Saturday, 30 April 2016

End of 1st Quarter at Lytchett Fields

Went down to Lytchett Field this afternoon did not have much time to go down to the view point as spent 2 hours looking round the Pools Field and the Black Pipe area.
Added three new birds to the PWC and had a very nice time watching a good number of Black-tailed Godwit with some looking spectacular in their summer plumage. Also among were 2 summer plumaged Dunlin, would these bird be going to the breeding ground or on the way back already? I also found a Ringed Plover and a possible Whimbrel which was some distance and my scope is not great with sun haze and I am not fully confident with this species it looked like it had a short thick based bill with it curving at the tip and the plumage looked brown, though I understand some Curlews can have short bills so I am not going to include it on my list.
The last trip of the month produce another three new birds for the PWC (Patch Work Challenge) list
which is now  up to 88 species and a point score off 99. These being
Reed Warbler
Ringed Plover
Stock Dove

I have really enjoyed my visit to Lytchett Field these last four months and months they have been
This is a special place to go bird watching with many different habitats for the birds. I have seen some wonderful species since 2015 and since starting the PWC I have focused more and this as paid off with me finding my very first Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and first Water Pipit, sharing a close encounter with a Red Kite my son is first as well, watching Marsh Harriers and Peregrine these are just some of the highlights of this first quarter.
What will the next quarter bring I'll just have to see but hopefully Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Little Stint
and finding my first or at least seeing a Curlew Sandpiper.

Cropped image of the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

End of 1st quarter at Longham

Dropped in to Longham Lakes on the way home from work this afternoon, and what a sight I had with a spectacular aerial display of c200 Swifts with some House Martin, Sand Martin and Swallows in the mix. The birds were at all heights from just above my head to very high swooping this and that way while hawking for insects.
In a 2 hour and 20 minute walk around the South Lake I managed to record 41 species, with four new birds for my Patch Work Challenge which stands now at the end of the month with 75 species seen and a point score of 79. One of the new birds I have been trying to spot for a long time and after almost two years I finally found the little bird a Treecreeper in an oak I expected to find him one day.
The highlights of the walk were

Swift c200
House Martin
Sand Martin
Whitethroat – 4
Reed Warbler -1 with others heard
Treecreeper -1
Mandarin Duck – 1 male preening on a willow branch off the small island before taking a swim across the lake.
Shelduck – 2 flying in from the east and settled on the water, west side of the large lake.
Cetti’s Warbler -1 7

Grey Heron

The Highlights off the Quarter

So the the highlights of the first quarter at Longham Lakes, I have really enjoyed walking round the complex looking for the birds. I have found doing the Patch Work Challenge as made me focus on trying to find new birds on very trip to the lakes, though I have missed some that I should of made the effort to get these were Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail. I have ticked off new species for the lakes this year these being Black-tailed Godwits, Snipe, Mandarin Duck, Collard Dove, Pheasant, Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Sparrowhawk, Shelduck and the elusive Treecreeper.

Black- tailed Godwits

Record shot of male Mandarin Duck


Sunday, 24 April 2016


Saturday 23rd 2016, I was up at 5.30 am to get ready to go to what I think is a special place first thing in the morning hopefully to see a Nightingale . I first saw this species last year in roughly the same place so I had high hopes that we would see one again on the Birds of Poole Harbours monthly walk.
We all meet in the place car park were we watched Chiffchaff, Wren and Great Tit calling or singing.
Then headed off up the hill with more Chiffchaff singing and making contact calls, a Stonechat and Darford Warbler were spotted in some gorse on the side of the hill.
As we made our way further up the hill we encountered more Stonechat and Dartfords along with Yellowhammers and Whitethroats.
Female Yellowhammer

 We all stopped for a while and listened out  and searched for the Nightingale but he was rather quiet and kept well hidden from view in the dense scrub. Finally we made it to the top of the hill and went out across the top and it was cold with the North icy wind cutting right through you, despite this wind we found some cracking birds first of all we had some swallows swooping low over our heads and a fly past of a couple of House Martin, then the group leader Paul spotted a cracking male Whinchat sat a top of a small bush on the edge of some scrub on the side of the hill. Then was watched a female Wheatear for a while giving a good show as she feed among the short grass and gorse. And then another Male Whinchat sat a top of a small piece of gorse proudly showing off is spring dress in the sunshine. With that due to the fierce cold wind we made our way back to the path and shelter for the wind. Walking down the path again we saw Blackcap more Stonechat but not so many Whitethroats and Yellows. As we approached the area were the Nightingale might be we heard a small burst of song which turn in to a full song with the bird showing well and singing is little heart out. I manage to get a capture of him through the telescope and a recording of the song which I up loaded to xeno-canto.
Female Wheatear

Nightingale and Song

Corfe Castle

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Longham South & North Lakes

Saturday 16th, after finishing a walk  at Holton Lee with the Poole Goup of the RSPB, I shot over to Longham for a quick walk round south lake. Could only stay for about an hour as I went out early to Lytchett Fields before heading off to the walk and was running out of time and needed to get home.
It was nice to see a large group of Sand Martins hawking over the large lake in this group I managed to pick out a few House Martin making this my 69th species, but this was not the last new bird as I walked along the west bank I heard that distinctive song of a Blackcap so I set about finding him which I did though not just one I found three 2 males and a female. So with that my last years list of species for this site got beaten now on 70 species for the site can I make to a hundred before the year is out?
The Highlights of the walk beside the usual stuff
Sand Martins
House Martins
Common Sandpiper

Sunday 17th, I headed off for another quick walk this time with my son, this time we went round the north lake . Their was a little bit of disturbance this morning from a large group of Joggers speed walkers going round the lake, but surprisingly we still managed to find a few passrines in the hedges with the best being two singing Common Whitethroats another new bird for the list now at 71 species ,two more singing male Blackcaps a calling Cetti's Warbler and a smart looking Chiffchaff. The Shelduck flew in again and settled on the pool in the field.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

16th Visit to Longham lakes

Made another visit this month to the lakes at Longham this afternoon with my son .
on the wildfowl front it was pretty quiet with only Tufted Duck, Coot and a few Mallard and 3 Teal and a handful of Great Crested Grebes out on the water. We saw our first mallard duckling of the year though 5 in the north west corner and 4 in the south east corner of South Lake.
Even though it was very windy I did managed to add to new birds to the patch list with a patch tick first for me with two Shelduck on the larger island were I also spotted one of the birds that I was hoping would turn up pretty soon was a Common Sandpiper the earliest I have seen on at this lake complex. These two bird bring the Patch Work Challenge list up to 68 species seen with a 71 point score,  I am enjoying doing this challenge at this patch as it is helping me stay focused and getting me out around the lake and this year I am going to beat last years species list which stands at 68 species seen by December 2015
This list of bird we saw today are as follows
Tufted Duck
Great Crested Grebe
Black-headed Gull
Shelduck -2
Canada Goose -4
Mallard - with 9 duckling seen
Common Sandpiper
Med Gull
Reed Bunting -5
Teal -3
Mute Swans - 20 out on the fields
Herring Gull
Kestrel - 1
Jackdaw - 5
Grey Wagtail -1
Little Egret -1
Grey Heron - 1
Blackbird - 1
Robin - 1
Magpie - 1
Chiffchaff - 2
Starling - 4
Great Tit - 2
Goldfinch - 2
Greenfinch - 1
Swallow - 1
Green Woodpecker - 1
Pied Wagtail - 3

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Patchwatching weekend

Saturday 2nd April I visited my two patches to see what new birds I could add to the slow growing list, first port of call was Lytchett Fields.
On walking down the lane towards the Pools Field I came across the usual suspects of Blue and Great Tits and the many Robins,on reaching the gate I had a quick scan acorss to the pool with only a Little Egret and crow about I still carried on down to the view point thinking that there might be some pipits in the small channal furrows. On the way I meet a person walking is dog coming back up the lane. Only to find when I got to the view point he was in the field throwing a ball about for is dog.
Now there is nothing wrong with throwing a ball about for a dog, but when it is in a field that you are not allowed in and is an important  area for migrant birds to stop and rest and feed I do not think it is right.
Any how I moved off to look across Black Pipe Bay here I found a nice mix of birds with c160 Black tailed Godwits, 9 Curlew some Oystercatchers and Teal. Walking back up the lane to go down the to the other view points I scanned the recently ploughed field with the hope of finding my first Wheatear of the year. All I could see out on this field was a mixture of Jackdaw, Carrion Crow and Rook and some Chiffchaff in the hedge row.
Carrion Crow

As I walked down the other lane listerning to the bird song and scanning the fields at every gate way.
I was almost down by the LSW tree when I stopped at the rusty gate and looked out across the field
and Boom my first Wheatear of the year and a patch tick for me. The Lytchett list now stand at 77 species seen way below the other 3 Patch Watchers.
Me watching the Wheatear

Poor record shot of said Wheatear

In the later afternoon I moved on to Longham Lakes and walked round South Lake, I thought it seemed pretty quiet with the usual Tufted Ducks, Coot and Great Crested Grebes along with a scatting of Shoveler, Teal, Mallards and Gadwall with 15 Canada Geese and not many gulls.
On counting the gulls I found only 11 Herring Gull, Two Lesser Black backed Gull and a number of Black headed Gull but no Medriternenean Gull among them which just seemed odd.
As I got to the settling pools at the top end of the lake there was a bit of a commoition going in the trees on the far side with a Green Woodpecker making a hell of a din when all of a sudden it burst out of the trees with a Sparrowhawk in hot pursuit. So the made a new bird for the list with that I made my way back to the car park hoping for a Swallow or House Martin when just as I got to the jetty I saw my first Swallow of the year, making it two new species seen of this trip for the Longham List which now stands at 66 species seen to date.

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Sand Martin (19/03/16)

Mute Swan