Sunday, 30 March 2008

Green Woodpeckers, Fleet Head, Wakering

Matt and I headed out to Fleet Head this morning with the hope of seeing a Merlin or Hen Harrier and, as always, failed. But we did run into these Green Woodpeckers displaying to each other. We certainly hadn't seen anything like it before and first presumed them to be a pair courting. Further inspection, however, revealed they were both males. We could only guess that they were highly charged enough to display to anyhting or that this is what happens when yodelling doesn't decide a territory.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Two Tree Island Lagoon

left to right: Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Avocet, Teal

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Tawny Owlet, Kensington Gardens

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Bullfinch Pair, Newport Sands

Here's a pair of Bullfinches that were feeding along the estuary at Newport Sands, Dyfed this afternoon. They showed beautifully for twenty minutes and down to a couple of meters.
I also had my first otter sighting along this same stretch of water a couple of days ago at what has been my favourite holiday patch. Shame we have to leave tomorrow.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Strumble Head

My hope of setting foot on one of Pembrokeshire's famous bird islands was blown away by a 35mph northerly this morning. So, with our trip to Ramsey Island called off by the captain I dropped Tamara in Cardigan and marched up Cemaes Head from Poppit Sands. The wind was so strong I couldn't hold my goggles steady and had to call it a day.

After hours of house-bound boredom and the invention of the Ultimate Raven Feederâ„¢ (surprisingly didn't work) I finally took inspiration, as I have for the whole trip, from Pembrokeshire Birds and headed to Strumble Head for some sea-watching.

With the sun setting, a deafening six-foot swell crashing against the rocks below and a storm rolling in over St.George's Channel it made for a pretty dramatic place to be. Adding to the sense of occasion were my first British Gannets (two stunning adults) and my first Manx Shearwater whose wings didn't beat once in the strong breeze unlike the constant stream of Guillemots and Razorbills who occasionally stopped to feed.

With the storm upon me I made for the car and despite vertical sleet lashing my head and a genuine struggle to open the driver's door against the winds you couldn't have wiped the stupid grin off my face.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Great Grey Shrike, Ty Rhyg

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Rose-coloured Starling, Haverfordwest

On my way back from Marloes I dropped in on the Rose-coloured Starling that's been hanging around behind a small terrace in Haverfordwest. Here's a couple of dodgy record shots.

Marloes Mere & Deer Park, Pembrokeshire

It's day two of our trip to the Pembrokeshire coast and this morning, armed with the promise of ticking a Black Duck, I took myself to Marloes Mere and Deer Park. Here's what I managed to photograph along the way.

Black Duck, Marloes
Black Duck

Eight Chough in all

This Snow Goose on Skomer Island (taken from Deer Park) turned out to be an escape


Other birds included my first Razorbills (6), a Guillemot and a handfull of Ravens.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Dinas Head, Pembrokeshire

Here's a few shots I took at Dinas Head on the first morning of our trip to Pembrokeshire. Others birds of note that aren't pictured here were my first Ravens (four), three Skylark, two singing Chiffchaff and four Buzzard.

Black Redstart

Peregrine, one of two seen

My first Shag!

Rock Pipit, first seen during song flight

Stonechat, common here

Wheatear, spring arrivals included a group fall of seven birds feeding together and nine birds in all

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Stonechat, Hyde Park

I found this female Stonechat over near the Hyde Park tennis courts (Pavillion Gardens) this afternoon. That completes my stonechat set for the park with a male last autumn too.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Tawny Owl, Kensington Gardens (again)

Tawny Owl Kensington Gardens
Tawny Owl Kensington Gardens
Tawny Owl Kensington Gardens
I took some kit down the park this morning with the hope of capturing our visiting Water Rail. After an hour stake-out and nothing to show but a pair of cold hands I took my digiscoping frustrations out on a far more reliable subject.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Danbury Lakes

Been to Danbury Lakes today in the faint hope of finding a new Hawfinch spot since the Hockley Woods bird disappeared.
There were no Hawfinches (that I could see) but there were a lot of Jackdaws.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Blue Tit update

It's been about a week and a half now and the pair of Blue Tits in my back garden are becoming increasingly confident about being in their new home.
Previously they have only spent a fleeting moment inside after a lot of hesitation about going in.
I haven't seen any nesting material being taken inside but today one of the birds spent roughly 10 minutes inside occasionally popping their head out to look around. Maybe there is some construction going on in there and I missed the nest material going in.
There has been some behaviour I have noticed.
For one the Blue Tits have become territorial, particularly against their once friends, the Great Tits.
Also, the male and female Blue Tit don't like being in the box at the same time. If one flies in on the other they shoot straight out.
I'll keep you posted if something a bit more interesting happens....

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Paddington Mouse

Wouldn't budge.

Kensington Gardens Heathland!

Heathland Kensington Gardens
I was walking around Kensington Gardens with Des this morning when he mentioned a conversation he had with local botanist, Elinor Wiltshire. She pinpointed this non-descript little patch of heather as the only naturally occurring heathland within a twenty five mile radius. I don't now which was more exciting, that intriguing snippet of info or the Water Rail that put on a show for us again at The Longwater reed bed.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Water Rail, Kensington Gardens

Longwater reed bed
The patch of reeds where the Water Rail was sighted

The reeds along the banks of The Longwater in Kensington Gardens have always promised Water Rail sightings but, for over seventy years, they have gone unreported. That is until today when, with the help of a flushing fox, I was lucky enough to record the first modern day sighting of this species at the site. It showed in the patch of reeds on the south bank, just north of the Serpentine bridge, for a generous twenty minutes.

I also recorded my first trilling Little Grebe here and Des McKenzie and Nick Tanner reported a Red Kite heading north over the Round Pond earlier in the day. A really good day for the park.