Sunday, 31 May 2015

Plover v's Phalarope

I went to LFGP around 07:25 hearing House Sparrow along the Loddon near the new houses, I expect this might become common, if the cats don't eat them all..At LFGP I found a Ringed Plover in the SW corner, plus 2 LRP's and 3 Lapwing.

With little else about I was home 08:30 and just having a look thru Twitter, I suddenly saw the post "Red necked Phalarope Theale Main Pit 08:41" just 3 minutes ago. I did get the last one all those years ago in 2001, but with any Phalaropes being so rare inland anywhere, went immediately.

It was some way out and allowed some poor record shots, with the safety power boats coming out around 09:35 and rain setting in I headed home happy.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Ever hopeful

My lunchtime visit was spent at Ron's hide today, 3 or more pairs of Common Tern using the newly launched raft, was encouraging. The pair of Shelduck were asleep in the SW corner.

Lots of raptors up, including a brown Peregrine circling and diving over the middle of the landfill and beyond Lodge Wood for 10 minutes around 12:45, a lone Hobby was over the car park field.

About to leave and I realized a Lapwing was sat on the gravel in front of the hide and even when a family of Greylag walked very close by, it didn't move. It finally stood eggs, but maybe it's thinking about it and if it did breed, that would be the first since 1997!

I always remain optimistic and even though that counts for nothing, I do feel something good to happen soon, by good I mean rare of course.

The park is on 91 for May, 1 off becoming equal third highest May, which seems bizarre as it hasn't exactly been crazy with uncommon birds this year. If anyone has seen Little Grebe, Barn Owl, Little Owl, or Willow Warbler, let me know.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

A few more Hobby

Another lunchtime at the car park field and overlooking the landfill, at least 3, probably 4 Hobby, mostly as far away as Hurst Green G.P., but the odd one coming over Lavell's.

The car park meadow looks rather nice with a mini sea of Yellow Buttercup and very pretty smaller flowers, which I don't know.

Migration over?

It has been several days since anything new passed by, so migration looks like it is over, shame we never got anything more interesting than a Ringed Plover, but at least I got that this year, missing last year's only individual as I was in the Philippines with the family this time last year.

Not to get too far off patch birding, but on my last trip there I went on my first mountain trip to about 1500m and experienced a habitat quite similar to our heaths, with mixed conifers and lush low vegetation. Some of the best birds were Luzon Bush Warbler (Cettia Seebohmi), a relative if you like of our Cetti's, Citrine Canary Flycatcher, Blue Headed Fantail, Elegant Tit which is very like our Coal Tit, Chestnut Faced Babbler, Mountain White-Eye and good views of Pygmy Woodpecker, which is somewhat like our Lesser Spotted.

I keep joking that I do more birding in the Philippines than I do outside Berkshire these days and being the far East, there isn't much I see that I am likely to see in the UK.

One thing that does show up in the UK from time to time is Siberian Rubythroat, which winters in various places I have visited, but I have yet to find one so far.

So back to reality, yesterday I did an hour in the car park at lunchtime and saw 2 Hobby over the landfill, I always remain hopeful of a Red-footed Falcon, but the winds are going to have to spin around from the East to really stand any chance of seeing one anywhere in Berks, but it would be extra special to add it to my patch and see my fourth in the County.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Missing wader sp

I was out at lunchtime but saw very little, not even a Hobby. Later in the afternoon Alan texted to say someone we didn't know had seen a big brown wader with a curved bill drop into Tern scrape for a few minutes.

I tweeted a report of Curlew, but in hindsight and after looking up Curlew records, there has never been a late May bird, in fact the 10th is latest ever. There have been 1 early and 2 late June records.

So even though it is pointless trying to guess what it was, perhaps there are other candidates, if we stop for a moment and ask was the bill curved up or down?

Whimbrel - Latest May record is 14th
Bar-tailed Godwit - May records on 6th, 14th, 17th & 18th
Greenshank - Many May records across the years - 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 10th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 22nd, 24th,

Unless a picture shows up we'll never know!

Today I went to LFGP, on the way a Mistle Thrush was singing and is the first at this end for several months. 1 Dunlin, 2 LRP and a lone Gadwall.

At Lavell's an Oystercatcher showed well close to the hide, allowing 3 reasonable shots.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Sticking around

I got back to LFGP yesterday and the Ringed Plover was still there, but I forgot my mobile! There were 2 Dunlin as well.

At BSL the heavy shower pushed down about 150 House Martin, just 2 Sand Martin with them, 20+ Swift.

Today and just a short lunchtime skywatch, 1 Hobby being of note, but I was told the Ringed Plover was still present at LFGP.

Monday, 18 May 2015

As luck would have it

I was at Teal hide having a nice walk with my son and as I left a text came in "Ringed Plover still present LFGP"...."what" I exclaimed. "We are going to see uncle Brian" I explained to my boy and as quickly as I could carry him, got there and saw the Ringed Plover, my 116th species for 2015.

You could say we were having a 'wader fest' with 2 LRP, 2 Redshank and 1 Dunlin too, it was a little brief as my son wanted to throw sticks off the green bridge.

Having 2014's year list still up has some advantages in that it is easy to see on 10th May I had Grey Plover, but did not get another year tick until July, then had 3, but I don't need any of the species I had then.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Very early start

I woke 04:15 and decided to get up and out then, so was at LFGP by 04:50 after a swift cup of tea, not that there was much to benefit from the early start, 2 LRP. 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Shelduck, but apart from 4 Common Tern, there was little else to speak of, obviously Cuckoo.

Nothing on BSL and I decided I was tired after all, so went home for a sleep and later went for a try for the Greater Yellowlegs at Titchfield, sadly it flew off 3-5 minutes before I arrived at the hide and no searching at other locations, yielded a positive result.

So on today Sunday, I slept in and got the early call when the Red-backed Shrike was found at BHL, so had a brief but pleasant look at that and got records shots too.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

May list ticking over

With Les seeing Mistle Thrush on the golf course and my hearing Grey Wagtail around 06:20 this morning, puts the park on 89 for May, here are the May totals for the last 13 years;

96 in 2012
93 in 2011 & 08
92 in 2007 & 2014
90 in 2003
89 in 2015
88 in 2004, 06, 09 & 10
87 in 2013
84 in 2002 & 05

So if we can add Willow Warbler and maybe a Barn Owl, we only need one more species to put us in equal 3rd position.

Also this morning, the same pair of Shelduck trying to find somewhere to nest and despite numerous attempts I couldn't get a decent shot, considering they kept coming so close to the hide.

2 LRP, 3 Gadwall, 4 Common Tern, c25 House Martin, 1-2 Swallow and Sand Martin, then 2 male Mandarin dropped in. On the walk back a Coal Tit called a few times.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Hobby count on the up

Today's visit was all car park field and despite the warm weather wasn't fairing too well for the forst 45 mins, then I got 1 Hobby over the landfill, which slowly headed towards DP. Then a second over the landfill again distantly.

Little changed for 30+ minutes, then chatting to Mike and Alan when they arrived, I picked up 2, then 3, then 4 Hobby and over the next 20-30 mins a minimum of 6 were hunting over the mid landfill and Lodge Wood airspace.

It is the first time I have had more than 4 Hobby since 2002, when I broke the records during May, reaching 14 on 27th.

I had all the other usual raptors as well of course.

Lucky Chat

I arrived for an early lunch around 12:00 on Tuesday and chatting to Bert I noticed a small passerine flying with a deep undulating flight to the wires and land right next to the pylon midway down the field. I got the scope up and announced 'female Whinchat', it then shot down to the Hawthorn at the bottom left, but only lingered for a few moments.

This is only my third ever spring Whinchat at DP, so a big bonus species. I could not relocate it over an hour search.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Average and still quiet

The SW wind might be blamed for the very slow status of things, a Peregrine over the landfill SE at 06:50 was new for May. A Little Egret distantly off the balancing pool might suggest breeding somewhere nearby, but certainly not proof.

The Common Terns look ready for the rafts to be towed out, so we'll try and get that done in the next few days. A Common Sandpiper on BSL sailing club beach was it today, except a few hirundines going thru NW.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Early mornings

Yesterday and today I was out early, but with very little to report, 100+ Swift over BSL Saturday, 2 Teal LFGP. A male Mandarin on the lake gave a record shot opportunity.

A pair of Oystercatcher were in the SW corner,  but still to far to get much of a shot.

The Shelduck pair were still present again this morning and the male was head bobbing on the bank of the SW corner as the female appeared to be checking things out, but didn't appear to share his vision for a nest site.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Less windy, less birds

Usual arrival of 06:15 at BSL and a lot less hirundines now, no terns, little in fact.

LFGP not much better, but 3 LRP, the pair and a new male, plus a male Mandarin dropped in from the Loddon and the pair of Shelduck, lingering in the SW corner

Month wise the park is on 85, with Mistle Thrush, Willow Warbler and Grey Wagtail so far not reported, but no doubt around.

This lunchtime's visit was pretty quiet, just Buzzards, Kites and 1 Kestrel, plus a handful of hirundines.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Still windy

I was sluggish this morning, but had a quick look at BSL at 06:30, a pair of Shelduck were flying around and in between the trees of the main island and I wonder if that constitutes nest site prospecting, or it was another male being chased off?

Yesterday afternoon's Swifts were replaced with 200-300 House Martin and a sprinkling of the other hirundines. 3 Terns flashed thru quickly East, but I never got onto them properly.

Down to LFGP and a Redshank was new for May, the LRP's were close to the hide, 2 female Teal were seen briefly by Marek and then we noticed the Red Crested Pochard had appeared in the SW corner.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

May possibles

Just glancing at a few past species that have occurred in May, I thought I'd offer these numbers in order of frequency;

Black Tern - 19 May records
Ringed Plover - 18 May records
Spotted Flycatcher - 10 May records
Garganey - 9 May records
Arctic Tern - 5 May records
Grey Plover - 4 May records
Turnstone - 4 May records

There are a few more species with just 2-3 records, but along with Spotted Flycatcher, it is fair to say are less likely these days.

No sooner had I pressed 'publish' and a male Red Crested Pochard is found on Sandford, I went and found it again, it was hiding well on the island the Mute Swans always try and nest on.

Apart from last year's staying birds, there has not been a May record.

Also lurking on the island was an Oystercatcher, which may be attempting to nest already?

Waiting on 'that wader day'

All weekend I kept watching the weather updates...."yep that front is coming in Sunday night and by Monday we will have some good passage".

Not quite as exciting as hoped for, but at least we got 2 Dunlin, a pair of Shelduck, 3 Shoveler, a pair + an extra male and 35+ Sand Martin.

Tern and/or wader passage could still be ongoing on such a day, we shall just have to see what unfolds.

So far not a lot more has happened, but 50+ Swift over BSL in the now very blustery conditions were nice and appeared to be enjoying the wind.

As I got back to my car and had packed my scope away, I picked up 2 small waders with my bins, going over the landfill East, they may have been LRP's, or the Dunlin seen this morning, but it they were just too far away to be sure.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Stop - Start

It remained cold in the mornings until Sunday, but few birds were worth mentioning, the last Teal left Sunday, a pair of Shoveler were in the SW corner, Little Egret has been seen daily for the past few days. A few more Swift 10+ Sunday, 15+ today.

At 07:16 I picked up 2 pointed winged, fast flapping 'unknowns' heading SE but already too far away to be sure, could have been waders, could have been feral pigeons, but my guts say waders and this time of year most likely wader even vagely like that would be Grey Plover!...we'll never know.

Back in the car park and Nick called me over on arrival, he had a female Redstart in the left hand corner, all to brief and up until the time I am writing had not been seen ((13:40), but Marek has just refound it....I'm so happy for him ;0)

Perhaps I'll try and get a picture!

Failed due to the mobility of the bird, so a link to Marek's will have to do.

Female Redstart car park field by Marek