Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Holt Heath

The morning of the 17th of May I had a stroll round one of my favourite heaths, Holt Heath looking for Hobby's, and did not find any but had a very enjoyable walk round part of the heath their is so much heath to explore here and one day I am going to have a good walk round the whole site.
On the walk down and through the wood from the car park I heard and saw Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Robins,Blackbirds and Chiffchaff. Out on the heath and close to the path there were Linnets,Meadow Pipits,and Tree Pipits I think a long with two Skylarks and Darford Warblers. Scanning the sky for Hobby produce one Kestrel and Buzzard with a few more Buzzard way off in the distance.

Male Stonechat

Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit

Part of Holt Heath
After this I decided I would have a walk round my Patch Work Challenge site at Longham Lake just to see if I could get a picture of the Black-necked Grebe and hopefully add some bird birds to the list
On arriving the Swifts, Swallows and House Martin were putting on a good show again , today instead of walking up the path between the lake I decided head left to straight up the path going south. This turned out to be a wise move as just as I got past a little jetty I heard a bird singing deep in the cover of the bramble and scrub which I thought to be Garden Warbler and bird I need as I had not seen one for the sight  I stood there listening  and then I saw the bird move low along the out side of the hedge I just about got the bins on it before it dived in to deep cover again and started singing .
This bird brings the list up to 80 species seen so far for the year.

Monday, 16 May 2016

A Evening at Longham

This evening I went over to Longham Lakes as I had heard about a bird that was on the lakes and I wanted to see it again as I saw one last year and of course it would give me a couple of points to my patch list score.
As I walked along the path between the lake I was buzzed by swifts you could hear the swish of there wings they were that close to my head at times it was incredible to watch. Reaching the west bank I noticed a male pheasant out in the fields, then my first Cuckoo of the year calling somewhere down by the River Stour.  After listing to the cuckoo  I started walking south along the west bank stopping every so often to scan the lake which had plenty of Tufted Ducks, two Shelduck and 11 Great crest Grebes, then bingo the bird I had been looking for and went to see was just off one of the solar panels in the middle of the lake a summer plumage Black-necked Grebe these birds are wonderful in their summer finery with black neck and head with fine yellow check feathers.
Just a bit further along the path I started to scan the gulls and to my surprise the male Mandarin Duck was out on the lake again, the gull consisted of 11 Herring Gulls, 2 Lesser Black backed Gulls and one Great Black backed Gull.
 The list now stands at 79 species and 84 points
Black-necked Grebe

Male Mandarin Duck

Friday, 13 May 2016

The amazing Lytchett Fields

Thursday 12th May I just had to visit my other patch at Lytchett field as other patchers found some great birds and being stuck at work I feared I would miss them so after work I headed home to pick up my scope. By this time it had started to rain though not much and this was not going to stop me, then I hit the first traffic jam getting out of Wimborne as I got through this then rain started to become heavy  but still this was not stopping I got through Corf Mullen quickly but it heavy traffic again now I was starting to have doubts to whether I would see the birds trying to keep calm I patiently got through the hold up only to park the car and the heaven opened and it hammered it down so I waited with the hope it would ease which it did a little. I set off down the wondering if the birds would still be there or hunkered down some after the deluge. Going down the lane I met another bird and asked if the birds were still on show the answer I got was positive but with only one bird showing. Encouraged by this new I made hast and got to the field with another two birders there and who pointed out one of the birds I was looking for a Black-winged Stilt what a  bird with its very very long what looked like washed out reddish pink legs and brown tinged back. My very first Black-winged Stilt what a lifer.
Another patcher Ian Ballam too some excellent shots of the bird and as kindly let me use on my blog so my thanks to Ian for these photos.

Black -Winged Stilt ©Ian Ballam

Black -Winged Stilt ©Ian Ballam
 After watching this bird feed for a while it seem a bit flighty flying to the back of the fields and then coming back I think this was due to the water levels being rather high this evening.
The evening got even better when we moved over to French's view  were over in the distance and in the far gate opening there was the Glossy Ibis though was on the far side of the field it was great to see my first Ibis. This is place is just amazing for birds it as given me three lifers already this year I wonder what I else I will see, though I must thank  the other patch watchers Ian Ballam, Shaun Robson, Dave Jones and Birds of Poole Harbour for sharing there sightings.

Glossy Ibis ©Martin Wood

Glossy Ibis ©Martin Wood
Just as I was about to leave the Ibis came out in to the field and I had a cracking view with the light catching is feathers and I was able to see some of the glossy green sheen stunning and a great end to the evening.
With these bird the patch list as come on very nicely now with 99 species seen and a point score of 117
The new bird this evening were
Black-winged Stilt
Glossy Ibis
Common Sandpiper

Missed Opportunitiey

Wednesday 11th May 2016 I made a evening visit to the Longham Lakes patch as I had heard that some summer plumaged Dunlin and Greenshank had turn up recently. These would make great patch list and sight first for me if found.
Arriving at the car park I was greeted by a singing Chaffinch in on of the small trees on the green by the visitors centre. I made my way along the cause way stopping at the slip way to scan the island, with a few Tuftys and Mallards on the edge of the shore, then a lone Lapwing, now whats that I said to myself with a small wader running along the edge of the gravel bingo it was a wonderful summer plumage Dunlin. As I made my way along the rest of the cause way stopping  every few yards listening to Reed warbler and scanning the scrub willows and reeds along the edge of South Lake I managed to 7  Reed Warblers round the lake. Stopping to look across the fields I watched a very nice aerial display of c30 Swifts, while standing here I thought I heard a Garden Warbler but was very unsure as I find it very hard to distinguish the difference between Blackcap and Garden Warbler so I really need to see them and as Blackcap were sighted I will just have to leave it as may be until I see the bird.

  While walking along the path between the two lake I stopped and watched a large group of Bream spawning in the shallow water along the southern edge of North lake . There were some very big Bream among them and the were all make big thrashing and splashing as they moved through the weed.
  Any ways I moved on round the lake recording the birds and anything else I could find and  along the east side of the lake I found a wild black rabbit which is another first for me. As time was getting on I hurried round the last bit of the lake from the pump house to the car park, that was the biggest mistake I made because when I got home I had the news that a Nightjar was sat on a post just a few yards up going south from the car park which I must of walked pasted. A lesson hard learnt as I general check the posts in the fields but never check these post on this side of the lake.

 Wild Black Rabbit

Green Woodpecker
Can I make to the hundred before the year is out with 23 birds needed I hope so but it is going to be hard going I think. Any way the highlights with to new species seen.

Egyptian Goose
Great Black-backed Gull
Common Sandpiper
Patch list now stands at 77 species and 81 points

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

A great start for May

Monday 2nd May, I set off to my other patch at Lytchett Field as there were some Whimbrel and Bar - tailed Godwits reported out in the bay and the fields.
I made my way down the lane with Great Tits, Blue Tits call a Singing Song Thrush with Robin song and Goldfinch calls in the back ground. On the way down I am always looking at the hedges to see to what I can find and to my surprise I found my first Goldfinch nest with a bird sitting in the nest I was viewing the nest through the binoculars  as it was high up so I left her in peace and moved on quietly listening to Wrens singing and the chattering of Great and Blue Tits again.
Arriving at the view points, the pools looked pretty empty with just some Shelduck about, but when I  a scanned about with the bins and telescope it was a different matter with Teal, Gadwall, some Black-tailed Godwits and there it was a Bar- tailed Godwit in its breeding plumage a lovely brick red all the way down it front chest and along the belly area. Then suddenly a movement caught my eye so swinging the scope round to the area I thought a bird had landed and there was a lovely pristine Yellow Wagtail . While there Swallows and House Martins were hawking all over the place so I started watching these with the hope of picking up a Swift or Sand Martin, no swifts among them but I did pick up a Sand Martin So that was three new birds so far for the morning.
After spending some time at the view points I made my way to the bay to see if I could find a Whimbrel. On reaching the black pipe I could not believe my luck right in front of me was a Whimbrel but the bird was heading out in to the bay but I had a good view through the scope.
Scanning round the bay I picked up a large flock of Dunlin of c200 in breeding plumage these had been reported earlier in the day.  But I stll went through them taking in the plumage detail when I spotted 8 Ringed Plover and a small bird that stuck out like a soar thumb it had bright snow white under pars black legs and a black & white frosty upper parts  a winter plumaged Sandling I put a twit out on Twitter  and luckly another bird was just a bit further up the bank managed to get on to the bird. This was the third ever recording ogf this species for the sight and to round of the day Shaun pointed out a Grey Plover, so a great end to a great start in May at Lytchett.
These new birds brought the species list up to 94 and finally I have got past the 100 point score with a 106.
Bar-tailed Godwit
Yellow Wagtail
Sand Martin
Grey Plover

Whimbrel through the gloom

Dis carded Blackbirds egg