Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sutton Bingham - Sun 24 Jun

After dropping Ellie off at church I took Tristan up to the reservoir in the hope of another look at the Osprey that we had seen briefly on a flying visit late yesterday afternoon. Parking by the hide we walked halfway to the canoe club but there was no sign of the bird. Several Meadow Browns were on the wing and I did see my first Large Skipper of the year, a few damselflies were also seen, and I think they were Common Blue Damselflies.
I set my 'scope up and scanned the skies to the south of the reservoir where I could see a few raptors. A couple of Sparrowhawks and Buzzards and a single Kestrel and then I got on the Osprey as it drifted slowly away from me heading south. Serveal Swifts were also feeding up high but there was not much else about. Before we knew it our hour was up and it was time to go and collect Ellie.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Briantspuddle - Sun 17 Jun

My second visit of the year to a site of heathland and wood near Briantspuddle and this time it was a family excursion. We set off after lunch and had an enjoyable walk around the heath and also managed to see a few birds of note, though the weather was such we failed to see any butterflies. On the heath itself I noted a pair of Stonechats and a couple of Yellowhammers and Linnets, but we drew a blank with regard to Dartford Warblers which was a disappointment. We did get lucky when a pair of Turtle Doves flew low over our heads and vanished in to some trees. We could hear the distinctive purring of the birds even though we could not relocate them in the foliage. As we returned to the car a few Siskins were flying around overhead and I also saw a Tree Pipit perched up. What would have been a lovely afternoon out was somewhat dampened by a flat tyre, so after a delay of about twenty minutes or so whilst I changed it we headed back home for dinner.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Tealham Moor - Sat 9 Jun

Ellie had a hair appointment this afternoon so I took Tristan out for a couple of hours and we headed up to Tealham Moor. When we arrived I saw a small posse of Somerset birders that I knew, so I parked alongside them to find out what they were looking for. As it happens the elusive sub-adult Red-footed Falcon was still around but despite lots of searching it could not be relocated. However, it was not a wasted trip as I did manage to add Yellow Wagtail to my year list...albeit a brief view of a single bird. There was not really much else of note about and as I needed to get the boy back home by 5.00pm we set off back for home.

Chesil Cove, Portland Bill & Ferrybridge - Sat 9 Jun

I set off south early this morning, arriving at Chesil Cove on the Isle of Portland at 8.40am. I spent a little under an hour seawatching and during that period connected with a few good birds. Two Pomarine Skuas and a single Arctic Skua flew west and a single Storm Petrel entertained me for the duration of my stay (at one point I thought it may have been joined by a second bird). By 9.30am it had goen very quiet so I drove down to Portland Bill.
I made straight for the obelisk and did another seawatch, but other than some distant Gannets, Fulmars and Kittiwakes it was really just auk passage. Eventually I did manage to pick out a Manx Shearwater as it flew rapidly west. On the walk back to the car I stopped off at the Obs Quarry where I located a Little Owl (I'd not seen one here for quite some time, so nice to know they are still about).
I then set off for home but made a very brief stop at Ferrybridge on the way through where I counted at least ten Little Terns over the colony on Chesil Beach. So a good end to a very productive couple of hours out.
UK list for 2012 now at 205 species.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Acres Down - Fri 8 Jun

I had the day booked off work so I drove down to Mudeford with Ellie and Tristan and dropped them off with Ellie's folks before driving up to the New Forest. I arrived at Acre's Down soon atfer 10.30am and walked out to the usual viewpoint in the hope that there would be some raptors around. I was not feeling overly confident as it was rather grey and cloudy and the wind was blowing a gale. However, I struck lucky and within quarter of an hour managed to pick out a Goshawk as it dipped below the skyline. A few Common Buzzards kept me on my toes and three Hobbies and a Sparrowhawk also passed through. Finally I picked out my other target as a Honey Buzzard made a quick and distant flight over the trees before dropping out of view. There was not much else to see due to the weather conditions but a few Tree Pipits were in constant song whilst I was on site. I had promised to be back in Mudeford in time for lunch with the family so after a successful visit set off.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Trinity Hill - Wed 6 Jun

Another spot of birding this evening, only this time it was a pre-arranged trip to Trinity Hill near Axminster with Andy and Crimper and a couple of Crimper's friends (Paul & Aiden). We arrived on site at around 8.30pm and with a bit of mist creeping over the plantation I was hopeful that our quarry might show itself sooner rather than later. It didn't! We were hoping to see some Nightjar's but in the first hour on site we only managed a Sparrowhawk and a couple of Yellowhammers.
Paul wandered off and as we were just making out some distant churring he returned saying he had heard some birds calling much closer. So we hot-footed it onwards to another clearing and as we cleared the trees I stopped everyone as a Nightjar was sat in a small tree right in front of us. Before long a second bird actually flew in to a tree above our heads and starting singing. Over the next twenty minutes or so we were treated to some smashing views. At 9.45pm I bid my farewells and hiked back to the car and on home to bed.
UK list for 2012 now at 197 species.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Ibsley & Martin Down NR - Wed 6 Jun

I started work early today so that I could zoom off at lunchtime and drive down to the small village of Ibsley, just north of Ringwood in Hants. I arrived on site at about 1.15pm and as I got out of the car I could hear the bird I was after singing away in a clump of brambles right next to the road. I joined the ten or so other birders that were on site and after just a five minute wait I got really lucky as the Marsh Warbler that had been found last night popped out in to the open to chase off a Sedge Warbler before darting back in to the undergrowth. Result, a lifer and a bird off my dip-list! In the next half hour I saw the bird just once more as it flew in to some dense vegetation further from the I didn't linger and instead headed back towards home.
I stopped off at Martin Down NR on the way home in the hope to find Turtle Doves, but I faield to see any. However, I did hear a Quail singing away in the grass but although it was not that far away I had no chance of seeing it! A Cuckoo was heard, a Red-legged Partridge put in a brief appearance and there were countless Skylarks and Yellowhammers around, I also managed to see my first Small Heath butterflies of the year. At 3.00pm I called it a day and drove home after a very successful trip.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Meare Heath NR & Ham Wall RSPB - Sun 3 Jun

Family Service at Ellie's local church today and as Tristan was up and awake at 6.00am I made the last minute decision to pop up on to the Somerset Levels for a couple of hours. We had lots planned for later in the day with Jubilee Celebrations taking place in our village, so I knew I could not be out for long.
Parking at Ashcott Corner I walked out to Meare Heath, but only so far as the drained lagoon. I was hoping to finally catch up with a Garganey having missed several already this year. Luck was with me this time as I found a drake feeding on the fringe of the reeds.
Also on the lagoon, the normal flock of Black-tailed Godwits...some twenty-one birds, and a couple of Shelduck. A Great White Egret (one of the breeding pair) flew in and fed for a while and a Bittern did a prolonged fly past. As I was watching the assorted birdlife I could hear the distinctive pinging of Bearded Tits and before long a small flock popped in to view in front of me. I counted thirteen birds, all juveniles and females. As I was getting ready to move on a friend of mine and fellow SBR birder, John Rickards, I heard the Bearded Tits call again and the flock reappeared, only this time there were eighteen birds present!
I returned to the car and thought about a drive up to Tealham Moor but as time was an issue I took a walk out to Ham Wall RSPB reserve and walked round the Loxton Heath section, something I'd not done for a while as it's not suitable for a pram! I heard a couple more Bitterns booming and saw yet another Bearded Tit this time a cracking male. As I neared the car park (having got pretty wet during a heavy shower) I saw a very obliging Spotted Flycatcher.
All in all an enjoyable couple of hours out and back home before Ellie and Tristan had returned from church.