Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Titchfield Haven (19th September 2010)

The North East Hants RSPB group trip but I thought I would nip down to Farlington Marshes first to see the reported Lapland Bunting.

I didn't hang around but did the reserve in just over an hour walking clockwise towards the Deeps.

On the way around I had a couple of Yellow Wagtails feeding amongst the cattle, 3 Wheatears and a Winchat on the central fence and a fly-over Snipe.

Once I got to the Deeps I didn't have to wait long for a Lapland Bunting (161) to appear, creeping amongst the short grass only a few yards away. Basically like a Reed Bunting but with redder brown in colour. Noted the dark crown stripes with grey median crown-stripe, reddish brown ear coverts with black border and quite a strong malar stripe.

In the harbour an Osprey was feeding on a fish by Hayling Island bridge. Lastly Bearded Tits (162) were showing very well in the reed beds by the main lake.

Onto Titchfield Haven where as I was heading off to meet everyone I caught a brief glimpse of a Cetti's Warbler (163). I met with everyone (Rob had reported a Kittiwake in the Solent) and then it transpired I was going to be the leader for the day. I went and got permits for everyone and then collected money from all before setting off towards the hides.

The reserve was quite quiet despite the high tide, the highlights being Common Sandpiper, 2 Dunlins, Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Green Sandpipers.

On the way back to the car park for lunch the river had 25+ Mediterranean Gulls on it including 1st-winters, 2nd summers and adults. During lunch we watched the arriving gulls and waders as the tide started to recede. One gull had a white ring with red letters (A5PF) which I believe is a bird rescued by the RSPCA in Sussex. I have sent and email to them asking about the bird.

Also in the waders was a juvenile Sanderling (164).

After lunch we went to the other side of the reserve but as usual it was pretty poor.

Thursley Common (18th September 2010)

I had news that Common Hawkers had been seen here recently, so I went to have a look.

I didn't have any success although it was quite windy and I did see a hawker sp. but couldn't identify it from Migrant as it was constantly in flight.

Other species included:

Common Darter
Common Blue Damselfly
Small Red Damselfly
Brown Hawker
Lots of Black Darters

Birds included a large flock of Meadow Pipits, 3 Buzzards and a fly-over Tree Pipit.

Gosport (11/09/10)

A dark and gloomy day but I got wind of a rare shrike at Gosport. I filled in the coordinates in my TomTom and was off. I eventually reached the destination coordinates but couldn't see the expected water. I drove around the block a couple of times and then decided to get as near to the coordinates and get and walk.

I stopped the car and walked to a gap between some houses only to find that I had found the location and was parked in the perfect spot.

The Isabelline (Daurian) Shrike (158) was only barely showing when I arrived and I got glimpses to say that I had seen it.

I then walked around the other side of the bushes where the light was better and was eventually rewarded with good views of the shrike - it wasn't being very shrike like at all - disappearing for minutes on end in the depths of the bush!

Noted the following ID features: Generally pale and sandy with diffuse dark bandit mask, slight orange shade to throat, slight eye ring crescent above the eye, grey brown head, bill horn colour with black tip, fine scalloping on sandy breast, long brown tail with buff tip, darker tertials with buff edges, buffy rump/uppertail coverts.

After Gosport I went over to Farlington Marshes (where after a while it chucked it down with rain and I got soaked!).

This time there was nobody working on the main pond and I caught it just before high tide so the roost was quite impressive: 50+ Knot, Dunlin, Lapwing, Grey Plover, Oystercatcher, 8 Greenshank, Redshank, 3 Curlew Sandpiper (159), Black-tailed Godwit, c10 Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel and 2 Snipe.

Embarrassingly I just notice my year list doesn't have Meadow Pipit (160) but as were a lot here it does now :-). Also around the reserve were at least 20 Yellow Wagtails, 20+ Little Egrets, female Pintail, Common Sandpiper, 6 Wheatears and 3 Blackcaps.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Cockmarsh (06/09/10)

With reports of a Red-backed Shrike I popped out to this site near Cookham at lunchtime.

A few birders were about but none had seen the bird.

I had no luck either and returned to the office. I then found out that the bird had been seen west of the railway not east - I was in the wrong place! Luckily the bird was never seen again.

Radley GP's (05/09/10)

On a particularly overcast and damp day went over to Radley GP's but the directions to the bird were somewhat patchy. I eventually found a couple of birders who told where to find it.

Once at the ash lagoon I quickly found my quarry, i.e. a juvenile/1st-winter Spotted Crake (157) which was feeding with a couple of Moorhens on the ash right out in the open (although a little distant). ID features noted were the buff undertail coverts, white spotting on body, greyish throat and and yellowish bill. Unlike most crakes I see this one spent more time in the open than it did in cover!

Around the rest of the lakes were a couple of Green Sandpipers, 3 Greenshank, a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a Pheasant walking across the ash! and a Common Sandpiper.

Moor Green Lakes (03/09/10)

My parents came up for the day and as it was a nice day we went for a walk to the reserve. The variety of waders were quite low with a couple of Common Sandpipers, 2 Snipe (155) and a number of Lapwings.

There was an adult Egyptian Goose with a youngster on the new diggings.

Walking around the main lakes revealled a couple of distant Hobbies over Finchampstead Ridges and one (possibly two) Spotted Flycatchers (156) flycatching from a dead tree by the river.

No sign of any Little Owls.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Farlington Marshes (31st August 2010)

In the best of the weather for some days I made a trip for migrants to this reserve.

First up was a pair of Migrant Hawkers in a mating wheel which actually landed on a bush so that I could photograph them. The only other odonata I spotted were a few Blue-tailed Damselflies and some other hawkers who did not stop flying so it was difficult to identify them.

Around the reserve was some evidence of migration including 2 Blackcaps, 2 Whitethroats, 15+ Yellow Wagtails, Common Sandpiper, 5 Swallows and 4 Sand Martins through, 4 Wheatears and a couple of Whinchats.

There was a very distant Osprey (154) sitting on a post in the channel between the marsh and Hayling Island.

Other good birds included 2 Buzzards, 14 Greenshank, quite a lot of Grey Plover, 25+ Little Egrets and a Little Tern.

The most annoying thing was that the Wildlife Trust had picked today to cut back the reeds around the main lake. They were doing this at high tide so stopped any roost building up there - I had to make do with the roost moving (in part) to the stream.