Sunday, 31 December 2017

Well, a damp squib to end the year with just a 15+ strong flock of LOTTIs towing a couple each of Blue Tits and Goldcrests around. Single Heron flushed and sat up calling from its island perch and a handful of Shoveler.
Wonder what 2018 holds wildlife wise??

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Pond 'n Park

PHP car park was full but a place opened up immediately.
Needless to say it was mostly birdless being rammed with people, dogs etc and Plump Duck queues. Still seven each of Shoveler and Pochard (just one female) and a handful of Tufted Duck. Nothing special in terms of gull numbers, no herons/egrets and no passerines - the holly patch as disturbed by teenagers. On the way back the sun was out, temperature about 56F (up well over 20 degrees from a couple of days ago), and a nicely lit Red Kite drifted southwards.

Lunch at QECP (Curried Butternut Squash Soup with two garlic ciabatta - nice but almost too much!!), and of course lots of people. Looking forward to end of Xmas holidays and quieter outings!

A nice post-lunch bonus was a barely audible, non-'ticking' Hawfinch along the access road which powered away and was flushed again from the scrub next to the pond at which point is headed back in the direction it came from - brief flight views only but a pleasing site tick. Maybe there are more here and maybe then worth an early visit sometime soon.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Close (ha-ha!) Black-necked Grebe

On arrival at Tern Hide the nice, bright conditions meant that it took no time to find the Black-necked Grebe at the far end and a rather poorly looking Pink-footed Goose on its own up on the grass; later the second bird, an adult, appeared amongst the other geese. Two single Ravens went over and the same (looking) 1cy Caspian Gull was on the island as per last week before flying off southwards. Brief chat with Dave Cuddon regarding lack of close subjects for photography.

One or two Green Sandpipers and Grey Wagtails but no pipits today.

South side was mostly birdless with little on the feeders, still no Bitterns, nor any sign of Walter. This Siskin above was one of about ten feeding high in the trees but not too inclined to use the feeders.

Lunch in a second visit to Tern Hide produced the BNG briefly in front of the hide (above) and this Pochard was one of Bob's count of 118: the only place I recall seeing that sort of number was WWT Welney.

Again the RBG came into roost soon after I left.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

......but got it today!

Finally, brief views of the Black Redstart dodging in and out of the chalets.
On the reserve, whilst chatting to Tony (volunteer and BW finder) and a couple from Richmond, nice views of two Marsh Harriers and the usual spp.

The 40mph+ winds, although dropped off quite a bit, created too much chop to see any ducks. On the east beach the usual waders plus 12 Dunlin.

From Maritime Bulletin

General cargo ship MEKHANIK YARTSEV had to change her course and seek shelter in Solent, Isle of Wight, after she developed heavy list, reportedly caused by cargo shift in North sea. The ship ran into trouble on Dec 25, at around 1300 UTC Dec 26 she was brought to anchor in the Solent, escorted by tugs and lifeboats. There’s no immediate danger to ship or crew, said officials. The ship is en route from Riga Lativa to Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland. At Solent anchorage MEKHANIK YARTSEV is comparatively safe, now it’s the problem of righting the ship and securing shifted cargo, which probably, will require taking her to Southampton docks.
General cargo ship MEKHANIK YARTSEV, IMO 8904367, dwt 2650, built 1990 flag Russia, manager Northern Shipping Co., Arkhangelsk.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

No BlackRed for Xmas....

Tried for the Titchfield chalet BlackRed but arrived just as the rain blew in and it had wisely gone to ground; tried again an hour later but still no joy. Poor visibility, choppy sea and rain prevented scoping the sea. From Meadow Hide cc Marsh Harrier, two Buzzards and a Sprawk; a Peregrine came in from a long way out before passing away to the west. A Kingfisher heard by the dipping pond and it or another seen from Suffern along with these two GBBGs.

A brief look off FM carpark produced 115 Pintails and 12 Avocets.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Another year tick..

Amazingly, a flyby Red-throated Diver, west-bound at TH was a year tick; maybe I should try for one of Andy Johnson's BTDs off Hayling before the year is out. Otherwise still Common Scoter, Eider and only female Scaup today plus 75 or so Great-crested Grebes. A few Sanderling on the beach including a CR bird - I'm guessing a local ringed bird and probably the same reported from here in recent times.

On the reserve precious few small birds, no Barry Barred and just Reed Buntings of interest on the feeders. Singles of Buzzard and Sparrowhawk plus two Marsh Harriers (male and cream-crown) all disturbing the 75 or so Black-tailed Godwits and gulls etc, the latter including one adult Med.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Two Pond Day

Too dull to consider carrying a camera.

To start, a Cettis and two Chiffchaffs plus just half a dozen Shoveler.
Sadly, far fewer gulls than yesterday with the loss of ice and none of yesterday's metal-ringed BHGs out of the water. Must be time to get a colour ringed bird here.

At PHP Shovelers down to four and Pochards up to ten (all males) plus 125+ Common Gulls and the first LBBG this winter. Coal Tits by the cafe and amongst the east side tit flock, a single Grey Wagtail plus another Firecrest, looking like a female in the same place as last week.

A quick chat with the Raynor's and a few Redwings 'seep'ing overhead.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Two year ticks within minutes..

A bland drive in via Chichester and Coldwaltham in misty conditions was birdless - even the usual roadside Buzzards were absent/invisible.

At PB, in rapidly clearing weathet, plenty of Bullfinches around the trails, probably a dozen or more. From Westmead, meeting up with Carey, just the usual wildfowl, half a dozen Snipe and a very distant Peregrine in its tree well off the reserve to the west.

Pete called to say they were watching the Temminck's so I headed round to the north brooks (where the bird had been re-found by visitors) with three guys from the Bexhill area,  hearing a Chiffchaff along Adder Alley on the way.  It took a while and only gave very distant views through one chap's ATX 85 - I wouldn't have found it with my scope and no tripod. Time for a new scope in 2018 I think!!

So, that was the first year tick, the first Temmincks in over 6 years (the last also being at Pulborough) and my first ever in December. Talked to a visitor who I recognised as ex-BTO man John Marchant who was also part of FRG back in the day and who I last bumped into over 38 years ago in Eilat!! A second year tick!!

Bird wise just 100+ godwits and a couple of dozen Redwings and a hidden, calling Water Rail.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Bit thin today despite nice conditions with just four Goosanders (2m), fifteen to twenty Pintails and the usual other ducks. Precious few Greylags so no Pink-feet today. A Black-necked Grebe was at the far end of Ibsley Water, one or two Water Pipits were up and down before the one above walked in front of Tern Hide and one or two Green Sandpipers were on the far shore. A Kingfisher went right then left later on and another was heard behind the Silt Pond. This Brambling (above) was  the only notable on the south side - apart from the Hawfinch influx other finches seem desperately thin on the ground this winter.

A return to Tern Hide produced a 1cy Caspian Gull on the middle island showing well before being swallowed up by dozens of LBBG and two adult Yellow-legged Gulls but no sign of RBG my 14:45.(EDIT - needless to say it came in later).

Raptors today were Buzzards only with one fence-post-sitting across Ibsley Water and four singles over the M27.

Mammal-wise just a single Red Fox sunbathing on the north shore.

Brief catchup with PW and J6x4.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Barred from entry

The assembled masses were by the back steps but Barry was hiding. However, one volunteer had found him by the back pond so passing through the 'osprey' gate just wasn't on without flushing it. Fifteen or so people legged it over and I departed to the cafe for an early coffee.

Checked the sea from the west end of car parking and picked up DH's four Scaup pretty quickly in near company of six Common Scoters and the more distant Eiders (still totalling about 50). The Scaup and scoters were flushed by a cabin cruiser with the former disappearing towards the far shore.

On the part frozen west side, just roosting Oystercatchers and three Snipe.

On the east side the Ruff was in amongst godwits, a male Goosander was on the Frying Pan, single Buzzard ( no other raptors) and finally a Firecrest just as the rain started.

Percy was day-napping in the harbour.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Mixed bag

No sign of MG's Great Northern Diver/Shag at Eastney in choppy high tide conditions but eleven Purple Sandpipers (some hunkered down and roosting in gaps in the brickwork), a single Sanderling and two Rock Pipits.

At PHP Pochards up to six and the seven Shovelers still nose-to-tailing in the lee of the island. A council guy was brush cutting near the holly clump so it was birdless, if fact fewer passerines than on any previous visit. A single  bathing Med Gull (2cy) was the first I've seen there for a while. A Brown Rat was, not surprisingly, the only mammal!!

A Buzzard was low over the A3 and into a roadside tree by the QECP entrance slip on the return journry.

At Broadmarsh, despite good lighting little other than a Greenshank going upstream and 50+ Bar-tailed Godwits plus a few Knot well out.

Yesterday,  a damp day at PB with Pete failing to locate either Hawfinch or Temminck's Stint. Five Golden Plover, ten each of Snipe and Dunlin and a smart male Marsh Harrier were the pick of the bunch. Some nice views of Treecreepers at various points on the trail.
Highlight, easily, was Sausage, Mash and Onion Gravy!!

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Xmas catch-up at WWT

Last (hopefully) Xmas shop in Chi and then WWT to catch up with Terry who popped in halfway through brunch!! Nice to chat with Sam, Claire and Lizzie. Numerous Kingfisher sightings, but little else with so much ice; just five Snipes, a glimpse of Firecrest and 25+ Wigeon over the Arun and the two dodgy Swan Geese coming in.

This Peregrine sat up calling vociferously before chasing off Buzzards and then heading down river.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Should have gone to Sudan..

Yesterday, a 'social' visit to TH with sis for coffee-lunch-coffee whilst watching the incoming tide slowly calm down as the wind abated. Five species of waders from the restaurant.
Brief catch up with with Bryn and Jan and then Kate caught up with a work colleague whilst we watched Barry the Barred (minus binoculars!! - again ended up in the bush behind the gents). Guessing it's regretting not going to Sudan for its hols!! Still too windy and showery to walk beyond the beach access gate so back home.

Today a Cettis called sharply and popped out just a few feet away on the east side; all the Tufted Duck were huddled in by the library, typically mostly males.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

A return visit to the Barred Warbler which showed well but which was surrounded by cameras and big whites so I left them to it. Three Marsh Harriers including a  fine male, Kingfisher distantly over the frying pan and a Raven on the east side perched up on the telecommunications mast before again flying west with a beakful of something.

Two Water Rails from the road on arrival and the Eider flock again (45+) plus four Common Scoters. Sadly mansged to miss a B-tD offshore.

A GSP was almost drumming and one or two others seen overflying the meadows. One Sparrowhawk, several Buzzards and thirty odd godwits on or over the meadows.

West side frozen with just six Snipe.

Friday, 8 December 2017


Wednesday's PB visit was Pete-less and very birdless around the trails but at least Westmead had plenty of close ducks including Pintails. A Marsh Harrier, two Kestrels, two Ruff, a Stonechat and a Snipe were the only notables with a couple more Snipe and a dozen or more Dunlin on the north brooks along with gazillions of Lapwing. Sadly, the Hen Harrier was reported by Carey after I left!!

A Red Kite was over the car along Rackham Street on the way in and the odd Buzzard and Kestrel similarly on the way home.

Today, Friday, in very chilly and windy conditions, a walk around PHP (and lunch) produced a tight, circling group of six Shovelers in the middle, now devoid of rowing boats for the winter. Just three Tufted Ducks, Grey Heron and two Little Egrets. A nicely sunlit Buzzard was chased off by crows. A few Redwing heard, a single GSW and a couple of Treecreepers was about it for passerines etc. On the way home another GSW and Buzzard over the A3.

At Broadmarsh four Grey Plover along the far shore, four Little Grebes and a single Great Northern Diver which eventually swam in close past the boat ramp and into the channel. No scope and sea too choppy to pick up much else although somebody reported the L-tD later.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Another county tick..

On arrival the elusive Barred Warbler hadn't been seen but a Great Northern Diver was offshore and visible from the carpark.

East side was pretty quiet with just a very distant Kingfisher and the usual three skulking reedbed species calling. A Sparrowhawk flew in front of the west side hides scattering stuff.

On the foreshore a nice group of twenty or so Sanderlings were disturbed before I could unpack the camera and from the west side hides a dozen Snipe and the usual wildfowl plus two Ringed Plovers. Ian came into MSH to say the Barred Warbler had reappeared so we walked back smartly and eventually Ivor pointed it out in the roadside bush adjacent to the seating area where the above photos were taken. It eventually relocated to the one small bush just behind the gents where it sat unobtrusively preening.

Back out on the sea three Common Scoters and a distant pack of Eider off Brownwich/Chilling, probably in excess of sixty birds and fifteen or so Great Crested Grebes.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Not quite parrots..

A quick look at Blashford highlighted by the Pop Up Cafe's stilton and cranberry scone and a long chat with Jackie who confirmed John6x4's absence due to illness. The Water Pipit did two calling flybys and the Pink-footed Goose eventually showed whilst an even more distant Green Sandpiper was on the far shore but it was pretty lifeless otherwise. The south side was no better.

Stopping at Slufters on the way back looked to be a waste of  time so after a few hundred yards I turned to head back when Crossbill chipping started up close by; eventually 10 or so birds were counted (including five males) dropping conifer cones all around me. Even when silent you can hear them pecking away at cones. Sadly, no subtly different calls and nothing big-billed!

Finally,  a Raven north over junction 1 sliproad.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

A bit chilly...

A bright sunny day but easily the coldest this winter so far with a keen wind blowing through the hides at TH. Boardwalk was a little slippery and this Jay was one of two showing well albeit in deep shade.

A/the Marsh Harrier was very active and sparring with Magpies but little else looking northwards.

On the beach east of the yacht club a nice little group of 50-60 waders of six species but the sea too choppy to pick up anything else.

On the west side south scrape was virtually empty other than five Snipe and an Avocet whilst north scrape had 400+ duck of six species.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Today at PHP the early bright weather had disappeared and the Goosanders were missing, with just three each of Cormorant, Little Egret and Coal Tit (near the restaurant conifers). Rather more non-adult Herring Gulls than previously and rather fewer Common Gulls than last visit.

The east-side Holly bushes held 30+ feeding Redwings; also tits and crests including this Firecrest.

At QECP the bare courtyard tree had a single Goldcrest and a Grey Wagtail was on and around the picnic tables replacing the usual Chaffinch; also roadside Bullfinches.

Yesterday at Arundel, a catch up with various people (Andy, Paul, Richard and Chris Prince) was preceded by a BLT-LT, coffee and 'crozzie'; a colour ringed BHG was just outside the restaurant window ( black R79A) and was French ringed in summer 2014 and seen at Radipole almost exactly two years ago (thanks to Camille and her typically very rapid response!!).

First up was the male Peregrine coming in and later joined, noisily, by the female.  During the day plenty of Kingfisher sightings, a close calling Raven and two flyover Hawfinches.

Scanning the Norfolk Clump area showed Ravens and Red Kites sparring endlessly. A Stonechat was outside the reserve and later three Snipe were well hidden from Lapwing Hide. Precious few gulls and ducks and just the odd Reed Buntings and Bullfinches. This Sparrowhawk was one of two overhead while chatying to Graham Turner. Finally, a single young male Marsh Harrier arrived to roost but drifted off - maybe it and some of the other 4-5 known to roost here came in later.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

At PB two very active Peregrines, possibly tandem hunting at times, plus a single Kite, 5-6 Buzzards, two Ruffs and a Dunlin. The continuing 'drought' on the nearest North Brooks pool ensures plenty of birds in front of Westmead including Shovelers and Pintails.

Caught up with Pete and Carey plus, surprisingly, Mark and Martin who took over from Keith on HOS New Forest winter burd survey.

A brief visit to West Dean Woods early afternoon and in windy conditions was hardly ideal for passerines, with just masses of Woodpigeons and Pheasants plus ten or more Buzzards enjoying the breeze. Two single Hawfinches were in flight and perched up looking east of Monkton track. Three disturbed Roe Deer clattered down the path with one unable to make to sharp right hand bend just behind me and ending up in a heap!! Three Kestrels and a couple more roadside Buzzards bringing to day's total up to 20 (ish).

Monday, 20 November 2017

An eye-watering wind at near high tide at Southmoors made things difficult but a small (8-10) flotilla of Black-necked Grebes were well out, a Great Northern Diver surfaced but vanished in the choppy water almost immediately and the two Velvet Scoters were out towards the Oysterbeds. A Rock Pipit was on the shoreline.

At Titchfield in wet and windy conditions no sightings of yesterday's Barred Warbler or indeed any passerines; Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, three Curlews (one above) and the hybrid Barnacle. Just 300 Teal on the west side.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Thursday saw a visit to Testwood, only my second time, with the four seemingly resident Great Egrets fishing. No Hawfinches nor Bittern for me.
Duck wise, 150 Wigeon.

Today at Blashford just PFG, 5 Goosanders and half a dozen each of Pintail and Goldeneye. The Woodland hide had two Brambling and 20+ Siskin were feeing high in Alders.

At Ivy South one distant Water Rail.

No sign of the roadside GGS at Milkham although it was apparently down at Kings Hat about that time, just a churring Dartford Warbler nearby.

Only raptors  today were two motorway Buzzards.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Non birding

A pre-Xmas shopping trip to Chi where a couple of tit flocks at both south and north end of theatre carpark included 2-3Goldcrests.
Back at base a reasonably showy Cetti's, the first Water Rail of the winter calling and 18 Shoveler.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Rather close Sprawk!

The drive over to TH produced two thermalling Buzzards over Mays Lane by the Stubbington 30 sign. Apparently there were 25+ Eider offshore just beforw I arrived but I think they'd probably headed off to Brownwich as they typically do. Percy the Pochard was back in the harbour.

On the eastside this Grey Wagtail was fairly obliging; no Marsh Harrier for me today and just one very distant Kingfisher, 30+ BTGs, four Curlew feeding in the meadow plus the usual Buzzards and Kestrels. A Sparrowhawk (f or juv) was hunting and flushing Snipe.

On the west side not much other than Teal; the effect of the previous week's work on the scrapes was keeping the birds away. A Cettis showed well.

As it warmed up a few Common Darters came out  on the boardwalk to warm up along with a very fresh Red Admiral, Helophilus pendulus and a few wasps on ivy.

The male Sparrowhawk above was pointed out to me; it seemed bright eyed and its wings were held in place but definitely gave the impression of  having had an 'incident' being within 15ft for over an hour at least. However, it did eventually fly off just as I was showing it to a family so hopefully it was OK.

Friday, 10 November 2017

PHP, BP and FM carpark

Photos from Wednesday.

Today, greeted by a Sparrowhawk slipping downwind and away SE unlike Wednesday's which went off like an Exocet through the gardens.

Two or three Buzzards over whilst having an early lunch.

The Goosanders weren't playing ball today mostly sleeping in the shade of the island with a couple of Tufted Ducks and a male Pochard.

Small bird wise just one Chiffchaff and several argumentative Goldcrests in the bushes adjacent to the 'insect patch'.

Back to the water where one Little Grebe, a substantial drop in Cormorant numbers from Wednesday's 54+ to ten or so but an increase in Common Gulls to 50+.

Insect wise still Common Darter and Red Admiral.

A quick stop at the FM carpark produced 40+ Avocet mostly roosting.