Sunday, 25 March 2012

Dorset and Hampshire and Sunshine.....

My first Wheatear of the year.

A trip to Wyke Regis in Dorset on Saturday  proved very successful , i was hoping to connect with several target birds and after getting some very helpful directions  , i was soon at the Humes Yellow Browed Warbler  location , on route to this bird i had several Wheatears in the nearby fields , really smart looking birds , anyhow back to the Humes , i joined another couple of birders who had already been staking out the site but with no luck , we spread out when i heard some one call out he had it , not really great views were had , all a bit to brief as the bird flew into dense cover however good enough to get a positive id ,   this was only my second ever record of this species , i saw the Reculver bird back in 1999.

Richards Pipit .

I spent quite a bit of time here but the Humes never re appeared , so i headed of to check out the surrounding fields for the over wintering Richards Pipit , i finally made my way back to near the camp area where it seems to be seen mostly and was greeted with the news it was there so without haste i set my scope up and was soon enjoying good views of this impressive Pipit , long yellowish / orange legs . very upright stance and heavy billed , i really liked the way it run quite fast along the ground  stooping forward before running .

Another record shot of the Richards Pipit.

I had a good time here and other birds of note were a single Swallow  and 4 Sandwich Terns , there were several vocal Chiffchaffs plus a large raft of Red Breasted Mergansers in the Fleet .

 I decided to head of to Radipole Lake and made my way to the North Hide , there were several Cettis s Warblers calling but as usual not showing themselves , i reached the hide and was hoping to connect with the 2 Glossy Ibis that had been residing there of late however they had just been flushed prior to me getting there by a couple of Marsh Harriers , well i decided to give it some time and enjoy the birds that were on offer , there was a really smart Kingfisher perched near to the sand martin sand bank plus a Cettis finally gave it self up s with a brief view from a nearby bramble bush , there were several Teal and a couple of fine looking Stonechats moving from bush to bush , i had been in the hide for nearly an hour and then my patience paid of when the two Glossy Ibis flew in and gave super views .

 2 Glossy Ibis .

These were really great to see , one bird looked in stunning plumage which i am sure was an adult , the other bird possibly a first winter / juv  did not look so bright . I then moved onto Pennington Flash and added a good selection of waders including : Spotted Redshank 5 , Greenshank 1 , Ruff 1 and several Golden Plover , i also saw at least 3 summer plumage Water Pipits which were simply stunning to see , i also added 2 summer plumage Med Gulls .

Male Dartford Warbler 2011.

My final destination of the day was Beaulie road in the New Forest, i went to a area of gorse i knew from last year for Dartford Warbler , unfortunately the area has had some fire damage so the prospects were not looking good , i checked out the area which seemed to be more likely for them and after a few minutes i was not having any luck ,  i gave it abit more time and thankfully i eventually saw  a smart male and female , i never really got great views as they were keeping quite low down in the gorse . I decided to leave them in peace and went home very happy.

Comma at Wyke Regis .

Of note i saw several butterflies today including this Comma  plus several Peacock , 1 Small Tortoiseshell  , 1 Small White and 1 Specaled Wood .

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Sandwich Bay Patch Tick.

1 of 5 Garganey at Restharrow scrape.

I headed over to Sandwich Bay today to try and catch up with the Common Cranes that had been seen around Worth marshes and after a short scan across the fields i picked them out in the distance , they were to far for a photo however Martyn Wilson has some good photos on his blog of these smart birds , here is the link : . Both of these birds are adults and i was told they were displaying earlier in the morning , that would have been nice to see , checking my records these are the first Common Cranes i have seen in the Sandwich area so that was an added bonus .

Drake Garganey .

After enjoying my fill of the Cranes i called into the small hide at Restharrow scrape and was delighted to see 5 Garganey 3 drakes and 2 female , this are really excellent birds to see and they were over the other side of the scrape whilst i was there but still close enough to get a couple of record shots    there was a mixed bag of ducks here , Wigeon , Teal , Mallard and Shoveler were well represented with lesser numbers of Tufted Duck and Gadwall , also seen here were a couple of Little Grebes which showed well for the camera .

Little Grebe .

Did not add much more here although later a Caspian Gull and White Wagtail were seen here but i was long gone by then , still you cant get them all...... lol 

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Just in Case..........

Female Hooded Merganser.

I  headed of to Whetsted gravel pits to have a look at the female Hooded Merganser that has recently been seen from there , i arrived on site and  soon picked out the Merganser on the other side of the pit , i made my way around to try and get better views but although i got closer the bird kept a safe distance from me , a really attractive bird with its typical Merganser hair style , yellow bill was seen as was small white patch on the flanks .

Wind swept head plums .

Well i guess the debate will go on about if it is a genuine vagrant or if its " plastic " ,  well in its favour  is the wings did not appear to show any abrasion , it was certainly acting wild in as such feeding well and always keeping a reasonable distance , add that to the fact that there are several American vagrants dotted around the country , ie : Common Yellowthroat , Northern Waterthrush , Wilsons Snipe and several Lesser Scaup and American Wigeon.

However can anyone be completely sure these birds have not escaped from someones collection or are a product of a feral population ???? wildfowl in particular are always suspect , I am not qualified to make such a decision on this bird and will leave it up to the BBRC to sort this one out .

Another record shot.

I also had distant views of a drake Smew on the other pit where there was also  a Chiffchaff moving through the small reed bed , there were Several Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings around plus i heard and saw Great Spotted Woodpecker and Green Woodpecker .
I decided to head off to nearby RSPB reserve Tudley Wood and spent an hour walking around getting wet and very muddy and did not add anything else to my days birding .