Monday, 4 December 2017

clear out

I ended up with two copies of the same book 2 Christmases ago, embarrassing as it is, it was too late to exchange it. So anyone who wants a copy of 'Shrikes and Bush-shrikes' please let me know as I'm selling a pristine copy on ebay for £20.00

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Give me back the mornings

I miss having even 30 minutes of time before each working day to check even a couple of parts of my patch. I've been busy and am desperate to cover some ground, perhaps check for a Firecrest in a few spots, a Goosander going over, but most of all a year tick like a Woodcock in the dying light at Lavell's.

Some chances will come, but not so many I can afford to be complacent.

Today I had about 2 hours and had a look over LFGP for the first time in weeks, 72 Teal, 4 Snipe, 1 Little Egret, a handful of Wigeon and Shoveler. A Peregrine over quite low, appeared to compact to be a female.

Back on 22nd November I was escorting a Thames Water grant partner around the new diggings and looked up to see 160+ Golden Plover over pretty high up in the brisk windy conditions.

Since then it has all been about Hawfinch in the car park field, which show well each day and did so for me this morning too. I could never get bored watching this species and know this is a lifetime one off event.









Will we get one more year tick, a lot depends on the weather. Curlew have shown up in frozen conditions more than once. Firecrest may be out there already, Smew is random, but possible as are White-fronted Goose, Scaup, Merlin and a handful of other now scarce species.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

High standards

I arrived with my good friend John and June & Peter already there, John has one Hawfinch drop in but it remained out of view. Over the next 2 hours a pair flirted with us many times, always heading for the middle copse, or compound as I call it. The presence of 5+ people was obviously a distraction for them and moments to grab a good pic were but a few.

Even then the male stayed just out of shot and I was left with tantalising and oh so nearly great shots, but the light behind ruined my chances.

Ah well, it was such a privilege to have Hawfinch here.





On top of this about 1000 Redwing and 200+ Fieldfare flooded past west, pushed on by a very cold damp breeze.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Hawfinch fest

Too busy to post lately, but I know pretty much everyone I know has connected with Hawfinch in the car park field. We began with 3, but I have heard of reports of 6 to even 11 in the late afternoon, which is a one off chance to enjoy a super shy species.

Dave Rimes even inspired me to look from my garden as he had one in his and we aren't far apart.

Most of know the news about the Ferruginous Ducks and the reintroduction programme in Germany, it is not proof that our metal ringed bird was one of theirs, but we can never be sure.

So I'm hoping for photo shots of Hawfinch tomorrow morning, missed my 3 early in the week, but light was rubbish anyway. 2 Bitterns about, cold weather could bring sawbills, Woodcock, Merlin, more geese fly overs, perhaps the 4+ Swans I had distantly were Mute's this morning, but who knows?

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Duck double double

Yesterday, I had a very underwhelming start, just very cold and not much happening. 3 Meadow Pipit and a Siskin over was the best bird.

Later Rick Dawson found a male Pintail in the unusual location of BSL near to Sandford, it showed well despite being asleep most of the time.




On my way back I told Brian and Trevor I felt like counting and checking the Pochard, as they showed a significant jump in numbers to 116 and 76 Tufted Duck, I left me thinking we need to keep checking for Athya's.

Out first thing again and the Barn Owl was in residence, a little passage was on, small groups of Fieldfare, totaling 65+ in 40 minutes, 60+ Redwing, I looped the car park field, quickly checked BSL 31 Pochard and as I was at my car 2 bulky finches went over fast East....Hawfinch again and again rubbish, fleeting views.

Later and thankfully after my work appointment, Steve Day WhatsApp'd "2 Drake Ferruginous Duck Sandford". "This I got to see" I said to myself and minutes later I was there, joined by Steve, then Brian before we re-camped at the hide, where excellent views were to be had of two superb condition, but distinctly different looking drakes .










Sunday, 5 November 2017

Cooling down

A welcome WhatsApp came in from Steve with a Bittern at WSL, I wasn't surprised and shot down later to take a look. It was on show immediately just right of centre, mid phase bird. It sat quietly preening until dark.

4 Water Rail called there, 1 more at Sandford, also there 32+ Pochard and a Starling roost of some size judging by the noise.

This morning, the air was much cooler even though there was virtually no wind at dawn, which was favourable for more passage. 5-6 Meadow Pipit are still pinging about, 5 Golden Plover went East, miles North as usual, just a few Chaffinch, but then 4 Hawfinch went low SE just beyond Lea Farm, then another appeared to be about to land out of sight to the right. I headed over along the path at the West end of the old manor grounds. - For those who don't know this Lord & Lady Palmer of 'Huntley & Palmers' biscuits once lived there.

Anyway the footpath tracks the perimeter on the West side and runs up the North flank, the tallest trees in the area run along it's East edge. I could hear various pitchy notes and feel one may have been nearby, but looking East I picked up 6 Hawfinch flying at tree top height, again looking like they might land, but they kept going and must have passed SE parallel to the golf course, but as they went out of view we shall never know if they landed.

Brian joined me but nothing more happened and we went off on a recky of the golf course's East side,but found nothing.

Back at the usual landfill viewing spot Brian and I kept scanning with no joy, but a Raven came in and went on South in a very casual way, no call. A lone Linnet went North, then 8-9 finches came over SW, one called the highly familiar Brambling upward 'Shwweeep' note.

By then I was good and frozen so went home to thaw out and drink tea and coffee and do family stuff. I came back later with my boy after Steve found 2 Brambling under the feeders, no sign for us though.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Getting close

A foggy start left me feeling a little frustrated, but I took a walk across the car park field and was soon rewarded with a Brambling, it called just once as it flew West with 2 Chaffinch.

I find myself on 136 with my missing Redstart still fresh in my mind, but as I missed Woodcock and it's not over for Curlew, Firecrest, Scaup, Smew, Merlin, or a wildcard species of goose, or swan, I could still pass my best of 138.