Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Morden Bog, Martin Down and Winterbourne Downs - Sun 28 May

A great day out with good company and some cracking birds to boot! Meeting up with the Usual Suspects at 7.00am we headed down to Dorset and our first stop of the day, Morden Bog. A walk over the heathland produced some great views of Tree Pipit.
Other species noted included Stonechat and Linnet plus some really excellent views of a family of Dartford Warblers, though they didn't stay still long enough for a photo opportunity.
Leaving Morden Bog we made a quick stop where we had great views of a female Goshawk and a Red Kite.
On then to Martin Down where we were targeting just one species, and it did not take us long to before we heard a purring Turtle Dove, and I soon located it sat in the top of a tree.
Also at Martin Down we had good, if somewhat distant, views of a singing Corn Bunting.
With the target bird quickly ticked off we headed on to another location where we really struck gold with brilliant views of not one, but two, hunting male Montague's Harriers.
These stunning birds showed really well as we watched them for about quarter of an hour before we moved on to the RSPB reserve at Winterbourne Downs.
A late lunch in the car park was followed by a stroll up to the viewing screen where we had more quality with a pair of Stone Curlews on a distant scrape (it's the brownish blob in the photo below!).
Another two Red Kites were seen over the reserve and with rain on the way we decided to head back home after a really excellent day of quality birding.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Sutton Bingham - Sun 21 May

The quiet patch has continued this month, with nothing more than a couple of Little Egrets, two Mute Swans and a Great Black-backed Gull over the past week. However, at midday two Common Terns flew through heading south and a Peregrine was present at the southern end late in the day. Two Reed Warblers were holding territory just a few feet from each other.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Sutton Bingham - Thu 11 May

A couple of Little Egrets were on West Pool early morning, but a return visit in the evening on my way home from work produced a Common Sandpiper on the northern causeway and finally, a tern! A single Common Tern was off the Fishing Lodge and was a welcome addition to the patch year list.
Sutton Bingham year list 2017 now at 94 species.

Sutton Bingham - Wed 10 May

A really lovely day today, and I spent a couple of hours in the afternoon at the reservoir in beautiful sunshine. Unfortunately there was not much activity on the bird front with the pick being a couple of Hobbies at the southern end and a single Common Sandpiper. Great Created Grebes numbered some eighty birds though, with several on nests and a number still displaying/pairing up.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Portland Bill - Mon 8 May

Today I twitched a bird, in fact, more importantly, I successfully twitched a bird! When news broke mid-afternoon of a male Spectacled Warbler at Portland Bill I knew I had a tough decision. After finishing work, taking care of family matters and having dinner I finally managed to head off at 7.20pm and arrived at Portland about an hour later. Just half a dozen birders were present, but luckily so was the warbler and I got great views of it straight away. Lucky!
Despite failing light, I decided to try a few ropey phone-scoped record shots, this is a Spectacled Warbler...honest.
To be honest, I was more interested in watching the bird, which I managed to do for about 15 minutes before it vanished in to a bramble clump and didn't reappear, so presumably it had gone to roost. What a cracking little bird it was, only the ninth UK record, the first for Dorset, and a UK lifer for me.

Sutton Bingham - Sun 7 May

First, a quick update. The first Swifts of the year were over the northern end of the reservoir on 4 May with a Common Sandpiper and Little Egret also present. Not much else of note though.
Now on to today, and a couple of hours at the reservoir in the afternoon produced a couple of Hobbies at the southern end, and another (or one of the same) over the northern end. Both Reed Warbler and Reed Bunting were in song and a single Common Sandpiper was present.
Two Great Black-backed Gulls were noted, one bearing a ring with P:44A on it, a bird which I have since learned was ringed as a pulis in 2012 down at Portland. A full history of this bird can be seen by clicking here.
Finally, a couple of unseasonal Black-headed Gulls were noted and a male Kestrel was seen. A trickle of Swallows and House Martins were also about.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Sutton Bingham - Tue 2 May

A quick early morning visit produced a Hobby over the southern end of the reservoir and a metal-ringed female Red-crested Pochard. I still need Red-crested Pochard on the Sutton Bingham list, but I can't tick this escapee, which is presumably the same individual that was seen at the reservoir a year ago.

Sutton Bingham - Mon 1 May

A visit yesterday morning in cold and windy conditions was pretty dismal with just nine Common Sandpipers providing interest...until a Whimbrel flew in from the south and passed up the reservoir heading north!
A good end to April and May got off to a moderate start with two Hobbies seen over the reservoir this afternoon. The only other birds of note were a single Little Egret, a Kingfisher and just one Common Sandpiper. A "new" Lesser Whitethroat was in song on the far side of the reservoir opposite the site of the hide.
Sutton Bingham year list 2017 now at 91 species.