Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Wintry afternoon

29 Nov - A sunny late afternoon during the current cold spell, and I nipped up to Barbury Castle during my afternoon. At least 200 Golden Plover in the fields opposite Alexandra Park, and a Grey Wagtail on a roadside puddle. Good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing around the car park area, very active in the berry bushes. No sign of any Short-eared Owls but I left before dark.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Poole Harbour

26 Nov - An early morning look at Poole Harbour before the BTO conference at the University. An atmospheric sunrise over Lytchett Fields, and better views of the Lesser Yellowlegs that is now wintering - more delicate build and thinner bill than the accompanying Redshanks, with bright yellow legs! Also present, Greenshanks, a Curlew Sandpiper and a Little Stint with the Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwits and Snipe. A female Marsh Harrier was perched in an oak above the reedbed in the mist, and 2 Kingfishers flashed past. I also had time for a quick look at Sandbanks, where a Great Northern Diver and a Black-necked Grebe were off the promontary together with a few Red-breasted Mergansers and Brent Geese.. A distant view of Brownsea lagoon did not reveal any Spoonbills, but several hundred Avocet were roosting in a tight flock. A first-winter Med Gull flew past, and the final addition to the early morning list was a flock of Sanderlings and Ringed Plover on Studland beach. A successful early morning foray, followed by some enthusiastic and knowledgeable speakers at the BTO regional conference. Worth the early start!

Friday, 25 November 2016

Bewick's, and more Bewick's.......

25 Nov - A beautiful sunny early winter's day, good for a couple of hours at Slimbridge with the camera, and close views of some of the early Bewick's Swans of the season, some sleeping off their recently-completed long migratory flights. A Lapland Bunting had been reported earlier from the Holden, but wasn't on view..... a nice selection of waders however, Golden Plovers glowing in the sun, huge numbers of Lapwings, Blackwits, Ruff, and a Little Stint with the Dunlin. My journey home was slightly lengthened by news of 4 Bewick's also having arrived in CWP..... a rare visitor here, and viewed distantly on pit 65. 1 of the Cattle Egrets feeding in a field at Waterhay completed an enjoyable morning.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Cattle Egrets continued......

20 Nov - An afternoon drive by revealed the 2 Cattle Egrets still present near Waterhay, and this time a bit more obliging for the camera, despite the poor light. Blakehill prior to dusk gave views of a hunting Barn Owl in the dusk, and good numbers of Redwings and Fieldfares, together with 11 Roe Deer and a Brown Hare, but no SEOs.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Great Grey Shrike

19 Nov - A fine November morning, cold but fairly clear, and after drawing a blank at Russell Enclosure, I had very nice views of the (albeit quite distant) Crabtree Hill Great Grey Shrike in the Forest - seen with rodent prey, then hunting from exposed perches on the heathland, the monochrome yet elegant colour pattern somehow blending well with the autumnal colours and sky. A few record shots taken, but it never came very close. 3 Crossbills flew over, together with assorted Redpolls and Siskins.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

South coast scarcities

17 Nov - A brief foray into Hampshire in blustery weather. After a short search, the Snow Bunting watched at close range by Southsea Castle, faithful to the same feeding area where it has been for the last week or so, and obliging for the camera. Nearby, 5 Purple Sandpipers on the rocks showed well but briefly along with 2 Turnstones. A rising tide meant few waders by the Ship Inn, but Curlew, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Grey Plover all seen, with flyby Oystercatcher and Dunlin.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Cattle Egrets in the CWP........

15 Nov - A quick drive by Ashton Keynes on the Waterhay road for the reported Cattle Egrets and the two birds feeding in the sheepfield by Westfield Farm. First record for the Water Park, possibly two of the five birds reported recently at Slimbridge?