Friday, 22 May 2015

Project up date

I have been out and about birding round a few locations since my last blog, Trying to get some snaps of birds from the book , this I have found not as easy as I thought it would be having taken many of the species before.
Here are some of the birds I managed to get some snaps of.

Dunnock along the R.Allen

Collard Dove on the  roof aerial

Canada Goose Family, Longham Lakes

Common Tern, Blashford Lakes

Barn Swallow, Longham Lakes

Sedge Warbler, Longham Lakes

Lapwing, Blashford Lakes
Some birds were just to far away for any type of record shot or I did not have my camera with at the time and two were new lifer for me these are the species I have seen while out bird watching.

Nightingale = Lifer
Northern Wheatear
House Martin - tried to get a shot but not very good
Willow Warbler
Reed Warbler
Wood Sandpiper = Lifer and a very nice bird

19 bird photographed from the book and a few extras for replacements of the ones that I am very unlikely to see these days.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Sunnyside Farm/ Stobough Heath

Took a walk along the tram way at Sunnyside farm and up on to the heath Saturday morning/afternoon with the hope of finding some migrant birds. Unfortunately I did not find any outstanding birds. Though along the tram way there were lots of Chiffchaff singing along with Chaffinch and Greenfinch.

As I walked along the tram way a lone Swallow came in low right over the top of me a flew along the track then went up over the fields towards the farm. At this point I stopped to watch a couple of Meadow Pipits displays over some rough ground on my right at first I though they might of been Tree pipits as they we landing in a small row of trees ( small sliver Birch) then taking off and doing a flight song as they parachuted back down to the ground or tree. Since watching the
I came to the conclusion that they were Meadow Pipits unfortunately I was unable to get a picture of them as the were to far and I was watching through my scope.

Part of the Heath land I walked over
As I got the gate that leads on to the heath I head a Willow Warbler and I just about managed to see him before it flew away from me which was nice to see and hear this bird brings my total up to a 101 species seen so far this year. Out on the heath I saw Stonechats, Dartford Warblers more Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers a Kestrel , Buzzards and from my view point a wonderful Marsh Harrier.

On top of the heath there were some free roaming horse that did not seem to mind people so I grab a couple of practise shots and this was the best one of a bunch.

After this a started my way up the hill and back to the tram way from the top of the hill I took a picture of Corfe Castle  a that was in distance. The castle was in the hands of Lady Mary Banks and in 1643 was besieged by parliamentary forces .

Corfe Castle ruins

Monday, 6 April 2015

Wyke |Down

Had a walk round Wyke down with the family on this bank holiday Monday not many birds seen but a nice walk all the same . We did find a beetle that is a first for me it was a species of Oil beetle.

Oil Beetle
On our walk we had a great view of a buzzard, I managed to get a picture but not as sharp as it should of been which is a shame as it is the best one I have got so far . I am trying to age this bird using my raptor book but still unsure but think it might be in it s 2ndcy or 3rdcy?

Common Buzzard

Friday, 3 April 2015

Longham South lake

It is always the case with me if I do not take my I always camera find something interesting just like today due to the weather I did not take it and guss what.

Had a great afternoon on South lake, Spotted a Swallow flying over the north lake
a new patch tick for me was a Green Sandpiper on Hampreston fields and a very impressive sight of a large number of Mediterranean Gull flying about would these be displaying or hawking for the many insects that were about today? Then up in the south west corner were the Scaup usually hangs round was a very smart drake Garganey had good view through the scope and tried to get a picture with my mobile but found it to difficult. It was very nice to watch this little duck and at one point it was calling/or making a sound that reminded me like the sound when you run a finger down a comb gently. Then over west fields near the pump house another Swallow came in and went over the lake.

other bird seen were Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Tufted Ducks, Great Black -backed Gull,
many many Mediterranean Gulls, Shoveler,and Gadwall

Managed to get back over to the lake and grab a quick record shot of the Garganey.

Male Garganey

Male Garganey

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Out & About

Dropped in to Longham Lakes on Friday afternoon after work and going to the hospital,
It was a nice fine afternoon after the early dense cloud cover that made viewing the eclipse impossible from Ferndown.
Had a walk round the South Lake lots of Chiffchaffs about, a good number of Reed Buntings and Pied Wagtails. Also a good number of wildfowl still out on the lake with the female Scaup still up in the south west corner of the lake.

Saturday went to go to the lakes again with my son but their was some sort of event on and the car park was full with kids ans small canoes. So we made the decision to go up to Badburys Rings instead. This was a good move as even though their was not many birds about we did manage to see four Skylark, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and best of all drifting high over Oak Wood and traveling towards Blanford a vert smart Red Kite my first one I have seen in Dorset seen them in other part of the country.

Sunday had a walk along the river Allen just across the road from home and went up to the farm track this is a Dorset walk up to High Hall route number 7
Along the river I saw Mallard, Chiffchaff singing also seen, Long-taile Tits, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Wrens. Along the track and farm fields , More Blue Tits, Great Tits, Long-tailed Tits, Dunnock, drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Stonchats, Buzzards and a migrant Chiffchaff that had the black sticky pollen around the base of its bill and face. They feed on pollen as they make there way up from Iberia.

All in all not a bad week-end and now up to 7 +1 bird photograph and on replacement of Reed Bunting for Ortolan Bunting as I think I would be very unlikely to see one of those.
This is the eight so far,.some of these I hope to improve.

Male Blackbird

Pied Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

Blue Tit

Reed Bunting

Great Tit

Long-tailed Tit


Sunday, 15 March 2015

Longham again

Went back to the lake this afternoon the light was not great a very grey over cast day but the day was brightened up with seeing 50  Sand Martin flying about and among  a first Swallow of the summer for me.  The female Scaup is still there which was nice to see but I could not find the Black-necked Grebe. lot of Chiffchaff about along with Pied Wagtails and a couple of Grey Wagtails
which is bird number two off the list.
Grey Wagtail
The Grey Wagtail is my favourite wagtail and I always struggle to get sharp pictures of these as they are always moving and bobbing there tails and are at a distance and I find it hard to get close to because they fly a few yards a head.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Longham Lakes & a New Project

This afternoon my son and I went for a walk round the North lake as he wanted to go a different way but I wanted to go round the south lake as their as been reports of a couple of Black-necked Grebes. In summer plumage and I have not seen them like this before,  So I had a quick look round the island from the path between the lakes but no luck. Their was plenty of Reed Buntings and Pied Wagtails about and a few migrant chiffchaff moving and I had a report from a member of the public walking round the lake that there was some Willow Warblers about I thought this was a bit early for those as they do not usually turn up until late March early April.
Birds seen on the walk were Tufted Ducks, Great Crested Grebes, Coots, Pochard, Mallard, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit,Great Tit,Blue Tit,Chaffinch,Kestrel and Sand Martin

Now for the new project. which is I hope to take a picture of a bird from my very first bird book which was a 11th birthday present from my late mother, and my brother & sister back in 1975 this book is where my journey started in to liking birds I got this idea from another blogger ( There are only 64 species in the book and nearly 20 of them I will not get pictures of as they are now very very scarce or are no longer a breedin bird species in Dorset or do not come here anymore when migrating from other parts of the world.
This is the book
Of course I have taken many attempts at taking pictures of our garden birds and I hope by doing this it is going to improve my picture taking and I am going to get the best out of my camera and lens. I will also be posting my pictures on a site called on this site back in 2012 I took and posted a picture every day. But this time I am sure I will not manage a bird picture a day.

Male Blackbird
First one of the list is this male Blackbird I am not to keen on the composition and the background is messy but this is all I could manage today.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

At the Lakes again

Took a trip over to Longham Lakes again with the hope of getting a better picture of the female Scaup that is still on south lake ,though I did see her today she was just to far away and swimming and diving heading away from my position.
Still had a nice afternoon trying to  get some photos of the birds seen but they are not very good.
Bird seen beside the usual stuff out on the lakes were Green Woodpecker, Robins, Wren ,Blackbird, Chiffchaff ,Long -tailed Tits and Goldcrests.
Some record shots.




Drake Mallard

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Out looking for Harriers

Went out today 18/02/15 with Harriers in mind but first port of call was Morden Bog to see if i could find the Shrike no luck with that one, but after leaving the site I see on bird guides it was found. Anyway still had a nice morning there with Peregrine, Goldcrests Long-tailed tits Crossbill seen and heard and a Woodlark singing, a small group of Fieldfare in the first field and a Buzzard.
From there went to Hartland Moor no Harriers, only a Kestrel seen, made my way down to middlebere hide by way of going to the Harrier hide first,  lots of curlew in the fields out in the channel Canada geese and Shelduck and another Kestrel
Scanned over the reeds at middlebere no Harriers, a raven flew over head and three Spoonbill flew up and over the hill. Got to the hide not much out in the channel think they must have been down past the rspb viewing screen, reports of a ringtail, and male Hen Harrier missed those , the the way back and just past the cottages I stopped to scan the reeds again and some Spoonbills came in landed but did not settle took to the air a flew straight towards me and over my head a splendid view of Juveniles I presume black wing tips and dark under wing coverts
From there I headed over to the top of Slepe Heath , two Mistle Thrush displaying and singing,  another Kestrel, lot of birds out in the wareham channel no harriers though RSPB staff I think were working on Arne moors this afternoon.
Buzzard, Peregrine, 4 sightings of Kestrel and Spoonbill made for a nice relaxing day.

Record shot of a Peregrine

View from Harrier Hide

Looking across Hartland Moor

Looking across Arne Moors

Looking down Slepe Heath to Hartland Moor

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Urban Birding

Saturday 7th
I had to make a trip in to Poole and the B&Q centre for some plumbing items that were needed. As the old dishwasher had given up and some bits and pieces were different and leaked on the new one.
So I took advantage of the time down this  way and went over to Holes Bay to look for the female Smew that as been hanging around for a few weeks, sadly I did not find the Smew but what a place to just unwind after spending time in the store. The bay is just a stones throw away from a busy cycle path, bypass and retail park yet the bay can be packed with birds.
The main problem though if parked in the Mc Donald's Car park you after cross this busy bypass which be a bit hectic, anyway cross the road I did and the first birds I saw were Teal right on the edge of the shore line they would have made a great photo being so close but I did not have my camera and it would been no good taking it as the battery as run low and I have found out to my cost that the charger is no longer working which mean I need to get a new charger to charge the battery before using the camera again which was such a shame because not only were the Teal close I had great close up views of Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Little Egret.
Out in the bay there were large rafts of Wigeon with some Gadwall, Avocets .
At the out flow drain I saw Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and a Buzzard in a tree that took flight out over the bay close to the shore line mobbed by gulls, drift along the shore line and glide across the cycle about head height behind a couple walking along the path.

8th February
After lunch we went over to Longham lakes again as my son likes to walk round the South lake
so this time as I knew the camera was not in working order I took the little Nikon coolpic I gave my son after i brought the SLR it is not great and is rubbish at taking distance shots of birds.
I was hoping to get to see the Goldeneye that as turned up on South Lake as this year I am recording the number of birds I can see in the year on the lakes and surrounding fields and hedge rows and this would be a nice addition to the list which is up to 43 species.

North Lake viewed from the central causeway
I did not see this species of diving duck which is not to surprising really as my son likes to keep moving and get fed up when I keep stopping to scan the Tufted Ducks and lake, but we have fun walking round in away I wish I took him when he was a lot younger .
Out on the lake the were Tuftys, Pochard, Shoveler Great Crested Grebes, Little Grebe, Coots, Mallards, Cormorants and on the island Canada geese, Greylag geese more cormorants and a little Egret. In the field pools we spotted some Teal another Little Egret and Mutes Swans .
As were made our way round the lake the Jackdaws were being noisy as ever a Green Woodpecker alarm calling. Up on the little island by the settling pools Tufted Duck were washing and preening and a Grey Wagtail ( my favourite wagtail) searching the bank side gravel for tiny morsel of insects.

South Lake and a view across to the large island
As we made our way along the path I noticed a Duck close to the shore, I bring the bins up and low and behold it is the female Scaup oh how I wished I had the camera and big lens with me, but like my son always tells me if you take the camera you never see anything good anyway and I seem to when I leave it at home at least this time I had a good reason for leaving at home. I tried to get a shot of it with the little camera but it is rubbish so this is a warning bad photo alert and record shot of
winter female Scaup coming up.

Female Scaup

Tufted Ducks
Female Scaup tends to hang round the Sticks on the east? side of the lake or if you like the water works side. It is a largish duck with large round head, large white but stained patch at the base of the bill, the bill is wide and pale grayish colour with small black nail,body a dull brown with lighter/pale grey brown flanks with some grey vermiculations on the back and flanks.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

A Trip to Blashford Lakes

Today my son wanted to go over to Blashford Lakes for a change as we have been going to Longham Lakes recently, So I took my camera with my 400mm lens with the hope I might be able to get to use it in the woodland hide.
We got there about 1.30pm and parked at the Tern hide here we looked over Isbley lake it was very windy and the lake was choppy but we managed a few good birds from here, Little Grebes, Goosander and the Black-necked Grebe.
From here we walked over to the Woodland Hide on the way a Buzzard drifted lower over the path  but the camera was in the bag at this point, Song Thrush and Blackbird along the path  with some Robins. To my surprise the hide was empty so I got to use my camera which I have not used in this hide for a while now as every time I went with this lens someone was always sat in the open window seat.
We sat here a while watching and taking pictures of the birds these were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Robin, Blackbird, Goldfinch and Dunnock.

Blue Tit

Cole Tit


Great Tit

It was nice to be able to have a practise with this lens again, though the pictures are still not as sharp as I would like them to be but that might be due to the low light level and the use of ISO 400. I have been toying with the idea of getting my self a bridge camera like Sony Cyber Shot or a Canon SX50or SX60 to take birding with as I find lugging the SLR and the 400 L lens a bit cumbersome. But I have no exspirence with these types of camera and not sure how good they would be, though I like the idea of smallish camera that I could carry in my pocket or a small bag. 
From here we made our way down to Ivy South Hide but decided not to go in but take the path round which skirts Ellingham lake and the Dockens Stream . Which was a good move as we spotted two new birds for the year a lovely pair of Bullfinch which I could not get close enough to photograph and a Great Spotted Woodpecker high up in a Tree calling. Also along the path were more Nuthatch, Long-tailed Tits, Goldcrest, Wren more Blackbirds and Song Thrush so all in all a very good afternoons walk.

New birds for the year
Black-necked Grebe
Cole Tit

Saturday, 24 January 2015

RSPB Big Garden Bird watch & A Walk at Longham lakes

Today was the start of the RSPB Big Garden Bird watch week end this is were lots of people record the bird for one hour at any time of the week end. This bird watch week end as been running for 36 year now and around half million people take part.
So this morning  a cuppa made and settlled to watch the bird in the garden from the kicthen window.
This is something I have done since 2012  for the BTO garden survey every week.
So what birds turned up in the hour.
Blackbirds but never two at the some time, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Dunnock, Magpies, Robins, and three Woodpigeon.
Some picture of the bird that turned up today.

Female Blackbird

Great Tit


Song Thrush

Later in the afternoon I had a walk round Longham Lakes hoping to get a picture of the female Scaup
which I found in the north east corner of the south lake but was to far away to get any decent shot of her hopefully it wil stick around .
I was sursprised that there seemed not to many wildfowl on the lake as the have been just few Teal, some Pochard on the South and North Lakes and the Tufted Ducks, Coots , Little Grebe along with some Great Crested Grebe. What was nice to see was two foxs sitting in the sun by the little pools at the south end of south lake.
Fox sitting in the Sun