Sunday, 26 March 2017

Cattle, Water, and Kite

Hard going today (26th) but worth the effort. The Water Pipit that was on Mappins' on Friday was still present and showing periodically well as it weaved its way in and out of the vegetation on the edge of the pool, albeit distantly. Nice to be able to watch one properly for a change! Still 2 Redshank, this time on Down, along with 4 Shoveler. The Cattle Egret was located among a flock of 8 Little Egret in roadside fields between Downash and Rickney, the same bird as seen last weekend based on the plumage although the image above doesn't do it justice...
Back at home a Red Kite drifted east over the garden at 13.15.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Buts and Pips

Spring is happening, today (24th) the Peacock above was sunning itself along White Dyke, and another over-winterer was seen, albeit a very battered one, in the shape of a Small Tortoiseshell.
Highlight of the afternoon walk was a Water Pipit, moulting into summer plumage, on Mappins which I wouldn't have seen unless I had been indulging myself watching a pair of Redshank and a Dunlin which were feeding around the muddy fringes. A pair of Shelduck were also on Mappins and, somewhat surprisingly, a single Russian White-front was loitering with the goose flock, as was a Barnacle Goose of (probably) more suspect origin. On Down Level two pairs of Shoveler and a single Shelduck, while White Dyke produced the usual Cettis' along with Great Spotted Woodpecker and a couple of pairs of Stockies prospecting.
Overnight moth trapping produced only a solitary micro - Common Plume.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Cattle Egret

A Cattle Egret this lunchtime along White Dyke in the sheep fields, loosely consorting with a Little Egret. On Down Level 12 Gadwall, 7 Shoveler, single drake Shelduck, and a cream cap Marsh Harrier.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Days Like These

What a week its been, a week of bacchanalian splendour at home and away! Having spent the 11th up at Twickenham watching the men in white drub Scotland 61-21 I had to haul myself onto the levels for Sundays' WEBS. Highlight was the Bittern which was on Horse-eye again, however there were very few duck with only a pair of Pintail, a single male Tufted, and a smattering of Wigeon and Teal. The scarce geese seem to have moved on.
The warmer temperatures have encouraged me to run the moth trap on a couple of occasions' and the Early Grey pictured above was one of two overnight on the 10th.
All to play for in the Arkle as Charbel knuckles on landing
And so to two wonderful days at the Cheltenham festival on Tuesday and Wednesday in the company of Paul Chapman, Greg Brinkley, and of course James. The festival is definitely my highlight of the sporting year and the welfare of the horse is always to the forefront as we witnessed with Edwulf on the Tuesday. The vets and course workers cannot be praised highly enough for their quick actions. The picture above shows Altior on the far side coming to win his race although if Charbel in the foreground had stood up who knows...
Wednesday morning saw us in Stow on the Wold before heading for the track. On cue the Blue Rock Thrush popped up on top of the roof and pootled about for us providing a UK tick for both Greg and myself. Twitching sated we headed to the course and I actually managed to back a couple of winners in the shape of Willoughby Court and Might Bite! The pictures below show the mighty Sprinter Sacre parading before racing and the runners in the cross country heading out towards the back of the course with Cleeve Hill in the background. Stay strong.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Bean again

Tundra Bean again present on Horse-eye showing well in the fields behind Mappins with 20 Russian White-fronts. Took some time to take a proper look through the White-fronts and counted 8 adults, which logically means the balance of 12 are immatures. Plenty of Raven activity and a couple of Gadwall.
At Normans Bay this morning a single Eider and a single Fulmar west. A brief stop at Birling Gap yesterday (3rd) yielded the ever spectacular sight of a flock of 120 Brents chugging up channel, migration in action!