Sunday, 30 October 2011

Moor Green Lakes ~ 30th October ~

Had an early morning visit to Moor Green Lakes in hope of seeing the American Wigeon hybrid as it certainly looked like a stunning bird,unfortunately, it did not show despite searching the 50 or so Wigeon present!! At first the lake yielded little of interest apart from a few Lapwing and a couple of Snipe, along with the usual wildfowl such as Teal, Mallard, Pochard and Tufted Duck. Scanning through all these ducks I spotted what at first looked like a standard female teal, but in comparison to the other teal, this bird was more boldly marked and slightly larger. Unfortunately it was too far away to make a positive identification, but eventually it came within around 30 metres of the hide, helping me identify what has turned out to be my first Garganey. A very late bird too, with only one other of its species in the country which is currently down in Somerset!! On the journey home a couple of Barnacle Geese were seen which were a nice bonus!!

Barnacle Geese



Thursday, 27 October 2011

Titchfield Haven ~ 26th October ~

I'll try and make this as short as I can, but I'm afraid it was a great days birding!! Started off on the beach near the sailing club where we quickly found some Turnstones (Tame as ever) and a few Redshank and Oystercatchers, which were not so tame!! We decided we were not going to cover the eastern side of the reserve today as last time we visited that side it was deserted. From the bearded tit platform, we could see no Bearded Tits, but could hear a number of Cetti's Warbler singing in the bushes. From the first hide (name I've forgotten!) we could see too much to list. We spent 80% of the day in this hide! Highlights included a Water Rail, Black Tailed Godwits, Snipe, Lapwings, Oystercatchers, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Greenshank, Redshank, Turnstones, Curlew and there are probably a few I have missed. There were probably well over 100 teal on the site, the most I have seen in one individual place, but surprisingly few Wigeon and Shoveler. From this hide we also had good views of my first ever Weasel who was right in front of the hide, but very difficult to photograph (see below). From the second hide it was much the same as the first with no new species being record, so after a while we decided to return to the first hide again. Not much else apart from a Buzzard which perched on the nearby fence posts. From the viewing platform outside the reserve only a few Cormorant and a Little Egret. Total number of species was something around the 65 mark, so a very successful day, lots of photo's below!!

Fulvous Whistling Duck (Escapee, smashing bird though!!)

Black Tailed Godwit



Drake Teal





Little Egret

Monday, 24 October 2011

Thursley Common ~ 24th October~

A great trip to Thursley Common which certainly had a few surprises!! The main target was the Great Grey Shrike but unfortunately the bird did not show, and I believe only one lucky observer saw it throughout the entire day! Anyway, the other bird we went to see were Crossbills, of which there were plenty, although only 1 Female was kind enough to perch for us. As usual the common held a lot of Meadow Pipits, Woodlark and Linnets. The biggest surprise of the day though was at the bog, near Pudmore Pond. We could see a distant raptor expecting it to be a Buzzard, but this was no buzzard, the bird had long pointed wings and an obvious white rump which me could mean only one thing, a Ringtail Hen Harrier. The bird only stayed visible for a minute or so when it seemingly vanished. As far as I'm aware, we were the only people lucky enough to see the bird today although another ringtail Hen Harrier was reported at the same spot on the 14th October.

Female Crossbill

Ringtail Hen Harrier


Sunday, 23 October 2011

Dinton Pastures ~23rd October~

A quick trip to Dinton to try and see the Ferruginous Duck was at first a dissapoint. The bird had been seen on Lavell's Lake the day before however today there was a work party mainting the lake and therefore, it was lifeless. Knowing that the bird had occasionally been seen on Sandford Lake, I thought I'd take a trip to the hide over there. It took a while to find and at first we were not 100% as the bird was sleeping but once he had woken up, I knew I was looking at my first Ferruginous Duck. The bird was miles away however after a while he began to drift towards the nearest island to the hide and after an hour wait, the bird was swimming and feeding around 20 metres away from the hide. Other than this fabulous bird the lake had little else of interest apart from a Male Kingfisher, a Herring Gull and several Wigeon.

Ferruginous Duck

Ferruginous Duck

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Another Trip to the Pond! ~19th October~

Anther trip to Fleet Pond after school today yielded me with 4 site firsts. The main attraction being the gull roost which gave me 3 new species to the fleet pond site list. Birds included a Great Black Backed Gull, Common Gull and a Herring Gull, nothing very exciting, but all three species are very unusual for the site! On the new cut back reed bed came my 4th first for the site, 2 Snipe. As far as I am aware only a 2nd record for the site after one 2-3 years ago in a similar spot. Best of all from this new reed bed you can get slightly better views of the Yellow Legged Gulls, of which there were at least 4 last night.

Yellow Legged Gull (Adult or near Adult)

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Fleet Pond ~ 16th October ~

Another trip to Fleet Pond today was a little disappointing in bird terms with highlights being the 2 usual Yellow Legged Gulls, a Kingfisher and 2 Grey Wagtail. Rather surprising was an unusually tame Great Crested Grebe. The bird was feting at times just 4-5 feet away from the pontoon, completely oblivious to my presence. The bird looked reasonably healthy although its bill was a rather unusual shade of pink!

Half term is coming soon, looking forward to a couple of birding trips then :)

Great Crested Grebe

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Bushy Park ~15th October~

A great day at Bushy Park today and although the bird life was poor, we had a spectacular show from the Red Deer, which was the purpose for the trip. We arrived at around 7:00 am to ensure we would be able to photograph the deer at sunrise. As for the birds, the usual birds were on the lake, Red Crested Pochards, Egyptian Geese etc. and of course a trip to Bushy Park would not be complete without seeing the large number of Ring Necked Parakeets!! As for the smaller birds we heard Reed Bunting and Skylark and saw 3-4 Wrens. While watching the rutting deer around 10 Redwings flew over, which is only my 2nd record for this Autumn!

Stag in the "Golden Light"
Red Deer Stag Bellowing

Stag In Front of the Stunning Sunrise

Sunday, 9 October 2011

The Garden Woodpecker ~ 9th October 2011 ~

Jut a quick trip out in the hide this morning yielded the usual suspects, Wren, Goldfinch and Great Spotted Woodpecker were the highlights, especially the woodpecker, who perched on the feeder about 3 metres outside the hide!

Male Great Spotted Woodpecker

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Thursley Common ~ 8th October~

The choice was between Dinton Pastures or Thursley common but I decided to go to Thursley hoping to see the previously reported Crossbills. On arrival in the car park there was a roaming tit flock including a Coal Tit, Goldcrest and Treecreeper. On the boardwalk we saw very little and there was no life at all on the pond which was a little surprising although soon after the board walk I heard the first Common Crossbills of the day. The flock of around 30 birds flew over a couple of times before landing in a set of trees around 40 metres away, I attempted to get closer but they simply flew even further away! I decided to give up and carry on walking! After this a pair of Stonechats gave rather rewarding views. About another 100 metres along the path I saw the first Woodlarks of the day, around 8 of them flew and landed low down in the heather. Usually being wary birds, I thought they would fly off instantly, however one rather bold juvenile allowed me to crawl within about 7-8 feet of it. Round by Shrike hill we also saw a large flock of Meadow Pipits and 5 Linnet, including 2 male. It had been around 30 minutes since I had seen anything of interest when the flock of crossbills suddenly flew over again, this time a lot closer, but still around 25-30 metres away and they were sticking right to the top of the tree. I managed to get another couple of record shots before they flew off again. The final bird of the day was a Hobby which put in a brief appearance towards the end of the walk.

Male Crossbill