Friday, June 13, 2014

An evening on Yateley Common

Thursday 12th June, I got in from work, got changed, had a bowl of corn flakes, loaded the car with dogs and birding kit & made the short drive to Yateley common. I made the most of the remaining daylight to walk around the common, seeing Grey heron, Pheasant, Black-headed gull, Stock dove, Woodpigeon, Cuckoo, Great spotted woodpecker, Woodlark, Wren, Robin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Song thrush, DARTFORD WARBLER, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, Great tit, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch & Linnet.

The moon and Stonechat.

In the words of the great Phil Lynott "But when all is said and done, the sun goes down"


Then around 21:30 the first of the evenings NIGHTJARS started "churring" and then soon after the first nightjar in flight giving it's flight call of "coo-ick". Finally just before 22:00 the unmistakable silhouette of a roding WOODCOCK flying above the tree tops. 
2014 Year List = 200

Thursday, June 12, 2014

RSPB Reserve Fowlmere - Turtle Doves

Wednesday 11th June, I had to go to Norwich next to the airport for work, so I left home early and stopped at the RSPB Reserve Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire. I had been here before in 2012 after seeing the Common Rosefinch just down the road at Foxfield farm, and remember getting good views of Turtle dove.
I arrived around 06:30 and spent about an hour walking around this reserve. The first bird seen was a Kestrel hunting over a field near to the car park, and on the first circuit of the reserve I saw Sedge and Reed warblers in and around the reed beds,

Skylark over the fields,

Barn Owl in the nest box,

Pheasant, Woodpigeon, Cuckoo, Swift, Green woodpecker, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Yellowhammer,

Reed Bunting,

I only heard the soft purring of a Turtle dove, so I set of on another circuit of the reserve, this time I went into the Spring Hide and had close views of a Reed warbler preening, also Moorhen here.

View from Spring hide,

I then went down to the gate to view to pool near the Reed bed hide and there was around 6/7 well grown Greylag goose goslings, No adults seen and 4 Lapwings.  
As I approached the path for the Reed bed hide I saw a Turtle dove sitting high up in a dead tree, I managed to get closer to this bird, and then heard the soft purring of another Turtle dove.

Happy, I retraced my steps back to the car park, and then went to Norwich.
2014 Year List = 197

Lazing on a sunny afternoon

Saturday 7th June, in the morning I refilled the bird feeders, and in the afternoon enjoyed a lazing around in the warm sun. While I sat doing nothing I noted 19 species of bird in and over head my back garden.
Grey heron, Red kite, Sparrowhawk- my first of the year, Woodpigeon, Collared dove, Swift, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Goldcrest, Blue tit, Great tit, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Starling, House sparrow & Greenfinch.

2014 Year List = 196

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Spectacled Warbler Twitch

Tuesday night I set my alarm for 05:00, but I awoke at around 04:00 on Wednesday 4th June. So I got up and was on my way to North Norfolk around 04:30. The rain was lashing down in Farnborough and most of the way around M25, at one point Rio the black Nissan Juke did a bit of aquaplaning. As I neared the M11 the rain got lighter, but it never stopped all the way to Burnham Overy. I drove down East Harbour Way and parked up. Then I collected together all that I would need for the twitch and set of down the footpath. Started the days list with House sparrow, Swift, Collared dove, Pied wagtail & Starling, a local birder was cycling back so asked him if the Spectacled warbler was still there, Specky was and I was told where to go once I had reached the board walk. On the way to the board walk I added Cormorant, Little egret, Greylag goose, Shelduck, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Redshank, Black-headed gull, Woodpigeon, Meadow pipit, Reed Warbler and my first Sedge Warblers of the year.

Once at the board walk I joined three other birders, who had not located the Spectacled warbler, one had a recording of the song and call, so I listened to these to get my ear in. We were not far from the board walk and I saw Skylark, Dunnock and Linnet, so I swapped mobile numbers and I started to walk towards Gun Hill. When I had reached about half way along to the hill, I heard a song very similar to the one I had just learnt. 

So I setup my scope and started to look and listen, I looked behind and one of the other birders was coming along, so I motioned for him to come over. When he also heard the song, Bingo! it was the Spectacled warbler, so I called the mobile of the other two birders. The song and call was coming from the area around a flowering dog rose. We waited and watched and finally he was seen moving about and then he came into full view, he then flew little way up the hill, the others moved towards where he went, some more birders arrived. I went higher up and a little closer to the dog rose, a little bird was moving around, a Dunnock. I then had a look over the marshes and found a Spoonbill, then again a little bird in the dog rose caught my eye it was the Spectacled warbler. This time giving even better views and also singing when perched on top of the bush, managed to get some record shots, of a new bird for my UK list.

The view looking towards Gun Hill in the rain.

I then started to walk back adding Little grebe, Grey heron, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted duck, Pheasant, Moorhen, Coot, Herring gull, Little tern, Swallow, Wren, Blackbird, Magpie, Jackdaw, Reed bunting.

 2014 Year List = 194

On the way home I stopped at Weeting Heath NNR, for the Stone Curlews, I saw three, plus there were a lot of young rabbits, and a large adult was seen chasing off a Stoat.
View from hide.

2014 Year List = 195

Black-winged stilts at RSPB Cliffe Pools

Tuesday 3rd June and back to Hatfield and then onto Maidstone for work, when all work completed I spent the rest of the afternoon at RSPB Cliffe pools reserve. Where a pair of Black-winged stilts are nesting, these are under guard 24 hours, while I was there a dog security unit were on site.

I notched up 36 species the highlights being the Black-winged stilts, Black-necked grebes two in summer plumage, Avocets, Cuckoo, Nightingales and a singing Whitethroat who allowed me to get close.

2014 Year List = 191

Three Terns on the Beach

Monday 2nd June and it was back down to Havant and then up to Stansted Airport, and as the start time for Stansted was 13:00, I took the opportunity to see some Little terns. So I drove down to the Lifeboat station and walked around the sailing club, bird wise it was very quiet.

Seeing Black-headed gull, Common tern, Pied wagtail, House sparrow and Starling.
I then walked past the lifeboat station and out to Sandy Point (nature reserve), seeing Woodpigeon, Collared dove, Green woodpecker, Swallow, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Blackcap, Magpie, Carrion crow, Little egret, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Linnet.

I continued to the beach and added Herring gull and Great black-backed gull, and soon found a mixed feeding flock of terns (Common, Sandwich & Little), some of these were roosting on a small spit, until a dog walker and her dog flushed the lot.

Some Naval activity in the Solent, might be for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings on 6th June. 

2014 Year List = 190

Black Tern at Titchfield Haven

Friday 30th May, I started the day at Clapham, then went to Basingstoke, and my final destination of the day for work was Havant. So while on my way to Havant I took my lunch break at Titchfield Haven for the Black Tern.
I asked some other birders who were on their way out if they had seen the Black tern, they had from the Punfrett hide. So of I went, I had good close views of Black-headed gulls and a Shelduck family.

Some other birders then found the Black tern flying around in front of the Meon Shore Hide. So I went back around to this hide, and was soon enjoying the Black tern as it flew around feeding. Again from this hide more nesting Black-headed gulls some with chicks.

2014 Year List = 189

Third Reed Warbler of the year (Blyth's)

Thursday 29th May and I had to go Hatfield for work, and while there got the news about the Blyth's Reed Warbler at Wanstead Flats. Another LBJ I had not seen or heard before, so after I had completed all my work I set of to the Flats of Wanstead. I drove along Centre road and saw the assembled birders, so parked up and walked back & joining them just before 15:30.

The Blyth's Reed Warbler soon started singing and I got some very brief views as it moved about deep in the bush, a Whitethroat and Dunnock kept us on our toes as they moved about the same area. 

This was the last time I would see it, but it continued to sing and call off and on until I left at around 17:30.   

2014 Year List = 188