Sunday, 24 April 2016

Patchwork Challenge - Longham Lakes Visit 8 24-April-2016

It's been almost a month since I last visited the Lakes. I've not been elsewhere, I simply haven't had the time. Still, I made up for it by seeing several new birds. I'm still trailing behind Martin, but at least it made for a very nice morning out.

The main fishing like was very, very quiet, which was strange, as I expected it to be bustling with life. There were only a few Tufted Ducks swimming about and I must of saw around 3 Great Crested Grebes, far fewer than normal. Even the Coots were not massively active and I probably saw 20 in my entire time there.

A very wet Great Crested Grebe.

The bushes on the other hand were bustling with life and I saw Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Wrens, Blackbirds and Magpies. I heard some young birds, possibly Reed Warblers in the reedbeds, but it was impossible to see where they were and I certainly didn't want to disturb them.

Moving along to the back side of the main lake I saw my first Blackcaps on patch. A male and a female. Sadly they were deeply in the thicket so it was hard to get good shots. Moving along I then found several Chiffchaff and a pair of Reed Buntings, my first of the year.

The back fields were surprisingly empty with around 20 swan, 4 Canada Geese and 5 Greylag Geese.. There were a few gulls but they were far too distant to tell what they were.

Moving on to the south lake I was immediately greeted by a small group of house martins hawking for flies. I also saw my first of several swifts, although a local mentioned they'd been at the lake for a couple of weeks now.

My first Swift of the year!

Moving along the back of the lake and things quietened down again. There were a handful of Mallards, some more Chiffchaff and the odd Robin. It was relatively quiet until I got to the Jackdaws which are always in resident in one of the woods. I scanned it for Nuthatches and Treecreepers, but had no luck. There were no woodpeckers around either.

The final stretch of walk was relatively quiet, although a Buzzard showed up and paced me as I walked up, never letting me get within 50 feet of it. I spied some more Greenfinch a small flock of Greenfinch and a pair of Gadwells.

A relatively heavy crop of a Buzzard. Doesn't look too bad though.

A chat with a local dog walker produced the buzzard again, although he was now being mobbed by two Carrion Crows. There was a small group of ducks and Canada geese on the south island, but nothing of any real interest.

A pair of Canada Geese

An overcast Greenfinch. Doesn't look too bad.

Buzzard flyby.

The harassed Buzzard.

All in all a solid morning and I'm now up to 55 total birds for the patch.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Patchwork Challenge - Longham Lakes Visit 7 28-March-2016

Sorry about the lack of updates but I've had nothing to write about.

The weather has been appalling throughout March, work has been busy and I've simply not been able to get out on patch. I did manage to get out on the bank holiday Monday and I was rewarded with several new birds.

Another crop from later in the day.

Things started off pretty typically with Blue Tits and Great Tits in the car parks along with the odd finch. There was a lot of action on the North pond and in total I must have seen around 100 Tufted Ducks. I can only imagine what these numbers will swell to once the ducklings start arriving.

There were only a few Greenfinches about.

I didn't see anything out of the ordinary and while there had been high winds there were no vagrants that had been blown off course. What I did see however was a lone Swallow, desperately battling against the strong wind on the hunt for insects. It's the earliest one I've seen at Longham and was pleasurable to watch. It was also a much needed tick, although not the sort of bird that will start allowing me to catch up with Martin, who is also patching Longham.

A heavy crop, but there's a Swallow :)

Continuing around the far side of the lake I spied a pair of Bullfinches, although frustratingly, my camera constantly focused on twigs, meaning I couldn't get a single clear shot. Other birds in the thicket included Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinches and Chiff Chaffs.

My shutterspeed was 500, far too slow for this bird!

I was soon alerted to a hunting Kestrel, which continued to patrol both lakes on the hunt for food, but I saw no other raptors. Ducks were relatively scarce with a small group of Gadwell and Teal, the odd Mallard and a couple of Shoveler. The gulls were nowhere to be seen either, with just a small flock of Black-Headed Gulls on the south lake.

A lone Little Egret was skulking about.

Once I got over to the far side of the south lake (which has a smaller pond running adjacent to it) I was rewarded with my first Moorhen of the year as well as a Green Woodpecker. Sadly, I was unable to get pics of decent quality, but it was great to see them all the same.

I thought this was a Turtle Dove, but on close inspection it's a Collard Dove :(

I've now spotted 51 different species of birds since the beginning of the year. Hopefully there will be more to come now migration season is in full swing.

Here's all the birds I spotted.

Blue Tit (6)
Bullfinch (2)
Canada Geese (10)
Chaffinch (5)
Chiffchaff (3)
Collard Dove (3)
Cormorant (12)
Coot (too many)
Gadwell (8)
Great Tit 5
Green Woodpecker
Greylag Geese (5)
Great Crested Grebe (12)
Little Egret
Long-Tailed Tit (3)
Mallard (5)
Magpie 7
Shoveler (3)
Teal 6
Tufted Duck (100)