the sky last time I was in London.

  1. Blackbird
  2. Blue Tit
  3. Feral Pigeon – probably a few 100 today
  4. Great Tit
  5. Jackdaw
  6. Magpie
  7. Robin – a few of these in the were in the Grand Pavilion.
  8. Rose-ringed Parakeet – new to life list.
  9. Woodpigeon

If I do go next year I’ll be catching the train, my preferred means of transport when I can afford it, even booking 6 weeks in advance East Coast Railways wanted £240 per person return – Edinburgh to Kings Cross, I booked flights for £45 return, then 2 days later ECR wrote saying they had £28 tickets each way!  Still more expensive but I was rather frustrated as I knew  the train would have got me into the centre instead of Gatwick on the way in and Luton on the way out and I could bring back plants if I purchased any, instead I flew and couldn’t buy anything at Chelsea!

There were even a few places giving out free plants and I had to say no!  Terrible, they had a nice Rowan which would have been perfect for my garden, and hopefully attracting waxwings for years got come.  Wish I had of been able to, next year!  Now ECR need to get their cheap tickets up 6 weeks in advance like they used to!


Below are comments that got lost when the website went down. 

2 responses to Birds of Chelsea Flower Show

  1. Wes Donze said on May 22, 2013

    i am thinking of planting a couple of Rowan.
    I was there yesterday too – didn’t see a magpie though.
    Saw the Robins in the main Pavilion.
    There was also a Blackbird in there for a while – it looked a bit agitated as one stand was playing birdsong that happened to be a blackbird song so the real one was wondering where it was as it could not see it
    Hope you get to come along another year – or maybe check out the Hampton Court show – it is on a bit later in the year

    • KiwiGav said on May 22, 2013

      Thanks Wes, hope you had a great time and I really want to do it again. Also the WWT was a great suggestion, managed 2 new species for my life list. Will get the list up tomorrow, about midnight here and exhausted.

      Love to go to Hampton Court! Will see how I’m placed, I’ll be trying to be in Heidelberg Germany on the 13th or 14th for catching up with a friend that’s doing a talk there on I think the elemental make-up of distant galaxies, it’s been a while since I’ve seen her work and she’s now back in Oz, so not 100% sure what she’s working on… It all depends on cash, I haven’t travelled since October 2011 and then this year it’s finally been a bit busier! I’ve missed it.

      As for the Magpie it was down towards the band stage when I first got there at about 9.30am.

      Didn’t notice the stand playing the blackbird or see it in the Pavilion, so many things to see and do, missed a few I’m sure!

      Can’t wait to see if I can get there next year!

Small list from near the Natural History Museum London.

Not a great list of birds today, I spent the day working on  (now closed as I move into gardening as a profession) then went to a few galleries in London, obviously the Natural History Museum where I spent a fair bit of time looking at the stuffed birds, I’ve seen them all numerous times before, however they’re always impressive!

I walked around the outside of the private gardens at Thurloe Square Gardens just near the Natural History Museum and these are the birds I saw:

  1. Blackbird – singing high over the buildings, sounds amazing
  2. Blue Tit
  3. Feral Pigeon
  4. Robin

Calthorpe Projects London, little bit of wildlife in the city, small bird list.

In London for the Chelsea Flower Show and trying to get around London to see a few things, I can’t manage a lot of the wandering so a lot of sitting and eating, far too much!  I did get to to – Calthorpe Projects which has a small but decent nature garden right at the back including bees nests and a pond, for the first time ever I saw newts, who would have thought the first time I saw newts would be in the centre of London!  So impressed.  While there I also managed to see:

  1. Blackbird
  2. Magpie
  3. Starling
  4. Wren

There were a lot of butterflies as well, and a few moths, but didn’t pick up what types, think small white was pretty common, but can’t be sure.

Other birds from today, all over the place

  1. Dunnock
  2. Blue Tit
  3. Feral Pigeon
  4. Woodpigeon

Not a big list for today, but was very happy with the newt!


These were comments added before the website went down

6 responses to Calthorpe Projects London, little bit of wildlife in the city, small bird list.
Wes Donze said on May 20, 2013
I am heading to the Chelsea flower show tomorrow – it is the 100th anniversery of the 1st show – have not been for 3 years so looking forward to the show – it’s right by the Thames so you might get to see some birds there as well as in the normal gardens on the site
if you do have a spare day or part thereof you might like the London Wetland centre
There is a direct bus from Hammersmith to the centre

KiwiGav said on May 20, 2013
Hey Wes, Thanks for the info!
I’ll be there tomorrow as well, can’t wait, my first Chelsea.
I’m going to see how my feet are on Wednesday and see if I can make it out to the London Wetlands, I didn’t bring scope, bins or even a long lens for my camera. Just didn’t have the space in my bag for carry on luggage for the flight down. It’s on my list if I can, I’m sure I can still get a good list with eyes only.

KiwiGav said on May 21, 2013
Have a good day Wes? Would have suggested meeting up, but was unsure of what my parents and wife wanted to see and do. I hope to be back next year!

Wes Donze said on May 20, 2013
yes i’m sure you will still get to see plenty – i believe there may be binocular hire there too

KiwiGav said on May 20, 2013
Thanks Wes!

KiwiGav said on May 21, 2013
Told my dad this today and he said “I’ve got mine, you can borrow them!” YAY! I know where I’m off to tomorrow!
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It was very quiet in the garden today, I gather bad weather put the birds off again!

Today was looking pretty dire, almost nothing then Greenfinches, Blue Tit and a Magpie saved it!  I’d been outside a bit even though it’s been raining heavily and yet there were very few birds in the garden, on my final outing to check the feeders, down to just a few fat balls, coconuts and 1 seed feeder due to birds not taking a lot at present and some of the seed in the feeder started to sprout in the feeder so cut back on what I’m putting out.  The fat is still popular though!  I am hoping that it’s more the fact the birds are in nest and on eggs that they’re not out as much.  I hope to hear a dawn chorus next week if I can manage getting up into the woods in the dim light.  Seems weird thinking “if I can get into woods in dim light” I used to do half my hiking in those conditions for landscape photography!  Enough rambling onto the bird list:

  1. Blue Tit x 1
  2. Dunnock x 3
  3. Greenfinch x 2
  4. Magpie x 1
  5. Woodpigeon x 1