Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Just enough juice..


Plenty of hovers on one sunlit but sheltered patch of Ivy were the only interesting  thing on the east side whilst the Ivy Bees were out in force at the top of the beachfront steps, these 10 below being just a small part of the many hundreds.

 Nice light from behind ensured the waders etc on south scrape looked 'crisp' and included one Ruff and five Snipe. Two Water Rails, one adult and one juvenile (above) showed well although the latter was just too quick and mostly hidden by teasels for the camera to focus. All the birds were flushed by one and then two Buzzards, both smart, light birds that looked like this years youngsters and at least one Raven went west whilst a Grey Wagtail joined up with two Pieds also on the exposed mud. A minor highlight was the first Reed Warbler for ages feeding at the base of the reeds and showing very well; shame it wasn't  something rarer.

This Redshank seemed particularly keen on chasing off rivals.

And finally this Sericomyia silentis was one of a few next to plenty of other hovers including several each of Volucella zonaria and Xylota segnis.

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Local, PB and TH


Locally, the above Migrant Hawker and Tipula spp taken with phone camera whilst a Fox was sat out in the dog-walk field having a good scratch before bolting into cover as the first dog walkers appeared after the rain shower. Tufted Duck up to 25 and first two returning Shoveler of the autumn, both females. 

Wednesday at Pulborough, the Pec Sand was conveniently refound  by AB just as we arrived, in company of two Dunlins and a ringed plover spp. A particularly attractive 'blonde' Buzzard was one of several attracted to disturbance caused by tractor activity. 
The session was bookended by Hobby, the first, over an early coffee, very, very high over the tea terrace chasing a Buzzard and the other much lower and directly overhead just prior to leaving.

Today, Thursday, at TH much reduced wader activity but several Yellow Wagtails,  two Wheatears and a single Whinchat while Stonechats were up to 8+. One of the Marsh Harriers was out by the owl boxes and a nice juvenile Water Rail was first this year. Still no (obvious) Ivy Bees.

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Continuing wader theme, but no passerines again

 Yesterday was as still offshore as it was the previous day and with no reports  of Amy's  White Winged Tern it seemed fruitless without a tripod to try to locate anything. The east side was very quiet barring the usual autumn gathering of Canada Geese on the river, about 300+ birds. A slow but steady trickle of Swallows probably came to 200 ish with the odd Sand Martins thrown in. Little insect interest.

The west side was better with Wood Sandpiper (good but not as close as the Blashford bird three years ago), two Ruff, Green Sandpiper etc. After leaving a Little Stint popped out for others. On leaving all these gulls and more went nuts - where's  the Osprey?? - but just a Sparrowhawk cruising overhead.

Today , after some gardening  disturbing cricket/hoppers, moths and hovers, none of which wanted to settle for ID,  a post coffee walk at the park saw lots of Red Admirals and a Comma on the small patch of buddleia. A few Brimstones were about including this one on Wild Basil and at the pond and on various fencelines were good numbers of Common Darters, some ovipositing; strangely no Migrant Hawkers.  Bird life was minimal with just heard only Bullfinch, Siskin and Coal Tit plus a couple of Song Thrushes. 

Too hot for much else.

And this Small Dusty Wave was on the conservatory window.

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Return to PB


Yesterday, a visit to Pulborough, the first in 304 days and where, needless to say in response to Covid, many changes. Habitat-wise the work at Westmead to keep the area wet and attractive to waders has paid dividends with Ruff (5), Greenshank (2), Green Sandpiper (2) and a single Snipe and with a distant cream-crown Marsh Harrier plus a couple of Kestrels and a male Stonechat. On the North Brooks a lack of telescope prevented grilling the wildfowl and ensured the Yellow Wagtails feeding around the cattle remained unseen.

A number of Buzzards, one being mobbed by a Sparrowhawk were joined by two super-fast Hobbies plucking dragonflies out of the air and a probable Peregrine which vanished too quickly. A few Black'wits were the only identifiable waders with just 6.5x Papillos to hand. Other earlier (and sharper!) birders had Wheatear, Whinchat, Redstart and both  flycatchers. A Tree Pipit called overhead during lunch and a second male Stonechat was on view.

A trio of Red Admirals (above) - out of a dozen or more commuting between this fence and nearby Buddleia and joined by a single Painted Lady.

Today, back to a short local walk in what seems to be normal weather - yet again grey and overcast and not conducive to finding insects. Three Mallard ducklings are still surviving, 'piping' along after  mum. Precious few hovers with just this female Dasisyrphus albiostratus of note.

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Two reserve outings

 Yesterday saw the first visit to WWT since last year but sadly the weather was grey and completely overcast, virtually no wildfowl present and many areas overgrown. A few invisible warblers called from scrub and reeds and a handful of hirundines were high overhead. One Little Grebe was in close to the restaurant  and another was in front of scrape hide. Kingfisher calls around the site produced one briefly perched up on the boat trail. Generally, very poor for insects. Typically crappy traffic at Chichester on the return!!

Today, a much better day weather-wise,  was earmarked for gardening but proved to be too nice for such mundane work so off to TH. Here, seventy or more Turnstones were in the harbour at low tide but the masses of noisy terns from the last visit were absent with only single figures seen  - were they all at sea fishing or just departed? Other waders on the east side were seven Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper. A circling Sparrowhawk attracted the attention of twenty or so Swallows and martins before it headed back low and fast past the hide. Generally pretty poor for migrants although given the flurry of Pied Flycatchers elsewhere it wasn't surprising to see one reported from the west side. 

A decent variety of hovers (20), a couple of Early Bees and two Jersey Tigers, one feeding on Hemp Agrimony. And finally Southern and Migrant Hawkers plus Common Darters.

(Jersey Tiger, Vapourer Moth caterpillar, Southern Hawker, Melangyna comp/lab)

Saturday, 21 August 2021

Tree down


Thursday at QECP  these two mating Tenthredo thompsoni,  Scaeva  selenitica (only the second with the first being here two years ago) and the common harvestman Phalangium opilio - look at those massive chelicerae!! Good fry-up and coffee on the first outing for four months(!!) but little else of note in pretty grey, but dry conditions.

At home the tree was getting out of hand and causing issues so was removed and stump ground leaving a nice big hole into which to put a tall bird feeder although I suspect House Sparrows and vermin may be the only takers - time will tell.

Friday, another charmless grey August day but thankfully windless, saw a first visit to TH since 2/11/20, non-birding, but with many Common Terns (over 600 counted in the roost by other birders) and 40+ Turnstones, doing just that,  with four on the roadside beach and the rest roosting beyond the yacht  club. Today would have been a better day to visit  with Osprey, Black Tern and Sabines Gull reported.

A local walk today only produced a fresh juvenile Sparrowhawk, presumably the offspring of adult birds seen this year. It popped out of the willows and  flew very low and slow just inches off the water - maybe it's too young to realise fish aren't  on the menu!!

Monday, 16 August 2021

Zonaria 3 - Inanis 1

Which reminds me of this from Alas Smith and Jones:-

Football Results

The geese seem to have departed as quick as they arrived but yesterday's four Mallard Ducklings were still all present and correct. Overhead one or more Swifts were still screaming albeit invisible to me, a Great Spot was calling and three Swallows were coursing LOW over the newly mown field. Maybe a handful of Willow/Chiffs but no other migrants. Butterflies limited to Holly Blue, Speckled Wood x4 and a Comma; not a single brown or white today.

Three species of Volucella today as in the title but including a very fresh pellucens (and a horrible admission that it was a year tick!).

Noises from the reed patch which attracted the mixed flock a few days ago was from something rather larger - a Fox in broad daylight snuggling down in the sun on a raised patch of vegetation. Sadly the camera battery had died and I had no spares.

Westbourne came out to restart the car successfully - let's hope it doesn't go flat again overnight prior to tomorrow's hospital visit. Just need an excuse now to 'roadtest' the new Blue Badge.