Monthly Archives: September 2011

I’ve been away

Sorry, been away for a few days in North cornwall hence the lack of updates.


Belated news from 19th September


Some notable toad migration in local area. Very close to average date of 22nd September based on small sample of 5 local records.

Tony Powell is Linkedin

View Tony Powell's profile on LinkedIn

Busy few days

Hi all,

I am currently off work but that certainly doesn’t stop me from being uber-busy. Aside from updating my Linked In profile, I’ve continued the analysis of my best birdsound recordings amongst a plethora of tasks.

On Friday 16th September, I ventured out over our local downland and collected many windfall apples and pears (Thanks to Ex Hurricane Katia) and saw a few birds whilst at it. The usual suspects were about, with large gatherings of Swallows and House Martins. On this particular day, these were to be seen in the valley areas and the 2 species were mostly present in separate flocks. Other notable birds were Kestrel, Red Kite and Buzzard.

Saturday 17th September was time for me to visit the Royal Berkshire Agricultural Show (aka Newbury Show). I was able to visit many stalls and watch a few different events. The Wildlife Trusts i.e. Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust, F.W.A.G (Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group), Songbird Survival were among those visited. These were of special interest to me as I am looking for new contacts in this field.

The Sunday 18th September saw my sister and I visit Crookham Common, which is due east of Greenham Common for a walk hosted by the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust. Again, it proved a most entertaining day but also, more importantly for me, an educational day out as well. The purpose of the event was to explain to the locals (of which I am one) the nature of the work that is taking place in this area. A restoration program is currently ongoing in this heathland area and is given the wonderful title of “Heathland and Beyond”. The ongoing work will and already has, made use of volunteers, to help improve the habitat. To give it’s other catchy title, the West Berkshire Living Landscape project.

Until next time!


In appreciation of bats

Hello all, some more Batty news for you.

In appreciation of bats.

Woodland Birds

It’s official, well done Rufus Sage and GWCT.

Link to naturestimeline calendar

Latest Bat news

Further Bat news, get those nestboxes up Snelsmore.

Tony Powell

Better For Now – Latest Weather News –

Better For Now – Latest Weather News –

Boring September?


Is boredom setting in, if like me, you currently have time on your hands and want something engaging to do, here is some bird-related ideas.

Go looking for Goldfinches, they may be tiny but they can lighten any dull day. At this time of year they can be in some impressively large flocks. They are prone to devour much birdseed at our feeders but in the countryside they are currently devouring the thistle heads. However, unlike in recent years, the youngsters are only just developing the adult bird’s red and white head colouring. This is suggestive of a good population as these latest offspring are from a second or maybe even a third brood. 

September is a good time to keep your eyes to the skies for impressive flocks of hirundines, particularly House Martins. Swifts and even Sand Martins have on the whole; passed through now so it’s this bird that takes centre stage. My knowledge of the local movements of this species suggest that it’s not impossible to see a flock of a 100 or more on their way south or briefly circling overhead.

If you’re down at your local gravel pit or lakeside you will notice that the Mallards are back to looking like their normal selves. This is because they have moulted from their nondescript eclipse plumage into their autumn/winter coat. The males in particular will stand out as their green, grey and brown tints have returned, gleaming brightly as ever.

Also don’t forget it is still a peak migration period for many thousands and millions of birds so a spot of vis-migging will pay dividends. What is it, I hear you ask. Vis-Migging is short for Visible Migration and it describes the movement of birds overhead seen by eye or even by sound. Some south coast localities are particular hotspots for this activity and given a slight offshore wind, the results can be amazing. As I’m approximately 60 miles from the coast, I tend to visit the hillier points that provide good all round views. Some dedication is required with this sport but it’s real fun and is a good reason for getting up, out of bed, early. The opposite end of the daytime can also be productive but I advise checking the local weather forecasts firstly.

Observe and learn.