Monday, 30 January 2012

Grand Tour of Surrey/Berks (22/01/12)

On a very blustery day I set off for Staines Reservoir first of all for last years birds.

This time the drake Scaup was extremely distant on the far bank of the north basin, there were 2 red-head Smew, the Great Northern Diver was elusive on the north basin, the Shag was on the floating raft, there was a drake RD with the Pochard/Tufted Ducks, a very distant Green Sandpiper on the south basin and no sign of the Water Pipit.

Next it was off to Remenham where I lucked in the one Tree Sparrow.  Seen in the hedge quite close to the road with House Sparrows, Chaffinches and impressive numbers of Reed Buntings.

Next, onto Dinton Pastures but it was pretty disappointing with no Barn Owl, no Bittern and no birds on the scrape as work was being carried out nearby.  Did get a Treecreeper though.

My final destination was Moor Green Lakes and I had good views of a Firecrest off Dell Road.  At the lakes themselves were about 8 Goosander and a male Bullfinch but no Barn Owl or Little Owl.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Grand tour of Hampshire

First I went down to Hawkhill Inclosure at first light.  While waiting for the Dark-eyed Junco to appear there was plenty of interest from a lot of Crossbills in the area.  Eentually the Junco showed on a fallen pine and in tall trees near to the pine and once I had seen it I went to join the other birders closer to the fallen pine.  The bird showed quite nicely on occasions and perched up for me to take a pretty awful picture in the bad light.

Next I went down to Pennington Marshes where there was a fishing competition going on and one of the guys had caught quite a large Flounder.  Highlights of Pennington were 4 Spotted Redshank, a Slavonian Grebe, 2 (maybe 3) Dartford Warblers in gorse near the jetty, 3 Golden Plover on the floods and 3 Bar-tailed Godwits in the high tide roost.

Next onto Barton-on-Sea where eventually pinned down 5 Purple Sandpipers feeding on rocks under the eastern cliff-top car park.  Also here was a Rock Pipit.

Next over to Ibsley but there were no Bewick's Swans - just a pair of Egyptian Geese.

Next Blashford Lakes where there was not much on Ibsley Water, no Bramblings on the feeders, however a couple of Lesser Redpolls on the feeders, a Nuthatch and the drake Ferruginous Duck from Ivy Lake South Hide were good.  The Ferruginous Duck was intially quite active and then it went to sleep in amongst the Pochard.  I then tried for the Bittern and Great White Egret but couldn't find either.

Next over to the Rhinefield Arboretum where I was expecting to have to wait for the Hawfinches to appear but a pair were on display as soon as a I arrived.  This gave me time to go over to Beaulieu Road Station but I missed the Great Grey Shrike, but some recompense came in the form of a cracking male Hen Harrier.

So ended one of the best birding days I have had for some time.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

200 up! (29/12/11)

My final successful trip of the year (although I did go to the downs south of Oxford on news year eve but found nothing new there) was to Staines Reservoir where I was the only birder.

First up I found the juvenile Shag quite close to the causeway - it was quite actively feeding.  Next I picked up the drake Scaup in amongst the Tufted Ducks but couldn't find the female.

Next up was to try and find the Black-necked Grebes and Great Northern Diver.  I didn't try very hard for the BN Grebes but eventually pinned down the Great Northern Diver feeding on the south west corner of the south basin.

The last good bird of the year was a Water Pipit feeding on the western bank of the northern basin.

I popped over to Dinton Pastures to try and see the Bittern but with no luck.

So I pretty slow year (finishing on 200 species) but some excellent birds even though I didn't try very hard.

Warblington (27/12/11)

On the way to my brothers I dropped into Warblington and immediately found the Cattle Egret in the company of a Little Egret in the field.  Even when the farmer released the cows into the field they just moved back and then resumed feeding.

Littlehampton Beach/Shoreham (26/12/11)

I went out for a walk in the morning to see what was on the beach but little to report except quite a lot of Turnstones, a few Sanderling and a lot of dog walkers.

In the afternoon we went to the Widewater at Shoreham where we eventually found the spot where the two Snow Buntings could be seen feeding on the grain put out for them.  Even though they were quite oblivious to the number of people, one guy with his dogs did frighten them off by walking right up to them when it was obvious people were watching something on the beach - sheer inconsideration!

Burpham (25/12/2011)

After Christmas dinner with Dad we drove to Burpham in order to find the Rough-legged Buzzard.  After seeing a few Buzzards, a couple of Red Kites and quite a few Grey Partridges on the way to The Burgh, I picked up a raptor being pestered by crows.  It look distinctly pale and white sitting on a feeder bin but I was wary and eventually it took flight where the distinctive tail pattern of a Rough-legged Buzzard.  Couldn't get my Dad on it in flight as it was very distant but he was happy with the perched views.  No Hen Harriers were seen which was disappointing.