Monday, 12 March 2012

Jammy Clams - yellow-browed and Treecreepers


The Clams decided to head south again for days birding, year ticking and
life ticking for some mentioning no names! Only three clams today - Oily /
Chatty / Bearded. Our missing Clam - Captain Campervan Clam is on soup
kitchen duties in Wolverhampton feeding the homeless, think we should change
his name to Charitable Clam!

We had decided to go for the adult Rose Coloured Starling at was at Hordle
in Hampshire, I hadn't seen one for about 20 odd years and had only ever
seen juveniles' so the chance to see an adult male gave me the incentive to
get up at 0245 in the morning.

We got to Hordle a small village within the New Forest, there were no other
birders present so we starting walking around the housing estate were the
bird had been yesterday, scanning the starlings on the roof tops and oak
trees, no joy so we walked around by the War memorial where it was last
seen. Then right in front of us on the floor, there it was!! BANG, the bird
was about 20 ft away from us feeding on a worm. It then flew up on top of a
gutter about ten foot away so I tried took take some photos off my phone,
got a couple of pictures but I'm definitely not David Bailey!!

Right that was easy and it was now only 07.20am, so feeling liberated we set
off for Eastleigh Country Park for the Hawfinches that were there.

We arrived at Eastleigh at 8.15, no other birders about just a few dog
walkers and fishermen on the pools, looks like we will have to relocate
these as well.

We searched the woods to the left of the pools, no joy! Three Great Spotted
Woody's, 1 Green Woody, Greenfinches but no Hawfinches! We decided to walk
around the perimeter of the pools scanning the trees, we then came across
another birder who said that the birds had been seen in a small copse of
trees just to the left of us, so we gathered around, then a pinging call was
heard... Hawfinches!!! We rushed in between the trees into a small clearing
and there they were, flying between the trees, and one decided to be a show
off and sat in the top of a tree, WHAT A CRACKER!! . We saw a total of 4
birds UTB so where next?? Green Winged Teal.

The Clams decided to head for Faringhton Marshes for the Green Winged teal ,
we arrived at the marshes at about 12 noon after we had stuffed our gobs
with a massive Morrison's Breckie, There were a party of "Bird Spotters" on
the bank surrounding the marsh, we asked if the Teal had been seen, but the
group leader said that nit hadn't so we set up our scopes and scanned the
pools in front of us, Large numbers of Redshank was surprising and Black &
Barr Tailed Godwit's , Dunlin, shellduck, and Teal, but no Green winged !
There were also large numbers of Brent Geese so we scanned through them
hoping for maybe a RB Goose or a Black Brant, but no joy!

Now earlier in the day a Yellow Browed Warbler had been reported in
Worcester, and as two of the Clams NEEDED IT, I said that we can start
heading home and drop into Warnden for the Warbler.

We were nearly at the car when I checked the pager, MEGA ALERT! SHORT TOED

Punched the postcode in the Satnav - 200 miles!! Off we set, two hours later
and no nails left on our fingers we arrived at the site, we walked down 3oo
yards from the visitor centre too group of 8 birders, it hadn't been seen
for an hour! Scanning across the railway line into a small scrubby area at
the base of the cliffs, we then heard it call, similar to a Dunnocks call,
then one of the birders shouted " I'VE GOT IT ! " we ran to him and got onto
, SEEN IT BANG!! The birds call was the main I.D. Feature but we could also
pick up the browner flanks which emphasised its white throat and breast, we
had views totalling 45 seconds! But with the bird calling it gave us the ID,
so in the BAG!

We stayed for another 45 mins hoping for more views but as the sun was
starting to go down the bird didn't show again!!

What a great day!! CLAM ON!!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Plastic Duck? A Trip to Kent. Saturday 3rd March 2010

We love to go a-wandering ……..

Saturday, March 3rd

An early morning drive down the motorways 6, 1 and 25; over the Dartford Bridge and into Kent.
Arrived at the village of  Whetstead  with it still dark and as it got light on a dry, misty, windless morning we – The Clams – made our way down the bridleway towards the gravel pits.

Having eventually found them, difficult though that was as the land was flat and paths led off in all directions, three Clams scanned the first pit but no bird.

Last Clam, arriving late due to having taken wrong path, scanned same pit. A phone call to Oily Clam – do you want to see a Hooded merganser?

Message to Birdguides :-

Hooded merganser     Whetstead  Gravel Pits, Kent, 7.15am

Now the merits of this bird will no doubt be discussed by the venerable gents of the BBRC but for insurance we saw it. A female with, through bins, a halo effect of a hood, seen to be as far away from people as possible, almost against the far bank. At least no bread required for this bird. On the list? We’ll wait and see. No 3 red exclamation marks. No escaped leg logo.

Nice to see though and one to compare with the Radipole bird. Now wasn’t that thought to be ‘real’ when it arrived?

Off to Dungeness to seawatch but few birds on the sea. 3 red-throated divers swimming east into the glare being the best. Otherwise a few great-crested grebes, guillemot, kittiwakes and gannets. The ‘boil’ was only sparsely attended by a few gulls.
To the RSPB reserve as the drizzle became rain. How quickly the sun from the seawatch changed to such damp, miserable weather.
At least the centre had friendly staff, coffee and comfort.

A walk around the reserve as the rain receded. Marsh harriers, including a superb close male and at least 6 others, seen well and enjoyed by all. Also seen was the female long-tailed duck – good one for the year list. Tree sparrows too.

Oily Clam, Captain Clam, Talkative Clam and Bearded Clam

Off to Emley, yet another RSPB reserve and by now the sun was back but with a strong wind to accompany it. More marsh harriers, a peregrine, kestrels and a young rough-legged buzzard not too far away sitting on a fence post. It occasionally flew down to the ground to pick up a morsel before landing back on the same post.

Sun going down so homeward bound with lively conversation on the way about the merits of a certain duck……..

Clam on!!!