Thursday, 28 December 2017


Feeling a bit coldy today, I stayed home but with such a sunny day yearned to be out and did so around 14:30.

Around 14:45 I picked up 6 Linnet heading West over the landfill, 30 minutes later a strung out group of about 32 Golden Plover headed out East, as per recent winter sightings they were 1.5-2 miles North of us, beyond the A4, but they stayed visible and came even closer beyond the green barn at Lea Farm itself. I kept looking but no sign of the Little Owl.

2 Little Egrets went over later, a juv Great Black-backed Gull off East.

At Bittern Hide, little to speak of until near dark, at 16:39 2 Snipe left the scrape, 3+ more minutes later, then 2-3 more moments after, then at 16:47 a Woodcock went away from me SE more or less towards the sailing 137th for 2017, my =2nd highest year total, last reached in 2014.

Missing 5 species this year, poor misses of Redstart and Little Gull, notable no shows of Curlew & Ruff.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Closing out with a review of some recent trends

Yes I've gotten out of the habit of posting to my blog, time and being out of pace with it all makes a difference. I apologize to all who bother to read when I do post, I'm trying to keep things going.

To offer some thoughts on today's birds I knew it was worth mentioning that Raven and Shelduck in particular are worth mentioning.

Prior to 2008 there had been just a handful of late autumn and winter records of Shelduck;

1981 - Dec:3/15th, 2/22nd
1984 - Dec: 1/22nd
1992 - Oct: 1/18th
1998 - Oct:1/2nd & Nov:1/2nd

Since 2008;

2008 - Nov:1/23rd
2010 - Nov:1/12th LFGP, female on shingle island
2011 - Nov:1/16th LFGP @ 13:00, flushed by sheep farmer @ 15:30
2013 - Nov:1/27th LFGP, 1/28th
2015 - Dec:5/31st over landfill then Lavell's SW 09:12
2016 - Oct:1/26th LFGP, Dec:1/31st LFGP, male SW corner
2017 - Oct:1/31st Tern scrape til 06:56 only, Nov:1/13th Sandford, Dec:3/17th LFGP, 1/18th, 3/27th

It says to me that LFGP has become a very attractive site and with nest prospecting in 2016 and a little in 2017, we should do more to make this species a breeding success story.

Raven is similar in their frequency trend;

2009 - Dec:1/26th over car park calling SE at 50 ft @ 11:10
2010 - Oct:1/24th, over LFGP for 20 mins, 2 seen later, 1/25th 1 calling over Lodge Wood, East then back W 13:10, then bird further NE high and circling/tumbling.
2011 - Nov:2/14th dropping onto landfill over brow 11:47
2012 - Dec:1/10th LFGP low over landfill
2013 - Dec:1/10th over 13:24 at 150ft calling loudly SE towards Sandford/Lavell's
2014 - Oct:2/10th, singles West over Lodge Wood, Nov:1/6th LFGP, Dec:1/19th over
2015 - Oct:2/4th LFGP, Nov:2/15th low over Lavell's and Poplars NW calling quietly
2016 - Oct:2/4th in from West, dropping as they headed East,1/12th W of LFGP squabbling with Red Kite then dropping N of Woodley 12:20, 3/13th LFGP, 1 chasing 2 away very high SE, then back W, 2 returned lower WNW in front of Lodge Wood 14:30, 1/20th E beyond far landfill, Nov:1/11th over LFGP, Dec:2/2nd over LFGP SE 09:54
2017 - Nov:1/5th drifted over from landfill South 07:45, Dec:2/12th SE low over Lavell's 13:50, 1/14th, 2/17th, 2/27th 08:30 LFGP over Lodge Wood very vocal

Monday, 4 December 2017

clear out

I ended up with two copies of the same book 2 Christmases ago, embarrassing as it is, it was too late to exchange it. So anyone who wants a copy of 'Shrikes and Bush-shrikes' please let me know as I'm selling a pristine copy on ebay for £20.00

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Give me back the mornings

I miss having even 30 minutes of time before each working day to check even a couple of parts of my patch. I've been busy and am desperate to cover some ground, perhaps check for a Firecrest in a few spots, a Goosander going over, but most of all a year tick like a Woodcock in the dying light at Lavell's.

Some chances will come, but not so many I can afford to be complacent.

Today I had about 2 hours and had a look over LFGP for the first time in weeks, 72 Teal, 4 Snipe, 1 Little Egret, a handful of Wigeon and Shoveler. A Peregrine over quite low, appeared to compact to be a female.

Back on 22nd November I was escorting a Thames Water grant partner around the new diggings and looked up to see 160+ Golden Plover over pretty high up in the brisk windy conditions.

Since then it has all been about Hawfinch in the car park field, which show well each day and did so for me this morning too. I could never get bored watching this species and know this is a lifetime one off event.

Will we get one more year tick, a lot depends on the weather. Curlew have shown up in frozen conditions more than once. Firecrest may be out there already, Smew is random, but possible as are White-fronted Goose, Scaup, Merlin and a handful of other now scarce species.