Sunday, 30 March 2014

Hazy start

Saturday morning, it started hazy and at LFGP I was saying it should be good weather for Wheatear, when wouldn't you know I found one, my first March Wheatear since 2008. It was just above the track behind the reed mace pool, so rather far away to sex, but as the haze began to clear, it seemed to be a female, still too distant to bother for record shot.

With little else apparent and chores to do I left, meeting Marek briefly and then leaving, only to pull up to take call by the Mill, which was great as my Grey Wagtail this year went over noisily, in the direction of the aviation museum.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

A quick overview

Wednesdays are usually too busy to go out, so instead I thought I'd give a general picture of birding at the moment. At least 2 male Red Crested Pochard are lingering at LFGP and BSL and may be a bit mobile. 2 Oystercatcher are hopefully nest site prospecting, 3 or so Lapwing are lingering at LFGP, but unlikely to breed due to corvid issues, Snipe are also lingering here and at Tern scrape. Perhaps Little ringed Plover will have a go this year, but again corvids will have final say on this.

3 Raven sightings in the last 2 weeks may indicate a pair may be looking at nesting somewhere in a 2 mile radius? The Little Owls may well be nesting already.

Chiffchaff are everywhere currently a good number of Blackcap are in too.

In the last few days of March we can expect early Swallow, House Martin and Willow Warbler.

Early April is often very busy with migrant arrivals and we can hope for Garganey, or if we are very lucky a Water Pipit along LFGP weedy edges.

One should keep an eye on the ducks for a Scaup, Common Scoter, or other fly over wildfowl.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Little Ringed Plover

I took a quick 30 mins at LFGP in the rain and found the first Little Ringed Plover on the shingle bank of the NE corner, the first March arrival since 2011. Also present, one of the male Red Crested Pochard, 5 Goldeneye, 4 Wigeon, 20 Teal, 2 Snipe, 3 Lapwing and 4 Gadwall.

A Lesser Redpoll also flew over as I walked along the Loddon.The Wheatear on Sunday was the first March bird since 2008.

Yesterday I did an hour in the car park field and had another pair of Raven over low from the East, off SW.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

work party blues

Sue and Jane arrived back at LFGP hide as we were about to start tea break on the work party, only to mention in passing they saw a female Wheatear along the track on the East side. I had of course driven the track to get the sand to the Sand Martin wall, but still not seen it.

This is only the 7th March Wheatear record, so an uncommon occurrence, that said 3 of the March records have involved 4-10 birds, rather than just one, so I should not be too gutted....I just hate missing tricky year ticks.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Proper Spring passage underway

Brian texted to say he had at least 4 Blackcap new today, I went to the aviation musuem car park and heard a snippet of one burst of song, for a year tick then headed to LFGP, good numbers of Chiffchaff singing all the down, at LFGP I got another year tick with a pair of Shelduck were in the NE corner.

6-8 Buzzard overhead, a Skylark rose above the far landfill, a male Red Crested Pochard flew towards Lodge Wood Lake. 2 Goldeneye dived regularly.

After I left c400 Golden Plover were seen to the far East, a four fold increase on previous maximum counts, but I never got the chance to return.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Nowt about

A trip down to LFGP was very quiet today, lots of Buzzard enjoying the bright morning breeze and even another Kestrel off to the far East beyond the landfill, only my second this year, but little else to speak of, just a few Teal, 1 pair of Shoveler, 1 Common Gull and lots of Black-headed Gulls.

I forgot to mention that yesterday I also saw a lone Pochard and 3 Fieldfare flying North.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Sandies and a great photo opportunity

On arrival at the car park 09:10 1 Sand Martin was over Lavell's, heading for BSL, I went there and found 5 circling over East end of the lake, quite high. Lots of Chiffchaff calling too.

A quick view over Sandford produced nothing, not surprising after a work party there.

At Lavell's Bittern Hide, a lovely male Pintail close up, gave countless photo opportunities, so I have had trouble deciding which to post, so here are lots:

I confess this is overkill, but I usually take such aweful shots, I couldn't help myself. It flew into LFGP when I arrived at 10:05, but appeared to head back around 11:00.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

A dusk visit

With evenings drawing out, I was able to dash out for the last 30 minutes of dusk last night. All spent at LFGP, it was already too dark to scope, but 2 pairs of Greylag were competing, 5 Goldeneye were asleep in the NW corner (2m), a few Redwing came in and at 18:42 I heard Redshank call once.

As expected Woodock was not on the cards and I left before a Tawny Owl might have called.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Bright but quiet

LFGP today, a Ring-necked Parakeet on the walk down, heading up stream, then a good mixed flock of mostly 30-40 Fieldfare, plus 20+ Redwing over the far landfill East. 2 rising Skylark, 2 Lapwing, pleny of Black-headed Gulls, 3-4 Common Gull, 2 Herring.

A pair of Sparrowhawk displaying over Lodge Wood, 1-2 Chiffchaff along the Loddon, but no other migrants.

Later 3-4 Buzzard and many Red Kites up, but no sign of Sand Martin.

Marek saw a pair of Raven late lunchtime and others saw 2 Little Owl on the Oak tree, also reported Oystercatcher and 2 Red Crested Pochard.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Briefest of visits

A short watch from the car park didn't bring much, but a Mistle Thrush did perch on one of the boundary posts long enough for a couple of nice shots.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Oycs paired up

A dash to LFGP early morning meant looking into the sun, but at least the pair of Oystercatchers are in courtship mode, so we can at least be hopeful they breed and successfully rear young this year.

I meant to add the 4 butterfly species to the Sunday bird walk list : Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock & Comma.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

An unusual early fall

On arrival in the car park for the bird walk it was evident Chiffchaff had arrived, 2 each end of the car park, 1 more at the bottom, a further 2 on Sandford's North side and 1 by the old Oak near Teal Hide, so at least 6 in this area alone. Consulting the archives, this is very unusual as we do not usually expect spring falls until between the 15th and 21st March, last year it wasn't until 1st April! Had we, or someone walked the entire park, the total fall count might have been well into double figures?

Before my arrival a lone Shelduck flew over South.

The start of the bird walk was rewarded with a year tick for me in the form of a pair of Mandarin over low, heading just to the East of the car park field, no doubt looking for a breeding site. A pair of Mistle Thrush on the ground may well be nest site prospecting too.

The Little Owl didn't show for us, but several others did see it later.

At Bittern Hide we saw 7 Snipe, 3-4 Pochard and 3 Goldeneye over North, on to Sandford we saw 2 male Red Crested Pochard, 3 more Goldeneye, various other ducks and enjoyed the Chiffchaff nearby, only hearing Bullfinch.

These Red Crested Pochard are the longest staying ever, previous longest was 11 days in 1994, Oct 12th to 23rd, then 10 days in 2006, Jan 11th to 21st, then 8 days in 2007, Jan 30th to Feb 6th, plus a few 5-6 day stays in other years.

At LFGP another 2 Goldeneye, 4 species of gull, 2 Little Egret, 30+ Wigeon and a few Teal, but not much else. On the walk back we saw 1 Lesser Redpoll, others had seen 3-4 on the way to LFGP.

A bit late but here are my aweful record shots of Redshanks and Oystercatcher on 7th.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

A fine sunny hour

Marek texted me as I pulled into the car park, with news of the Little Owl again in the Oak near Lea Farm, by the time I joined him at the bottom of the car park field it was out of view, but reappeared in under 25 mins, doing the same twice more in the next 45 mins.

Scanning the landfill airspace whilst waiting I picked up a pair of Raven beyond LFGP, drifting slowly NNW, visible for 5 minutes, gaining height, before leaving them to view the Little Owl once more. This is the 3rd March Raven record in 4 years, but my 7th consecutive year of records.

I tried a record shot of the Little Owl, but failed miserably and didn't care one bit after adding two very good year ticks in one hour.

I was also told we now have 2 Oystercatcher and the Red-Crested Pocahrd are still about.

I ran out of time yesterday to blog my 2 Redshank at LFGP, so my total as of today is now 84 from 90.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Mandarin miss

On the 4th Richard texted to say he had a pair of Mandarin on the flooded Tern Meadow, as usual they flew off quickly but headed to the Emm Brook, not to be relocated. I went down anyway and did finally see Oystercatcher on the landfill, before having to head home again.

A brief car park field walk at 09:30 produced a flock of around 40 Redwing, 4 Fieldfare and a singing Nuthatch, as well as another 70+ Redwing heading East over the far landfill.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Oystercatcher at last

With the water levels very high again I wandered around the car park field and waiting at my car heard Oystercatcher head over towards LFGP. Laptop problems mean I am going to have to leave it t that.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Saturday misses

Family commitments again kept me away until after lunch, Marek finding a good year tick in the form of Little Owl nearby to the green metal barn at Lea Farm itself. Oystercatcher, maybe 2 still in the area, but yet to be seen by me.

My visit was only the car park field, being such a lovely bright morning 5 or more Buzzard were up displaying and untold numbers of Red Kite, I did think I could hear a Chiffchaff calling at one point, but had no time to investigate. 2 Ring-necked Parakeet flying around and Mistle Thrush worthy of note.