Wednesday, 31 January 2018

No scope and a broken leg...

Grey, wet day at PB. From shop window Red Kite, Buzzards, Sparrowhawk and two Kestrels but just a single Linnet. Brief chat with Vic and the reception girls. After lunch, an over-peppered Leek and Potato Soup which was at least hot, out to the Hanger viewpoint. This Kestrel sat up obligingly but lack of light rather spoiled things. With no scope nor tripod it was down to Pete whose tripod fell apart (again) so no chance of finding the Temmincks which had been on its usual stretch of mud earlier. Really must get back to bringing my own tripod!
A good mass of 800+ godwits was impressive. Finally, met JB returning, very muddy(!!), from a fruitless Hawfinch hunt around the church; the state of his boots ensured that Pete and I gave it a miss and returned via the zigzag for tea, then home.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Almost there....

Striving for 130 or more for the month is a whisker away after today's trip over to Sandy Point where two Great Northern Divers, two Guillemots and a Razorbill (below) - last two being my first auks in over two years!! Sadly, no sign of Slav nor B-tD. Seventy or so Sanderlings, probably 2000+ Dunlin and a few Grey Plovers (one colour-ringed but too far to get any details).
Also two distant Common Seals.

Brief stop at the oysterbeds gave a dozen or more Black-necked Grebes and twenty or so Med Gulls, presumably the start of big numbers in March.

At Butser just views, and poor at that as the earlier glorious sunshine had vanished. One calling and then flying Yellowhammer, two Buzzards and a Kestrel. Possible Hawfinch ticing below the carpark on the south side.

EDIT Miscounted, with Yellowhammer being 132nd spp for the year.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Point blank crests


Seven Red Kites and four Ravens over the estate plus a few Buzzards but no Pegs up on the hanger today. Goldfinches exceeeded 100 and Snipe over 35. The crests were again confiding around Scrape Hide but only I bothered with 50mm lens as there wasn't much light. Briefest glimpse of a Kingfisher. Rain started on arrival at the Black Rabbit and the footpath was a quagmire so end of play for the day. Caught up with Geoff and his friend and got to chat with Lizzie who was struggling with boat electrics!!

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Urban Hawfinches

Starting at TH for late breakfast where just two Marsh Harriers and some squealing Water Rails and a chat with a guy from the north of the county and discussions about Combe Gallows and Elton John's support band Hookfoot!!

On to Mercer Way where I 'wrong-turned' twice(!!) but eventually parked up by the bungalows at the end - five or six Bullfinches were on show followed by 30 or more Hawfinches, three Redwings and a Sparrowhawk which went through twice scattering everything.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Sooner than forecast...

With a forecast showing a dry but cloudy morning I though I'd have a look at Acres Down, ostensibly for the better finches; sadly, the drizzle started on the way down.
A quick walk out to the viewpoint and beyond before heading back produced just Raven(2), Buzzard, Woodlark and Goldcrests. A walk out to the wooden bridge from the carpark produced just good numbers of tits including at least two Marsh, three flyover Crossbills and a singing Mistle Thrush but sadly nothing better by which time the rain had become harder.

At Ibsley Water no Greylags and hence no P-fG, no gulls and just a few Goosanders; a close Green Sandpiper flew over calling which was a first for year.

On the way home a Great White Egret was in flooded field opposite from Broadlands Lake from the car at 70mph!!

Friday, 26 January 2018

Oh for some plastic.....

Yet again this metal-ringed Black-headed Gull was not going to give up its ring details -if only it was colour ringed. Just two herons roosting and earlier a Mistle Thrush 'rattling'overhead at QECP after lunch with the oldies.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

The pond held little other than the usual few wildfowl and two Great Crested Grebes. Soup, ciabatta and coffee.

On to Hayling where it was nice to bump into Bernie and Dorian for the first time in years. Offshore nine Black-necked Grebes but little else.

Nil of note from Broadmarsh.

From the Farlington carpark about forty each of Avocet and Pintail.
Scoping the FM fields showed 70+ Curlews.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Too wet to see anything at PB in virtually non-stop rain other than Lapwings, crows and gulls. Siskin heard in car-park. A Kestrel on arrival just inside the gate was bird of the day. Still, Pete's tales of Trinidadian birding, rum punches and odd-ball Americans saw us through, latterly over lunch with Mark.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Shopping only

Trip over to Chi for a UV filter for the new 'fast 50'.
Wet and grey with just a Lotti flock by the theatre and a charm of 25+ Goldfinches behind the cathedral.
On the way back, a handful of Avocets from the car whilst driving over the bridge and a quick stroll around the pond in the drizzle with 14 Shovelers and 15+ Cormorants roosting with the Grey Heron.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Sandwiches for lunch

Taking Mum to GP and then on to hospital for an x-ray made for a late  start - shame not to get out as today was the only decent day forecasted for this week, so off to TH. Over an early lunch two Sandwich Terns, a slightly surprising January year tick, went west.

Just 14 Pintail on the frying pan and two Marsh Harriers interacting with Buzzards Most entertainment provided by three frisky foxes with one dog chasing after a reluctant vixen whilst also chasing off a rival. Some invisible Beardies were pinging in front of Suffern.

Again another day with unsuitable wind and tide for scanning the sea.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Bit of a loose end today and, after a late start, I decided to try and add the Ring-billed Gull to the yearlist. Started at the feeders but the windows were blocked by lenses so a quick look over the fence produced a Brambling and this less-than-desirable Brown Rat. Not keen on feeder shots but I do have a soft spot for Greenfinches.

At Ivy South a brief flight view of Walter and this Goosander was close in but straight into the sun along with a second bird. Nice light but nothing came close.

At Tern Hide very few geese but I did find the Pink-foot in an incoming group of Greylags and directed others to it; Andy Johnson had located the Rbg and helped everyone onto it but it was a bugger to find even with good directions and over 40 minutes or so it came and went in the throng of gulls. The flat backed appearance was very apparent when it was clear of other birds. I found a Med Gull and a couple of YLGs. A single Buzzard was on the spit feeding on a corpse presumably; tried to digiscope it but the camera exposure was all over the place; need to get a replacement battery for V1.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Bit thin..

Pretty thin and yet again sea state made checking for ducks and grebes a bit fruitless. Spent some time with roadside Turnstones and chatted to some non-birders giving them a bit of background info on them including the 'feeding on a human corpse' story!! Plenty of the usual suspects on south scrape (but no Snipe) and just distant views of the usual raptors.

Offshore this Grey Seal was feeding and attracting gulls before swimming into the harbour and realising it was in cu-de-sac and heading back out.

From the eastside just a pair of Ravens and the first Skylark I've seen there for a while.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Mixed bag with two NfYs

At PHP the council were ripping out waterside willows  which was opening out views but looks awful and running a chipper which was incredibly noisy; no chance of hearing any passerines but I think I heard a Kingfisher calling but couldn't locate it. Few duck, with just four Shovelers and just one Pochard and a flyover Buzzard whilst having a coffee.

 The light was nice although I wasn't sure of the tides before I popped over to Nore Barn. Luckily it seemed to be an hour or so after high tide and the paths were accessible - this colour ringed Greenshank was cosied up to the regular Spot'shank and the latter at least was quite comfortable with my presence; he or she must be incredibly tolerant of birders/togs/dog walkers to keep returning. The 'warden of the marshes' was also present which didn't help and the two redshanks took a flight over to the shoreline before being flushed back to me by dogs and owners. Apparently the colour ringed Greenshank is also well known here. Nothing else here but a small group of Brent.
Sent the photo to the local Emsworth group who popped it on their website.

At Warblington the Cattle Egret was with 11 Littles amongst the cows just west of the parking bays

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

And they're off....

A quick dash over to Blashford was not quite quick enough as I missed an Ibsley Water Otter, possibly disturbed by Bob's Tuesday work party, by just minutes!! Very little on offer barring a distant Black-necked Grebe although the P-fG and R-bG were both seen by PDW later. Brambling and Walter plus a couple more Goosanders on Ivy Lake were the only note-bookable birds.

A brief stop on the way home was rewarded with a nice adult Gos displaying in the bright and breezy conditions at 1:15; my earliest new year displaying record although that may be more to do with unsuitable days in January typically. Not a single other species seen nor heard.

Back at Broadmarsh, just the still-distant Great Northern Diver and a bit of digiscoping practice; think a new battery in the V1 may be a better option than the SLR and 'fast fifty'; time will tell.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Roadside Redshank amongst boats

Logpile - insect habitat


On arrival the sea was too grey and choppy for much; a dozen or so Eiders were flying around, disturbed off the water by three jetskiers. The roosting waders, watched from the restaurant, were disturbed by a drone being used to film boating action. The Ruff was in amongst 100+ godwits from Meadow Hide and the male harrier was distant along with three Buzzards and a Kestrel. A Water Rail was squealing in the same place as lsst visit.
Surprise find of a new book about Keyhaven area by Eddie Wiseman which I purchased and which reminded me he'd shown me my first Razorbill at Farlington off the point in December '67.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Last of the gang

A few pixels on a Cettis

If only they were rare....

One of a gazillion tree rats..

Thursday, 11 January 2018

New pancake

After yesterday, back to grey. No sign of Black Redstart at Fort Cumberland altough police dog units were on site - presumably they use this sh#t hole for training! From the ferry a single Shag.

Further round at Broadmarsh the Long-tailed Duck took a short flight before landing and bathing and the Great Northern Diver came up with a crab or somesuch. Most grebes and mergs etc were just too far away to pick out much. A group of ten Goldeneyes featured three displaying males tossing their heads back. Passerine-wise just singles of Rock Pipit and Grey Wagtail.

Back home the 50mm Canon pancake lens was on the doormat. Looks pretty sharp so far.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Well I wasn't expecting those..

An uneventful drive into Pulborough via Waltham today, the first nice, still, sunny day for a while - gorgeous visibility.
With none in Hants this winter and so very few in Sussex I mused that I may not see Bewick's Swan this winter. On arrival at the tearoom for a reviving coffee and - low and behold - 10 sleeping white blobs out on the south brooks could only be Bewicks!!
A pair of local, and territorial, Mute Swans sailed in and the Bewick's woke up but 10v2 dissuaded the Mute's from kicking off!!

The odd flyover Siskin call and a few Redwings but sadly no Hawfinches on the way to Westmead with Ann. In the hide Graham and Alan pointed me to the ridiculously distant Little Owl; five Golden Plovers called and wheeled around with a single Ruff amongst 1000+ Lapwing when disturbed by the four post-sitting Buzzards and single Peregrine doing the same. A handful of Skylarks were silent but obvious.

Three Reed Buntings after Redstart Corner were also NfY.

Mike Tucker told me the Temminck's was on view from the hanger but just as distant as usual but with good light you could just imagine yellow legs!! A Treecreeper was on the big tree behind the seat and another 1000 Lapwing were nervous with the (or another) Peregrine circling and stooping off out to the east.

Nothing on the way back via the church barring a group of four Jays.

Lunch (Pork Casserole) while chatting to Gary about Argentina, Falklands cruise - Penguins and Albatrosses😀😀

Later at WWT the usual Firecrest with three Goldcrests , a couple more flyover Siskins and two very noisy Peregrines - not the usual pair but one of the pair chasing off an intruder with lots of 'kekking' sounding really 'wild country' with no wind nor background noise. Caught up with Janet and David and his daughter as the first of two Marsh Harriers came into roost from Scrape Hide and finally, from the wicker view screen, two pairs of Mandarins. No passerines roosting in the reeds other than the odd Reed Bunting.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Pesky Purps

Another flat, grey, soulless day spent close to home with just one calling Chiffchaff locally and fourteen Purple Sandpipers playing hard to get by roosting on the green Castle buoy. Luckily for me they were flushed by a gull and eventually settled nervously on the rocks before flying again, re-settling further along and then getting on with feeding. Another Shag, younger and different from Saturday's bird plus two Rock Pipits, one being particularly confiding and sporting a noticeable white flash on its head.
No camera today.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Sh#t birding weather

Dry but horribly grey and cold in the wind. Car headlamps on all through the day and impossible to read/write at home without lights on. Really depressing.
Twelve Common Scoter and just two Eiders offshore and managed to miss out on a GND heading into Southampton Water earlier. Nothing on the east side except a close, flushed Water Rail, one harrier,  two very noisy Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a few Redwings.

Tried north end of Billy Line which produced just a single Black-necked Grebe and seven Goldeneyes. From the Broadmarsh boatramp plenty of common birds little out in the harbour  - the shellfish dredger was up and down so may have disturbed the divers/LTD etc.

About 50 very confiding Wigeon were trying to feed up against the base of the channel wall just inland of the boatramp.

Needless to say no new-for-year species today.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

End of first-week-challenge


With the one week target of 100 species hit yesterday at TH, time today to catch up on a few missing spp.
Things looked good on leaving home with nice weather and thoughts of Hawfinches and early Gos but went downhill a bit when I drove straight past the exit for the New Forest (!!) so went on to Blashford where the wind cut you in two inside Tern Hide!!

Ten Goosanders and the usual spp  - the P-fG seemed to be missing and despite directions to a/the R-bG all I could find was Common Gulls although adult Yellow-legged Gull was new for the year. Pochards still over 100 but all huddled on the northern side with most other wildfowl. Ten Black-tailed Godwits dropped in but it became too cold to wait for more gull action.

A Pop-up cafe coffee and scone with Jackie and a couple from Christchurch, originally from Chichester.

On the south side Walter was just visible through the trees and a nice bonus in the shape of a distant Merlin from Ivy South was the last new bird for this week. I don't see them too often and was quite pleased until Bob burst my bubble  - he'd had three together noisily chasing each other on the way in to work! A distant Kingfisher still looked good in the very bright light and eventually flew over the hide and it or another was then on the Silt Pond.
Nothing was very photogenic today.

So, still plenty of common birds not seen for the year, Reed Bunting still being absent.