About Two Owls

Friday 31 July 2015

Acres Down New Forest

This morning we met Adam and Avya at Acres Down for a few hours birding in the area, as it was mid-summer we weren't expecting a record day but we were optimistic of finding a few good birds.

As we walked up  the hill towards the raptor view point we checked off many on the common species Robin, Greenfinch, calling Bullfinch etc.  With an every ending blue sky it isn't alway good for raptors but we put in about an hour in the hope something would get up and be noticed.  Common Buzzard was our only bird of prey but we had good views of some very nice local species, Tree and Meadow Pipit, Redstart and Spotted Flycatchers and Stonechats, there was also Swallows hawking overhead most of the time we were there. We also saw flyby Stock Dove and Great Spotted Woodpecker, had good views and listened to the calls of Willow Warblers with their two syllable calls in preference to the Chiffchaffs single syllable 'wheet'.  
Common Buzzard © Nick Hulll
As little was happening with birds of prey we decided to to go and walk through the wood and see what other woodland species were out and about. As we walked back toward the parking area we saw Meadow Pipits and more Spotted Flycatchers another family party, more Willow Warblers, then Avya said "is that a Buzzard".   Getting my binoculars on to it I confirmed she was correct but what was even better it was being harassed by two Hobby who saw it off their territory and diving back down out of sight into the trees.
White Admiral © Nick Hull
Our walk around the wood didn't produce a great deal but what we had were good views of a family party of Goldcrest, several Coal, Blue and Great Tits and Siskins were heard and seen briefly as they flew over, Nuthatch and the usual Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Robins were also seen.  We heard a couple of Crossbills then a tantalising flyover and we tried looking for them but unfortunately they flew off again before we could locate them in the tree tops.  As we were heading back Adam noticed a butterfly he didn't know and Jackie took a look and it turned out to be a White Admiral a good find. We also saw several other common butterflies including a couple of very fresh Holly Blues.
Holly Blue © Nick Hull
We finished with some very good views of a Marsh Tit that performed excellently for us as it foraged for food in the low vegetation close to the side of the path.

Thursday 30 July 2015

Support - Hen Harrier Day

Get along to Arne and support Hen Harrier Day
It's a great cause you'll be help to save some of our most endangered birds

Sunday 26 July 2015

Colour Ringed Mediterranean Gull Results

In our last post I promised when the results were returned on the two colour ringed Mediterranean Gull we saw at Lodmoor I would post them here.

This first bird has been recorded a number of times but It's the first time it's been recorded in the UK.

Legend : 'v' controlled, ring read; 'c' trapped and released; 'x' found dead; '+' shot; 'b' breeding; 'r' roosting; '*'  ring found; 'p' picture taken.

CR Green 5S0 Left pullus Paris FS71198 12/06/2009 Conchil le Temple, Pas de Calais, FRANCE  50,22N 1,4E
ringed by team Cap Ornis Baguage
vv 19/07/2009 Boulogne-sur-Mer, Moulin Wibert, Pas-de-Calais, FRANCE  50,45N 1,36E Cavalier, François
vv 20/09/2009 Wimereux, Plage Nord, Pas-de-Calais, FRANCE  50,46N 1,37E Duponcheel, Camille
vv 19/08/2011 Wissant, Pas-de-Calais, FRANCE  50,54N 1,4E Laignel, Julien
vv 04/08/2012 Grandcamp-Maisy, Le Pont du Hâble, Calvados, FRANCE  49,23N 1,01W  Vimard, Gilbert
vv 17/08/2012 Le Portel, Pas-de-Calais, FRANCE  50,42N 1,34E Sauvage, Jean Michel
vv 23/07/2013 Le Portel, Pas-de-Calais, FRANCE  50,42N 1,34E Flamant, Renaud
vv 24/07/2013 Le Portel, Hub port, Pas-de-Calais, FRANCE  50,43N 1,35E Flamant, Renaud
vv 24/07/2013 Le Portel, Pas-de-Calais, FRANCE  50,42N 1,34E Flamant, Renaud
vv 25/07/2013 Le Portel, Hub port, Pas-de-Calais, FRANCE  50,43N 1,35E Flamant, Renaud
vv 20/08/2013 Wissant, Hameau de Strouame, Pas de Calais, FRANCE  50,54N 1,41E Steudtner, Jürgen
vv 20/08/2013 Le Portel, Pas-de-Calais, FRANCE  50,42N 1,34E Steudtner, Jürgen
vv 21/08/2013 Le Portel, Hub port, Pas-de-Calais, FRANCE  50,43N 1,35E Steudtner, Jürgen
vv 21/08/2013 Le Portel, Hub port, Pas-de-Calais, FRANCE  50,43N 1,35E Almuneau, Céline
vv 21/08/2013 Le Portel, Hub port, Pas-de-Calais, FRANCE  50,43N 1,35E Dumont, Philippe
vv 22/08/2013 Le Portel, Pas-de-Calais, FRANCE  50,42N 1,34E Van Huffelen, Henk J
vv 14/03/2014 La Flèche, la Monnerie, Sarthe, FRANCE  47,42N 0,02E Rayer, Fabrice
vv 16/03/2014 La Flèche, la Monnerie, Sarthe, FRANCE  47,42N 0,02E picture taken Duchenne, Bruno
vv 16/03/2014 La Flèche, la Monnerie, Sarthe, FRANCE  47,42N 0,02E picture taken Kerihuel, Christian
vv 23/05/2014 Beaugency, Loiret, FRANCE  47,47N 1,38E Branchereau, Stéphane
vv 06/06/2014 Montreuil-sur-Loir, La Bierrerie, Maine-et-Loire, FRANCE  47,35N 0,23E Rayer, Fabrice
vv 25/06/2014 Le Portel, Pas-de-Calais, FRANCE  50,42N 1,34E Sauvage, Jean Michel
p 11/08/2014 Wissant, Hameau de Strouame, Pas de Calais, FRANCE  50,54N 1,41E Steudtner, Jürgen
vv 18/07/2015 Lodmoor, Weymouth, Dorset, GB  50,38N 2,28W Hull, Nick

This second bird has only been recorded in the UK since being ringed in Belgium.

Summary of rings for individual: 36138
Colour Code of ring  Leg Ringing scheme Metal ring Age of bird Ringing date Ringing location Ringer
CR White  3JPL          right Bruxelles E923350 >3CY 17/05/2015 Total, Antwerpen, province of Antwerpen, BELGIUM 51,15N 4,19E Roothaert, Ludo nest 97,  white 3EPE and 3JPL paired
Sightings for individual: 36138
v White 3JPL 30/06/2015 Lodmoor, Weymouth, Dorset, GB  50,38N 2,28W Price, Neil
p White 3JPL 10/07/2015 Lodmoor, Weymouth, Dorset, GB  50,38N 2,28W Reese, Allan
vp White 3JPL 18/07/2015 Lodmoor, Weymouth, Dorset, GB  50,38N 2,28W Hull, Nick
Total number of sightings : 3

Sunday 19 July 2015

Portland & Lodmoor

Our Portland and Lodmoor trip is always popular, I think for two reasons we have birds and some other great wildlife and our trip yesterday was no different other than we had great weather too.

We started as usual with a sea watch at 'The Bill', it was pretty calm out to sea which isn't the best omen for sea watching and a lot of fishing boats were working off shore. The boats were attracting a few gulls mainly Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls but there were several Northern Fulmar shearing around and about. The odd Sandwich Tern was seen passing and we also record a single Whimbrel and a single male Common Scoter.  Further off shore there were many Gannets patrolling, which from recent work with geolocating devices fitted to Gannets from Alderney in the Channel Island, has proved they feed off the Dorset and Hampshire coast as well as along the Normandy coast. You can read more about this project here ow.ly/PeE92 In the Obs garden we also had a super view of an Emperor Dragonfly over the pond.
Northern Gannet © Nick Hull
After our sea watch we walked to the Bird Observatory where Martin kindly let us have a look through the moth trap where everyone was impressed by one or two of the more colourful species like the Garden Tiger.
Garden Tiger from our own trap © Nick Hull
Our return walk from the obs took us over to the West Cliff here we were looking for Lulworth Skipper to add to the many Small Skipper, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Small, Large and Marbled Whites we had already seen.  Well we had hardly walked out behind the Pulpit Pub when Jackie found this small skipper species perched up on a thistle where it  became the centre of attention and probably became the most photographed species of the day.
Lulworth Skipper - Portland Bill © Nick Hull
Our next location was Broadcroft Quarry, a DWT reserve, here we hoped to add to our butterfly list for the day and we were successful in adding  Ringlet, Common and Small Blue. We also found a family of Whitethroats and had three species of raptor, Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. There were a lot of Ivy Broomrape much of which had gone over but we did find a few plant still fresh looking. There was also several small stands of Pyramidal Orchid in various stages of bloom. As it was approaching lunch time and getting quite hot we decided to move on to Ferrybridge for lunch and refreshments.
Whitethroat - Broadcroft Quarry © Nick Hull
After we had lunch and were suitably refreshed we scanned over the beach where we found good numbers of Mediterranean Gulls a nice little flock of Dunlin and Ringed Plover and more distantly a gathering of Little Terns resting on the Chesil Bank.  There was also the odd Sandwich Tern over the Fleet to add to the mix.  Unfortunately washed up on the sand were two Jellyfish one of which looked very fresh, it turned out to be Barrow Jellyfish of which can often be found off the coast at this time of year.
Barrow Jellyfish - Ferrybridge © Nick Hull
We then gathered at Lodmoor where the emphasis was back to birds, other than the regular species you would expect to see here there was signs of autumn migration Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper and a summer plumaged Dunlin. Lots of Swift, Swallow and Martins overhead though they didn't seem to stay to long but drifted towards the south as they fed moving on to sunnier climes for the winter.  Also here was another large number of of loafing Mediterranean Gull and scanning through them we found a couple that had colour rings on which I've reported so hopefully some history will arrive in due course from the project team. We added Six-spot Burnet, Scarlet Tiger, Coma, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral and Black-tailed Slimmer to our day list of insects.
Wing stretching Common Sandpiper - Lodmoor © Nick Hull
Our day ended with a very happy group and we hope to see everyone again soon keep an eye out for our new programme which should be out shortly.

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Morden Bog, Wareham Forest

A very overcast and a little damp at times but a fairly quiet walk though we found some nice wildlife even if the birds were a little scarce on the ground.  Siskin were overhead on many occasions and we even managed a few quick views in one or two of the pines on our walk.  We also had Yellowhammer, Tree Pipit, Long-tailed and Coal Tits, Treecreeper, a few Great Spotted Woodpeckers plus heard and finally saw Green Woodpecker.  A large female Peregrine crossed our path and disappeared quickly from sight.  A pair of Kestrels were very vocal possibly a recently fledged young bird begging from the adult male but unfortunately flew off before we had a good view of it. 
Tree Pipit - Morden Bog © Nick Hull
Though it was quiet on the bird front we had a few butterflies and Odonata with Common Blue and Azure Blue damselflies and we had a female Keeled Skimmer.  It was the butterflies that performed well with Grayling, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Common Blue and Silver-studded Blue with day flying moths Lattice Heath, Cinnabar and a micro called Endotricha flammealis.  
Grayling - Morden Bog © Nick Hull
Silver-studded Blue - Morden Bog © Nick Hull
Endotricha flammealis - Morden Bog © Nick Hull
When we were viewing over the bog and the decoy pond looking for Hobby which didn't show we had a little treat with fly over Crossbill, a species that's been very hard to catch up with of late.  On our return route we had another Tree Pipit and we heard our third bird of prey probably a young recently fledged Buzzard which was calling from a patch of forestry some distance away. 

Also on our return one of the group found a feather and it reminded me that on our last walk here with another group we also found a feather and it was still in my pocket.  So I thought I had better id them as promised so here they are.
Kestrel, left & Tawny Owl right

Wednesday 1 July 2015

Wildlife around Woolsbarrow Fort

Our Two Owls Birding group this morning had a walk to Woolsbarrow Fort, an ancient hill fort in Wareham Forest.  It was a very hot day so this was a fairly short walk and plenty of wildlife to keep our interest.  In the car park Goldcrest, Robin, Chiffchaff and Blackcap sang and we hadn't walked far when we had our first butterfly with a fresh Ringlet, followed by Meadow Brown.

Ringlet © Jackie Hull
Some of the group had gone ahead to an open area and were watching two Hobby flying around and quite close but all too soon they climbed higher and away, perhaps over to Morden Bog.  In the ditch alongside were several dragonflies, particularly Broad-bodied Chaser with a male defending his territory while a female was egg laying, though he wasn't there when another female came in and real "dust-up" started between them!  An Emperor dragonfly flew past also a Large Red damselfly and a blue I could not id quick enough before that male Chaser saw them off.

We started seeing Silver-studded Blues and many newly emerged Small Skippers also Small Heath  and a single Green Hairstreak found by Chris.  A Buzzard flew over and then Chris spied a bird sat on the pylon, though all we could see through the telescope was a back view with the head obscured.  As we manoeuvred to a different position it flew off and very quickly out of sight.  Then a Stonechat popped up and we could hear Dartford Warbler but we never had a proper view of it.

A Green Woodpecker "yaffled" and then we a Raven "crooked", we found him on top of a pylon calling to another bird which flew over our heads also calling.   Along both sides of this ride we found several Bee Orchids, all very tall specimens looking most impressive.  As we approached the slope up to the hill fort we had a couple of day flying moths with a Brown Silver-line and a Silver Y.  However the latter was impaled on a gorse thorn, with a bit of effort we eventually freed it and it did fly away so hopefully no lasting damage done.  Around the hill fort were Linnets, the males looking quite splendid.  The view from the top was a little obscured by the heat haze but with a nice cooling breeze it was worth the walk up.
Bee Orchid © Jackie Hull
As we came down we heard the first Yellowhammers and one gave us great views as he sang on top of a small pine and a late Cuckoo called.   I didn't expect to see Small Blue butterflies today but was pleased to see a female and Chris had been watching a mating pair.  We finished in the car park with our first Gatekeeper butterfly of the year.