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Friday, 29 September 2017

Brief TH

Light poor so no photos.

A Hobby from the car over Western Way was a decent start to the day.
Defintely Autumnal on arrival with some big black clouds scudding away north west of the reserve.

Only bothered with MSH and, naughtily, didn't pick up a ticket for the first time. Five Ruffs performed well although the Little Stint was not as obliging. Everything was upset twice by a passing juvenile Sparrowhawk which made a brief pass at a Teal. Two Kingfishers chased each other over south scrape and about a dozen Snipe popped in and out of cover. The Water Rail was present but not particularly obliging.

Finally a single Red Admiral was blown west.


Tuesday, 26 September 2017

At last!!

















Ibsley Water was pretty quiet with the masses of hirundines down to 25+, all looking like Sand Martins. Thirteen Little Egrets and Walter ( or possibly another GWE) were at the far end with many herons. Two Foxes were in the same area, one stalking, the other flaked out having a kip. A Hornet was busy hunting just in front of the hide.

No sign of the Ferruginous Duck although it did show later apparently.

On the silt pond a single Kingfisher and nine Siskins flew over.

On Ivy Lake nothing until a bunch of coots exploded from under the far trees followed by lots of Herring Gull alarms, albeit from one bird - a juvenile Osprey hove into view did a couple of turns and went off north although not back to Ibsley. Photos showed a BTO ring on the right leg and a blue darvic on the left but was sadly too distant to read. There seems to have been far less Osprey activity so far than in previous years.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

















A noisy mixed group of tits and Nuthatches plus the odd Chiff plus about forty House Martins high overhead. Four Cormorants flew in, but with all their boat perches being actively rowed around, they carried on southwards.

The insect patch had just Comma, the Bee Wolf spot empty apart from this Silver Y.

The patch of Ivy near the restaurant was insectless but the patch stretched around the single tree at the south end of the link fence was very busy with Ivy Bees and Honey Bees plus other stuff I couldnt ID.

Finally, this Southern Hawker perched up adjacent to the very full carpark but a bit too distant for the macro lens.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Long journey south (ish)

Yesterday a few Swallows headed south locally and today a similar number were heading north all put into perspective by 1000+ per hour in East Sussex and 150,000(!!!) mixed martins and Swallows at Sandwich Bay. Obviously ideal conditions for the long haul southwards.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017


















No spaces at north end carpark, so down to south end.

Stroll north produced just flyover M'ipits and Swallows plus Chiffs and Blackcaps. Harbour very quiet unlike last visit and just six Great-crested Grebes from the bench over lunch. All very calm, flat and warm with no sign of Osprey.

On the Billy flood, just three each of Dunlin and Redshank plus the Grey Phalarope, unfortunately a little too far away and into the sun for pictures, but still a lot closer than the Blashford bird.


Monday, 18 September 2017

A walk round PHP after 'house-check' was slow and uncomfortable.
Still 30+ Martin spp of both species, mostly House but including the odd Swallow. Cormorants now up to seven on boats, Canada Geese up to 175+ and a pair of Egyptian Geese with two fluffy youngsters, maybe 10+ days old.

Still a few calling and singing Chiffs, maybe 10 or so plus Comma and Migrant Hawker

Pleasingly, the Ivy edged path near the cafe had a couple of Ivy Bees plus a few hovers including Sercomyia silentis and  unsurprisingly Eristalis and Red Admiral.

Back in the car park Noon Fly and Tachina fera plus probably Mellinus arvensis and Eupeodes luniger. Camera and macro lens would have been a better option than bins today.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Cock-ups

A trip to Blashford started badly with pressing the wrong buttons in the garage coffee machine and ending up with a strong, black Americano.Damn!!

At Tern Hide quite a few people, mostly with cameras and still 7,000++ martins providing quite a spectacle. With so many airborne birds it was quite difficult to pick out yesterday's Black Tern, still hawking over the water beyond the distant spit. A Sparrowhawk was the only raptor. Unsurprisingly, still masses of Cormorants and Herons, a dozen or more Little Egrets and Walter.

Apparently the Grey Phalarope was showing from Lapwing hide; didn't fancy the schlepp out there but with persistance I scoped it as it swam out into view and well across Ibsley Water, disappeared for a while and the popped up again. I'm guessing it was 400-500 yards away!! One obvious juvenile Ruff on an island.

Back at picnic area, no Clifdens in the trap and worst of all realisation that lunch was in a carrier bag on a coathook back home. Gggrrr!!








Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Time-limited by doctor's appointment etc so a quick circuit of PHP in the hope of a wind-blown phalarope, Black Tern, Little Gull etc was, unsurprisingly pretty birdless!! Martins both down to single figures, four Cormorants spread across three boats and the Grey Heron heading for its fence-rail.

The Long-tailed Tits were alarm-calling in response to the local Kestrel and there were still fair numbers of Chiffchaff.

Also no Tufted Duck, Great-crested Grebe, but with kids back at school there was little disturbance today. Quite pleasant in the suny spells and reasonably sheltered. No obvious insects.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017























Most notable feature today was the absence of tern noises on arrival; eerily quiet compared to the past few months.

A glimpse of what was probably an Ivy Bee behind reception and lots of Red Admirals on Buddleia, Commas on Blackberries and Speckled Woods just sunbathing.

One refugium had a small Grass Snake and a Slow Worm and the other, three  Slow Worms no more than 3 inches long.

These buzzards above were presumably related as they spent plenty of time play fighting and behind them two Ravens landed distantly with the geese and a distant blob on a post was probably a Wheatear!! One Sedge Warbler was the first for a while. And Helophilus pendulus was the most numerous hover.

The West side was pretty empty, six Snipe being the best.

Monday, 11 September 2017

BTG Lives

Good talk from Jenny Gill regarding Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit studies at PB with a classroom full. Caught up briefly with Clive and had a coffee with Pete. A very quick circuit produced a Marsh Harrier and two Spotted Flycatchers and a Ruff.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Arrived to be greeted by a fair few Swallows over the carpark; from the hide the scale of hirundine activity was obvious with 6000-7000 birds, 4000+ House Martin, 1500+ Swallows and 500+ Sand Martins. Cormorants up to 240+, Grey Herons 60+ and, of course, Walter. Wader wise, single Ringed Plover spp, Dunlin, Ruff, BTG and two Common Sands. Chiffchaffs were the only visible migrant passerines other than 2-3 heard Yellow Wagtails and a few M'ipits.

A Kingfisher zipped left to right.

On the south side just a heard Cetti's.

I thinking I'm getting chronic inset withdrawal symptoms already - next Spring seems a lifetime away!!

So this Gry Heron was the only thing in camera range.


Thursday, 7 September 2017

A quick look at the pond produced lots of Chiffs, but sadly nothing more interesting, still 50+ martins, the usual perched Heron and a Cormorant roosting on 'Fisher 12'. A single Tufted Duck was first of the winter. A distant female Sparrowhawk and a Buzzard; Xylota segnis was the only hover and no Bee Wolf - presumably that's it for the year. A single Small Copper on Ragwort in a brief sunny spell.

At Hayling, singles of Bar 'wit and close Whimbrel, lots of Oyks and other waders struggling to keep their feet dry on a high tide. An Osprey was on the usual fence post but eventually flew off. Chatted to one of the Tice's regulars with two friends who had lucked in on Gos nearby; followed up with a look at Ralph Hollins site which also mentions a couple of local Gos seen by a couple of people.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

A new era begins with Mel having had her leaving do yesterday. Doesn't feel as if things will ever be quite the same again but maybe that's just 'rose-coloured spectacle syndrome'.

At Westmead, Pete picked up a Hobby which eventually sat in a distant tree until dislodged by four playful Buzzards. A single Greenshank flew in but decided against stopping and a Green Sandpiper called and was later seen along with a second bird on the North Brooks. A decent flock of 80+ Goldfinches were on teasel etc. Two perched up Wheatears were very distant and later three Spotted Flycatchers were around Adder Alley as was a Chrysotoxum festivum.

The North Brooks had two Ruff and 250+ Teal, a couple of Bullfinches.

Caught up with Andy Jones, Nick Paul and Terry who was having an awayday at PB plus Gary, Alan and Graham and a few staff members.


Monday, 4 September 2017

Warm but overcast with no sign of any bird movement today.
A juvenile Sparrowhawk was playing cat and mouse with a bunch of Magpies and in between was chasing Wood Pigeons before settling on various fence posts. Later, it was joined by a second bird and both slipped away into the trees.

The Pec Sand was on North Scrape and a couple of Greenshanks were flying around 'chu-chu-chu'ing although I couldn't find the Little Stint. Just three Swallows and a single Swift. Two Kingfishers were noisy but invisible and later a single was perched up on a post. The scruffy Water Rail was again in front of Meon Shore. A small bonus in the shape of a Little Gull sitting on the water of South Scrape.

The ubiquitous three odonata plus a few Eristalis spp, Helophilus pendulus and a single Meliscaeva auricollis were about it for insects. Still pretty much no wasps and no sign of Ivy Bees yet, although plenty of time for them yet

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Death of a Saxon










Something different today with a visit to PHP for the Secrets of the Heath event.
Car park full but some free roadside parking on the southeast side.
Surprised to see Anna and Emily there doing an insect based RSPB event; Anna had found some Wasp Spiders but I wasn't able to find the spot, but good to know they are there - something to look for on next visit or even next year. The west and east insect areas had been heavily mown to the edges, I guess in part to ease the vehicular access for all the tents/marquees etc. 

Three flyover Yellow Wagtails were pretty much the only birds with all the martins having decamped and lots of boat activity meaning the pond looked totally empty. Still some Black-tailed Skimmers and Migrant Hawkers. However, a couple of Bee Wolfs in the usual spot, including this one were the best-of-the-day, although I regret leaving the macro lens in the car; the 100-400 not really being up to stuff this small

A particularly good hot dog (proper sausages!) with loads of onions and mustard washed down with a pint of Ballard Golden Bine made for a nice lunch whilst watching the Barn Owl and Peregrine being flown.

Earlier the history of early fire arms with demos was pretty noisy and later these Saxons put on a fighting display. 

Friday, 1 September 2017


















Well, a new month and unofficial start of Autumn - noticed a Pec Sand on goingirding fairly early in the day and so decided on a 'twitch', the first for a year or two. Obvious in front of Meon Shore hide, typically nice looking bird. Two Marsh Harriers, four Yellow Wagtails and singles of Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Peregrine. Holly Blue was best of butterflies in the vicinity of the Ivy Bee spot although none of the latter yet. Seemed pretty much migrant free other than 30 mixed hirundines. This was the scruffiest Water Rail I've seen and underexposing it didn't help!!

Back home pertinax/tenax/pipiens in the garden.