Saturday, 6 April 2013

A walk round Baddesley Common

Took my dog on a long walk out of the village and across the local common. The area seems to have been in decline for breeding birds in the few years I have lived in this area.

Afternoons in particular can be a struggle, and today seemed to be heading the same way. Stonechat seems to be the latest species becoming very hard to find. However, looking back, the walk was pretty good. A hat-trick of our three Woodpecker species is always a memorable achievement, even if today all three were heard only in the distance!

A Wheatear foraged in the distance and a Raven called high overhead. The walk was rounded off with a singing Yellowhammer. One species at least that seems to be clinging on locally.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Easter Summary

* Hurst Castle pays dividends,
* Hurst Castle subsequently proves hard work with little reward!
* My first Spring Migrants arrive,

A couple of mornings spent at Hurst Castle over the Easter weekend. The strong North East winds have persisted for a couple of weeks now, with no sign of abating, and adding a bitter cold chill to the air. Spring migrants seem to be struggling through though, and the first visit, in sunshine, was quite enjoyable with Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Common Scoter, Eider, Greenshank, Black Redstart and 4 or 5 Wheatears the highlights.
The second visit, in painfully cold conditions was less successful with just two Sandwich Terns for highlights! The saltmarsh side of the spit did, however, have good numbers of Waders at low tide with a Summer plumaged Black tailed Godwit among the Dunlins, Grey Plover, Curlew etc.

Despite the long walk over shingle, Hurst is proving to be a productive venue so far this Spring, Black Redstart being a better find than anything I managed in Last spring’s run of bad luck. Worryingly, my part of Hampshire has already fallen into the typical Spring run of Blue skies, and presumably ideal fly over conditions for migrants. I await rain!

Further inland, I saw my First Sand Martins of the year at Skidmore over the rapidly drying flooded field, together with a singing Chiff-Chaff, and 3 Shelducks.

This morning’s commute into London was brightened up by a Woodcock over the M3 near Winchester, and a Red Kite on the M25 at Staines!

Thought for the day.. imagine if these Easterly winds had occurred in autumn!