Monday, 19 February 2018

Sutton Bingham - Sun 18 Feb

A quick stop at Sutton Bingham after returning from Lyme Regis produced the Hawfinch in the north-east corner again, my first sighting for a week, but nothing else of note.

Lyme Regis - Sun 18 Feb

A visit to the coast today and a family trip to Lyme Regis. Arriving mid-morning we started out with a trip out on to The Cobb, where on the rocks at the very end a small party of six Purple Sandpipers were present. We then took a walk back along the sea front where half a dozen Turnstones were noted and when we reached the far end of the front another seven Purple Sandpipers were seen.
Three adult Mediterranean Gulls were also noted and a Gannet was seen out to sea. A single Stonechat was noted and Rock Pipits seemed to be everywhere.
Unfortunately as the day progressed the weather worsened so as we were starting to get pretty wet we called it a day and headed home. Still, I managed to pick up a few year ticks, not bad considering it was a family trip out.

Sutton Bingham - Sat 17 Feb

A lunchtime stop today and West Pool held a Coot and a drake Tufted Duck and five Muscovy Duck had appeared from somewhere!
On the main reservoir a couple of adult Great Black-backed Gulls were present and a mighty fine adult Mediterranean Gull dropped in.
Still not much else around though.

Sutton Bingham - Fri 16 Feb

A quick stop on the way home from work produced a total of fifteen Mediterranean Gulls, the highest single count of the year. Twelve were adults (including a couple in breeding plumage), there were two second-winter birds and a single first-winter.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Sutton Bingham - Mon 12 Feb

A quick visit after work and the Hawfinch was again present albeit briefly as a helicopter passing overhead spooked the bird and sent it flying off south-east. Mid-afternoon seems to be the best time to see it as all but one of my sightings have been between 3pm and 4pm.
On the main reservoir two adult Great Black-backed Gulls were present as were a couple of adult Mediterranean Gulls.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Blashford Lakes HWT - Sun 11 Feb

The drive from Arne up to Blashford Lakes didn't take as long as I was expecting and we arrived just before 4.30pm. I walked out to Tern Hide overlooking Ibsley Water and was lucky enough to get on the Thayer's Gull pretty much immediately thanks to the birders in the hide who shared their 'scope initially and then gave excellent directions to enable me to get on it myself. It was a pretty impressive gull, and a real education. I did try to get a photo, but it was rather distant and the light was poor...plus, of course, I'm terrible at photographing birds!
There was an adult Ring-billed Gull present also, but I didn't have time to search for this. To be honest I wasn't that bothered as I only had a short amount of time and the Thayer's Gull was what I was after, but I did see a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls.
I did manage a couple of year ticks though with a flock of fifteen Goosander and two female Goldeneye noted whilst I was looking at the gull. As it was starting to get dark, and as the warden came to lock the hide, I called it a day and re-joined the family ready to head home, and to round off what was a brilliant day, a Woodcock flew over the car as we were approaching Bere Regis, result!

Arne RSPB - Sun 11 Feb

After the morning trip to the Somerset Levels I set out with the family for a day out to Arne, arriving mid-morning and starting off with a walk around Coombe Heath. It was fairly breezy and small birds were noticeable by their absence, however, the Middlebeare Channel did produce a few bits and pieces. There was a massive flock of Brent Geese with both Dark-bellied and Pale-bellied being noted, a couple of Spoonbill were present (with two more seen in flight) and a single Avocet was present amongst several Redshank.
After a quick lunch in the RSPB café, we walked out to Shipstal Point where flocks of Grey Plover, Knot, Dunlin and Avocet were seen in flight, plus Black-tailed Godwit and Curlew feeding on the mudflats (it was a very low tide). On the water in Poole Harbour I failed to find much in the way of birds other than a handful of Great Crested Grebes and a few Red-breasted Mergansers.
As we were starting to walk back to the car park, news broke of the Thayer's Gull in Hampshire, so back to the café to bribe the family with cake before a diversion on the way home!