It really has been such a long time since my last post, and am just dropping by to say that posting will again commence from now onwards as i am now mostly done towards my coursework, which has been one of my biggest inhibiting factors. Having just returned from a birthday weekend away with 'The Girlfriend' it seems like a good time to fill in the gaps of the last month!
Talking about the Girlfriend, all the way back in February we went for a walk at Arrow Valley Lake as i knew that Goosanders had been seen there recently, and we quickly located 13 of these stunning ducks, including 7 drakes. 15 Tufted Duck were also around the lake, and a Reed Bunting was seen near the visitor center. We were also able to get some great close up views of BHG's, including a few nicely marked 1w birds!
A couple of Tufties were showing very closely nearby!
I again went for a walk to look for LSW in a woodland to no reward, i'm really struggling to catch up with them this year! A stunning male BRAMBLING was still showing, starting too acquire some aspects of summer plumage.
2 Green Woodpecker were showing well on some short cut grass.
And i was happy to see that both of the resident pair of Tawney Owl were out on top of their stump.
A visit to sheepwash was fairly productive, 37 Goosanders was a very good count, one of my highest of the winter infact, as was 47 Pochard. 8 Shoveler were still present, and the Tuftie flock numbered 20. 30 Linnet were still up on the 'mound' proving as flighty as always. 5 Lesser Redpoll were showing well in the wooded bits.
Roost birding at Bartley revealed a Yellow-legged Gull, but i manadged to miss the Caspian that was being watched from the dam.
A quick twitchy stop into Bittel reveled that the stunning adult drake SMEW was still present, choosing to reside in the furthest corner possible from the viewpoint on the Bittel farm Causeway. The Smew was keeping company with a single female Goldeneye, while a flock of 10 Goosanders were also present.
A patch visit was fairly uneventful bar 2 Snipe which flew over my head at Blackstone.
Another visit for LesserPecker and again drew a blank. I have been spending regular 3-4 hours in this woodland frequently and still am failing to see them. 4 BRAMBLING were still around, as was a Peregrine and the Tawney Owl was perched up on the top of the tree in beautiful sunlight, highlighting those gorgeous rufous tones.
A Nuthatch was showing down to 6ft on some food that had been put out.
Another failure to find LSW. A male and a female BRAMBLING were still near to the feeders. The Tawney was still out, and the Peregrine was still in residence. A small flock of 10 Siskin were flighty.
Sheepwash was doing well at retaining the Shoveler flock, as there was now 9 birds, including 3 birds showing very well adjacent to the path. 13 Goosanders were widely spread across the pool, but the Pochard flock had halved to 20 birds. A Kingfisher did a flypast along the river.
I do love my roosts. Again i visited Bartley as a Med Gull had been roosting regularly Neil Duggan was also in the area and dropped in also. It was like a big birders meet up as 8 birders were present, the most i have ever seen at the location. Eventually the stunner of an adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL was located while suffering the freezing wind. For me however, the highlight goes to a pair of Peregrine which shown very well off the dam, apparently a very rare bird at Bartley, as they hunted the roosting Gulls. A Curlew flew off as the Peregrines entered.
I have a fondness for Grimely due to its superb looking habitat, and with waders starting on the move it seemed like a logical choice. We first dropped into the Holt flashes, where a flock of 75+ Wigeon were feeding, along with a fair few Lapwing and two Oystercatchers. I picked up two GREEN SANDPIPERS which were either migrants or some of the wintering birds. Moving onto the Camp lane pits we added a drake Pintail and a small flock of 6 Curlew, 2 Redshank were on the flooded middle section as were 2 Oystercatcher.
Following this we dropped into Upton Warren where i quickly got the 14 Avocet. 3 OYC flew north and 1 Curlew was showing. 3 Chiffchaffs were my first 'spring' birds and 2 Water Rail shown. A single 1w Common Gull dropped in among the roosting Gulls.
I struck lucky on patch with 2 Greylag Goose, an insane patch rarity. I have only previously had fly overs but these two birds were 'decked' and were showing on the Lickhill pool.
(You can see both birds in this photo, even if only a tiny portion of the 2nd birds head)
And now i can get into the more 'juicy' recent birds in my posts following this,