Monday, 28 May 2012

Warm and quiet

Having seen 2 Oystercatcher flying around Lavell's during our Sunday work party, I wanted to check that we still had a sitting bird and sure enough we do, so as Richard Marsh already established this morning, these 2 were another pair, either from Twyford, or others. About a dozen Common Tern are settled in around the various islands too. At LFGP it was quiet, a family of Greylag, 3 of the 4 Redshank present and 4 us hope that a late breeding attempt is not out of the question.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Breeding season going well

Good directions from Richard provided views of the sitting Oystercatcher on Sandford, along with a dozen Common Tern. The Grey Heron was also still sitting on its nest on the main island of BSL. The Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers continue to feed young and we remain hopeful of successful fledging in the next week.

Ruff til dusk

Monday lunchtime and despite not seeing the text from Geoff, I arrived at LFGP to find him, Richard, Gray and Tony all looking at a juvenile Ruff on the Eastern lake edge. I got a few record shots, albeit poor quailty due to the distance. It was present at dusk still, along with 2 Redshank, 2 Common Sandpiper and a Little Ringed Plover.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Crossbills a plenty

Late afternoon yesterday, I took a walk around Sandford Park with my mums dog and as a birding location would not normally bother here, but it brought a most unexpected and very welcome turn up. I was 100 yards from the car facing more less NW and suddenly I could hear sharp 'jip jip' calls ahead of me, I could immediately see a large flock of Crossbill heading East at about 150-200ft. I quickly did 2 counts and got 42 & 44, they entered DP airspace just south of Sandford Lane, but must have flown almost directly above it to somewhere just shy of Sandford Mill, when they veered left and plunged out of the sky, where I lost them behind trees at 17:15. I could not relocate them. This was my 125th species for the year, my sixth highest ever, still 4 short of my fifth and lots of year left, so can maybe hope for a late Grasshopper Warbler, passage Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Green Sandpiper, Autumn may bring a Ringed Plover, Stonechat and, or Whinchat, Black Tern, Spotted Flycatcher.......but it gets tricky after that, maybe Whimbrel?

Friday, 11 May 2012

Just hopeful

Yesterday's Shoveler kept me thinking about the TABG bird race, but no sign today at LFGP, just a Gadwall, 2-3 Common Terns, plenty of Black-headed Gulls and a few Kingfisher calls along the river path. Sandford may finally have Oystercatchers giving it a nesting attempt.
Lavell's offered good views of Garden Warbler, Bullfinch near old Oak and car park field. Also in the car park field, a Blackcap singing with a wonderful, piping 4-6 note warble added onto the end of its song. Just off DP 16:00 at Ashenbury, again Bullfinch and Mistle Thrush over South, lots of raptors up and Linnet over.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

My first since 1997.

2 Black-necked Grebes were still on LFGP, despite Ron & Richards presence to position the tern rafts correctly Just a brief visit for me, but wonderful moments to cherish 2 fines birds, diving and flapping around SW corner at one point. 1 bird very slightly paler on breast so not quite full summer, but excellent birds and a along awaited re-occurrence for me.

Monday, 7 May 2012

I blew it on the cranes

A frantic few minutes at Lavell's followed the call from Roger Stansfield that the 3 Cranes were heading NE from BHL pits, so heading my way. I arrived in the car park 14:15 and went to the sailing club and began scanning SW, then Andy Horscroft called me to say they were at Sutton Seeds roundabout and the birds were East of them, just south of the A4, so already past and West of DP, more like NW of LFGP.
I ran to back to Lavell's car park, all to aware I was already late to meet my obligations to go with my wife and son to meet out antenatal clase at 14:30 in Shinfield.
I scanned from the edge of the car park, or the slightly raised bank, but could pick nothing up, phoning Andy H one more time, he said they had moved off North, maybe even beyond Henley. It was 14:34 and I had blown it and had to leave.
At the pub Chris Heard called to ask me how I'd done and to tell me he had seen them lingering West of Ashley Hill and then they continued NE to the North of it around 14:45.
So it transpires if I had run to the bottom of the car park field, I could have scoped that airspace and added Crane to my patch list. My wife even said all I had to do was call and say I'd be later and she would have been fine with it. So not very clever on my part, was gutted for the rest of the day and could not face recounting the events until now.
Fingers crossed a Red Rumped Swallow shows up, not that I could find one in an hour look at 18:00 on 6th

Friday, 4 May 2012

Cold early start

Rather cold at 05:30 at the sailing club, the 2 Oystercatcher on the beach as usual, 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Cuckoo calling quite nearby. LFGP 06:00 was quiet, but another Cuckoo was calling, a flock of c100 Swallow took my attention and led to my picking up 3 Yellow Wagtaill heading North under the Swallows. Half hour later 3 Arctic Terns went thru fast North quite high. The Oystercatcher went came in, but continued North, a lone Lapwing came in and I heard a Common Sandpiper call once. A loud Song Thrush in Lodge Wood gave frequent calls like a Greenshank and Whitethroat called constantly, two unidentified small jobs went overhead whilst I filled the feeder, were either small finches, or could have been chats, but I think to make a claim would be reaching.
Later Richard had 2 Black Terns pass thru LFGP, I was short on time, so dropped in at BSL, had 30 mins, no terns, but did pick up a brief Hobby on the far side.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Cuckoo at last

A late morning at LFGP, finally got me a Cuckoo, calling distantly to the North, then 1 flew in front of the hide. Also present, 2 Oystercatcher, 30+ Swallow, 3 Skylark over the landfill, 5 House Martin thru, 2 Ring necked Parakeet off towards Lea Farm area, 5 Common Tern and that was about it. I suspect waders had passed thru early morning as many did at other sites in Berkshire pre 08:30.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


A late afteroon visit to BSL again produced no unusual terns, but a singing Lesser Redpoll over East was a surprise, 5 Common Tern and the singing Lesser Whitethroat still present, was good.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Terns everywhere but here

Amid fairly serious flooding I had to drive all the way via Winnersh to get to BSL and viewed from the fishermans car park end for 20 mins, just 2 Common Terns on view in the murky post rainy conditions. I drove round to the sailing club and viewed for a further 40 mins, waiting and hoping a Black Tern would drop in as 8 were reported at Sonning Eye. It was not to be, just 4 Common Tern, although the 30+ Swift was a high count for the year so far. I did hear a Lesser Whitethroat somewhere along the gold course strip, but without wellies and the fact that the Emm Brook had breached the beach, this was not a route I would be taking today.
Yesterday I did a quick sortie around Lavell's 6 Common Tern, a Garden Warbler at the back of Tern meadow was about it. Later I finally uploaded the pics of a Common Sandpiper at LFGP on the 27th.