Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A sunny day in Devon

When I received my work schedule on Friday, and saw that I was going to be down in Plymouth on Monday 14th April, I did some planning on birding sites to visit if I finished the call early. I gathered info on Harford Moor, reached from Ivybridge, hoping for Ring Ouzel and Wheatear. The Parke estate near Bovey Tracey for Dipper, RSPB reserve Labrador Bay for Cirl Bunting and then Beer just I had spent some summers camping there with 1st Ashford (Middx) VSU, many years ago.
I did finish my work early, so set of to Harford Moor, I parked up and a Raven flew over calling.

I gathered up my birding kit, food and water and set off to the reservoir, Skylark and Meadow pipit seen on the way. A walk around this small reservoir added Woodpigeon, Grey Wagtail, Wren, Robin, Mistle thrush, Goldcrest, Great tit, Jay, Magpie, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

I then headed up hill to Hangershell Rock adding a Swallow flying through, view looking back at reservoir.

As I approached Hangershell Rock I saw two male Wheartears.

One of the stunning views from Harford Moor,

and on the way down to car I added Buzzard, Stonechat and Linnet. Then of to the Parke estate to look for a Dipper.

I arrived at Parke to a very full car park, I made my way down to the river and followed to path looking for any dipper, there were rocks in the river that were being used to perch on as they had poo on them, a good sign. The path was busy with vistors to Parke some with dogs, I noted Great spotted woodpecker, Blackbird, Song thrush, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Blue tit and Nuthatch for the days list, but no dipper. I reached a road bridge that went over the river, and crossed over and then went into a field to continue following the river away from the crowds. I reached the end of the field where the river turned and I looked upstream and on a rock was a Dipper preening.


With dipper in the bag I moved on to the RSPB reserve at Labrador bay, and as I made my way to the car park ticket machine I could hear a male Cirl Bunting singing.

 I walked through the kissing gate and over to the hedge where the Cirl bunting was singing from, as I approached he flew out, but landed on top of some bramble and continued to sing giving me great views and a record shot.

Also added Pheasant, Herring gull, Green woodpecker and Carrion crow to the days list. Then I made my way to Beer, just to have a look really as it had been many years since my last visit there. It looked like I remembered it, I walked down to the beach,

and then up to Beer head, added Fulmar to the year list, and Cormorant, Shag, Great black-backed gull, feral pigeon, Willow warbler, Jackdaw and Greenfinch to the days list of 40.

2014 Year List = 159

One good Tern,

On good Tern (Common) and a Willow Warbler at Little Marlow gravel pit at lunchtime on the Friday 11th April, taking the year list to 155. Spent most of he time watching the nesting Cormorants and Grey herons, some very strange noises coming from them as well.

2014 Year List = 155

Lodge Hill Saunderton Lee

On Thursday 10th April I took a lunchtime walk up Lodge Hill near Saunderton Lee Buckinghamshire, as I had been in high Wycombe for work. I was hoping for some summer migrants (Blackcap & Chiffchaff seen), I noted 23 species, which included Marsh tit, no new birds for the year list.

Foreigner & Europe

In the evening on Wednesday 9th April, Tracey and I went down to the Portsmouth Guildhall to see Foreigner supported by Europe.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Liddington Hill & Blagdon Lake

Wednesday 2nd April, still smiling after yesterday's Baikal teal, I set of early so I could stop of at Liddington hill Wiltshire (just of J15 M4) on my way to Bristol. No Ring Ouzels but did add Red-legged Partridge to my year list, and nice to see and hear Corn buntings, also 4 Brown Hares.

After I had finished the call in Bristol, and before I went to Brent Cross for a call, I went to Blagdon lake (a new site for me) for the reported Long-tailed ducks, I found them with some Tufted ducks and also found two Little gulls with the Black-headed gulls near the dam.

2014 Year List = 153

Baikal Teal at Fen Drayton Lakes

Tuesday 1st April, and I started working near Heathrow airport, and expected to be there all day. I received a call from the service desk just before lunchtime, requesting that I go to a site in Redhill to look at a laptop.
I drove round the M25 to Redhill and completed this call without any issues, no more jobs for me. So I took the opportunity to go for the Baikal Teal that has been at the RSPB reserve Fen Drayton lakes. Again on to the M25 any then the M11 and then directions from the SatNav. Parked up in the car park, and found no information board, and this is quite a large reserve, and I had no idea where to go. So seeing another birder in his car, I went over and if he had seen the Baikal teal, he had not as he only arrived shortly before me. Lucky for me he printed out some directions, so we joined forces and set off, down some paths and then we crossed the guided busway, and finally on to the path that took us to the hide.

There was a couple of other birders in the hide and they pointed out the Baikal Teal, we watched him bathing a preening as he headed of to the island to the right of the hide. He then came out of the water on to the island continued to preen for a while and then went to sleep.

I then had a look around adding Little Ringed Plover, to my year list.
2014 Year List = 151

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Water Pipit on Staines Moor Surrey

On Thursday 27th March, I had some calls in Coventry, so on my way home I went to Staines Moor, to find the long staying Water pipit. I parked up down Hithermoor road, and walked along the footpath to Staines moor, on the way hearing and seeing Cetti's warbler and Chiffchaff.

When out on the moor nice to see Skylark, Meadow pipit and Lapwing all displaying, I followed the river looking for the Water pipit. I reached the fallen tree and a large pipit flew up and landed on the opposite bank, it was the Water pipit, and it was coming nicely into it's breeding plumage.

On my return to the car I had a pair of Linnet and a singing Blackcap, my first of the year.

2014 Year List = 149