Friday, March 14, 2014

Scaup in the lunchtime sun

On Wednesday 12th March as it was a nice warm day, lunchtime I made the short drive from Stockley Park to Staines Reservoirs, where on the South basin was a Great northern diver, and on the North basin a male Scaup.

 2014 Year List = 147

Garganey pair in the evening sun

Friday 7th March and back in High Wycombe for work, so at lunchtime went to Little Marlow gravel pit to see if I could find the Garganey pair, no luck but did add Snipe to the year list. After work and as the light was still ok, stopped of at LMGP and found the Garganey pair out in the open on the spit.

2014 Year List = 146

Hume's Leaf Warbler Coleshill Warwickshire

On Thursday 6th March, I had been working in Coventry, and after I had finished my calls, I had a look at the local bird sightings, and found that there was a Hume's leaf warbler at Hams Hall distribution park.
The report said the bird was elusive, but it would be a new bird for me and as I was so close, I went for it.
I followed the directions given and as I drove down Edison road, I saw another birder so I parked up just over the bridge. I then walked over the bridge and followed the path down to the area where the Hume's leaf warbler had been seen. I saw a small bird flitting around, was this it, no just a goldcrest. Two other birders on site and they had not seen it, so I started to walk around seeing: Green woodpecker, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Redwing, Long-tailed tit, Blue tit, Great tit, Chiffchaff, Magpie, Carrion crow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and a nice male Bullfinch, along the river Cormorant, Teal, Mallard and a female Goosander. As I started to get closer to the other two, they signaled to me like birders do when they are on the bird. So I quickly walked to them and started to look in the bushes near to the bridge. A small bird could be seen but it was deep in the bushes and on the other side, the other birder said that it was the Hume's leaf warbler, but there was no way I could tick it on these views. So I continued to watch it and it finally made its way to my side and came out and onto the fence so all its main features could be seen, and it was joined by a goldcrest so I could compare them. It also called a couple of times aloud "twizzick" that sounded similar to my ears like Pied wagtail.

2014 Year List = 144

Monday, March 3, 2014

"Get in the hole!" alright on it in low cloud.

Friday 28th February after working in Basingstoke I headed  to Combe Hole near Kingsclere to look for the reported Great Grey Shrike. I left Basingstoke in bright sunshine but as I headed up hill, Combe Hole was in low cloud. I parked up and walked along the Wayfarer’s Way to Combe Hole,

and out of the long grass flew eight Meadow pipits, and also a few Redwing around. I started to return to my car and then found the Great grey shrike on the top a bush, it then flew to another bush next to a jump, where I watched it for a while, before it flew to the gallops, where I could not relocate it.

2014 Year List = 142

RSPB Otmoor

On the afternoon of Thursday 27th February as I have in the past I dropped in at the RSPB reserve at Otmoor on my way home after working in Coventry. I got changed and my first stop was the feeding station, where in amongst the small birds was a Marsh Tit. Then out to view Greenaways and Big Otmoor where Lapwings were displaying calling out “peewit”, and also hundreds of Golden Plover.

On the way to the hide I asked a returning birder if he had seen the Hen Harrier, and he had from the hide as it hunted over Ashgrave. On entering the hide there was another birder & he had seen the Hen harrier about 30mins before I arrived, so I sat down and started to look out across Ashgrave. I has three Stonechat (2m & 1f) on the fence, and at the back was a Kestrel hovering, then the Hen Harrier flew up from some long grass where some Carrion crows had gone, the crows gave the Hen harrier some hassle as did then the Kestrel, before they moved away, and the female Hen harrier started  to fly over this area of long grass where it dropped down on some prey, it was to far away to see want it was feeding on.

I returned to my car and on the path was this splendid cock Pheasant.

2014 Year List = 141


Wednesday 26th February as I was working in Peterborough, I read through the messages from the Peterbirder Yahoo group the night before and had information for Whooper swans and Cranes. Arrived early on site and completed all scheduled work, with no problems. I then drove to the Dog-in-a-Doublet public house,

and then quickly located the swan heard. I slowly drove down the track to the farm buildings, parked up and using the farm buildings as cover, set up my scope and  spent some time watching the swans (Mute & Whooper).

I left and drove to Nene Washes to the car park at the end of  Eldernell lane. I noticed two birders with scopes looking over the washes, so I headed for them. I then noticed a pale bird flying around the farm buildings of Eldernell farm, and then it landed on a fence post, it was a Barn Owl. I continued along the bank to the other birders, said hello and asked if they had seen any Cranes, and was told that there were two opposite on the track. Put up my scope and watched them as they preened and rested, there was an Oystercatcher close by so watched as it probed the earth finding worms.

 2014 Year List = 139