Saturday, 28 March 2015

Some pipit passage

Mid morning yesterday and I got an hour round the car park field, with groups of 4-9 Meadow Pipit coming thru NE to NW, 42+ being my total.

Prior to that I was scanning the landfill for anything when I got on a distant goose already beyond Lodge Wood, going away. It was hard to see anything on it until it turned sideways on and did not show much pale on the upper wing and whilst it was hard to be sure, looked a little more compact than a Greylag. A guess would be possible White-fronted, but it was always going away and I lost it behind trees as it turned West.

Lots of Buzzard up displaying, Kestrel pair doing the same, 1-2 Sparrowhawk, but nothing else.

Today, there was even less. Nuthatch at a new nest site and Redshank, Green Sandpiper at LFGP, plus 4, or more Skylark chasing each other around, again let's hope we get good breeding results this year.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Cold wind holding things up

I got out to LFGP yesterday lunchtime, apart from Chiffchaff dotted around on my way up, not much to see. A Green Sandpiper and a Redshank were the highlights really. 4 Little Egret on Tern Scrape has become a regular thing.

Mandarin has been seen by various people, mostly along the Loddon, no doubt prospecting nest sights, but no further evidence of passage has kept things quiet.

Today I got a text that a Sand Martin went thru during the lunchtime rain.

In the car park field, I saw a displaying Kestrel, followed by another, so perhaps they will kick out the Jackdaws from the Barn Owl box...with a bit of luck.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Cool but changing

I wasn't out but little to report yesterday, until I read in LFGP log that Common Sandpiper was reported. There are only 3-4 March records ever, so it shows that migration is happening and can throw up surprises at any time.

Today, I met Brian and Nick on arrival, Nick had a good start, Brambling at Bittern Hide feeders, a Mandarin flying up stream near the Mill, Brain went off to look for them, I headed for LFGP and saw a pair flying down stream, calling all the way.

Very quiet at LFGP, not even Common Gull, my last being 2/19th. 2 Fieldfare flew West over the very far landfill, heading back I picked up a male Peregrine heading NE towards LFGP. I counted 4 Chiffchaff in song between the lay-by and Ron's hide.

A quick check at Bittern Hide, Brian was still staking it out, but no sign of Brambling, 2 more Chiffchaff between the hide and car park field. In the car park field, I had 5 finch sp. probably just Chaffinch heading East, then I had a pipit sp. which I got onto after it gone over my head, it called quietly 2-3 times and being that it was always going away, I'll never be sure, but for me it had a Rock Pipit look about it.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

March chat

Richard and Geoff let me know a Stonechat was on the Phragmites ditch on the landfill late morning, but with my car in for repairs I couldn't get wasn't seen later.

This is the first Stonechat in March since 15th 2005, with one also seen 26th 2004. Before that we have to go back all the way to 10th 1996, then a 3 dayer 24th to 27th 1988, then 1 1st, 22nd & 24th 1984 and finally 15th 1981. So you could say 'never common'.

Richard and Geoff also had the first Sand Martin thru, so it is starting to happen. I hope to be out tomorrow morning.

The year list and month list are lagging though, 6 more required for the year list to get into parity with 2004 and 2010, we expect the year to be on about 100, or more by end of the month. It will take 7 more for the March species total to get onto par with 2005, on average we expect to hit 91/92 in March these days. 2014 was quite low with 91 species for the month and 96 for the year by 31st.

Monday, 16 March 2015

No migrants still

The cold easterly wind hasn't helped, but a few short visits to keep an eye on things produced no migrants so far. One bonus and year tick was a pair of Mandarin flying along the Loddon, heading for LFGP Sw corner, but no sign on arrival there.

This morning, 6 Common Gull with the throng of Black-headed Gulls, 6 LBB's and 15+ Herring, gave me something to look through.

Friday, 13 March 2015

13th March - Not as exciting as some years gone by

I was out by 07:00, perhaps my subconscious wouldn't allow a rare bird anniversary to pass?

LFGP was pretty quiet, 75 Wigeon, 10+ Teal, 2 Goldeneye, which flew off North, 1 Common Gull, but little else to mention.

At Lavell's 1 Little Egret at Teal Scrape, at Bittern 10-12 Teal, 1 pair Shoveler, 1 Water Rail, 2 Cetti's calling, 3-4 Snipe hiding. In the car park field a singing Chiffchaff might have been a spring arrival, 5 Redwing and then a lone pipit North, hopefully just a Meadow, was the lot.

So back to the nineteen eighties, 12th 1983 at 07:18, 18 Brent Geese went over, 13th 1984 at 07:03 an Avocet flew over BSL, nearly landed on Sandford and Lavell's, then flew back to BSL and landed for a few moments, before being flushed by a dog walker at 07:13 (there's a surprise).

Then 13th 1986, 2 male Common Scoter were found on BSL in the afternoon, a single 22nd & 23rd 1996 and another single 18th 2004.

What has happened to spring pipit passage?

Rock Pipit : March 2nd, 11th & 12th 1983, 29th 1991, 2nd 3rd 1992, 20th 1998.
Water Pipit : March 15th, 16th & 17th 1981, 15th & 20th 1982, 10th, 11th, 12th & 16th 1983, 10th 1984, 30th 1986, last recorded 21st & 22nd 1992!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

A pleasant hour

Up to LFGP and Grey Wagtail and Green Sandpiper right in front of the hide, made a good start. The 4 Little Egret reported earlier, also still present. A scan around and the Redshank was asleep on the East bank.

A more pleasant breeze today, so felt warmer, maybe a Sand Martin!

Bright and cold

I did an hour around the car park field, Little Owl barely visible from the hole in the Oak, Buzzards were up high, 2 & 3 at a time, at least 8 in total, 2 Sparrowhawk, Ring-necked Parakeet called very nearby.

It felt like I could get lucky with a really early Sand Martin, but none appeared. I looked up earliest arrival for them and standing out like a sore thumb is 3rd March 1997. As with many 90's records, I have an issue with this, firstly as there are no initials, secondly it does not appear in the county report, the first birds recorded were 7th in Brimpton. Thirdly, it is just too early by at least a week.

I know how harsh that sounds, given we had a House Martin 10th March 2013, but that means nothing, the average arrival is between 15th and 18th, but 20th for the last 2 years.

With nothing better to do, I'll leave it at that and hope a Redshank reveals itself to me in the next day or three.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Update til Sunday 8th

I have been back on the patch for brief spells since my last post, but nothing much happened. A Cetti's called, Water Rail too, Kestrel about most days I go there. Still no Grey Wagtail for me though.

Today's bird walk was quiet, a quick walk around the car park field and the Little Owl showed for 5 seconds, Skylark dropped onto the landfill, Great Spotted Woodpecker showed well, 3 Oystercatcher we saw from Sandford hide, were heading to LFGP noisily, we were told. 2 more joined them for a few moments, before all left North.

The park's first confirmed Blackcap this year was along the backwater, not singing and thought to be a passing winter bird, still 87 for the park, 84 for me. 3 Goldeneye on Sandford, 37 Pochard still, A Coal Tit heard as we headed along the Loddon, 160+ Wigeon on LFGP, really was about it.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

A real Yellow-legged Gull

Until someone better at gulls than me shoots these pics down, I believe this to be a 1st winter Yellow-legged Gull, obviously now second calendar year, as they say.

It was one of just two large gulls on LFGP late lunchtime, I saw it arrive from the East, watched it for about 10-12 minutes and leave to the NW at 14:42.

Not as pale as one might expect, but proportions and structure all seem okay, no pale tip to the bill, but again not a deal breaker. When it flew it had no pale inner primary patch as would indicate Herring.

The first shot was actually nearly the last I took, the gull behind is the Herring Gull dwarfed by this bird.

Feedback later has revealed I'm wrong again, a large bird like this indicates Argentatus, the greater coverts are too spotted, the tertials are not clean brown, the upper tail is too streaked....oh well I'll keep looking!