Saturday, 31 August 2013

Still 3 Redstart

Another hour or so watching our wonderful Redstarts leads me to conclude, it is just the same 3 for their third day. The light plays havoc with tones when viewing and worse when catching record shots. Either way it is a minimum of 4 in August, when there were only 4 previous August records altogether.

I also believe the female type on the 28th is one of the three still present, this bird has the grey feathers showing in the top of the breast.

Here a  few new record shots of the male taken with my Nikon Coolpix L610 thru my swaro, give me a little while and I hope to improve the quality some what

Unless someone turns up a Pochard, Mistle Thrush, Barn Owl, or something totally unexpected, we will end the month on 99, 6 more than last years new record for the month. I still suspect Barn Owl, or Skylark may have been present, probably Nightingale too.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Redstart individuals

After checking my record shots, I went back mid afternoon and got several new shots and am pretty sure, 1 of todays birds is new, possibly 2.

I felt the male today was much brighter, but my photo yesterday was so poor, I cannot be sure. I included my fun shot of this one landing, even if it is rather out of focus, capturing it with an iphone camera amuses me at least.

The other bird I am sure about as new today, looks quite like the bird on the 28th, with a feathers in the top of the breast ruffled and appearing grey. This bird looks rather grey around the head in most of my shots, but buffer in others, this may be a juvenile male.

A female, or juvenile female that was here yesterday, is here today.

So I think we have had a minimum of 5 since the 28th.

This may be male 3!?

Adult male bottom left, ? top right

Redstarts remain

I was out early today as Fridays are busy, LFGP had just 2 Common Sandpiper and not much else worth a mention, at 07:00 2 Redstart were showing in the car park field and having now looked at my pitiful record shots, one looks a bit different from the 3 yesterday.

The first two are of the same adult male, but the last in the views I caught has moustachial features I didn't notice on any yesterday, perhaps this is a new bird?

Thursday, 29 August 2013

1, 2, 3

Brian texted 09:25 to say we had 2 Redstart and I was there 10 minutes later and we immediately realised there were 3, 2 female/juvs and a heavily moulted male, a new park record. As it happens, until now there have only been 4 other August Redstarts!

I also think neither female is the one from yesterday.

Watching them for 45 minutes, 2 separate Yellow Wagtails went over, both quite low, the second having a brief squabble with a Chaffinch mid flight SE.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

A trickle of stuff

Another misty start, the sun breaking through around 09:30.

Very little at LFGP, just 2 Common Sandpiper, Richard Sajdack came in saying there was a Spotted Flycatcher by Jerry's bench, but we couldn't relocate it.

In the car park field, some warbler activity, Garden in the big Hawthorn, a few Blackcaps and Chiffs, then about to leave a Linnet went over low NNW calling 09:55 and as I was about to get into my car, a Yellow Wagtail South.

As I type a Redstart has been found in the car park field, here are my record shots, yet again the iphone did not focus on the bird when the best moment arose, am looking forward to my Nikon L610 to arrive, hopefully my photos will improve then

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

A fine morning

No sign of any Redstarts in the car park field, but a Raven came in from the NE and drifted over the landfill towards LFGP shortly after. An adult Hobby went over low East, Nuthatch as usual and Parakeets were loud again. A few warblers, but not much else, otherwise a lovely sunny morning.

I ran out of time for LFGP, but am told Common Sandpiper, LRP and Ringed Plover were present, I was also told Cetti's called near Bittern hide, so adding that, but removing the Arctic Tern due to my misreading a text and we are on 99 for the month.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Whinchat week

I said to my wife last night, the week ahead is what I refer to as 'Whinchat week' as so many of the past records occur from now to 7th, 8th, 9th September.....and later too, but the peak is usually 29th Aug to 5th Sept.

And sure enough, after I left LFGP, Marek called saying one had come into view on the docs in the far NE corner. I was about ready to take my family shopping in Reading, but my wife said "be quick". I was, staying long enough to get one classic record shot where it sat in the 5 O'Clock position from the fluffy thistle head.

A day earlier than the 2011 bird, this was species 132 for the year, 99 for the month and my 128th, so one more to go for me to equal my fourth highest score of 129, achieved in 2009.

It has been a good month, so far 5 year ticks for the park and still time for a wader or two more, maybe a Black Tern?

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Common Sandpiper flock

Richard texted to say Les was at Bittern hide watching a flock of 13 Common Sandpiper on the bund, it was work party day and we'd be on the scrape, clearing more Crassula and cutting reed edges back to allow better viewing, so I texted on the news to others and after picking up the tools headed down.

The largest count I am aware of was 11 on 17th August 1986 and we haven't had a count above 6 since then, so this is a wonderful record.

Sure enough a 'huge' flock of Common Sandpiper were sat on the bund, the count growing to 16 and they looked awesome. I enjoyed them, allowed others to before commencing the reed cutting, watching them circle reluctantly for a minute or so, then headed off South calling frequently.

Picture courtesy Alan Rymer

Saturday, 24 August 2013

August Shelduck

On arrival I could see a family of 4 Shelduck on the shingle island, just the 3rd ever August record for the park and 97th species for the month.

Teal numbers grew overnight to 31, Shoveler to 18, the 2 LRP's remained in the NE corner, 3 Common Sandpiper, an adult Little Egret chased a juvenile around the SW corner.

After I left an adult Arctic Tern flew in 11:11, 98th species for August.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Multiple waders continue to stop over

Trevor texted to say no sign of the Redstart in the car park field, but a Lesser Whitethroat was in the central compound.

Geoff also texted this morning saying at LFGP we now had 2 LRP's, 2 Ringed Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Snipe and about 50 Lapwing.

By the time I was free, there were just the 2 LRP's, but now 3, probably 4 Common Sandpiper, 1 of which which did a great job of keeping just out focus, or behind foliage. Another had a great wash in the SW corner and even completely submerged for 2-3 seconds.

Also now 9 Teal and a very healthy count for the time of year of 15 Shoveler.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Redstart re-found

Late afternoon Steve texted to say he was watching a Redstart 'in the usual place' in the car park, today's marking the 5th year running for autumn records.

I arrived around 17:35 and found it immediately, a nice moulting adult male and no doubt the bird I saw so briefly this morning. I was in a hurry, so the record shots were poor and the camera phone just would not focus when the best chances came up.

A Little bonus

PBT had a Yellow Wagtail over before I got there today at 08:45.

I arrived at the car park field 09:30, scanning the wires I headed towards the style and was 30 yards from it when I saw a small bird flick to the left hand oak, binning it I immediately realised it was a Redstart, probably a juvenile male. After just 3-4 seconds it flew out of view and I could not relocate it by 10:20. Redstart is 95th Species for the month.

During the search I scanned the landfill and farm scrub, finding Whitethroat, a few chiffchaff and suddenly heard a Little Owl, it called 3-4 times, then again 5 minutes later, but I could not locate it and it never called again....bonus bird or what. This marks a new fifth highest year list of 127 and 96 species for the month.

Ring-necked Parakeets were noisy and I finally saw 3 feeding on the pear tree to the right of Lea Farm, the shots were terrible;

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Same again

A misty 06:40 start at LFGP was met with the same Ringed Plover, Little-ringed Plover and 2 Common Sandpiper on the near mini raft, 1 Common Tern and a perched Kingfisher on the right hand tern raft.

The Green Sandpiper apparently flew in late and a Lesser Whitethroat was found near the sailing club, marking the 94 species for the month....a new record count for August.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

5 wader species morning

Geoff texted saying a Ringed Plover was at LFGP, I couldn't get there til completing the work and nursery run, but it was still there in the NW corner with a Little-ringed Plover, the latest since 3rd & 4th September 1993. Also present were 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper and a few Lapwing.

The Ringed Plover and Green Sandpiper were new for August, so we are on 93 equalling the 2012 record with plenty of time for previously mentioned species to appear.

At the car park field, 3 Garden Warbler were together in the big Hawthorn, 2-3 Nuthatch calling around the field and distant Parakeet calls to the East.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Spotted Flycatcher

I said yesterday, "all we need is a Spotted Flycatcher and I am on 126 for the year for the third time"....and today there it was found by Peter Scudamore late morning, despite 2 if not 3 others checking the car park field...including me, albeit briefly.

Who cares, as when is a Spotted Flycatcher not impressive on any day!?

The funny thing is 126 is my lowest score since getting that many in 2008, the park year list currently lagging 1 behind the 131 of 2007, but at least we have 4 months more to add others.

Here are my record shots, which were tricky with my son grabbing my legs.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Little things

1.5 hours in the car park was rewarded with a fly over Yellow Wagtail at 10:18, calling frequently, my 125th species for the year, 90th August species for the park. I am now one away from my 5th highest count, achieved in 2003 and 2008, so even though a Yellow Wagtail hardly seems rare, it is only the second this year. If we can just get a Spotted Flycatcher, I'm there.

It is fair to say quite a bit can still happen over the next 4-6 weeks, Black & Sandwich Tern, waders like Curlew, Whimbrel, Turnstone, raptors such as another Osprey, a Marsh Harrier and plenty of passerines, hopefully Redstart, a Tree Pipit, or Whinchat.

And September into October a Merlin, a Stonechat, a Rock Pipit, maybe a stray Yellowhammer....we'll see.

The only other birds of note in the car park field were 2 Willow Warbler & 1 Nuthatch .

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Missing some, getting others

Friday I was tied up and left my phone on silent, only to find Geoff texted mid morning with species 89 for the month, a Garganey at LFGP, but no sign at 14:00 when I got there, just 6 Swift over high South. At the car park field/balancing pool 3+ Sand Martin, 70-100 Swallow, brief snippets of parakeet call, seen later by Brian.

Today Richard texted with a Wheatear on Tern scrape, as far as I am aware, the first since 1993 and allowed good photo opportunities for numerous folks. Geoff said he may have had a Spotted Flycatcher, but it was too brief. Later, at the bottom of the car park, I saw the Wheatear again briefly, a Hobby briefly, 100+ Swallow, 3 Sand Martin, 3-4 Swift, 1 Sparrowhawk, lots of Kites, but only distant Buzzard, then through the scope I saw a probable Yellow Wagtail, heading SW above the Loddon, too far to be 100% sure.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Quiet Thursday

Today LFGP had just 1 Common Sandpiper, 40-50 Lapwing, 3 Teal, no terns, 50-80 Swallow and a increase to 6 Shoveler. That was about it, shame I wasn't here around 09:05 for yesterdays Osprey.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Yellow-legged Gull

Bert called me as I was returning from shopping, etc with my son, with a probable adult Yellow-legged Gull, in a mad dash I made it to see it sat down in the SW corner. Red orbital eye ring, head shape and tone of grey all good.

It did eventually stand and showed straw coloured legs, but its primaries had no white and after input from my good friend Adam, means it is an adult with well abraded primaries....thanks Adam.

The day before on the bird walk we had 2 Swift high over LFGP, a Hobby and nice flock of Swallows and 2 Sand Martin in the car park field, both Hobby and Sand Martin being rather uncommon this year.