Monday, 30 September 2013

Crazy busy off patch

I did manage the odd 30 mins around Lavell's over the weekend, but too little time meant despite an attempt to look through the tit flocks, no Yellow-browed Warbler was found...... With hundreds in the UK, one must have passed thru somewhere in Berkshire. I did see 5-6 Chiffchaff and 1-2 Blackcap, but nothing else.

Today, I spent 30 minutes in the car park field and had 2 Yellow Wagtail over around 09:45, but I ended up chatting about Philippines birding to one of 2 guys I met in the field, he was heading back to complete his final year's PHd there and I am seriously jealous and can't wait to go back, hopefully next Christmas.

They had also seen Water Rail at Teal Hide, whilst doing the rounds for Yellow-browed, Redwing,, or Siskins, but none showed, we did have 2 Song Thrush, so perhaps some Redwing will pass by tomorrow?

Brian did text on Friday or Saturday saying Coal Tit could be added to the month list, so we finished on 93, better than the 90 in 2009 at least, 2 behind 08 and 11.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Too busy to enjoy the passage

Marek was out early to find an adult Little Gull on BSL, which of course didn't stay....they hardly ever do, before that he had Dunlin, Green and Common Sandpiper LFGP.

Oddly enough the September Dunlin is rarer, this being only the third ever, the Little Gull was the fifth. No sign of any waders by 09:30 (TAG).

Steve than went on to find the first autumn Water Rail at Teal Scrape, putting us on 92 for the month, with Siskin and Redwing still the most likely to occur. That said a lot is still possible, Bittern, Garganey, Pintail, Peregrine, Greenshank, Arctic Tern, Whinchat, Sedge Warbler and I don't believe we haven't had Coal Tit somewhere this month.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Weekend away and nothing missed

A weekend away in Carlisle non birding, at my sisters wedding and am happy to say I missed nothing vital, I took a brief walk to Bittern Hide 18:45 last night, the mud edge on the main island still looks good for something, this time 6 Teal and not much else though. Peter had a Spotted Flycatcher in the morning, maybe the same bird on Sandford later, the latest was 29th Sept 2000.

A quick dusk walk to Bittern Hide at 19:00 and 35+ Greylag came in from the North making a lot of noise , headed over to BSL, circled and off back North, but may have landed on the landfill. At the hide I got onto a Reed Warbler feeding along the face of the main island reeds, the light was very poor, but I know it wasn't a Sedge.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Meadow Pipit passage

The Meadow Pipit passage is gathering pace, with a number of small flocks over this morning, prior to the breeze picking up. About 40 in total going thru in an hour, comprising, on arrival 4 + 5 South, then 2 + 3, then 11, then 8-10 which lingered in the nearby landfill cell for a few minutes, 3+ alighted the telegraph wires with Goldfinch before moving off South and 4+ heading back onto the landfill around 10:00.

Based on the last few years, we should see these sorts of numbers and some larger flocks move through as we progress into October.

A pair of Mistle Thrush over the landfill East, c40 House Martin, and a few Swallow, was about it, warblers much reduced from yesterday.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Reasonable passage

A mid morning visit to the car park field was quite good, considering the last few cold days have been so quiet, a female Whitethroat and many more Blackcap and Chiffchaff were present, a Mistle Thrush flew West, 2, then 3 Meadow Pipit South, then 5 Yellow Wagtail went over SE at 10:48, followed by what was probably 7 more a few moments later.

Hirundines number were low, just c20 House Martin and less than 10 Swallow in the hour I was there.

3 Buzzard circled nearby, but it was not raptor weather!

Monday, 16 September 2013

September Ringed Plover

Saturday 14th around 09:15, I was just returning to my car after a quick car park field walk, when Brian texted, saying juv Ringed Plover LFGP NE corner, so I marched up there pretty quick.

September birds are rare, the archives go as follows:

1/4th to 7th & 12th 1993
1/15th to 30th 1984
1/5th & 22nd 1982

Additionally just missing September, 1/1st October 1989.

While we were there Richard spotted a Wheater, then we had 2, then 3, then 4, Trevor stayed and found we had 5, a new autumn high count.

On the way back we got distracted by a single note call, of a nearly unviewable bird, some say it was juvenile Bullfinch, I am not convinced. It was gone by 14:00.

Today, I did a quick 07:15 walk around the car park field, 2 then 3 Meadow Pipit over SE, then an adult winter Common Gull, again not so common in September, went over North, 6+ Chiffchaff most of which were with a tit flock, plus 3-4 Blackcap. The month list is on 88, after Marek got Linnet Sunday morning at LFGP.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Getting quiet

I missed yesterday totally from a patch perspective, gladly nothing important missed, 3 Yellow Wagtail went thru early (Marek).

Today a brief car park field visit brought only 5+ Blackcap, 3+ Chiffchaff, our male Redstart didn't show yesterday, but it broke the record with a 13 day stay. There were later birds 15th to 18th 2012, 14th & 27th 2011 and 22nd to 25th 2009, so passage might not be over?

On BSL 11 Wigeon and 3 Gadwall, were all I could see in a 5 minute look. The month is on 82, so a considerable way to go to reach last years amazing 104. The other most recent Septembers brought 97 in 2010, 95 in 2008 & 2011 and 90 in 2009.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Monday, Tuesday

I finally got an hour in near dinner time, arriving in the car park 18:10 and the Redstart was showing well in the sun, after raining on and off all day. Suddenly I heard Little Owl at the bottom of the field, but could not find it. At the balancing pool a Cetti's called, then I got my bins on it at the base of the Phragmites, just briefly of course.

Back at the car park, a Hobby went over low NE. A brief look at Bittern Hide produced nothing really, but the mud still looks good for a rail, or crake any day.

Tuesday morning 09:10, the Redstart was present again forhis 13th day, showing well again

A few Blackcaps fed in the Elder, 1-2 Chiffchaffs, Nuthatch calling nearby, 50-100 House Martin mostly over the landfill.

As I was about to get in my car 3 Meadow Pipit went over SE, quite low and giving just a couple of calls.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Lack of sleep stops play

My baby son is not well and struggling to sleep, so after a poor night for all of us, I laid in and missed the start of our monthly guided walk, but as it happens, it was darn quiet.

LFGP, just 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Hobby, which showed nicely late morning, a few House Martins, 3 Sand Martin, a few Swallow. 21 Shoveler, c20 Teal, the GC Grebes continue to brood their 3 eggs.

I moved to the car park to check on our Redstart, yep still there and with rain about to arrive, a good 100+ House Martin drifted in from the SW, to over the landfill.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

10 day Redstart

When it is all quiet, I can still find interest in our male Redstart, now on his 10th day, always hanging out somewhere near the thorn hanging over the barbed wire fence. Nearby 10 or more Blackcap feeding as one flock, a juvenile Green Woodpecker quietly foraging the ground in front.

Another hour skywatching produced <10 Swallow, <10 House Martin, 4-5 Buzzard, 4 Red Kite, 2 Sparrowhawk together and 1 Hobby briefly.

Friday, 6 September 2013

All change

As predicted the weather this morning was grey and light rain, Marek already had LFGP covered so I went to the car park field.

Marek then joined me, on BSL were 2 Wigeon and not much else, we had a Hooby distantly over the landfill, all else was quiet. Then Marek left and I had 1 Yellow Wagtail South 07:43, 2 more 07:47, then I picked up the male Redstart and a flock of 50+ Swallow overhead.

Lunctime, I was back in the car park field, same male Redstart, 60+ Swallow, 1 Sand Martin, 20-30 House Martin, 2-3 Blackcap and Nuthatch heard.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Talk of the devil....

I was in the car park field 09:00 (where else would I be!), with Brian admiring our Redstart and we decided to view the landfill, nothing showing, but Brian got onto a medium sized wader, dropping quickly towards the NE corner of LFGP, I barely got anything on it, but it looked big enough to be interesting, so said "we'd better go and check that it wasn't a Spot Shank, or something".

As we walked back quickly to the car, I brought up my memorable dash to LFGP on 5th November 2009 for a Great White Egret I'd seen from Bittern Hide and I was saying "shame it didn't stay....". I drove us down the other end and we marched quickly down to Ron's hide, opening the flaps we both looked to the SW corner, no waders, but panning, I picked up an egret just circling above and to the right of the Oak behind the Sand Martin wall.

It turned and I could see it was way too big for Little, clocking that it had a deep neck bulge, big long wings and long trailing dark looking legs, it was indeed a Great White Egret. Sadly against the bright, slightly misty light it was impossible to age, but regardless it continued deep slow flaps as it headed towards the NE corner at about 50 feet, just for a moment looked like it would glide to land at the lake edge, but it wasn't to be and it kept flapping and on it went round the back of Lodge Wood and out of sight.

After a 20-30 minute search at the North end of Lodge Wood Lake, where the shallows are, we could not relocate it.

Also present at LFGP were 2 Green Sandpiper and a Snipe, but I don't think the wader we saw was a Snipe, so we'll never know what that was, oh well I can live with that after finding my second Great White Egret here in 4 years, talk about "talk of the devil"

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Still loving Redstarts

Another beautiful late morning to enjoy our male Redstart

Good numbers of Blackcaps around, same for Chiffchaff and a brief view of an adult male Lesser Whitethroat completed my 45 minute visit to the car park field....I want to call it Redstart field as it seems appropriate and is a lot shorter to type.

71 species so far this month, lots of common birds to add yet

Tuesday, 3 September 2013


I got to the car park field 09:15 and saw the same male Redstart now on it's 6th day, but apart from a handful of about 8 House Martins drifting along above the Loddon, very little else was going on.

Late afternoon I arrived for a quick feeding geese visit with my son, as we walked back at 16:55, 2 Raven rose and tumbled not far beyond the car park, but were out view in moments.

Tonight I thought I'd give Barn Owl a try, but before that walked to the bottom of the car park field and viewed out over to the left of Lea Farm. Immediately with my naked eye, I could see a dumpy round bird sat on the top of the tensioning wire to the left of the pylon nearest left to the green barn. As I lifted my bins it flew right and I got brief flight views of a pale Little Owl, before it went behind the barn.

So I went on to Bittern Hide, checked the reeds for Bittern....none, checked the exposed mud off to the far left, for waders, egrets, ducks and even rails, or crakes....again none, but those muddy edges and shallows look like it could attract a crake, so I'll try to do more evenings just in case.

A slow walk back to the car and realised I could hear very quiet hissing coming from either the box, or Oak behind, so we have Barn Owls, possibly young calling?

All in all a pretty good day! And that was without any migration going on.

Yep I'm gready, I want to hope it is our year for a Pectoral Sandpiper, we're overdue!

Monday, 2 September 2013

No sign of Wood Warbler

I only had 45 minutes, but I had to give it a try, but no calls, or sight of a Wood Warbler, which is hardly surprising really.

The male Redstart is still gracing our field, Nuthatch calling as always, a few Chiffs and Blackcaps, distant Parakeet calling to the East and that was all I had time for.

Sunday, 1 September 2013


Today was very busy with other things, so I didn't get out until after 12:00.

August produced 99 and 2 'AP's' (Assumed Present) in the form of Nightingale and Barn Owl, but one cannot be certain, so 99 is the official total.

The record for September is 104, set last year, the recod was 97 in 2010, 95 in 2011 & 2008, just 90 in 2009.

Today, just the male Redstart remained in the car park field, Nuthatch called as usual, but whilst watching the Redstart I heard a call which could be described as 3 low slowly delivered notes "tuuu, tuuu, tuuu", repeated about 10 minutes later, but then silence. After some subsequent listening on 'Xeno' I do believe it may well have been a Wood Warbler, which I would not expect this late, early August maybe. Anyway for what it's worth I am going to look first thing tomorrow and keep my fingers crossed.

A lone Common Sandpiper was reported at LFGP.