Thursday, 28 April 2016

Wood Warblers and more in the midlands

Last weekend decided to out out to the midland to try and photograph some of the warbler before the leafs made them too challenging. First stop was a little detour to Telford to see a lifer for me of the Iberian Chiff-chaff which showed well and was singing its distinguish call when I arrived and despite plenty of other Warbler especially the Willow Warbler singing its did't show again till a few hours after I had left.

Singing Iberian Chiff-chaff
Then headed to Clunton for a few Warbler which is a great woodland in the spring full of Willow Warbler and Wood Warblers with the Wood Warbler showing very well at times I do love their song, not the easiest bird to photograph but a good challenge.

Wood Warbler in song




Also in the woods plenty of other birds with Nuthatch and Goldcrest being very vocal and a lone singing Marsh Tit. At then end of the morning had lunch in a clearing by the car park when i had a nice singing Tree Pipit which allowed me reasonably close.

Tree Pipit
Then decided to head for a Hoopoe on route home which was taking a liking to a horse paddocks on the edge of Birmingham but allowed some goods views after a little wait as it was feeding in the late afternoon.

Hoopoe after landing

Feeding Hoopoe



Next to a horse gives you a ideal of its size


Final stop of the day was a brief stop at then end of the day to see a pair of Black-winged Stilts near Milton Keynes which had stopped at a disused gravel site and where seen mating which with climate change will might well seen alot more of these species in future years.

Black-winged Stilt at dusk

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Migrants and Tree Sparrows

On sunday had a nice walk around Hatfield Aerodrome first stop was the mound sadly no sign of any Wheatears but a few Linnets and Skylarks were singing and with the frost of the night before felt more like early march. Once the sun came out the birds were singing with a few Willow Warblers, Blackcaps and Chiff-Chaffs in song and Meadow Pipits seemed to be passing through in decent numbers. Headed to the back of the wood where I had a few Buzzard soaring a nice Stock Dove flew through and heard a Grasshopper Warbler reeling but for the life of me could't pin the bird down.

Skylark in the frosty field


Stock Dove in flight
Walked round back to the mound where I saw a few Reed Bunting and a Tree Pipit was heard and had a nice few of a flock of Goldfinch feeding on the thistles.

Feeding Goldfinch



Then headed to Tyttenhanger Gravel Pits sadly the main pits were really flooded so no waders has I did't have time to walk around the fishing lake but had a single Sand Martin over the pits and a Little Owl by Willow Farm. The second Tree Sparrow area seem to have more birds and nests this year only saw a pair last year this year at least 6 birds and a minimum of 2 nests where I saw some mating and bird collecting nesting material.

Watching Tree Sparrow
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Tree Sparrows mating
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Collecting material for the nest

Tree Sparrow in the nest

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Owls and more at Heartwood

This winter the short-eared owls have been performing very well with up four since in the middle of the winter which makes up for last winter when there were only seen just as it got dark. Lucky this year there were showing very well at times showing around lunchtimes as per usual there seem to show best for me around march when they get ready to fly back north.

Short-eared Owl on the post

Hunting Owl




Also around plenty of bird of prey with the kestrels have showing well at times as well as Red Kite, Buzzard, Pegerine and Hen Harrier all seen at times during the winter (though not all my me)

Kestrel closeup
Male Kestrel Posing on the post

On the post

Other birds of note were pair of stonechats which ranged around the site, flocks of finches and buntings with Linnet, Goldfinch, Corn and Reed bunting all seen regularly

Eye on the feast
Female stonechat

Corn Buntings
Corn Buntings before bed
Also at heartwood we get a few nice sunsets


Below the trees

On the treeline
Trees at dusk
Silhouetted tree

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Early spring day on the south coast

On sunday decided to head for the south coast hoping for a few migrants and an excuse to visit one of my favorite sites down this way, Keyhaven Marshes. Despite the early start and getting for around 7 seemed I missed a Hoopoe by minutes but plenty of Meadow Pipits and Linnets around in the scrub with few Chiff-Chaffs and Cettis Warbler in full song.

Linnet in the gorse


Out on the pools there were still a few winter ducks around a handful of Wigeon and bigger numbers of Teal, Pochard and Shoveler. Waders were in bigger number with Oystercatchers, Curlews and Redshanks but the star wader was the Black-tailed Godwits looking superb in the summer plumage even found a ringed one which I pusume is from iceland and a few Little egret were around as well.

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Black Tailed Godwit



Oystercatcher in flight

Little egret in flight
Then walked along the Seawall which was quite productive with a fine Long-tailed duck out on the sea with 3 Red-breasted Mergansers around and bonus of a Dartford Warbler which suddenly appeared in the gorse

Feeding Dartford Warbler


Walked back along the highway where a Beared Tit and Sedge Warbler where heard and a Kestrel was seen hunting while out on the field around the back some of the waders had moved around with big numbers of Curlews and Oystercatchers feeding out on the field.

After doing the lope walked along Pennington Marsh for a bit till i came to a nice pair of Spoonbill and Spotted Redshank feeding so spent quite a bit of time watching them feeding out on the marshes.

Feeding Young Spoonbill




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Feeding Spotted Redshank

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After a lunchstop at a new forest Raptor watchpoint where a bit of luck meant had a nice view of a Goshawk flying over my car as I was leaving stopped off at Thursley Common. Had a nice walk around the heath where I was amazed by the number of Stonechats seemed to be calling from most bushes. In between found a few Woodlarks which where harder to pin down and a fresh Wheatear in the Gorse before the rain started.