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Monday, 21 January 2019

Stormy Monday Blues

Allman Brothers - Stormy Monday Blues

Well it's Monday but actually rather cold and still rather than stormy. But it didn't stop the Stormcocks at PW from singing strongly, although nothing else stirred other than a single, silent Raven.

Earlier, the hoped-for 130th spp for the year, Lesser Scaup failed to materialise and no sight nor sound of the Yellow-browed Warbler despite people looking. A brief glimpse of Water Pipit, just one Goosander and an adult Yellow-legged Gull. Plenty of Chaffinches and Reed Buntings feeding on the ground but most Siskins were feeding quietly in Alders.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Brief outing..

.. to Sustainability Centre for a coffee with M where we were behind a queue of MAMILs and MAFILs - obviously the place to be mid-morning on a bright but chilly Sunday if you're a cyclist needing refreshment.

Plenty of typical winter bird sounds from noisy Nuthatches, Redwings, Great Spotted Woodpecker and various finches, but most pleasingly two calling Marsh Tits, the first this year. Shame there's no feeder station here.

Curiously for such a blue day, not a single raptor there or en route.

And some more Snow Bunting pictures from Goring.

Friday, 18 January 2019

A quiet week and a bunch of grabshots...

A nice looking day after yesterday's roof issues and the two previous dreary days with few birds led me on a year-ticking twitch to my old local patch of Goring Gap for the typically confiding Snow Bunting. Arrived to find myself bumper to bumper with NB who kindly pointed me in the right direction. With strong wind, low bright sun and a constant stream of four-legged disturbance it wasn't  an easy bird to photograph. Chatted to JK and RF and spent fifteen minutes looking out to sea where the windfarm (not here last time I visited!!) was surrounded by birds. In Hampshire a couple of Gannets constitutes a good seawatch so to be faced with hundreds of large gulls, good numbers of Gannets, a few Kittiwakes and a constant stream of auks was a real delight. Thirty-eight Cormorants went high to the west and probably another twenty were offshore where four Red-throated Divers together also went west. Sadly, I couldn't pick out any Guillemots for the year with most auks being distant and just the odd identifiable Razorbill. On the sea, well in excess of a hundred Great Crested Grebes and maybe half that of mergansers.

Back at the car the nearest crop field held 80 or so roosting  waders, mostly Dunlin, but nothing special in a very small gull roost; a tap on the shoulder whilst photographing some roadside Skylarks was GT and wife also out for a bunting twitch.

Coffee and breakfast at Sea Lane was nice, although too busy to get a seat indoors, and improved immeasurably by finding myself next to an ex work colleague (PG), probably only seen once in the last 15-20 years; much in the way of anecdotal stories and some real laugh-out-loud moments.

Dropped in to WWT on the way home where two Kingfishers and ten Snipe put on a good show. Twenty grazing Wigeon were uninterested in joining up with an overflying group 45 strong which eventually landed on the river briefly before deciding to head back north. This Chiffchaff was following a tit flock, the Buzzard flushed up the eighty or so Greylags, the Treecreeper was playing hard to get and a single Raven was best-of-the-rest.

And lastly on a non-birding related note it was good to catch up with HHinH who, like me, struggles a bit with January, being the month we both lost other-halves. Hopefully we'll get to catch up later in the year.

Earlier in the week, Wednesday's session at Pulborough saw us watching a post-perched Peregrine, single c/c Marsh Harrier and a flock of 25 Meadow Pipits and later, chatting to Chichester RSPB group, were able to  point out four Dunlin and five Ruff (a year tick) amongst the disturbed mass of Lapwings. Just a handful of Redwings and a couple of calling Reed Buntings represented winter passerines.

Tuesday's very brief visit to Titchfield was quiet with even MFs sharp eyes and determination unable to find anything; two sparring Marsh Harriers over the meadow were the best.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Inornate in every sense..

Kevin and co had enjoyed views of the Yellow-browed Warbler adjacent to Ivy South prior to my arrival but needless to say it wasn't showing. Luckily, someone refound it and it showed distantly on and off generally amongst the usual winter flock members, tits, Goldcrests and Treecreepers. Unlike the Titchfield bird it didn't utter a peep. Two Lesser Redpolls and three male Bullfinches were near the boardwalk. (Just over 40 years since the Titchfield 'in the hand' YBW; can't find any notes for the bird at Broadmarsh somewhen in the '90s).

Across the road this Water Pipit, the Linnet flock, a Grey Wagtail on the far shore(!!), a few Goosanders but no sign of much else. A good 300 Lapwing were up and about but just one each of Buzzard and Marsh Harrier.

Later at Piper's Wait pretty much nil until four incredibly tiny silhouettes way out on ?? hill had the feel of Crossbills and obliged a few minutes later by flying overhead 'chip-chipping' as they went eastwards.

Minor chores then a quick watch on a dropping tide at Farlington where the lake level is now too high for waders so no snipe spp. Another Marsh Harrier but little else and another blank on Barnacle Goose; the Avocet flock was visible from the car. However, a quick look at Baffins produced the missing goose  still in company of its dodgy white chum. And a long chat then ensued with MW about birds of Portsea, looking like two old geezers from Last of the Summer Wine to all the passing Mums and dog-walkers!!

Friday, 11 January 2019

Another flat day at Titchfield with just the four redhead Goosanders off the yacht club feeding in a few inches of water, 45 or so Great Crested Grebes and three distant Eiders. Eight Curlew on or over the meadow and the 'tame' Fox trotted by. Lots of dog disturbance on the beach.

Later at Farlington lots of birds with 50 or so Avocets, ten Snipe (but no Jacks), 200 Knot, 75 Pintail, three Greenshanks and two Stonechats plus the above Little Grebe in the south ditch. This lone Wigeon was grazing close-in just beyond the grebe

Thursday, 10 January 2019

One hundred and twenty!!

Too flat and grey to warrant an outing today so just a brief 'non-birding'  stroll around Southsea Castle where eight Purple Sandpipers were roosting well up the wall, a Shag(120) successfully fishing not too far out and a single Rock Pipit.
Just east of the pier and just offshore were four redhead Goosanders from the car; worth stopping for and getting a better look  - possibly my first ever from Portsea Island. At the Coffee Cup just two Pied Wagtails foraging around the outside tables and a good mass of Brent adjacent to the Pitch and Putt.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

How many roadworks ...

More M27 roadworks, scheduled to last for over two years, included a 50mph limit and 'average speed' cameras plus th J3 bridge work speed reduction.

An hour or more at the eagle layby was pretty unintersting although I was pleased to flush up a Dartford Warbler, the first in a while. Two Ravens were about it otherwise and I missed a Gos somehow.

Headed back and took the turnoff for Stoney Cross to the back road to Blashford but was stumped by a 3 month(!!) road closure adjacent to the Milham carpark through to Linwood. Rather too late for the long way round, despite the lure of Mark's YBW being around for its 3rd day, so stopped at Piper's for a late packed lunch but again had no Gos action, just four Ravens several Buzzards and a nice surprise in the form of a ringtail Hen Harrier drifting very high westwards, presumably to the Leadenhall roost. Finally, just prior to packing up, a Hawfinch powered over the tree tops.