Saturday, 31 December 2016

Beddington Farm - Gulls Galore!

I was up before the crack of dawn and the area was not fog bound (unlike the day before) so off I trotted to the Farm in the hope that the previous days Glaucous Gull would make an appearance before the landfill shut down at mid-day.

In fact I was there so early that I had a 45min wait for daybreak which was delayed due to fog that was rolling in! I was joined by ex school classmate Frank Prater and the sifting through the gulls began. The search paused for a coffee break accompanied by some nonsense talk which was interrupted by my words “There it is?” Frank looked at me blankly for a split second and it was hands on the camera to seize the Glaucous Gull moment as it flew from the North towards the South Lake.

That seemed easy enough but it was not until the heavy gull artillery arrived in the form of Pete Alfrey that the gull action turned red hot! A juv Iceland Gull was first up in Pete’s scope and what I fine individual it was right up until all the gulls went skyward and I lost sight of it in the melee in the skies above the sand martin bank! 
Pictures will be on Pete’s blog.

A 1st and 2nd winter Caspian type Gulls were next to be spied on the lake which increased the chances of a Farm full set of gulls by the close of play! Matt and I decided to go to the lagoons to see if the Glaucous Gull had relocated where it had been found by Devilbirder the previous day. The short expedition soon became four but unfortunately all that could be relocated was the 2w Caspian type Gull.

I returned to my corner and Bulldog had a Yellow Legged Gull on the North lake. All we required now was a Med Gull which seem to be as rare as rocking horse.... these days!

Tomorrow a New Year begins and the listers will surely turn up something to feast eyes upon. 2017 will be an European Campaign for me starting in Bulgaria!

A very prosperous Birding New Year to you all. 2016 was not bad at all!!

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Gloucestershire - Blue RockThrush appears!

A Blue Rock thrush that has been around for a week or so has surfaced within my imaginary driving boundary! The forecast was for fog until 1000hrs which would rule the Farm out at least until the sun appeared and had worked its magic.

I set off at semi stupid o clock with a clear road and path until I hit the M25 when the fog began creeping in. By the time I had reached the A40 visibility was pretty bad and almost impossible to drive along some of the smaller open roads near my destination Stow on the Wold.

I had a brief chat with an AFC Wimbledon supporter about the FA Cup game with the U’s in a couple of weeks before finding a spot to view the bird. Views were possible as it sat on a branch of a tree just to the left of two feeders in a rear garden to a house. The bird moved out of sight but re-appeared in the same tree further back. The light was still poor therefore it was to be a waiting game if I was to take any pictures of my quarry.

There have been few records of this species in England in the months of October and May. I heard mumblings about it could be an escape from a nearby sanctuary?! This species is known to frequent ruins, churches and inhabited buildings at lower altitudes therefore its genuine presence is possible! I also wondered how long the bird had been visiting the garden before the news was released. Over to you records committee!

The light improved and the overall blue grey colour was more visible. The bill and eye were dark with the faintest signs of barring on the breast. There was some black in the wings and tail and the legs were dark.

News for the day had broken and other birders were arriving so I stepped out the viewing area had a chat with Gordon and then made my way back home to the sunshine!

I have attempted four twitches since coming home from Paraguay and I had a 100% record thus far! I still prefer patch watching and will therefore keep a sensible balance between both! I wonder what will be next!

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Beddington Farm - Seasons Greetings Birdland!

I took the short trip to Beddington Farm with the previous days storm in my mind! Perhaps something had been forced down by the high wind and rain. It was fairly fresh out with a SW to W blow which had me seeking refuge in the hide. My corner was definitely out of bounds today!

I set up and started scanning the North Lake which was littered with gulls. The ducks that were present had been pushed into the margins, which is common when the landfill is operational. I spied a couple of male Pintail along the eastern edge of the lake.

The gulls became restless as a bird with a streamer flew over the lake forcing groups to head for the skies until the apparent danger had passed. The Pintail took a while but joined the semi chaos above the water circling round rejoining the lake where they had left it. Both birds relocated to Elans Island later on in the morning.

Pheasants became very rare at the Farm until recently with three female and two males present on a daily basis. They have found the hidden feeders and clear up any of the mess the other birds leave behind. They will obviously be lying low for a few days until the festivities are over!

After a catch up with Glenn, Tank and Swift I popped into the adjacent Park to see a very tame but amazing colourful male Mandarin who seems to be in residence on the lake. It has claimed a small rock under a willow and does not take kindly to anything else that moves into its territory. It has popped in at the Farm but only briefly.

I hope that you all have a fantastic Christmas and maybe there will be a fall of birds before the New Year. But the weather is looking mild which may end my chances of Geese at the Farm... 

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Somerset - Very Obliging Pipit!

I woke up to the sound of whatsapp messages ringing in my ear... Viewing of the Blyth’s Pipit had been arranged at Blagdon Lake Somerset. Ok engage brain.. could go Thursday as there is rain forecast for tomorrow. Then just as I had settled for that option Thursday became an impossibility leaving today. I went into headless chicken mode.. I don’t really know why because all my birding gear is packed ready for situations like this.

By 1000hrs I was on the road dreading the drive ahead but to be fair it was a trouble free journey. I took the scenic route via Stonehenge which still puzzles me but my eyes gaze at in awe as I pass the site!

Blagdon Lake was a very picturesque setting to spend the afternoon with very few birders viewing the bird. A gentleman had the bird in his scope so I took up the offer to have a brief view of it before I set my stall out.
The Blyth’s Pipit was in company of a small flock of Meadow Pipits which gave a great comparison to its general shape, long legs stouter belly and upright stance with a short bill. It was bigger than the Mipits with a more upright bolder stance and had less streaking on the breast with a plain buff belly. The bird showed almost constantly between short flights along the shoreline.

The lake also held a few Great White Egret and little Egret who were seen wading in the margins. A Little Stint was taking advantage of the ample food source along the shore. Tundra (Bewick’s) Swan was present at the far end of the lake.

It may have been a lengthy drive but it had been worth the visit. The lake is usually open to permit holders only. Access had been granted for a reasonable £4 day permit. The warden was very helpful but I am not sure how long this arrangement will last for though!

The drive home took me via Bristol which gave me splendid views of the Clifton suspension Bridge before I negotiated the town centre and the motorway home. Woo Hoo!!

Monday, 12 December 2016

Derbyshire - In no Thrush to see this bird!

The last thing I had on my mind last night was a lengthy drive North.. Or was it because at 0300hrs I was awake, bright eyed and bushy tailed without any prospect of just rolling over and going back to sleep! A rapid decision was made to venture to Derbyshire to see the Dusky Thrush which seems to have been around forever.

By 0345hrs I was on the road having filled the car and my stomach. It was a bit foggy out but this did not sidetrack me from my quickly hatched plan. As the journey progressed needless to say the fog got worse and as I started the M1 leg of my journey had me considering the safety aspect as vehicles piled past me at a rate of knots! No wonder there are big pile ups on motorways!

I had left Kiss FM way behind after the M25 and selected some groovy tunes to accompany me on the rest of my journey. Mysteries of The World by M.F.S.B which is another indication of my music preference as I hear readers exclaiming Who??!! (Add a comment if you can tell me what M.F.S.B stands for)

I arrived at about 0730hrs and parked in the Carlton Lees car park. I joined a couple of birders and walked to the site. Good job really probably would have taken the long route to Dukes Barn Activity Centre. An arrow on a piece of card with “Bird” written on it indicated I had made it to the right place.

There were around twenty birders lined up between the building and orchard fence line. The Dusky Thrush was sat in a tree partially obscured by branches. That was easy enough and the bird obliged by dropping onto the floor to consume some fallen fruit. The light was not great but I used the gate as a tripod for my camera and I happily click away as the bird moved around feeding. 

The Thrush was a feisty character chasing off the larger blackbirds if they dared go near the fallen fruit which was clearly its quarry now! It showed for a good twenty minutes before it flew off over the trees and out of site. Fantastic!

I did a brief bit of birding in a field containing the local sheep on the way back to the car had a quick pre prepared snack and headed for the lights of London. Incidentally my music choice was a bit outside my box and livelier on the way home Bat out of Hell Meatloaf. What a brilliant album and great music to sing along (?!) and stay awake too! Woo Hoo!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Beddington Farm - Time to Gull!

The weather has been a lot colder over the last couple of nights reaching between -3 and -6 last night. The lakes were almost completely frozen this morning giving the growing attendance at The Farm a good opportunity to sift through the 10K+ gulls that are visiting daily. There is still hope that the juvenile and adult Iceland Gulls will be found having been seen at the Walton roost.

The lakes are covered in a blanket of gulls even before the sun rises which limits the possibility of waterfowl remaining on the lakes when the first observers arrive at stupid o clock. The winter residents seek cover along the edges of the reed beds and between islands.

The freeze provides a good opportunity to look at rings on some of the gulls and the collator of this information Frank Prater wasted no time in compiling a list. He recorded thirty rings by the end of the session including a 1st winter Caspian Gull which was ringed in Poland.

I do not consider myself an expert on gulls but Beddington Farm is littered with gulls at this time of year presenting a good opportunity to improve your knowledge on this very tricky and challenging subject. It helps to discuss the features of some of the odd looking gulls we get on site. Pete Alfrey was also on hand to assist with this process.

The first gull of interest to the group was a gull that had a Polish ring and this bird showed the standard characteristics of a 1st winter Caspian Gull.

This gull shows the four colours of a 1st winter bird. Firstly a long dark bill with white small head dark beady eye with a brownish shawl around the neck. 

The mantle and scapulars are grey leading into brownish mottling through the coverts with dark tertials with a white outer edge to the tips. This is more visible through P9 and 10 of the primary feathers. 

The legs are long and light pink giving the bird a ski slope back.

Another gull of interest was a Herring Gull that showed colour rings on both legs.

We also had an exotic flypast early morning which mysteriously appeared late morning in the scrub on the sand martin bank behind us.The bird was freed from the scrub but I am not sure how long it will last especially with the Peregrines patrolling the site!

We are still not sure now it managed to get there undetected! or did it walk through the scrub!

An interesting morning which ended with a fly over Red Kite! Incidently no white wingers were found!

Friday, 25 November 2016

Beddington Farm - Needle in a Haystack!!

The NE winds continue bringing an Iceland Gull to Beddington Farm late yesterday. These conditions are favourable for the Farm and had already shown their worth. The only snag is that the gulls these days are scattered all over the site. Numbers are around the 10k mark which means sifting through them would not be an easy task!

I arrived at the usual time of just before light o’clock and began scoping the North lake for a white winger. Instead I came across a female type Goosander swimming at the back of the remaining scrub on the far right hand side of a sunken island. The bird did not hang around for too long as it obviously saw the steady stream of gulls arriving and swiftly moved on! That was a pleasant surprise and only my third record at the Farm.

I continue to search for an Iceland Gull and was joined by the heavy artillery Pete “Pinpoint” Alfrey just after nine therefore two sets of eyes would surely succeed if there was one on site! Some four hours later and visits to the tip and anywhere else we could see gulls and not even a Caspo or YLG to show for our efforts! Stonechat and a group of Cormorants passing over and a Buzzard were slim reward but interesting all the same!

More NE tomorrow what will they bring!!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Essex - Their Tern to pay it a visit!

The last week has been quiet for most part. I have spent a few mornings at the Farm, taken a walk around Holmethorpe with very little on the rarity front to show for my efforts. I had been toying with the idea of renewing my RareBirdAlert (RBA) subscription and finally succumbed to that temptation! This I knew would be a bad move, not because RBA don’t provide a first rate service but it meant I would start looking beyond the boundaries of Surrey Vice County (SVC).

I think it took precisely two days of membership and a Forster’s Tern was found and photographed at Mistley Essex. This journey is a couple of hours drive for me so I began watching RBA website for developments. I do not consider myself much of a twitcher these days but this bird did catch my attention!

I was on the road at around mid-day having convinced myself the bird was there to stay for the day! The journey was straight forward with only a few moments pondering if the bird would still be there when I arrived! I found the group of birders that were staked out along the quay but had missed the bird by some 20mins. At least it was still here and the tide was on its way in which would mean a movement of birds from the sinking banks of exposed sand/mud.

I stood fast and scanned the area noting the antics of the island hopping Black-tailed Godwits. Turnstone had to be wary as a misplaced leg might force it to regurgitate what it had recently consumed! Redshank were also scattered in amongst this small mass. Goldeneye and Shelduck and a sizeable group of Mute Swan accompanied a scattering of gulls. A Kingfisher was also busy navigating the channel closest to the quay wall.

The Forster’s Tern appeared but took me a while to get onto the bird. Then came the tricky bit getting a picture in poor light which was fading fast! The tern did fly around for a short while giving me good views of it and of course some sort of a picture!

 The journey home was as easy with the Chelsea game on Five Live! Happy days! 

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Beddington Farm - Harrier Flyby as we all Remember!

It was business as usual at stupid o clock this morning. The rain had cleared up and a cloudy day with sunny spells was the forecast for the morning ahead. The wind which was more of a light breeze was an interesting N to NW when I arrived at the Farm!

I spent the first few hours counting birds firstly on the North then the South lake. There was a small movement of Wood Pigeon SW. Amongst the usual suspects were four Pheasant (3F 1M) near the hide, five Egyptian Geese and a Kingfisher which passed low between the lakes.

I decided to head to the valley where the Dartford Warbler had been seen during the week. This was to prove to be a major decision as the bird that was being mobbed by Corvids would not have been seen had I remained on Kojak’s corner (the mound opposite the main gates) or been in the hide!!

I was stood at the top of the mound which overlooks the lagoon and I noticed a pack of corvids going crazy in the sky to my left which could only mean there was a raptor in amongst them somewhere. A quick scan with the binos and yes it was a harrier with a white collar and band at the top of the tail. Crikey a Hen Harrier must get some pictures of this!! I reeled off a few shots and then began checking the pictures once the raptor had disappeared over Beddington Park!!

I had not been in that area for more than twenty minutes and I would have certainly missed the bird had I been anywhere else on the Farm! Whew that was a stroke of luck but maybe I had made my own luck on this occasion! Incidentally I did not see or hear the Dartford Warbler!

This species was not a new bird for my Beddington Farm list but only my second Farm record the last being a male on 21st April 2008. Back at Kojak's corner a Kestrel decided to offer its congratulations nearly crashing into me before it took up its hunting position above me. Woo hoo!!

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Beddington Farm - Time to duck!

Heavy rain was forecast for today and although it was not raining when I left home it did not take long before the forecasters got it right.

The tin hut at Beddington Farm is what it would say on the tin and is situated in the SW corner of the N Lake. It allows keyholders sanctuary from the elements providing there is not a N or NE gale blowing or worse rain with that!

I was the only one on site at stupid o clock this morning I guess that should have told me something! Nick “Pyro” Gardner doubled the numbers for a couple of hours later in the morning! The gulls were numerous as was to be expected but the landfill closes at around mid-day so the feeding frenzy would be short today! A Yellow-legged Gull was incidentally was to be the most interesting gull of the mornings watch!

I have been spoilt over the last few months with good light even on cloudy days at Laguna Blanca and it was time to put the new lens to the test on a typical English winter’s day! The ducks were to be the days focus and any that ventured near to the hide were fair game in my book!

There seemed to be a fair bit of movement on their part too with small groups busily circling the lake looking to find a landing space between the gulls resting on the water.  A Dunlin had an aggressive reaction from the gulls as it whizzed around the lake at low level before giving up any hope of making a landing departing over the landfill E.

Tufted, Pochard, Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, Gadwall and Wigeon were all present in small numbers on the lake. None seemed too bothered about the conditions above but it was good weather for ducks!! A Water Rail had more to say on the subject as it squealed in front of the hide. A Cetti’s Warbler piped up as if to tell the bird to quieten down as it was trying to rest!

I will be stood in a different kind of hut this afternoon as the U’s take on Barrow in the National Conference!

Friday, 11 November 2016

Surrey VC - A Walk in the Park!

I have been home for just over a week now and I have not been out on the birding trail that often. Beddington Farm is very quiet apart from the growing monster of an incinerator in the NE corner of the site. The gulls are as numerous as ever but I guess these days are now numbered at the Farm. A Caspian Gull and a Yellow Legged Gull were found by Devilbirder during the course of the mornings birding. The Dartford Warbler is still present on site along with a few Wigeon. The lake is rising at a rate of knots after the rain so there is always hope of a sawbill or a rarer duck visiting the lake and staying!

Today I took a walk through Perretts Field and saw a lone Common Gull stood on the freshly cut grass. It looked as lost as I felt as it looked around the empty field!

I caught a few shots of a Herring Gull as it passed overhead but gulls are common place in the area as they commute to and from Beddington Farm where the dining is substantially more lucrative!

There were a few Magpies Robin, Corvids, and House Sparrow but not much else. Sears Park was just as quiet but the walk was pleasant on a slightly fresh sunny day!

Surrey Vice County has had a trickle of interesting birds in the last few days Cranes over Wisley, Whooper Swans at Tice’s (SVC tick for me!) and White- fronted Geese at Send. I have just got to keep my eyes on the weather and put myself in the right place. More rain tomorrow but will it turn up another rarity in the county !

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Laguna Blanca - Saludo a los aves de Laguna Blanca!!

I had finished my survey in the Cerrado which produced Egrets, Brazilian Teal which had a White Cheeked Pintail in tow on its flooded Campo Limpio. I heard a Surucua Trogon calling near the museum and made my way in an attempt to finally get a decent shot of it!

The bird was proving elusive hidden in the top third of the tree but it was still calling so it would be only a matter of time before it was caught on camera. The bird a male took small flights from tree to tree and then came to rest near the Volunteer house where it remained long enough to secure the moment!

This species is resident on the reserve but is very difficult to find. They have just started calling and therefore have been easier to locate. The bird looked down at me as if in tribute as I would be leaving the reserve to head home.

This has been a fantastic seven months which has flown by as I have gone in search of my feathered friends. Thanks to Para La Tierra and Paul Smith for their guidance. I recorded 198 species on the reserve with a couple of species that I missed. Nine new species were recorded on the reserve. I recorded 50 new birds for my Paraguay list (including San Rafael and the Chaco) and saw 76 life birds whilst in South America (week at Los Volcanes Bolivia and Buenos Aires). I hope Laguna Blanca survives the storm so that I can return to marvel in its glory once again! 

Saludo a los aves de Laguna Blanca!! 

Friday, 28 October 2016

Laguna Blanca - Another Double !!


The last couple of nights have been chilly with temperatures plummeting down to 9C. The lagoon was mist bound at stupid o clock this morning but the sun was up and that was not going to last for long.

I made my way round to the Seasonal Pond where the morning vigil would take place. The birds did not really come to life until the sun was high in the sky. But then it was the raptors and vultures time to enter stage left. Mississippi Kites were seen thermaling E over the forest some were juvenile birds.
A Roadside Hawk was next on the list followed shortly afterwards by Black Vulture. Then a Rufous thighed Kite wheeled above my head before a brief encounter with the Hawk before it sailed off E. Another life bird had made its way onto my Laguna Blanca list making my total for the reserve 241 (328 reserve total). Woo hoo!

I also manage to get some pictures of the Greater Ani which are growing in numbers around the Seasonal Pond today.

Add an Osprey to the day list it has just flown over the lagoon!


Jorge, Jeremy and I were sat outside the Museum cleaning boxes when Jorge suddenly said “Cardinal”. We both stopped and he repeated his short statement which had me looking nervously around “Donde?” I exclaimed as Red crested Cardinal was a reserve tick for me. Jorge then explained that the bird was in the dead tree. A quick look and I was sprinting over to the house to get my camera and binos (when will I learn!!). I returned to the beach and secured the record and marvelled at this stunning bird.

Outside the reserve this species is regularly seen in the populated areas but I have always wondered why more are not seen on the reserve. I guess the area is not populated enough for them?! Another species has joined my LB list which seems to be growing by the day.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Laguna Blanca - Life Birds form a Queue!!

I have been back on the survey trail this week and it has turned out to be eventful with two life birds seen on the reserve. The first on 24th was during a survey of the lagoon when I picked up in the binos some dancing gallinules above the reeds along the E side of the lagoon.  I set the telescope up on the area and hoped that the birds would perform again. After about ten minutes I saw an Azure Gallinule pop up into the air and drop down again into the reeds. These birds are usually present during the summer months but I had not connected with this species before. Woo hoo number one!

Today the 25th I was walking the Mboijaguar trail when the jays started kicking up a commotion and a broad winged long tailed raptor with a Goshawk like appearance appear from the Transitional Forest. I managed to fire off a couple of shots as the Crane Hawk dropped over the tree-line and sailed away from the commotion. Lifer number 2, Woo hoo!!

There are still new species being added to the year list. A small group of Streamer Tailed Tyrant were seen along the lagoon edge during the Lagoon survey.

Sunday 23rd saw twelve Mississippi Kite thermalling NW over the beach. Brown Chested Martin also made an appearance over my head as I took advantage of the sun which incidentally has taken temperatures into the forties over the last week!

Two more surveys to go what will be next??!

Friday, 21 October 2016

Laguna Blanca Double - Macaw Madness in the Cerrado!!

I have spent the last week walking a tightrope whilst working on pitfall traps in the Cerrado. By this I mean I have not taken my camera or binos with me just a load of buckets, tarp and sticks. I have returned soaked and covered in muck some days therefore the above were not suitable for carriage.
It was inevitable that a good bird would come by at some stage but I was not expecting what turned up this morning at around 0800hrs. There had been the tail end of a front moving across the Cerrado with clear skies behind it. Catherine and I were up to our arms in setting the tarp on a pitfall bucket and then I heard a loud waaarrhh!! I instantly went into birding meltdown. My brain had registered what the species was but my mouth needed to catch up! Whats that? ... Catherine looked up from what she was doing... The mouth had by now caught up Macaw Macaw but where was it!
(photo by Catherine Lee-Zuck Canada)
The Red and Green Macaw flew towards us at low level but OMG no camera ****. Catherine had a digital camera and produced it in rapid time taking a single shot as the bird past us! Whew she certainly saved the day there (but there was more to come!). I phoned Becca who was in the Atlantic Forest on the off chance that the Macaw would stop off behind the front! The last confirmed record was in 2012 but there was a Macaw heard by Griselda and Jorge but unfortunately not seen approx a month ago therefore remains a Macaw sp!

It was time to go crazeeee a life bird and a species that was on my wish list of birds! Catherine was more reserved but excited all the same!
(photo by Catherine Lee-Zuck Canada)

Shortly afterwards two Kites appeared stopping on the top of the trees as if to wait for the front to move on further before they continued their journey. They were White tailed Kite which was another new bird for my reserve list... These were definitely crazy times! Catherine to the rescue again!

At this point I could not concentrate and flipped about waving my arms in the air (The Beddington Farm boys have experience of this behaviour). Amazing stuff all caught on camera. I can only liken the buzz factor to scoring an important goal in a soccer match!! I am still buzzing Woo hoo!!


During the afternoon an excited Jorge entered the museum saying “Come quickly!” I got outside and looked around by the large black birds he had seen had gone. I decided to hang around and watch the skies which proved to be a great decision as the two black birds re appeared over the lagoon.

The pair of Bare-faced Ibis was obviously looking to rest but declined to stop after a second look at the lagoon. Jorge confirmed the birds were the same he had seen.

The only other flyover of interest was a mixed group of Egrets. The low cloud and el magico had worked his magic once again!

Friday, 14 October 2016

Laguna Blanca - Confused species new to my Laguna Blanca list!!

The pitfall trap production line was taking itself into the Cerrado today where the study would take place. There was just enough time to check the lagoon and seasonal pond for any migrants that had been downed by the previous night storm.

I noticed a small shorebird that was keen to land on the beach. The Lapwings had other ideas and flew into action chasing the tired bird over the reeds. I took a few shots and then made my way to the pond. The rest of the day was spent with the housemates in the Cerrado digging pitfall lines.

The storm raged through the night and the power went out making for a good opportunity to catch up on some sleep. Jeremy informed me that there was a very obliging shorebird along the beach which looked like a White-rumped Sandpiper. I showed him my pictures from the previous day and it was confirmed as the same bird.

This was good news as at around this time last year I flushed three birds which fitted this species description but I did not get a good enough look at them before they flew off. I hot footed it along the beach and photographed the bird which was a couple of metres from me. It must have been hungry to ignore my slow advances! 

After some consultation with the Helm Guide to Bird Identification Comparing Confusion Species White-rumped Sandpiper gets the vote over Baird's. I hope more bird ID guides will make it onto Kindle!!

Both would have been a new bird for my Laguna Blanca list putting me one closer to the reserve total. There is still a lot of birds to see and some species that will be one off visitors!!

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Laguna Blanca - Solitary moment!!


Today I was helping Catherine (CAN) gather pitfall buckets so that she can set up pitfall lines in the Cerrado. There were two lines of buckets in the vicinity of the seasonal pond which would be ideal for this use.

The morning would involve shuttles to and from the Seasonal Pond laden with 35L buckets. There was little time to bird but I kept my eyes peeled for anything unusual along the Lagoon edge and on the pond. We took a short cut to avoid the swamp by the lagoon and walked into a wasps nest with some very angry occupants!! A short run and a few stings later we were both in the clear and after a brush down of the hangers on we continued on to the Pond.

A Swallow-tailed Kite was seen over the pond and Atlantic Forest and as we were piling up the buckets at the head of the path I spotted a shorebird bobbing its tail on the edge of the pond. I did not have binos but the jizz of the bird suggested a Solitary Sandpiper! The walk back to the base with the buckets was as swift as possible and the return with camera and binos was even quicker.

The bird was still present and the species was confirmed as a Solitary Sandpiper. After a few pictures we both made a quiet retreat from the area leaving the bird to rest before continuing its journey.

The wind became very strong in the afternoon with a cloud front approaching! Will the storm bring anything else down onto the reserve!

The storm did not arrive but the Sandpiper was seen along the beach this morning.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Laguna Blanca - High as a Kite!

07 - 10/10
The weather has settled into a rhythm of clear skies with warm sunny afternoons which is always good for movements of raptors . I only caught a glimpse of a large raptor passing over the lagoon the previous day which has sharpened my appetite for not missing the next bird that pays a fleeting visit.
A Swallow-tailed Kite passed through the lagoon on the 7th taking a brief drink from the lagoon as it headed N. This appears to be a regular flyway for this species at this time of year.

A Snail Kite was caught on camera as it made its way SW over the lagoon on 8th at 11am. This species does stop off for on the reserve very often but I have seen them in trees on the edge of the Lagoon and Seasonal Pond.

A Pearl Kite gave some of the housemates an aerobatics display during this morning (10th). The Brown-chested Martin is a bigger version of the Sand Martin and I always live in hope of the latter passing through the reserve! As I was looking closely at these and Grey-breasted Martin I caught eye of four Mississippi Kite in the corner of my binos. These flew into the wind with wings folded in formation flew N at 1355hrs. They seemed in a great hurry to get places! Little did I know that this would be the start of a mini movement of this species.

The second group was much larger a total of 18 birds which arrived over the Atlantic Forest wheeling in all directions before grouping up to head NW at 1520hrs. The last group was much smaller three birds that flew N at 1530hrs! Will there be more tomorrow!!