About Two Owls

Saturday 19 February 2022

New Year Birding

Sorry this blog is a little late this is mainly due to Jackie and I going off birding in Norfolk and we are only just catching up with all those jobs that we didn't complete before we left, but more about Norfolk in the February blog which will be coming soon.

Though a little belated Jackie and I would like to wish you all a Wildlife filled 2022 with lots of good birds.

Hopefully like us you have already seen a good few birds to start your year list off.  We are doing a 10km challenge for the year so we've been trying to see as many as we can of the wintering species now rather than risk not seeing them at the end of the year when they return from their breeding grounds. 

As usual Jackie and I joined Liz Woodford on January 1st to bird locally around Upton Country Park and Lytchett Bay.  As the Tundra Bean Geese were still around we decided they would be our first target species and we met Liz in the car park at Upton CP and went straight to the farm field and luckily for us they were still there.  Not for long and the park run started and a very loud motivator voice boomed out to encourage the runners and it unsettled the geese which lifted off and flew toward Creekmoor where they landed in the field by the round-a-bout. Anyway we had seen them so we carried on around the park checking off all the common woodland species and a walk  along the edge of the bay produced a good number of wildfowl. 

Tundra Bean Geese Upton CP © Nick Hull

After Upton we went back towards home to cast an eye over Lytchett Bay which added a few extra to our list and we finished at home for lunch with 56 species.

We couldn't get out again until the 3rd when we started at Hampreston Water Meadows for the lone Whooper Swan and had a successful start and also added a Great White Egret fly over. So no time lost we then moved on to Dorchester and looked for the Little Gulls at Maiden Castle which didn't seem to be present so moved to Charminster Water Meadows where we had more success which finding the 5 White-fronted Geese though distant gave good views.

From Charminster we headed for Chesil Cove our target Black Redstart.  We parked up and had a quick look around but couldn't see any sign so we had our lunch whilst keeping an eye open at the roofs and gardens.  I finished my luch before Jackie and said I'd look up along the sea wall and around the edge of the cove and beach.  I was looking out to sea and had an Iceland Gull amongst the feeding gulls out in the cove and turned back to the van to get Jackie as I approached the van I spotted something under the rear and quickly realised it was a female type Black Redstart.  As I got to the van it moved to Jackie's side of the van and up onto the cobble embankment giving us close views.  We then tried to find the Iceland Gull again out in the bay but couldn't find it.  So we headed to Lodmoor and hoped it would come in to bathe before going to roost.  we had been watching over Lodmoor for a while when all the gulls suddenly lifted off and started to circle up and drifting towards Weymouth Bay and I managed to pick up the Iceland Gull and get Jackie onto it before it flew off out over the bay and we headed for home.

Next day we popped down to Studland and had a look around South Haven we managed to add Sanderling to our 10km and harbour and year list along with the usual suspects that are usually around. Next day the 5th we met friends at Blashford Lakes and we added a Red Kite which soared over the car park to our year list.

Red Kite Blashford Lakes © Nick Hull

We popped to our daughter's at Wareham on the 12th and went home via Trigon stopping at Stroud Bridge in the hope we might pickup a Crossbill but found a Peregrine on a pylon instead. In the afternoon we popped to Arne for bird seed and had a quick walk around Shipstal adding Spoonbill on the point then went home via Hartland Moor and got lucky finding a Hen Harrier a nice bird to get at any time.

Towards the end of the mouth we visited Durlston CP to add Black Redstart to our 10km list plus Guillemot, Rock Pipit and Firecrest.

Male Black Redstart - Tilly Whim Durlston CP © Nick Hull

Then on the 16th we had a first for the garden which visited the feeding station for a few days a super little Lesser Redpoll. Then on the 18th we went out to the bay and waited for an hour or so for the Glossy Ibis which had been visiting the bay in the late afternoon before going off to roost somewhere in the harbour area. Shaun called us to say it had flown in and landed on the mud just off the old fisherman's bench, but unfortunately from our vantage point we couldn't see it as it was too close to the bank.  Eventually it wondered further out into the bay and moved into sight and we had distant scope views but good enough to add it to out patch, harbour and 10km lists.  In fact a few days later Paul Morton found it feeding in a field at Post Green Farm where I managed a poor distant memory photograph.

Glossy Ibis - Post Green Farm © Nick Hull

A morning visit to Blashford Lake to meet friends added a Brambling for the year on the 18th and on the 20th we added Purple Sandpiper in with the Sanderling roosting on the one of the groyne's at Sandbanks and  ended the mouth with another Lytchett Bay scarcity a single Golden Plover out in the bay.