Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Redshank arrival dates

Seeing Peter's report of the first Redshank of 2014 at LFGP today, made me look up past February arrival dates, whilst there only 10 years when they arrived in February, 6 of those years all occurred within 2 days of today's date, 3 of those in the last 4 years.

27th 1991
27th 1998
26th 2005
26th 2010
26th 2012
25th 2014

Fascinating stuff!

I have been very tied up over recent days, but hope to try and see all 3 Red Crested Pochard soon.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Sunny weather !

At last more than one day of sunny weather and February has already brought 5 additions to the year list, now including Blackcap (TOA).... 86th for the year, 78th for February.

The Red Crested Pochard are still about, but seem to be mobile at times, the Chiffchaff was seen again today, but no further sign of Med Gull yet.

I am 6 off the pace, but Med Gull is the only tricky species amongst those missing for me, Coal Tit is still evading me, but expect to connect any day.

Update from earlier, Steve Day's picture today http://www.berksbirds.co.uk/show_photo.asp?photo_id=7756 proves we have 3 Red Crested Pochard (2m), which is the first time we have ever had more than 2 birds.

Late lunchtime I did an hour in the car park just sky watching, 6+ Red Kite, 2 Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk, a few Fieldfare, half a dozen Redwing was about it, but it certainly made a nice change to be out in the sunshine.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Missing a trick

An hour on site this morning included car park field, BSL sailing club, Sandford and a short visit to LFGP, but I failed to locate the Mediterranean Gull that was seen around 11:15, with a low sun earlier I'll never know if I was just rubbish, or it hadn't dropped in.

Anyway, I didn't find it later either, but did see a Chiffchaff half way along the hedgerow to Ron's Hide, so at least I got one year tick out of going back.

And now I see Linda (LGL) saw the male Red Crested Pochard on BSL again today...and I doubt it ever went far, so where is the female then? Hmm,, maybe it was nearby?

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Hints of passage

Same day as the Red Crested Pochard, the years first Oystercatcher showed up briefly on LFGP (Rick Dawson) and yesterday 3 Shelduck appeared there (BTB), neither are there this morning. But the 3 species place the year list on 84, which is equal to 2004, with Redshank most likely to be the next addition before month end, but an evening walk along the Loddon to Ron's Hide, when possible, might turn up a Woodcock too and Tawny Owl should be a certain.

LFGP water level was very high and path only just passable in wellies, Goldeneye, 30-50 Wigeon and Teal along the lake edge, 100+ Lapwing spread across the landfill.

A Little Egret looked bigger sat in a tree on Sandford, but was just that, 1 more Goldeneye there also.

Over the next month into mid march, as well as looking for early Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Sand Martin, Wheatear, Garganey, passing Brambling and elusive Mandarin, I will be ever hopeful and on the lookout for Scaup, Rock & Water Pipit, Common Scoter, Avocet and even Red-Breasted Merganser.....all have occurred in past February to March periods.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Red Crested Pochard

After a swift car park walk I decided a very quick look over BSL was worth it, before I got to the 'beach' I scanned the visible part of the West side of the lake, only to see a pair of Red Crested Pochard nearby in front. They were swimming into the right hand corner and I moved to the bridge for record shots.

A couple of dogs barked and they spooked off towards the South bay, but I picked them up again in the West bay, where others quickly came and saw them.

The last Red Crested Pochard was 20th September 2012 (Mike Hunt) last February bird 1st to 6th 2007 on WSL, the only other February bird was 19th 2002.

May have heard Grey Wagtail call once while stood there, 5 Greylag came in and while I was driving in, a Little Egret was keeping company with Grey Heron on Sandford's flooded West path.

Monday, 17 February 2014

A thanks to all who visit my site

I am amazed to report my all time viewings has passed 23,500, I am humble and thank you all for dropping by. I'll try to get out more as the water level drops and offer something a little more interesting to report on the birds front.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Still mostly impassable

Again the waters are too high to get in around Lavell's and Sandford, I'll post some pictures soon, but a large Oak behind the aviation museum, has also come down in the high winds. A shame to see a 300+ year old tree on it's side. Little to say on the birds front, I'm just still hanging on for Coal Tit some day soon.

Looking up up the path, aifield museum off to upper left

Viewed at junction nearer flooded meadow

Near to the house, a little bunch of snowdrops, hopefully the flooding hasn't destroyed half the Loddon Lillies?

Thursday, 13 February 2014

A bright hour

Another chance to get down Sandford Lane, afforded a look over the landfill for an hour, Skylark fluttering up, Siskin over, 6 Buzzard up, no doubt taking advantage of the bright morning, 50+ Lapwing spooked by Red Kites, Ring-necked Parakeet calling off to the East, 2 Green Woodpecker calling, then I got onto another distant smaller raptor, which at first looked like Kestrel, but as it circled it looked too compact, for a few moments and I followed it in the scope, moving North just in front of Lodge Wood, it then seemed to come towards me, but then away and behind Lodge Wood.

Even though it did circle and the tail did seem a little too long at times, it never gave enough away to be 100% certain it wasn't a Merlin, a brief hover pushed me back to Kestrel, but the way it flickered it wings a few times, it's slim look and short wings, kept nagging at me and with the wings swept back, left me feeling the tail only looked longer, rather than was so.

After losing it behind Lodge Wood I kept scanning hoping it would appear again, but it never reappeared.

As I waited a female Sparrowhawk went over the same area.

Walking back to the car, I thought "that was the longest I have been out on the park in weeks."

5 minute visit

Seeing the Loddon was down yesterday, I took a drive along Sandford Lane to find it completely clear, at BSL the wind was blowing some and took a quick scan, just a Greylag, some Pochard and plenty of Great Crested Grebe.

With all the high winds I am wondering if another Kittiwake might come through, 2 at Farmoor yesterday indicates they are possible.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Bored of flooding now

I made a half hearted attempt to check the water levels yesterday, laughably there were 2 cars in the lay-by, both with water 3-4 inches above the sills, so even if water was not inside their cars yet, as soon as they opened their doors, it would gush in. I am speechless at the stupidity of some people.

I hung around for Coal Tit, but it was all too brief, to get lucky.

This morning, I had 30 minutes in the same spot and the water was down to 6-7 inches in the lay-by, so the nuermous 4 by 4's and vans were passing confidently, a few cars pushing on hesitantly.

I hung around the Sandford Lane/Old Colemansmoor Road T junction and a Nuthatch sang its heart out, even perching in view for 5 minutes, just 35-40 yards away, but with my scope in the car, missed a chance at a nice iphone record shot, knowing it would move as soon as I did....and it did.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Jan review

I had a quick look back to check if January was as bad as I thought and it wasn't really, those January's scoring parity, or lower than 81 are :

81 in 2004
76 in 2009 & 2007
75 in 2008 & 2003
69 in 2002

So on reflection, whenflooding doesn't make it impossible, we have better coverage now, with a few more species showing up more regularly, such as Nuthatch, Ring-necked Parakeet, Meadow Pipit and Little Egret, but whilst we seem to get more species in January since 2010, we have lost Ruddy Duck, Caspian and Yellow-legged Gulls, Linnet and Yellowhammer.

Today, Sandford Lane was of course flooded again, so I stuck to the aviation musuem loop, Alan saw LSW near Sandford Copse earlier. I just saw Nuthatch, Goldcrest and heard Bullfinch.