Tuesday, 30 June 2015

A stunning sunrise

If it is possible to wake naturally at 04:20 on a weekday, I did and through the dappled window of my bathroom, I could see some vivid pinks in the sky.

I rushed to get dressed and dashed out the front door, catching a photo of the sky a few moments after the pinks had changed to golds and orange. Shame I wasn't up 15 minutes earlier to catch more shots of it unfolding over DP.

At DP, a huge flock of 35 Egyptian Geese were on the sailing club beach, 2 Oystercatcher flew towards the golf course, at Tern scrape a pair, plus an unwelcome additional adult Little ringed Plover darted around.

Back in the car park more than 1 Nuthatch was calling loudly from the nearby Oaks just East of the sailing club, perhaps suggesting another pair bred at this end somewhere.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

3 more for June

Finally I got out for a earlry'ish walk at 06:30, little to speak of at LFGP, there was 12-14 additional Common Tern spread out on the shingle island, so not sure what is happening there..another issue with Mink elsewhere?

At BSL, I heard Coal Tit for the month, a Little Egret over South, then at Bittern Hide, the first Green Sandpiper of the autumn was a nice sight, Redshank and Lapwing there too. On departure a Barn Owl was sitting asleep in the entrance to the box, which was my first since January!

The month is on 82 so equal 3rd highest, it would be nice to get Ring-necked Parakeet and Sand Martin, plus Lesser Whitethroat are sure to be around. Perhaps a Common Sandpiper might drop in over the next 3 days?

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

bits n pieces

A lunchtime visit to get Hobby on the June list, failed again, so I am not sure we have any summering nearby.

From Bittern hide, 1 Little Egret, which chased off a second towards Sandford, a Little Ringed Plover dropped onto the scrape as I left. A Nuthatch was among the tit flock and on the feeders and a Grey Wagtail went over the car park.

There were 6-10 Buzzard up as the sun came out, one with a pale upper tail covert area, plus Kestrel and Red Kite of course.

We only need 4 species to match third place for all June's.

Oystercatchers hatch again

A brief visit on Sunday to Sandford revealed the Oystercatchers have successfully hatched at least 1 chick. One parent was sitting on the old tern island, when the other flew in and when the sitting parent stood, at least one wandered out, eventually taking a small food item after some encouragement.

We can only hope this one is fledged after all breeding attempts since 2012 have either been washed out, or predated.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

On this day....raising enthusiasm

I haven't been highly motivated to patch for the last few days, but I knew there was a big anniversary coming up, that I've mentioned recently.

9 Little Tern 18th June 1983, seen over WSL, heading ENE towards Sandford (FJC), mobbed by Common Tern, they turned headed off East 07:00 (FJC & Mike Russell).

With a lot less foliage back in 83' it was easier to keep them just in view the whole time, I actually only clinched what they were when I got them in the scope over the Sandford corner nearest to the sailing club, it was then I saw Mike Russell stood on the beach looking up at them.

Without mobiles, we were reduced to arm waving and pointing up frantically until I met him at the beach. I think utterly blown away was our feeling, but I have a sneaky feeling I wouldn't have been believed had I been the only observer.

Exactly one month later on the 18th July, I was checking Sandford at 07:20, when I got onto a single Little Tern, it lingered just 10 minutes and I didn't see it leave.

So back to now and like 2014, I am stuck on 116 and have been since May, I aim to do a few more early mornings again very soon and from now to the end of July my focus will be to try and find, or pickup from others the following;

Garganey, Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull & Black Tern

I'll be keeping my ears out for chance Curlew, fly over Whimbrel, or an unblocker, ideally a Little Stint happily feeding in the SW corner, preferably with a Curlew Sandpiper, but not mandatory.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

A very brief car park visit

I haven't seen a Hobby for weeks, a male Kestrel hovered over the landfill, I was distracted into advising the grass cutters not to go into the nettle, bramble and long grass to save the Whitethroats.

Richard stopped briefly to say 2 Common Tern chicks Sandford Lake.

A text came in about work and I had to leave.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Out of the county again

I guess when it really is so very quiet and your son keeps asking about going to 'the beach' it is fairly easy to opt for the family/twitch coast visit.

And this one was a repeat, having missed the Greater Yellowlegs about 3 weeks ago.

On arrival it was still being reported at Posbrook Floods and a good 25 minute meander with the family later and Greater Yellowlegs finally joins my UK list.

A quick sandwich at the cafe and off we headed to Church Norton for a certain Whimbrel, which wasn't showing, so off we popped again to Selsey for an ice cream and a walk.

Back on site around 16:00 and most folks had left, bar about 3-4, one chap said he'd been watching a pale headed bird and I got onto it and watched it walk in our direction. That was it a Hudsonian Whimbrel and over the next 30 mins it kept walking nearer, showing a greater tendency to make short runs and eat more small crab.

It showed overall much warmer brown above, not exactly rufous, but ruddier tones to coverts, a more defined black line from the folded primary. Bill somewhat longer, very pronounced and white  supercillium and crown stripe. Paler around the face and chin overall.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Warbler sp?

I was doing a circuit of car park field, BSL, Sandford & Lavell's, heading towards the new viewing screen on Sandford, I got a few notes of a descending warbler song. I waited for 20 minutes and heard snippets of interesting high pitched calls, and 2-3 notes that did reminded me of Wood Warbler, but never got on to a bird in my bins.

I decided to go around to Lavell's side about half way between the hides and heard 1-2 snippets of high pitched notes, but with car, plane and wind noise, it was impossible.

It is not impossible I was just hearing the calls of juvenile common species, but I have a hunch there is an interesting warbler to be found.

I went to Bittern Hide and there was 1 Little Egret and 20 Gadwall, majority males.

Returning around 15:45 it had begun raining, so hearing calls above that and the beginning of rush hour, was pointless. With the calls ringing in my mind from before, I really do hope I, or someone else turns up an interesting warbler there tomorrow.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

What to expect and hope for in June

So can June be interesting, or exciting even?

I think so, at least based on past years, here is everything I could find;

Garganey : 18th 1983, 7th 1984, 3rd 1992, 4th 2012 & 29th 2006
Common Scoter : 4th to 7th 1991
Honey Buzzard : Probable 24th N over BSL @ 17:50
Red-footed Falcon : 3rd 1992 - I wasn't around to see it
Ringed Plover : 26th 1984, 19th 1989, 24th 1993, 18th 1995, 11th & 13th 2004, 30th 2010
Dunlin : 8th 1985, 25th 2000, 1st 2012
Ruff : 21st & 22nd 1989
Greenshank : 29th 1989, 16th 1997
Wood Sandpiper : 14th 1990

Green Sandpiper : Once quite regular, but but we haven't had a June bird since 27th 2010. If early records are accurate June records began 7th & 22nd 1992, 8th & 28th 1993, 14th 1994, 26th 1995, 25th onwards 1997, 26th onwards 1999, 18th 2000, 23rd onwards 2002, 12th 2004, 19th onwards 2005, 12th to 14th & 22nd 2006, 11th 2009, 27th 2010.

Common Sandpiper : June records only began from 26th 1992, 12th 1994, 13th 1995, then we waited nearly a decade, 17th & 22nd 2004, 30th 2010, 23rd 2012, 23rd, 2013

Little Tern : 9 over 18th 1983
Black Tern : 13th 1981, 11th, 27th & 28th 1988, 12th 2005
Sandwich Tern : 27th & 28th 1982
Turtle Dove : My last was 2002, they hung on breeding at DP til about 1999

Marsh Warbler : 11th 1989 (RTT et al) - most people only heard it, I was absent

Spotted Flycatcher : Used to breed on or nearby until 1987, last June records were 17th 2004, 4th 2007
Tree Sparrow : Just one actual record 23rd 1987, but it bred nearby until 1983

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Little to report

With the wind being a bit blustery, there hasn't been much going on, c100 House Martin, c20 Swallow and 30-40 Swift over BSL yesterday.

As I was leaving my home yesterday I picked up a white bird in flight, pulling over just 50 yards from the house, I reached for my bins and got onto a Little Egret heading NW over Woodford Park...which I am counting for my garden list.

On Sunday we hung around the garden and I picked up Peregrine and Kestrel in on hour of casual sky watching, so I have picked up 4 good garden ticks in a week, starting with the Reed Warbler, which was around til early evening.

Monday, 8 June 2015

A missed opportunity?

I had 45 mins spare so did a brief car park field visit, then BSL.

Just Red Kites and Buzzard, plus a few Swift, House Martin and Swallow, but as I arrived at BSL but hadn't crossed the bridge to the beach, a tern was dropping fast heading South. I got to the bridge, but it was already out over the picnic area before I could pick it up.

Something wasn't right, I got the scope on it and it had a short tail, the primaries were smudged black and I was convinced it could be a Sandwich, but as it was back on I couldn't see the head and bill as it kept going away. It turned East and I lost it behind trees. I moved and got another 2 seconds on it, over the far side of the golf course before losing it behind solid trees.

It was really annoying but even though I think it was a Sandwich Tern, the views were just not quite enough to be 100%.

Shortly after a large gull came in from the SSW quite high and when circling had a lot of dark from primaries to the coverts, pale head, large bark bill, I tried to get more on the inner primary to secondary area and think it wasn't pale notched like a Herring. but failed to get anything solid on it and it dropped quickly over to Sandford out of sight, further inspection there produced no large gulls, did I miss 2 year ticks this afternoon?

Friday, 5 June 2015

Hoping for a Bee-Eater

Yesterday numerous reports of Bee-Eater were coming in across the South, the nearest was East of Reigate and heading West. None were reported in Berks, but I remain hopeful.

I was out at 06:10 today and seeing the rain, felt BSL was worth dropping into first, sadly there was nothing there.

On to LFGP, a pair of Redshank were vocal, a bit of display too, one even seeming partially interested in the nearby tern raft.

There really was nothing else to speak of, so I went over to Sandford, the Oystercatcher was still sitting, various Black-headed Gull chicks spread across the islands, a lone LRP, which flew off towards BSL, 3-4 Gadwall, but no families.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Weather warming, garden mind blowing

My first early morning visit to LFGP on Monday was quiet, but at least got me Grey Wagtail for June.

A visit to the car park yesterday, but not much to report, 4 male Gadwall and a pair on the scrape, Mute Swan with a healthy 6 cygnets, the Nightingale sang briefly at Sandford, the Oystercatcher looks to be sat on the old tern island there.

A trickle of Swallows appeared to be moving thru, which seems late for passage.

A distant small raptor buzzing a Red Kite over BSL, was probably just a Kestrel, but I'll be keeping my eye out and hoping to get lucky with a Red Footed Falcon over the next month or so.

Not long after this post I went and had a coffee in the garden and was doing a tiny bit of weeding, when I heard a brief burst of Reed Warbler song. Then it started properly and showed for a few seconds and continued singing until the neighbour's gardener started strimming and mowing.

I could hear it still at 10:45, but either in a nearby garden, or in very quiet sub-song.

This is an amazing garden tick for me, unprecedented to say the least. It is my 52nd species for this garden having got my first House Martin about 2 hours before, but I still haven't had Song Thrush yet.