Sunday, 8 February 2009
I was about to leave the area to move onto Keyhaven, when I had a hunch to go back to Badminston and view the pig field from a different angle. And what a relief!! There sat in a big puddle amongst Gulls was the Red-crested Pochard, yaaayyyy, about bloody time! I enjoyed watching the bird for about 2 minutes before it realised I was there, as did the Gulls, all of which made a quick get away after.
Well, there wasn't much point in sticking around any longer, ideas of visiting Beaulieu Road Station for the Great Grey Shrike were scrapped - maybe next week. So I headed in the direction of Keyhaven with Emma - god her list is improving quickly! Parking at Fishtail Lagoon we walked up towards the Avon Floods, with nothing really worth noting. However on coming back a Barn Owl flew out from the Avon Floods, and a flock of Linnets near Iley Point revealed the Twite, the second county tick of the day. The last 30 minutes of light were spent with the Barn Owl hunting in fairly windy conditions.
Friday, 6 February 2009
Shame the Pochard couldn't be as co-operative as this © Ashley Howe
I then went into College with Emma, and waited in the car for at least hours before she was done....thats what type of good boyfriend I am haha. But was rewarded with a second attempt at the Red-crested Pochard...that I dipped yet again.....but hey, there was Mallards!!
Thursday, 5 February 2009
Looks like we got it just in time in Hants before it headed East with the Brents to West Wittering © Ashley Howe
From Hurst before we left for home, a Red-throated Diver was the only thing worth noting, disappointing compared to totals that have been seen from there recently.
Little Egret by the car (c) Ashley Howe
Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Also in the area was 2 Egyptian Geese, that were noisey, brief and mobile and it wasn't long before they departed to the North, a drake Goosander was on the lake. Heading North Red Kite were just the wrong side of the border.
Again, in dull light, early in the morning, 2 Egyptian Geese by the lake before they quickly departed northwards © Ashley Howe
And for those who give a flying toss, the interview went well, and I recieved a conditional offer into a Wildlife Photography course.
Sunday, 1 February 2009
The 2nd-winter Glaucous Gull, again the adult managed to elude me, and one of the Mediterranean Gulls © Ashley Howe
Unfortunately there was no sign of the Iceland Gull, and no one else was able to pick it up either.
Saturday, 31 January 2009
The 2nd-winter Glaucous Gull photographed in early morning, dull light © Ashley Howe
A walk along the coast revealed that there were 3 Purple Sandpipers, and just offshore was a Great Northern Diver.
Monday, 26 January 2009
Sunday, 25 January 2009
Sunday, 18 January 2009
Only birds of note included a Merlin and the Avocets.
Friday, 16 January 2009
On arrival it took me no longer than 10 minutes to locate the bird sat shoulder height in thick heather. What a relief when I realised I hadn't strained both testicles for nothing. Wow, I was expecting it to be this big! I sat tight for at least 2 hours just admiring the bird from a safe distance, in that time a few birders came and went, and the bird was becoming more active, reaching and stretching etc.
A heavily cropped image of the Snowy Owl, when sat like this, it doesn't make you realise just how big this bird is © Ashley HoweIt was just a matter of time before it flew - hopefully in my direction.
Does it now? Ok, it didn't fly past me, but it was close enough © Ashley HoweThe return leg was comparitably easier, managing to complete the ride in half the time it had taken to get their, however my next reward was a fanny-tastic full english breakfast before embarking on the 6 hour train up to Reading again.
Sunday, 11 January 2009
To be honest there was no need, the drake Scaup was viewable from the bridge, and i couldn't care less about some plastic Barnacles which could be potentially counted on the hampshire year list. Best bird of the day was offshore: a juvenile Little Gull fed briefly on the surf before heading West.
North Binness Island had held Short-eared Owls all week, until today, where we and Dan Houghton missed the buggers....end of day.
Friday, 9 January 2009
First port of call was Bursledon where Waxwings had recently taken up residency, eventually finding then, we used the car as a car as a hide to get closer. I only had my bins, but used Lee's 30D to get record shots.
Part of the 23 Waxwings which thought they could elude us by feeding somewhere else © Ashley HoweSecondly, up to Petersfield, where the drake Ring-necked Duck was back at Passfield Pond, missing it the first time of passing because it was behind the island, lead us to find 3 Mandarin (2 drakes) and a Kingfisher. The Ring-necked Duck eventually showed well for us, but photos were shit as the light deteriorated as we headed North.
Heading South and the light improved greatly, Lee told me of this stunning Black Redstart in Gosport that he had recently seen, and so this was where we went next. He wasn't lieing. Possibly the most obliging Redstart I have ever seen, if only I had my own camera today.
How stunning is that? © Ashley Howe
Sunday, 4 January 2009
Heading in the general direction, we could hear the Geese, trying to navigate around the wooded area and river was subsequently harder. Attempting so flushed several Snipe, Woodcock and an individual Jack Snipe, before finding a 'fairly' safe crossing. Covered in ice, I balanced myway across the bog, only to get three quarters across, and the amusement of the others, falling through, and drenching myself. I wasn't going to be stopped though, and so was rewarded with distant and lucky view of the Tundra Bean Goose. Unfortunately this was only thing we had time for...
Saturday, 3 January 2009
Arriving just after first light, there were some dodgy claims, which turnt into nothing, a few false alarms, and it looked to be turning into a nightmare. I love it when I get the wrong idea about twitches.
A Gull flying over, had the Evans crew fussing as to whether it was or not, neither could decide what they had seen. While this was happening a man drove up the road, shouting out his window "It's round the back, turn left at roundabout at the bottom".
The Rush was on, having dipped the first Glaucous-winged Gull, there was no messing, I have never seen Lee and Mick move so fast back to the car, reckless driving was the name of the game, over taking by driving down the right-hand side of the road got us there a tad quicker.
On arrival, the GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL was sat behind the tip, with just a couple of Herrings Gulls, in the ten minutes before the rest of the crew arrived, it was amongst around 100 Gulls and it was mostly obscurred, before eventually giving itself up again to the masses...
Thank God!! Never thought this one would come so quickly...!!
Friday, 2 January 2009
The second Penduline Tit canj ust be made out on the bullrush behind, unfortunately this image was taken under terrible light © Ashley Howe
But at least 20 birds were together, which soon disappeared. We soon relocated the birds. Showing well and come down onto the berries to feed offering some great photo oppertunities.
Once they came down onto the berries, then some decent photo oppertunities came along © Ashley HoweOnto Hythe where the Night Heron was still showing very well. Unbelievably at the same site as the Green Heron in October. We were there for a good hour and did the bird move once? Nope!!
The Heron didn't change from this pose for a whole hour! © Ashley HoweIn this time the Glaucous-winged Gull in Cleveland was confirmed, and we new we weren't going home later...
We continued the day with Dungeness, where we were basically too lazy to go anywhere so went into the visitor centre and left again. There were 3 Bewick's Swans along the road on the way out, as was a Marsh Harrier.
Up to Isle of Sheppey and the Rough-legged Buzzard, performed the best that i had seen it in the fast 4 years of visiting the island. A load of Marsh Harriers, and a Barn Owl were the only notable birds seen. Although it was unbelievably cold and it was threating to rain, neither of us could bear the element much more than necessary.
The journey up North began...
Thursday, 1 January 2009
However it was well worth the effort, first port of call was the bewick's Swan. We connected with ease at Ibsley water meadows. 2 Adults and a single juvenile together. Further up the road, i had a tip off that there was a Caspian Gull on Mockbeggar North Lake. And infact the gen was correct with the adult still on there today.And a cracker it was too.
Trying all the lakes with access there was no sign of the Great-white Egret, but we were successful in picking up a few easier birds around the lakes including Green Sandpiper. Back on the actual reserve it took several minutes for the Bittern to show well enough for me to clap eyes on it, even Emmas beat me to it...
Leaving the hide, heading in the direction of the feeding stations there was a Firecrest showing well. From the feeding stations there was a mealy Redpoll with half a dozen or so Lesser Redpolls. Brambling, Siskin and Marsh Tit all visited the feeder in our presents.
Walking round to Ibsley Water the Great-white Egret happened to catch my eye on Rockford Lake on the near side, lucky to get this one out the way so early in the year!
On Ibsley Water, there was mostly the usual stuff with decent numbers of Goosander, especially as the afternoon progressed. Another Green Sandpiper flew past, which i got the Ingram crew on to with their new years day total - smashing the existing record further. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was also from the hide, the 2 Black-necked Grebes, although abit distant. A flock of Black-tailed Godwits flew in last thing, that was the last thing we got before heading back to the car and grabbing a fish 'n' chips on the way back.