About Two Owls

Friday 29 November 2013

Friday 29th November 2013

There have been few good photographs of the Penduline Tit but Sean Foote has managed some pretty good video, though not in the best light condition but well worth a look at this super little bird feeding on a bullrush head. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWd9Z-WBxuQ&sns=em

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Wednesday 27th November 2013

Well what a nice find, Jackie though rather unwell took a group around Longham Lakes yesterday (26th) during their walk they came across a small bird in one of the reed beds which was thought to have been a Bearded Tit at first, but unfortunately it disappeared not to be seen again and Jackie only had a brief view. Jackie had doubts about the id it looked to small and short tailed to be a Reedling and after consulted a reference at home she realised and confirmed what she had thought that it was a first winter Penduline Tit.  We put the news out to the local birding community with the proviso that it was only a tentative identification.

Unfortunately Jackie was to unwell to go this morning, so off I went to try and confirm her sighting.  When I arrived there were very few people present but I ran into Chris Parnell who watches the patch regularly and he said he'd found it in the bullrushes by the pond at the south end of the south lake, and it was a Penduline Tit.  

When I arrived at the location Kevin Lane the County Recorder was already in situ and hadn't seen it.  So we started checking out all the stands of bullrush and as we were doing so Liz, Rick, Jackie and Kit Ellis arrived.  With so many eye's looking every movement was seen and investigated and after a little while Kevin called and said it just flew over his head and landed into the reeds in the corner of the pond and within seconds we were all on this super little bird and it gave good views as it flitting and fed from reed heads.

This is the only shot I managed to get

Sunday 24 November 2013

Sunday 24th November 2013

Spent the morning leading a group at Normandy Marsh, Lymington, a rather pleasant walk though nothing too much out of the ordinary, but then thats not what it's all about.  Though as we were waiting for our last member to arrive I noticed seven white swans flying pretty high going over south towards the Isle of Wight.  I can only put them down as being probably Whooper Swan as their structure wasn't right for Mute or Bewick's unfortunately they didn't stop and were soon out of view.  Well we couldn't stand and worry about what we may have missed.  So we headed off, first we stopped to look over the main channel towards Inchmary.   Here we found many of the common waterfowl one would expect in this saltmarsh habitat, Brent Goose, Shelduck, Teal, Wigeon, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Curlew and Redshank.  We hadn't gone far when Fran said "I've a Kingfisher" then "oh its gone" but it soon reappeared see distant photograph below.

Looking over Normandy lagoon there were much the same species either feeding or roosting.  We still managed to add a few more to the day list with Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Little Grebe and Tufted Duck.  We had twelve Skylark then a handful of Meadow Pipits lifted of the marsh and headed over us climbing alway towards the south.  We assumed these birds were migrants that had dropped in earlier in the morning and had just set off again after a feed and rest. Bob found a Sparrowhawk that posed long enough for us all to have excellent scope views, and our second raptor was found shortly after this time a female Kestrel came in and rested on a post. 

There was little out on the Solent other than a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers and a Great Crested Grebe, though there were lots of small sailing dingys which probably moved the seaduck further down the Solent. There was nothing new on Oxey Lake so we headed inland along the footpath to Normandy Lane where we usually find some winter thrushes but not today.  We had a large flock of Curlew with a few Black-tailed Godwit and a large Starling flock feeding in the back fields.  I managed to put my Audubon birdcall to good use bringing out a beautiful Goldcrest, to see who was making this high pitched squeak, giving excellent close views.  With a group of Dunnock a couple of Jays and we had now completed out circuit  

We might not have had anything scarce or rare but what we had was nice assortment of all the common wintering species and very good views of all and a super walk with good company. Thanks to all and hope to see you all soon. 

One of possibly 3 Kingfisher seen this morning

A few of the many grazing Wigeon on the marsh this morning

Friday 22 November 2013

Friday 22nd November 2013

It appears the autumn vis mig is now over, and as the winds this year never really blew from the right direction for the Poole Harbour area meant this was one of the poorest years for visual migration for many years.  On a brighter side the immature Surf Scoter can still be found in Brand's Bay along with up to three Great Northern Divers and a Black-throated Diver.  There is now twenty seven Spoonbill wintering and this morning fifteen were seen in Lytchett Bay but later after being disturbed joined twelve others in Holes Bay.  On Wednesday (20th) a Great White Egret was reported at Middlebere and over Wareham Moors this is a species we would like on our harbour list but keeps eluding us.

Shaun Robson managed today to get a photograph or two of a group of Eleven Spoonbill in Lytchett Bay before they were disturbed by Wildfowlers shooting duck.

Sunday 17 November 2013

Sunday 17th November 2013

Out this morning with the Sunday monthly group on Studland starting at South Haven then at Redhorn Quay finishing with a walk down to Greenlands Farm.

There was little out in Poole Bay mainly Cormorants and Shags though we did have eleven Sanderling fly out of the harbour and land on the beach. Viewing into the harbour we were put onto a diver by Steve Smith which turned out to be a Black-throated Diver.  A migrating flock of Goldfinch went over as did a single Grey Wagtail though the latter returned a little later and landed on the beach. Off Goathorn there was another diver this time a Great Northern also just to its left were four Black-necked Grebe.  Scanning the area with scopes we soon added Red-breasted Mergansers, Goldeneye, Little Egret, Dark-bellied Brents, Oystercatchers and Curlew. 

Moving on to Redhorn Quay and viewing over Brand's Bay towards Goathorn we quickly found the immature Surf Scoter.  Unfortunately just as I was getting my digiscoping kit out it decided to fly off  across to the South Deep just off Brownsea, which was a bit too far away for a few to see it in detail.  Shortly after Jackie called "Great Northern Diver, just there, just off the point" (photo below), it dived so I quickly moved with the camera in hand to the end of the point, took a low profile and waited for it to surface and managed a few reasonable shots. It was still present when we left so nobody in our group should miss id this species again.  Scanning the bay there were good numbers of waterfowl with Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Brent, Shelduck, Pintail, Wigeon, Teal. there was a scattering of waders too with Redshank, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit and a few Turnstone.  Liz found some Grey Plover and in with them, on a small spartina islet, were a few Dunlin and half dozen Knot.  We were just thinking of moving on when a chuckle from a Fieldfare was heard, looking up there was fifty-one flying over towards Greenlands where we headed off next.

Walking along the towards Greenland Farm we came across many of the usual common species Dunnock, Robin a mixed flock of feeding corvids, a small tit flock, Goldcrest or two calling and a couple of distant Buzzard.  A little ways further on Liz picked up a handfull of Fieldfare in the top of an Oak which promptly  flew off.  Though a little further on we had a Song Thrush then more Fieldfare, then a single Redwing put in an appearance.  On the fields there were good numbers of Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtails and a single Mistle Thrush.

Great Northern Diver - Brand's Bay Poole Harbour

Friday 15 November 2013

Wednesday 13th November 2013

Out at 07:00 this morning hoping for a little vismig, for the first three quarters of an hour it was just a case of recording the local birds. Then around 07:40 three flocks of Woodpigeon moved south toward Rockley and Purbeck I then spotted a flock moving west. Like on Sunday I stood on the bench to give me a better northerly view, and almost immediately saw another large flock moving west and others followed until it petered out around 08:30. Again as with Sunday they were passing in a line north of Upton over Limberlost heading towards Lytchett Minster there were flocks further north too far away to count.

Vis Mig
Woodpigeon - 3800+ (106 of which went going South) 
Stock Dove - 72 west
Starling - 45+ west
Song Thrush - 4 west
Fieldfare - 1 north
Redwing - 16 west
Siskin - 3 west
Chaffinch - 10 west
Skylark - 1 pos 2 heard going over.
thrush sp. 12 (prob Redwing)
Finch sp. 20 (prob Siskin)

Local Birds
Robin - 6
Blackbird - 5
Cetti's - 3
Water Rail - 5 calling.
Wigeon - 33
Teal - 91+
Black-tailed Godwit - 24
Raven - 2

Sunday 10 November 2013

a.m. Sunday 10th November 2013

Well this morning Jackie and I was out at 07:00hrs standing in the cold at Border Road just down the road.  As this area is the best on the patch for vis mig and this morning proved just that.  It started slow with the odd Chaffich, Goldfinch a Reed Bunting or two a Bullfinch a few Meadow Pipits a flock of Starlings and a few Woodpigeon moving over.  About 07:30 the Woodpigeon flocks started to get bigger from small flocks of 10-20 to flocks of 80-100 then Jackie said "oh well look at that" and looking north there was a flock of around 1000+ birds moving west.  For the next half and hour or so large flocks were moving over on a pretty broad front that was in our view from over Rockly Point to Limberlost flocks were moving west.  Our largest flock we estimated at around 2500-3000 the movement was almost continuous for that half hour.  It started to ease around 08:00hrs so we gave it another 15 minutes then went home for breakfast.

Sorry the photograph isn't very good digi shot but it should give you an idea of the flock sizes as they passed us.


Thursday 7 November 2013

Thursday 7th November 2013

Got the message that a Surf Scoter had been found by Paul Morton in Brands Bay, Studland, threw birding gear into the car and set off as quickly as speed limits and traffic allowed.  Zoomed past the viewpoint on the Studland road and saw Paul getting out his car, quick turnaround to have a word to make sure we were going to right spot.

We arrived at 11.30, perfect as we had a lunch date in Poole at 12.30, then just a walk down to meet Steve Smith and Graham Armstrong who were already watching the bird.  And what a bird, a great Poole Harbour tick for us, and though fairly distant in the scope on 60x we had very good views.   A Black-necked Grebe appeared just in front of it, then a Great Northern Diver not far behind it.  Soon after Nick picked up a Red-throated Diver flying towards the harbour entrance but it flew round and landed in Bramble Bush Bay.  Also a few Red-breasted Mergansers and Goldeneye, and bizarrely a pair of Great Crested Grebe displaying!

On the heath while walking to and from the viewpoint we had Dartford Warbler, Stonechats and Meadow Pipits but we had no time to stop and stare, we had to get that 12.10 ferry.

To a few photographs of this bird go to Steve Smiths blog:-

p.m. Saturday 2nd November 2013

After have a pretty successful morning and having nothing planned for the afternoon Jackie and I decided to head off after the juvenile Sabine's Gull that had been frequenting the area of Cogden Beach west of Abbotsbury.  Along with Jess, who decided to accompany us, we arrived at Cogden around 13.00hrs and walked down to the beach. We ran into James Phillips who kindly directed us to where we needed to be.  A few minutes later we joined a handful of birders trying to locate it as it had just flown off with some Black-headed Gulls over the sea.  It wasn't a long wait before it flew back over the recently cultivated field and excellent views were had of this pelagic gull. 

Local birder and photographer Peter Moore took some excellent photograph of this bird the one below being just a single example, for more shots of this gull go to Peter's own blog where you can see more excellent shots of this bird. http://petermooreblog.blogspot.co.uk/ 

Sabine's Gull- Cogden Beach © Peter Moore

a.m. Saturday 2nd November 2013

For our visit to Durlston Country Park we arrived at 7.10hrs with birds already passing over, by  07.30hrs everyone was assembled at the end of Long Meadow for an introduction to Vis Mig the birders shortened version of visual migration.  This is something that can be very addictive to many birders in the autumn and there are few places that do as well as Durlston on a good day when the weather condition are right.  Unfortunately though we had nice weather the wind direction wasn't perfect but for the beginner starting out it was ideal, it wasn't too manic with thousands of birds passing over.  In fact it turned out to be a finch morning and ended with a scarce warbler, a Yellow-browed Warbler.  Thanks to Jess who spoke to a friend of ours, Ian Lewis, who was ringing there that morning, he kindly waited an extra couple of minutes so everyone could have a view of this little eastern gem.

Yellow-browed Warbler - Durlston CP. © Nick Hull

For an hour and a half we listened and watched and counted the following:-
Goldfinch- 360
Meadow Pipit - 11
Pied Wagtail - 29
Redpoll - 4
Linnet - 85
Chaffinch - 88
Siskin - 75
Swallow - 6
Song Thrush - 2
Redwing - 1
Blackbird - 1
Starling - 11
Skylark - 1+
Greenfinch - 4
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1

Other plus grounded species
Common Buzzard
Sparrowhawk - 1+
Peregrine - 1 pair
Kestrel - 2
Green Woodpecker - 2
Yellow-browed Warbler - 1 in the hand
Goldcrest - several
Firecrest - 1 heard
Bullfinch - 3
Wren, Dunnock, Robin, House Sparrow, Blue & Great Tit.

Out to Sea
There was very little usual Black-headed, Herring Gulls, Great Black-back Gulls, a distant Kittiwake and a very distant Gannet, two Razorbills on the sea close inshore.