Saturday, 30 November 2013

A Splendid Day

Up a 6.00am to get ready for a trip over to Brand's Bay and the Birds of Poole Harbour guided
walk around the Harbour . Set off at 7.00am to meet in the Brand's Bay layby arrived about 7 45/50am
as I went the long way round as I think it is just a bit quicker than driving through Poole to the ferry from my house.
Looking out over Poole Bay from Ferry Road

We made our way to the hide and close to the hide a Snipe took flight sound is alam call.
got comfortable in the hide despite a good chilly wind blowing in off the bay and started to scan the area for birds. Just in front of the Hide was a nice Curlew and then the Surf Scoter was spotted and good views of this long staying bird was had in the good morning light. After watching Shelduck, Wigeon, Pintail, Lapwing and Red Breasted Mergansers. When all of a sudden a lot of birds took flight scanning the sky for a predtor coming in low was a wonderful female Marsh Harrier.

After this we made our way to Red Horn Quay to look for divers and grebes, here the wind was quite sharp and the bay was a bit choppy. We found a good group of Red Breasted Merganser again, and a group of nine Dunlin flew right to left across the bay. As it looked like the birds were further down the bay we made a move to Jerry's Bay and on the way we came across a couple of Dartford Warblers, a Meadow Pipit and Stone Chat. Further along the track there was a small bay with some Oystercatchers and Brent Geese, still making our way through the wet and soggy heather the main group started to get a head of me as I kept stopping to watch another Dartford warbler.
Now at Jerry's Point every one was searching the water for birds, when I noticed what I thought was a couple of divers out in the channel. Asked the the group leader if the were and he got is scope on them and the were Great-Northern Divers
The Castle on Brownsea
Then just off the Haven Hotel a female Eider was spotted and once again I had another lifer with the help of one of the group and letting me look through is scope (just hope my scope turns up soon)

Another move round to Studland to look for the Black-Necked Grebes but no luck with those this time,
so we moved back round to the bay and again my seconded lifer of the day was pointed out and looking through a scope again I saw my first Black-Throated diver.

This brought a close to a very good morning with good company and some very nice birds seen as follows

Snipe, Curlew, Wigeon, Lapwing, Shelduck, Little Egret, Pintail, Surf Scoter, Red-Breasted Merganser, Great-Northern Diver, Black-Throated Dive=Lifer, Eider=Lifer, Great Crested Grebes, Oystercatchers, Brent Geese , Marsh Harrier and on the heath Dartford Warblers, Meadow Pipit and Stone Chat.

After the long walk back to the car along ferry road from the ferry terminal  I decided I would go over to Heartland Moor,to see if the Hen Harrier was about on the way along ferry road I saw two Kestrels working along the road side hedges and field and a Buzzard perched on a telegraph pole .So I had high hopes of seeing a Hen Harrier. There was no sign of Harriers just another Kestrel working far out on the Moor. Though I did have the bonus of seeing another 3 Dartford Warblers along the track and managed to get a record shot of one after messing up a good composition of a Dartford perched out in the open on top of a gorse bush. By having the camera  set wrong and by the time I put it right the bird had gone low in to the gorse.
Dartford Warbler

Hart Hide
Looking out across the Moor

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Blashford Lakes

Today I took a trip out to Blashfords again as I have not been for a while to see what was about, a look in the Tern hide first found it to be busy so I took a walk over to Ivy North Hide with the hope of seeing the Bittern and Water Rail but no luck with these two. Though I did get a lifer with a good sighting of a Green Sandpiper.
After this I made my way over to the Wood Land Hide were the bird were very busy taking advantage of the free seed in the feeders I sat a while watching Blue Tits,Great Tits, Nuthatch, Goldfinch , Chaffinch and many more birds making the most of this free food with bank voles scurrying about under the feeders for fallen seed.
I must of been here for aleast half an hour before I made a move over to Ivy South Hide
Looking out across Ivy Lake
I found this hide empty on arriving so I sat a while and had a cuppa while I watched Little Grebe a few Pochard, Wigeon and Gadwall out on the lake
Looking left from Ivy South Hide
Along with Coots and Great-Crested Grebes and a Grey Heron perched in a tree over to the left in the trees as there was not much going on expect  some Wigeon coming in a bit closer I decided to make a move to Gooseander Hide.
So I back tracked up past the Wood Land Hide and along the path I stopped to watch a Wren searching for insects among the moss laden stumps of old trees when something caught my eye in one of the trees. Scan the tree with my binocluars I found a Tree Creeper working its way up the trunk looking for insects in the bark of the tree . I carried on up along the path and along the Docken water ( a small stream) were I came across a wonderful little bird in the Holly I watched for a while and this Little bird came down and I had a good view of a Firecrest taking a small drink from the stream.
Finally made my way to the Gooseander hide at first there did not seem much about but a scan over to my right were a mass of duck and in among the Tufted duck, Gadwall I spotted my second lifer a stunning Great-Crested Pochard, in the late afternoon sun is head a features were lovely.
With lots more Coots and Swans about on the water the other interseting birds were the 7 Gooseanders that came swimming across the lake and hualed them self out on the grass bank.
Look right from the Gooseander hide
One of the many Coots seen today

Birds seen today were as follows
Mute Swans, Coots, Gadwalls, Wigeon, Pochard, Green Sandpiper=lifer, Canada Geese, Grey Heron,Cormorants, Tufted Duck, Gooseander, Great -Crested Grebes,Little Grebes and Red-Crested Pochard=lifer
In the wood and and long the paths.
Blue Tits, Great Tits, Cole Tit, Nuthatch, Goldfinch,Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Collard Doves, Blackbird,
Wrens, Robins,Tree Creeper and a Fire Crest.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Brand's Bay

Today 16th November went over to the bay again with the hope of seening a Great-northern Driver a lifer for me. After much scanning the bay I found the diver and with confirmation from other birders I got my lifer.
Out in the bay were more Red-breasted Mergansers and far over in the distance the imm- Surf Scoter was there again it must like it in the bay as it as been here for almost 2 weeks now.
Birds seen today were
Surf Scoter, Great-northern Diver, Goldeneye, Wigeon, Great-crested Grebes, Shelduck, Little Egrets,
Oystercatchers, Turnstones, Brent Geese, Curlew, Black-headed Gulls, a Grey Heron flying over and on the heath Wren , Stonechats.
Brent Geese
Looking left  over to the Purbecks
Looking out over the bay
View over the bay

It was a very nice afternoon and when the tide went ou,t the bay came alive with the sound of Curlew, Oystercatchers and other birds and I just sat there taking in all the sounds what a special place to just sit and listern and let the world go by.

Cetti's Warbler

Taken on the 10th November 2013
Cetti's Warbler
Taken along the river Allen Wimborme Dorset

Saturday, 9 November 2013


All hope is lost now I am becoming a twitcher as today I went to see a bird that as been reported at Brand's Bay the last couple of days. So with the weather wet dark and foreboding in my home town I set off on the 25 mile journey to find the weather there not as bad a bit blustery and chilly.
On arriving I asked a couple of birders if the bird was still about and they pointed me in the right direction to the bird and with a very distance view through my binoculars I found the bird a Surf Scoter, a lifer for me, but only at a distance, though the birder let me have a look through is scope and I had a better view of the bird thanks to this chap.

Walking towards Bramble bush bay I came across a group of 11 Oystercatchers, 10 Brent Geese, 3 Little Egrets, 1 Curlew, 2 Wigeon and another lifer Red- Breasted Merganser. So all in all not a bad first twitch.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Hartland Moor & Studland

31st October 2013,
Had a day off from work so  had a trip over to Hartland Moor with the hope of seeing some raptors.
Though the weather was not great with big dark grey clouds and a blustery wind and a heavy shower I did not hold much hope of seeing anything. A walk across the moor to Hart Hide accounted for some Meadow Pipits, Stone Chat. In the hide I sat a while looking out over the moor and scanning the sky only raptor was a Kestrel working the moor and to my far right were four Roe Deer, so after a while I decided to have a walk about and just out side in a large clump of heather and gorse I heard what I thought was a Dartford Warbler. I stood still and looked through the bins to locate the bird and sure enough out it popped on to the top for a brief moment before going back down low again.
On walking back to the car I saw a bird that looked like a Whinchat I got the Collins Bird Guide out to check to see if what I was looking at resemable the plate it did, though I am a bit concerned if it was, as the book states rarely in October could this of been a late leaver?

A heavy shower broke and I just made it back to the car and had some lunch and was trying to decide were to go next, with the heavy shower I made my mind up not to go down the track to Middlebere but instead to go and find Bramble Bay as I have not been there before. So with the rain pounding on the windscreen I made my way to Ferry Road and started to look for the bay. I ended up almost at the Toll for the ferry but stopped and turned round and parked up near a bus stop and crossed the road. I think this was part of South Haven. Out on the waters edge were Oystercatchers, a Curlew, Black-Head Gulls, Little Egrets, following the beach round to my left were more Oystercatchers, Curlew, Brent Geese and out on the water were lots of Great Crested Grebes and more gulls.

All in all not a bad afternoon birding and looking for places not been to before, must get myself a scope soon though as some of the birds were to far away for my bins and were just little specks on the sea.
List of birds seen today are
Meadow Pipit
Whinchat (possible)
Great Grested Grebe
Brent Geese
Black-Head Gulls
Litlle Egrets
Great Tit

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Blashford Lakes

Had a trip to Blashford Lakes this afternoon with my son to see what was about. We went to the Tern hide first but this was packed out so we decided to go over to the other hides across the road.
on our way we took the path to Ivy North Hide which was a very good move for the sight that greeted us from the windows was the Great White Egret I have been trying to get a good sighting of him for a while now. I have only had one very distance view of him from the viewing screen a few weeks back so it was good to be able to get a couple of record shots taken from behind the glass windows.

While watching the Great White Egret searching for fish, a flash of blue caught my eye and a Kingfisher was spotted flying  past the hide towards Ivy South.
Birds seen from this hide were, Great White Egret, Kingfisher, Moorhen,Mute Swan,Gadwall,
Great Crested Grebe,Blacked-Head Gull.
After spending some time here we made our way to the Wood Land Hide, just as we came out of the hide there was a large family of Long-Tailed Tits flitting about in the trees and scrub along with some Blue Tits and a Robin.

At the Wood Land Hide we had a short wait for the birds to turn up on the feeders my son likes it in this hide as you get to see the birds very close and they are the type of bird we get in the garden. While watching these birds we noticed a small Bank Vole mooching about under the feed looking for fallen seeds.

Above are some old pictures of the  birds one would see at the Wood Land Hide, while there we had good views of Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit (to fast to get a pictures) Nuthatch,

Then we went over to Ivy South Hide on the way I spotted a Jay fly over the path and a Blackbird turning over the leaf litter. We got to the hide and to our delight we found it empty. We had a good scan round out over the water were there was lots of Coots and other wild fowl. One bird caught my eye that I was a bit unsure about so out came the Collins Bird Guide, It had the features of a male Wigeon but did not look right seemed to have to much white and black along it's side and back end, but had a  pale blue bill, a dark head with a yellowish buff forhead so after much deliberating we decided it must of been a Wigeon.
One day when I was at this hide I had the great moment of capturing a image of a Kingfisher that came and perched on the old tree that had fallen in to the lake .

It was now starting to get late in the afternoon so we made our over to the Tern Hide to see if there was any spaces to sit down and have a look over Isbly water. Our luck was in and there was room for us, out on the water there were more Coots, Great Crested Grebes, Gadwall  and Egyiptian geese, and a large group of Shoveler.
and a small group of Pochards riding the choppy water out in the middle of the lake.

The following is a complete list of birds seen this day and it was a most enjoyable afternoon bird watching with my son

Great White Egret, Moorhen , Mute Swans, Mallards, Shoveler, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebes, Coots,
Kingfisher, Black-Headed Gulls, Lesser Black-Backed Gulls, Cormorants, Grey Heron, Lapwings,Tufted Ducks, Wigeon, Pochard,Egypitian Geese, Little Grebes, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Nuthatch, Robin, Cole Tit, Blackbird, Jay, Magpie, Dunnock, Buzzard and a lifer for Meadow Pipits.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

River Allen walk

Another walk along the river Allen this month to carry out the WEBs survey to count the ducks and other birds using the water way.
8.20 am start weather dull grey and wet with a temp of around 11c. a good hours walk along the river produce the following birds.

Mallards 21-Kingfisher 1-Moorhens 2- Mute Swans 7-and Robins 4-Blackbirds 4-Wrens 2-Goldcrest 1= with Blue Tits-Goldfinch-Carrion crow-Wood pigeons recorded as present and then back home in time for the start of the Moto GP and before the expected rain.
Mallard in flight
Sleepy Wood Pigeon
Mute Swan 

Saturday, 12 October 2013

A vist to the Heath and Moor

A break in the weather saw me heading out to Hartland Moor and the surrounding heath land to look for some raptors in the afternoon. Not a bad afternoon for my first visit to the moor with two Buzzards circling high above the heath, a Kestrel working the moor and heath for rodents or small birds and a Sparrow Hawk flying fast past along the tree line  next to the road then in to a small copse.
A few dragonflies flying about and some small butterflies like this Small Copper, well that's what I think it is and a few Stone Chats on Stoborough heath

View over the moor towards Corfe Castle

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Upton Country Park

28th September 2013,

The day started with heavy showers in the morning and I though I did not have much chance of get out . But I wanted to get over to Upton Country Park to see the large flock of Black Tailed Godwits that are starting to build up in the bay. So while I waited for the showers to subside I looked up Easy Tide to find what time low & high tide would be.
The weather started to turn a bit bright  and I headed of to UCP after a short journey I arrived at my destination to  find the weather here cloudy but mild.

Gear shorted and I head off through the grounds to the bay on the way there were squirrels running about and up through the trees, some ducks around the little pond 
Looking up towards the House
and Jay a calling as I got nearer to the bay I made my way to the old stone bench as this is wear I thought I would get a good view arrived 11.40am
At the Bench  their was another birder and I asked what is about and he pointed out a Spotted Redshank a first for me. After look around the bay at all the birds that were using the bay I could see a large group of waders feeding far out in the bay. So after talking to the other birder I said I would go over to the hide for a better view, I was a bit surprised with is answer  its not there any more it got burnt down a few months back. (The last time I was in this hide was May 25th) So with that I settled in at the bench and started to watch the waders that were feeding in the creek. There were a few Black Tailed Godwits up on one of the mud banks along with a few other bird.
View out into the bay

I must of caught the tide just right as it was starting to come back in and as I sat there more and more birds were getting pushed closer until late afternoon when a large flock of BTG built up on the mud bank directly in front of me. A sight I shall not forget to see a large group of these birds fly in a cross the water and land. This group built up throughout that afternoon until there must of been somewhere near 600 plus birds a most enjoyable sight.
Now the birds I saw this day were as follows.
Jay, Robins, Blackbirds on the way through the grounds.
Out in the bay,
Lesser Black Backed Gull, Oystercatcher, Shelduck Redshanks, Black Tailed Godwits C600, Moorhen, Mute Swan, ducks possible in the hundreds of Mallard, Teal and Wigeon, Spotted Redshanks(a lifer),Mediterranean Gull, Black Headed Gulls,  4 Little Egrets, a Common Gull and a Sandwich and Common Tern. Had to drag myself away from this place at 3.00pm a very good day indeed.


Friday, 27 September 2013

A Spot of Garden Bird Watching

23rd to 27th September 2013.

After a busy time at work all this week saw me chilling out in the back garden watching the birds visiting the feeders. While sat in the garden I noticed that the berries are changing colour now on the Cotoneasters and Pyracantha these are not going to last long when they are ripe.
With all the Wood Pigeons that visit the bird table, I had all the usual birds that visit gardens these were as follows Great Tits, Blue Tits, Dunnocks, Starlings, Robin, Goldfinch and  and very nice surprise of a Chiffchaff  flitting about the shrubs and trees of other gardens.
Watching up in the sky for any birds flying I saw a Kestrel and ten House Martin's heading in a southerly direction on Tuesday evening and this evening Friday 27th a nice small family of Long-Tailed Tits using the suet feeder.
Some pictures of birds using the garden taken a few months ago.

 Blue Tit
Great Tit
Wood Pigeon

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Walk a long the river Allen

22nd September 2013
Today I was up early well not that early  for my BTO Webs Survey ( wet land bird survey) a long a section of the river Allen in Dorset. To count the ducks and what other birds that might be using the river.
River Allen
In a hours walk me and my son counted 57 Mallards, 10 Mute Swans and one Moorhen using the river and the banks. others birds seen on the walk were another 5 Mute Swans flying high over  the river and town, Robins, Blackbirds, 5 Magpies , Black-Headed Gulls, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeons, Jackdaws, Blue tits, Great tits and 2 Dunnocks.

.Then it was back home to  carry out my garden birdwatch, with only a couple of birds recorded again using the feeders these were as follows. Blue tit, Dunnock, Starling, Great tit, Robin and a Woodpigeon.

After that the day was busy with me having to clean out 3 tropical fish tanks, the first tank I did a water change on was my 4 foot Tanganyika tank were I keep a small group of young Tropheus and 3 catfish this tanks demands a large water change of at least a 100 litres of water each week. From there I went and changed my two smaller tanks in these I have a small group of Mulitfaciatus in one and in the other I have 6 very young Tropheus which came from my main group. So I did not have much time to get out and go birding.
21st September 2013
My day started with a bit of garden bird watching for my BTO garden birdwatch, with only two Coal tits a Dunnock and a Woodpigeon recorded for the morning. Before heading off to the cemetery to pay my respect to my nephew who lost his life three years ago (18th September 2010) in Afghanistan while on a patrol. While I was here I saw a Jay, Robin, and some Swallows. Then after sitting awhile it was time to go home for some dinner.

While having dinner I decided I would go over to one of my favourite sights to watch birds (Blashford Lakes) with the hope of seeing the Great White Egret and to get a picture of a Ruff. I arrived at 1300hrs and went straight to the Tern hide first to see if the Ruff was about, it was not in front of the hide this day.
Birds seen from this hide comprised of the following.

Little Grebes, Great Crested Grebes, Coots, Mute Swans, Cormorants, Egyptian Geese, Lapwings, Black-Headed Gulls, a Peregrine , Greylag Geese, Grey Heron and a Common Sandpiper. After watching and taking a couple of photos of the Common Sandpiper

I thought I would go over to Ivy Lake to see if the Great White Egret was there, but is instead of going to the hide I had a walk through the trees to the viewing screen which looks over to the hide and gives a better view of all the reed bed and this part of the north end of the lake.
A quick scan along the reeds and no Egret, but a scan over to the left of these reeds was an island of trees and just on the edge of these trees was the Great White Egret a first sighting for me. Also there was Grey Heron and from my position at the viewing hide which I had all to myself I saw Teal, Lapwing, Shoveler, Tufted Ducks more Coots and Swan, a couple of Great Crested Grebes, Gadwall and a Kingfisher and around the screen Blackbirds, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jay and a Green Woodpecker after this I left the reserve at 15.30hrs