Tuesday, 27 January 2009


Had one of my best days birding today (and that's a bold statement after titchfield on sunday), the combination of 2 lifers, 17 'yearers', great views of several common species and 83 spp in one day (my personal best).

Highlights were: Red Throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Twite, Avocet, Peregrine, Merlin, Spotted Redshank, Kittiwake, Water Rail, Marsh harrier, Red-Breasted Goose, Kingfisher, Greenshank and Bullfinch.

On parking up in our usuall place we noticed there was a pair of red-breasted mergansers close in, we enjoyed nice views of them fishing:

Male:Female doing a woodpecker impression (or should that be waterpecker?):Other Merganser shots:As usual there were lots of reed buntings about:



got some nice shots of the plentiful little egrets aswel:

There were lots of very flighty black-tailed godwits but found one that was a little more friendly:

A guy (sorry didn't catch your name but thankyou!!) mentioned to us that he had found a twite in with a small flock of linnit. Twite would be a new bird for all of us so went looking for it. Took a while, but we had a small 'finchy thing' flying away from us that had a funny call (I didn't know twite call,until today, but this sounded different), and later on the same bird flew past calling again and I picked it up once it had landed on the top of a bush. It gave fantastic views in the scope. Our first TWITE (life list 229).

For lunch we sat on the sea wall and did some sea watching. This turned out to be very successful seeing goldeneye, slavonian grebe, eider, a distant great northern diver (life list 230) moving west, and a red-throated diver on the sea at first moving west then it took flight in the same direction.

Photos from the seawatch:

Red-throated diver records:

grebe comparison, showing 2 GCGrebes on the right and a Slavonian on the left:One of the many brent geese:After lunch we saw a spotted redshank and a guy callled Martin poinited out a water rail. Not long after this he found a kittiwake on fishtail(I think) lagoon on the water amongst black-headed gulls which was very surprising. When watching this a peregrine flew over. Also from this spot a female merlin could be seen on the salt marsh.

Spotted Redshank:

When walking round to try and find the red-breasted goose we stumbled upon an avocet feeding which was another great surprise:We found the goose and enjoyed good but distant views:when watching it a marsh harrier flew over, my first seen in the keyhaven area but second in the last few days.

We got lost walking back the road way but it did mean we saw GSWoodpecker, Sparrowhawk and Great tit to add to our tally for the day.

After getting lost we arrived at barton golf course a little late (after 5pm) and it was poor weather with several people saying they hadn't been showing well and needless to say we didn't see them. Did get some consolation with a buzzard bringing the total species seen to 83!!

Really was a great day and leaves me with 116 spp for the year so far.

Keeeeeep birding,


Sunday, 25 January 2009

Tussels at Tichfield

Started the day at western shore for some sea watching but the weather was dreadful and we soon moved on to Tichfield Haven in hope of seeing the scaup.
Saw what could have been a GNDiver fly west but was very distant and I was not sure, so no luck there.

We did see the scaup but it was asleep and observed through trees, not great views!

The most exciting thing of the day was from the far hide on the east side of the reserve. When we arrived there was a female marsh harrier hunting over the fields and reed beds and there was a peregrine sitting on a fench post in the field. Over the next hour or so we watched as the peregrine and Marsh Harrier kept having a go at each other. At one point there was a peregrine, buzzard and marsh harrier involved in the brawl, and a sparrowhawk entered the area but not for long because the heavy weights about no doubt. Few photos of the tussels but was very distant so nothing more than records really:

Peregrine returning to it's post after a dive bomb on a crow, there was contact made (I think) but neither got hurt:Marsh Harrier also made a brief attempt at catching a teal(??), but the teal dived underwater at the last minute, that's what the splash is on the photograph under the Harrier (again this was on the far lake where all the cormorants are so not great detail):weather took a turn for the better so we decided to go and see if the barn owl was about near hook-with-warsash. Parked up and looking into the first field along workman's lane I picked up a barn owl hunting very close to us. I got my camera ready and we tried to get a little closer. The owl banked downwards and caught something and was on the ground feeding. I picked up a kestrel coming in low and from a fair distance away but knew what it was going to do. Needless to say the barn owl left without it's prey which the kestrel must have taken. Photos taken with high ISO in failing grey light:Other birds of note were a large raft of common scoter. Year list is now up to 95. Was a fantastic day despite 'orrible weather!

Keeeep birding!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Just a few photos

It's exam time at the moment so no time to get out :-(. Just thought I would post a few past photos. As you can see I do like to attempt underwater photography aswell, they are taken with my compact digital. I am looking forward to taking more this summer whilst on hoiday.Common Lizzard taken at Hickling broad.
Robin at Lakeside CP in hampshire:
I'l be back on the bird hunt on Saturday after my exams have finished.....can't wait!!
Keeeeeeeep birding

Monday, 12 January 2009


Had a trip to lakeside again, mainly for photography but was rewarded with a jack snipe. We flushed it when trying to get a pic of some stonechats in the reeds and it almost met it's maker thanks to a female sprawk. Thankfully it got away, I would have felt very bad!
Here are the stonechat pics, lovely setting but they aren't very tame:Grubby blue tit havung a preen:Another black and white heron flyover, showing the vast wingspan:The blackheaded gulls were back in force now the ice has started to melt:

Saturday, 10 January 2009

More Waxwing

Never get tired of them, so went to photograph and see the waxwings in Bursledon. they were very close but in a bush right in front of a house. This did not help in providing a natural back drop! Also the sun was not helping but still was good fun, just hope I get the chance soon in perfect conditions, there are enough waxies about to make this possible!! Anyway here are a few of the shots:

After seeing the waxies Sam and I went to Lakeside for a look around, most of the lakes were completely frozen but the place seemed alive with snipe. Reed Buntings were also showing well but too distant for any photos. managed a few photos I'm pleased with, esp the Green woodpecker which was hard to follow in flight due to the undulation:

Distant photo of one of the many snipe:


Tuesday, 6 January 2009


Sam and I thought we would go for a mornings birding at shatterford in the the New Forest today. It turned out to be a very successful trip getting all the birds we wanted apart from one (great grey shrike).
As soon as we arrived we could hear crossbills feeding in the pines and pine cones seemed to be falling all around us (should have worn a helmet). We located some feeding just above eye level and in perfect morning sunlight in the pines at shatterford carpark (1 male and 1 female). Here are the photos, didn't want to get too close incase we scared them off but still very pleased despite not getting any great flight shots other than the weird one at the bottom (the female did not perform so well so no good pics of her):
Believe it or not this is a crossbill, but from that angle it could be many things..When walking back from these to join the main track we picked up a marsh/willow tit feeding on the ground.

We both had a inital gut feeling it was a willow tit as it seemd very 'plump', had no glossy sheen to it's black cap and there seemed to be alot of white on the wing. Unfortunatly it did not call but we were fairly convinced, comments are welcome:
We also had fun photographing a treecreeper, hiding behind trees to get closer to it:Whilst walking along side the rail line we had good but faily distant views of a female hen harrier which was great, although I prefer the males ;-), can't be picky with these though!!

Further along we had nice, but again fairly distant views of a male dartford warbler. I can't wait till I get closer to ones of these with the camera:

We stumbled across a female red deer (I think) aswell which posed nicely with the back lighting:

ok this one isn't a deer but I thought it was a nicely composed photo with the back lighting aswell..A pied wagtail posed nicely on the walk back to the car:

There was a male stonechat near the car park aswell. Also saw a woodcock but unfortunatly sam was having too much fun breaking ice and missed it as it dropped down into the heath :-p.

Year list is now up to 75 but not many waders yet as no time speant at the seaside :-)

Happy Birding