Saturday, 17 June 2017

West Sussex - Pagham Harbour - Better to Go Late Than Never!

An Elegant Tern has been present for over a week at Church Norton, Pagham Harbour, West Sussex and I had not gone to see which I cannot explain. The traffic put me off after seeing the Red Footed Falcon at Frensham.

I obviously had an improved mindset this morning because I was up and out early.. ish and making my way down to Pagham. The bird had been seen therefore there was a good chance I would add this species to my life list.
The journey was kind to me and I arrived just in time to secure a spot in the Church Norton car-park. A short walk later and I joined the line of twitchers who had their scopes trained on the bird. This was probably one of the easier twitches I had gone on. The only difficulty I had was securing photos of the bird!
There has been talk of a possible hybrid. This species has hybridized with Sandwich Tern in France in the past. There is also a population of Lesser Crested tern in the Southern Mediterranean. There are plenty of good pictures on the Bird alert websites to scrutinize.  I understand a DNA sample has been taken so the identity of the species should be conclusive!

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Frensham - Scramble Scramble!! Falcon on the Ridge!!

There was no time to breathe this morning as my slumber was broken by my phone going crazeee next to me! A Red Footed Falcon had been found at Frensham by Sean Peters. Surrey Ed had obviously realized Koje was still in cuckoo land and was trying his upmost to raise the dead!!

Breakfast consisted of a swig of Piriton and the Kojemobile was off and running albeit on a minimal fuel. The journey down was straight forward enough with my trustee SATNAV. Lings ridge is about a ten minute walk from the Frensham Great Pond Carpark but you have to traverse the sand before you negotiate the hill.
Having arrived at the top I saw Dave Carlsson and Stevie Mc without his side kick on this occasion! I had just missed the bird which had been showing well but I was confident it would still be in the area.  I set down on the ridge and began scanning the area. There were a few scattered trees on the heathland. The bird had been favouring the larger dead trees.

It was just a game of patience from then onwards and this paid off as the bird flew over the ridge to the other side perching up on top of a small tree. I spoke to Sean who pointed out this was the first twitchable Surrey Vice County (SVC) bird! This brings my SVC list to a respectable 229 (considering I have lived abroad for parts). Woo Hoo!!

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Beddington Farm - Storm brings in a Little Gull!

As the birding calendar enters into the doldrums a good storm is required to stir things up a bit. A stupid o clock start had me walking in on the tail end of the storm. This made the task of surveying a little bit tricky with many birds staying low in cover to avoid the howling wind.
I met up with Derek Coleman and we walked a familiar route around the environs on the North Lake. As we entered the middle gate Derek saw a small gull near the water outlet. “Oh what’s that?” he exclaimed. The gull was a juvenile type Little Gull which had likely been driven down by the storm. Glen in the mean time had also picked up the gull from near the hide.
The bird was reasonably close so the camera was put into action as the bird took a short flight to another spot on the lake. The bird was still present when I left the site at around 0900hrs.
The Farm has a pair of very territorial Mute Swan on each of the North and South lakes and both pairs have been successful with one cygnet being reared on the North Lake and four on the South.
The cygnets are naturally heavily guarded but I managed some shots from a good distance away.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Beddington Farm - Exploration time!

My attentions of late have turned to completing survey schedules but I have been visiting the Farm and doing some exploring in areas I don't usually traverse. There has not been much to report on the rarity front but I guess that anything that turns up now is going to be a mega! Therefore it would be futile to desert the place just yet!
During my rounds I have taken the opportunity to expand my patch photo list. A singing Skylark gave away its position on the mound one morning and the photo opportunity was duly taken!
A late snipe popped up on the South Lake the other day. The design of this lake was completed and looks far more appealing to the eye than the North Lake.
I spent yesterday morning checking the nest boxes on the Farm with Derek Coleman and we happened upon these Great Tit that are not far short of fledging!
There is a good spread of wild flowers in the fields and on the slopes of the mound. The ploughed area also looks very inviting to tired birds. A Whimbrel spent a couple of days feeding in this area. With the additional fauna and considerable rises in the daily temperature s it was not long before the butterflies put in an appearance.
A walk through the Bedzed field and area adjacent to the old site of the railway bridge produces Small Tortouiseshell Common Blue and Peacock butterflies. I have signed up to the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme and will be collecting data on my BBS square at Oaks Park.
A Bee took the opportunity to photo bomb a picture this time. I am beginning to get quite a collection of these pictures. At the time of taking the shot I am oblivious to the goings on in the background!

At the end of this week I will be at New Barn Farm West Sussex for the BTO Nest Recording Scheme. I am looking forward to this course which will be another piece of my ornithological jigsaw puzzle!

Friday, 19 May 2017

Beddington Farm - "Calling Beddington Bird Rescue - Come in Please!!"

Today started the same as any other! David Cambell and I arrived at the same time had a quick scan of the lakes and then set up our stall in the hide for a potentially rain filled day! Frank had gone for a walk and found a drake Garganey on the South Lake which caused a mini twitch for the new members Magnus and Christian.
In the mean time a Herring Gull was spotted in some distress on the main island. The bird had been hooked by a fishing lure and the fishing wire had become entangled around one of the bushes on the island leaving the bird pinned head and neck down to the ground!
Following a distress call from other gulls the group members leapt into action phone calls were made and with the addition of Tomas the boat was fully inflated and a shovel was used as an oar to steer the rescue mission over to the island.
The crew of two set off Tomas at the shovel and David Campbell as C licence bird handler. Fortunately the seas were calm with a slight W wind to assist with a perfect landing!
The gull was promptly freed from its torment and placed to recover whist the remainder of the line was cleared preventing any further probability of casualties. Around five minutes later the gull was washing up and flapping its wings waving farewell to its liberators!
Word had got out amongst the local Hirundines and they lined the route welcoming the crew back to shore! The landing however was not as smooth was it DB?!
On examination of the lure a further sad note to the story was revealed. Another bird (likely to be a gull) had swallowed the lure and line and had perished leaving a tangled mess around some of its remains! The Herring gull had obviously seen the same attraction in the imitation fish and hooked itself in the bill and become entangled!!

There is no permitted public access at Beddington Farm but there are certainly no Pike let alone numbers of fish for it to feed on! If this tackle had made it onto the landfill then I can only appeal to anglers to dismantle hooks and line before throwing items in the bin!! Grrr!
The drake Garganey remained on the south lake until at least lunch time and was also twitched by non key holding birders.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Beddington Farm - Having a funny Tern!

This morning I took another tour of the Farm starting at the area N of the North Lake. I then took a quick look at Jim’s bed on 100 Acre, before moving on to Bikers Field and then Bedzed field. There were no great surprises but it was a joy to watch a large family of Blue Tit the young all lined up waiting for their parents to feed them. They all looked so peaceful as mum and dad raced around collecting food for their siblings. A smaller family were seen along the edge of the Bedzed field but there were only a couple of mouths to feed.
Having completed my tour of these areas I headed back to the North Lake where Frank was scanning the lake. Swifty joined us a short time later. There is a pair of Sand Martin that have been prospecting the artificial bank therefore viewing operations have moved to a small sheltered area between the hide and the bank. Frank had gone for a walk over the mound when I spotted a tern flying low over the Lake. I put the camera to work straight away as the bird completed a quick circuit of the island and sailed away N.  
A few moments later what I thought was the same bird appeared over the lake. A few more pictures later and this bird left in the same direction! I was confident the birds were Common Tern but wanted to make certain so we all trooped into the hide where the light was better for looking at pictures in a viewfinder. This confirmed that there were two terns that had made a brief visit to the lake. The second bird had more black on the leading edge of the primaries and darker outer edge to the secondaries.

Heavy rain is due this evening from the SW and this is scheduled to continue throughout the rest of tomorrow. Will the day be a complete washout or will there be a surprise visitor or two!!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Beddington Farm - Spot Fly gets photo bombed!

The weather forecast is rarely right so I don’t know why I expected today to be any different. When I looked last night rain was forecast for later in the day which would give me enough time to cover 100 Acre and a bit beyond. At stupid o’clock off I set and made good time to start the day. The rain was obviously in a rush to reach the Farm too no sooner had I began my walk the heavens opened and continued sporadically throughout the morning.

As I was checking the beds to the E of the Incinerator I spied a Spotted Flycatcher which was sheltering out of the wind and rain. A couple of Greenfinch had other ideas about this and began harassing the bird. When they realized the paparazzi were present one paused and photo bombed a couple of my shots!

Not a bad find considering this is an area of the Farm which is rarely traversed. The height of the nettles and scrub had probably seen most people off. I was however pretty soaked by the end of my short journey around these beds.
Elsewhere there were a good number of Swift amongst the hirundines this morning. The Caspian Gull was on the North lake mid morning. Nice one DB!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Beddington Farm - WeBS Out on a Whim!

Today was WeBS day at Beddington Farm. An early start did not put me at any great advantage as it was chucking it down with rain. I took refuge in the hide with David “Devilbirder” Campbell until the worst of the weather had past. David and I then headed in opposite directions. I prefer to start the counts at 100 Acre and move south covering the lakes mound and finishing in the SE corner.

It was not too long before the group whatsapp was whistling in my pocket and David had seen a Whimbrel that was clearly looking for some sanctuary around the edges of the South Lake. The bird set down and being at the furthest point away from the lakes I continued counting.

By the time I had reached the North Lake the thought of seeing this bird had disappeared from my mind. I moved on to the South Lake when I saw David at the gates with Christian. This was a new Farm species for Christian so I joined them briefly whilst completing the counts on the South Lake.
The bird had re-located itself on the mound close to the freshly ploughed area by a group of saplings that were still in their protective casings. This provided ideal cover to get closer and get some shots having made a real dogs dinner of taking pictures during a brief  period of flight!

That was a pleasant surprise and thanks to some eagle eyed spotting by David, Christian added another to his total!

WeBS day has a habit of turning up a surprise Woo Hoo!

Friday, 12 May 2017

Beddington Farm - April turned out Alright in the End!

Having spent the majority of March birding in Spain I embarked on my own patch watch challenge. My personal objective was to see Bar-tailed Godwit as well as record the passage of migrants through Beddington Farm. The month ahead was particularly gruelling at times but it had its moments which provided the fuel to continue on with the campaign!
I will begin on a sad and rather worrying note.The Farms flagship species Tree Sparrow was still present but having spent time with Derek Coleman checking the nest boxes there only appears to be two breeding pairs with the possibility of a third that may still be prospecting. A few years ago the BFBG recorded just short of 1000 birds including pulii! Efforts are being undertaken to assist in this species recovery but is it too late! Time will tell!
(photo by Roger Browne)
The first week of April provided the perfect start when Dodge picked up a Goshawk flying N over the lake. He was also sharp on the lens providing pictures of this amazing raptor. I certainly did not have this species on my list of possible! Red Kites were on the increase with up to three a day during some periods. The Sutton Peregrines were also regular visitors causing flight chaos amongst the residents!
Great Crested Grebe which is not a common feature at the Farm spent time on the lakes. This species has now been added to my photo gallery. Little Egret and Cormorant were regularly present. The lakes limited stock of fish and eels had to remain forever on guard with a dark torpedo shape whizzing around seizing every opportunity for a meal. One Tench was clearly caught napping as a Cormorant scooped it up in its bill despatching it unceremoniously down its throat!
A record passage of Mediterranean Gull over a few days. The highest tally of twenty one flying N. This species is usually a regular feature during the Winter months but had rarely been seen until this point.
A Male Ring Ouzel thought it had escaped my glances as I checked the sludge beds on 100 Acre with Frank. But the "Blackbird with a white bib!" was not quick enough on this occasion. The bird was re-located hiding in the lower part of a line of trees waiting patiently for the intruders to move on!
Iceland and Glaucous Gulls were seen throughout the month. One large Iceland Gull causing a few id issues amongst observers. This bird is still present favouring 100 Acre.
A good passage of Reed Warbler were processed in the nets along with some very lively Ring-necked Parakeets who left their mark on both Devilbirder and myself. Another lively character was processed today more scars but the bird was fine!

The weather was playing its part with a generally cold rain free month which appeared to hold many birds on the continent until there was a change in conditions. This provided a surge of birds and the best days birding at the Farm for a few years.
This saw my target bird fall and it stuck around long enough to get a few digi-scope shots as it fed on the North Lake.
The appearance of a Temminck’s Stint threw a good morning into chaos as attempts were made to get keyholders to the Farm to see it. This species has not been seen since 2004 and represents the eleventh record. Was it the same bird I had seen the previous day (pic above)!
The birds continued to fall throughout the day with a very obliging Nightingale singing near the gates. A Turtle Dove which flew low S over the lake.  Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank and Greenshank added to the shorebird list. The first Hobby and Whinchat of the year were recorded. Wheatear were also present on the mound
The evening continued with the arrival of Arctic Tern who had a brief look at the lake before flying off E. A thirteen hour day which in the past would have kept keyholders here from dawn to dusk but saw periods when I was the only observer present!
This was a great ending to April with the Observatory (Pete Alfrey’s flat window) providing an early surprise at the beginning of May. A Black Redstart that was feeding in an adjacent garden to his.

Four new birds for my Beddington Farm list which stands at 185 species. One addition to my Surrey Vice County list which now stands at 229 but I will be losing one when the Redpolls are lumped!
The marathon continues into May with a mix of bird banding which has me up at in-describable o clock and stake outs on the corner! We are entering the period of the MEGA but will the Farm produce another surprise?!

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Beddington Farm - Wood you believe it!

I spent the morning bird banding/ringing on 100 Acre with David Campbell and Josh Burch. A chilly start to the day reduced the number of birds in the nets but as the day progressed there was more activity amongst our feathered friends. Seventeen birds were processed with another good return of new Reed Warbler in the area.

There were the usual Saturday suspect’s on site with Peter Alfrey on a mission to find a Wood Sandpiper following reports of an influx into the country. In tradition with his persistence and preferred mode of transport (mountain bike) allowing him to cover a good proportion of the Farm he produce the goods finding a single bird on the mitigation scrape on 100 Acre. The bird was feeding under bushes on the far bank which allowed good views of the bird without any risk of flushing it.
An interesting white winged gull also spent time on its own on Jim’s bed on 100 Acre. This was a large Iceland gull which was aged as a second year bird. Was this the bird that had caused an identification issue earlier on in April?!

There was a good movement of Hirundines today with 100 Swift and 145 Swallow passing through. Thirteen Common Sandpipers were also recorded along with a Greenshank, Redshank and Caspian Gull. A female Ring Ouzel in the SE corner made up the total for the day.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Beddington Farm - A rare appearance from a Black Redstart!

Today was perfect Farm weather Low cloud overcast, NE wind with showers but would it facilitate a movement of birds?! The early signs were good with a couple of Common Tern arriving from the E joining the mass of airborne gulls that had been spooked by a streamer bird (gull that has picked up some kind of tape or bag which trails from a leg or wing in flight) which as a rule causes chaos amongst the rest of the gulls!
The star bird of the day did not make an appearance until the end of the day and well after I had left the Farm. I had just gone home from catching up on chores when Dodge rang informing me that Pete Alfrey had a Black Redstart in his back garden. Pete’s flat is situated within Beddington Farmlands recording area on the W side of the railway. My shopping was abandoned on the kitchen floor and the Kojemobile set on out a short but tricky journey just on the edge of rush hour!

The bird was feeding in an adjacent garden popping up on the fence line intermittently. Frank scored his 201st Farm tick and my total took another step towards the 200 mark. That bird was easy enough although I am surprised the site does not hold more of this species.
The Farm had produced again with Dunlin arriving earlier and migrating to 100Acre where they joined Greenshank and Little Ringed Plover. The Redshank preferred to battle it out on the North Lake with the gulls where a first year Caspian Gull was noted. The Glaucous Gull was observed perched on a post first thing in the works area. A Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail were also noted on the mound.

I have submitted the Temminck’s Stint and Goshawk (additional observer) rarity submissions to Surrey and await their judgement. I have seen four new species for my Farm list during my Spring-watch which tomorrow enters into its thirty forth day. The longest day so far has been thirteen hours!
I can feel another trip coming on!

Monday, 1 May 2017

Beddington Farm - Spring Arrives in Style Part 2

As the search for the Temminck’s dwindled Whinchat and Wheatear where located on the N side of the mound. I caught up with the former as I made my way back to the hide. Tank and Swifty decided to go and check the South Lake when they heard a Nightingale singing by the gates. This is another rare visitor to the Farm and off we went to see the latest addition to the growing day list.
The bird was happily singing away but very difficult to see. I returned to the hide to allow the rush of onlookers to dissipate. The bird could be heard from the Sand Martin bank. This was a Farm tick for Swifty and some of the newer keyholders. More importantly it was new for Frank who had heard birds in the past but had not seen one. The BFBG rule is that the first bird has to be seen to be added to your site total. Patience turned out to be a virtue with the bird showing well (for a Nightingale anyway!) allowing Frank to notch up his 200th Farm species.

In between times a Black tailed Godwit flew through S and put the brakes on taking a small circuit above the lake before deciding to continue its journey. Time was now moving into early afternoon and the few hardcore birders were left. A Turtle Dove was observed flying SE low over the North Lake. This species is another rare visitor to the patch.

By 1600hrs a small group of Med Gull flying E and Hobby had added themselves to the tally. The numbers of eyes were now dwindling with Redshank being the last wader before I was left to hold the fort for the remainder of the day. There was no chance I would be leaving any time soon!
My staying power paid off with a group of Arctic Tern appearing out of the edge of the front which was now lining the path on the W side of the Farm. A Greenshank was next out of the cloud moving around the lake looking for somewhere to settle down before it flew out SE over the mound.
The last appearance of the day was at around 1920hrs where the forth Hobby of the day decided to eye me up stood on the bank. It appeared confused almost hovering like a Kestrel at times. The remaining hour was quiet.

This bank holiday weekend has a habit of producing rarities and is definitely one not to miss in your diary if you don’t want to be looking at the alerts on your phone all day!

What an incredible day!

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Beddington Farm - Spring Arrives In Style! Part 1

There had been much talk about a weather front moving W through Europe coupled with strong SE winds that would in effect create a corridor funnelling birds that had been held up on the continent during the cold N/NW winds. The rising temperature would encourage a large push through the UK! With all that said I was surprised to be the only one on watch at the Farm this morning!

The day started with a unintentional sleep in which in hindsight turned out to be a blessing in disguise. News from surrounding sites had already filtered through. Had I missed the action?! I walked onto the corner and had a quick look through the binos and the lake seemed tranquil and rarity free! I started scanning with the telescope and picked up a lone Bar-tailed Godwit feeding on the NE area of the main island. This species was one of my targets for my Spring watch. I was pretty happy with that and made my way down to the hide to get some pictures of my newest addition to my Beddington Farm list.
The Godwit was being chased about by the residents but returned to the same corner so I set up my digi-scoping unit and took some shots. As I was flipping the camera unit to view the Godwit I caught a glimpse of a small wader attempting to shelter out of the wind by a small piece of debris in the same area of the island. The scope was set at x20 and to get better views I had to dismantle the unit and put the eyepiece up to x60.

The bird was Stint sized with a curved bill which was dark and thin towards the tip. The head and breast band were grey/brown .  A breast band was evident but uneven and untidy. The breast appeared puffed out in relation to the slender long body. It was far too small to be one of the Common Sandpipers that were present on the lake. I put the word out to Dodge to get to the farm pronto! (Similar words used!). I realised this could be a Temminck’s Stint but I needed a better view of the body and legs. Pictures were not an option at this stage as the scope was maxed out and if I lost sight of the bird identification would not be complete!

The bird shuffled around in its attempts to shelter appearing side on to the  rocks and debris. I could see its grey/brown mantle which had a slight rufous tinges beyond the neck, a white underbelly and a long extending tail. The legs had some mud on the lower part but I could see they were a soft yellow. There was no striping down its back. Crikey it was a Temminck’s!! A short excited phone call to Dodge later and I watched the bird move down to the far edge of the island which was lower and out of sight.

I sprinted scope in hand towards the corner to get to get some elevation to view the bird but could not re locate it at the back of the island. I made my way around the lake checking the same area making no sense to Dodge and others that were now arriving. Apparently as well as being out of breath I was talking complete gibberish!!

The bird sadly was not re-located but could have been hidden away amongst the masses of rocks scattered over the island. News of other Temminck’s filtered through from Little Marlow and Tyttenhanger including a find by Beddington Farm’s own Pete Alfrey at Otmoor RSPB!

This will be the eleventh record at the Farm most records are from May the last was seen in 2004 by Gary Messenbird. This will be my 184th species at the Farm. What a crazy start to the day which continued with a range of other migrants part 2 to follow!

REF: The Birds of Beddington Farm by Alfrey,Milne, Coleman and the BFBG

Friday, 28 April 2017

Beddington Farm - Reed All About It!

The weather over the last few days has been mixed but one thing that has been fairly consistent is the drop in temperature which may have affected the movement of birds from the continent. Dave Harris found a new Walton bird in a Red-rumped Swallow which had me covering the lakes last night in case the bird moved in the Farms direction. The bird was however still present at Island Barn this morning.

This morning I was up at fruit loopy o clock to assist Devilbirder bird banding on 100 Acre. The Owls were still vocal despite a tiny bit of mizzle but it seemed warmer than the previous days. Would this be a good day in the nets or another weather blocker!
It turned out to be our best day so far in the nets with numerous Reed Warbler that were new arrivals. One bird was a control which is likely to be a returning bird from a previous year. New Blackbird were  moving through this area in relative numbers. Fat and muscle ratings are taken  from each bird giving an indication of the health of the new arrivals before they are released.
100 Acre had a Greenshank that kept disappearing only to re appear on a bed behind our temporary base. A bird was seen on Jim’s pit which only appeared to have one leg and was using it very well to hop about the bed eventually hopping into flight and back in the direction of where we had left a two legged bird. Was it just resting a leg or were there two birds? Common, Green Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover and a few Lapwing completed the wader contingent in this area. Red Kite was also noted. This species has been almost a daily occurrence lately with three birds on some days.
It was good to see a mix of waders on the sludge beds hopefully it will pull a few more into the area over the next few days!

Monday, 24 April 2017

Beddington Farm - Glaucous Gull in the Frame!

Today turned out to be the longest day so far in my spring migration watch at Beddington Farm. A meagre thirteen hours spent on site with conditions looking more favourable than the final outcome! I was greeted on site by nine Shelduck split between the two lakes my position on my corner allowed an accurate count to be taken.
The North lake was devoid of gulls first thing until the Glaucous Gull came into view from the south lake. A short circuit over the North lake and the bird washed up and then had a good long rest on the main island. There were three visits to the lake during the day for this small rather washed out 1st winter bird that showed some signs of moult.
Eight Med Gulls were seen flying N/NW these did not seem in such a hurry but I guess there was rain ahead,A 1st winter Caspian Gull found by Devilbirder later in the day was the only other gull of note. There are still a fair few adult birds hanging around which is surprising!

Waders and terns were again in short to non-existent supply. A couple of Green Sandpiper, LRP and a Ringed Plover were recorded. The latter did not make my notebook.

A couple of Swift flew in with the rainclouds along with a mix of Swallow, Sand Martin and a couple of House Martin. Hirundine numbers rose considerably during the early evening lake watch. Good numbers of Stock Dove were noted this afternoon.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Beddington Farm - Migrating Med Gulls!

The weather today was looking allot more favourable for some more migratory action at the Farm! The day started very slowly but the low cloud was creeping in on a NW to N breeze. The corner was particularly chilly. Glen had a few Yellow Wagtail and a male Wheatear on the mound behind my position. A Water Pipit was found on the lagoons.
Even my crazy soul eventually succumbed to the elements and I took a short walk down the hill to join Glen and Swifty in slightly warmer climes. The action certainly got the blood pumping with three small groups of Med Gulls migrating N over the North Lake. The largest was a group of ten birds and seven and four made up the total of twenty one.

This was the second days movement of this species with a total of thirty nine birds who were all in a big rush to migrate N. A second Swift of the year along with double figure House Martin, Swallow and Sand Martin made up the mornings hall of species!

Friday, 21 April 2017

Beddington Farm - Movement of Med Gulls!

The Day started off at stupid o clock with a visit to Oaks Park to carry out my BTO early BBS survey. An early start is recommended after the dawn chorus has erupted. I had visited the site previously to set my transect routes and noted the habitats in each section.

My first transect covers the park itself and a small area of farmland on the other side of Croydon Lane. I recorded many common species with Swallow and Skylark making a short list of highlights. The second transect covers half the golf course including the public footpath through a narrow piece of woodland. Willow Warbler was the best find in this section.

The survey took a couple of hours to complete allowing me to sit in some early rush hour traffic as I made the short journey to Beddington Farm. The weather did not really inspire the potential of having a good day there but anything was possible as we enter the peak period of migration.

The first positive note of the day was the sight of low cloud which was slowly covering the Farm. I perched up on my corner which was slightly chilly but it would give me the best possible viewing. Tomas and Markus (MK Ecology) were on site. Swifty joined me and did not need additional oxygen to sustain him at heights he rarely reaches these days. Christian started lower down and walked part of the site finding Wheatear and Yellow Wagtails near the double pylons. I had a male Wheatear guarding my position.

The temperature was slowly rising but there did not appear to be much movement in the skies and plans were being hatched to have an early day. A Red Kite and a couple Buzzard in quick succession put that thought on hold and I am now glad I stayed!
Christian started the ball rolling with a couple of Med Gulls circling over the tip. These were well received as they were my first for the year. Shortly afterwards I saw a tight flock of gull flying high entering the site from the E. The flock of thirteen Med Gulls was clearly migrating and identification was confirmed with the assistance of my camera. These birds departed NW with a further three migrating N shortly afterwards.
I even saw a glimmer of excitement on Swifty’s face for a couple of seconds. This was a great site to feast my eyes on and all the birds were adults and were not hanging around for anything!
The next addition to the days gull list was a washed out Glaucous Gull that flew past Markus who was conducting a count on the South lake and straight into eye level view from the corner. The bird landed on the main island for a short rest before flying off with a group of mixed gulls. Swallow and Sand Martin made up the numbers of migrants for the day.
Note to self check camera setting when changing from sky to land. This was the best I could do with a horrendously over exposed shot of the Glaucous Gull!

Not a bad days birding considering the conditions did not appear to be right on site!