Monday, 27 February 2012

South coast again (26/02/2012)

First stop was Harbridge where I had to wait for the fog to clear before finding any swans.  Eventually found a field that contained lots of Mute Swans and 4 Bewick's Swans (2 adults, 2 juveniles) and a few Barnacle Geese but no Whooper Swan.

Next to Stanpit Marsh where a tried for the Spotted Sandpiper but it was nowhere to be found.  I then walked around the marsh but had no luck with the Water Pipit either.

I then went to Mudeford and picked up the Great Northern Diver and Long-tailed Duck extremely far out - probably due to the amount of jet skiing going on!  I had another quick look at for Spotted Sand again on the way back - no luck.

Next onto Farlington Marshes where there was no sign of the Green-winged Teal on the lake.  I stood around for quite a while seeing very little and then decided to have a walk down the stream where amazingly I bumped into the Green-winged Teal with a couple of Eurasian Wigeon.  Noted the vertical, instead of horizontal, white stripe and the lack of pattern around the head colours and did the decent thing and walked back to the lake to inform the other birders present.  However, by the time we got back to the stream it had vanished.  After another long wait I returned to the lake to check whether the bird was present or not - No.

I then decided to give up along with the other 2 birders present so we started walking back to the car park.  As I passed the gap where I could see the stream I had a perfunctory look and was amazed to see the Green-winged Teal had re-appeared.  We eventually got great views of the bird feeding in the southerly corner of the stream

I then made my way to Budds Fm SW but there was no sign of the Iceland Gull, just loads of BH Gulls.  I then dropped into Broadmarsh where I started scanning the gulls.  Eventually two other birders turned up and one of them picked up the 2w Iceland Gull in flight - I then managed to pick it up myself.  It spent a lot of time plunge diving and then finally made its way over to the shore where it briefly rested up before being flushed.  It then went back into the harbour and had a good old wash.

I then decided it was time to go home - I was getting very cold.

So, a bad start to the day was redeemed at the end.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Pagham Harbour (19/02/12)

Back to the harbour for the NE Hants RSPB trip but dropped in before sun-up to the North Wall where I waited for the Paddyfield Warbler to appear in the tyre bush in the freezing cold.  After waiting another 2 birders turned up and we waited together.  Suddenly 7 geese flew in which looked like White-fronted Geese.  I needed to have a look because I couldn't see them over the reeds so started walking to the west side of the pools.  As I did so a bird popped up brieflly in a bush straight in front of me.  My immediate thought was Reed Warbler and then it dawned on me - unless there was a wintering Reed Warbler, I had the Paddyfield Warbler.  I signalled to the 2 other birds and we quietly walked along the path and flushed the bird a couple of times before it, unseen, flew into the reed bed.  One of the other birders then said he had it in the reed bed and after finding the best position looking into the reeds it could be seen perched about 2ft above the water line - it appeared to be warming itself in the sunshine.  After 10-15 mins in the open it then flew across the water and disappeared into another reed bed.  Thank you White-fronted Geese!  I noted the basic Reed Warbler type appearance with darker tail and wings and obvious head pattern with white throat and what appeared to be a robust pink-based bill.

I then met up with the RSPB group at Sidlesham Ferry where we had a brief look at the Ferry Pond and then onto Church Norton where there were a few Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Slavonian Grebes on the see but no Firecrests at the Severals.  However, on the way back to the car park we found a Firecrest by the entrance track which showed beautifully albeit restlessly.  While the rest of the group had lunch I went to the Selsey Bill where I was rewarded with 7 Mediterranean Gulls on the beach and a Chiffchaff and female Black Redtstart bu the houses on the sea front.  Also 2 Sanderlings on the beach.

We were then going to Pagham Lagoon but the entrance track was still closed so we went back to the Breach Pool.  There was no sign of the Paddyfield Warbler but the 7 White-fronts were still present.  There were quite a few Linnets flying over.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

South coast revisited (12/02/12)

My first stop was the sewage works at Budds Farm to see if the Iceland Gull was there, however, there were little or no larger gulls.  Next over to Hayling Oyster Beds where this time the Shore Lark was feeding between posts B & C.  Then down to Sandy Point on Hayling Island, where after much faffing around trying to park, I went to the lifeguard station and saw all 4 Snow Buntings really close.

Next over to Thorney Island where I was told the Great White Egret was feeding in a ditch and was currently out of view.  In the meantime I saw a Kingfisher perched on a shed near the reeds and finally the egret sneaked out of the reeds and was eventually chased in flight by a Grey Heron giving a good view of the size comparison, i.e. they were similar in size.  The two birds went their separate ways and the egret flew off into the distance.

Next tio Pagham Harbour where the Paddyfield Warbler failed to show even though I was told it had been seen at about midday.  Some recompense came in the shape of 2 Marsh Harriers and quite a few Knot in the harbour.  One of the local water rails was seen to run along the top of the bank and eventually flew around the birders and into the reed beds in front of us.  This is the first time I have ever seen a Water Rail in flight.

My final stop was Petworth Park where I eventually pinned down a single Brambling (although I did hear a couple of others) in the top of a tree until it flew off with Chaffinches.  A bonus here was a Raven calling in the distance and then it was seen to chase off a Buzzard croaking as it did so.

A ccccold afternoon out (11/02/12)

In the afternoon went to Knowl Hill and managed to walk through the snow to a point where I could see the landfill site.  I scanned the feeding birds and eventually managed to pin-down the 1st winter Glaucous Gull sitting on a small hummock.  I initially picked it up on its distinctive bill with obvious black tip, but later it stood up and then was able to appreciate the large size, creamy colour and lack of black in the wing.

On the way back to the car I saw a couple of female Siskins in the larches.

I then went over to White Swan Lake (Dinton Pastures) where I stood in the freezing cold scanning for the Bittern.  Then a regular guy turned up and told me that the birds (there were supposedly two Bitterns) would be feeding elsewhere as the lakes were frozen and should fly into roost.  Based on this recommendation I then went and stood right next to the reed bed and a not long after a Bittern flew into roost right in front of me and sort of crash landed in the reed bed to the right of the large bramble as you look out over the lake.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

South coast sojourn (29/01/2012)

First stop was Gosport where the first gull I looked at was the Ring-billed Gull.  It showed very well, but as soon as I got my bread out it flew off!

I soon relocated it in the nearby creek along with an adult Mediterranean Gull.  It took to the air quite quickly again - off to get someone elses bread - it obviously didn't like mine

Next I dropped into Farlingtoin Marshes where the highlights were an Avocet and Water Rail on the pool and a Rock Pipit on the southern sea wall.  A large black bird disappearing into the distance could have been a Raven but I didn't tick it.

Next was Hayling Oyster Beds but the Shore Lark had chosen today not to appear so I was left with the bonus of 14 Black-necked Grebes in the harbour

Next stop was Warblington where the Cattle Egret wasn't in the field I saw it in last year, but after wandering around for a bit I found it another field with 2 Little Egrets a bit further north.

Final stop of the day was at Burpham where it was very cold.

I managed to see a few Grey Partridge, 2 Yellowhammers, a Red Kite and a distant Short-eared Owl but no Corn Buntings.

Suddenly, I spied the juv. Rough-legged Buzzard sitting on a green feeder.  It then dropped into a nearby field so I scooted along the track to try and get better views.  I just got to a position where I would have good views when my attention was distracted by a posh bloke speaking loudly on his mobile phone.  When I looked back the buzzard had disappeared and I couldn't relocate within an hour - I've no idea where it went.  As it was getting dark I can only assume it had nipped into a nearby bush or scrub to roost - how annoying!