Friday, 15 October 2010

Migrant Bird Blitz!

Pied Wagtail (Andy Cooke)
This autumn migration has been positively amazing. Some fantastic birds have been discovered and there are yet others to be uncovered.

Join us on Sunday 24th at 8am Canada Square Park to blitz the Canary Wharf Estate en-masse. Afterwards, why not come and watch for migrating birds from the lofty height of Tower 42 in the heart of the City of London. 

To get involved with the Migrant Bird Blitz just turn up at Canada Square Park - don't forget your permits! 

If you wish to come along to Tower 42 please email t42bsg@gmail to register. For security purposes birders will be allowed up either at 10.30am or 12.30pm so state what time you would like to attend. Please meet outside Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1HQ (nearest tube Liverpool Street).

Let's find those birds! 

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Firecrest in Canada Gardens

Firecrest (J. Schwiebbe)
James Lowen and Ken Murray discovered a Firecrest in Canada Gardens a couple days ago. There has been at least 3 sightings since the beginning of September. It may relate to 3 separate birds or more likely, the same bird.

They also found 3 Robin, 1 Wren, 5 Blue Tit, 2 Great Tit and a Blackbird.

Get yourself down here and help find some more migrants.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

A brief update

Peregrine (Sacha Barbato)
This project which runs until the end of October should help (weather permitting) underline the effect of 'white light' on migrant birds passing over the capital's night sky. So far, the project has already shown an increase in migrant activity over and above the preceding weeks leading up to its inception.

The current prevailing westerly systems have almost certainly affected volumes slightly. However, as I speak there has been a couple Firecrest sightings, a Northern Wheatear and Song Thrush - all three of which were last recorded in 2004!

Plus birds like Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, Garden Warbler and Reed Warbler have put in an appearance.

Here's looking forward to a change of wind direction, and hoping all who participate in this exciting project enjoy this most urban of urban landscapes.

Please remember to email all your sightings including the common species like Blue Tit (Coal Tit is an extreme vagrant) and Blackbird, plus any Peregrine sightings.

Ken Murray

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Welcome to one of World's most exciting urban migration surveys

Canada Gardens looking south (Russell F Spencer)

Canary Wharf Migrant Bird Project

Last year many of you may have read with interest the report posted on Birdguides ( prepared by Ken Murray and his colleagues about the incredible falls of migrating birds at Canary Wharf. In it Ken recounted the exceptional number of migrants that he and others found in Canada Square Park (at the foot of One Canada Square, Britain’s tallest building) and nearby Jubilee Park. Even more startling was the discovery of a disproportionate number of scarcer migrants and indeed national rarities. Their study covered the period between 2001 – 2006 and results were reliant on the Pyramid lights on One Canada Square being sporadically on and switched off at 1am. The lights, along with the 20 acres of landscaped parks surrounded by waterways, seemed to attract migrants down rather like a humongous lighthouse.

From September 1st until October 31st 2010 this experiment is going to be resurrected under the guise of the Canary Wharf Migrant Bird Project and will be open to all to participate. It could be potentially more intriguing than the previous study because we have been able to get the Pyramid lights on the top of One Canada Square switched on every night throughout the period from midnight until dawn by the kind arrangement courtesy of the Canary Wharf Group plc.

Understandably, considering the location, there will be security considerations. Participants will be given 24 hour access and be issued with permits that will crucially also allow the bearer to take photographs. In the event of a rarity being discovered twitches will be accommodated via the Project organisers. However, please note that any unauthorised birders will be asked to leave the area so it is important to obtain a permit.

This is a truly unique survey that will hopefully shed light on the effects of night lighting, urban parks and bird migration. We are particularly interested in recording the commoner species to gauge the numbers that pass through the area. The whole project is being supported by the RSPB, BTO, Birdguides, Opticron and of course Canary Wharf Group plc.

If you are interested in getting involved please leave a message on this blog.

Canary Wharf Migrant Bird Project