Sunday, 29 January 2017

Sea legs and birds

Back in December 2016 on booked on to a Public Bird Tour round Poole Harbour through Birds of Poole Harbour for the 28th January 2017 and been looking forward to the trip since then.
But as the time got nearer and near fog rolled in and locked down three days of the week leading up to the trip, and I began to wonder if the fog would ever go away! Luckily the fog did lift and Saturday dawn as a bright new day.
So I made my way to Poole Quay to catch the boat at 10.00am, foolishly I took the old Stert road and think I got caught out by the speed camera  was not going that fast 35 mph at the most when I realised I was in a camera trap so will just have to wait and see.
Any I made the Quay in plenty of time and booked in with Paul the guide for the two and half hour trip.
Baden Powel founder of the scout movement

While waiting on the Quay I took a couple of photos in the now bright sunny conditions and feeling a lot warm than I thought it was going to be but that did soon change when out in the harbour.
We all went a board and settled down ready to set sail as we waited I watched the cormorants fishing with one pair squabbling over a large fish and a group of herring also flying past at eye level and squabbling over a piece of bread which was fun to watch.

An old barge moored along side the Quay
As we left the quay I scanned the old wall of the fisherman's dock for ring plover and turnstones but could only see feral pigeons and cormorants and gulls.
The boat sailed past the small island of Long and Round island near to Shipstal point were we saw Spoonbills in the distance up past the shore of Remston were we hard a Marsh Harrier briefly  and while sailing round these points many Red breasted Merganser and Goldeneye were seen along with a couple of fly bys of Pintail, and some Shags in the harbour luckily one was sat on a buoy as we sailed close by showing off its nice tufted crest.

The boat made for Brownsea Lagoon sailing up Blood Alley, I found this part of the trip interesting because as the boat slow made its way up the channel.  Paul was explaining why it was called Blood Alley, because of Old 15 century pirate called Harry Paye ( that's were we get the name for Old Harry Rocks)
Old Harry
Legend as that one night in the 15th century the pirate Old Harry was sailing in to the harbour smuggling some contraband in but unknown to him custom men and there ships were waiting for him by hiding in the quite bays round the islands . They meet in the channel and a battle ensured that lasted two/three days and through Harry was not killed in this battle lots of is men and brother were and it is said the the channel run blood red when the battle finished and as since been called Blood Alley. I liked this story as it had history to the place and Poole Harbour is full of history and intrigue.
Cargo ship coming in to the harbour through the harbour mouth.

Any after the trip I had nine new birds for the year list these being
Red breasted Merganser,Goldeneye, Black-necked Grebe, Spoonbill,Marsh Harrier, Barnical Geese, Shag, Great Northern Diver and a Common Scoter.
And of course best of all I found my sea legs as last time I was on a boat I became sea sick so that did worried me a little bit before the trip but this time I was fine and did not feel ill at all. So a very good trip was had even though at time the wind was chilly at certent points round the harbour.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Longham Patch Saturday 21st

Got to the lakes a little bit late today to find parts of the lake frozen mainly on the eastern shores, brrr and it was cold on the western side of south lake with the wind coming across the lake.
A good walk round watching and looking for new birds, recorded 44spp ( will I ever get 50spp) round the lakes today with 3 new birds for the patch work challenge and the best bird was a Peregrine  going west with some type of prey in its talons. Not sure if the bird took something of the lake as heard a commotion from the gull as they went up then spotted the Peregrine flying towards and over me top land on a pylon only to be pushed of by the crows. Also a nice largish flock of c60 Lapwings flying west over the South Lake. And of course the 3 GWE are still there two on North Lake and one on the large island.
The full list of species seen today
Mute Swan, Greylag goose – 14, Canada goose, Wigeon, Gadwall Teal, Mallard, Shoveler – 8 Pochard – 40, Tufted Duck, Little Egret – 6 , Great White Egret – 3, Grey Heron – 2, Little Grebes, great crested Grebes,Buzzard,Moorhen,Coot,Lapwing- c60, Snipe – 5 Black-Headed Gulls,Common Gull-1, Lesser Black-backed Gull –1 Great Black-backed Gull – 2, Woodpigeons, Collared Dove, Green Woodpecker –2, Peregrine, Magpies, Jackdaws,Carrion Crows, Blue Tit –3, Long-tailed Tit - 4, Wren – 4, Starlings,Blackbirds,Song Thrush – 4,Robins,Stonechat – 2,Dunnock, House Sparrows, Grey Wagtail and Chaffinches.
Gulls on ice

Great White Egret

Frozen North East Corner of North Lake

Robins are alway handy for a picture

Song Thrush plenty about today

Monday, 9 January 2017

The Longham Patch 2017

This year I was very unsure whether to still carry on with the Blog, but after reading Darren Jones Blog who is also Patch birding Longam Lakes again this year it inspired me to rethink and start it up again. Hopefully this year I shall have more or better pictures of the birds and events that take place over the course of the year.

Well the start of the year as not gone to plan so far as I am now laid up to 2 weeks after having an operation on Wednesday 4th to have my gallbladder removed so now I have four holes in my stomach which hurt quite a bit after coming round from the operation.

Luckily I got out to Longham on the 1st of January and had a good look round, I was not as early as I would of liked to have been but a 10 O'clock start was not to bad. One of the birds I was hoping to tick of straight away was the Great White Egrets that had been showing well through out November and December. I need not of worried as one of the first birds to be seen was one of the three Great White Egrets on the south shore of Longham North Lake all three were on this lake fishing in the margins I actually watch one catch a very decent sized perch.
Great White Egret
 I carried on up a long the course way stop every now and then to look across to the large island on South Lake through the gaps in the willow scrub. On the island i found Lapwings, Snipe and Teal as I walked the course way a Stonechat was seen working along the rough grass by the willow scrub.
On reaching the end of the course way I scanned back across the top of North Lakes were I found 13 Pochard and Great Crested Grebes. I looked over Hampreston Fields for Water Pipit by the small pool but could not seen any and over in the far fields for geese but the only geese I could find were Canada geese and 16 Greylag geese.
At this point I made the decision to go up the west side of South Lake and look along Samuel's Wood for Nuthatch and Treecreeper but I did not see any of those which is not surprising, as I have only seen one Treecreeper and no Nuthatch in the four years going to the patch with the last two years with regular visits to the patch. I did see a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Green Woodpecker,
the Great Spotted Woodpecker being a site first for me and one bird I tried to get last year on patch but failed to do so.
After this I started scanning the gulls and wildfowl on the lake hoping for some unusual but the gull only came up with Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Herring and Black headed Gulls.
There was a good  mix of wildfowl out on the water like the Tufted Ducks, Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, 18 Poachard ( giving a site total of 31) Shoveler and Mallard with a few Great Crested and Little Grebes.
One of the highlights of the day was watching a Water Rail run along the shore line  on the east shore  by the pump house. I rounded the day off with a look over the horse paddock on the east side by the start of the course way for Redwings but could not see any so had one last look at the majestic Great White Egret before leaving.
The list of birds seen on the1st January at Longham Lakes

Mute Swan
Greylag Goose
Canada Goose
Tufted Duck
Great White Egret
Grey Heron
Little Grebe
Great Crested Grebe
Water Rail
Black-headed Gull
Common Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
Green Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Carrion Crow
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Song Thrush
House Sparrow
Meadow Pipit
Reed Bunting