About Two Owls

Friday 24 February 2017

Deep Sounds from the Garden Pond

Sorry for having blogged of late but we have been away and both ended up with a nasty cold virus which we have now both recovered from so hopefully we can get back to normal.  So we will catchup on posts over the next few days hopefully, but for now a short blog from earlier in the week
Our small garden Pond
This last week it suddenly came to Jackie's notice that we had a couple of Frogs and a few Palmate Newts  in the pond.  Next day we had a little frog spawn and even more frogs, in fact our peek count was ten pairs.

Over the next few days all we could hear was a continuous deep croaking from the pond and every morning more spawn would appear.  Until today when there was only spawn and all the frogs seem to have gone.

Below is a sound recording of what we were hearing. Also you can hear Goldfinch sounds as they came and went from our feeding station.

Frog spawn and you can just make out a Palmate Newt having breakfast

Sunday 5 February 2017

Birding Poole Harbour

We had a great day with the group yesterday (4th February), starting at South Haven looking over Shell Bay.  As we walked through to the dunes Martin picked up a male Bullfinch that gave brief views and we checked off a few of the common woodland species.  Setting up our scopes and looking out over Shell Bay, at first glance there seemed to be little around.  Then I picked up single Black-necked Grebe quite close inshore and a adult Mediterranean Gull a little further up the beach.  Further offshore near to Pilots Point I found a Great Northern Diver.  Then a couple of Shag surfaced both showing their crests and looking ready for the breeding season.  A while later a black duck came into view we had good scope views of a very nice drake Common Scoter.  We also found Meadow Pipits a single Rock Pipit and a handful of Oystercatcher further up the beach. It just goes to show that what appeared at a glance to be an empty sea with a little persistence some nice birds were found.

We moved on to look over the inner harbour and Bramble Bush Bay, here we straightaway added Red-breasted Mergansers which were scattered all across the area in small groups, another Great Northern Diver was found in the South Deep off Brownsea as was another Black-necked Grebe.  Cormorants on Stoney Island had the company of a Grey Heron which somehow looked a little odd out in the middle of the harbour.  Still looking over the same area, though from the Boat houses a little further along the beach towards Redhorn Quay, we added another Great Northern Diver, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Redshank, Goldeneye distant Shelduck and Little Egrets.  Jackie then noticed a female Sparrowhawk towards North Haven harassed by a Carrion Crow, it didn't relent in its pursuit as it flew across us and out towards Studland Bay.

On to the look over Brand's Bay we added to our wader list with Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Curlew, Redshanks and Grey Plovers. There was plenty of wildfowl, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, fewer Mallard and Pintail and Brent Geese and a scattering of Great Crested Grebes.  From here we moved to Middle Beach where scanning the bay added numbers to species we had already seen with a further twelve Common Scoter, four Black-necked Grebe a couple of Mediterranean Gulls and our fourth Great Northern Diver.  The only species added was a single very distant Razorbill. Walking around the coastal path as we passed Fort Henry, Tony picked up two Ring-necked Parakeets which soon turned into four which gave the group great views as the fed and checked out nesting holes.
Ring-necked Parakeet © Nick Hull
It's amazing how time flies when your enjoying your birding and it was time to take a break for our packed lunch adding Raven and Buzzard before moving on to Norden.  Where we found at least a dozen Chiffchaff but no sign of the Siberian or the Firecrest, but Stock Dove and Grey Wagtail were added.  It was off to Hartland Moor and Middlebere, Hartland added Kestrel but there was no sign of the Great Grey Shrike so we walked to the Middlebere hide via Tim's Tump where we had more Brent, Little Grebe, Jay and our first Gadwall.  From the Middlebere hide the tide was pushing in and all the waders were moving into the roost front of the hide so many were hidden from view, but many were seen when they lifted off and stretched their wings or moved as the tide pushed them off.  here was good numbers of Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Lapwing, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Wigeon, Teal and Brent Geese.
Lapwing and Dunlin © Nick Hull
We ended the day with Dartford Warbler calling at dusk, two Spoonbill, three Marsh Harrier and three large flocks possibly a thousand birds in all of Starling heading towards Studland no doubt for the evening murmuration before going to roost.