Monday, 19 June 2017

Same again

Out extra early on Sunday morning, the 3 LRP were still present, a lone Oystercatcher flew in again, the female Shoveler materialised in the SW corner, I admired the Sand Martin young being fed in the wall. A Tufted female had 8 young swimming happily.

I was about to leave when the familiar Med Gull call came from the SW corner and was already there when I checked.

At BSL 2 juvenile Grey Wagtail played with my photography skills.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

A break in services

After what feels like 10 weeks of constant 05:45 starts, I took a break, some of it driven by work, some because I felt like it. As it happens I've missed being out and generally woke around 06:30 and 04:00 a few times too.

I had forgotten my 07:00 bird walk on the 11th, which amounted to 2 Mistle Thrush which I guess either failed with a nesting attempt or were foo gathering? A Redshank, 2 LRP and a Barn Owl at LFGP.

Yesterday Richard had male Pochard, which occurs most years, but always nice in June.

Today a late start around 08:00, was very pleasant, 2 male Teal, a pair of Shoveler, 3 LRP, a Little Egret. Avery quick check back and I can only see years 2014, 2013 & 2007 where all 3 ducks were seen in June. Perhaps like 2014 & 2010, we might see Wigeon late in the month too?

Tons of Sand Martins feeding young and even adults mating, so it looks like we may have additional, or second broods coming up.

After a nice chat with Brian it was time for me to go, but it wasn't too long after Alan was sending a picture of a 1st summer Mediterranean Gull on Tern scrape, so I headed back quickly and caught a couple of nice'ish shots before it headed off toward Sandford around 11:09.

127 species marks my 8th highest year list, 2 more to match 2009.

Yesterday I had no choice but to go to Pagham to see my good friend AJ's Elegant Tern, it scared me a bit as it waited for over hours to show itself. I don't twitch for competition with others, but if you're curious my UK life list is 421.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Fat lady

I caught up with the Mandarin family near the green bridge this morning around 07:00 and hadn't been in Ron's hide for long when the 9 Lapwing I had just counted all went up, I scanned around for a Kite, or some other raptor, but suddenly noticed a plump woman on a bicycle tottering along the track near the East shore, heading left to right.

Shouting, but I couldn't be heard as she got the SE corner and I decided I'd head off to Lodge Road and see if she came back. After some time it was evident she either went into Chocoholics, or Lea Farm, or got out some other way.

I entered the landfill track which has no public access and walked up to the middle and highest point of the landfill, it was lovely, 3+ Skylark singing, a gentle breeze, totally sunny. Then a distant call met my ears, immediately my brain shouted 'Raven' but scanning to the North I couldn't get on anything. Again it called and into view came 1, followed by 3 more Raven, only one was calling and they appeared to come from West of Charvil, or Sonning Golf Club area, they kept going but not as if in a huge hurry. 1 came back was joined by another and they appeared to go East.

These awesome shots are from the phone, not thru the scope, so are of course not recognisable as Raven, more for me than others if you like.

This is my first June record of Raven and only the third ever, so 4 is a pretty nice record and certainly evidence of nearby breeding, but where exactly??

Friday, 2 June 2017

Radio silence

I have been busy, but carried on patching each morning until 3 days ago. The misty start of the 25th robbed me of the pair of May Pochard, which is very unusual.

The odd hour on the sunny days around 25th got me another Hobby, the 26th all was very quiet, just 17 non breeding Gadwall, 7+ pairs of Common Tern on the shingle island.

Then 27th I was at the shops when this year's 2nd Little Tern showed up, it hadn't been there at 06:30. There were several days of 1-3 Linnet in front of Ron't hide again, then on the 30th I caught sight of an Oystercatcher chick on Sandford....fingers crossed it makes it this time.

Sunday, 21 May 2017


This weekend I walked up to enjoy the Nightingales at BSL twice and did so very much, today it showed pretty well and I got these shots

Whilst it didn't directly effect my walk, what got my back up was the incompetence of Dinton Pastures Countryside Service (DPCS).

Take a look at this shot, everything left of the path used to be 1 metre high grass, nettles and other weeds. But oh no, DPCS ground staff who are obviously clueless to their obligations to the countryside...odd because the clue is in their name, decided I need to mow everything here because otherwise the dogs won't have enough space to sh1t and pi55, or run about. F*ck the ground nesting birds like Whitethroat, or Chiffchaff and even more damaging the very important Nightingales nesting just yards away.

Can you tell I'm mad about this?

Oh and if that wasn't bad enough they repeated their rampage around BSL's edges adjacent to Middle Marsh and entrance to Sandford.

For those too stupid to grasp the difference between where cutting the grass and vegetation should and shouldn't be done here it is for you;

Below is a yes, you can cut here, it's given away by the presence of a bench...

And here is stuff that butterflies and birds like and you shouldn't cut, can you tell the difference?

So here is a quiz for anyone thinking of doing the same nearby to the DAC there is this stretch of uncut vegetation shown below

This has breeding Whitethroat in it and if you cut it I will personally see to it that you are sued under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981. Like you should need me to tell you about it, but clearly someone in charge of ground works needs a reminder.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Where does the time go

Nearly a week has passed and I can't think of anything that has happened worthy of mention, although another Ringed Plover was nice on the 16th.

Then the heavy rain on Wednesday brought a quick and significant rise of the water levels, here is the SW corner at the start of the rain

A Lapwing same morning

An immature Herring Gull making a Coot very nervous

Yesterday a pair of Linnet suddenly flew up from in front of the hide, hadn't seen or heard them before that moment. These marked the 96th species for May = 1st with 2012 and 2016, without Kestrel, Coal Tit, Willow Warbler (less likely), Dunlin and we've got ages to find something more yet.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

It's happening all over again

After yesterday's much quieter start and my last sighting of a 12 day stay of Greenshank, today felt even more quiet...initially.

Then a Hobby swept past at 07:00 and still talking about that I picked up an egret half way across the landfill, so some 450m+ out, heading North. It was too far to really say much about it thru bins, but it had already gone past, so I was scrambling to get it in the scope.

I failed to get onto to it to see the bill, but the size and it's jizz was all to big for Little and even though the mind tends to fizz in a panic, I saw no suggestion on pale feet and the legs seemed a little too long.

I have learned to trust my instinct having watched the same piece of sky for so long and I know my subconscious was telling me 'this is a big bird' and I am 99% happy this was yet another Great White Egret

It never fails to annoy me when you know something, but cannot say with 100% certainty about a birds ID.

So off John and I went in search of this bird, again off down the river, just like my first and second on November 5th 2009 and 5th September 2013 respectively.

We were met by a Barn Owl coming the other way by the bailey bridge, which is always nice. Marching on I showed Hurst Green Pit and the old Whistley pit area, such fond memories of the area in the early 1980's, but even as recent as 2003 when Turtle Dove still purred around that area. Who else remembers the significant numbers of Smew that gathered there before the delightful fishing club got their grubby claws on Hurst Green Pit and trashed in no time at all.

Anyway we saw nothing, but had a nice walk and a chat. Even the Lesser Whitethroat appears to have deserted the car park field.