About Two Owls

Friday 8 March 2024

February produced a Lifer.

With all the wet weather birding seemed to have been reduced a little this month but we managed to get out to Arne on the 6th.  It was a damp miserable day and we didn't see an amazing number of birds but we had Spoonbill and a Marsh Harrier, Raven and a small flock of Siskin to brighten the morning.  

Next day we popped into Upton Country Park the day was a little better cloudy with sunny spells so there was some bird song making feel like spring was on the way with Song Thrush and Great Tit and Robin singing. We also was able to add one or two species to our 10km and harbour year list.

Because of the weather and home commitments we didn't get out again until the 11th which was a little twitch to Pennington in Hampshire it was another cloudy and overcast day with the occasional sunny spell. We arrive in the very small car park and I managed to find a space to get the van into and we headed out onto the old landfill toward the fishtail lagoon where our target bird was supposed to be.  We were half way there and there were three birders obviously looking at some thing just over the hedge and when asked they replied the Red-breasted Goose is just here.  I suppose it was around 30m away in accompany with Dark-bellied Brent Geese so we had good views.  

Red-breasted Goose -Pennington Hampshire © Nick Hull

Shortly after the Brent started to fly off and off went the Red-breasted Goose to and they all went out on to Pennington Marsh.

Red-breasted Goose flying by - Pennington Hampshire 

We were just walking back to the van when we met Brett Spencer and as we were catching up all the geese took flight again and were calling and you could hear the Red-breasted goose clearly with it's squeakier higher pitched call and it enabled us to locate it in flight amongst all the Brent.

Red-breasted Goose & Dark-bellied Brent in Flight Pennington © Nick Hull

Just in case you can't find it here is a crop of the above shot to help you pick it out as the flew into the camping field.

Red-breasted Goose & Dark-bellied Brent in Flight Pennington © Nick Hull

I managed to make an audio recording of the bird when it was in the camping field.

On the 17th Jackie and I decided to go on a twitch again down to the Somerset Levels this was for a bird we missed back in April 2022 the Baikal Teal had returned. Though I found it in a photograph which I took of all the wildfowl in flight we had never actually set eyes on it.  So this time we set out early and arrived around 09:30hrs just as the rain stopped.  Walking to the hide we had Bearded Tit calling a good start.

This shot is the one from April 2022 © Nick Hull

when we reached the hide I popped in and checked if the teal was around and on view Jackie walked on to the second, the open hide and had brief views but when I arrived a few minutes later I found it was obscured by a clump of rush.

This was my first view of the Baikal Teal this year, Jackie was in the hide before me and had it before it tucked itself up.
Baikal Teal - Greylake, Somerset Levels © Nick Hull

But eventually after an hour or two it moved and had a little walk around and I managed to get a reasonable shot at least you can see this stunning drake. 

Baikal Teal - Greylake, Somerset Levels © Nick Hull

We also had good views of a male Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, a couple of Great White Egret and squealing Water Rails,  plus the enormous numbers of duck was well worth the visit.

We went on to Ham Wall and had a coffee and a snack and as we got out of the van the heavens opened and the dry spell finished and the forecast told us it wasn't going to stop so we headed home for lunch. 

The rest of the month was birding between the rainy days and getting out when we could locally around the harbour. On the 20th we took a trip across to Brownsea.  We had a good visit with excellent views of several Red Squirrel running everywhere though the tide in the harbour was out so most of the waders were out in the harbour but there were a few Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Avocet around in the lagoon. We even managed a year tick whilst leaving one of the hides when we had a Firecrest moving through with a small tit flock and had one singing by the villa whilst having our lunch.

Our last highlight of the months birding was at Dorchester where we had views of a Yellow-browed Warbler at Louds Mill unfortunately no photograph.

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