Much more Birding in London

It’s day two of my trip to Great Britain birding and whilst I can’t promise a post every day. . . I do have something for today’s efforts. 

After waking at 3:00 am. . . I eventually organised myself to spend most of the day birding at Hyde Park and an unexpected visit to The Regent’s Park.

But first, below is a shot of where I’m staying. It’s the Youth Hostel in Earl’s Court. 

And a closer view.

It looks old on the outside and it seems older on the inside.
Hyde Park is rather large and today I virtually walked around it. There are expansive lawned areas and many old and large trees.

I walked around most of the lake, (The Serpentine) and added a few more birds to my list of 33. If you’re into keeping a birding list in either Australia or Great Britain, try 

Of note was Mandarin Duck, a truely beautiful duck that I’ve admired for many years. 

I also saw some very cute signets, (swan chicks). Mute swan are the most common swan in Great Britain.

I met another bird watcher who suggested I visit The Regent’s Park. It was quite warm today and there were many people paying a visit to this park.

It’s attraction seems to be the water birds of which there are many. A lot are Hybrids and difficult to identify.

It seems the English park managers are also trying to protect habitat for wildlife and do so by fencing areas, thereby allowing brambles and other natives to flourish. It’s strange to see Blacberry and Hawthorn being protected.

I’m expecting it to rain tomorrow but I will make an effort to visit some of the usual tourist spots. I saw one today known as the Marble Arch.  It’s been moved from its original position a bit like the Yellow Peril of Melbourne.

Great Britain 

I’m spending some time in Great Britain. 

To get there you need a plane, and here’s a plane I found at Melbourne Airport.

Part way to Great Britain I stopped off to find another plane, one that was going all the way to where I wanted. I just had to find the right gate . . . let me see. . .

Its a big airport at Hong Kong but eventually, after walking what seemed to be several kilometres, I found the plane I wanted.

Then I was there at Heathrow Airport. It’s also big.  An early morning trip on the underground, on the Piccadilly line that ends at “Cockfosters” I arrive at my Earl’s Court accommodation.

Needless to say I can’t sleep so I walk to Hydes Park.

And see my first Squirrel.

And several birds including a Robin. Quite a vocal little fella and for a Robin but they aren’t like our Australian Robins, or so I’m told.

A quick trip to see Liz but she wasn’t there. However there was a bit going on:

I was told off for standing on a wall to take this photo, but it was worth it.

Then back to the hostel at Earl’s Court and some shots during a stroll.

And to finish off a long day. . . . what we Australians think of as horses “joining” must not be the same for the English.


I like movies and I can watch my favourites many times. The link of one particular scene in one of my favourites is below but be warned, there is swearing involved.

It’s from “The Paper”…… go f*#k yourself

You may ask, why raise this in my blog?  Good question.

The answer is . . . . .  my tomatoes.

Another aspect of The Paper of note is the term “Gotcha”.  It refers to the headline of the New York Sun when two innocent Afro-American boys are arrested for murder.

Stick with me now, I’m almost there.

Recently I’ve been having problems with my Tomatoes and a Blackbird that has been pecking at them, just before they’re ready to pick. This is an ongoing issue and I believe it’s one particular bird.

To rectify this, I put up some netting over my tomatoes and that Blackbird was caught in the act of pecking at them. I rushed out and he fluttered about in a panic and could not get out from under the net.

Naturally, being a long term experienced mist netter, I was able to catch the Blackbird from the netted tomatoes. See the photo below.


Tomato stealing Blackbird Jan 2016

Relax everyone. I didn’t kill Mr Tomato Stealing Blackbird, I’m vegetarian and try not to kill sentient beings but I did give him a very good talking to !!!

He has not returned to the tomatoes and I have started to harvest them without any being pecked.

Isn’t that nice  🙂


Big Desert Wilderness Park

It’s been awhile since I last posted on this blog but something I must share is a recent hiking session I had with a friend in April. We hiked into the Big Desert Wilderness Park in Victoria. We camped within the park for two nights.

Before we started our hike we stayed with some friends who have a wonderful property north of Nhill where they have carried out some great work rehabilitating a farm. One of their nesting boxes had a sleepy Western Pigmy Possum.

Western pigmy PossumThere are no tracks in the Big Desert Wilderness park, no camping grounds, water or toilets. Pushing through the vegetation can be tough but in recently burnt areas it’s much easier. Hence, we tried to utilise the burnt areas as much as possible.

Post fire Banksia cone Big Desert 1I love the Mallee and in particular I love the trees. It’s difficult to capture the beauty of a Mallee Eucalypt in a photograph, despite having tried many times. The photograph below is good but does not do this fantastic tree justice.

Malle Eucalypt in the Big DesretAnd of course when there is no Television to watch, no internet or mobile towers, entertainment is most often the simple things of life like a sunset. We sat and watched the sun set and best of all, it’s free and happens every day.

Sunset over burnt areas Big Desert - Version 2

Still Life

Usually, still life paintings do little for me. I find a painting of a vase with flowers or a bowl of fruit boring.

But some still life has an untold story. This collection of “stuff” on a bench in my sleeping quarters at the Terrick Terrick National Park frequently attracts my attention. Especially when the light is just right.

It appears this shed has not been used for years. How long ago was it that someone was working in this shed, what were they doing and who were they.

Terricks inside my shed Feb 2015

Hay and the end to 2014

It’s the hay cutting season and paddocks all over Nyora are being cut and converted to bales of hay. This shot could most likely be the last for my iphone 4s. Just after this photo was taken it stopped receiving text messages. It has also had a long term problem with wifi.

So as a result I have purchased an iphone 6 and already I’ve noticed it takes better pictures than the 4s.  I look forward to including them on my blog.

Have a good Christmas everyone.

Nyora December 2014 Henry's Road

Naphine Government delivers a blow to Citizen Science

Governments of all persuasions sing the praise of Citizen Science. Volunteers who establish native wildlife monitoring projects are common and are contributing many thousand of hours research to native animal conservation.

And there are people in the community who are so motivated by the potential loss of native species that they put together projects to monitor and inform the science behind strategies to save threatened species from extinction.

However, the Naphine government has applied a wounding blow to Citizen Science in Victoria. The LNP government is charging native animal monitoring Citizen Science projects a fee of $ 500 to have an ethics committee decide if the project is acceptable.

However, the ethic committee request is not the problem, it’s the fee of $ 500. It’s expected the $ 500 fee will see Citizen Science projects shut down. Citizen Science participants already pay for equipment, nets, petrol and spend many days away from home to gather information which helps governments conserve native wildlife. Sadly, the Victorian State Government is imposing another level of administration and cost to individuals.

On the other hand, if you like to kill native ducks, maybe even leave them wounded and dying in a cold wetland, you only pay of fee of $ 159. If you are between 12 and 17 years of age, it’s free.

Malcolm Brown can be contacted at:


Citizen Science volunteer safely handling a native bird will now be charged $ 500 for ethics committee approval


Duck hunters who kill native wildlife like this Pacific Black Duck only pay $ 159 for the pleasure.