Monday, 28 March 2011

Finally some Migrants

Wigeon and Black Headed Gull .

An early start saw myself , Michael , Dan and David " canons " Campbell heading off to Landguard to try and catch up with the Short-Toed Treecreeper that had been there for the last couple of days , we arrived at 8 am with the news being positive on the bird , and after almost minutes of us being there it flew from one area of scrub to another and out of sight , it had quite a laboured flight but on those views i was less than happy to include it on my year list , and the birding crew i was with all needed it for there life lists , but thankfully we did not have to wait to long for it to re appear in a some what smaller tree giving some brief but excellent views , its overall appearance was so much different to that of Eurasian Treecreeper , the wing pattern was quite striking and the supercillium was not as long or as broad , the rufous flanks were not that obvious from the range we were viewing from , it also called on occasion.
We also added Black Redstart from this site and after we were all satisfied with are views we headed off to Minsmere , i have not been to this reserve for a number of years and it has changed quite abit , however back to the birds !

Male Tufted Duck.

We spent quite a bit of time checking the scrape and it was not long before Michael picked out a smart Spotted Redshank , which was followed by David coming across a Yellow-Legged Gull , we also added Avocet , Black Tailed Godwit and Ruff plus several Pintail scattered here , there and everywhere , i also managed a couple of photos of a very close Tufted Duck and a smart male Wigeon , we headed off to the Island mere hide and were soon surprised to see two female Goosanders , whilst we were scanning the area Michael saw some hirrundines over the reed bed , we all got on them and soon were very pleased to be watching 10+ Sand Martins .
With time against us we headed back to drop David off and found we had just enough time to call into his local patch , Dan and Michael got onto 5 Ring necked parakeets flying overhead , and David and his patch buddie Ian got us all on to a superb Little OwlOn the Sunday it was just Dan , Michael and myself and we headed of to Farlington marshes to hopefully connect with the Spoonbill and after walking around to roughly the area it had been from when Dan picked it out doing what Spoonbills do , sleeping .... lol .

Sleeping Spoonbill .

Its awake !!!!!

We had prolonged views of the Spoonbill and it every now and again did a little bit of preening , this was a superb adult bird and you can make out the yellow tip to its bill in the second photo. From here we called into Chichester to hopefully see the Little Gull which has been lingering there for quite some time and after a short walk we soon located it .

Little Gull.

I just love Little Gulls and was very pleased to see this one and even managed some pics , we added several Chiffchaffs but not alot else so with news of a Osprey near West Witterring we headed off there and despite a lengthy attempt of seeing this bird we failed but did get a very smart Swallow fly through ( well done Dan ) and a couple of Red Breasted Mergansers for our efforts were reward enough , we also saw a superb Brimstone from the car  plus bumping into 6 Waxwings in Littlehampton was a really smart bonus, so elements of winter birds and the up coming spring provided us we a really good weekends birding .

Saturday, 19 March 2011



I spent a few pleasant hours at Dungeness today and although my main target bird the Penduline tit never showed up i still had some decent birds , i arrived at the Hanson hide at approx 8.30 am and after spending approx 2 hours scanning the reed beds and willow trees i had no luck with the penduline , there were plenty of Reed Buntings keeping me company plus a very showy Goldcrest , there were several Cettis Warbler in full explosive song but were keeping out of sight as usual .

I then decided to have a walk around the rspb reserve not adding much to my days total , i eventually caught up with the Firecrest that has been residing in the scrub at the back of the Christmas dell hide and although i got some superb views through my bins i never managed a photo , i walked further along the track and just before i reached the Denge marsh hide i saw this fine male Stonechat .

Male Stonechat.

I always find these birds so photogenic and love seeing them in all there glory , i had my lunch on the viewing ramp over looking Hookers and added Bearded tit and another Cettis warbler which actually allowed me a very brief view as it flew low down between bushes . I was hoping to connect with some early migrants but other than several vocal Chiffchaffs around the reserve i never got any . other birds of note today were :
2 redhead smew and 1 male and 5 female Goldeneye on the Arc pit plus a pair of Marsh Harriers displaying over the reserve , oh almost forgot i did see a White Wagtail on my way around the reserve just past the Makepeice hide , so all in all a enjoyable day out .

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

M40 ..... Record breakers

I drive for a living and every so often i end up driving along the M40 motorway which has a very healthy population of Red Kites , and to turn a very dull day into something quite special i often do a raptor count along my journey , as i can only go as fast as 56 miles an hour top speed and am quite high up in my truck i get quite a good view .

I have counts normally between 15 to 20 birds and my record total was 25 Red Kites in August 2010 , however that all changed on Tuesday 8 th March 2011 when i counted no less than  36 Red Kites mainly between junction 3 to 6 , i also saw 9 Common Buzzards and 5 Kestrels , i have encounted Merlin , Peregrine and Sparrowhawk on previous journeys along this motorway , i know i should keep my eyes mainly on the road but hey who could resist looking at these majestic birds ????

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Hampshire and Sussex ... Raptors galore

Great Grey Shrike.





Second male


One of two Woodlarks.


Red Kite.