Tuesday, 27 March 2012

At last... (27/03/2012)

First went over to Padworth Lane GP to see the drake Common Scoter which was asleep most of the time but did put its head out 3 times.  Then over to Hosehill Lake/Bottom Lane where I searched for the Red-crested Pochard...and, at last, I got lucky with the female swimming by the west side of the island on Hosehill Lake.  A brief snatch of Willow Warbler song was heard and then I saw my first of the year feeding in willows on the west side.  Not bad for a lunch time trip from work.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Like buses... (24/03/12)

Went for a stroll at Moor Green Lakes and managed another year tick in the form of two Little Ringed Plovers on the new workings (along with a Ringed Plover) and, yes, another drake Garganey on Grove Lake which showed much better by swimming around in front of one of the viewing screens.  Once again neither the Barn Owl or Little Owl showed.

Hosehill Lake (23/03/12)

Scanning the lake revealed no sign off the drake Garganey even though a birder showed me a photograph he had just taken.  I was just about to give up when I spotted the bird fast asleep on the island.  There was time to point the bird out to a birder who had just arrived before I had to go back to work.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Local (22/03/2012)

A quick spin out at lunch time and the Cattle Egret found immediately with Friesian cattle at Home Farm at the back of Hosehill Lake.  Back at the lake no sign (for the 4th time) of the Red-crested Pochard(s).

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Going abroad (18/03/2012)

Yes, I know I left it late but today decided to go for the Common Yellowthroat and wasn't to be disappointed.  I arrived on site around 7.30am and after speaking to a local I trudged up the hill with no sign of the bird, just a pair of Bullfinches.  I then went up the other side of the hedgerow and as I reached the top of the hill with a large bramble a very yellow bird popped up in front of me - it was the bird and wow didn't the yellow glow in the early morning sunshine.

A reeled off a couple of quick snaps before it flew and then got the only other birder present, into the general area where I saw it.  We then picked it up feeding close to the floor in the little copse at the top of the hill where it showed really quite well for the 4 or 5 birders present.

I then drove a bit down the road to the Ebbw River where I immediately found a pair of Yellow Wagtails, then a Kingfisher and best of all, my favourite bird, a Dipper seen near the green bridge a bit further up the river.  It was preening underneath the bridge on a small stone in the river.

Next onto Chew Valley Lake where there was no sign of the Lesser Scaup or Garganey and trying to find where to purchase a permit proved a bit exasperating so eventually I gave up and consoled myself with reasonable views of the Spotted Sandpiper at Herriott's Bridge.  It had very yellow legs and the main ID pointer, the plain tertials.  What helped even more was one of the birders present managed to get a pretty good photo of it so we could look at the salient features.

Monday, 5 March 2012

The day of weather from hell (04/03/2012)

I was rang the night before from the Mark who was leading the NE Hants RSPB trip to the New Forest saying that because of the weather forecast the trip was cancelled.  However, stupid me decided I was going to go anyway - bad move!

When I reached Calshott it was raining constantly and it remained that way all day - I got totally drenched, my gloves were useless as there were soaked through and I went through 2 pairs of binoculars so I could at least see my quarries!

I scanned every sparrow at Calshott and while doing so I found a male Blackcap which sang briefly.  Then, a kindly local lady out walking her dog said that the sparrows congregated near her garden and the Spanish Sparrow used her feeder.  I then positioned myself overlooking her garden, noting up to 3 Brown Rats feed on scraps under the feeders, and eventually loads of sparrows appeared in her garden and I picked up the Spanish Sparrow on the feeder.  Strangely it always returned to exactly the same perch every time it was flushed and returned.

I noted that chestnut head, dark streaks on the upper breast and flanks, dark bill with a yellowish base and bulk size.  Also a thinnish white line over the eye, broad black bib and very white cheeks.  It seemed to be the bully in the sparrow flock always moving off any House Sparrow that chose its perch at the feeder.

I then drove to Hordle and eventually pinned down the Rose-coloured Starling perched high up in a tree with a Common Starling.  A local asked me what I was doing and while chatting to her the bird disappeared.  I then bumped into a chap staring into someones garden and when I spoke to him he said the bird was perched on a bird feeder.  Looking into the garden I saw the bird sitting on the bird feeder out of the rain.  I ran off a couple of shots and then went to the local shop to buy some kitchen towel so I could dry off my optics.

I then made an aborted attempt to Pennington Marshes but the rain was almost becoming snow and it was freezing cold so I returned to the car and drove home, seeing a female type Marsh Harrier quartering the marshes at the back of Fishtail Lagoon.

The main thing was I got the two most important birds with a bonus bird thrown in.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Dinton In the Fog (02/03/2012)

Despite the horribly foggy conditions I reached Dinton just after sun-up :-)

I checked the old oak by Teal hide and the dead trees along the river but no sign of my quarry.  I then went over to Bittern hide but the fog was so bad I couldn't see the owl box.  From the hide 12 Snipe were feeding along the bund closest to the hide.

I then returned to the old oak and then saw a female Grey Wagtail feeding by the mill, then the almost parrot like call of a Brambling which I eventually got in the scope at the top of a tree.  Couldn't make out much colour - just enough to confirm it was one.  Another was calling nearby and the bird I could see looked quite agitated with its head feathers raised like a crest.

I then heard some tapping very close by and checking out the trees just next to me was the male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker tapping nonchantly at a broken off stump.  It then flew higher up into the tree until I lost it.  As I was returning to the car I heard the unmistakable drumming of the woodpecker in the old oak - a short, rapid burst of drumming.  I then got good, although brief views of the bird drumming until it made its way to the very top of the oak and then flew off over my head towards Sandford Lake.  I noticeable small bird in flight - almost resembling a finch in size and action!