Monday, 13 February 2017

Another trip to Whiteley

Much sunnier weather made for better views of the five Waxwings but sadly they refused to come down low so were always against a blue or grey sky.
Being a weekday the site was overrun with workers and shoppers, several of whom were interested to find out why we were there; one assumed we were waiting for a celebrity until I put him straight!!

Andy was back for another go and Barry and Margaret were there for the first time and Bryn was there on his own. Plenty of other unknown togs etc.

A single, wary Mistle Thrush feeding on the football pitch and a ragged soaring Buzzard were the only other birds.

A coffee and cake in M&S followed by a quick check; the Waxwings had disappeared and most people gone home much to the relief of some irate motorists!! Time to leave. The traffic into the site was backed up to the motorway almost.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Whiteley Waxwings

It's taken ages for this Waxwing winter to reach this far south; I'd convinced myself that I wasn't going to catch up with any this winter. Sadly, there have been no large flocks anywhere around so going for the five at Whiteley felt like the only option.

Took a while to find them, or rather find the line of togs staring into some distant bushes on the edge of the football pitches. Relocated the car, walked through the shops and found some nice new ( and dry!) benches to sit on and watch the 5 go about their business.

Unsurprisingly Andy and Sarah were there, although Sarah was wisely sat in the warm of the car!  A few other recognisable faces.

Then off home to collect the camera just in case they hang around and the light improves in the next couple of days. Nice to see but sad there haven't been any largers flocks in Hants or West Sussex.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Duck catchup

Yesterday was a duck catch up day with the six Scaups (2 males) and two Velvet Scoters off Brownwich, both new for the year. Six Common Scoters were joined by four others and nearby about 60 Great crested Grebes. The Eider flock, very distant, was about 30 strong although one lone male did come in much closer.
The Long tailed Duck, present earlier, must have headed further towards Hook.

On the reserve just two Marsh Harriers.

At Portsdown a first visit for the Little Bunting drew a blank, just Reed Buntings, several Buzzards a good flock of Linnet (60+) and similar numbers of winter thrushes, mostly Fieldfare.

A Sparrowhawk was chased down the road by a crow.

A return today was much the same although twenty or more Skylarks were airborne and three Roe Deer were out feeding in a distant field. On of today's Buzzards was a very plain, dark individual. And again, no LB!!

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Blashford p.m. only

Pretty grey start but by 11:00 weather was improving so I popped over to Blashford. Decided to give the Goshawks a miss. Down at Ivy south, pretty quiet until both Great White Egrets flew in with the new bird perching up with the Cormorants whilst Walter headed off northwards. Five Goosanders here including a close redhead. 400-500 Wigeon and Gadwall plus a white on black ringed Lesser Black-back, presumably the usual bird.  A cracking Kingfisher perched up close to Ivy South caught both small fry and aquatic invertebrates. Absolutely super scope filling views.

Although distant, some nice 'slo-mo' displaying Buzzards. Just a single Brambling by the feeders and a Firecrest up high in nearby Ivy-clad trees. Little from Ivy North (and typically Bittern-less!!) although a very close feeding Little Egret just yards away.

On the north side another twenty or more Goosanders, 35+ Pintails, the Black-necked Grebe and White-fronted Goose plus a year tick Yellow-legged Gull amongst pretty few other larids. Some disturbance off the reserve brought in 300+ ducks including 100+ Teal. Finally, two Red Kites drifted east to west with one lingering over the trees beyond the river.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Pulborough Duty Day

Following on from Gary's report yesterday, today was characterised by miserable early weather with rain and mist, plus a long slow journey via Pulborough, where the 'conjoined' mini roundabouts in Pulborough at the junction of the A243/A29 were pretty gridlocked; anyone coming from the west in days ahead would be well advised to avoid this. 

So, on arrival and with raised blood pressure and harder rain, the birds were put on the back-burner in favour of sausage bap and coffee!! 

Later, from Westmead eventually a single Peregrine, presumed resident 84, and as the rain eased, a cream crowned Marsh Harrier flushed 8-10 Snipe. 

Eventually the five Tundra Bean Geese popped out on their own rather than being buried in a swarm of Canadas. 

From Winpenny, black 84 was joined by a smart male Peregrine tandem hunting Lapwing, unsuccessfully and then, when they'd run out out steam, headed off for a perch to recuperate. A single Golden Plover went over twice calling. 

Yesterday's winter thrushes were still in the core of the reserve and half a dozen Bullfinch. 

Little of note on the north brooks other than 20-25 Black-tailed Godwits. 

From Hail's view a perched up a Sparrowhawk was quietly drying out when joined by black 84 higher up in the same dead tree. 

A few Siskin heard. 

In the few minutes it took to drive around to Coldwaltham the weather was deteriorating rapidly but, despite not being too close, the Great Grey Shrike was visible from the car! Result!

Returning south via the A29, by Bury it was back to front and rear foglights. 

So - birds; weather; traffic reporting; food. What more could you want;) 

Well, for the less squeamish Carey's Peregrine/Pintail action from two weeks ago -