Thursday, 30 May 2013

Gull watching and hoping again

LFGP this am, 1 male Mandarin still, 1 Little Egret, my first since 10th May, flew off 10:00, LRP in and out 10:30, 20+ House Martin thru North.

Then clicking away at this gull, that looked quite good for LYG, it certainly was bigger than the Herring which behaved sub-ordinate to it when it walked past, but hey, I don't know any more

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Rainy Monday

It being half term meant an early drop off in the rain and despite my chesty cough, sore throat and all that, I went for a quick scan of BSL, it promptly began raining harder, so it was very quick, 5-6 Common Tern, 200+ hirundines, mostly Swallow, 40+ Swift, and afew House Martin. My similar visit on Friday I think was 300+, but c100 House Martin and just 1 Sand Martin.

At LFGP a single Oystercatcher might give us reason to hope one is sitting again, but 5 Mandarin was remarkable, a pair and 3 more amorous males, which moved around the whole lake and even posed on one of the 'T' bars for a few minutes.

The Terns look well settled on the right hand raft and I have been seeing them pass over my house regularly, no doubt heading for the Thames at or near Sonning/TVP.

No sign of the Lesser Whitethroat on opposite side of Loddon by the Sandford Farm works, but who can blame it in the rain.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Not having time to patch

It has been a tough week, work is slightly picking up, but my son is poorly again and needing more attention, so I have hardly been out.

Mid week I did see a pretty good candidate Yellow Legged Gull at LFGP, but I hesitated to get my phone out and it flew off before I could get a shot. It was larger than the LBB's, moulting it's mantle and scaps, which were lighter than the other immature LBB's, it had strongly marked coverts, good chocolate tertials, just a hint of pale fringe, no scalloped, dark and very long primaries. The bill was getting paler towards the base and fairly heavy, head shape was okay, but gave me 1% doubts. Legs were pale pink to straw and long, the breast was deep and angular.....when it flew I could not see a strong pale region on the inner primaries and the upper wing showed dark primaries and coverts, the dark band along the trailing edge of the secondaries looked good too.......I'll never know for sure.

What we did learn this week was the Oystercatchers deserted the nest on Sandford, no idea why, lots of terns are using the right raft at LFGP, mostly BH Gulls on the left.

Nobody has reported anything that I have missed, but with Roseate Tern thru QMR and my friends patch at Little Marlow having pretty good wader passage and a Marsh Harrier this week, something must have gone thru??

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Not so great

It was evident yesterday that the Oystercatcher had deserted their nest on Sandford, with no obvious reason, but perhaps nearby geese, or newly arrived Black-headed Gulls nesting attempts proved too much aggression for them? Hopefully it is early enough for them to try again?
Here is the pair on LFGP yesterday;

Also of note is 2-4 Lapwing that may also be thinking about a late attempt, the latter will need a break from the corvid harassment they generally get....we are working on that and with the old Linpac industrial park being demolished later this year, we will also lose the Herring & Lesser Black-backed Gulls as predators for 2014 breeding season

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

6 wader species at LFGP

Geoff texted to say a pair of Little Ringed Plover were in the NE corner of LFGP, 2 Lapwing, 1 Common Sandpiper and the long staying Dunlin too. When I arrived about 30 minutes later, just 1 LRP was on show and whilst we could not relocate the Dunlin or Common Sandpiper, the Lapwing were still there and now 2 Redshank and a lone Oystercatcher.
This is certainly the longest a Dunlin has ever lingered and no doubt a long time since we have been blessed with 6 wader species at any one time.

Just a few miles to the SSE a Whimbrel was at Moor Green and I don't feel it is out of the question for it to pass our way, maybe it already did?

Sunday, 12 May 2013

5 wader species bird walk

A pleasant morning enjoying many warblers songs, hirundines, bursts of Nightingale and showy Whitethroats, then Oystercatcher and Redshank on Sandford, then more Redshank, 1 Dunlin, 3 Lapwing and 1 Common Sandpiper on LFGP, the latter seen by others, as was the case with Mandarin on the Loddon.
It seems apparent that this Dunlin has been here since the 5th, so quite unusual and missed by bird race teams yesterday and I'm not sure the Little Egret put in an appearance?

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Work party today

We arrived at LFGP to find the Mute Swans had laid one egg, but she left the nest and did not return for ages, then sat 6 feet away, before sitting again for the last hour we were there. Along with the Coots nest to the front right I can only hope they still hatch young. I expect the swans will continue to lay, as they did mate again while we were there.
The Common Terns took an immediate interest in our rafts, so we can be optimistic they will soon be settling down too.
Later on as we worked, I heard Little-ringed Plover, but could not pick it up, about 20-30 minutes later it flew over again and I saw it heading towards Sandford Farm. Let us pray it doesn't rain too much this week and that them, the Lapwings, Redshank and Oystercatcher all have success.
Shortly before we left a Hobby came over low and off towards Sandford Farm.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Intriguing report update

I received the recording, listened to it and it was a Barn Owl, stunning to me that the RSPB contact the lady sent her recording to, said "it sounds like a Nightjar to me"
Never mind, we always knew it couldn't be one!

Where are the waders and sea birds

The strong winds have blown in various seabirds into SW England, but none at DP, or LFGP this morning, I was there 07:30, as I left home 3 Oystercatcher flew over my house WNW I suppose roughly towards Sonning/East Reading, twice for this species in one week and 3 birds is unprecedented.

At BSL, 300-400+ mixed hirundines was nice to see, at LFGP 2 Lapwing, 1 Oystercatcher, 1 Common Sandpiper, 3 Gadwall and the same Little Egret here for the last week, appeared 08:10.

I checked and rechecked the large gulls and decided the right hand bird, whilst having a large dark bill, was a Herring 1st summer, not visible in this shot, but it had obvious scalloped tertials too :

Lesser Black-backed 1st summer :

A work party tomorrow is not what the 4 county bird race teams will want, if they need the egret and sandpiper, but we don't start til 10:00 and will be gone by 13:00 ideally.

On my walk back I took our resident ringers advice and went to admire the Loddon Lilly in all their splendor

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Waiting for more waders

Up even earlier today, but family needs first, so didn't get out til after 09:00, 2 Redshank flying around Sandford, 30-50 Swift over BSL. LFGP 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Oystercatcher, 3 Gadwall and the 2 Redshank, the front bird showing a slightly longer bill.......not captured in my shot!

Not wishing to sound gready, we do still hope a Godwit, a Ringed Plover, a Whimbrel, or other wader might grace us during May, perhaps a Black Tern?

Little Egret in the SW corner, not in breeding plumage yet, so not much to conclude at this point....the few bird race teams might well be grateful of this species this coming Saturday though!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

We all make mistakes

For about 20-30 minutes I was convinced I'd found a Spotted Redshank, 99% at least, even if I was looking into the sun at a distant bird. Perhaps there were other subconscious factors, I don't know, but just around 09:40 the bird flew closer and revealed tell tale wing bars. Now seeing the plumage in more detail, we could see that despite the bill being notably longer than normal Redshank, it still wasn't long and slender enough for Spotted and perhaps the legs were long too, but it was just a Redshank, hopefully the pictures capture some of that illusion;

When people started arriving, I said a few apologies and limped home to download these shots, but before I could do that Roger called to say he had a real Greenshank on Tern scrape, so I came back down for this lovely summer individual.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Late wader passage

Steve texted 07:10 saying there was a Dunlin on Sandford, then another saying it was with a Green Sandpiper, not meaning to be casual I finished making my tea, drank it and headed down, happily picking up both immediately on the tip of the old tern island. There are only 6 May records of Green Sandpiper at DP over the 33 years, so you could say it is rare in this month!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Early start Saturday

My son woke up briefly just before 5 so I decided I'd take the opportunity to get up and out then and went to check St Nicholas church for the reported Nightjar, no sign, but perhaps it was already too light?
On to DP, but incredibly quiet for the time of year, no hirundines at all, nor of the Lesser Whitethroat, but at LFGP a pair of Mandarin were feeding out of the water in the far NE corner.

On the walk back I thought it made a nice change to not be flooded everywhere and at least the light was great first thing, but grey clouds were appearing as I left around 06:30.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Lesser Whitethroat

Been busy for last 3 days, but managed an hour or so today, starting with Sandford and immediately heard a Lesser Whitethroat, gaining part views over the next 15 minutes. At LFGP there was just 2 Common Tern, no hirundines, no waders, just a single Gadwall. At the car park field, Richard and I had 2 Ring-necked Parakeet over and I had the Nuthatch opposite the Mill later on, otherwise very pleasant butvery quiet in migration terms. I did learn that a Yellow Wagtail went over BSL on the day of the Pied Flycatcher, meaning the park is on 123 for the year and the April high count was an impressive 114, I'm on 118.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

An intriguing report

At LFGP today and lady came into the hide with her husband and dog and told us her Nightjar was back, she went on to explain that they lived backing onto St Nicholas church in Hurst and every night last year from late April to late August a Nightjar called, but she only found out it was one for sure when she recorded it and sent the recording to the RSPB, who confirmed the call as Nightjar.
And now it's back she said.....hmmm I thought I wonder if it can be heard from the car park so I can get it on my DP list?
Well, we'll have to see, being my birthday I'm not sure I can get out there tonight, but as it is going to be a warm afternoon and evening, it just might be worth a try.
Sandford offered little, Oystercatchers of course, but no sign of any Shoveler, LFGP had little on it today either, no sign of the Teal, 1 Lapwing, 1 Cuckoo over, I did hear Lesser Redpoll on the walk back to the car and Nuthatch was singing loudly beyond Sandford Mill, lots of Buzzard, Kite and Sparrowhawk up in the warming air.