Saturday, 9 April 2011

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning

07:00, OFFH, with derg, Blackcap singing at the west end of the Burn, Chiffchaffs everywhere, Willow Warblers in the vicinity of the West Hartford Sub Station and a Green Sandpiper doing a good impression of a HUGE House Martin over the larger flash then up high and off SW after being chased by two Lapwings.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Nice Couple of Hours (But Feckin' Cold)

Quick breeze up the coast this morning (literally).

Six Avocets at Cresswell, as far as I could see (but later eight reported).

Shorelark was doing the business at Druridge Pools, plus a Swallow over and a nice flock of Linnets along with the Twite.

Female Marsh Harrier in a dogfight with a crow over East Chevington and a dozen or so Sandwich Terns in the North Pool's islands.

Bothal was dead.

Arcot had at least two Willow Warblers in the SE plantation and again, a good flock of Linnets.

Monday, 4 April 2011

It's Real Birding with Unreal Birds!

Bit of an anti-climax today really, or so it appeared.  The weather started off well: bright, sunny and breezy.  West Hartford was devoid of Willow Warbler and Linnet, two species I was keen to 'tick' there.  Pheasant, Grey Partridge, Meadow Pipit, Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, GoldfinchTeal, Oystercatcher, Greylag and not much else.  No sign of 'Midas' Malloy's Osprey, not that I expected there to be.

Arcot was noisier, thanks to 13 Canada Geese, more Oystercatcher, a few Tufties, the odd Mute Swan, the usual passerines and corvids and a Common Buzzard.  Three Sand Martin passed through (and another three later over the Blue Star football field).

Castle Island was by comparison, subdued.  Canadas and BHGs aplenty, Shelduck, Teal and Cormorants were the main players.

Off to Bothal Pond next.  Heart attack No.1 here.  I have never seen a Blue-winged Teal before (and I still haven't).  Scanning the NW shore and an odd looking duck raised its head out of the water, with the B-w T facial bars/stripes.  'Bloody Hell!', says I,'a Blue-winged Teal!'  WRONG - as the water drained from its head (as fast as the blood had drained from my face, I might add), the head appeared greener than blue.  I have never seen one in the flesh, so professionals reading this blog, give me a little space, please.

And the bird was somewhat heavy and the beak likewise.  A quick scan to the left recealed a male Shoveler, and the odd duck was similar in size/bill.  The book quickly dispelled any need to get on the phone, but likewise did not conclusively tell me what the bird was.  It was not right for either a male or female Shoveler.  Too far away for a snap - even a record snap - I left (consulting t'interweb later, it may be an Australian Shoveler).

Pictures are here.

Cresswell was flat, nothing even vaguely 'Stateside', and East Chev. too.

Druridge Pools was the usual Teal and BHG fest.  The Pintails were there, and little else, apart from this bonny chap:

It is, t'interweb tells me, a Green Pheasant - Phasianus versicolor.  I saw the bird last week as it flew into the newly coppiced area by the Budge.  Today, it was out on the field.

HOT OFF THE PRESS - BirdGuides tells me it's not what I thought, it's Phasianus colchicus tenebrosus.  Now that's what you pay your subs for!

So, a possible Aussie duck and a 'Far Eastern' Pheasant (not).  Bona fide visitors as a result of the recent tsunami?  Not likely!  Escapes from a local collection?  Probably, but new and nice nonetheless.