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Thursday, February 28, 2013

28th February

Bushy Park

Common Teal: 9 birds again on the scrape

Common Snipe: 1 again on the scrape or nearby pools.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: the female was in the Canal Plantation, but know male.

Skylark: 2 pairs south of Upper Lodge Road.

Grey Wagtail: a pair on the scrape.

Redwing: 80 feeding alongside Chestnut Avenue.

Siskin: 50+ Canal Plantation.

Lesser Redpoll: a flock of 8 birds flew over.

Reed Bunting: a male was in reeds by the Longford River.

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Mandarins on the lake in the Canal Plantation, the little chap below was in nearby Alders.

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Great Spotted Woodpecker by Chestnut Avenue alongside the Redwings.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

27th February

Bushy Park

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The Scrape

Common Teal: 9 on the scrape, viewable from Dukes Head Passage.

Common Snipe: one on the scrape.

Redwing: at least 65 around the park.

Lesser Redpoll: 2 birds flew into the Woodland Garden.

Siskin: 50+ in the Canal Plantation.

Goldfinch: 28 feeding in the Brew House Fields.

Monday, February 25, 2013

25th February

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While undertaking some work on the Longford River near the Lady Elleanor Holles School I watched a flock of around 85 birds circling above the school for 4 minutes at 11.00am (not the birds in the photo). They may have been on the lookout for some tasty berries. I couldn’t see anything else to keep them circling for so long.

Regent’s Park:

Water Rail: the bird was in the feeding station at 9.20am.

Little Owl: one was calling from area 25 at 6.20am.

Waxwing: 18 were also seen over Queen Mary’s Gardens area 18 at 1.40pm.

Having been off work for a couple of days I had very little time to look for any birds today.

Teal: six were on the scrape viewable from Dukes Head Passage.

Fieldfare: 6 flew west.

Siskin: 8 flew west.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

20th February

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Don’t panic they haven’t returned but for those who do not know the sisters had travelled 20 miles to Amwell Nature Reserve by this morning. Since then they have moved a little further south and back to the RSPB’s Rye Mead Reserve.

Bushy Park

Skylark: 2 pairs in the Upper Lodge Road area.

Redwing: 110 in two flocks, one in the Canal Plantation and another by Chestnut Avenue.

Fieldfare: 4 were perched in trees near the Oval Plantation.

Siskin: 50+ in the Canal Plantation.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

19th February

Regent’s Park

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Unfortunately for the park and those that turned up to see the Bearded Tits today, they chose to make the most of the beautiful calm sunny day and depart. They were present in the same patch of reeds to start with but gradually became more flighty, moving between the reed beds at the north western end of the lake. They even headed off towards the reed beds in the Longbridge Sanctuary. The last sightings may have been around 9.00am?

Other news

Common Shelduck: 2 males were flying around this afternoon.

Water Rail: the regular bird was seen flying between area 1 & 2.

Siskin: four were feeding in trees by the Reddy Money Fountain, area 28.

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Bushy Park

Apart from love being in the air bird life was much the same as it has been recently.

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While this billing and nuzzling was going on who should land in the next tree.

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She eventually flew to the top of one of the pollarded Willows by the Upper Lodge Road and drummed for several minutes.

 

Monday, February 18, 2013

18th February

Regent’s Park

Late news yesterday afternoon that the 2 female Bearded Tits from Hyde Park had relocated to a patch of reeds just south of the Boat House was fantastic. It is a shame that it was to late to see them yesterday, I was just hoping that it wasn’t going to be a one day wonder. Dave said that he would check first thing, even though he was on leave. The call came at 7.30am, both birds were still present and showing well. All they had to do now was wait until I got home from work.

Black-headed Gull: over 900 were in the park. It is getting to one of the best times of the year for finding a Mediterranean Gull amongst them. It just needs a bit of time checking through them.

Song Thrush: 27 birds were singing around the park early morning.

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Though whole day was spent wondering if the Reedlings would hang on or do a flit to another unlikely patch of reeds. I did have a few birds to take my mind off the above.

Waxwing: 12-14 flew low over Dukes Head Passage at 8.55am. There has been a group in the area for a couple of weeks, though they are always on the move.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: the male was drumming from the centre of the Round Plantation at 8.10am.

Redwing: 30 were in the Canal Plantation.

Siskin: 50+ were still feeding in Alders on the southern boundary of the Canal Plantation. 

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No Lesser Sp Woodpecker in the Canal Plantation but these 2 were.

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Luck was on my side, the Bearded Tits were still present and still showy.

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Some sisterly love takes place deep in the reeds.

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This position looks a little dodgy should the stems move apart

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

17th February

Regent’s Park

I had hoped to be out in the park at 7.30am on a beautiful crisp sunny morning. Wrong the forecasters had got it wrong yet again. If the sun had risen at 6.30am I might have been in luck. When I had ventured out to collect the papers the skies above my lodge were clear, but south towards the Thames was an ominous bank of cloud. I hoped it as heading away from me, no such luck even though the weather vein on the zoo was pointing towards the south-west the cloud (low mist) was coming from the south. It soon obscured any glimpse of the sun, that eventually showed itself again at around 9.00am.

I was in the park by then, with camera in hand hoping the weather would be bright enough to use my x2 converter to good effect. I was heading for the area 9 via the rail ditch. Area 9 is a good place to stand during the early part of the day as the sun if shining is behind or to the left of you. You are then looking at a large piece of sky from the SW to the NE. A good direction to see any early moving Kites or Buzzards.

In general the birds seen are the species that you would expect to see at the moment.

 

Great crested Grebe: a pair were looking for a potential nest site by area 7.

Little Grebe: 2 birds were trilling.

Grey Heron: at least 18 birds holding nesting territories and possibly 6 others at locations they may want to try and build a nest. These however in my opinion look unsuitable, we will see who is the best judge.

Water Rail: one in area 2.

Great Black-backed Gull: a female on one of the pst in the lake.

Great Spotted Woodpecker; several males were chasing each other in areas 8 & 9, 30 & 31, 25 & 26.

Firecrest: a female loosely associating with a small party of Long-tailed Tits in the grounds of The Holme between 9.20am and 10.30am. She was just to quick for me to focus on.

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

15th February

I have been trying to plan organise a days birding to Norfolk for a while. It finally came down to do we go on Saturday or take a day off work which will mean less people around, making it more enjoyable. The forecaster were saying that Friday was looking good with sunny spell with white cloud. That made up my mind, Glen finally got the okay to go but Dave had something more appealing on his agenda. He was off to Shetland to see the Pine Grosbeak.

I picked Glen up at 5.00am and we were off, traffic was light and slow lorries few and far between. Our first stop was Choseley Barns, on the ridge just inland from Titchwell. Here we saw over 100 Yellow Hammers, 50 Corn Buntings and few Bramblings and Chaffinches. These were a bit flighty due to the lorries and their drivers that were waiting there to start work. It was then off down the hill to the reserve. Water levels here were quite high meaning no waders on the fresh marsh. There were however large numbers on the adjacent grazing meadows. These were large numbers of Golden Plovers, Lapwings and Curlews with a few Ruff mixed in. The water level being so high had attracted over 25 Goldeneye, more than I have ever seen here, normally they are on the sea. We carried on down to the coast as it was approaching high tide, a great time to see waders on the move. As we reached the end of the boardwalk we were treated to an amazing sight hundreds and hundreds of Knot, Sanderling and Turnstones feeding on a 10 metre wide by 24cm deep band of Razorshells. It was absolutely amazing, they looked like a swarm of Locusts as they worked there way along the shore. Unfortunately there was very little on the sea so we headed back for a Bacon Roll and a coffee. As we approached the Fen Trail a Barn Owl, which was the first of possible 9 birds we were to see that day flew over the path.

After a quick pitstop we headed east stopping first by the roadside just past Brancaster Staithe. There was already a few cars parked up with people scanning the distant marsh. After a while someone said “ I think I’ve got it, it is in the reeds by a post”. A few people looked through his scope but were unsure. I finally had a look, confirmed what he had thought and found it in my scope. It was a long way off and not doing an awful lot. The others there were having difficulty locating it, so I set there scopes up, even then it wasn’t until the bird decided to take off that everyone finally saw it. The bird, being so pale looked fantastic with the sun shining on it. It flew towards us a bit gained some height before banking and drifting away eastwards. Glen and I decided to get in the car in the hope of meeting it along the road. It could have been a good plan, but if you haven’t already worked out what our quarry was, the Rough-legged Buzzard had other ideas. We did encounter a Red Kite that was so low as it flew across the road may have been feeding on a nearby carcass.While here we scanned the nearby marsh as this is one of the places that I always stop and scan from. It was quiet apart from a stunning Barn Owl hunting at the end of the field and a distant flock of Common White-fronted Geese. Two Marsh Harriers were also quartering the distant grazing marsh.

Back in the car we headed off to Salthouse and the Snow Buntings. The birds didn’t disappoint and showed really well, they normall do. The Turnstones here are always a joy to watch, rather than the ones that run around the cars on the quay at Wells. Looking briefly on the sea, as there was little to make us want to stay, another highlight of the day flew past. Though it may not sound exciting to you when I say it was a flock of 18 Eiders. What made this such a highlight was the sun was out, the light was fantastic and the flock consisted of 17 adult drakes and 1 female. It would have only been better if they were slightly closer allowing me to attempt to get a good photo.

Right, back to the car, it was 1.00pm, what next? I headed back west past the Cley NNT visitor centre and up the road to the beach car park. I wasn’t sure why I chose this destination, but it turned out to be a good choice. In the field by the road was an ever increasing flock of over 4000 Brent Geese. They are always worth scanning through, though it is easier when there are slightly fewer. Our first odd one out was a leucistic bird, a bird that I had seen the past 2 winters. The next bird and also easy to see was a lone White-fronted Goose. We thought that is enough goose scanning got back in the car and headed up towards the car park to turn around. That is when I spotted the next odd one out, a Pale-bellied Brent Goose. So out of the car a few photos and back in the car. Hold on what was that? It was another leucistic bird and possibly one that was not related to the other bird. Well not the same years brother or sister as they were not associating with each other, being on opposites sided of the flock.

Car, coffee, cake and then off to Stiffkey and hopefully some harriers. It was slightly early being 2.15pm but I wasn’t sure where to go next. The light at first was good and within 20 minutes I had picked out distant 2 distant Marsh Harriers and a distant female and even more distant male Hen Harrier. The saltmarsh was quieter than usual with not much happening, that was until some distant waders took off indicating that a bird of prey was close. After some more scanning and almost the same time as Glen we picked up a female Merlin perched on a small bush. She stayed there until a small propeller engine plane spooked her. Constant scanning wasn’t yielding much, apart from a fairly reasonable fly past by 2 Marsh Harriers. Then with a flicker of sun light on the distant East Hills (a small pine copse at the outside edge of the saltmarsh) I picked up our 2nd Rough-legged Buzzard of the day. In the end we were getting cold and thought that we had done reasonably well and had seen over 90 species of bird without really trying it was time to go home.

Apart from 2 minor slow spots we were home by 6.50pm, slightly tired and in need of a good glass of wine.

Please excuse the quality of todays photos. I was trying out a x2 converter. It is only the 4th time that I have used it, having bought it a year ago.

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One of our highlights

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Knot feeding amongst the Razorshells. I couldn’t see anything to eat here.

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Brambling on the feeding station at Titchwell

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Barn Owl in almost the mid-day sun at Wells next-the Sea

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In coming Brent Geese

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The two different leucistic Brents

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