Sunday, 16 July 2017

Last Year's Record Beaten - 78 birds

Well that's not bad, just over halfway through the year and I've beaten last year's record of 73 birds.

Of course it helps that I've been out a lot more this year, but I'm still pleased and there's only the chance it will grow as I pick up more migrants in the Autumn.

Anyway, I headed down to Longham in the hope of seeing the Common Terns that Martin had spotted on the Friday. While they were no longer on the North Lake, the fledgling had moved to one of the buoys on the south lake and I was able to take a few photos of it, as well as the adult fishing.

The juvenile was quite far out, but I'm pleased with this image.
I then met Steve Smith who runs Birding Poole Harbour & Beyond. He was out looking for the Lesser Emperor and other dragonflies and stopped for a little chat about why there had been so much interest this year at Longham for the insects.

The adult landed briefly on the closest buoy, allowing for a nice shot.
Leaving Steve to his search I walked up the causeway seeing the usual Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings, but very little else. There were Coots, Tufted Ducks and Mallards on the North Lake and a large number of Coots and Canada Geese along the back.

Coots and Canada Geese taking it easy.
The island on South Lake was empty aside from a Mute Swan, Lapwing and Grey Heron, so I moved to the back of the lake where I saw 4 Greenfinches, a lone patrolling Kestrel and several more Reed Warblers.

Mute Swan and Grey Heron enjoying the quiet of the South Lake island.
It was otherwise quiet so I headed back along the causeway stopping to take some photos of a Green Woodpecker. As I got to the end of the causeway I heard a commotion in the sky and saw a Sparrowhawk being mobbed by Swallows, my first view of the raptor this year.

Sparrowhawk being mobbed by Swallows. Next time it will hopefully be a Hobby.
I then caught up with Steve who was heading home and Martin, who was just arriving and had watched the Sparrowhawk from the car park.

So I'm now on 78 birds, which beats last year's record by 5. Let's see how many more I can get.

Green Woodpecker on the causeway. The Great Spotted still eludes me.
Massive crop of the Common Tern hunting.
Another heavy crop, but it's an unusual pose which I like.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Hobby Spotted At Arne + Patch Update

4th July
Yup, it's that time of year when I'm swamped with work and I simply can't find time to get out. It also doesn't help that my local patch is incredibly quiet at this time of the year.

Still, I'm on holiday this week and I kicked it off by going to Arne as Ospreys were regularly showing there. I arrived with my wife eager to see the birds, only to be told that they don't tend to show up until the afternoon. Damn.

Olly Frampton identified this as a Black-Tailed Skimmer.
Sadly it was a pretty quiet day and there were few birds around. We reached the first lookout point where the ospreys could be viewed from and started scanning the area, but there was nothing to see. My wife then pointed out a bird to me and said, what's that?

It was too small for an Osprey but I excitedly blurted out Hobby. I couldn't tell because the light glare was so harsh, but I couldn't think of what else it could be. I started having doubts that it was a Kestrel, but the wings didn't look right.

My first ever Hobby, such a handsome looking bird.
We walked down to the hide where we saw a pair of Sika Deer and a large number of Shelduck, but it was otherwise quiet and we headed back and went to Wareham river. It was relatively quiet there as well, although I saw plenty of Reed Warblers and around 20 Swallows that were perched in a bush in a bid to escape the rising heat.

One of the deer we spotted from the hide.
Swallows are a lot easier to photograph when they land!
Several of the Swallows that were resting. A bad pic as sun was directly in front of me.
5th July
I headed to Longham in the late afternoon, but it wasn't the best time of day as it was absolutely sweltering. It was also a pretty unexciting walk around the lake, although it was nice to see a large number of baby Tufted Ducks on the two lakes.

Highlights for the day was a glimpse of my first Kingfisher of the year, around 70 Starlings that were hanging around the industrial site and a lone Sandwich Tern, my first record at the sight, which was a rather pleasant surprise.

A very distant Sandwich Tern and my first seen at Longham.
6th July
I went down to Poole Park today because I'd seen a Swan Goose and wanted to get better pictures. It's a weird looking goose and very distinctive due to its large heavy bill. It's typically found around China and Russia, so this one was most likely an escapee. The big surprise is that as I was watching it blend in with a small flock of Greylags and Canada Geese it was soon joined by a second!

One of two Swan Geese that I saw at Poole Park.

I headed down the lakes again this evening but it was another dull day, most likely due to the insane heat. Highlights were 9 Lapwings on the small island (the most I've ever seen there) and around 120 Starlings in the car park when I first rolled up. I also saw 5 Song Thrushes bounding around the car park.

I love how natural this Song Thrush looks.
7th July
Another trip and this time I went with Martin Wood, who also has his own blog. It was easily the quietest trip out of the three, with the only real excitement being provided by a Roe Deer which was grazing in the bushes at the end of the causeway. Oh and we saw a Tufted Duck with a staggering 17 chicks.

I've had a pretty quiet week, but that was through my own choice. I was tempted to got to Nottingham to see the Bee-eaters, but travelling around the UK for birds is a dangerous game that I'm not prepared to play just yet. I'm simply happy pottering around Dorset.

Whitethroat hiding in the reeds at Longham Lakes.
I quite like this reflection shot of a Great-Crested Grebe.