Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Colour ringed Mediterranean Gull results

I promised to post here the history data when received of our sightings of the two colour-ringed Mediterranean Gull seen at Radipole Lake, on our Sunday (19th) Monthly walk. What is interesting is both birds originated from two different populations and both have turned up within a metre of each other.  It makes you wonder where all the many associating un-ringed Med gull had come from.

The history of these birds and their travels is very interesting.
Bird 1 is very well travelled and has been recorded once before at Radipole in 2013.
Bird 2 hasn't been seen quite so much but is only just starting out as it's a much younger bird.

Bird 1
Legend : 'v' controlled, ring read; 'c' trapped and released; 'x' found dead; '+' shot; 'b' breeding; 
 'r' roosting; '*'  ring found; 'p' picture taken
Green R44R Left pullus Paris  
FS72385  30/06/2009 Barbâtre, Polder de Sebastopol, Vendée, FRANCE  46,56N 2,09W
ringed by team Matthieu Vaslin and Cap Ornis Baguage

vv 05/05/2010 Réserve de Chanteloup, Marais d'Olonne, Vendée, FRANCE  46,33N 1,47W
vv 27/11/2010 Santa Cruz, La Coruña, SPAIN  43,21N 8,2W
vv 07/12/2010 Santa Cruz, La Coruña, SPAIN  43,21N 8,2W
vv 03/05/2011 Réserve de Chanteloup, Marais d'Olonne, Vendée, FRANCE  46,33N 1,47W
vv 04/05/2011 Réserve de Chanteloup, Marais d'Olonne, Vendée, FRANCE  46,33N 1,47W
vv 05/05/2011 Réserve de Chanteloup, Marais d'Olonne, Vendée, FRANCE  46,33N 1,47W
vv 06/05/2011 Réserve de Chanteloup, Marais d'Olonne, Vendée, FRANCE  46,33N 1,47W
vv 10/05/2011 Réserve de Chanteloup, Marais d'Olonne, Vendée, FRANCE  46,33N 1,47W
vv 11/05/2011 Réserve de Chanteloup, Marais d'Olonne, Vendée, FRANCE  46,33N 1,47W
vv 12/05/2011 Réserve de Chanteloup, Marais d'Olonne, Vendée, FRANCE  46,33N 1,47W
vv 17/07/2011 Fishguard Harbour, Pembrookshire, Dyfed, Wales, GB  52N 4,59W
vv 29/08/2011 Beauport, Paimpol, Côtes d'Armor, FRANCE  48,47N 3,04W
vv 14/04/2012 Titchfield Haven National Reserve, Fareham, Hampshire, GB  50,49N 1,14W
vv 15/01/2013 Ares Beach, Ares, Coruña, SPAIN  43,25N 8,15W picture taken
vv 22/04/2013 Barbâtre, Polder de Sebastopol, Vendée, FRANCE  46,56N 2,09W
vv 24/04/2013 Barbâtre, Polder de Sebastopol, Vendée, FRANCE  46,56N 2,09W
vv 24/04/2013 Barbâtre, Polder de Sebastopol, Vendée, FRANCE  46,56N 2,09W
vv 25/04/2013 Barbâtre, Polder de Sebastopol, Vendée, FRANCE  46,56N 2,09W
vv 22/10/2013 Radipole Lake, Weymouth, Dorset, GB  50,37N 2,28W
vv 27/02/2014 Playa San Lorenzo, Gijón, Asturias, SPAIN  43,32N 5,39W
vv 01/03/2014 Playa San Lorenzo, Gijón, Asturias, SPAIN  43,32N 5,39W picture taken
vv 02/03/2014 Playa San Lorenzo, Gijón, Asturias, SPAIN  43,32N 5,39W picture taken
vv 05/03/2014 Playa San Lorenzo, Gijón, Asturias, SPAIN  43,32N 5,39W picture taken
vv 07/03/2014 Playa San Lorenzo, Gijón, Asturias, SPAIN  43,32N 5,39W picture taken
vv 21/09/2014 Porthcawl, Rest Bay, Glamorgan, Wales, GB  51,29N 3,43W picture taken
p   27/02/2016 Ares Beach, Ares, Coruña, SPAIN  43,25N 8,15W
29/02/2016 Santa Cruz, La Coruña, SPAIN  43,21N 8,2W
vv 07/11/2016 Plage de Porsmilin, Locmaria-Plouzané, Finistere, FRANCE   48,22N 4,41W
vv 14/11/2016 Le Conquet, Ria, Finistère, FRANCE  48,22N 4,46W
23/12/2016 Santa Cruz de Oleiros, Ria A Coruña, SPAIN  43,21N 8,21W
p   05/01/2017 San Valentin, Fene, A Coruña, SPAIN  43,28N 8,1W
vv 19/03/2017 Hayling Oysterbeds, Langstone Harbour, Havant, Hampshire, GB  50,49N 0,59W
vv 28/03/2017 Hayling Oysterbeds, Langstone Harbour, Havant, Hampshire, GB  50,49N 0,59W

vv 19/11/2017 Radipole Lake, Weymouth, Dorset, GB  50,37N 2,28W

Bird 2
Metal ring                                                          5411776 
Current colour ring Former colour rings    Green ALER
Central                                                              Helgoland
Species                                                         Mediterranean Gull 
Age at ringing                                          1 Pullus: nestling or chick, unable to fly.
Sex                                                                    unknown
Ringing date                                                   22.06.2013
Ringing place                                                 Pionierinsel Lühe, Steinkirchen, Stade, Niedersachsen
 Latitude/Longitude                                     53° 34' 58'' N 9° 36' 8'' E
Ringer                                                             Team Hamburg
Type of recovery: v colour ring read, m metal ring read, p photographed, b breeding, n trapped on nest, c trapped and released, k colour ring worn, d found dead
 Recoveries
Date           Place                                                                      Country   Latitude / Longitude   Km  Days

v 13.07.2013 Grünendeich, Strand, Steinkirchen,Niedersachsen - Germany - 53° 34' 51'' N 9° 36' 26'' E  - 0  -   21    
p 15.07.2013 Grünendeich, Strand, Steinkirchen,Niedersachsen - Germany - 53° 34' 51'' N 9° 36' 26'' E  - 0  -   23
p 15.07.2013 Grünendeich, Strand, Steinkirchen,Niedersachsen - Germany - 53° 34' 51'' N 9° 36' 26'' E  - 0  -   23
v 09.07.2015 Minsmere RSPB Reservate, Suffolk                             - England   - 52° 14' 0'' N 1° 37' 0'' E      - 556 - 747
v 07.09.2015 Corton, ploughed field. Suffolk                               - England   - 52° 31' 0'' N 1° 43' 0'' E      - 540 -  807
v 19.11.2017 Radipole Lake, Weymouth, Dorset                             - England   - 50° 37' 18'' N 2° 27' 46'' W - 887 - 1611

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

RSPB Radipole Lake visit

First, just to let everyone know Jackie came out of hospital yesterday (Sunday) evening and now is at home convalescing.  Jackie would like to just thank everyone who has sent cards and all the get well's and good wishes that she has received over the last week as it kept her positive and in good spirits. So thank you all.

With Jackie in hospital I led the Sunday monthly, group around RSPB Radipole Lake a location we haven't visited for some time.  It was overcast and cool after the early morning frost but promised to be a bright sunny day which it certainly turned out to be.  

We started searching through the gulls and waterfowl from the visitor centre in case the previous days Ring-billed Gull had returned, which it hadn't.  But there was plenty to see with lots of Mediterranean Gulls, Herring, Black-headed, Common, Great Black-backed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls with a small flock of Black-tailed Godwit, Teal, Mallard, Tufted Duck and Gadwall not a bad start.  Just as we were about to move on all the gulls lifted off when a Sparrowhawk went whizzing through.  We walked the main path to the first viewing platform hearing our first Bearded Tit, little was seen from this location other than a female Brown Rat that we watched scurry along the path and under the platform, which we were informed by Fran that it was a female for obvious reason.

Brown Rat - Radipole Lake © Nick Hull
Continuing on around to the buddleia loop where we checked off some of the more common species including a Great Spotted Woodpecker ,which we first heard calling off the reserve, but it then flew in and perched right above us give excellent views.

Great Spotted Woodpecker - Radipole Lake © Nick Hull
From the buddleia view point looking out over the north of the reserve we had our first views of Marsh Harrier with a stunning male quartering the northern area of the reserve. We added a couple more waterfowl with Shelduck and Pochard also several Water Rail were actively squealing around the reedbeds.  A little further on we added Buzzard and we saw a female Bearded Tit briefly in bushes to the left of the path. 

Female Bearded Tit - Radipole Lake © Nick Hull
Shortly after on reaching the concrete bridge we noticed a male bird on the top of some Reedmace looking stunning in the sunlight.
Male Bearded Tit taking flight © Nick Hull
From the North screen we had better views of the male Marsh Harrier and a little later picked up a female both disappeared into the reedbed. Close views of Little Egret and Grey Heron but it was even closer views of Bearded Tit and Kingfisher that stole the day here.  Eventually we had to leave and whilst walking back over the concrete bridge what surfaced beside the bridge but the male Hooded Merganser, which has been around for a number of years considered an escape species but it is certainly a stunning duck.

Drake Hooded Merganser - Radipole Lake © Nick Hull 
On our walk back we saw more of what had been already seen and we concluded with forty seven species in our two and a half hours on the reserve.  The views of Bearded Tit and Kingfisher fishing certainly topped the day.  The two Mediterranean Gull which were colour ringed I've sent off the information and await the bird history if any and will post results here later.  Thanks to everyone for a very nice morning's birding.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

October Rarities and Visual Migration

Two Owls has been busy over the last month one way and another and it has been a good month for us with a little local rarity chasing and with our groups out and about.

We had visits to  Normandy Marsh, Lymington, Pennington, Lytchett Bay and Middlebere where we were able to get to grips with the identification of all the returning waders and waterfowl now moving back for the winter.  Though its nice to see good numbers of the usual species it's always good to see those we do not.  At Normandy Marsh we had close views of Golden Plover, Greenshanks and our first returning Dark-bellied Brent Geese also Peregrine.  The visit to Pennington gave us sightings of Spoonbill and fantastic views of Bearded Tits.  Then a walk around our local patch again produced good views of Bearded Tit, also of Marsh Harrier. Then yesterday on our walk at Middlebere we saw our first Redwings of the autumn, Lesser Redpolls, Bullfinch, over ten Dartford Warblers and in excess of three hundred Avocet.

On our Two Owls Cornish break, which coincided with the tail of hurricane Ophelia which had a dramatic effect on the birds reducing the number that we should have seen.  Though we did have a few highlights with close views of Turtle Dove, Spoonbill, Firecrests, and the star bird was a Greater Short-toed Lark near the Chapel at Sennen which performed extremely well giving wonderful views.

Short-toed Lark - near Sennen Cornwall internet photograph
We also had a really good selection of autumn Butterflies with Wall Brown, Painted Lady, and Hummingbird Hawk-moth being the highlights.

Returning to Dorset Jackie and I headed to St Adhelm's head, to be precise the stone quarry halfway to the head, where we joined a number of birders patiently awaiting views of a Two-barred Warbler (renamed as it used to be Two-barred Greenish Warbler).  After a wait we had tantalising views of this phylloscopus warbler and eventually we had some excellent views, unfortunately my photographs were not as good as I would have liked.

Two-barred (Greeninsh) Warbler - St Aldhelm's Head © Nick Hull
Then we had a visit to Longham Lakes where a Lesser Scaup had been found on the north lake.  By the time we arrived in the afternoon it had moved to the south lake and was more distant feeding with Tufted Duck.  It stayed for a few days then moved to Blashford Lakes giving Hampshire its first record of this American species.


More recently there has been a large irruption of Hawfinch from the continent into Britain and they seemed to be moving along with the winter thrushes so I've had the Lytchett Night time listening station up and running as much as I could.  Plus Jackie and I have met up with Shaun and Ian doing Visual migration watches at Lytchett Viewpoint off Border Road.  Though this site isn't the best place in the Poole harbour area its on our home patch, Jackie and I started on the morning of the 26th October.  In the first hour we had Jackdaw, Starlings a small group of Redwing and Song Thrush and a few high flying Wood Pigeon all moving west.  It was then that I saw a small group of five Starling coming toward us from the east as they were almost level with us the rear bird was obviously not a starling and was moving slightly slower.  I quickly realised it was a Hawfinch and called it to Jackie and fortunately she got onto it quickly and we watched it fly past and on towards the west, possibly flying over our garden but we will never know.  Though Hawfinch isn't considered a real rarity it was the first record for the Lytchett Patch and it felt like we had seen a mega rarity and one that may not be repeated for some years.
Hawfinch flypast
On the morning of the 28th October we were joined by Ian but only after we had just had a Brambling fly over us going West.  But there was more pigeon movement going on so we changed our position to be able to view to our north, which turned out was a good one as we started seeing large flock moving west, north of Upton and smaller flocks right over us. By the time the numbers died out we had recorded 2664+ Woodpigeon, 67 Jackdaw and 86 Starling and smaller numbers of winter thrushes and finches.

This is the single call of the Brambling that attracted our attention as it passed overhead.


The 30th saw Ian, Shaun and myself at the viewpoint again hoping for another Woodpigeon movement, I arrived a little later than I wanted but I'd missed little and in fact by the time Ian arrived things had just began moving.  Between 07:15hrs and 09:00hrs we recorded 3965+ Woodpigeon and 361 Starlings better than previous days but not a record number.  We think the weather was too good as there was very still condition and usually when we have recorded large passage it has been much windier.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Lytchett Bay

Our group meeting on Sunday (8th October) had a perfect day, a little cool to start but windless, dry and sunny. As Lytchett Bay is our home patch it's always nice to share it with others the only thing is you always worry that it's not going to live up to expectations.  We walked through the wood out to the bay the tide was low but rising slowly. As we reached the shore a few close waders moved off landing again further out in the bay. We started scanning with binoculars and scopes picking up Wigeon, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Mallard and Teal but for scanning the whole bay I was distracted by a pinging sound to my right in the reedbed.


Yes, Bearded Tits at least six individuals were flitting about in the reeds only giving brief views as they moved around.  We were still watching and hoping the Reedlings would sit up on the reeds when I then picked up a Marsh Harrier quartering at the Slough Lane end of the reedbed.  As this bird hunted over the reeds it became obvious this was a young second year male, he disturbed a few birds including a Snipe that towered up and flew high over our heads. After we went back to scanning the bay and Bob found a single Spoonbill feeding at the far side and a Kingfisher flew across. We heard the slightly eerie bellow from a Sika Stag and he was found out to our right looking rather smart.

We retraced our footsteps back to the road and walked around to the Lytchett Bay View near Border Drive, en-route checking off several garden and woodland species.  From the raised viewpoint we could see a small group of duck mainly Wigeon, Mallard and Teal then we heard the squealing call of a couple of Water Rail.  We also had good views of a flight of Black-tailed Godwit and a large skein of Canada Geese passed over.  We also had more Bearded Tit and the Marsh Harrier again though gave us closer views this time.  As we started to move on Jackie called Skylark and looking skyward there were seven birds flying over towards northwards, we had a second group going the same direction shortly after when we were looking around Chad Copse.  We continued our walk along the shoreline to Turlin Moor leaving ten Collared Dove and a couple of Greenfinch and Chiffchaff in the copse.  The shoreline produce Blue Tit and Wren, Reed Bunting and out in the bay we added Oystercatcher and five Greenshank roosting with Redshank, several Little Egret, Grey Heron and a flock of Goldfinch.  A single Stonechat is unusual here but by the time we had reached the Turlin birding screen we had seen six, obviously migrants moving through.

Our return to the cars enabled us to see much of what we already had though we added Goldcrest and a few more Chiffchaff, House Sparrows, Starlings and distant a Buzzard.  We recorded 54 species in what is relatively a small area.

One or two of the group requested if we could direct them to RSPB Lytchett Fields so I led them to the west of the bay and with the tide in there was a good number of wildfowl and waders on the fields.  We added Ruff, Dunlin, Pied Wagtails and the Spoonbill was now a little closer and we could see it was a immature as it was showing black tips on the primaries. There was about five Ruff two of which came into the pools right in front of us and gave stunning views, unfortunately the Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint that was there earlier couldn't be found. Probably roosting in amongst the Redshank and Dunlin and hidden from our view.

We ended the morning saving a Pale Tussock caterpillar that was crossing the road who could let such a stunning caterpillar get squashed by a car.
Internet photograph
Next Morning
Jackie and I were invited to drop by the Stour Ringing Groups ringing session at Lytchett Heath early next morning.  I woke at 06.45hrs breakfasted and Jackie decided to be lazy and lay in so off I went.  All I had to do was drive half a mile, it was dry when I left home, after getting out of the car and starting to walk to the ringing station there was a dampness in the air.  By the time I met Shaun, Ian and the others it was "mizzle".  They had just finished the second net round and had bags of birds, umbrella's were fetched to shelter the birds in the bags and the ringing table and recording book and the net furled.  The rain didn't last long but we all got a bit wet except the birds which was good.  The first bird to be ringed was a Reed Bunting, an immature female age unknown or in ringing terms a 2.  The next was a delight to see up close a female Bearded Tit, then a male.

Male Bearded Tit - Lytchett Bay © Nick Hull
Other birds caught were Reed Warbler, Robin, Chiffchaff, and Blue Tit but before I arrived they had the patch first Redwing of the autumn, a single Cetti's Warbler but double figures of Reed Bunting and Bearded Tits showing that there was some post breeding dispersal going on.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Lytchett Bay Night-time Sounds

As some of you already know I do a little night-time recording when the weather is conducive, but living in a semi urban location it's hard to get good clear recordings as there is usually something that spoils it.  Emergency vehicle sirens, helicopters, plane and trains are usually the main culprits but people walking by shouting, dogs barking etc also spoil many a recording.  Very occasionally everything comes together and I get a pretty good recording which is loud enough to upload here which doesn't require wearing headsets to listen to them.

The following two sounds were selected from nine hours of recordings taken on the night of 17th - 18th September 2017.

Tawny Owl Sonogram
The above sonogram is just a small part of the recording below, it shows the three calls that start at 36  to 45 seconds which ends with the two hoots.



I recorded the first bellows from the Sika Stags on the 25th August but they were all too far away but on the night of 17/18 September I recorded this Stag which must have been close to our the home.  At this time of year when the rut is taking place we can hear them from the garden all around the bay.  Most of the Stags will bellow three times then stop then bellow another three times then stop I presume this is to listen for other stags that may be nearby.

Sika Stag Sonogram

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Keyhaven Wader ID Walk

We met at Keyhaven on a three quarter tide and as soon as we got out of our cars we had seven Bearded Tits flying into the reedbed next to the parking area, not waders but what a start!  We took the shoreline path and immediately started with a number of Black-tailed Godwits, mostly adult birds but we managed to find a couple of youngsters to compare plumages.  Here we also had Turnstone, Dunlin and Grey Plovers followed by Curlew and Redshank.  Moving on round we came across a number of birders looking into a marshy field and found out that the Wryneck from the previous day had been seen.  We gave it some time but it didn't show so we moved on to look for the Grey Phalarope on Keyhaven lagoon, though we hadn't gone far when Martin drew our attention to a Peregrine sitting on a post out in the saltmarsh on the seaward side.

Scanning Keyhaven Lagoon we added eight Pintail looking like they were freshly arrived and a flight of eight Wigeon flew over to the west.  We were just viewing the Grey Phalarope at the far end of the lagoon before moving for closer views when another birder mentioned to us that the Wryneck was now showing.  We turned on our toes and headed quickly back to look for this small woodpecker species.  Very kindly one of the birders helped me to place my scope on the right spot so I could do the same for the rest of the group.  It took a few minutes for it to show and then it popped up right on top of a small mound giving good views though a little distant, then it flew a short way and disappeared out of sight again. It was nice to get a life tick for a number of the group so everything else was going to be a bonus.

Shortly after we were stood at the end of Keyhaven lagoon looking to see where the Grey Phalarope had gone, it was nowhere to be seen.  I stepped as close to the drainage ditch as possible to look down the edge and it just popped up and flew directly towards us banking at the last minute and plopped down on the water just a few metres in front of us giving great views.

Grey Phalarope sequence shot as it passed us and landed on the water © Nick Hull
Well, Jackie and I knew we weren't going to top that but the rest of the walk produced all the usual species we would usually expect to see and we added a couple of Spoonbill which were feeding on Fishtail lagoon.
Spoonbill - Fishtail Lagoon - Keyhaven © Nick Hull
We walked out to the point to see if there was anything out on the Solent and this gave us the opportunity to look at a number of Grey Plover that still retained most of their summer plumage.  We had a few more Dunlin and Oystercatchers. We ended the day with 64 species and hopefully the group has a better idea of ageing waders.
Grey Phalarope - Keyhaven Lagoon © Nick Hull
I promised a couple of the group a link to the ageing of Grey Plover, and one to show waders that migrate via the Yellow Sea that shows what an important area it is for so many wader species or as they say on the video Shorebirds.



Monday, 25 September 2017

You should never think it's all over, particularly in birding

After seeing Least, Stilt and Buff-breasted Sandpiper in just a few days it never struck us that the next week was going to be nearly the same.  

We had a walk at Lodmoor on the 20th where we hoped the two American sandpipers would stick around but unfortunately they didn't, but the day was good and we had a good selection of birds none-the-less.  Not long after starting our walk we had two Cattle Egrets flying across the back of the reserve and going into the distant reed bed, a good start.  Jackie found a couple of teal sized ducks with a distinctive supercilium I managed a brief look at one of them before they disappeared from view, to quick for most of the group, we both thought Garganey but they didn't show again for us.  Later three were found by another birder which confirmed our thoughts.  On the marsh at the bottom of Beachdown Drive we had our first Yellow Wagtail along with a number of Pieds. A little further on at one of the viewpoints I picked out, among a few Dunlin, a Curlew Sandpiper then one of the group picked out a Common Sandpiper and from the viewing shelter we added two more.  Here we also had an adult and juvenile Sandwich Tern, then eight more Yellow Wagtails flew in showing the variations of plumages of juveniles and adult.  

From the Hump side of the reserve we scanned through the small flock of Dunlin and found a second Curlew Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Lapwing, a Sparrowhawk flew in and disappeared into the rush at the far side of the scrape. We were just walking on when Joe called Marsh Harrier and over the middle of the reserve was a immature male quartering the marsh.
Curlew Sandpiper - from Two Owls Archive
After finishing our walk we found out that the Baird's Sandpiper was still at Lynch Cove and a few of the group were keen to see it.  So we headed off across the town and around fifteen minutes later saw us standing beside the Fleet scanning through a flock of Dunlin and Ringed Plover.  I quickly picked up a small long winged stint-like wader a smart juvenile plumaged Baird's Sandpiper a perfect end to a mornings birding.

The next day (21st) I took a bit of a lay-in and was just finishing breakfast when Shaun rang and said "Hi Nick, Shaun Stilt Sand on Lytchett Fields" it took me a few seconds and for Shaun to repeat what he said for me to take it in, I quickly replied "ok see you in a minute".  All thought of finishing breakfast had gone Jackie and I grabbed Bins, Scope and Camera and in to the car.  A short drive and a quick walk found us standing in the drizzle trying to locate the sandpiper at the bottom of the field.  We had several views none were brilliant when it suddenly took flight and headed towards us, the four of us  there were locked on to it as if it was a guided missile.  Nearly to us it banked left circled and then our prayers answered it landed about thirty metres from us.  I threw caution to the wind and pulled out the camera into the rain and took a dozen or so confirmation shots not really expecting them to be prize winning and not caring too much.  Jackie and I watched it until we were uncomfortably wet and headed home to dry out by which time a number of fellow patch and Poole Harbour birders had arrived to see it.
Stilt Sandpiper - Lytchett Fields © Nick Hull
That morning we also had two Curlew Sandpiper, two Little Stint, three Ruff plus all the usual common waders. Next day it wasn't seen but was refound at Middlebere on 24th.

The day did get even better when we heard that the Grey Phalarope on Arne Moors had been joined by a Red-necked Phalarope.  Of course an opportunity we could not miss of seeing both species together and in Poole Harbour.  Arrangements had been made with boat yard for access so easy parking and a short walk found us with lots of fellow Poole birders watching these two small and very attractive arctic breeding species. It's uncommon to see both together and the Red-necked was quite obviously smaller.
Red-necked & Grey Phalaropes - Arne Moors © Ian Ballam