Saturday, 30 January 2016

Brighton Marina

Yesterday (Friday 29th) I went to Brighton Marina. There had been reports of Little Auk down there, but I also thought there might be a Grebe or Gull to see. The weather was not the best, no rain but windy as anything. Both marina arms were closed due to the waves crashing against it.

Taken with my new but second-hand camera
(some work to do to get the filters right)

Taken with my usual camera

Have got some photos of surfers on the water, but don't seem to want to show on here. With those winds there were not a lot to see. Little Auk was a no show and hadn't been seen all day. It could however get to all sorts of sheltered places that couldn't be seen so it may still be there. Cormorant, Herring Gull, Mute Swan and Black-headed Gull all seen within the marina walls. On the sea however Fulmar and Little Gull made appearances while Common Gulls were also in abundance. It was not the best viewing conditions but it was fun. 

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Visit to Bough Beech

Before I get to the Bough Beech visit. I heard Tawny Owl while waiting to pick up my son from cubs.
The weather has been such a nightmare but on Monday (25th) I went out to Bough Beech, the water is still high but still managed to get 45 species. It is quite nice at the moment as I still have to see regular species for my year list. Jay, Song Thrush, Dunnock, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Long-tailed Tit, were added. Walked up to the area where the Brambling were last time, no luck this time. However there was Yellowhammer, Mealy and Lesser Redpoll there, with Sparrowhawk drifting over on my way back. The usual suspects were on the feeder including Coal Tit, Marsh Tit and G.S.Woodpecker. A large flock of Gulls on the reservoir, one with what looked like a black patch around the eye, will have to look this one up. Possible Caspian Gull as well, am not amazing with Gulls but can usually work them out.

Plenty of Fieldfare in the orchid feeding on the fallen fruit.

Any ideas? Wasp or Bee? I didn't think they look like wasps. Thought
they look like Honey Bees, however not sure of the location for that.

Will get the new book that has come out to try and help with id.

3 birds were hankering down out of the weather.

So it's 94 for the year, not a massive start but I don't need to see everything straight away. It is interesting to see what species I have already seen this year that I didn't last year.

Have a new old camera which I will be trying out over the next few days, maybe when it has stopped raining. Maybe take it to the local park to see how it is getting on down there. Am now starting to get excited for my visit to Portugal at the beginning of March. Still need some information but it's getting closer.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Quick trip to Dungeness

Before I get to the Dungeness report, I went to my local park and saw Grey Wagtail there. I have seen this bird a few times recently so I am assuming it has territory there.
Also have been to Broadwater Warren where Stonechat and Buzzard were the best birds I saw.

Today (15th) I went for a 3 hour visit to Dungeness. A quick visit to the coast, viewing from the car. Gannet was flying along the coast and very clear in the light. A fair few Gulls including a Caspian, didn't go for the Glaucous due to time restrictions and I couldn't quite see it from the car.
The main place I wanted to visit was the RSPB reserve. Tree Sparrows were on the feeders at Boulderwall farm at the entrance. As I got to the car park Dartford Warbler appeared just near Dennis hide, saw this through the front windscreen and moved to get it through a side window and it disappeared. Didn't find it again. Long-eared Owl again was in its usual clump of trees, see below for my attempt at taking a photo.

Not the easiest bird to take but this proves what it was.

Goldeneye, Smew, Raven and loads of ducks were mainly seen. It was still windy and cold and no luck on any Pendulines but again didn't have lots of time.

Reed Bunting on the feeder

Sure I know what this is but not looked up yet. Flesh fly?

Thought I would give Denge marsh road a try on the way home, look for Great white, but no joy. As I was turning round though something caught my eye right at the back of the marsh. Bittern sitting on a branch, a long way off but if I scanned a little to the right I could see the hide so hope they could see it. Here's my attempt, given this is at full zoom.

That is a bittern, when I zoom it up on camera you can see the
head markings.

Brent Goose on the way home got my year total up to 82.

Have now booked my tickets to go to Faro, Portugal, March 1st - 5th. So now it is a case of getting some information of where to go and any locals that can help.

Also looks like we are going to India in December for a wedding so it is shaping up to be a good year.

Monday, 11 January 2016

New Year and things to be planned

The start of a New Year and for me the start of a new year list. I do keep a life list, but don't add much to it now a days. The year list is the one I enjoy the most, I always have a target but it is also keeping me up with my identification of even the commoner species.

The first few days of the year were not the best weather wise, did go to Broadwater Warren though on the 1st. Not many species but at least 12 Herring Gull flying over, which is a good number. A dog put up a small family of Woodlark briefly, they stick very close too the ground at this time of year. Also 2 Stonechat were popping up in various places on the heath.

The 7th saw a visit to Bough Beech reservoir. I have not seen Brambling for ages now and on this visit I meet a local who told me to walk up the road to a particular place. It worked well as there were 2 among a large flock of Chaffinch, horrible weather but decent views. Got a few other places I can try as well now. Male Pintail was a good patch bird, along with the usual Mandarin, Marsh Tit and Nuthatch it was a pretty decent visit.

Pheasant hanging around the feeders waiting for 
the stray food falling down.

The 8th saw a trip to Elmley and the Harty Ferry road. Male and Female Merlin along with White-fronted Goose on the reserve. Down the Harty ferry road at the raptor point a stunning Male Hen Harrier was seen twice, what a lovely bird. Big flock of Corn Bunting which I tried to photograph but it was nearly dusk at that point. Another Brambling briefly showed and loads of Red-legged Partridge were in the fields.

Always associate Lapwing with Elmley.

One of the flocks of Partridge.

A Kestrel that posed only a few feet away.

So 66 for the year so far, what I find interesting is when I see certain 
species in the year. Hoping maybe tomorrow to catch up with Great
grey Shrike but shall see.

Am also possibly going to Portugal in March so looking forward to that also.