Sunday, 26 February 2017

The Longham Patch February 26th

Had a couple of spare hours this afternoon so made the most of them and headed of to Longham Lakes, glad I did as well even though it was a bit blustery there and the wind had bit of a bite.
At first the lakes especially south lake looked devoid of any birds besides a few Coot and Tufted Duck in the very choppy water. But looking carefully there was a lot more than first thought,on the causeway there were 3 Stonechat a couple of Reed Buntings and 32 Pied Wagtails. On the river the Great White Egret was fishing and in the fields 54 Canada geese and 38 Greylags which took flight and landed on the south lake after this happened I lost sight of my 1st patch record of a male Goosander and could not relocate him so I am presuming it took off while I was watching the geese fly in. Up at the top end of south lake mixed in with the Black headed Gull were 5 Mediterranean Gulls, and while up at this end I watch 23 Shoveler fly in and land on the lake.

Male Goosander

Saturday, 25 February 2017

The Longham Patch February 24th

The Angel of Longham Lakes

Great White Egret posing as an Angel

Friday afternoons at Longham Lakes seem to becoming a reguarly feature for me on the way home from work. Though the birding is good it is increasingly becoming hard to find new and intersting birds and one bird is proofing difficult for me to spot, and that is the Bullfinch I know they are there and the area they seem to favour but the are never about when I am.
I walked all way round North Lake pay particual attion to the thickets round the smaller of the two lakes.But no Bullfinches showed them selfs only Goldfinch, Blue and Great Tits and in the horse paddocks 26 Pied Wagtails.
Arriving at the west side of the lakes I spotted one of the Great White Egret down the little wooden bridge that goes over a ditch. The bird flew towards the river and dropped down behind a high bank, I scanned the scrub along the the river bank hoping for another sighting of an otter. No signs so I carried on up a long the west side of South lake and scanned across to the island were another GWE was tuck up in the long grass.

I checked all the Tufted Ducks hoping to find a Scuap that might be lurking undiscoverd among them but no such luck. Then I started to check the gulls as I am sure an interesting gull is going to turn up soon,but all I could find was a Mediterrnean Gull and a couple of Lesser Black backed Gulls.

After this I parcticed taking some some picture with the new bridge camera I brought to take out when I go birding as carting an SLR and a  300mm or 400mm lens and telescope can be a bit heavy.
Great White Egret

Drake Mallard
Though I have found that with the electronic view finder it is a lot harder to lock on to a bird especieally little bird like Chiffchaff as I tried to get a picture of one of four birds theat were flitting about after insects on the side of Samual's Wood.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

The Longham Patch 18th February

Went back to the lakes this afternoon for the Bullfinch did not see any, but what a wonderful afternoon to spend walking round the lakes in search of birds. With the sun shinning and bird singing away what more could you want, how about a nice surprise while you are looking through the scope. This is exactly what happened at the end of the walk I was scanning the fields from the west bank look towards the river when one of the Great White Egrets flew up from the river and head up river. Then something caught my eye moving in the undergrowth,  can it be, no it is, I could hardly believe my eyes as the creature emerged from the undergrowth with a lovely sleek brown coat and ambled a long the bank. It was an Otter no less but in my excitement and just overwhelmed to be watching it through my scope I forgot about grabbing a record shot.It was not my first sighting of an Otter as I have seen them many times before on the River Stour from the late 1990’s and through the early 2000 but this was the first one I have seen from the Longham Patch.
Smile  There were 15 Shoveler),30 Teal, 2 Great White Egrets, one down on the river and another in the field of the west bank of North island, C46 Pochard, 91 Tufted Ducks, 3 Buzzard over, a new bird for the Patch Work Challenge with a Cetti’s Warbler which brings the species list for the patch to 68 birds seen. Two Great Crested Grebes perform there courtship weed dance yesterday and today's are the first time I have seen this happen and today was very nice to watch though they did not get up on the feet and run. Just a lot of head swaying back and fourth preening motion and the pair diving coming with big chunks of weed and facing up to each other then swimming over parallel with each other fast. So an absolute wonderful afternoon was had. 

Friday, 17 February 2017

The Longham Patch 17th February

After a long awkward and tricky morning at work, you know one of those mornings when the gremlins get into everything.
When 1.30pm came round it was good to be going and off to Longham Lakes my plan was to search for a Bullfinch as last year I did not find one until the 18th November.
I know they are there but they do not show or call when I am about. Walking round North lake first head up past the vistors centre scanning the hedge row and trees along they way for the Bullfinch.
But the only birds I found there were a couple of Chaffinches, Dunnock a Great Tit  and Robins,out on the lake 12 Pochard some Tuftys and a pair of Great Crested Grebes attempting( half heartily it seemed) a weed dance.
Making my way up to the causeway the Great White Egret flew from the island in South Lake and landed in one of the pools on Hampreston fields there was not much about in the fields a part for a few Teal on the remaining pools.
I scanned the island from the west side of South Lake and had a nice surprise with a Water Rail showing well and feeding along the edge of the island until someone started flying there boat plane about which made the fly in to the reeds/ willow roots a long the causeway and 11 Lapwings from one side of the island to the other. With 20 Shoveler near the western shore made for a very enjoyable sight with the colour of the males and the drab females and the long bills.
Song Thrushes, Dunnock and Robins singing made a very pleasant and relaxing walk round the lakes after work.
Great White Egret

Sunday, 12 February 2017

The Longham Patch 11th February

A very cold walk round the lakes this afternoon produce three new birds for the Patch Work Challenge and Longham year list with Fieldfare, Pheasant, Kingfisher and Goldcrest.
There was no sign of the Great White Egrets when I arrived, but later on when I was walking round the East side of South Lake a Great White Egret flew over the settling marsh area and dropped down somewhere behind Emily’s Wood and another was on the large island. In Hampreston Field there were 27 geese and I hoped one or two might be a winter visitor but they were all Greylags.
I counted a good number of Pochard 44, but only 3 Wigeon on this vist also Shoveler numbers were up prior to my last visit with 15 tucked up on the island as the water level is very low and is exposing large areas of shore line round the lake and islands.
A full list of birds
Mute Swan, Greylag Goose –27, Canada Goose – 4, Wigeon – 3, Gadwall,  Teal – 16, Mallard, Shoveler – 15, Pochard – 44, Tufted Duck, Pheasant – 1 male, Cormorants, Little Egret – 1, Great White Egret – 2, Grey Heron –1, Little Grebe – 16, Great Crested Grebes, Buzzard, Moorhen – 2, Coots, Black-headed Gulls, Common Gull – 1, Lesser Black backed Gull – 3, Herring Gulls, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove – 2,
Kingfisher –1, Green Woodpecker – 1, Magpie, Jackdaws, Carrion Crows, Goldcrest – 2,  Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Blackbird – 3, Fieldfare – 20, Song Thrush, Redwing – 30, Robins, Grey Wagtail –1,
As you a can see not to bad a haul for such a cold windy day round the lakes, they may be just the usual fare but with out them the place would be a boring one.
  On the large island there was a Cormorant that looked unusual from the rest of the Cormorant it was with so I took the  time to study it and came to the conclusion that it was a Great Continental Cormorant ( Carbo sinensis)type,
  due to the gular pouch along with not so much white  round the throat patch and the extensive white on the head and down the side of the neck. creating a C like shape of black on the side of the face between the white throat patch and the neck side. 

Sunday, 5 February 2017

The Longham Patch February 4th

Before going off to Longham on the 4th February, I had to nip in to town because when got to make a cup of tea and a flask for the moring  the kettle broke and I need to start the day with a good cuppa tea.
I t was late morningby now so I headed of down to Lytchett Fields with the hope of catching up with the Green Winged Teal and my luck was in it was still on Sherford Pools and showing well and watched it doing some display moves. Then watched a Marsh Harrier from the black pipe over on the other side of the bay near the Turnlin Moor screen fly past the houses and boats then crossed the water over to otter island and disappeared behind the tree. Then watched to Buzzards displaying they were talon grappling a plummeting to the ground then flying back up they did this a few times one pulled is wings in and dived very fast it seemed and came back up just as fast wonderful to watch. I did not stay until the tide went out as I headed of to Longham Lakes.
Record shot of the Lytchett Fields Green winged Teal

Record shot of Green Winged Teal
By the time I got to Longham Lakes it was late afternoon.
As I walked up to the slip way I could see the water level was down on the large lake exposing large areas of shore line of the island and sides of the lake.While standing there I could  hear Wigeon calling, but was not expecting to see  a large raft of them just of the island I counted them as it seemed a lot and to my surprise there was 152, ( another 4 out in the flooded meadows) Wigeon and 6 Pintail. Hampreston Meadows were very flooded scanning the fields I found a Grey Heron a Lesser Blacked backed Gull and luckily thanks to a couple that were birding who pointed out to me the Great White Egrets-2 on the far side of the field on other side of the river,also in the flooded meadow I found 7 Teal and the males began to display. I also heard a Water Rail at the south east corner down by the river, out on the lake spread about I counted 20 Pochard but probable moor about than this as they kept on diving.
Looking across to the island from were they fly the model planes I could see a male Pintail a sleep among the Canada geese, Shovelers a.nd Wigeon that were resting on the exsposed shore of the island.
Even though no new birds were sighted this day it had be a most enjoyable day bird watching the patches after bad weather we had in the week. Still there is hope out I my next trip I could find something a Bullfinch would be nice or a Green Woodpecker at Lytchett as not seen on there yet.

Flooded Hampreston Fields

Tufted Ducks


Male Pochard