Thursday, 28 July 2016

July purge needed

I am off tomorrow for a long weekend and we are well short on the month, not that we can do much about that, but it is always possible the following might show up in the next 3 days;

Teal, Wigeon, Pochard, Peregrine, Ringed Plover, Snipe, Whimbrel, Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Yellow-legged Gull, Ring-necked Parakeet, Mistle Thrush, Willow Warbler, Raven and Linnet.

If you've already seen any of these in July, let me know and good luck to all the locals, but don't find a mega please.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Getting up again

It was long overdue for me to get down pre 07:00 to Lea Farm GP, so alarm set for 06:10 I got there at 06:40 and I guess was not surprised to find little given that the day before was a work party.

I scanned many times and could not locate a single wader other than Lapwing, a lone Little Egret was the only other species worth mentioning.

Suddenly the Lapwings got spooked and for a moment I got all hopeful a Marsh Harrier might suddenly come into view, but alas not.

They spooked again and I scanned around, suddenly picking up a small wader, in evasive flight mode, rising off the NE corner, jerking side to side as it went up. I strained my ears hoping I'd hear Ringed Plover, but nothing. I kept thinking 'it's got to be LRP' but my subconscious kept saying "it's a bit too small and not long winged enough'. I guess it could have been Dunlin, but why didn't I hear a call? We'll never know....such sightings haunt me for days.

That was it.

Richard's Shoveler on Sandford seem overdue and we remain way behind other July's, I hope Eton flood's 8 Black-tailed Godwit are a sign of our share any day soon.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The first quiet month of 2016

As of today the park is on 80 species and we require 10 more to get a third place position, which based on how quiet it has been, doesn't look likely.

In 2013 we had all Mandarin, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler & Pochard, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit and Greenshank, Common Gull, Wheatear, Mistle Thrush and a probable Wheatear.

2014, we had Bittern, the same ducks, but no Pochard, Dunlin, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Cuckoo & Raven.

2015, we were missing Wigeon and Pochard, had multiple Peregrine reports, Sanderling, Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Med Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Raven & Linnet.

So as I've been saying, we are kind of overdue a Black-tailed Godwit, so this next 11 days are going to have to produce quite a few new birds for July to put us on track with the rest of the years stellar performance - species wise.

July 29th 1983 I found the first Bittern ever, July 23rd 2000 produced a family of 5 Garganey, there are also records going further back of Common Scoter, Kittiwake, Little Tern and Wood Warbler. As many species do show up at the end of the month, there is no need to get down in the dumps, but to get ever more vigilant.

My pre lunch visit to LFGP was not remarkable, 1 Little Egret, 1 Common Sandpiper, a few Lapwings, the damselflies at Lavell's were nice.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Same again and more

A quick lunchtime trip out, nothing on BSL, quelling my hopes of a post heavy shower lucky bonus bird. LFGP looked quiet, but on closer inspection 4 Common Sandpiper, 2 in NE, 2 in SW corners, 1 Green Sandpiper along the East shore.

The usual Little Egret and a good flock of 70+ Swift feeding overhead.

Here are my pics from the bird walk

Friday, 8 July 2016

Wader heaven, or wader hell?

Around 07:30 this morning I was scanning out East and North East beyond Lea Farm GP when I picked up what I thought was a Lapwing coming in from the East, about 3/4 mile out, it was flying erratically like any other Lapwing that had been spooked.

One second it was going away North, then it was coming in towards Lea Farm more or less SW, but then away heading West. As it turned side on I suddenly saw it had large white 'crescents' on the upper wing and had noticeable trailing legs, not like Stilt length, but certainly beyond the tail.

It jerked back right again and I said to Geoff "I think it is going to come in to Lea Farm GP", but annoyingly it turned back West again and I saw the white crescents and legs once more, before it got too left of me, so some way beyond, but just West of Lodge Wood, at which point I dashed out of the hide and binned it heading West out of sight behind trees.

"hmmm" I said, that was odd, very odd, a Lapwing sized plover, flying like a Lapwing but with upper wing marks and trailing legs".

Unless something remarkable happens, it will remain another 'one that got away' but you only have to peer at the plovers section of any good guide and look for waders bearing those basic features, before you realize that unless Lapwing has a plumage with white crescents on the upper wing and at some times develops a long legged appearance, then a major rarity may just have been within 500 metres of my patch.

Little else to shout about today, 2 Little Egrets, 1 Green, 1 Common Sandpiper.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Big counts of Common Sandpiper

This morning at 08:30 I counted 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 together, then a third half way up the steep'ish bank behind the SW corner. As we see them so much in July, we haven't always kept accurate records.

Here are the autumn counts above 2 in July;

3/5th & 7th 2016
2 possibly 3/7th 2009, then 3/30th
5/7th 2005
12/18th 1988
5/22nd 1981

Counts above 3 in August;

5/6th 2014
16/25th 2013
4/17th 2012
4/3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th & 13th 2009 & 5/6th 2009
5/12th, 6/14th, 8/15th & 16th, 11/17th 1986
6/25th & 26th 1985
5/30th 1984
5/18th & 6/27th 1982
9/24th 1979

Counts above 2 in Sept;

3/5th 2002

Records in October seem to occur about 1 in 4-5 years, so 4/18th 1992 was exceptional.

Records in November and December are rare and never more than 1 bird.

In summary, anything above 2 in July is good, anything above 6 in August is very good, anything above 2 in September is good, anything above 1 in October is very good.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

July hopes

It is already that time for interesting wader passage, look at the some recent years;

1st July 2013 - 7 Black-tailed Godwit, LFGP seen by Bert May at 13:00 only
2nd July 2014 - 1 Black-tailed Godwit Tern scrape (Linda Martin) 09:13 to 10:15 only
7th July 2008 - 1 Black-tailed Godwit Tern scrape (FJC et al) from 17:00 to pm 8th (Moira Whitney)

That is what I described as the first wave of Islandica race, which tend to come thru earlier. The next wave is just a week or so away. But as I haven't been hearing about the first wave yet, perhaps it is about to happen and this wader species is a little late this year....perhaps waiting to see how the national football team did against France? ;0)

Anyway, eyes peeled at all times to catch these little beauties.

As I have said before Greenshank start coming thru now too, maybe mid month for a typical Wood Sandpiper date?

It is very encouraging to see Richard's 3 Common Sandpiper today, amazingly we haven't had more than 2 in July since 3/30th 2009 and before that 5/7th 2005, so today's count is very good for our patch.

Friday, 1 July 2016

New June record

I picked up the hide notes today and found Geoff's Raven record on the 23rd adding another species for the month. I feel we are on safe ground to assume Little Owl & Lesser Whitethroat are here and even Peregrine visits each month, adding 3 more to the 88 confirmed.

This is 4 more than the 2010 & 2012 record, which means we only have December left to break the 90 barrier, the current record being 86 in 2010. It shouldn't be impossible to beat as January this year we hit 90, without Ruff, Dunlin, Med Gull, or Meadow Pipit.

That is 3 new record counts and an equal 1st in 2016, I find that remarkable, in fact if we count all top 3 positions, 2016 has scored in every month;

Jan - New 1st by 3
Feb - =2nd
Mar - New 1st by 4
Apr - New 3rd by 2
May - =1st
June - New 1st by 4

Of note in June were the high counts of Little Egret, 9/7th (Bert May) and 5/18th (BTB & RNM), also the 3 Redshank over 18th (D W Jones) is unusual and we really should make an effort to see if the Little Grebes are definitely breeding on Mungell's.

I hope we get some dry weather to attract some more waders this month, Curlew, Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit and long awaited Little Stint and Pectoral Sandpiper are on my radar.

This morning I checked out Lea Farm GP for the first time since the work party, good to see the water has dropped a great deal with juv BH Gulls able to stand in the SW corner, a Common Sandpiper on the grass bank behind, with Richard finding Green Sandpiper after I left.