Saturday, 29 September 2018

Upon reflection...

A gloriously, still day at TH where a second Ruff has appeared (one above) but few other waders. As the tide rose a number of Redshanks and 150+ Oystercatchers were pushed off the beach. Sixty or so Swallows dropped in to south scrape (literally!!) with many splashing into the water before perching up on the adjacent fence in the company of two Sand Martins but no House.
Later, on the east side a Swallow tape lure was being used which may have attracted these birds down.

Offshore a couple of Common Scoters seen by others and the first few returning Brent Geese.

From KBH a single Marsh Harrier, ubiquitous Buzzards and Kestrels; two Hobby put on a fine but mostly distant performance reducing the number of dragonflies and a couple of Ravens drifted through. Despite the cattle being present no sign of Cattle Egret and just a single Yellow Wagtail.

Stonechats have arrived back with at least seven birds, mostly males.

No insect surprises today but the Ivy Bees are now more widespread (up to KBH) and were numerous and very busy in the hot, south facing Ivy adjacent to the viewpoint.

Myathropa florea

Friday, 28 September 2018

Stoatally birdless.... and some colour...

At home the 'womping' sound of an overflying Chinnook flushed all the local 'trash birds' but also put up a good flock of Goldfinches (35-40); fifty years ago even a single Goldfinch would have been a good garden bird.

Later an ill-though-out trip to Arundel was effectively birdless with most areas disturbed by strimming, leaving just two Snipe, heard Kingfisher and a few Chiffchaff. A handful of Buzzards and two kites were out towards Norfolk Clump. The tape lure is still being used but to no effect today. Precious few insects even on Ivy with just four or five hover spp, Noon Fly and Red Admiral and this Peacock on buddleia.

Caught up with Geoff and Terry, chatted to Sam about Scaly-sided Mergansers  and then returned via the boardwalk which produced the highlight of the visit in the shape of a Stoat bounding from one side of to the other before running up and across some of the lower moss-covered boughs. Maybe one reason for the lack of Water Voles.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Hordes of hederae..

Yesterday at Pulborough a juvenile Marsh Harrier and two Hobbies were very watchable but the highlight was a Spotted Flycatcher along the seasonal path posing rather well but being chivvied by two argumentative Chiffies. Only my second SPOFL this year - how depressing is that??

A few 'new in' Wigeon and still good numbers of House Martin (say 300) and Swallow (maybe just three figures). Good to catch up with Tony (minus Jean, away in Ireland) plus Patrick and Sue.

Today's further bank account depletion process (aka the dentist!!) was followed by a quick look at QECP where yet again obvious and obliging Firecrests in the mixed flocks and a constant twitter from Goldfinches around the pond; the sky was empty apart from a single Buzzard. With Ivy the only (obvious) source of nectar, it was difficult finding hovers as the hot spots were swamped with Ivy Bees plus odd Hornets. The Ivy was also favoured by Red Admirals and Commas but the two Brimstones just barrelled through. Plenty of interaction on the pond between mating pairs of Common Darter and a singke Southern Hawker.

Monday, 24 September 2018


Yesterday, a brief non-birding visit to TH for BiL's birthday (coffee and cake) in poor weather did at least provide a small birding 'window' with a brief excursion to KBH where the long grass concealed a Cattle Egret and 25 each of M'ipits and Yellow Wags all flushed by a juvenile Sparrowhawk.

Today, despite accurate directions for the Riverside Park Grey Phalarope, I decided on a visit to Blashford first. At jct5 a Kestrel was playing Russian Roulette with vehicles by hovering very low over the very narrow divider strip on the bend.

On arrival, the Ibsley phalarope was surprisingly still present and, whilst distant, was at least well lit on a mill-pond like surface. More distantly both young Little Gulls  were very active but the Black Tern had departed. Bob's early count of 3000 House Martins was prior to them dispersing although the skies were full of dots on the distance. Only this heron was within camera range and a fly-by Green Woodpecker was too quick for all of us with cameras.

Brief chat with J6×4 but no birds of note on the south side.

Returned to Tern Hide where now one or two distant Hobbies and Sparrowhawks were causing the House Martins to rise up and flock, and caught up with KK for the first time this year.

Bob's earlier Wood Sand was a no-show with just Green, Common and Dunlin on the far shores and the 'new' Great White in the far corner.

No reports from Riverside during the day but late evening a FB message confirmed it was still there along with two more at Pennington in company of a Temminck's Stint. Must be time for TH to get a decent wader.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Yesterday, a lone Brent Goose from the car was the first of the autumn although I think others groups have been seen in the harbour. At Petersfield the lack of boat use gave 20+ Cormorants somewhere to perch whilst a single Great-crested Grebe was the only notable waterbird; still a few House Martins high overhead. On Butser just three(!!) birds, singles of Chiffchaff, Kestrel and Meadow Pipit.

Today TH was still very windy but very sunny and was pretty thin with surprisingly no changes after last night's poor weather and just nine Pintail supplementing the usual waders, plus a couple of Ravens.

On leaving, all the Oystercatchers were flushed but no obvious sign of any raptors so back to the car. Driving across the bridge, a high 'bird spp' going south was worth pulling up for as it was indeed an Osprey battling the strong crosswind to the IOW.

Later at Hook Links (parked Cowes Lane) very windy with single Reed Bunting and three Stonechats on the beach, the odd Sandwich Tern into Southampton Water and eventually the Grey Phalarope on the far side of the scrape. Its been a long time since a close and approachable phalarope, probably either the Hove or Sidlesham Ferry birds.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Juvenile Black Tern

Distant Peregrine

Managed to miss both Marsh Harrier and Cattle Egret over Ibsley Water by minutes but luckily the juvenile Black Tern (above) was still performing well and joined by a very dashing Hobby, a rather more lethargic adult Peregrine which landed on the islands for ten minutes or so and a 'non-Walter' Great White.
Most fish eaters were down on previous numbers and martins were about 750+ with few Swallows. Apart from 125 Lapwing the only waders were three Common Sandpipers; no obvious newly-arrived wildfowl as yet.
In the car park four or five calling and singing Chiffies.

On the other side Walter was fishing to the left of Ivy South and at least one juvenile grebe was being fed an eel. A brief look in the top layer of traps produced this Frosted Orange, Sallow, Snout and Autumnal Rustic, a Small Fan-footed Wave on the wall and few shieldbugs and caddisflies.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Farlington Pec and TH..

If the distance wasn't enough to hamper the camera lens then heat haze surely was but despite that, through the scope, the Pectoral Sandpiper feeding along the edge of the pool behind the storage building looked superb in the strong sunlight. Every feather immaculate. Photos don't do it justice. And the first at this site in just over 28 years!!

Earlier, fabulous Indian summer weather ( t-shirt n' shades) at TH was a pleasure but just a high inbound Marsh Harrier coming in from the west, the Ruff still and a few usual small waders was about it. Speckled Woods were particularly abundant today and the Ivy Bees are now popping up in other areas. 150+ Starlings are liking the perches offered up by the yachts in the harbour.

Busy rabbit..

Ridiculously busy at the Black Rabbit yesterday with only one car park space left at 2pm at the far end; and not much better two hours later. All of Mill Road jam-packed. Three Buzzards en route, plus a Long-tailed Tit flock in the garage forecourt area. Strange to be so close to WWT and not visit, something that's not happened for many a year.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Yesterday in glorious Indian summer weather, a circuit of the pond, lunch and lower circuit at the park. Ivy Bees were the most notable and abundant insects after Vespulas. Three hornets, Mellinus arvensis, Red-legged Shieldbug, Sargus flavipes female (specific ID via FB then off to irecord) plus good numbers of Small Copper on the heath and Speckled Wood in shadier spots. Water mint near the carpark was by far and away the most productive area with Tachina fera and numerous common hoverflies. The usual mixed flocks featured Chiffchaffs.

At QE Nowickia ferox, a few vocal Firecrests in a mixed flock, yet more Ivy Bees, Hornets, Southern Hawker and several Common Darters; still at least one Figwort Sawfly in the usual spot.

Today only half the moths of the previous catch, it being a cold clear night, with just L-album Wainscot and Brimstone in good nick.

Red-legged Shieldbug

Mellinus arvensis

Nowickia ferox

Sargus flavipes

A brief visit to Sidlesham produced little other than this flighty Spot'shank in the Long Pool, heard Greenshank, Whimbrel, Kingfisher. With a strong breeze in your face and the constant noise and vibration from traffic plus having the view obscured every few second by articulated lorries pushes this hide into joint worst along with Ivy North!! Small Tortoiseshell was the best of the few wind-blown inverts

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Photogenic fungi...

Mostly birdless barring 500 (ish) martins (no obvious Swallows), heard only Kingfisher and Yellow Wagtail. The edges of the lichen heath butting up to trees and scrubs held the most insects but still little on a breezy, totally overcast day; a couple of Colletes spp, Eupeodes latifasciatus, Dasysyrphus albiostratus, Syrphus spp, Episyrphus balteatus, Eristalis tenax, Melanostoma spp; Small Copper and Small Heath.

Not able to find the Autumn Ladies Tresses despite RC's best efforts so either going blind or (hopefully) misinterpreted directions!!

Fuligo septica ( a plasmodial slime mould, sometimes known as troll butter) and Coprinellus micaceus group above - both beside the main path

Monday, 10 September 2018

A brief pre-dental half-hour at QE produced a few new looking Small Coppers, three blues all so badly worn they could have been anything(!!) and three Firecrests in a mixed flock including two which were singing well and one of which responded strongly to my pishing, giving nice binocular-less views.

Post-dental, a walk around Farlington in a strong westerly breeze over high-tide produced a few birds, notably waders on the lake. Estimates here were 500 Redshanks, 300 Black-tailed Godwits, 125 Black-bellied Plovers, twenty Dunlins, three Snipe, three Knot and twenty Pintail, some here below. On the deeps a fine juvenile Spotted Redshank was snoozing, some more Dunlin and twenty Ringed Plovers. Also, difficult to count, but about 50 roosting Little Egrets. The Osprey was on its usual North Binness perch giving rather better scope views than previously from Broadmarsh. Insectwise just Migrant Hawkers, this male Leafcutter bee and a few fresh Small Coppers, Small Heaths and Common Blues in more sheltered area.

On the last leg this Whichat and a nearby Wheatear were pretty much the only passerines other than M'ipit and Swallow.

And earlier no Deaths-head Hawkmoth for me, just the usual stuff, although six L-album Wainscots was as many as the rest of the summer's total.

Friday, 7 September 2018

'I' marks the spot...

Yesterday, off to the bank for another tedious session which resulted in more confusion but nice weather lightened the mood and three Buzzards were over the main road en route At the garden centre one or two invisible Tree Pipits went over as did a few Swallows, and a sunbathing Painted Lady was the first I've come across for a few weeks.  With various hovers in amongst the plants I rather wished I'd brought the camera and macro!! At Bosham, prior to a light lunch, two more Buzzards were circling up into the blue and causing a local Kestrel to go a-kek-kekking.

Today was another TH Temminck's twitch, this time successful, but typically as far from any hide as possible. Still Ruff, Greenshank and three or four each of Common and Green Sandpipers A nice Whinchat perched up at the north end for a few minutes, two Ravens were playfully soaring to the west with  Sparrowhawk for company and 150+ mixed hirundines were off to the north, mostly very high.

Highlight of the day were the first Ivy Bees near the roadside viewpoint.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Black Poplar feeding frenzy

The trap had just 25/14 with two fresh L-album Wainscots the best, one here above in egg box ; plus some more Box-tree Moths.

A shortish stint at Pulborough with Pete (Carey, Gary T, Celia etc) produced a smart, juvenile Marsh Harrier and a single Whinchat on the South Brooks, just one Platycheirus rosarum but precious few other hovers. With so little on offer,  a post-lunch jaunt to WWT  was a better option.

Typically lots of strimming noise throughout and the deafening sound of the Sand Martin lure with up to 50+ birds being attracted, although non were using the perches.  A Kingfisher appeared very close in the Little Crake 'cutting' and it or others were heard around the site; the Ramsar hide was 'staked out' with Kingfisher togs so didn't stay there long. A distant Red Kite, a female Peregrine and a flyby Mandarin were best-of-the-rest.

The as yet unstrimmed edges held plenty of Water Mint etc which in itself attracted lots of Heliphilus pendulus plus a few hybridus, three Rhingia campestris and mostly Common Carder Bees. Rather surprised not to encounter any Volucellas.

Finally, the Black Poplar area was smothered in passerines as it has been in previous early Septembers with lots of tits, Chiffchaffs, a couple of Willow Warblers, two Reed Warblers a Garden Warbler and two Cettis one of which was almost close enough to touch. Sadly, the best of the light was gone and the still well-leaved trees made photography pretty much impossible.

On packing up a nice chat with Claire who I've not seen in a while.

On the bright side the HA have finally repaired all the westbound A27 so no more dodging potholes at 70mph!!

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Yesterday at TH was pretty fruitless being 'Temminck's- less' with the bird, unsurprisingly, reappearing briefly just before closing and then again today. No chance to revisit 'til Friday at the earliest. Singles of Ruff and Greenshank and Turnstones up to 70+.

Today was an Ivy Bee day at PHP but sadly none found just the Colletes spp above being one of very few. The Ivy was either insectless or swarming with Vespulas. A few Tachina fera (as above) and this Small Copper was about it; the 'insect-alley', as per last year, has been cleared ready for this weekend's SotH event.

A family of Egyptian Geese have five goslings about a week old, similar to this time last year and a dozen Cormorants were showing three coarse fisherman how it's done😀. A few calling and one or two singing Chiffchaffs, a single Swallow and barely double figures of House Martin.

Finally, a brief stop at Broadmarsh produced lots of Curlews feeding at the low tide and the expected Osprey perched up on North Binness.