Friday, 18 May 2012

RSPB Dinton Trip (13/05/12)

Six people met up for the earlyish morning start at Dinton Pastures and, considering the recent weather, we had a beautiful sunny day.  The attendees were Kevin, Pete, Paul, Pay, Maralyn and Stella.

We set off towards Black Swan lake where we had a singing Garden Warbler which was quite elusive but everybody at least got views.  Garden Warblers were actually the most common warbler apart from Blackcap - we probably heard 5 individuals.

Not much on Black Swan lake except a singing Song Thrush and Chiffchaff at the top of the same tree, there were a few hirundines and Swifts over the golf clubhouse.  A male Whitethroat gave good views as it flitted along the stream by the golf course.

Next round to Sandford Lake where we heard a Bullfinch but it didn't show.  We had brief views of an Oystercatcher flying onto one of the islands on the lake - I believe they are attempting to breed this year (it took me ages to see an Oystercatcher at Dinton over my years of birding there!).

We went into the Bittern hide but it was pretty quiet because the scrape was flooded.  There were a couple of Common Terns on the tern raft and numbers of massive Carp spawning in the scrape.  We heard a Cuckoo but it didn't show and there was a distant Red Kite and a fly past Buzzard - during the morning we must have seen about 6 individual Buzzards.

When we came out of the Bittern hide we stopped to look at another Garden Warbler when a pair of Bullfinches appeared and the male positively shone in the bright sunshine, although typically it didn't hang around for long.

We then went over to the Lea Farm hide where the light wasn't great as were looking into the sun but it did turn up a pair of Egyptian Geese with a lot of goslings (if I remember it was about 10 and I was told they had lost some!), two Little Ringed Plovers, another Oystercatcher,
2 Redshanks and 2 or 3 Red Kites.  We heard the Cuckoo again but it wasn't seen.

We then returned to the car park via the other side of Sandford Lake, then White Swan lake and finally the viewpoint.

We had great views of a male Reed Bunting singing in the top of a dead tree and Pete took some photos.  At the hedgerow between White Swan and Black Swan lake we heard 2 Nightingales and had brief views of one of them.  At the viewpoint, where I expected Lesser Whitethroat, we didn't see one but one was heard singing on the island in Black Swan Lake.  We had good views of a singing Sedge Warbler though.

For Dinton Pastures, at this time of year, the number of species was quite poor especially the numbers of warblers.  We didn't see:

Reed Warbler - 2-3 heard singing
Lesser Whitethroat - 1 heard singing
Willow Warbler - none
heard at all (which is worrying)
Cetti's Warbler - uncommon, but I
usually hear one (and sometimes see one)

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Another crap spring bank holiday (07/05/12)

First port of call was Selsey Bill where we had to shelter in the lee of the houses on the point to get out of the wind.  Lots of terns passed as well as a few Gannets and the highlights were Black-throated Diver, 2 Bonxies, 7 Common Scoter and 4 Whimbrel.  I found out later that I missed some Pomarine Skuas by 45 minutes.

Next onto the North Wall where there had been no news of the Glossy Ibis so I was pleasantly surprised to see they were still present.  On the way back to the car saw a nice Short-eared Owl sitting in the top of a small bush behind the Breach Pool.

On the way back home I dropped into Thurlsey Common where had decent views of a Tree Pipit and a Woodlark.  There was another Woodlark singing nearby which I didn't see.  On the way back to the car a nice male Redstart

Hard work in the New Forest (06/05/12)

I started at Acres Down which had been successful in the past but not this year - the highlights being 4 fly-over Crossbills.  Then onto Beaulieu Road Station where had views of a Cuckoo but not a great deal else.  Then onto Eyeworth Pond where eventually had views of Redstart but it wasn't until I got to Bolderwood that I eventually pinned down a Wood Warbler singing in the wood near the Deer Watchpoint.  A bonus in this same area was a Spotted Flycatcher.

Next onto Pennington Marsghes where the Glossy Ibis had done a bunk. Walking to Keyhaven a flock of waders was flying around and eventually settled on the land fill - the flock consisted of at least 60 Wimbrels and 13 Bar-tailed Godwits!  Doing the loop to Keyhaven and back to Pennington revealed a female Wheatear, a couple of Little Terns and a flock of Eider offshore including 10 full plumage drakes.

I then headed back to the car and drove down to corner of the road where a birder pointed out a 1st winter Little Gull over the flood (also another 9 Barwits on the flood) and another birder told me about 3 Garganey, a Common Sandpiper and a Wood Sandpiper on the 'Shoveler Pool'.  I had to go back and saw a pair of Garganey and the Common Sandpiper but not the Wood Sandpiper.

Hirundines galore (05/05/12)

Went to Moor Green Lakes and there were hirundines everywhere and also lots of Swifts.  There was a pair of Little Ringed Plovers on the main lake, 4 Buzzards over the New Diggings and finally brief and bad views of the Barn Owl in its box - seen to stretch its wing once before moving away from the box entrance and disappearing.