Monday, 23 May 2016

Dodgy Pheasant,Stunning Sylvia And Dove From The Orient,Saturday 7th May 2016.

With the very kind offer of a trip down south from Tim,with John as co pilot,we headed south today to attempt to see the long staying Western Rufous-turtle Dove at Otford in Kent.
 As i had just finished my nightshift,on the journey south,i attempted to grab some sleep,but it wasn't easy with thoughts of this mega in my mind.
 The weather thankfully was scorching and as Tim and John wanted to try and see the reported male Amherst Pheasant at Lidlington in Bedfordshire,this is where we headed first.
 After arriving in this quiet rural village,we headed through the local churchyard to the birds chosen area.
 The area the bird was present in was thick woodland and not easy to see into to be fair,the closest i got to seeing it was several bursts of calling from thick cover and to be honest i couldn't have cared less.I was far more interested in watching the local Garden Warblers which showed nicely and i managed to find 3 Coreus marginatus,not a common species in my local area in North Linc's.
 Full marks to the lads,as they eventually managed a 10 second view of the Pheasant as it wandered about it's woodland home,a UK tick for them both.
 After visiting the dodgy chicken it was on to the next site,the amazing Thursley Common.
 After a traffic filled journey and a bit of both birding and plane spotting from the car seeing 2 Hobbies,a couple of Red Kites,several Common Buzzards and the best of the bunch the HUGE Airbus A380 while passing Heathrow,we eventually arrived at Thursley.
 Our targets here were the lovely local Dartford Warblers and after a bit of searching we managed to find a male which was watched collecting food and visiting his presumed mate on the nest,as he kept returning to the same area giving some lovely views.
 These were John's first Dartfords in the UK and it was great for both Tim and myself to re-aquaint ourselves with this cracking little native Sylvia Warbler.
 Other sightings at Thursley included Common Buzzard,Male Stonechat and 35 plus Common Lizards,always a feature of the boardwalk here.
 Time was getting on,so we headed back to the car and made our way to the final site of the day and the main target of our visit the Rufous-turtle Dove.
 After more frustrating traffic for Tim to work his way through we eventually arrived at the Doves chosen street and garden.
 Next ensued a patient wait until the bird eventually and thankfully flew into one of its favourite trees and could be seen,only just at first due to it's position in the tree,but we eventually got a decent angle on the bird and bit by bit managed to piece together the birds ID features,such as the paler tips to the tail feathers compared to the race 'Orientalis'.
 This my first sighting of the race 'Meena' known as Rufous-turtle Dove which has been split from the other race 'Orientalis' known as Oriental-turtle Dove.Fortunately i have seen 'Orientalis' as well,after having the bizarre experience of seeing the Oxfordshire bird stood in the Akers family kitchen in March 2011 and as they are both deemed as possible full species on their own merits,today's bird maybe a future armchair tick.The bird was a new species,regardless of race for both Tim and John,so was a twitching success all round for us.
 So after a hectic dash around,all the target birds were seen and we all made the long journey back north.A big thanks to Tim for driving and another successfull twitch executed.
Coreus Marginatus,Lidlington,Bedfordshire.

Friday, 13 May 2016

North Cave Wetlands....Monday 02.05.2016.

Half a day to myself today,saw me heading over the bridge into the home county to visit that excellent gem of a reserve that is North Cave Wetlands.
 On arrival and after getting all the kit together i began proceedings by looking on Dryham Ings first.It was a hive of activity as on my last visit,with many pairs of the ubiquitous Black-headed Gulls,2 displaying Little-ringed Plovers and wildfowl included Shoveler,Gadwall,Mallard and a few Teal.
 Overhead a couple of Common Buzzard caused a brief panic amongst the residents,but they all soon settled back to their breeding duties and nest building.
 As i walked along the track past village lake,my first Sedge Warbler of the year tried it's best to sing over the continuous din of the squawking Black-headed Gulls.Later,2 more Sedge Warbler showed much better,including one particularly showy individual near the Dragonfly ponds,one of my favourite Warbler species!.
 A quick look from the hide overlooking village lake,saw a single adult Med Gull in amongst the nesting Black-headed Gulls and it looked quite settled sat in amongst them.Perhaps they will breed as there was also another adult reported later with this bird,so presumably they are a pair.
 As i made my way down the side of the Carp Lake,the distinctive rattling song of a Male Lesser Whitethroat saw me enjoying some lovely views of this cracking little bird and another 'new' species for the year.It's amazing to think that this little Sylvia warbler has just flown all the way from Africa to breed here,the wonders of bird migration!.
 More 'Firsts' came next and included my first Swifts(6) and Common Tern(1) over Island lake and prolonged watching from here added a lovely Red Kite and a couple more Common Buzzard over the adjacent hillside.
 Other species encountered included a single Black-tailed Godwit on Island Lake.
 So all in all not a bad visit again to this super reserve.
Newly hatched Coot chick on the Dragonfly Pond.

Avocet over Island Lake.

Adult Black-headed Gull over Island Lake.

Gadwall And Shoveler over Island Lake.


Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Crowle Moor NNR,Sunday April 24th 2016.

With a few reports beginning to slowly trickle in of the first Large-red Damselflies of the new season being seen,i primarily visited the NNR today to try and find my first records for the season,but sadly it was not to be due to the poor,cold weather again.
 All was not lost though,as a few avian sightings managed to keep me interested,the best of which were 2 Brambling picked up firstly on the subtle 'Yeck yeck' flight call followed by the more familiar 'Eeep' alarm call as i neared too closely.This species is always a nice bird to encounter and the huge flock's sometimes seen in autumn and winter are a joy to see.
 The rest of the bird species seen,were all summer visitors and i felt a little sorry for them in the cool temperatures today.
 First records for the year among the 'Summer' migrants included 3 singing male Whitethroat and a singing male Cuckoo,which i didn't see unfortunately,the 'Nettle Creeper's' being a personal fave species.Also seen on their long journey's from Africa included at least 21 singing male Willow Warbler,4 singing male Blackcap and finally 5 singing male Chiffies.
 So today's visit wasn't mega productive,but with a few nice photo subjects,it was a nice visit all the same.

Singing male Chiffchaff.