About Two Owls

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