Saturday, 25 August 2012

Dog walks and vis mig

* Wheatear and Spotted Flycatcher brightens up local dog walks
* Tree Pipit signals a new era for my "Vis Mig."

Spending more time around the village taking our dog for a walk lately. He's old enough to go on longer walks now, and it gives me a chance to at least check out the habitat around the village. in the last month just a Wheatear and a family of Spotted Flycatchers to show for several miles of walks! Hoe Lane is starting to look a bit better now with the fields being harvested.

Have also spent a couple of mornings at my closest area of coast, which is Lepe and Calshot. Again, nothing out of the ordinary but a ramping up of Terns and WEaders in the last week or two. I've also been checking out Badminston with a view to vis. mig. later in the Autumn. My walks in the area last year certainly showed the area to have potential with clouds of Woodpigeons, and on one occasion a passage of Crossbills. Finding a suitable vantage point, other than the chimneys at Fawley isn't easy, but I think I've stumbled on somewhere slightly uncomfortable, but with a good 270 degree view. An hour or so in the rain this morning got me a flyover Tree Pipit, and two Stock Doves.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Autumn starts here!

2012 has been a very ordinary Birdwatching year for me so far. Even a trip to Shetland in the Spring couldn't do anything to alter the fact that all my best birding seems to get done in the Autumn.

So, good news, the Autumn starts now! Headed to Lepe before dawn very optimistically checking the reedbeds around the new hide for a Spotted Crake or two! These elusive birds turn up regularly at Farlington this time of year (in fact one is there as I type), but other similar locations don't have any previous form. Lepe looks good on paper, but the hide doesn't really overlook the suitable habitat, so birds could slip through unnoticed. Gave up on the hide after an hour. Hides are not really my thing! headed East to the other potentially good area of habitat: the lagoon.
A Common Scoter offshore, and a Spotted Redshank calling in flight, which looked to have flown out of the lagoon were the best of the birds. Meanwhile over at Calshot, a large number of Common Terns were feeding in the Solent plus a decent sized group of 30+ Ringed Plovers on the shingle. 48 Redshank at nearby Ashlett was a pretty good number for me. a handful of Black-wits, 2 Greenshank and Green Sandpiper rounded off the common Wader species that will feature over the next few months.

The garden has been "different" this summer. Recently fledged birds seem to be more in evidence than previous years including Jays and Goldcrests. Despite the poor spring, I'm hoping the summer has rescued the breeding figures for the year.
We are fortunate to have Purple Hairstreak butterflies around the garden, but this year, I only saw my first this morning!

Jay, August 2012