Saturday, 29 November 2014

Heaths Moors and Lakes

Saturday 29th November
I was unable to get out early on Saturday due to family commitments and the weather looked great for birding. So after putting up the shelving that needed to be put up as I had been putting off to many times I soon found myself heading of to Arne and Coombe Heath to look for the a bird that was reported the day before, though I did not hold out much hope in finding it but it was a lovely late afternoon to be out any way. The bird I was looking for was a Great Grey Shrike but after spending some time searching the heath and scanning all of the tops of the pines I could only find a couple of Dartford Warbler and Meadow Pipits on the heath and some Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits, Lapwings, and a few ducks Wigeon, Shelduck, Teal and a couple of Pintail.

After this I moved of to a couple of Heaths close by to carry on searching for this bird but there was no sign of it any were, but the afternoon was not wasted as on one of these moors/heaths I watched some wonderful raptors these being a Kestrel, then a Marsh Harrier which was joined by another  quartering back and Fourth over the rough ground only to be joined by a ring tail Hen Harrier hunting near by a wonderful sight to watch
Sun set over the heath

Sunday 30th November  afternoon I took my son over to Longam Lakes for a walk round to see what we could find. We had a good walk round the lakes counter the birds though it was hard going counting the Coots which we managed to count circa 200 of them and c100 Tufted Duck

It was nice to see some Pochard on the fishing lake and Wigeon on the larger lake with  Great Crested Grebes, Little Grebes and lots of Cormorants sitting on the pylons with 5 Little Egrets resting on the island with a Grey Heron and a Grey Heron sat in a tree, two Green woodpecker were seen along the tree round the edge of lake

Male Tufted Duck

Female Duck
Just as we were get near the end of the walk and making our way back to the car park Daniel say whats that bird up there over the house got the bins on it and it was a Peregrine after some pigeons a cracking sight. Again Dan says whats that bird sitting on the telegraph pole near the entrance and what a lovely bird it was to and well spotted. I watched the bird for a while taking in all the features of a magnificent pale morph Buzzard .

Saturday, 22 November 2014

The Search Continues

 Saturday 22nd November  I headed off to Sandbanks ferry not to travel across to Brands Bay as the ferry is closed for repair work but to look for the Long-tailed Duck that is hanging round the past few days but even though it was reported earlier in the day I had no luck with finding this species. How ever I did see  Red Breasted Mergansers, Brent Geese, Great Crested Grebe and Cormorants.

 So after an hour searching the water from the car park I head off to Hatch Pond were I found three male Pochard, Teal, Gadwall, Tufted Ducks, Great Crested Grebes, a Grey Heron and best of all I found a small party of Common Snipe out on the cut reed bed I had wonderful views of 25+ birds feeding, preening and washing and some flying about.

As the weather seemed to be clearing here and it was late afternoon I text ed the wife to let her know I was going off somewhere to search for a Short-eared Owl. I set off and as I started to drive more inland the sky's got darker and it started raining again. I managed to find the location after taking the wrong turning to start with and I thought I was going to end up getting lost. I say I found the location but even though I was very near I still managed not to get to the car park. I found somewhere to park along the road and headed off down the bridle way and the area looked good for SEO with a lot of scrub and longish grass. Along the hedge there were lots of Fieldfare and flying about, a Buzzard sat on a fence post then down in the lower fields I saw something drifting low over the grass I managed to get the scope on it and it was a wonderful Short-eared Owl but not just one another one came into view and they flew by each other and had a little tussle then dropped down in to the grass. Then one took flight again and was being harassed by a crow. Even though they were only distance views it was great to see them flying about so gracefully so light and buoyant in the air.

Once again as I was leaving home the sky was dark and drizzly rain so I decided not to take the camera so no picture again for this blog and beside I was to far away to get even a half rubbish shot of the SEO but I do hope to goi back soon with camera in tow to get a picture of these wonderful owls.

Short-eared Owl # 149

Took my son over to see the Short-eared Owl this afternoon, it turned up about 3.30pm and I managed to grab a very poor record shot of the Owl going away from us and in to the sun.

Cropped image, record shot of Short-eared Owl

Saturday, 15 November 2014

A day at RSPB Arne and the surround areas

Spent the early morning at Arne with Birds of Poole Harbour  again on their monthly guided walk.
First thing we were hampered with low lying mist over the Middlebere channel but this soon cleared and we had wonderful weather, good light and no wind, ideal conditions.
Once again as I thought the weather was going to be raining and wet I did not take my camera and I should of done!
At the car park
Cole Tit
Firecrest -heard only
Then out on to coombe heath  and the look out point
Fly over of Redwing and fieldfare
Little Egret
Brent Geese in the field
Taken with phone through scope
After this we made our way to the little pond to cut trough grip heath but the path was flooded
but this was a good move to try as I had a new bird for the Dorset list.
Snipe # 144

So we made our way through the car park and down through Arne farm to the steps and Shipstal point
Here we had a mixed flock of Long tailed tits with Chiffchaff and at least 5 + Goldcrest.
Looking from the steps in to Arne bay a large group of Spoonbill c37
Two good views of Dartford Warbler singing.
From the view point and distances views out on the water
Great Crested Grebes
Red breasted Merganser
Black-necked Grebes
Common Scoter
Velvet Scoter = Life # 145
After the walk had finished I went out to one of the moors /heaths to look for some more birds and a bird I have been looking for, for a while now. Looking out over Arne Moors from  a new position
Lapwings c200
Marsh Harrier 3
Lesser Redpoll # 146
Spotted Redshank # 147
Fieldfare and Redwing, distance views
I then took a walk along Soliders Road up to Knoll Farm to see if I could find the bird I need for the list after a bit of searching I found the bird with three Pheaseants, Two pied Wagtails on the barn and some Redwing.
Red-legged Partridge # 148

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Out & about

Today I had the chance of getting out and searching for the last ten species for my 150 list for Dorset.
Though the weather was going to be very bad I still went but did not take my camera with so no picture for this blog today.

I started off by going to Hatch Pond a place I have driven past many many times but never thought of looking at the place for bird or wildfowl. Looks a great place to look for Bittern when it gets really cold lot of reeds for them and some nicely cut channels and clearings.
Any I went there to find a certain wildfowl which I did find after a little bit of searching, the bird was a Pochard which I have seen many times in Hampshire ( Blashford Lakes) but this is the first one I have seen in Dorset.

Birds at Hatch Pond.

Pochard # 141
Great Crested Grebes
Mute Swan

After finding the Pochard and having a look round for later visit I made my way over to Baiter with the hope of catching up with some Ringed Plover. But had no luck with these as the weather turned really nasty with heavy rain and poor visibility. Just before the weather turned I had a walk along the front and I managed to see some nice birds out on the field.

Birds at Baiter

Sandwich Tern
Oystercatchers lots of them must have been 60 plus
Brent Geese 60 plus again
Pied Wagtail
It was quite a sight to see so many Oystercatchers and Brent Geese in one place.

I waited a little while for the heavy rain to subside as  it was very bad and like I said above the visibility was not good for driving. So after it had settled a bit I made the decision to drive over to Arne again with the hope of seeing another bird I wanted for my list I found  the bird though I had a little help from the warden and what a nice little bird to round they day off .

Birds at Arne
Blue Tits
Great Tits
Meadow Pipits
Great Spotted Woodpecker
and the star of the show a lovely little bird
Firecrest # 142

8 more to find now before the end of the year.

Went out again this day over to Greenland's Farm and Brand's Bay and Middle Beach.
It was a good move to go to Gree land's as i was walking down the track I came across some Fieldfares which was great as this is a bird I wanted to catch up with since the being of the year and it gave me another tick for the year.

Greenland's, Farm
Fieldfare # 143

Along the track leading to Brand's Bay Hide
Dartford Warbler heard calling
From the Hide
Great crested Grebes
Litte Egrets
Sandwich Tern -3

After this I made my way to Middle Beach with the hope of seeing a Slavonian Grebe but not luck with that speciesoh well perhaps next time.
Though out in the bay were
Black-necked Grebe- 4
Brent Geese -10
On the way home I stopped at the view point on Ferry Road and there I spotted two Buzzards on the ground worming. Then on flew up on to a fence post and I had a good view of it s very pale creamy/off white belly and light brown chest band a lovely looking Buzzzard.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Two for the price of One

This afternoon (01/11/14) my son and I went over to Blashford lakes to see what was about as my son wanted to see if any new ducks had arrived for the winter. We parked at the Tern hide but found the hide quite rammed I expect veryone  was looking for the Franklins Gull?
So we decided to take a walk along the Dockens stream path and the cross the road and head towards the Lapwing hide.
The Dockens Water
As we walked along the path I was hoping to connect with a Firecrest but no luck with those though I thought I did here one. We crossed the road and on to the next path way were I found a Treecreeper working its way up a tree, then my son (Dan) says there is a Nuthatch as well on the next tree. Then a mixed tit flock appeared mostly Great Tits with some Blue Tits another Treecreeper and a Goldcrest.
After watching these for a little while as they worked there way through the trees we final made our way to the Lapwing hide.

At the this hide and this time of afternoon the bright light was toward us so this made scanning across the water difficult looking towards the Tern hide. Though not to bad directly in front of us and around the little point, here we found some Little Grebes a Great Crested Grebe some Wigeon lots of Coots and on the large grass bank to the left of the hide 24 Egyptian Geese, also lots of gulls fly about and no doubt a Franklin's among the somewhere. Then Dan says what are those two bird sitting in the grass at the edge of the water. He points me in the right  and I find the bird excatly were hes says I have a good look through the binoculars and tell him they are Snipe at this point I get the Collins Guide out and let Dan find the bird and confirm what we were looking at which he did very well.
Record shot of two Snipe Isbly water
As it was getting late in the afternoon and we had to get back for tea we made our way back along the path always listerning and watching for birds when I spotted a blue flash dart across one of the small lakes. I said to Dan as we make our way round we just might see a Kingfisher and sure enough as we got round the other side there perched low by the water there was the Kingfisher but just as I moved the camera up to my eye to get a shot it darted off again.
Some type of fungi along the Dockens stream path