Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Missing out?

With my hectic schedule I could not patch on Friday, Saturday, or even Sunday mornings and with so many Hawfinch being seen in neighbouring counties I felt the chance slipping away.

Same yesterday and today, potential maybe but with small birds firing in every direction and not enough time, still nothing to be certain about.

That said this morning offered some potential, 30+ Redwing around, 2 small groups of Lesser Redpoll, 3 Skylark, then annoyingly a shorter tailed lark - probably Woodlark went over South, but too far East to get onto properly due to the light and distance. Then also annoyingly 2 hirundines most likely House Martin fired thru over the landfill, but I lost them behind the nearby big Willow.

By late afternoon 14-15 Siskin landed in the trees behind Tern Meadow.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

LBJ's continue

Time has been unsparing for me recently, the mornings offer the most sparse chance to bird before work and family obligations call, so the last 2-3 mornings I've failed.

I managed 20 minutes whilst waiting for Simon from DPCS in the car park and 150+ Redwing went thru North and NW.

Yesterday Alan called with news of a fairly brief view of a Tit that he expected to be a Coal, but turned out to be either a Marsh, or Willow.

Now, we will never know which it was for sure, but given the utter population crash of Willow, on balance it would seem logical to assume Marsh was most likely. Oddly enough there have been very few Marsh reports since 1987 that warrant serious belief of their authenticity, but perhaps that's just my opinion.

Today I managed an hour around Bittern hide and the car park field, 140+ Wigeon, Water Rail heard, 1 Chiffchaff, one moment a pipit looped in and out, but kept going. The landfill was busy, 35+ Meadow Pipit up when a Kestrel came over, a few groups of LBJ's just one proven to be 4 Linnet, plus 1 back the other way, 4-5 Skylark over and around, 4 Siskin West, Coal Tit by the footbridge and heard near the style 20 minutes later.

By now a typical year in recent times we'd be seeing a slowing of Meadow Pipit passage, so it's either carrying on, or the landfill is just holding on to more birds that bit longer. A few on the wires kept us busy checking...just to be sure.

Monday, 9 October 2017

High expectations

With LBJ's coming over most mornings, I've been feeling like something big might be about to happen. I might just be an optimist and you need to be to patch quiet old inland Berkshire, but we have to have our wits about us to not miss a tiny window of opportunity for a good bird.

I have a company meeting to attend each first Saturday which now means I leave before it is light and pre work visits are down to about 35-40 minutes, so week day chances are diminishing each day.

But take this morning.11 Redwing over West 07:13, Peregrine North 07:27, then 2+ Redwing more heard only, then 15 dropped in the car park field itself 07:29. 5 Reed Bunting over (2 + 3) South, 8 Chaffinch (3 + 5) West, 1 Lesser Redpoll South 07:32 and circa 15 Meadow Pipit over the landfill. That did not include a number of flocks of finch sp, 6-10 in each group, too far to identify.

Sunday was similar, 2 Redwing, 30+ Meadow Pipit, 1 Mistle Thrush, 10 finch sp East, 1 Siskin West - my first of the autumn. At Lavell's 121 Wigeon, then LFGP 4 Snipe, 3 Little Egret & Garganey, 28 Pochard Sandford.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

A little lunchtime peek

After taking a lie in this morning, I felt obliged to pop down to LFGP before meeting the digging contractor at 13:00.

The Garganey was totally asleep, the Wheatear was bouncing about along the East shore and over 25 Meadow Pipit pinging about over the landfill, appearing upset at the presence of low flying Red Kite.

2+ Snipe were hiding in the lovely cropped East shore, 2 Little Egret present, various Shoveler, Lapwing, Teal and Gadwall.

My site visit pushed off the Wigeon from Lavell's, but I am not upset or feel like apologizing as we are planning exciting improvements, with luck ones that will go ahead in the next 2 weeks and bring 1300 square metres more of Phragmites reed, a newly replenished scrape with green energy irrigation system and a wonderful wet grass meadow, which will no doubt appeal to Little Egret, Snipe, Water Rail, maybe the odd crake, Jack Snipe and hopefully in spring Redshank, Oystercatcher and who knows what?

Tuesday, 26 September 2017


No I'm not quoting Bowie...yesterday it was raining quite hard when I got out, trudging through big puddles and mud along the Loddon path. 3 Green Sandpiper and a lone Snipe were barely visible and it felt the weather should have produced more worthy of excitement.

Today clear but grey and an untimely and infrequent snooze put me 10+ minutes later than normal, by which time Marek had already found a Garganey, still I was only 8 minutes behind him and it was still sat in the SW corner when I got there.

3 Green Sandpiper and the same Snipe again in the SW corner.

Later in the day Richard et al had a Marsh Harrier over North, 2 days off my 24th 2005 bird. This got me checking 2005 and it blew my mind to rediscover the month total - 74! Good grief what were we playing at, look at how things have changed;

104 in 2012 & 2015
102 in 2016
99 in 2017
97 in 2010
96 in 2014
95 in 2008  & 2011
92 in 2013
90 in 2009
83 in 2007
81 in 2006
75 in 2004
74 in 2005

25 species difference for this year, 30 off for the record species count, are we covering the patch so much better now? Probably, I believe knowing what species occur focuses the mind to confirming them and a by product is more get seen. Maybe LFGP has and is continuing to add a variety of species on the whole, but this September has been bereft of waders, so perhaps that isn't totally true either.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Off patch Phalarope

Trev said the Red-necked was still at Farmoor and offered the lift, so why not I thought.

It was 40 feet away...but moving all the time so darn hard to capture in focus

More year ticks

I was busy on the morning of 19th and that's when Marek found the first Stonechat of the year, there may have been 2? I got there around 14:00 and luckily a male was still on show in the Phragmites ditch way off.

103 Shoveler were also present, so numbers are nearing the records of 130+ 22nd Jan 2005 and not far off the highest count of 146 in Dec 2016.

And despite being there each day, nothing much has happened, 24+ Mistle Thrushes still 17th was last big count, the odd Mandarin, no waders to speak of on LFGP.

Thursday 21st brought the first frost of the autumn.

Yesterday it was foggy but despite this a duck went over me quickly at Lavell's heading for Sandford, so in view for about 3-4 seconds, as it flanked I could see it had a long neck, sharp wings, pointed rear and was light brown with very pale below - a female Pintail, I never saw it again.

The views at Sandford were pleasant all the same.

Today, I checked Sandford first, 92 Shoveler, 3 Teal, 4 Gadwall, LFGP : 38 Shoveler, 27 Gadwall, 24 Teal, 2 Mandarin, 1 Green Sandpiper, Lavell's: 70 Gadwall, 5 Shoveler, 4 Teal, 35 Wigeon, 2 Water Rail heard again. Wigeon and Gadwall teasing me again for a nice shot.