Tuesday, 30 September 2014

3rd highest September species count

We only need one more today to reach the 2nd highest September, it stands on 96, missing Redwing and Siskin, both usually occur late Sept, but with it being so mild I am not surprised they haven't arrived yet.

Other likely birds perhaps that should have been seen were Peregrine, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Marsh Harrier, Osprey, Ringed Plover and Dunlin. Even if we had those, we would still be 1 short of the record of 106 set in 2012.

This morning's brief car park and BSL visit offered 10+ Meadow Pipit over SE, 1 Common Gull East, 2 Grey Wagtail at the sailing club, 1 Nuthatch heard. 3 then 2 Song Thrush over points to Redwing arriving any day.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

What will be next

There are several good candidates to hope for before winter sets in, for my 2014 year list remaining, all with a handful of Sept and October records;

Golden Plover, Jack Snipe, Merlin, Little Gull (running out of time), Yellow-legged Gull, Scaup, Black-necked Grebe, Brambling, Rock Pipit & Yellowhammer.

Then from November we can look for Goosander, Smew, Woodcock...maybe Short-eared Owl thru?

Still, but potential there

Out at 10:00, it appeared quiet, but on examination, small groups of Meadow Pipit were going SE, as were Swallow and House Martin. I also heard 2 Skylark and saw a Linnet head NW over the car park field, which doesn't sound that exciting, but what was interesting was the Jay movement, 3, then 4, then 9 more all SE along the edge of Lavell's and is the biggest count I have, other than 11 in one flock on the 24th Sept 1983....spooky how close the dates are!

Again Blackcap and Chiffchaff were the only warblers, but I had no time to really check, I heard 3+ Goldcrest and feel a goodlook thru them might yield something?

As I left it was warming up and I felt something more would happen today.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Quiet week

Work is keeping me busy, but I have been out at lunchtimes, not much to say really, just a pair of Mistle Thrushes NE of landfill, trickles of House Martin & Swallow, fairly good Meadow Pipit passage NW mostly. Just Blackcap and Chiffchaff left on the warbler front it seems.

47 Shoveler yesterday at LFGP was a nice count, but the ducks are clearly moving between there and Twyford pits, so number fluctuate a lot.

2 Hobby 24th, 1 more today over the landfill and around 15:15 a Raven was out flying a Red Kite way over the landfill at around 1500-2000 feet.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Chat or chats? Thanks for that one mum

This morning we were back to fog and almost pointless conditions, but by late morning for those able to get out, it was looking nice and I heard plenty of Meadow Pipits over.

Then I got a text saying Whinchat on edge of SE corner LFGP, plus many ducks just flew in, so I put the news out. Marek went saw the Whinchat and re-found 2 Pintail as well.

I was otherwise engaged until 13:00 when on dropping my mother off she said "why don't you take Ethan if you need to see the bird". I didn't need to as I'd had Whinchat already, but thought "why not, I like Whinchat and Pintail for that matter".

I went and passed Alan, Gray, then Richard all heading back one after the other, telling me how far away it was, but the 'super' had been well enough to be sure.

So I was not expecting to find a juvenile Stonechat where everyone had been seeing the Whinchat and duly tweeted the news, to then hear some had seen 2 birds earlier, so both chats at one time in September for the second time? I am told Alan has shots of the bird from earlier.

Here are my shots of the Stonechat and as you would expect not beautiful, but the last one clearly shows no 'super';

A Wheatear was also present not too far from the Stonechat and I glanced at one of the Pintail, before Ethan got too bored.

So here I am on 130 for 2014, picking up an amazing 11 new species recently, 6 in August, 5 so far in Sept!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Thank you Marek

I'd left my phone in my car having picked up family for Sunday afternoon roast, but suddenly realised and when got it, saw a missed call from Marek...I called and he said Garganey LFGP now!

It was 40 mins til serving up so I dashed, I saw, I year ticked and equaled my 4th highest year of 129, set in 2009, excellent. And a great striking individual it was.

Marek said this was part of a huge flock of ducks that all came in together, comprising of 123 Wigeon - the largest early autumn count, 52 Shoveler, 94 Teal - the largest early autumn count, 72 Gadwall and 2 Pintail, quite a flock.

My morning trip out had been pretty quiet, Raven heard, a few groups of Swallows, 6+ Meadow Pipit, 2 Mistle Thrush, 2-3 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap and on to Bittern with a small handful of Gadwall and Teal.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Friday and Saturday Morning

I ran out of time to report the things I had yesterday, it amounted to Nuthatch heard, 5+ Meadow Pipit over SE, a few Blackcaps and Chiffchaff, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Linnet East, but not much else, except another stab at catching Kingfisher in front of Ron's hide, this time perched on the big clump of mud.

Today I found nothing at LFGP around 08:00, so went to the car park, again very little bar a few Swallows and Meadow Pipits over.

Then as I crossed to towards the sailing club, I heard something singing in the brambles on the left, it was a sub-song and sounded more 'Acro' like than 'Syliva'. I waited and waited getting low volume, but quite long bursts of song, followed by a low toned call, repeated 5-7 times, not so dissimilar to the 'picking' call of Water Rail and I was flumoxed.

It shut up by the time Eddie walked up and I hadn't even had a branch move and apart from 1-2 Chiffchaff and 2-3 Blackcap that passed by, no others warblers were seen. The Blackcaps also did their familiar 'tak' calls, which the mystery bird did not.

After trawling Xeno-canto I am not much wiser, but believe it was either an 'Acro' giving some pretty unusual mimicry, or something much more fun to contemplate...I'd love to go for Melodious Warbler and will check the sailing club again, but seriously doubt I'll hear it again...but I'd know that 'pick' call again, if it wasn't random mimicry and a one off?

Thursday, 18 September 2014

More Spotted Flycatcher

Trevor texted to say Spotted Flycatcher in car park field, plus 2 Raven over, I came down about 12:45 and had the same with him, a juvenile Hobby , then adult later, 2 distant Sparrowhawk squabbling with the juvenile for some minutes was fun to watch.

Whilst watching the Spotted Flycatcher after it moved to mid way along the East hedgerow, we had Coal Tit, Chiffchaff, 1-2 Meadow Pipit and I got some half decent shots of the Spotted Flycatcher.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Keeping it going

Another short car park spell and 1 Hobby still around, although fairly wide ranging, but little else so I headed to LFGP, no other waders, despite Green & Common Sandpiper being seen at Tern scrape a.m.

A pair of Barnacle Geese dropped in from the South, looked a bit wary, but I have no illusions about the origins. A Grey Wagtail called as I walked back to the car.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Quiet and quieter still

Monday I managed a quick sailing club car park walk with Marek, a Reed Warbler near to the MAC was nice to see out of place, a Coal Tit was vocal and visible in the small stand of pines, but that was about it.

Today it was very dull and misty, no waders on LFGP, that said a wader of some sort called half a dozen times, but we never saw it and could not place the call. A Cetti's called once. Even the duck numbers have fallen. There were quite a few Chiffchaff about.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

1 becomes 3

I was about to head out early this morning, but my little boy got up and I owed mummy a lie in, so stayed in and when I finished my first cuppa, was at the kitchen sink looking out of the window and picked up a large bird moving SE 200+ metres beyond the church, some 500 metres away.

Luckily bins were to hand and I got onto it immediately, seeing enough to id it as female type Marsh Harrier, a garden tick, but it was going behind the big Oak, so I ran out to the front of the house and picked it up again, it's deep wing beats did not have the sharp Red Kite appearance and a few movements showed the square tail, it remained at about 400 ft up moving steadily SE, which projected on would have been somewhere over the West end of DP.

Meanwhile Brian texted to say now 3 Pintail at LFGP, but I couldn't go for another 30 mins and by the time I arrived they had vanished.

Being bird walk morning time was short, so headed off to Lavell's car park, we moved quickly on to BSL sailing club car park, but nothing happening we went to overlook the lake, a Grey Wagtail went over, then a small bird flew just in front of us, left to right, landing in one of the small bushes there, I got my bins on it as it went on to another bush, following it I got a 1 second view and saw it's white supercillium "Firecrest" I announced, but it flew on again and then on into the Willows, but we could not relocate it.

This is the first in September, the only other early autumn record is 1st Oct 1989 (MSW).

I hit a landmark with the Firecrest today, as it was my first self found, so I am now on 180, my 179th was the Spotted Redshank last month, so that isn't too bad out of the 195 species I have had at DP. This is my 128th species for 2014, so my 6th highest, just one more to equal 5th from 2009, five more to equal 3rd of 133 for 2011 & 2013.

There wasn't a lot more to note today, but 8 Ring-necked Parakeet on the edge of Lodge Wood was a reasonable count, Goldcrests here and there, a Sedge Warbler opposite the green bridge, no waders at LFGP other than Lapwing.

A quick lunchtime 30 mins brought 2 Hobby, 5 Ring-necked Parakeet and then the threat of rain sent me home early.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

A real Pintail

After the July duff duck day, we were extra cautious today, but it proved to be an eclipse Pintail in the NE corner that Brian found. The light was flatter so we could see bill colour and a 'pin' tail, revealing the eclipse plumage of a male.

Wigeon numbers jumped again with 82+ present today, only the second time we have had a count this big, this early in the autumn, the last was an almost identical number of 83/15th 2009 (TAG), the only difference being they were on Sandford.

The Shoveler count was around 14-16, then 15 more flew in, which is an increase, but will need to exceed the 2012 numbers of 39/1st Sept, 44/7th and 61/10th, to beat early autumn record counts, 65 on 18th Oct 1998, being the highest in the autumn period.

The highest counts were in 2005 with 110+/7th, 130+/22nd on Sandford and 100+ in Jan 2004.

I forgot to add my midweek rubbish shot of the week of the Raven with a Sparrowhawk, it's great!

Friday, 12 September 2014

It might appear quiet, but it's worth a closer look

Chatting on the sailing club beach this morning, it felt a bit quiet, a Common Sandpiper flew in, a few hirundines went East, Chiffchaff called, but not much else was happening.

Then Marek left and I went to the bottom of the car park field, seeing 2 wagtails that were almost certainly Yellow heading East, but without calling. I was overlooking the landfill and within moments I had a Wheatear and seconds after a Whinchat landed on the doc next to it, even having a quick squabble. Barely in view I went to call Richard who had gone off around the sailing club car park, then found his text saying Spotted Flycatcher near the MAC/DAC, or whatever they want to call it now.

Richard joined me, 20 seconds after a Crow had flushed both birds and after 25 mins, we had to concede they had disappeared.

We went off towards the sailing club and I had a pair of Mistle Thrush over low East, after a little search we re-found the Spotted Flycatcher next to the first compound on the left, but it was mobile and we couldn't keep on it.

A good few more groups of hirundines went E/SE then I left.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Misty and quiet

A brief spell at the car park yielded 2 Meadow Pipit over N and at BSL, there were 2 Common Sandpiper on the jetty and a Grey Wagtail on the beach.

You never quite know when Common Sandpiper records will dry up, here are the last dates in recent years;

2013 - Sept 26th
2012 - Sept 3rd, then we had a late one Oct 4th
2011 - August 12th
2010 - Sept 28th
2009 - Sept 13th
2008 - Sept 6th
2007 - Aug 24th, then a late one Oct 3rd to 26th
2006 - Aug 26th, then a late one Nov 3rd
2005 to 2003 needs compiling
2002 - Sept 5th
2001 - Vague, but a very late bird Dec 2nd & 4th

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Hobby passage

I have been meaning to post that for those who haven't seen many, or any Hobby this year, we have been getting our fair share for over a week now, 2, probably 3 again today late morning, mostly using Lavell's to the landfill airspace and just to the North East.

Just 4 Buzzard today, before it got more cloudy and cooled the air down, very small handfuls of Swallows SE, but little else to mention.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Early lunch again

No trip out early today, so I opted for the car park and saw apparent South Easterly Buzzard passage, 4, then 3, then 4 more, then a few more singles and 2's, so no less than 13-14 birds. One very pale juvenile was great to check out.

2 Grey Wagtail went over low East, but few warblers around the field.

I also saw 1 Hobby to the North East, plenty of Kites, 1 Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk buzzing a Raven to the NW, very few hirundines.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Stopper overs and starts

The Bar-tailed Godwit was barely visible at 07:30 this morning due to the fog, but it was there, only the second ever to stay overnight. It was too misty to see anything else, other than a Common Sandpiper and the sun through the mist, making it possible to see the sunspots.

Later Richard said he one, then 2 Redstart in the car park field, I saw one of them briefly at lunchtime and again 18:15 when I got the two shots below. I can't say if it is the same bird as his shot on Berksbirds? But it does look greyer in the afternoon light.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Stamp of approval

Arriving at 07:30 at LFGP, I was admiring the great work done by Lee and trying to get shots of the Green and Common Sandpiper in our newly dug SW corner, when a Bar-tailed Godwit wandered past my field of view...."blimey, I said to myself that shouldn't be there".

Various calls and texts later and I reeled off 100 iphone shots, about 3-5 are about in focus, 10, or so are passable records shots in the grey flat light, but I've put the 18 best up here.

During the excitement, 3 Raven went over East calling and no doubt remain local, 4 more Meadow Pipit went over NW as I left the car park.

When I returned to site to chat with Lee about the final parts of work, the Bar-tailed Godwit flew back in and seemed very reluctant to leave...if that isn't a stamp of approval I don't know what is!

Just 3 of the 11 records are in September, this and the May 2008 individuals are the only ones to stay, the May bird was 17th & 18th. 2 of the old records are unconfirmed, 2/17th March 1988 (OU) and 32/1st August 1996 (BU), were probably Black-tailed based on date.

Early bird...

Arriving 07:55 to get in before the digging re-commenced, I immediately picked up a Whinchat at the mouth of the SE corner, but it was in view until I sent texts, gone when I looked back and was not refound.

Brian arrived moments after and we counted ducks, 31 Wigeon, 17 Shoveler, 4 Little Grebe, then a Meadow Pipit went over East, the first this autumn. At that moment Lee, our digging 'contractor' arrived and all the duck left, mostly North.

I forgot to mention when I came back to chat with Lee around lunchtime yesterday a Coal Tit was calling near the green bridge and Marek had the same since.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Not quite an early morning wader, but still a wader

I was out principally to meet the contractor to hand over the gate key and get him to the SW corner of LFGP, while waiting at the inner gate, 3 probable and a definite Yellow Wagtail went North...what is it with the going North thing?

Later Geoff sent a text saying 'Curlew on the landfill', which stuck around til 11:52, heading off West, seen by 4-5 others.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Misty start..where are the early passage waders?

I woke early and got down to BSL by 06:10, nothing!

On to LFGP and plenty of ducks, I didn't count the Gadwall, but reckon about 100 and a few more Shoveler, 6+ Wigeon. A lone Snipe on the East shore and then a Yellow Wagtail called and picked it up circling the nearby landfill, when it turned and disappeared off North.

Marek arrived and we discussed when the waders come thru, what wind direction and conditions are best, but it never seems to be something you can predict and you have to wonder if it is worth getting up early most of the time in hope of such things. at that moment, a lone Common Sandpiper flicked off to our right into the SW corner.

But we do get up early, well I do sometimes and sometimes it comes good, most often it doesn't and you have to put it down to being in a small landlocked county and DP not providing big enough expanse of water to pull in stuff regularly.

Perhaps on misty mornings like these, you are better to wait until it starts to clear, like yesterday, which wasn't about waders, but any evidence passage is nice. And when you consider the waders I've had this autumn, most have been after 09:00 anyway.

We also heard Nuthatch and Grey Wagtail for September, before going back to the car park to hear and see nothing!

Another early'ish lunch at the car park yielded a Hobby again quartering the airspace of Lavell's and the landfill, just a few small groups of Swallow and House Martin and then a Yellow Wagtail which as per normal I heard first and then saw it was a male coming heading sort of SSW over the sailing club just East of us, it about faced looked likely to come down near the sailing club, before heading off back East.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Choose your hour well

I buckled and went for an early lunch today, just as the misty cloud was dispersing.

Watching with Trevor, we picked up 1, then a second Hobby high up, the smaller one spiraled away West, the other then came over our heads at least twice over the next hour, with a third bird, also occupying nearby airspace.

During all this excitement a Spotted Flycatcher flew into the Ash trees on the left side of the car park field, staying in view for a few moments.

At 11:50 Trevor picked up 3 corvids going over Sandford/BSL ESE, which turned out to be Raven, 2 came over calling from a Westerly direction, much lower but we couldn't say if it was two additional birds.

A light sprinkle of House & Sand Martin and Swallow, plus 4-5 Red Kite, 3 Buzzard and 1 Sparrowhawk, made it a good hour, wish I could be out there still now.

So I managed about 45 minutes from 16:15 and saw another, or one of the same Hobby lingering overhead, then more or less nothing until 16:55, when 5 Red Kite and 4 Buzzard got up to the North, this in turn got me scanning and I picked up my first September Swift since 2010, so am pretty chuffed with that.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Just a work party

We went to LFGP to put in posts for the impending excavations in the SW corner, it was a beautiful day and a bonus was a lovely Wheatear on the track of the East lake edge, photographed by Alan.

I took record shots of the marker posts across and around the bay

A false alarm later turned out to be 2 Green Sandpiper at LFGP, 3 Common still there was nice, but a most unexpected turn up was a Tree Pipit over just above tree height W/WSW over the Loddon near Teal Hide at 18:19 calling frequently, my first since 1987!

Monday, 1 September 2014

Everyone likes a good chat

I made the mistake of not going to LFGP this morning, only covering BSL and the car park field, so when Brian texted to say that an immature Stonechat & Whinchat were together on the docs of the Eastern lake edge, I had little time before I had to leave to drop off my wife to work.

I went with 15-20 mins free and gladly got the Whinchat, but the Stonechat had departed somewhere.

This is the only September Stonechat, other than the staying individual from 16th 1989.

All I saw at the car park was Kestrel, 4 Ring-necked Parakeet and small groups of Swallow, a lone Snipe in from over LFGP towards Tern scrape and a flock of about 40-45 Greylag Geese also in from the North - which is a good count.