Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Shorties, like Dr Proton, are the best...

A quick jaunt up to PHP produced the egret immediately and from the car whilst driving, assuming it wasn't a large wind blown plastic bag!! - which it wasn't thankfully. Not such a big deal species anymore but still nice to watch, and a 'site tick', especially when catching an almost-too-large fish which took some swallowing. Unfortunately, the need for people/dog walkers to walk down to the pond edge ensured it was flushed frequently. Just one Little Egret and two Grey Herons shared the shoreline but just a single Tufted Duck and no grebes.

A nice Treecreeper was point blank adjacent to the car park on arrival and another one or two were heard amongst a tit flock which contained a Firecrest.

At QE, now much quieter than in recent days with kids back to school, a nice soup lunch and improving weather produced a curious Firecrest which sat quietly ten feet away for a few minutes, but with so much leaf still on trees it was too dark for a snap. Singles of Red Kite and Buzzard only.

Decided to have a brief look at Farlington at high tide where the lake was full of birds and the heat from the sun balanced out the chilly breeze. Good to see Avocets back, plenty of Pintail and Teal hunkered down against the reeds and snoozing, plus eight roosting Greenshanks. Spent some time chatting to DCs bird group from Dorset and was able to point out a Shorty hunting distantly in point field. On walking around a second bird appeared and both put on a superb show - good to get these with no one else around and before the point field area gets clogged up with togs and potentially padlocked gates. SEO is definitely a top 10 'desert island disc' sort of bird!! Apparently, there were a fair few mergs offshore which I didn't have time for but hopefully Black-necked Grebe, Goldeneye and Great Northern Diver will pop up fairly soon. Passerines were at a premium with just M'ipits being plentiful and a couple each of Reed Bunting, Stonechat and Rock Pipit - too windy for any Beardies today.

Finally, on return one SEO was hunting the fenced area and flushing all the gulls and waders before perching up on a fencepost just below the seawall. At the same time a cream-crown Marsh Harrier was quartering the reed bed and finally, after shooing a few cows out of the way just prior to the blockhouse, a Peregrine went off northwards, presumably to a roost site up on Portsdown.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Frustrating all round...

An ultimately frustrating day. Considered looking for the GWE at Petersfield but assumed it would have moved on so gave it a miss; seen by others mid-morning!! Day-deamed on the way to Pulborough about Rough-legged Buzzard this winter only to see one on goingbirding from Farlington about the time I drove by!!

At Pulborough decided to leave the camera in the car; first one, then two Kestrels posed well in brilliant light. Marsh Harrier nice but distant. Pretty much nothing else and certainly nothing close.

Off to what I assumed would be a quiet WWT for lunch to find a local inset day so full of people. A Kingfisher only heard a few times and seen briefly from the restaurant along with a Grey Wagtail on the concrete pond edge. The Snipe above, some of ten or more, were reasonably photogenic and absolutely point blank at one time being just below the hide but nearly always either in shade or strongly backlit. Ironically most noise and disturbance from other togs!!Note to self - take earplugs!!

Last visit's Med Gulls were all gone, bar one heard, and replaced by about 100 Common Gulls. This single scruffy Pintail dropped in and was followed soon after by a similarly dull Wigeon, but most other Shoveler and Teal were hiding from the cold wind tucked under waterside bushes.

A final cuppa looking out over the restaurant pond produced this Danish Black-headed Gull - details awaiting.

Pretty much no passerines here although with MD finding Hawfinches in Sherwood Rough hopefully a few may set up home around WWT over the winter.

Finally, rats, loads of them around feeders!

Update:- The gull was ringed as a 3cy+ in March of this year just north of Copenhagen and not reported prior to today.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

One life less..

A brief Blashford visit was cold and birdless with just half a dozen Goosanders including the first male of the winter, 30+ Pochards, a Sparrowhawk, a single Swallow, a few heard-only Siskins up in the trees and probably 500+ Wood Pigeons on the move south-westwards.

Later, after dropping M&M off, a skinny, town-Fox used up one of its lives dashing in front of the car but turning away just in time.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Way to go....!!

Lunch outing yesterday produced just Grey Heron, Kestrel, Jays and Buzzard from the car and the usual gaggle of Turnstones. Apparently the YBW wasn't seen nor heard so presumably moved on. Nice to catch up with Nick and his wife for the first time this year - they managed a nice head shot of a Grey Seal in the harbour devouring a flatfish - and Mark who I've not seen for a while.

Today, a brief non-birding trip up to Petersfield produced two nice point-blank Grey Wagtails in the quiet and sheltered Physic Garden and back at base a few more Shovelers present, now up to nine.

Globally, this article about long distance Willow Warbler migration was a good read.

And some interesting stuff here on 'Stejneger's Stonechat:-

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Ringed Plovers

Yesterday, little other than 60+ Cormorants, three Grey Herons and two Little Egrets plus still plenty of Hornet activity. At the park later, still some insect activity on Ivy near the storage yard and two each of Buzzard and Red Kite plus the odd Siskin.

Today the YBW was still vocal and elusive and generally, despite being calmer than two days ago, was a little quieter on the bird front. The tame Vixen turned up with a large bread roll or somesuch and trotted off down the boardwalk.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Tseeweest !

Spent a fair a mount of time listening for and to the TH Yellow-brow but, with it liking the warm, sheltered, sun-lit gardens adjacent to the boardwalk it never put in an appearance. Frustratingly elusive!! On arrival two Red Kites were high and over with one present low over the scrub later in the day; single Marsh Harrier, two sightings of Sparrowhawk and this Kestrel taking advantage of the much shorter grass to catch prey, probably a Bank Vole in another photo.

Three Common Scoter were offshore and a Rock Pipit flew over.

The scrapes had just two each of Snipe and Grey Plover and this Little Egret, one of five, was reducing the Common Darter population. The frying pan had a number of sleepy Pintail shimmering in the haze.

Quite a few hovers of seven species including this Sericomyia silentis, the first in many weeks, were on Ivy with fewer Honey Bees and Ivy Bees than recently plus odd Red Admirals and a male Common Blue blown over the beach.

Friday, 19 October 2018

A post-shopping tour of the pond was pleasant, chillier than yesterday and pretty birdless. Forty-two Cormorants were a little down on last autumn's peak of 56, single Grey Heron, no ducks other than Mallard, a couple of heard-only Mistle Thrush and yet another day with Skylarks audible overhead and all presumably part of light, autumn passage. Still mating Common Darters on the wing, Eristalis spp, Hornets and Ivy Bees on the hotter, more sheltered Ivy patches.

Four Buzzards were circling together above the Causeway.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

The/a unringed Great White Egret was with herons early on before heading off to the far side and eventually going off again to the west where it soared around aimlessly for a while, before deciding to re-alight on the reserve. Two kites were sparring with two Buzzards distantly, singles of Sparrowhawk and Raven, one possibly two Green Sandpipers and seven Goosanders. A noisy flock of Linnets maybe 35 strong were noticeable.

A chat with Tracy whilst perusing the trap contents; this November moth(agg) was one of a couple, Black Rustic was too tatty to photograph, Angle Shades and this very attractive Merveille du Jour easily the best. No birds of note but a few Siskins high up in the trees, plenty of Nuthatch activity on all feeders and a Water Rail which dashed across the path to ISH.

Lunch at PW (Avo-lafel sandwiches- Mmm, mmm)  produced a soaring adult Gos immediately and before I'd got the scope up!! Two 'chuck' ing Ring Ouzels were disturbed in the company of Redwings adjacent to the car with one still calling invisibly from further down the slope; only Blackbirds showed themselves when I went looking. A dozen Fieldfares, single Mistle Thrush, two Woodlarks and the odd heard-only Siskins rounded out this brief visit.

PS A few Large Wainscots were something I've not caught at home nor, looking at the book, have seen before.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

A misty start with the usual foghorn sounding and overflying Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtails and Goldfinches invisible in the murk. Mostly rather torpid blunderwings in the trap with singles of Brimstone, Turnip, Pale Mottled Willow, Lunar Underwing (first for two years) and Feathered Thorn, the latter two being new species for the garden and the thorn being a new catch.

Feathered Thorn

Lunar Underwing

A coffee mid-morning, overlooking the harbour in glorious weather was supplemented by a flyover Siskin, just about low enough to be visible, a few M'ipits, Pied Wagtails and Golfinches and a Sparrowhawk crossing from Pompey to Gosport and disturbing a variety of Feral Pigeons on the way.
Back at base, with a change to totally overcast skies, a quadrupling of Shovelers to.... well just four!!.. yesterday's female now added to by a male and two females.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Still no BRs..

Another go at the Meon Shore Black Redstarts was fruitless; just two distant Common Scoters offshore. On the reserve plenty of Water Rail noise with the MSH bird now having to fly between patches of reeds after so much 'pruning'.

On the beach 40+ Brent Geese and 20+ Ringed Plovers but only a single Med Gull.

East side was essentially birdless with just a few invisible Goldcrests.

Still a few Eristalis tenax and Ivy Bees.

Putting the trap out produced a day-flying Light-brown Apple Moth and a flyover Grey Wagtail heading towards the pond.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Reynard, the roamer of rooves...

On a pretty breezy morning a cacophony of post-dawn Carrion Crows were an alert for a large and bushy-tailed Fox on nextdoor's flat workshop roof; the crows followed him as he made his way across the neighbouring gardens.  A Cormorant set off from the pond roost heading west soon after.

Later at the pond a 25-strong mixed tit flock (mostly LOTTis) was moving through and alarm-calling the presence of a Sparrowhawk which circled a couple of times before heading off into the gardens. Several Migrant Hawkers were on the wing and a calling Cetti's, the first in a while, was in the south side scrub. A female shoveler was the first one back.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Blank Redstarts (sic!!)

Meadow Pipit

A breezy day, great for windsurfing but not so good for encouraging either of the two Black Redstarts out from amongst the chalets despite two passes, one before and one after lunch. A juvenile harrier made the usual run across the top of the meadow, via the frying pan and on along the river, so, as usual out of camera range. Even in sheltered spots little passerine activity with just a couple of Chiffs and no sign/sound of the possible YBW.

On the beach the roosting Turnstones and Ringed Plovers were disturbed by a tog but later, on the hightide, the former were stretched out along the very close strand line adjacent to the chalets and far less bothered by people when feeding.

The west side 'manicuring' has been done to great effect with clear views all the way through to north scrape which produced a single Greenshank, although it feels as if the three days of disturbance has had a knock-on effect on the number of birds

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Quick response !!

The Hungarian group responsible for yesterday's colour- ringed Med Gull got back to me overnight.

2014.06.15.;8;20;Szeged (Fehér-tó XI. - Korom-sziget);Hungary;HG43;46.3347;20.0825;Domján András;
2015.06.08.;7;81;Antwerpen (Total-colony);Belgium;BL20;51.2569;4.325;Jos Jacobs;
2016.03.12.;7;81;Boulogne-sur-Mer;France;FR07;50.7333;1.5833;Eric Petit-Berghem;
2017.04.16.;7;81;Antwerpen (Total-colony);Belgium;BL20;51.2569;4.325;Renaud Flamant;
2017.04.17.;7;81;Antwerpen (Total-colony);Belgium;BL20;51.2569;4.325;Jos Jacobs;
2017.07.25.;7;81;Wissant (Hameau de Strouanne);France;FR07;50.9;1.6833;Renaud Flamant;
2018.03.04.;7;81;Paimpol (Beauport);France;FR32;48.7667;-3.0167;Patrice Berthelot;
2018.03.14.;7;81;Doelpolder-­Noord (Beveren);Belgium;BL27;51.0333;4.2333;Dirk Draulans;
2018.03.16.;7;81;Doelpolder-­Noord (Beveren);Belgium;BL27;51.0333;4.2333;Dirk Draulans;
2018.03.16.;7;81;Antwerpen (Total-colony);Belgium;BL20;51.2569;4.325;Renaud Flamant;
2018.03.23.;7;81;Antwerpen (Total-colony);Belgium;BL20;51.2569;4.325;Renaud Flamant;
2018.03.24.;7;81;Antwerpen (Total-colony);Belgium;BL20;51.2569;4.325;Bram Van Loock;
2018.03.25.;7;81;Antwerpen (Total-colony);Belgium;BL20;51.2569;4.325;Renaud Flamant;
2018.03.28.;7;81;Antwerpen (Total-colony);Belgium;BL20;51.2569;4.325;Renaud Flamant;
2018.03.29.;7;81;Antwerpen (Total-colony);Belgium;BL20;51.2569;4.325;Renaud Flamant;
2018.04.23.;7;81;Antwerpen (Total-colony);Belgium;BL20;51.2569;4.325;Renaud Flamant;
2018.04.24.;7;81;Antwerpen (Total-colony);Belgium;BL20;51.2569;4.325;Renaud Flamant;
2018.10.10.;7;81;Arundel (WWT);Great Britain (UK);GBSX;50.8636;-0.5519;Russel Tofts;

And map here

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Look Russ, no rings!!....

An uneventful trip to Pulborough on a glorious day which descended into heavy mist at the bottom of the A29 but recovered an hour or so later.

As the mist cleared two or three Stonechats popped up on fence posts, a good few Skylarks were flying around calling and a eventually a distant Peregrine set off on a chase. Two or three Clouded Yellows were bumbling around and another was later along Adder Alley; also Red Admirals, Common Blues, Small Copper, Speckled Woods and a Brimstone.
As per yesterday, lots of Hornets presumably licking up honeydew.

Ten or more Snipes and a couple more Stonechats was about it for the north brooks.

Over lunch a nicely-lit Red Kite drifted over Upperton's Field.

At Arundel, just a brief distant Kingfisher, a drake Mandarin and less than 30 Med Gulls including this Hungarian bird and a juvenile with an unreadable metal ring. Many washing and bathing birds performed this 'dangling leg' shake to remove water which was useful in establishing no colour rings present as they flew by.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Various, including Med Gull info..

Collected a few bits and bobs and ended up at PHP where, for the first time since Spring, no sight/sound of Chiffies nor martins; in fact mostly birdless barring a calling Firecrest in the Ivy patch and a Red Kite in from the north.
Pretty noisy today, mostly down to a continuously circling police helicopter trying to locate a dementia patient in the area helped by a few bike officers.

Sadly, no Yellow-brows although, with birds on Hayling and at Titchfield today, hopefully one will pop up somewhere this month. Insect wise lots of Hornets at the 'alley' heading determinedly right to left either from or to a nest; earlier one was buzzing around the car at Hazleton lights. A fresh looking Comma was on Water Mint near the car park and the heat encouraged a few Migrant Hawkers up. No Ivy Bees today.

Subsequently, a brief binocular-only visit to Farlington in gorgeous weather, and at high tide, was very pleasant with the lake being full of birds, mostly Dunlin, Black'wit, Redshank and Grey Plover but also a few Knot,  four Bar'wit, twenty or so Ringed Plovers, three Snipe and a Curlew. Amongst fifteen Pintail were a couple of males still well short of winter plumage. A Water Rail was just below the viewpoint in deep shade, a couple of Beardies pinged in the distance and a Kingfisher called from behind whilst dashing across the harbour towards the dock.

The point field was home to a big bonfire with three Kestrels in attendance and two others distantly off the reserve. A final flurry of raptors, with a Sparrowhawk flushing things on a run through the RA and lastly a distant inbound Osprey which circled a few times before heading towards North Binness.

Got home to an email from Camille regarding last weeks 'new' Med Gull at Arundel:-

White 3157 right Bruxelles E946506 >3CY 12/05/2018 Total, Antwerpen, Antwerpen, BELGIUM 51,15N 4,19E Pauwels, André

White 3157 n 20/05/2018 Total, Antwerpen, Antwerpen, BELGIUM  51,15N 4,19E Flamant, Renaud

White 3157 c 22/06/2018 Sint-Amands, Antwerpen, BELGIUM  51,03N 4,13E Pauwels, André

White 3157 v 03/10/2018 WWT Arundel, West Sussex, GB  50,52N 0,33W Tofts, Russell

Monday, 8 October 2018

Another Nimitz in the bay...

An unplanned non-wildlife visit to Petersfield, then QE and return home before deciding it was too nice to stay in, so off to Titchfield where the Nimitz class USS Harry  Truman was anchored in the same spot in Stoke's Bay as last year's sister ship the USS George W Bush; and much the same size and aircraft carrying capability.

On a smaller scale, the above yacht does seem to be a favourite for high-tide roosting Turnstones. From the viewpoint it was nice to see this female Volucella zonaria, the first in ages, pottering around amongst the bees, including a few Honey Bees and terrestris or lucorum agg. A couple each of  Water Rail and Cetti's were heard but sadly no time for checking out the chalet area for Amy's Black Redstart.

Friday, 5 October 2018


Another day of alternating weather, today being stunningly blue and very warm but the early mist ensured that the Fawley Chimney was floating in mid air with a foghorn sounding from nearby. The Dartford Warbler was still by the west entrance in association with a Stonechat and a Rock Pipit was on the beach.

Yet more Ivy Bees sharing food with wasps and the odd Red Admiral, a number of which were inbound over the Solent.

On the east side just two Ravens in the meadow

Returning to the car and scoping westwards produced a 1cy Little Gull off Brownwich amongst BHGs.

A Buzzard drifted high over the house heading inland over a cuppa mid-afternoon

Thursday, 4 October 2018

At Chichester, over coffee and sausage roll, this Kestrel popped in and perched at the end of the garden where it looked down at me and guffawed at my lack of lens!! With just a 'nifty fifty', no chance of a portrait. Must be nice to know that it's the one time of year when it's safe from marauding, territorial Peregrines!

Picked up a new top, the book above and a few bits. Too grey and overcast on the return journey for any 'roadside hawks'.

Multitude of Meds...

A slightly circuitous route to PB via Bosham took a few minutes under an hour today. South Brooks still bone dry and just a single kite and 3+ Stonechats. A Clouded Yellow bumbled through, first for the year and Ann saw two more later. Some Ivy Bees were noisy at the back of the hide. Red Admiral, Speckled Woods and Common Blues were the only other butterflies. The North Brooks were more productive with a smart and quite close juvenile Marsh Harrier, circling up and being joined by a second bird plus another kite. A few Snipe and a dozen or so Wigeon. Hornets were particularly obvious and active today at the top of the zigzag. Today was the first day this autumn without a single hirundine.

Afternoon at WWT produced the usual fare although ground work ensured Kingfishers were kept away from the photo perch. At least 120 Med Gulls were bathing but only two birds out of water showed rings, one white and one green, the usual Belgian and French colours. The latter was already known to Martin Daniels from previous postings; I think the white one was a new visitor.

PS Earlier the moth trap was damp with dew and had just a handful of moths, mostly 'blunderwings' but first one out was a Bloxworth Snout, a lifer plus, obviously, NfG/T. But still no Lunar Underwings, sallows, Black Rustic or quakers. Maybe one or two more sessions before the month is out!!

Tuesday, 2 October 2018


Adult (left) and juv Goshawks

Ferruginous Duck

An uneventful journey to Blashford with the first bridge removal work complete on the motorway so no holdups; not so lucky for west bound drivers with a three car pile-up adjacent to Burley services, all write-offs I would think and tailed back to beyond Ringwood.

Blue skies, chilly breeze and pretty much nothing on the south side although somebody had a Bittern - new in or the one from a couple of weeks back??

Initially on Ibsley Water, nothing special with just 125 or so Grey Herons and one GWE; a single Swallow was the only hirundine all day. Despite plenty of people looking no sign of yesterday's Garganey nor Grey Phalarope. However, the returning Ferruginous Duck was around the 'twigs'  for its 10th or 11th winter; it seems to arrive here for a few days before decamping to the inaccessible Kingfisher Lake, so good to catch it here.

The Wood Sandpiper popped up distantly  and joined up with one or possibly two Green Sandpipers, disappeared and then proceeded to perform a nice walk-by in front of the hide in perfect light; probably the best and closest view of the species in many years.

Returning through the forest to avoid any potential delays with the A31 chaos prompted a brief, late lunchtime raptor watch and which, surprisingly, produced two Goshawks within 10 minutes. An adult and a juvenile rose up from the trees and sparred away playfully, getting higher and higher with lots of stoops and talon flashing before gliding away eastwards. Just five Buzzards and a single Raven which would have gone unrecorded but for a typical call as it passed behind me.