Friday, 23 May 2014

A day to remember

Morden Bog Surprise

Morden Bog Decoy Pond

So what as prompted me to put my fingers to the key board and type away.
Well I had booked on to one of Birds of Poole Harbours field trips with Paul Morton, For the 31st May 2014 at Morden Bog, I have only been on a couple of these walks so far but really enjoy these walks and not knowing anyone that goes birding as I generally go birding by myself or drag my son out with me who I am trying to get interested in birds. It is a great way to meet like minded people.
The day arrives and I am woken at 5.30am with the alarm clock beeping away so I drag myself out of bed blurry eyed and get myself ready for a good days birding. Breakfast eaten and washed down with a good cuppa tea I set off for the location on a cloudy but lovely warm spring morning. At 6.00am the traffic was not bad and I arrived at the car park early just in time to see a Buzzard come across the field and go into the trees on the other side of the road. 
It was not long before Paul and the rest of the group turned up and we were treated to a Couple of Cuckoos calling and then one of them flying by, with that we set of across the road and through the gate and as we crossed the field Paul says can you here the Yellowhammer singing so we all cupped our ears and listened  to the bird singing a little bit of bread and no cheeseeeeeeeeee, with Mistle thrush and Song Thrush calling we made our way up the track with a few Linnets flying by and just before we went on to the heath we stopped to watch a Treecreeper working its way round a tree. With that we made our way out on to the heath were we had stunning views of Dartford Warbler sitting on top of a gorse bush before disappearing inside.  As we made our way across the heath Paul was explaining about the diverse habitat Morden Bog is for a range of animals from reptiles to birds.
On the walk I was hoping to get to see Woodlark, Tree Pipit as I have only ever seen a brief sighting of a Woodlark and never a Tree Pipit when all of a sudden the group leader Paul says can you hear the Tree Pipit singing, bird songs and calls are something that I am not good at so it is really helpful to have someone that knows all these on the walk. I then noticed a bird come in to land on a tree in front of use and not knowing the difference between a Meadow and Tree Pipit so asked if it was the latter. The bird posed nicely on top of the tree and started to sing and I had a great view of my first Tree Pipit. I know it is a bit like a Meadow Pipit brown and striated but I was beaming inside with my new lifer.  After this we moved off again down the path and stopped at a junction were we had good views of two Woodlark searching for food along the edge of the path
After a short break we decided to double back across the heath as the route to the bridge was still flooded and go round the decoy pond up to decoy house with the hope of seeing Redstart (that would be a new lifer) as we headed towards the decoy house one of the members of the group Peter King spotted and pointed out a bird of prey sat in a tree the distance view through the binoculars it looked like a buzzard we carried on along the path and stopped again to look at the bird this time it looked different and we looked to Paul for any clues to what it was Paul  suggested that it could be a very pale phased Buzzard as there are a few about in Dorset and it was suggested we get a bit closer to get better views so we could take in the detail of  the bird  so we would know one if we saw one out in the field again.  We got a bit closer and the bird began to look very different to a Buzzard, very pale white under parts with a brown chest band I have seen a pale buzzard before and I thought this was just too white could it be a Honey Buzzard but the head just looked to big so what was it everybody was thinking and going through a thought process. I looked through the scope again were I noticed the bird had a bright yellow eye and looked like it had a crown with the head feathers ruffled up and it looked majestic and in my mind I thought it looked eagle like but I was telling myself shut up Martin you do not get eagles in Dorset. As the route was taking us past the bird we walked quietly up the track and had  much better views of this confusing bird when all of a sudden the bird turns its back on use and we could see the wonderful light and dark brown upper parts, the bird sat a while then did a poop and took to the air flying right over me and through the camera I had a good clear view of its white under parts and with some brown fleck down its chest side and along very wide and long wings I shouted out that is no Buzzard,

Short -toed Eagle above me

 I know I was looking at the bird through a 300mm lens but it just looked huge and white. Then Paul asked for my field guide so we got the book out of my back pack and started looking through all the Buzzards pictures and the bird looked nothing like these and this is where I noticed Paul slowly going in to melt down when all of a sudden out of the blue he said look at Short-toed Eagle. The group gathered round as we flicked through the pages until we found the page and bang there it was the very bird we were looking at surely not! everyone went in to over drive identifying all the features they saw on the bird with the book now with Paul in complete melt down frantically trying to ring people and send pictures of the bird over his phone to confirm ID, as a group we were in no minds to what the bird was we had all just been watching. The adrenalin and buzz of what we had just witnessed  as a group was electrifying, It was privilege to be part of this group and to be able to share a great days birding and in a moment of history.
Undoubtedly my bird of the year and the best birding day I have had! So my thanks go to Paul and all the members of the group for a very memorable day.
Martin Wood

Warning Record shot of the bird.

Cropped image of Short-toed Eagle resting

So the list of birds  seen: Cuckoo, Linnets Greenfinch, Treecreeper, Tree Pipit # Lifer, Water Rail heard calling, Woodlark, Meadow Pipits, Buzzard, Siskin, Long-tailed Tits, Green Woodpecker, Coal Tit, Yellowhammer heard singing, Short-toed Eagle # mega lifer, Crossbill # lifer, Stonechat, Dartford Warbler, Grey Heron, Mallards and Gadwall flying over.

1 comment:

  1. Wow you lucky, lucky person. What a great reward for getting up so early.