Thursday, June 15, 2017

No American Gold but ended up a Marshy May

Tuesday 2nd May and while working at Kings hill Kent, saw the news of a possible American golden plover at Old Alresford pond. So I made my way there, arriving around 18:30. No other birders were there, so I started to look and found the plover, as it moved up and down the reed bed edge feeding. The distance made making an ID difficult, so I took some record shots. Birds seen: Cormorant, Mute swan, Canada goose, Shelduck, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Garganey, Tufted duck, Moorhen, Coot, Little ringed plover, Grey plover (the plover had been watched by another birder until it finally raised its wings to reveal "black armpits"), Lapwing, Snipe, Lesser black-backed gull, Woodpigeon, Wren, Song thrush, Cetti's warbler & Rook.

TOTAL FOR YEAR = 171 (Hampshire year list = 159)

Thursday 11th May, while walking my dogs after work on Yateley common, had this years first NIGHTJAR sightings.

TOTAL FOR YEAR = 172 (Hampshire year list = 160)

Part one (Keyhaven & Hurst Castle):Thursday 18th May, and after working in London last week and this week, I had a free day so of I went a birding. Started down at Keyhaven, and in the car park, started the days sightings with: Starling, House sparrow, Dunnock, Blackbird, Collared dove, Black-headed gull & Magpie. I walked out to the footpath passing the small reed bed, which had both Reed bunting & Reed warbler, on the bushes behind near the road was Woodpigeon and Whitethroat, also a deer enjoying the morning sun. Further down the path on the sea wall, Goldfinch. I looked out on to the salt marsh adding, Mallard, Lapwing, Shelduck, Carrion crow, Oystercatcher & Redshank. Then just before I reached the road in the bushes were, Cetti’s warbler, Chiffchaff & Chaffinch. Out in and over the open fields were Pheasant, Swallow & Buzzard. Near the foot bridge was a herd of Mute swans, there was what looked like a pair, they were both ringed E5D and E5E. Over the bridge and on to Hurst beach, looking out at sea added GANNET, Herring gull & Great black-backed gull. Then on the walk down to Hurst castle added Pied wagtail, Sandwich tern & Little tern. I stopped next to the castle to watch the sea, not a lot happening, but had the Rock pipits to keep me amused. I decided to leave around 10:30, and on the walk around to the jetty, there was two Little egrets, one kept chasing the other away, and on the shore line were some very smart summer plumaged Turnstones. I waited at the jetty for the ferry (, and watched it coming from Keyhaven, once all the passengers had gone a shore, I got on paid my £3.50, and had a nice trip back to Keyhaven. Back at the car park added Robin. Then I drove to Martin Down.

TOTAL FOR YEAR = 173 (Hampshire year list = 162)
Part two (Martin Down): Thursday 18th May, after Keyhaven & Hurst castle I drove to Martin down, arriving around 12:45. I got out of the car and the first bird heard and seen was a displaying Red-legged partridge, Robin, Skylark and Yellowhammer all followed quickly. I followed the track that takes you to the farm gate, and added Woodpigeon, Blackbird & in the field with the cattle were Jackdaws and Rooks. Along came a low flying and calling Raven, drinking from a puddle on the track Goldfinch & Linnet. Walking on in a clockwise direction added Pheasant, and heard a Cuckoo, soon had Blackcap & Lesser whitethroat both singing. Then I heard the purring of a TURTLE DOVE, and I soon located him as he sat on a dead branch, purring and then preening. Carried on uphill to the small wood, and on the way added, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Magpie, Dunnock & Great tit. On the edge of the wood was a Great spotted woodpecker, I heard the Cuckoo again, so I looked down the hill to view the bushes below, I soon found him, I had a Jay fly across and there was a Buzzard overhead. I continued round and added Song thrush, Whitethroat, Willow warbler & Stonechat, all singing. When up at the A354 end I soon had the song of the CORN BUNTING ringing in my ears, in the time I was on site it had clouded over and was now starting to rain, I sat crouched under a small hawthorn to watch several singing Corn buntings. From this position high on the hill, great views, I could see heavy rain approaching, so I quickly made my way back to my car, and then home.

TOTAL FOR YEAR = 175 (Hampshire year list = 164)

Wednesday 23rd May, I had some scheduled work at 22:00 at Stansted airport, so in the morning I took the dogs for a walk around Fleet pond, seeing: Great crested grebe, Grey heron, Canada goose, Mallard, Tufted duck, Buzzard, Kestrel, coot, Black-headed gull, Stock dove, Woodpigeon, Green woodpecker, Great spotted woodpecker, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song thrush, Reed warbler, Whitethroat, GARDEN WARBLER, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Coal tit, Blue tit, Great tit, Nuthatch, Magpie, Carrion crow, Chaffinch & Reed bunting.

TOTAL FOR YEAR = 176 (Hampshire year list = 165)

Then in the afternoon I made my way to RSPB reserve Lakenheath fen Suffolk, to look for the reported Marsh warbler. I arrived around 18:30, and a few cars were still in the car park. The main visitor centre was closed, so I entered the reserve with no idea where to look. I soon came across a lady birder, who was heading back to the car park, but she did not know about the marsh warbler, we exchanged pleasantries and carried on our different ways. Walking further in to the reserve saw another birder on the way out, he was going to take another path, but I managed to catch his eye and he waited for me to get to him. He had seen the marsh warbler and gave me the directions to where he had seen the warbler. Again more pleasantries exchanged, and I headed deeper into the reserve at an increased pace. I passed the Joist Fen viewpoint and up on to the river bank, through the last gate and followed the path were I joined a couple of other birders. I soon heard the MARSH WARBLER singing and then had views as it made its way around the reeds, then it would work it's way up the reeds and perch right at the top, to sing its song which was full of mimicry. It was soon time to leave as I had work to do at Stansted airport, but on my way back as I was on my own, I sat down next to the Poplar plantation, and from my mobile played the song of the Golden Oriole, to remind me of the times I had heard it there (2009 to 2012 always in June). Birds seen: Great crested grebe, Cormorant, BITTERN, Little egret, Grey heron, Mute swan, Greylag goose, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Pheasant, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Redshank, Black-headed gull, Common tern, Woodpigeon, Cuckoo, Barn owl, SWIFT, Kingfisher, Great spotted woodpecker, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Cetti's warbler, Sedge warbler, MARSH WARBLER, Reed warbler, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Blue tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Goldfinch & Reed bunting.


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