Sunday, 25 March 2012

Woodoaks Farm

A late afternoon visit to Woodoaks Farm in glorious sunshine and little wind provided the following species of note:-
Red Kite (1), Common Buzzard (3), Common Kestrel (female), Chiffchaff (4 singing male), Blackcap (2 singing male), Yellowhammer (pair near grain barn).
While walking the pasture near the triangulation point I noted 2 Common Buzzard at Bottom Wood.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

On the hunt for migrants

I decided to visit a few local sites in search of newly arrived migrants where my efforts produced the following :-
Stockers Farm
Common Buzzard (1), Ring-necked Parakeet (3), Meadow Pipit (3), Blackcap (singing male).
Stockers Lake
Common Buzzard (4), Little Egret (1), Cetti's Warbler (singing male at the causeway), Chiffchaff (singing male).
The Withey Beds Nature Reserve
Chiffchaff (singing male).
Croxley Common Moor
Grey Heron (3), Little Egret (2), Mute Swan (pair), Canada Goose (pair), Mallard (9), Common Buzzard (2), Common Moorhen (11), Eurasian Coot (3), Black-headed Gull (1), Lesser Black-backed Gull (14), Feral Rock Dove (2), Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Green Woodpecker (2), Meadow Pipit (5), Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Chiffchaff (singing male), Blackcap (female), Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Jay (1), Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Common Starling (c30), House Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Reed Bunting (2 singing male).
Woodoaks Farm
Chiffchaff (singing male at Ladywalk Wood), Skylark (4), Meadow Pipit (24 at Heronsgate side of farm), Black Redstart (adult male in and round barn area and old orchard), discovered earlier by Geoff Lapworth.  

Monday, 19 March 2012

Broadwater Gravel Pit & Woodoaks Farm

A mid morning visit to Broadwater Gravel Pit produced the following species:-
Little Grebe (pair), Great-crested Grebe (displaying pair),
Great Cormorant (several nesting pairs), Grey Heron, Mute Swan (pair), Greylag Goose (3 pairs), Canada Goose (at least a pair), Gadwall (2 pairs), Common Teal (6 including a pair), Mallard, Northern Shoveler (at least a pair), Northern Pochard (at least a pair), Tufted Duck (at least a pair), Common Goldeneye (11 including 3 male), Goosander (3 including 2 male), Red Kite (1), Common Buzzard (2), Common Kestrel (male), Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull (c20), Stock Dove (1), Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet (2), Common Kingfisher (1),
Green Woodpecker (1), Great-spotted Woodpecker (drumming male), Wren (several singing male), Dunnock (singing male), European Robin (singing male), Blackbird, Song Thrush, Chiffchaff (6 including 4 singing male), Goldcrest (singing male), Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, European Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting (singing male).
Red Admiral.

                                          Great-crested Grebe

                                          Colt's-foot in bloom at Broadwater Grevel Pit.

An early evening visit to Woodoaks Farm produced a single male Northern Wheatear present at the manure pile. Chris Howard had discovered this bird earlier in the day.

                                          Northern Wheatear at Woodoaks Farm.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Tree Sparrow at Ash Grove, Harefield

I made a brief visit across the county border to Harefield, Middx where a small population of Tree Sparrow has been discovered. Following the footpath U11 located behind the back gardens of Ash Grove and making my way to the far end I could hear a lone male bird singing. After a few moments looking up into a tall, dense Hawthorn I eventually connected with it and watched for several minutes as it sang away. I managed to take a single record shot during my very brief stay. A great record and my first locally for many years.

                                           Tree Sparrow (male) in Hawthorn.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Southend on Sea, Essex

While enjoying a family day out to Southend on Sea I located a glorious Mediterranean Gull in full breeding plumage. Present at the east side of the pier among the commoner Black-headed Gulls. Also observed were several Ruddy Turnstone feeding along the shore.

                                          Mediterranean Gull

                                          Ruddy Turnstone

Monday, 5 March 2012

The Withey Beds Nature Reserve & Croxley Common Moor

A late morning visit to the Withey Beds and Croxley Moor produced the following species of interest:-
The Withey Beds Nature Reserve
Common Kestrel (female), Stock Dove (pair at nest box), Ring-necked Parakeet (1), Green Woodpecker (1), Redwing (10), Mistle Thrush (2), Fieldfare (7).
Croxley Common Moor
Little Egret (1), Common Kestrel (male), Lesser Black-backed Gull (5 over), Green Woodpecker (1), Grey Wagtail (pair at weir), Reed Bunting (pair).
                                          Grey Wagtail (female).

                                          Grey Wagtail (male).

                                                        Many-coloured Polypore Fungi

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Rose-coloured Starling, Hordle, Hampshire

Today I decided to do the unthinkable and head off to Hampshire in search of a reported Rose-coloured Starling as it was a species missing from my list. After getting the green light from my wife to go I hurriedly gathered my gear and headed off down the M3. Some 90 or so miles later I was standing at Holes Close, Hordle viewing a gorgeous male bird singing from deep inside a Hawthorn in a back garden. The song was very similar to that of Common Starling but every now and then a richer tone could be heard. This species should be wintering in the Indian Subcontinent so this bird is incredibly lost!

Friday, 2 March 2012

The Withey Beds N.R, Croxley Common Moor & Maple Lodge N.R

The Withey Beds Nature Reserve
A mid-morning visit in mild but misty conditions provided the following species of note:-
Common Kestrel (1), Red Kite (1), Ring-necked Parakeet (2), Stock Dove (4), Great-spotted Woodpecker (male), Eurasian Jay (2), Bullfinch (3).
Red Fox (1).
This small marshland nature reserve is now almost devoid of water due to the drought and as a consequence no waterbirds were observed.

                                                       The boardwalk now following a very dry marsh.
Croxley Common Moor
I arrived at the moor late morning when the mist had been replaced with hazy warm sunshine.
A full list of species observed as follows:-  
Little Grebe (1 on the river), Little Egret (1), Mute Swan (pair on river holding territory), Mallard (2 pairs), Common Kestrel (1), Common Moorhen (6), Eurasian Coot (2), Common Snipe (1 flushed from bank of river), Black-headed Gull (31 at rest on roof of nearby housing estate), Lesser Black-backed Gull (3 over briefly), Feral Rock Dove (1 over), Stock Dove (1), Woodpigeon, Common Kingfisher (1), Green Woodpecker (1), Great-spotted Woodpecker (3 including drumming male), Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Long-tailed Tit (2 pairs nest building), Blue Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Jay (2),  Magpie (2 nesting pairs), Carrion Crow, House Sparrow (c10), Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch (male), Reed Bunting (4).   
Red Admiral (1). 

                               Little Grebe on the river, shame about the litter, pick it up!    
Maple Lodge Nature Reserve & Lynsters Farm
A late afternoon/early evening visit produced the following species of note:-
Little Grebe (6), Grey Heron (1), Greylag Goose (7 Lynsters Farm), Canada Goose (51 Lynsters Farm plus 12 over briefly), Egyptian Goose (pair Lynsters Farm), Common Teal (16), Mallard (6), Northern Shoveler (5), Tufted Duck (6), Common Pheasant (4 including cock bird at Lynsters Farm), Green Sandpiper (2 from Teal Hide), Common Snipe (1 from Teal Hide), Grey Wagtail (1 from Teal Hide), Redwing (3 at Long Hedge), Goldcrest (singing male),  Eurasian Jay (2), Western Jackdaw (c50 Lynsters Farm), Reed Bunting (pair a phragmites Reed Bed).