Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Back to Pennington

The lure of another good bird at Pennington had me back to the south coast and straight away over to the Shoveler pool.  Initially picked up a Little Stint and then the Semi-palmated Sandpiper.  Superficially similar to the Little Stint in size but much greyer with much more evident supercilium.  The sandpiper also lacked the obvious white V on the mantle. It appeared slightly more bulky than the Little Stint.  At times it showed so closely that it was possible to see the palmations between the toes.

After viewing the bird for some time I went for a walk down to Keyhaven and then back on the inland path.  Other species included an adult Mediterranean Gull, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank and 2 Curlew Sandpipers.

Also 2 Wheatears, one on the path by Fishtail Lagoon, the other on shingle at Keyhaven.

Also heard a Cetti's Warbler calling.

Black terns galore (Theale, 25/09/11)

On hearing of a potential Berkshire tick it was off to Theale Main Pit.  On arrival the flock of Black Terns were feeding at the back of the lake towards the motorway.  Although I only managed to get to 49 in my estimates I was led to believe there were 54 birds!

The Little Gull was seen quite early on but the Berkshire tick, two juvenile Kittiwakes, were a little mor erratic in their appearances.

Also over the lake was a single Hobby and 2 distant Red Kites.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Amazing Pec (24/09/11)

The Pectoral Sandpiper originally seen at Crookham Common had returned (or it was another bird!) so I went to see it.  I've never been to this site before so didn't know where to go but eventually found the areas of water.  Initially, I couldn't find any other birders but I then saw a couple of guys sitting on the ground watching something.

I crept over to them and realised the Pectoral Sandpiper was feeding unconcerned right next to them.  Over the next hour or so I sat enthralled watching this wader from point blank range, sometimes down to about 10 feet.  At one point I thought it was going to walk under my tripod.

After admiring this bird I needed to retrieve my scope but I didn't want to flush it so had to wait.

When I headed back to the car I caught the unmistakable song of a Dartford Warbler and looking at the bush where it came from saw 2 birds and a Chiffchaff.

Also in the area I heard Woodlark and 2 Yellow Wagtails flew by.  A distant Red Kite was being mobbed by corvids.

Harrier time (20/9/11)

The harrier at Burpham, just north of Arundel, had been identified as a Pallid Harrier so I had to go for a look as this would only be my 2nd in Britain after the distant difficult male on the Isle of Sheppey years ago.

Initially I followed the map to The Burgh but this turned out to be totally the wrong place although it did yield 20+ Grey Partridges and a Wheatear.  I then found the right place which turned out to be only a few hundred yards from the car!
Eventually I caught a glimpse of a ring-tailed Harrier disappearing into the valley.  I called it out and a few moments later the juvenile Pallid Harrier gave a cracking view as it floated over the base of the valley just above the ground.  Could see the "boa" on its neck and the gorgeouse unmarked orange underparts.  It proceeded to fly around the hill we were stood on then disappeared from view.

A while later it flew over the other side of the hill and appeared, a bit more distantly, over the further fields.

At one point it landed briefly in the field.

A grand day out (19/9/11, Sturt Pond & Pennington - Normandy Marshes)

As there were good birds to be found in the area I made another visit today.

I first went to Sturt Pond and walked up the side of the pond where I found the juvenile Sabine's Gull showing very well.  The bird was initially swimming up and down amongst the other gulls, then it started preening and finally rested up on the bank.  In amongst the gulls were at least 30+ Mediterranean Gulls of all ages.

Next onto Pennington marshes where one of the first waders I clapped my eyes on was a Little Stint feeding on the mud.   I then walked around to Normandy Marsh which was quite a stretch and saw the 1w Grey Phalarope along with another Little Stint.  I couldn't, however, find any Curlew Sandpipers.

Other good birds in the area included:

15 Eider
4 Greenshank
4 Mediterranean Gulls

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Pennington/Keyhaven Marshes

As there was some good birds to be had here I made the effort to see them.

First off was the Baird's Sandpiper which was feeding with Dunlin on the Shoveler Pool.  I distinctly paler, smaller and more stint like wader than the accompanying Dunlin.

I then proceeded to search for the reported Grey Phalarope but there was no sign of it.  A bonus arrived in another Wryneck which showed in the scrubby area behind the pools and this time the bird actually sat pretty much in the open.

Other good birds around included at least 3 Mediterranean Gulls, Spotted Redshank, quite a few Ruff and lots of hirundines.  I missed the Honey Buzzard that flew over with a flock of about 20 Common Buzzards.

When I got home I found out that the Phalarope had moved to Normandy Marshes and there was also a Spoonbill there - damn!

Elusive Wryneck

Today spent the afternoon looking for the Wryneck at Old Basing.  It was extremely elusive in the strong wind and just as I was going to give up a bird popped into a bush next to me and I managed to pick out it was the Wryneck - all I could see was its back!  It then moved right into another bush giving me a chance to see its head.  I tried to get the other birders present onto it but it had obviously shot out the back of the bush which I couldn't see!