Saturday, 29 March 2008

Testwood Lakes

I left early from work to meet Dan at my house, light was exactly in our favour, and the Whooper Swans had been reported for some time now. Whooper Swans are a mega hampshire bird, and was the first time i had heard of one in the county since I had been birding. The 5 Whoopers showed well if not at range, one of which seemed secluded from the rest of the group for what ever reasons. And the local Mutes weren't too happy about their presence.

See how the right hand Whooper appears to become secluded from the rest of the group. Quality hampshire bird(s). (c) Ashley Howe

Further inspection of the area, and Dan spotted a Little Ringed Plover, my first of the year, showing quite nicely infront of us. Not a bad last minute trip out this evening.

Monday, 24 March 2008

New Forest and Blashford HWT

A day in the New Forest was appropriate for today, starting off with rather nicely with 2 Goshawk at one of those "hush, hush" locations, though i expect every man and his dog know where they are these days! But still im saying nuttin!!

Next off to Eyeworth Pond, where there were plenty of Mandarins about, 50:50 ratio to male and female. And if memory serves me correctly there were 12 birds present. (See this is the problem not keeping a blog up-to-date, you tend to forget some info).

As far as introduced birds come, these have to be one of the best, there was a decent number of them on the Pond today. (c) Ashley Howe

A few brief stops to look for Great Grey Shrike at a few various sites, drew blanks, so we went off to the Ibsley/Blashford area. Well there wasn't really anything significant to report...apart from a good looking 'bird' with a tidy round rump working in the visitor centre. The Woodland Hide however, was the most productive, with a nice selection of Finches.

Just some of the Finches infront of the Woodland Hide this afternoon, coming to the feeders. Obivously Lesser Redpoll, top and Brambling, below. (c) Ashley Howe

Having left the hide, we almost immediately bumped into a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, which showed surprisingly well, at a close range. However it was one of those birds which i couldnt focus my camera on through all the branches infront of it.

This Pheasant cleaned up the mess, the Finches left behind on the deck. (c) Ashley Howe

Pembrokeshire, Lisvane Reservoir & Burrow Gurney

It was a fairly early start this morning to arrive at Marloes Mere by around mid-morning to strong winds. No hurry or anything! Black Duck - and a female at that with it head under its wing, not exactly the most amusing of birds to watch. There wasn't alot of time spent watching it and we soon decided to depart to the East.

This Black Duck appears to have paired up with a Drake Mallard, don't let the sun confuse you! It was actually terrible weather. (c) Ashley Howe

Haverfordwest was our next stop, where again we were successful, the wintering Rose-coloured Starling was elusive at first but soon came out to play. The male continued to sing at close range, not in the most convenient of places behind a caravan in private gardens, with dogs barking throughout. Needed to good old boot if you ask me!!

Whatta Corker!! Singing in the hedge in someones back garden, i wouldnt mind that on garden list. (c) Ashley Howe

Again moving further East, we stopped at Lisvane Reservoir, where we didn't expect to locate the Spotted Sandpiper. Where it hadn't been reported there for a good few days now. We gave it ago all the same. Things were looking doubtful where the bird could literally be anywhere on the fenced off reservoir Llanishen. After completing a whole circuit of both reserviors, i managed to find it, near enough beneath my feet, feeding on the bank. The bird, by this time was beginning to come into summer plumage with a few spots appearing around its arse.

Not the easiest of birds to photograph, never keeping still for any length of time. But you can see the spotting around the bum, before it decided to run across infront of me (bottom). (c) Ashley Howe

Further East, again and i was hoping the Franklin's Gull would make another appearance around Keynsham. Sadly it didn't, but a drake Lesser Scaup had been found at Burrow Gurney, it would have been rude not to have a look as it was on the route home. And before long was watching the bird, if not at abit of range in the centre of the reservoir.

This drake Lesser Scaup was amongst a group of Tufted Duck, presumably an individual that has also been visiting Chew and Blagdon Lakes. (c) Ashley Howe

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Undisclosed Site - Hampshire

3 Jack Snipes were flushed from an undisclosed site with an organised flush alongside Dan Houghton and Simon Ingram. A Peregrine was another good sight record which passed overhead.

Broadsands & Northam Burrows

Yesterday was spent entirely in Devon, though the pager wasn't as active as we had hoped with news concerning birds like the King Eider and Surf Scoter.

However got to Broadsands, fairly early on with a summer plumaged Black-necked Grebe in the Bay. Soon followed with a count of 10 plus Cirl Buntings feeding on seed in the second car park. We watched the birds for a good while, till they dwindled down to none and had moved off to somewhere else. Reed Bunting and Chaffinch fed amongst but Dunnocks were everywhere!

After we ended up in Dartmoor half-heartedly looking around for a Yellow-browed Warbler and Firecrest. News was still very slow and it wasn't till about 11:30 when the 1st winter drake King Eider was reported. As nothing much else was happening we went for it.

On arrival things weren't looking particuarly healthy, no sign from anybody since the time it was first reported, searches along both rivers had drawn blank. Although the Cirl Buntings in the morning were lovely, we were hardly enjoying the day. Till the bird finding beast, most of you might know him best as Dan, picked it up way out on the sea from Appledore.

Going round to The Skern, it was confirmed, showing so much closer at the river mouth, in considerably dull weather. This was the last thing we saw before heading home again.