Monday, 5 March 2012
The day of weather from hell (04/03/2012)
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.