Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Sutton Bingham - Tue 30 Jun

Two Common Terns off the dam this afternoon were a welcome year tick for the patch, and rather unseasonal. I'd had a text message from fellow SBR birder Pete mid-morning and fortunately the birds were still present late afternoon, having moved from the southern arm (where Pete had found them) to a buoy just off the dam. This was my sixth patch year tick for June, compared with a big fat ZERO for the month last year!
Also present during the twenty or so minutes I was on patch this afternoon, a third-summer Great Black-backed Gull on a pontoon off the Sailing Club (this too was found by Pete earlier in the day when it had been on West Pool). A female-type Mandarin was tucked up in vegetation off the Canoe Club, and there were also two Little Egrets, one on the dam and a second opposite the "hide".
Sutton Bingham year list for 2015 now at 93 species.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Sutton Bingham - Fri 19 Jun

It's funny how things work out. At the end of a ridiculously busy week I had the Friday afternoon from hell with some major issues at work that I simply had to resolve before leaving, as a result I was half an hour late getting away from the office. A quick call to update the family was followed by a five minute stop at the reservoir to unwind before getting home. Nothing much of note at Sutton Bingham until I noticed a couple of birds flying towards me from the direction of the dam, and I was surprised to see a couple of Lapwing drift over my head and head north. Both birds were in pretty heavy wing moult, and I can only assume they are early migrants after breeding, presumably unsuccessfully. A real surprise in June and another patch year tick.
Sutton Bingham year list for 2015 now at 92 species.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Titchfield & Pagham Harbour - Sat 13 Jun

I found myself with some unexpected time on my hands today as due to a few last minute changes at work I didn't need to spend the morning in the office. So as I had not had the opportunity to twitch a long-staying American wader in Hampshire I headed off fairly early and made for Titchfield, just to the east of Southampton. Having printed maps I managed to find the small car park on Bridge Street and then take the mile walk south along the canal to view an area known as Posbrook Floods. Having passed a few birders who had already seen the target I had the necessary information and before long I was watching an adult Greater Yellowlegs through my scope. Result! It was a little too far away to get any pictures, but I thought I'd give it a go anyway!

There was very little else about, a flock of seventy Black-tailed Godwits was about it so I set off for my second port of call.
Leaving Titchfield and re-joining the M27 I headed east in to Sussex and after about an hour arrived at the small village of Church Norton just to the south of Chichester. I was able to park in the small car park near the church and take a short walk out to view Pagham Harbour.
I joined the dozen or so birders present but the second mega rare American wader of the day had gone AWOL. However, over the next two hours I was lucky enough to see the Hudsonian Whimbrel a couple of times in flight, including one really good prolonged view. I also had a couple of distant views of the bird on the deck. Also present in the harbour at least three "normal" Whimbrel and a few Curlew. I also picked up my first Ringed Plover of the year! A singing Cuckoo was also noted.
I had promised to be home by 2pm so at 11:30am I had to set off for home, but I had managed to get two cracking rare waders, I can't remember the last time I had two life ticks in one day!

Monday, 8 June 2015

Sutton Bingham - Sun 7 Jun

A visit to the patch mid-morning failed to produce yesterday's Night Heron, mind you it spent all day deep in cover yesterday. The last sighting was of it in flight at around 10.30pm last night, so I guess it may have moved on. In fact there was very little to be seen from the northern causeway so I popped down to the southern end for a walk.
Amazingly, I bumped in to a person walking two dogs, just metres past two large signs stating No Dogs, obviously the sign didn't refer to them! However, after a polite word they soon left. It's a shame that some people simply don't think the rules apply to them. Anyway, rant over and back to the birds, or lack of as the case may be!
Well it wasn't all doom and gloom as I finally added Lesser Whitethroat to my patch year list, with a singing male in the hedgerow behind the Canoe Club, better late than never. A couple of Ravens were also present and on the breeding front, one of the Mute Swan pairs have four cygnets, several pairs of Great Crested Grebes have young (probably around thirty young birds present), and there were two good broods of Mallards with pretty well-developed young.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Sutton Bingham - Sat 6 Jun

What a week...and it's June! I found myself with ten minutes to kill before work this morning so popped in to Sutton Bingham briefly and decided to try the area around the Canoe Club for a change. What a great decision, a Spotted Flycatcher was feeding and calling in the trees over the shed. A great year tick for the patch, and a Summer bird to boot...breeding? I hope so as the last couple I've seen here have been Autumn migrants.
Back then to the northern causeway and a quick look around. Checking West Pool I noticed a small white blob in the trees at the far end and my interest was piqued straight away. A look through the bins and my heart skipped a beat. I quickly got the 'scope out of the car and set it up. Yep, no doubt about it...an adult Night Heron! Unbelievable. What a cracking and very smart bird. Sat in the trees in typical Night Heron hunched pose I watched it for a couple of minutes before grabbing the phone to call RBA to get the news out. Unfortunately, by the time I'd finished the call the bird had vanished deeper in to the vegetation and as I had to get to work I couldn't hang around for it to reappear. I doubt it'll go anywhere today, but I may pop back tonight (time permitting) in the hope it leaves its roost and puts on a little bit of a show. Just think, two weeks ago I was dipping Night Heron's left, right and centre on the Isles of Scilly...and now I've found my own on my patch...result!
Sutton Bingham year list for 2015 now at 90 species.

Update: A return visit at around 9:15pm produced some really good views of the Night Heron at the far end of West Pool. After roosting all day it finally popped out again at 8:45pm and showed really well, if a little distant, for a small group of assembled birders. Now I never like to disappoint anyone, so as promised to a few of those present in the evening, here is my "best" record shot of the Night Heron!
Did I mention that is was a couple of hundred metres away in really bad light?

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Sutton Bingham - Wed 4 Jun

The funny thing about birds is that you never when or where something unusual will turn up. I popped in to the reservoir this afternoon for a quick look and to be honest I was not really expecting to see anything what with it being June and Spring migration pretty much done for the year. So imagine my surprise when I found a Knot actively feeding on the northern causeway. The bird was ridiculously tame, and judging from the plumage I'd say it was a first-summer bird, having hatched last year. Now I know I'm not exactly well known for my photographic skills, but I still had a pop today just to get a couple of record shots, and the snippet of video (taken on my phone) shows just how close the bird was.
This was only my second Knot at Sutton Bingham, and this one was much more obliging than the last one. It just goes to show, you never know what will turn up on your local patch...oh yes, and there was nothing else worth a mention either!
Sutton Bingham year list for 2015 now at 88 species.