Sunday, 8 February 2009

Fawley & Keyhaven Marshes

I can't believe I dipped it again. The Red-crested Pochard was reported 30 minutes before I got there, yet no sign on arrival at Badminston Gravel Pit, neither on any of the nearby lakes.

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

Warsash & Fawley

Another fairly early start to get down Warsash before Emma had to be in college for her drama rehearsals, the Long-tailed Duck showed well, even though it was in dull light, this is the first time I have had the oppertunity to photograph this species, so I was happy with any result. The Duck soon moved onto The Solent.

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

Fawley, Pennington & Hurst

What a fine start to the day today was, no sign of the Red-crested Pochard at Badminston Gravel Pits, though I think we had sussed out the right pit. Whipping out the local map we visited a few potential site that the bird could have gone to without any success, with nothing else worth mentioning.

Next to Normandy Marshes, where the Red-breasted Goose was grazing with...umm...Wigeon, before rejoining the Dark-bellied Brent Geese and showing pretty well. On Normandy Lagoon there was also a redhead Goosander, and on searching for the Twite there was an Avocet and Slav Grebe offshore.

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

Tundry Pond

I had an interview at the Blackpool and Fylde College, but that wasn't till the afternoon, which meant we could take time in getting up there, so my Dad and I briefly stopped at Tundry Pond with a few handbrake turns and skids on the icey roads to help the trip more enjoyable. On site there was no sign of any of the 4White-fronted Geese in amongst the Greylags and Canadas. But the Barnacle Goose was still there.

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


As part of the search for the Iceland Gull which was at Weston in the morning, I broadened the search heading back down to Southsea, where there has recently been decent numbers down there, including an adult and 2nd winter Glaucous Gulls.

On arrival the 2nd winter was just offshore feeding in the surf, as was 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls. Further up the coast between the pier and castle was a Red-necked Grebe with a Great-crested Grebe about 100 yards offshore.

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.