Thursday, 27 April 2017

Waiting for it to get warmer

Cold bright mornings are lovely, but they don't do much for migration, at least around our way.

The Sand Martins appear to have survived so far, 2 LRP's looking interested still, a Shelduck, 4 Teal left, a Little Egret over, a Grey Wagtail gathering food, Kingfisher over, 4 Common Tern over, but very little else.

At least the Lapwing gave me something to try and get shots of

I saw 2 dead Shrew on the paths today, if that is what they are, what the hell is that about, territorial disputes?

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

2 cold mornings

Good grief it's cold for late April. Yesterday I was out at Ron's hide by 06:15 and the cold made my fingers tingle. 5 Common Tern overhead, a pair of LRP's were looking even more keen and clearly prospecting the SW corner islets, the Lapwing looks as keen as ever, the Oystercatchers too. Later Geoff said 2 Redshank was also looking keen.

I can't even remember a time when we had 4 wader species thinking about breeding, I don't think it's happened before.

Now thinking, prospecting and actually breeding successfully are very different things, with constantly patrolling Jackdaw and Carrion Crow, it is no easy thing settling down. If I have it my way we shall lose a few of each in an attempt to give the waders a fighting chance.

Now add to that a male Shelduck which is also chasing any bird with white on it away, where is the female? Perhaps she's already on eggs on top of the Sand Martin wall?

A male Shoveler is looking fresh and I'm wondering where his lady is too? It's all too much to hope that all of the above and even a pair of Teal might be thinking this place is destined to hear the patter of tiny webbed feet. I'd be excited to have any of them give it a proper try.

Also at LFGP a Common Sandpiper, 10+ Sand Martin in the wall....awesome. At BSL a male Mandarin,

Today I was earlier, there by 06:05, carbon copy of the birds, but even colder. The Redshanks flew in 06:25. And on BSL 21 very cold looking Swallow perched on the wires, the Lesser Whitethroat calling all the time at the bottom of the car park. More and more Reed and Sedge Warblers around Bittern hide.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Dawn chorus snippets

Dawn chorus on Saturday morning was perfect conditions, still bright, but not too cool like so many recent mornings. My commitments meant I could only do the first hour and a quarter. The Nightingale sang well, albeit from the island, many other warblers too, but that was all I had time for.

Sunday was work party and happily I did catch a few blasts of Lesser Whitethroat in the car park field at the start, then a short burst of Garden Warbler too.

At Lea Farm, a pair of LRP were sounding interested in the SW corner.

The same applied this morning, with the LRP's making indentations in one of the SW corner islets...not a safe place to nest. A Shelduck, a male Shoveler, a pair of Gadwall, but too misty to see how many Teal are left, 1 Common Sandpiper flicked across to the South spit.

At BSL, 2 more Common Sandpiper together was nice, 2 Common Tern, 1 male Mandarin and the 2 Little Egret perched high in one of the tall Ash trees begged the question if we'll ever seem them breeding at DP? The Lesser Whitethroat was noisy in the car park field, but mobile enough to be seen.

Later today Geoff said a pair of Redshank were displaying, imagine that Lapwing, LRP, Redshank and Oystercatcher all breeding, it would be amazing.

Mid afternoon at home and as I was on the phone I binned a Hobby buzzing a Red Kite...nice!

Friday, 21 April 2017

April Partridges go further afield

 After my walk this morning, I was getting ready to take my son to school, peering out of my kitchen window I could see a Pigeon and something else under the feeders, but as it was facing away I couldn't quite make it out. As soon as it turned it was obvious I had a Red-legged Partridge.

It remains in my garden now, pecking at weeds and moss on my path and looks fab wondering around between the footballs, cones, goal post and trampoline.

First few minutes

Finally it was 45 feet from the house walking between the various toys and balls

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Garganey again

Tuesday morning Marek and I were looking across BSL from Sandford side and picked up the male Garganey yet again, in flight then on the water near the North end of the big (Goat) island.

I did a loop anti-clockwise of BSL and heard the Nightingale, then had the pair of Mandarin sat on the timbers of a fishing swim along the old golf course strip, around 60 Sand Martin were feeding low over the lake too. The Garganey was sat peacefully in the bay opposite the sailing club by now.

Later Roger found it on Sandford and later still Alan saw a female in the SW corner of LFGP.

Yesterday I was away. today it was fairly quiet, 3 Common Tern BSL, but still 17 Teal at LFGP, 10+ Sand Martin around, a pair of Lapwing still defending the islet in front of Ron's hide, making depressions etc and chasing off a pair of Grey Wagtail whom were collecting nest material themselves.

Later in the afternoon I got the text and call a Wheatear had been found in the car park field, in the front bit near the car park....and there it was.

Prior to getting the Wheatear there was a small matter of seeing the 2 spectacular Black-winged Stilt at Little Marlow

Monday, 17 April 2017

Feels right for passage

Sunday was okay really, I began at LFGP looking for Little-Ringed Plover, reported by our friend from Devon shortly before. I found 1, then 2, then 3, finally 4 on the East shore, plus a Common Sandpiper. John went and found 5 later!

Brian and I found 7+ House Martin moving around beyond Lavell's/Sandford Farm and Geoff told me later that Sand Martins were checking out the wall at LFGP.

Today, I was back out 06:30 and still 23 Teal at LFGP, 4 more at Tern scrape, 2 pairs Gadwall, 6 males. But no Shoveler, their departure was quite sudden. An LRP flew off at 06:53, a Common Sandpiper in the NE corner was barely visible.

At BSL a Common Tern was on the yellow buoy, but then mobile another Common Sandpiper had colour rings so I have made inquiries on it's origins. 100+ hirundines of mostly House Martins was a nice sight at last.

Later I was heading to the BSL viewpoint and bumped into Martin Mitchell, who told me he had just seen a Red-legged Partridge over near the WSL reed bed on the path and it had walked toward the copse near the Loddon. I bombed over there and had it in flight heading right, I quickly trudged down the TDFC path and flushed it on the left right on top of the weir, it went around me and into the Alder next to Heron's Water where I lost sight of it.

April is a good month for this species;

April 17th 2017
April 14th 2012 - near Teal Hide (GSE)
April 10th 2010 - flew over the Loddon barn at DP main centre (FJC)
April 9th 2002 - A poorly looking bird next to the path to Bittern hide (EN & FJC)
April 16th 1988 - On back fields behind Lavell's

The last thing to mention is a strange call along the Sandford backwater, a little like the pre-amble of Whitethroat, but perhaps a tone not unlike Lesser. It never showed and left me baffled.

Saturday, 15 April 2017


Out later for a change, I caught up with others for a walk around to BSL, it was notable the number of Willow Warblers, well into double figures, but little else.

At the picnic area the Nightingale sang in bursts and being that it was on the island, we never stood a chance of seeing it.

5-6 Swallow and a pair of Oystercatcher over the lake, but despite a lot of looking only 1 Snipe, 2 Shelduck and 3 Skylark were noted.

That said a Green Woodpecker feeding near Ron's hide got me trying to capture a nice shot with my bridge camera.