Monday, 23 April 2012

Sussex (22/04/2012)

I dropped into the tenative Iberian Chiffchaff at Apuldram.  It was singing immediately on arrival and occasionally sand like a true Iberian Chiffchaff but a few times through in some nearly Common Chiffchaff like phrases although never actually called "chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff".  The bird appeared to have slightly paler legs than dark and a paler bill but the bird didn't really appear particular bright.  I will leave it to the experts to make a judgment call on the bird but my feeling it may not have been a true Iberian Chiffchaff.

Next onto Selsey Bill where there were plenty of terns including a couple of Little Terns, 3 flypast Whmbrels, a couple of Fulmars and then I picked up a pair of falcons chasing something over the sea.  They hit their prey 2 or 3 times before actually catching it and then looked to fly off.  However, instead of disappearing they flew into the bill and then deposited the unfortunate victim on the beach in front of us.  For the next 30 minutes or so they have fantastic views as they flew around the bill and were harassed by the local gulls and even an Oystercatcher that had a go.  The female eventually went back to its prey and then sat stripping it of its feathers.

I dropped into Church Norton on the way to Pulborough Brooks but only managed another Whimbrel.

At Pulborough it was very quiet with a couple of Whitethroats, a White-fronted Goose and a couple of Nightingales.  I left before the rain.

Backup Ring Ouzels (21/04/12)

BEcause of the crap views of the Ring Ouzel in Bracknell, I decided to go to Combe Gibbett where I had better of a pair of Ring Ouzels below the gibbett just before the rain came.

On the way to Theale I had at least 10 Red Kites in a loose flock by Chieveley services.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

...the last day of the run (15/04/12)

A breezy and cold day didn't look promising but I managed at least 8 Redstarts, a couple of Marsh Tits, my first Cuckoo of the year, 15 Crossbills and finally a Woodlark at Beaulieu Road Station.  Also a Grey Wagtail was seen.

Next onto Keyhaven/Pennington Marshes which was hard work but managed a couple of Greenshank, a couple of Spotted Redshank, a Ruff, a close in fishing Little Tern and my first Whitethroat of the year.  Also had two fly over Ravens but couldn't find the Mediterranean Gulls I heard calling in the distance.  There were a couple of Little Ringed Plovers on Pennington flood.

An unexpected bird was a singing Dartford Warbler in the brambles away from their usual haunt of the gorse bushes along the sea wall.

I then dropped into Hordle for further views of the Rose-coloured Starling which proved just as elusive as last time. There was an old geezer here who was a serious grump - complaining about the swarm of birders (I counted 6 of us), how they were pathetic and needed to get a life (his wife (?) looked totally bewildered with him).  I witnessed no running around or birders making a nuisance of themselves so unless someone has p****d him off previously I don't know what his problem was.

My final destination was Blashford Lakes where there were 2 more Arctic Terns, a couple of close in Little Ringed Plovers and a Common Sandpiper from the first hide.  I walked over to the Lapwing hide and was rewarded with two singing Reed Warblers, one eventually found singing fairly low down in a reed bed.

...continuing the good run (14/04/12)

Today I started at Staines Reservoir where my second terns of the year turned out to be Arctic Terns - five of them no less.  Also managed eventually to find the adult summer Little Gull.  No sign of the Shag or Black-necked Grebes but I didn't look too hard.  Another couple of Swallows here.

On the way back to the car I picked up the Yellow Wagtail someone else had found sitting on the fence on King George Reservoir and finally 3 Common Terns sitting on the jetty on King George Reservoir.

Next off to Staines Moor where I heard a singing Sedge Warbler and then on the moor managed to find at least 8 Wheatears but no sign off the Ring Ouzel that had been around for days.

One the way back to the car I eventually caught a glimpse of the Sedge Warbler, saw more Swallows and then a House Martin.

The start of a good weekend... (13/04/12)

I started off at Cow Down (West Ilsley) and despite the dog walkers it was good.  The first bird I clapped my eyes on was a singing Corn Bunting - further along the walk another one flew in front of me.  Two large lumps sitting in bushes by the gallops turned out to be two Short-eared Owls (my firsts for Berkshire).

I then walked a short way back to West Isley where the main path turned left and suddenly caught some movement in the bushes which turned out to be a male Redstart looking fantastic in the bright sunshine.

One the way back to the car I saw my first Swallow of the year heading north into Oxfordshire.

Next onto Combe Woods (when I managed to find it!).  Didn't had much luck until I reached the bottom of the path when two Willow Tits showed extremely well and calling frequently.  I also had two more on the way back to the car and a couple of Marsh Tits for comparison.  Finally I had a Raven over the top of the hill being mobbed by a Lapwing.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Elvetham Heath NR (06/04/12)

No sign off the reported Iberian Chiffchaff.  A little black dog being walked by its owner took an instant dislike to me and tried to hard to bite me - luckily he didn't draw blood otherwise he would have been an ex-dog!

Cold, wet and 'orrible (09/04/12)

Went to Easthampstead Park school where I found that the Ring Ouzel hadn't been seen for over 4 hours.  As I was just going to give up a bird flew into the tall tress by the pony/donkey paddock.  It was a Blackbird type and then it turned around to reveal its white gorget - it was the Ring Ouzel!

I whistled and waved for the other birder that was present to come over but during the time I had turned my back the bird had disappeared and never appeared again.  It was disappointing not to get anyone else onto it.

A bonus was a showy Little Owl in the little copse.

More hard work... (08/04/12)

Started at Woolhampton GP's where there were no hirundines.

Next Padworth where the Common Scoter was showing a little better and witnessed an aerial battle between a Carrion Crow and Buzzard.

Finally went to Dinton Pastures where the highlight was 2 Sand Martins.

Finally Moor Green Lakes where the highlight was a Weasel that ran across the path in front of me.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Hard work day (01/04/2012)

Started off at Selsey Bill but it was extremely quiet with only a few Sandwich Terns and Gannets and two drake/one female Common Scoter passed.  Then onto Church Norton but nothing there.  Onto the Ferry Pool where there was no sign of the Spoonbill - just 2 Avocets.  Onto Chichester GP's where the Little Gull had gone although had good views of a Cetti's Warbler.

Then onto Farlington Marshes where no sign of the Spoonbill or Green-winged Teal - just a couple of Bearded Tits along the stream.  Next onto the woods near Four Marks but no Willow Tits, however, did see my 3rd Firecrest of the year.

Finally onto Basingstoke where I missed the Hoopoe by 10 minutes

A day best forgotten for the birds that I wanted to see!

Here is some pictures from an uneventful walk on 1st April: