Wednesday, 18 July 2018

July excitement

Well let's not go overboard, but it is always nice to get a year tick in every month, but actually near impossible to achieve.

But July does bring some almost predictable possibilities and I am not going to pass up on a flock of 8 Black-tailed Godwit, well not on purpose.

Said birds were not around early Saturday morning 14th, 4 Green Sandpiper, Barn Owl and Little Grebe were keeping me entertained at LFGP at 06:30 and the Kingfisher was again on it's perch.

It's worth a record shot of the LFGP and Lavell's since we've not seen the water level so low since creating these lovely shallows and refreshed habitats. I've included the fencing shot as we will have new fencing in a few weeks and it's always good to have before and after records.

My shots from that week include said the Kingfisher, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Little Egret and Green Sandpiper, a juvenile Stonechat - very uncommon July species.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Happy....I wish

So, I have to mention the sad fact that it looks to be true that 2 Common Crane flew over DP on Thursday afternoon. I am gutted for my own perspective, happy for the DP list, as they were probably tickable when 2 passed to the West 6th May 2012, but were seen above Bowsey Hill early afternoon, therefore possibly visible from the bottom of the car park field...oh well.

I hadn't reviewed May...92 species, not exactly pants, but 10 shy of the 2017 record, 4 short of 2012 & 2016, 1 short of 2011 & 2008, so fourth equal with 2007, 14, 15 & 16.

Now jump to June, 91 equal 2nd with 2016 and 1 less than last year. Okay I 'assume present' Mandarin, Kestrel, Tawny Owl, Nightingale, Mistle Thrush & Lesser Whitethroat, which are not unfair assumptions in my opinion.

The year is =2nd place for June 30th, again with 2017, 2 behind 2012, but before we've even entered July, 132 is new third place for 31st July total. If we get Black-tailed Godwit, maybe one other wader, say Wood Sandpiper, a Yellow-legged Gull, Linnet and Little Owl, that would be a new record, one past the 2012 high of 136...for end of July.

I hope my ramblings make sense to some people, it remains amazing to me that the boundaries of what is possible month to month can be surpassed.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Like buses

Back out very early today and immediately rewarded and it's often about when you're out often, you notice small changes....

Scanning Lea Farm G.P. along the North spit at 05:35 I noticed 3 small ducks, checking with bins it was easy to see they were probably Teal, but upon scoping one was an obvious female/eclipse Garganey, the first this year.

I love Garganey, here are my 250+m record shots

Also still present, 2 LRP, 1 Green Sandpiper, 2 Little Egret, 1 Hobby over fast, 2 Skylark on hay bales.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

A month between year ticks

Another lie in today after yesterday's very early trip down to LFGP....Very nice conditions first thing, 2 LRP chasing each other about, 1 Redshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, a few Lapwing, 1 Little Egret. At Sandford the Gadwall numbers keep rising, 30 now, plus 2 Shoveler, a family of Tufted Duck.

Kingfisher at Lavell's trying out the new posts in the wet meadow.

So, today Brian called with more news from Sandford, "Red Crested Pochard on old Tern island". An hour later I was watching it, a month on from my last year tick and it is not often one gets a new bird in June.

I'm level with 2017 now, and to use another good year, it was 5th August 2012 before I hit 127.

The SW corner looks great and I am hopeful we will pull in a 'new' wader or two over the next month, in order of likeliness, Black-tailed Godwit and Wood Sandpiper, not that either are certain to show up. But if we get the right conditions and luck, maybe a Turnstone, an early Curlew, or Little Stint?

Not forgetting other species to look out for, Yellow-legged Gulls are arriving in the UK pretty much now, Garganey are moving too and I'll never forget finding 5 on 23rd July 2000 at Lavell's. Also Black-necked Grebe start showing up at Staines in July so we could always have one drop en route.

I'll be listening for that all elusive first Linnet going over and a Yellow Wagtail is certain, just I may have to wait until August.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

June flat line or fab time?

Here we are in the heart of the breeding season and I still visit Lea Farm most mornings around 06:30, the highlights are not what many might consider exciting, 2 LRP's, 5 Lapwing, Gadwall, 2 Little Egret.....Cuckoo still, which I guess is getting late for an adult.

So is it actually worth getting out of bed, unless you're doing a breeding bird survey, possibly not. But as I am sure I've said before June can throw out the odd very pleasant surprise.

1981 : 13th Black Tern
1983 : 18th was my first big surprise and it was a whopper, 9 Little Terns over WSL, then Sandford mobbed by Common Tern and away East at 07:00. Same day Garganey was seen on Sandford.
1984 : 6th a Curlew, 7th a Garganey, 13th a very late Wheatear, 21st a late Grasshopper Warbler, 26th Ringed Plover
1985 : 8th a Dunlin
1986 : A Tree Pipit over (dubious in my opinion)
1987 : 6th Red-legged Partridge, 23rd Tree Sparrow
1988 : 11th, 27th & 28th Black Tern
1989 : 11th Marsh Warbler, 13th Grasshopper Warbler, 19th Ringed Plover, 21st/22nd Ruff (the infamous and unknown LB), 22nd Snipe, 29th Greenshank
1990 : 14th Wood Sandpiper, 16th Black Tern,
1991 : 4th to 7th Common Scoter
1992 : 3rd Red-footed Falcon, 3rd Garganey, 7th Green Sandpiper,
1993 : 24th 3 Ringed Plover, 8th Green Sandpiper, 30th Yellow Wagtail
1994 : 12th Common Sandpiper, 14th Green Sandpiper,
1995 : 18th Ringed Plover, Teal 22nd & 24th, 13th Common Sandpiper,26th Green Sandpiper
1996 : 7th Willow Tit (Observer Unknown and therefore unconfirmed)
1997 : 15th Cuckoo, 16th Greenshank, 25th Green Sandpiper
1998 : 2nd Corn Bunting (Observer Unknown and therefore unconfirmed)
1999 : Various oddities, breeding Teal and Water Rail claimed, 26th Snipe & Green Sandpiper
2000 : 18th Green Sandpiper, 25th Dunlin,
2001 : 19th Teal
2002 : 6th Teal, 23rd Green Sandpiper, 30th Little Egret (1st June record)
2003 : 1st > Peregrine (1st summer records began) 6th Stonechat, 7th Bittern, 8th Pochard, 10th/12th Shelduck, 17th > Teal, 23rd Barn Owl began breeding
2004 : 11th/13th Ringed Plover, 12th > Green Sandpiper, 17th> Common Sandpiper
2005 : 1st Little Egret, 12th Black Tern, 19th> Green Sandpiper
2006 : 20th/21st Pochard, 29th Garganey
2007 : 3rd Teal, 3rd Honey Buzzard North over BSL (FJC - Record not submitted to BBRC), 4th last ever Spotted Flycatcher record in June, 6th > Common Gull, 26th Peregrine
2008 : 27th Teal,
2009 : 3rd Shoveler, 10th & 25th Little Egret, 11th Green Sandpiper
2010 : 7th Ring-necked Parakeet (began breeding locally), 11th/22nd/29th Little Egret, 14th Teal, 25th Wigeon, 30th Ringed Plover, 27th Green Sandpiper
2011 : 12th Shoveler, 28th Black-tailed Godwit,
2012 : 1st Dunlin, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (last ever breeding), 4th Yellow-legged Gull, 7th & 21st Common Gull, 18th Green Sandpiper, 23rd Common Sandpiper, 20th Quail
2013 : 23rd Common Sandpiper
2014 : 5th Red Crested Pochard, 22nd Pochard
2015 : 4th Water Rail, 4th Ringed Plover
2016 : 11th Green Sandpiper, 17th Common Sandpiper, 21st Water Rail, 23rd Raven,
2017 : 4th Raven, 17th Mediterranean Gull, 23rd Green Sandpiper, 24th Common Sandpiper

Over the last 5-7 years the frequency of Teal, Shoveler, Pochard, Little Egret and Parakeets has gone up to the point where it is less common we don't get the odd bird.

Happy birding

Monday, 28 May 2018

Does a good start mean anything?

Since my last post and I can only apologize for the infrequency of my posts these days, some more additions have popped up.

Little-ringed Plover went on to set up home here, not breeding so far, but we (FOLL) have made a good start on allowing that to happen next year by putting shingle across the island in front of the hide.

Little else of note occurred, warblers like Sedge, Whitethroat & Lesser Whitethroat in short supply for most of the time, Whitethroat now looking better in the last week.

Cuckoo still calling as of yesterday (27th), but it was a late Ringed Plover found by Marek & Brian that had me dashing back, post my usual early morning routine on the 21st.

Then all quiet again until Geoff texted to say 'Black Tern LFGP' yesterday, again post my early morning visit. Upon arrival one bird was patrolling up and down surface feeding, but decided to land on bouy near to the recently launched raft and it was at that point, we realised there were two. These were joined by a third after I left.

Today there was thick fog after a very stormy night for the second night in a row, luckily the rain missed us and went well East over Bucks. Only one day 2 days ago have I seen more than 15 Swift, with 80-100 over BSL early morning.

So I am on 126 for 2018, faced with the usual suspects to get and in some kind of date order hope, or expectancy they look like this:

Black-tailed Godwit
Little Owl
Yellow-legged Gull
Yellow Wagtail
Marsh Harrier
Spotted Flycatcher

To go past my all time year lists would require all these and more, but a few good possibles might yet be in the mix;

Sandwich Tern
Rock Pipit
Red-crested Pochard
Wood Sandpiper
Spotted Redshank
Bar-tailed Godwit
Common Scoter

And if we look over just the last 6 years, we have had mega's in 5 out of 6 years, so I am up for a stunning bonus like a Spoonbill, Great Northern Diver, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, White-fronted Goose, or even....before all that a Red-footed Falcon, or Marsh Warbler and why not strong Easterlies for days and days...good luck folks.

My title to this post is there because this year is a high hitting start and on par with 2017 and whilst 2017 was excellent - 137 and equal 2nd place with 2014, fell 1 short of the 138 record in 2012. In 2012 I didn't get Green Sandpiper until 5th August, but as we say in bird racing, they are all only worth 1 at the end of the day....enjoy your birding.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Are we done

A few more additions, a Hobby distantly over the far end of BSL, then overhead at the DAC on my birthday (1st.

Then Brian was out before me on the 5th to hear the Greenshank coming in from the North, I was near Teal hide when I looked at my phone to find his missed call at 06:08 due to my not taking it off silent from overnight.

By 06:18 I was looking at it, then so was Jack 5 minutes after that at, then it got harassed by a Black-headed Gull and was away towards Lavell's, staying for about an hour and half according to our Jenny.

And finally, after much avoidance tactics on their behalf a pair of Little-ringed Plover were at Tern scrape bund looking all loved up.

The Whitethroat population has not got above 3-4 still, Willow Warblers have gone thru with no records on DP in May so far. The Oystercatcher is sitting in a wisely high location at Sandford, but not that high given the flood potential. The Mandarin are resident on BSl, but not nesting as things stand.

The sunrises at Lea Farm are pretty nice, especially if you like thick mist and dew covered cobwebs.