Saturday, July 21, 2018

Frampton Marsh

Cashing in on some wader action at Frampton Marsh RSPB.  Such a fabulous reserve full of waders with 20 species in total seen comprised of the following; two Curlew Sandpiper in summer moult, two Little Stint, two Wood Sandpiper, four Spotted Redshank with one in summer plumage and the rest moulting adults, five Green Sandpiper, six Common Sandpiper, two Greenshank, a single Whimbrel that called high over during the evening, 500+ Black-tailed Godwit dominating the reserve, 50 Knot with around 10 still in summer plumage, 100+ Avocet, 50+ Dunlin the majority still in summer plumage, 30 Ruff, 25 Redshank, 15 Little Ringed Plover, 10 Ringed Plover, 25 Common Snipe, 15 Lapwing, one lonely Golden Plover in summer plumage, and eight Oystercatcher.

A juvenile Spoonbill was roosting well into the morning.  It was then seen flying and settling onto the North Marsh early evening.

Always a highlight was Turtle Dove seen in trees along the track by the wooded area.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Berry Head

A quiet day. The weather was not as radiant as the previous days but the breeze was still temperate. I positioned myself on the promontory of Berry Head and watching small pods of Harbour Porpoise roll on by with a few sightings of Common Dolphin seen leaping out of the water. A decent number of Wall Brown butterfly were present along the cliff edge.

 The odd friendly conversation and a royal soaking from a passing shower were other notable highlights!

Common Dolphin

Harbour Porpoise

Wall Brown

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Portland and Devon Cirl Buntings

Having stayed on Portland for the night, and with birdlife at a low ebb, I headed over the Broadcroft quarry in search of butterflies. There was an abundance of them. The rocky landscape was home to a few Grayling and Chalk-hill Blue while common butterflies were active including Small Copper, Small Skipper, Common Blue, and Gatekeeper.

Chalk-hill Blue


Small Copper

Marbled White

The afternoon was spent at the idyllic reserve of Labrador Bay in Devon where rich pasture rolls into the sea. The sun was beating down, and the sea was settled into a deep blue.

A single Painted Lady and Clouded Yellow were in flight here.

The Cirl Bunting is a localised bird in these parts of Devon and they were not difficult to find. A distinct pair were often seen in flight. This adult was later joined by two juveniles.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Titchfield Haven

A long weekend in the build up to the Barn Owl study day in Devon started on Saturday at Titchfield Haven in Hampshire. The possibility of seeing the Roseate Tern quickly subsided as the birds decided to position themselves on Brownsea Island for the afternoon.

The reserve was alive with birds, the raucous sounds of Black-headed Gull with plenty of juvenile birds dominated the soundscape.

A few Mediterranean Gull were also present, six males on the shoreline just off Hill Head early doors, and a couple of juveniles on the reserve itself. This one took an instant disliking to a Godwit.

Black-tailed Godwit and Avocet were the only waders into double figures, the latter being particularly aggressive with a few youngsters scampering along the fringes.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Oare Marshes

These are heady days, footballing success coupled with a protracted period of hot weather.  Some might call these 'good times'.

Oare Marshes was bathed in glorious summer sunshine, the warmth tempered by a refreshing breeze.  A three week gap between visits and how different it was since the last trip down to this fabulous wetland site.

Wader numbers have increased as have the variety in species.  Autumn migration has commenced, evidenced by greater numbers of 'Icelandic' Black-tailed Godwit, some very smart individuals in their fantastic rustic plumage.

There were more Avocet than a few weeks ago, a few juveniles were feeding on the flood.  Similarly, Common Redshank numbers were up with many young birds present.  At least six Ruff had arrived still in their breeding attire, as had a Spotted Redshank similarly in it's dark summer plumage.  Two juvenile Little Ringed Plover were scampering along the fringes of the exposed mud.

There were some stars in town.  Four Black-winged Stilt were still present, presumably having bred nearby or perhaps wanderers from the near continent.  Two of these were young birds seen here hunkered down on the island.

The shimmering heat giving the feel of a South European wetland.

Seeing a Turtle Dove these days is such a thrill.  So rare and so localised.  It's been a sad decline, symptomatic of changing agricultural practices, habitat destruction, and relentless persecution.  There were at least two birds here.  This one paused briefly before flicking away into cover.

The Bonaparte's Gull showed much better today, this time on the slipway before being flushed to the shoreline. A couple of smart adult Mediterranean Gull were present, one accompanying a juvenile around the reserve. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Ockham Common

Work has been getting to me.  It shouldn't.  Escaping for an evening to one of Surrey's heathlands was a much better alternative to drinking.

Ockham Common lies just off the A3 and very close to the M25.  A crazy juxaposition, listening to the subtle chorus of birdsong against the distant hum of frenzied mass transit.

The habitat looks great but digging out a couple of Dartford Warbler including a young bird, and a male Stonechat was all I could manage.  Dartford's so close to the M25.

A wonderfully warm and serene evening, the stresses of the world were soon forgotten.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Old Deer Park

This is a wonderful wild flower bed in the Old Deer Park in Richmond.  A migrant Painted Lady butterfly was a surprise find, pausing briefly before journeying onward.