Monday, 27 January 2020

January lists compared

As you know I've been slacking on the blog front for many months, it's not been deliberate, time is hard to find with so many commitments and even birding time is hard as there is no light in the mornings I yearn for it.

It's been slow, but comparing January totals show this;

2012 - 82
2013 - 82
2014 - 77
2015 - 81
2016 - 83
2017 - 84
2018 - 84
2019 - 81
2020 - 83 (on 27th)

What does it all mean?

In my opinion nothing much, as unless you see the 'bonus birds' you'll catch up with everything else later anyway. I'm missing Mistle Thrush, Green Sandpiper & Marsh Harrier and a no show for the park so far from Mandarin, Golden Plover, Great White Egret, Firecrest, Brambling, Lesser Redpoll, Med Gull, Red Crested Pochard, Pintail, Jack Snipe, Linnet, Ruff and Yellow-legged Gull.

Most are possible, some probable, but none are guaranteed as being around now.

The Marsh Harrier is a shame, but most sightings are April, August and Sept, getting a Goosander is the best bird for me so far this year, but Woodcock isn't exactly proving easy for others.

Next month Redshank and Oystercatcher usually show up, but it's a funny month, anything can happen, last year we had a rather nice Red-breasted Merganser proving the case in point.

Oh yeah, I'm vlogging more than blogging, it's kind of fun, I hope you can follow me, I've already got 10 followers, so that's exciting.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

New Year, New Vlog

Hello everyone, I suspect most of my old following thought I'd given up on my blog I wouldn't blame you for thinking it, time has become more precious so difficult to keep updating.

But even though it could take me longer in the end, I have begun a vlog - video blog, which resonate with my personality more than typing stuff.

The vlog address is linked to this blog but on YouTube my latest post is here Find of The Day

As I grow the thing and hopefully get myself an audience, I may switch to another YouTube account which I can name 'Find of the Day' or 'Patch find of the Day' as I want it to be all about finding your own birds, ID'ing them, the excitement, the adrenaline and fun of telling your friends.

My year list is 82 after picking up a lucky male Goosander flying East to West behind Lodge Wood.

I'll probably get all motivated to do a review of last year because it was awesome, who knows when though

Saturday, 8 June 2019

My projected second half of the year

Migration came to an abrupt end, but not before I added Greenshank on the 14th, then a Nightingale 17th, back on the 'picnic island' and I'm glad I went same day because it did not sing 18th, nor since, so we assume it moved on and I doubt we'll ever see one on DP again, unless we get very lucky with a random bird.

Nothing much has happened since, I carried on early mornings most of May, the Oystercatchers appear to have finally reared a chick beyond the danger period and it must be due to fly off any day. Mute Swans have done okay, the BSL pair had 10 cygnets, but this quickly fell to 5, Lavell's have 4, the Lodden pair had 5, but that is now 3. I haven't checked the other lakes.

The Great Crested Grebes on Lavell's had 2 young, but both are gone as of this morning, the Coots at Lea Farm are always in grave danger from Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, or other predators, the Terns seems to have 11-12 pairs, this could be growing, 3 or more pairs Sandford, but yesterday's rain and unsettled weather does not give me faith the latter has much chance.

If we have flooding, then the last raft only has 1 pair of Black-headed Gulls, so with a bit of luck they'll re-camp there. The Sand Martins are doing just fine some say 40 holes occupied.

Lots of Garden Warbler all around, an amazing spring of Lesser Whitethroat could mean we have 2 or more pairs? If you see Willow Warbler anywhere let me know, Sedge Warbler may be around I'm only aware of 2 singing birds in May.

Redshank and LRP still about, little sign of an attempt at breeding, this is likely to be due to Jackdaw, I hope we can have a massive cull in the future for when we've done all the habitat creation in the NE bay of Lea Farm Lake.

Cuckoo still calling this morning and finally, I picked up a Green Sandpiper, no doubt yesterday's LFL individual, but now happy on Tern scrape bund....we must strim the vegetation.

Green Sandpiper June records;

7th : 1992 & 2019
8th : 1993
11th : 2009, 2016
12th : 2004, 2006,
14th : 1994
18th : 2000, 2012
19th : 2005
23rd : 2002, 2018
24th : 2013
25th 1997
26th : 1995,1999
27th : 2010, 2015

That was a fun first half of the year, so what will happen for the second half? 14 good candidates to potentially add, plus we seem to see great surprises every autumn, but what occurs the most are the following, and I have attempted to put it the order we've seen past records;

Black-tailed Godwit - from last day of June all thru July
Linnet - Any warm day, but if not peak passage is mid Oct
Dunlin - A total guess
Ruff - August, but any month really
Little Owl - A night visit required, but October has produced in the past
Yellow-legged Gull - Late July and Aug, good chance if loafing gulls pattern continues
Pintail - August is a good time
Marsh Harrier - early Aug onwards
Stonechat - Sept onwards
Osprey - Sept to Oct
Merlin - Oct
Jack Snipe - Oct
Lesser Redpoll - Late Oct and Nov
Med Gulls - Nov and Dec

I've done a little checking and since 2012, we have averaged at least 2 mega's in the last 3 months of the year, 4 last year alone.

Whilst it has no bearing on the future, it reminds us to look darn hard until the 31st of December, because at the moment so if we can get the 8 in bold above and just a few of medium rare species we have had in the last 7 years, plus long awaited repeats and overdue firsts and we are on track for a new park record, so anything out of this list (bold red are new for park);

Great Northern Diver (most overdue species as a tick for the park)
Black-necked Grebe
Storm Petrel (Random in storm conditions)
Spoonbill (I can't believe we haven't had another since 2007)
Brent Goose
White-fronted Goose (none since 2002)
American Wigeon (If LFLis safe from disturbance 2010 highs of 1,000 might occur, so who knows)
Green-winged Teal (Our Teal numbers have tripled since 2006, it's just a matter of time)
Scaup (easily overlooked)
Ring-necked Duck (long time overdue species, our Athya record is good so one will occur soon)
Long-tailed Duck (not a sniff since the only 1983 bird)
Honey Buzzard (2016 dark morph bird seen by FJC & TAG was almost certainly one)
Red-footed Falcon (Sure I saw one briefly 2012, only confirmed was 1989)
Spotted Crake (none since 2002)
Red-necked Phalarope (why not)
Sanderling (with LFL East shore improved, chances must improve)
Curlew Sandpiper (only record 2nd Oct 1988)
Bar-tailed Godwit
Spotted Redshank
Wood Sandpiper (last was 2 in 2011)
Turnstone (last was 2012)
White-winged Black Tern (I believe)
Arctic Tern (rare in autumn, but last were Aug 2015 & 2016)
Red-rumped Swallow (one in Oxon this spring)
European Bee-Eater (can occur anywhere)
Waxwing (a fly over)
Redstart (none in car park field since 2016)
Dartford Warbler (do get into all sorts of scrub outside breeding season)
Firecrest (must come thru most years)
Bearded Tit (we've got the reeds, come on!)
Red-backed Shrike (early Sept, perched near the scrape)
Snow Bunting (no reason one couldn't put down on the gravel lake edge)
Little Bunting (often seen at feeding stations)
Yellowhammer ((one must fly over now and again)

I dare to dream and never stop looking, have fun folks

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Mind blowing Spring

I'm busy at the best of times these days, but this spring will stand out as one of the best and I want to just pause and present a list of good birds;

female Goosander - 16th March (last date)
Adult winter Little Gull - 20th March
Red-legged Partridge - 22nd March
Common Scoter - 23rd March
male Wheatear - 23rd March
Jack Snipe - 30th March
2 Mediterranean Gull - 5th & 6th April
female Goldeneye - 8th to 10th April
Curlew - 9th April
2 Wheatear - 9th April
2 male Yellow Wagtail - 9th April
3 White Wagtail - 9th April
Rock Pipit (Scandinavian) - 9th April
Whimbrel - 9th April
Tree Pipit - 11th April
female Wheatear 12th April LFL
Avocet - 13th April
Whinchat - 21st April
2 Great White Egret - Over BSL 23rd April
Curlew - 25th April
Whimbrel - 26th to 28th April
Adult Kittiwake - 28th April
1st winter Little Gull - 28th
male Garganey Sandford - 30th April to 8th May
2 female Wheatear Mortimer's Meadow - 30th April
Wood Warbler - 1st May
Black Tern - 8th May
Ringed Plover - 8th May

The only other spring that comes close to this was all the way back to 2003, but in my opinion this year was better, although I confess due to poor data recording on my part I am missing data on a Dunlin and a Whimbrel record which may have been in May.

Spotted Redshank - 15th March (BTB et al)
2 Garganey - BSL 8th to 11th April
Male Redstart - Lavell's 12th
4 Little Egret - Over 12th April
Little Tern - BSL 15th April (Adam Bassett et al)
Pair Red Crested Pochard - WSL 16th April
2 Arctic Tern - over 16th
Oystercatcher - 17th April (rare then)
12 Little Gull 17th April, 4/18th
Caspian Gull 21st April (FJC only)
Eider 21st April ((K Tubb et al)
Wood Warbler - 25th April (Kev Creed, but not believed by me)
Spotted Flycatcher - 29th April (D Rimes)
Turnstone - Tern Scrape 20th May

I'd like to add that a good number of uncommon waders have occurred in mid and late May, so we can still at least hope more good stuff could happen.

And to close today's post here are some record shots of the three rarest birds this spring

Life is good!

Sunday, 14 April 2019


I'd been wondering about the brief Linnet call I'd had a few days ago and it was bugging me I'd heard one so early in such cold conditions, not at all typical for our sightings of them.

knowing what I needed to check I spent 10 minutes on Xeno, it confirms my hunch that it was actually Brambling flight call not Linnet I heard.

Linnet is so hard to get over DP now, but they do drop in and fly over, so I'll be keeping my ears open to add another new species.

I'm only 9 behind the park now and most are still likely, except Crossbill and Red-legged Partridge, though I only got 1 Linnet last year.

Cool start, hot finish

I woke early yesterday and was parking in the lay-by at 05:36, by 05:36 and 5 seconds I could hear the first Cuckoo, sounding like it was in the 'usual spot' - behind Teal scrape. It was freezing, only minus 2-3, but felt very cold.

I went straight on through to Lea Farm Lake and it carried on calling, but went by left at 05:59.

The Sedge Warbler was calling, the 30 or so Sand Martin whirling, a Redwing called, but to be frank it was dead quiet. About 12 Teal still lingering, 3-4 Shoveler.

I went home 08:00 due to family commitments. by 13:20 Geoff was calling to say a couple had just walked into Ron's hide and asked "how long has the Avocet been on the bund at Tern scrape?"

At Bittern hide by 13:28 and there was the Avocet, half obscured by the bund, I quickly put the news out as still present, quite quickly it moved and headed nearer the hide, then over the bund into the scrape.

I can't believe the last record was 2008!

Friday, 12 April 2019

A day to remember

The 9th did not look like much of a day at 07:00, 3 Common Gull were nice, 3 Redwing over may be the last of this winter period, but it's fair to say nothing much was happening in he misty drizzle coming from the East.

So when Geoff texted to say Curlew and 2 Wheatear, it was time to shift on down to LFL and I arrived around 12:35, picking up the Curlew and one of the Wheatear relatively quickly. Whilst searching for the Wheatear, I found 3 White Wagtail, then 2 male Yellow Wagtail, but that wasn't the whole story either, while tracking one of the Yellow Wagtail a small brown bird was moving under the lush water's edge vegetation and as it was staying so low, my heart was racing at the prospect of something good.

When it did appear, it was a confusing few minutes, a pipit for sure, but rather dull, a bit olive, but strong malar, or moustacial stripe, but views were obscured by the vegetation and distance. It eventually flew into deeper stuff and I decided to dismiss it as never likely to show well enough. But 15 minutes later and it was out again, better for a few moments and showed white outer tail feathers and Trevor noted the facial markings again.

That was the best of the views and Trev and I did our own 'research' after, I found a nice blog from a Seaton birder on Water and Rock Pipit, including Scandinavian and my conclusion is that we were looking at a winter plumage Scandinavian Rock.

I left but others then found a Whimbrel which was gone by the time I got back at 16:30.

I will not be submitting any description to the rarities committee of the Rock Pipit

Two days later on the 11th I was out with my good friend John, on arrival I heard Linnet go over, nice start, A Sedge Warbler jumped around in front for a few moments too, then as we left Bittern hide later a very pale Pipit came over just above tree level, lightly streaked and looking only like a Tree Pipit would, it went over the new wet meadow and landed in the trees behind the Oaks, but out of view and was lost.

I'm still only on 105!