Stand alone text

Thursday, 22 February 2018

There's something you don't see everyday....thankfully

At WWT today, nice to be greeted by firstly a Sparrowhawk over the carpark, stirring up the Long-tailed Tits and secondly, Tony and Jean who I've not seen for ages. After a long chat we walked out to Woodland Loop with Terry but saw little. First of two or three Water Rails, one Peregrine in the usual spot, a couple of Snipe, a Red Kite, two Little Egrets and two Hawfinches plus a second Sparrowhawk.

A jaunt along the Mill Stream and Mill Road produced another Hawfinch, two male Bullfinches in the same place as last visit, two or three Lesser Redpolls and 50+ Common Gulls in the roadside day roost. A Water Vole was in the tennis courts access road ditch.

Nice cuppa and fruit cake on a sheltered and sunny bench at Swanbourne Lake.

Back in WWT three Firecrests and two Chiffchaffs, another Water Rail (pictured above), and 60+ Common Gulls. Chat with Geoff and Jez while failing to get a usable Firecrest picture. Whilst packing up in the restaurant the first Marsh Harrier flew in to roost; presumably followed by others.

Finally, just half a mile from home a totally naked jogger running down the pavement was a little bizarre!!

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Birding bookends...

Chat with Alan on the way down the zigzag hoping that tarrying may produce a perched-up Hawfinch - but no luck. At Westmead slightly better views of the Temminck's today in company of a single Dunlin but still far too far for a picture. Two Peregrines, one coming within inches of snatching a Dunlin, male Marsh Harrier, one Red Kite, four Buzzards and three Kestrels plus four Egyptian Geese  and a few flushed Snipe. On the right hand tree a showy Treecreeper and finally a smart male Reed Bunting on the path heading back.
All of the above bookended by a male Siskin on arrival and a singing Woodlark on departure,

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

PHP, QECP, Broadmarsh

Some more practice with the 1.4mkiii at 'tame' Egyptian Goose and Woodpigeon. Pretty quiet birdwise, although a Treecreeper was particularly strident adjacent to the carpark and later two more were calling from the ivy clump area. Along 'insect alley' a Chiffchaff was moving around with a tit flock.

On the water just singles of Pochard and Shoveler and overhead this underexposed Buzzard went over towards town followed by a Red Kite zipping east with the wind behind it. (Two more Buzzards over the A3, one further south at Broadmarsh and a Kestrel along The Causeway).

Amongst the gulls now very few Commons and this (above) one of three Med Gulls.

At the park, zero until a heard Hawfinch from within the car whilst rolling down from Juniper carpark with the windows down; it slipped off pretty quick.

At Broadmarsh just three noisy Sandwich Terns.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Gull tutorial

In hindsight a rather wasted morning at Blashford may have been better spent watching Gos. Chatted to Peter Davis whilst photographing this Brambling and Lotti. Later, Raven, Red Kite, Black-necked Grebe and one, possibly two, Water Pipits amongst 20+ M'ipits and ten Pied Wagtails - but still no insects tempted out by the warm and sunny conditions.

Caught up with Barry and Margaret who told me the R-bG was in the roost but I couldn't find it in the ever increasing throng; just four Med Gulls and four Y-lGs. Later, Alan Lewis gave a masterclass in locating, identifying and ageing 1W Yellow-legged Gull and 2W and 3W Caspian Gulls, the latter being the regular broken-footed bird seen here and at Tidpit on previous occasions including today. Sadly, the Thayer's hadn't come in by locking up time but was at Tidpit earlier so presumably was running late tonight.

With a late return and missed dinner a curry from the takeaway was in order - and very nice it was too!!

Friday, 16 February 2018

Flat calm..

Great sunny, winter's day with no wind and a 'millpond-calm' Solent which made finding seaduck easy; two groups of Eider totalling 45+, nine Common Scoters and a Guillemot. Later a Black-throated Diver drifted west from Salterns carpark so presumably would have been visible if I'd bothered to scan from the car!! Sadly, after that, it was a bit dull with twenty Ringed Plovers and seven Snipe on the west side of the reserve plus 40+ Pintails on the frying pan and just the male Marsh Harrier. The three Avocets were still on north scrape. Surprisingly no hovers nor early butterflies.

ca 50 godwits

a classier roost spot