Thursday, 24 March 2016

Going away present in Surrey VC!

I took another visit this morning to Pyrford Surrey in an attempt to see the Little Bunting which had successfully eluded me thus far! Pictures of this fantastic bird were posted yesterday by Mark Leitch after some eight hours in the field.

There were only a handful of birders at the site and there had been sightings during the morning. I Walked down to the farmhouse side of the field so that I could get a good panoramic view of the area. A Brambling was the first bird of the day on the small area of tree and hawthorns.

I set up and began scanning the field which had a few Reed Buntings, Brambling and Chaffinch running along the channels. Then somewhere in the middle of the field I spied the Little Bunting walking up a channel between the stubble. I started running a mental check of the characteristics that were in full view... chestnut lores, eye-ring, white tick along the chin, visible wing-bar and as it walked up the field the black crown stripe and distinct pattern to the primaries Bingo...!!

I announced the bird’s presence keeping it in my scope view but could not describe where I was looking without risking losing the bird. I had a dilemma on my hands, attempt digi-scoping shots or get people on to the bird through my scope. The latter was always going to win which provided views for a couple of birders but was as it turned out to be the only opportunity of the day!!

A Red kite was a regular feature across the skyline its presence sent a large flock of Stock Dove airborne. I never tire of seeing this species although one has not graced Beddington with its presence this year despite other local records.

The cloud and showers soon closed in making identification of distant birds very difficult. The group of buntings was growing and was estimated to be at 50+ by the end of the afternoon. The weather is set to improve tomorrow with sunny periods which is always good!

Friday, 18 March 2016

Bogey bird falls at the Farm!

Beddington Farm has had a run of NE winds with some low cloud of late resulting in a handful of Black-tailed Godwit, and an Avocet stopping by. I dipped the Avocet earlier in the week and mentally had erased the chance of adding this rare visitor to my Farm list before I travel back to Laguna Blanca, Paraguay.

This morning conditions were almost perfect and as I was stirring from an early night a nightingale sang in my room (my ringtone!). Dodge who had already arrived at the Farm announced there was an Avocet on the North Lake.

I could not believe my luck two in a week or a returning bird?! But chaos soon reigned as these birds do not stay for long. After ten minutes of madness I was feasting my eyes on what had been a bogey bird for me with three previous near misses. A small distraction during this time was a Great White Egret that passed overhead. This bird was suprisingly trumped by taking pictures in poor light of the Beddington tick that was looking increasingly edgy as the wave of gulls arrived.

After a brief celebration with Dodge and Frank I did the Cafe run to get the teas and rolls in. The morning progressed with a small movement of Chaffinch and the Iceland Gull putting in another appearance.

The mound was checked for Wheatear without success but the skies looked good for something else to arrive. A Redshank made a couple of appearances which had us walking to the South Lake as it whizzed by. Prof joined the small group and entered mystery raptor just as I was briefly indisposed.

The pictures and this bird which had us stumped have since been closely looked at within the confines of homes with no definitive conclusions. The mystery will remain as it should do without a positive identification!

Not a bad day with Beddington tick number 181 proving once again the Farm provides when the conditions are right!