About Two Owls

Thursday 20 October 2016

Photo's from Normandy Marsh

Yesterday, 19th October, we wrote our blog on our group walk at Normandy Marsh, Lymington.  Andy has sent in a few of his photos taken on the walk.  All photographs © Andy Copplestone.

Above a record shot of the Osprey, intriguingly it seems to be trailing something which we didn't notice when we were watching it.

Another raptor with a splendid male Kestrel

This Little Egret kept to the creek and not at all camera shy

However this Meadow Pipit above was not so happy to be snapped, nor the Reed Bunting below.

Finally, a friendly Wren sitting out and enjoying the sunshine.

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Late summer migrants at Normandy Marshes

This morning our group were birding round Normandy Marsh, Lymington.  Walking along the path to look over 8 Acre Pond, a Grey Wagtail was seen on the edge of the pond, the usual Little Grebe and Mallard on the water.  Redshank and Little Egret in the creek and a Kestrel was very active hunting the fields near us, while a Wren cursed us from the hedge and two Swallows flew over.

Looking over Maiden Dock/Oxey Lake on the islands of seaweed were a good variety of waders including Lapwing, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and several Curlew that then took off and flew over to the fields.  Teal also seemed to be enjoying the islands, feeding and resting among the weed.  Then Nick noticed seven waders flying away which turned out to be Bar-tailed Godwits.  On the fields behind we had our first of many Stonechats of our walk, also at least four Reed Buntings.  Nick picked up three Golden Plover flying over which continued on.

Greenshank - Normandy Lagoon
Now looking over Normandy Lagoon with a few Black-tailed Godwit, Redshanks and more Teal.  We then found our first of at least seven Greenshanks and then Nick found two Spotted Redshank.  We then added Wigeon, Oystercatchers and a couple of Shelduck.  Then Chris said he had a bird of prey coming in behind us, we all looked round and to our surprise it was an Osprey, it flew round and headed back towards Pennington.  However about 15 minutes later it was back and actively hunting and hovering over the water looking for fish giving us even better views than before.  It was unsuccessful and eventually it disappeared off towards Lymington and beyond.

Back to the lagoon and looking back through the waders we had Dunlin with a single Grey Plover, though later on a few more flew off the outer marsh and away eastward.  A Green Woodpecker was found on the edge of the lagoon and Skylark were heard overhead.  A Cormorant stood next to a Great Black-backed Gull which seemed to make it seem quite diminutive!  Then two Kingfishers flew down the channel, round the back of us and back over the lagoon.  Looking out over the Solent were a few Brent Geese, Great Crested Grebe and a few Pintail.  Now we were at the end of the saltmarsh where Skylarks and Meadow Pipits were feeding, then Joe found a single Wheatear, another late migrant.  A little further on we came across a few Snipe before Nick called "Peregrine"!  We watched the Peregrine causing a little disturbance but it seemed uninterested and just went on its way.  As I watched it I spotted another raptor high up, a Buzzard soon joined by a second bird.   Moving on we came across a flock of about 60 Linnets, a juvenile bird sat and allowed us to admire it for quite a while.   

Walking through to Normandy Lane a Cetti's Warbler burst into song as we past, soon after we added our fifth bird of prey for the day with a Sparrowhawk.  Along the lane we added Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tits, Song Thrush and heard a brief call of Bullfinch.

View across Normandy Marsh © Jackie Hull

Friday 14 October 2016

Portland Bill & Weymouth birding

Sunday 9th October
While waiting to meet Helena, Anna and Steve at Portland Heights Hotel three Ring Ouzels flew low over the hotel, just the start of a great birding day. After a quick coffee and chat we were off to Portland Bill, checked what was around first then walked over to the Obs Quarry, where the Little Owl was already sat out. In the quarry itself were several Chiffchaffs as well as the usual Robin, Dunnock and Wren etc. Over the fields were a large flock of Linnets, a few Skylarks flew overhead while Swallows were swooping low over the crop.

Moving back to the road there was a small group of birders gathering round the Crown Estate Field where the ringing nets were. We were treated to a superb male Bearded Tit sitting up giving brilliant views, he came even closer to us, shame we didn’t have our cameras but amazing photos can be found on Portland Obs blog at http://portlandbirdobs.blogspot.co.uk/search. Moving up the top fields a Kestrel was constantly hunting over the fields, a couple of Ravens flew over and of course there were plenty of Meadow Pipits also Pied/White Wagtails. A few Stonechats were seen, probably migrating through as well. Our raptor tally went up with a Sparrowhawk dashing through and a soaring Buzzard. 
Bar-tailed Godwit  © Nick Hull
We moved on to Ferrybridge and a look over the Fleet Nature Reserve from the visitor centre, a few waders could be seen with Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwits, Sanderling and Dunlin. While the Mediterranean Gulls were by far the most numerous species to be seen, in with them were six Sandwich Terns. After lunch in the cafe we moved on Lodmoor RSPB nature reserve, but first stopping at the tennis courts for a look over Radipole lake. Wildfowl included Gadwall, Shoveler and Little Grebe, while the loud song of a Cetti’s Warbler was heard but remained unseen in the bush next to us.

At Lodmoor we walked along Southdown Avenue and immediately we saw an adult female Marsh Harrier quartering the reedbeds. A Stonechat popped up in front of us and a Little Grebe started Whinnying and watched a Little Egret fly over. In the pools were a good number of splendid drake Pochard. We were now near the end of the road and watched House Sparrows and Starlings in the hedges and flying into the gardens on to the feeders. We didn't wait long before a row of five starlings sat on the wires, the bird nearest to us was a juvenile Rose-coloured Starling giving us great close views and comparisons.

We drove round the other side of the reserve and found a few Teal, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin and Lapwing near the Tern islands, also a Wheatear on the bank. A Sparrowhawk flew across and we walked on further and came across a few more waders. Stopping to look at a Green Sandpiper and a Snipe, a Bar-tailed Godwit landed in front of us along with a single Curlew Sandpiper. Unfortunately a Lapwing saw then off, we followed them and found a few more waders plus Grey Heron and then finished our day with views of a Water Rail.

Portland Bill © Nick Hull