Friday, 30 December 2016

June to December 2016

The following is the last of the highlight up dates  of my patch birding and lifers


No doubt about it the outstanding highlight of this month for me was see the Great Spotted Cuckoo in Reap Lane at Portland.
My 1st Great Spotted Cuckoo


This months highlight was finding a Hobby at Longham Lakes, it was a sight to watch as he went after the Martins and at one point made a dash at one of the Swifts. Such awesome speed and agility these birds have, the shot below is of a Hobby I took on one of the local heaths last year.



There can only be one highlight for August my very first Curlew Sandpipers, last year I looked and looked through all the Dunlin  hoping to find one at Lytchett Fields. So when I heard that some had turned up, I went off in search of them but did not expect to find six of them on the small pool just before the view point. These are wonderful birds looking elegant among the Dunlin.

My 1st Curlew Sandpipers


This month saw me tick off two new lifers at each of my sites the first was on the 4th with my 1st Little Gull hawking over the South lake at Longham Lakes at smart immature bird just floating about with ease and gracefully. Then my second later on in the month resting on the water in a very stiff breeze. I watched for a while as the bird got pushed close to the bank of the north west corner. Then take off and fly towards the island it did this several times while I watched such a small and beautiful gull.
Then next lifer was on the 18th, on this day I had a call from a friend to say that a Lesser Yellowlegs was down on Lytchett Fields and would I like a lift as he was going down. Of course I said yes as I had never seen a Lesser Yellowlegs. When we got down the the light was not very good with the sun shining in front making the viewing difficult, but there were a few people there that helped point us in the right direction. Even with the directions I was still having trouble locating the bird until Terry Elborn pointed the bird but I still did not see it until it moved out of the group of Redshanks and Black-tailed Godwits and I could pick up it long yellow legs. Since then I have found it myself and it is a very smart looking bird.
Poor record of my 1st/2nd Little Gull


Well what can be said about these two months they were bloody hard on the patches with several visits to the sites it was hard to come up with new birds though I did have a couple which I should of ticked earlier in the year these being a Bullfinch -18th November and a site first for me with a Great White Egret on the 29th November at Longham Lakes. At Lytchett I only recorded a Firecrest and a Coal Tit  on the 18th October. With 8 birding days in October and with 5 days in November, that was the extent of my birding in these two months.
Phone scoped Great White Egret & Little Egret


Surprisingly this as been a very good month with some nice birding days had and some site firsts and a couple of lifers to boot.
It as been great to be able to get very close views of the 3 long staying Great White Egrets ( hope they are still there on the 1st) The first site 1st for me and it was a site 1st was a Little Stint, which made a bit of a stir when it first appeared as at first one thought was it a possible White -rumped Sandpiper, the next thought was it a possible Red-necked Stint, but after a number of local birders went to see the bird the consensus was a Little Stint. Having never seen any of those bird mentioned above I would not  know anyway, but the bird to me looked like a Little Stint. I did get a good look through scope one when it was next to a pied wagtail  it was a very small bird as it was not much bigger than this species. I tried to get a picture but as the bird was really tiny and at a distance they did not come out very well, in the picture below you can just about make out the bird at the base of the Cormorant.

A very bad record shot of a 1st site Little Stint

Next lifer and another site for me was on the 2nd after seeing the Stint on the 1st with three Water Rail which was also a sight first. The was my first Jack Snipe which is a lovely little snipe it was very nice to watch it feeding along the shore line bobbing nervously up and down as it feed. Just as I thought wow my 1st Jack Snipe another four appeared out of the reed stems on the shore line.
My 1st Jack Snipe

But the patch at Longham was not finished yet and by the 29th I had two new more site first with a Redshank and a fly over of two Raven. I will finish the year with 95 species seen at Longham as I can not see me back there before the 1st of January 2017 were I will be out starting all over again with the hope of achieving the 100 mark.

I had not finished with Lytchett though as reports kept coming in on the long stay Lesser Yellowlegs and a Green-winged Teal. So off I went to look for the G W Teal as this would be a new lifer for me, having spent most of the afternoon of the 26th looking through approximately c200 Teal the Green -winged eluded me.Though I did have a very pleasant afternoon watching all the Dunlin, Lapwings, Teal and a nice Spotted Redshank.
Spotted Redshank

As I did not see the Green -winged Teal on the 26th afternoon seeing news on Twitter that the bird was showing well I headed off down there again on the 27th it took me a little while but I eventually found the bird over on the far pools viewing from the new viewing mound at the Sherford view point.
After this I went to look over French's Pool for the Lesser Yellowlegs which was way over at the back of the field.
Record Shot of my 1st Green-winged Teal

I followed this up with a look over Black Piper bay were I meet up with another Patch Watcher and local birder Shaun Robson, While here I had another site first with some Brent Geese and some Common Gulls which were at a distance and Shaun helped me identify them giving some great points on gull species which I will put to good use looking for my first Ring-billed Gull next year.
The Lesser Yellowlegs came over from the fields and I had some good view though at a distance which was great for IDing the jizz of the bird as it feed and to see it feeding with Redshanks which showed how slender looking and neater bird over all compared to the Redshank.
I have end up with seeing a 119 species this year at Lytchett Fields and there was some very special bird seen at this site which alone this as given me 6 new birds and Dorset first for me with Little Ringed Plover as the first on I saw was at Blashford Lakes in Hampshire.

So that is the end of this blog for 2016, not sure I will keep it going in 2017?
2016 was a good birding year for me so I must thank everyone I have meet and helped me this year in one way or another with get to see the birds and helping with some identification point THANK YOU All and hope you have a bird filled New Year.

Here are some pictures I took along the way and more of the long staying Egrets.
Sika Stag Lytchett

Looking across Sherford Pools

Watching a Wheatear in French's Field

Dragonfly North Lake Longham

G W Egret North Lake Longham

Motion blurr, Grey Wagtail South settling Pool Longham

Two of the three G W Egrets Longham Lakes

North Lake Longhsam

South Lake Longham

South Lake Longham

Sunday, 25 December 2016

A look back at 2016 and the highlights

This post is a review of my birding and Patch Watching at Longham Lakes and Lytchett Fields.
As you will see at the start of January 2016 I started a Patch Work Challenge for the two sites mentioned above but as the challenge progressed I picked a target of see a hundred species for each site. This I achieved for the Lytchett Fields patch, but only managed 94 species for the Longham Patch as I do not think I will see another six species before the years is out.
I have really enjoyed doing the challenge as it as made me focus on the sounds and ID features of the birds and along the way I have had some very nice lifers on and off the patches and site first.


Had 6 birding days this month and though no new lifers all the bird spotted were new for the year.
I record 29 species on the 1st at Longham Lakes which was not a bad start, it will be interesting to see how many I see at the start of January 2017.
In contrast at the Lytchett Fields patch on the 3rd I recorded 38 species,though this being estuarine with fields pools and well hedged lanes on the way down to the watch points gives a better scope for more species.
All in all not a bad start to the year and the highlight of the month was a Peregrine
A very poor phone scoped shot of a Peregrine


Had 8 birding days this month between Longham and Lyt
chett, like last month most of it was wet and windy at times,though the birding was good with the usual species for both the sites.
One of the birds I do like to see and also seem to have trouble getting a decent picture of is the Bullfinch
Record shot of the Bullfinch

Watching over Sherford Pools Lytchett.


March was a great month for me with two cracking lifers and site firsts at Longham Lakes and Lytchett Fields.
The first, site 1st was at Longham with 16 Black -tailed Godwits which was a very nice find after 4 hours patch watcning between Lytchett and Longham on the 4th & 5th.
But the best was to come in the next few days as on the 13th ( my wife's birthday) I was walking down the lane at Lytchett towards the fields when I heard a bird call and sound I had not heard before it was a bit like someone squeezing a squeaky dog toy fast. So I looked up at the oak I was standing next to and to my surprise and my word at the the time OMG, I had not only found a lifer but also my site first , I have been hoping to see one for such a long time. It was only a wonderful male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker what a find I was so excited and at the same time I could not believe how small the bird was for a woodpecker, I had read in field guides they were not much bigger than a sparrow, but to see one so close you realise how small these birds are for real.
Male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

What a bird the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker is
Then on the 16th I went on a local twitch to see a like Siberian sprit over at Portesham
the sprit was a lovely looking Palla's Warbler.
This little bird  spent at last four maybe five weeks in Dorset so as most likely wintered here for a while. It will not be long be until it takes off on its long flight of 5,000 Km to its breeding grounds.
The photo does not do the bird justice it was a lovely looking bird with a yellow median crown stripe, yellow supercilium and black eye stripe. Two yellow wing bars and a primrose yellow rump with white under parts, just lovely to watch. The bird is only 9-10cm long and about 4-7 grams in weight, it breeds in Siberia, through Northern Mongolia to Northeastern China and winters in subtropical China and in parts of Asia . What a bird and a new lifer
Record Shot of a Palla's Warbler

Palla's Warbler Portesham
I end the month with
63 species for Longham Lakes
76 species for Lytchett Fields
and these two cracking Lifers Lesser Spotted Wood and Palla's Warbler


April seemed a very quite month for birds if my memory serves me right. though I did have a couple of trips over to Corfe Castle to find and listen to one of my favourite song birds the Nightingale
Corfe Castle

After seeing and listing to the Nightingale which is a lovely song so many verses, I watch one of the first spring Wheatears and Whinchats that arrived on a wonderful spring but windy and chilly morning.
Spring Wheatear


What a month May was with two mega lifers for me and again site first for me at both my Patch Work Challenge sites. My first trip of the month was down to one of my favourite places Lytchett Fields were I had six site first for myself and one of the birds was only a third for the site.
One was a wonderful Bar-tailed Godwit in full breeding plumage a stunning bird.
A stunning close view of a Yellow Wagtail
and a site third with a Sanderling.
But May was going to get much better when local patchers watchers found a Black Winged Stilt and a Glossy Ibis birds I very much wanted to see having missed them the last time they appeared in Dorset, but I was stuck at work when I found out about the birds. The afternoon seemed to drag on and on while at work and I kept think hope the bird as not moved on this is the link to the post I made about the trip
Though I did not have good luck through as one late afternoon walk round Longham Lakes I missed for me a very special site first as I rush past some fench post on the last leg a round the lake as I was getting late to be home at the stated time. The bird was ONLY a Nightjar what a bird to miss sitting out in the open.
I will leave off now for a while and will up date again soon.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Longham Lakes

On a damp dank grey afternoon like today I went to Longham Lakes to see if i could locate the Water Pipit .
There is something about patch watching and Longham  which drives me on and on with the hope of finding new birds and one day to find something special.
So again I have signed up to Patch Work Challenge 2017 for Longham and Lytchett Fields, and as much as I like Lytchett I am going to be spending more time at Longham hopefully but will still visit Lytchett.
Any way to the birds seen this afternoon, I arrived at 12.50 to a cacophony of noise as 77 Canada Geese and 2 Greylags made for Hampreston Fields, a party of 19 Cormorants discussing their days fishing and the piglet like squeal of Water Rail rolling across north lake and another ear blast of one right by the north west corner of South Lake. Combined with all the wildfowl and passerines but no Water Pipits made the grey afternoon a pleasant walk round the lake.
The high lights
Shoveler – 11
Pochard – 18
Teal- 13 but no green winged thoughSad smile
Great White Egret – 3
Grey Wagtail – 2
lots of Tuftys and Gadwall
Water Rail – 2
plus a good sporting cast of passerines
Phone Scoped Great White Egret and Little Egret.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Cattle Egrets

This afternoon after doing 50% water change on my 240 litre fish tank and cleaning the external filter.
I headed of to a little village that I had never heard of until recently to catch up with some Cattle Egrets that have been showing particularly well and pretty close. So I typed the location in to Google Maps on my phone and headed of late afternoon, after taking a wrong turn and going round in a full circle I finally found the field the birds were in and got my very first sighting of Cattle Egret but not just one it was five of them feeding all together with two Little Egrets. Delightful birds to watch as they walked about the field looking for worms and stuff to eat.
Buzzard watching over the Egrets

Posing Cattle Egret

One of the five Cattle Egrets feeding