Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Beddington Farm - In the Mix!

I have been keeping an eye on the Farm of late but have not been staking the place out as I would during migration. In the last day there has been steady rain which can always drop something in on the lakes. This morning I took a walk around the lakes and 100 Acre with a couple of House Martin and c50 Swift.
The Little Ringed Plover were on the South Lake along with a Redshank which had sought temporary sanctuary in between the mizzle. The largest of the Canada Goose flocks still has three Greylag in tow.
I had been ringing / banding with David Campbell on 100 Acre last Sunday producing out best return of birds thus far with 22 new birds being processed. Many of these birds were juveniles including Starling, Great Tit, Robin and Blackbird.
Last week I checked the nest-boxes with Derek Coleman and processed five, FL Tree Sparrow provided the second successful brood of this species this season.

During quieter periods I have been checking the sacrificial crops and lake edges for butterflies. I recorded a personal new Beddington record in Marbled White which have proved difficult to photograph but I am persisting and hope to complete the challenge before they move on.
On the mound Skippers, Meadow Brown and Green Veined White are present. The odd Brimstone is seen passing over the hill.
Small and Large White are seen along the path but are generally tricky to photograph.
Peacock and Red Admiral are far more obliging the latter claiming a nest box as a resting point.
Southern Damselfly (?) are also present on the mound stretching themselves out as they bask in the sun.
Small Tortoiseshell has been numerous on 100 Acre with c50 counted whilst checking the beds.

I don’t profess to be an expert of Butterflies and the like but they are a good distraction until migration starts to gain pace again!

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.