Saturday, 30 April 2016

Sunday, Bloody Sunday - U2

Or perhaps that should read
Sunday, Bloody 'GOOD' Sunday 
THIS POST REFERS TO 'LAST' SUNDAY
while tomorrow, not just a Sunday but also May Day,
will be given over to a Mini Bird Race
(or TWITCH if you prefer) 
With the wind still sticking doggedly in the northern quarter, albeit with a larger western component than of late, it's surprising there is anything about but on Sunday we seemed to do very well. Still wrapped up against the chill it was the Moth Traps which first produced a modicum of interest with
 POWDERED QUAKER
 being 'first' for the year
 as is
 NUT-TREE TUSSOCK
 With a continued threat of rain it was thought best to get the
skates on and pay an overdue visit to this beat of the
River Stour.
 Dividends indeed as first up was the presumed same
 CETTI'S WARBLER
which was first located during the visit of Dave Penney.
Never wise to be too presumptuous as soon after a second was
located on song much further up the river.
 No mistaking the next chattering sound coming from what can hardly
be described as a reed-bed, a tiny patch no more than 10 feet x 3,
but an annual catchment for
 REED WARBLER
added to the Year List.
Seriously boggy ground still prevents wanderings to the western
boundary of the property, but the 'about turn' was profitable
 throwing up a previously 'silent'
 SEDGE WARBLER
 in company with
 this female (no male detected)
 REED BUNTING
All of these species had been hoped for, as expected to arrive
at any time now,
 but to get the full Hat Trick of additions to the
Year List was considered a bonus indeed with
 LESSER WHITETHROAT
joining what was now rapidly becoming a throng!
video
Heading for the Common and deciding to do things in 
reverse order, for no other reason than a change, we
bumped into this industrious
video
SONG THRUSH
 gathering nesting material at the Puddle of Mud close to the
 Sewerage Works
"what a delight"!
The 2 main watercourses were next where, at the Irrigation Pond, the Coot remains transfixed at the nest while a loan Swallow hawked insects above, so little reason to linger. At the Gravel Pit, among a cacophony of bird song, just 2 stood out predominantly, that of
 CUCKOO,
 the fourth Year Tick of an already productive day, and
 WILLOW WARBLER
not a bit phased by my close approach.
It is considered that we already have a sufficient number of
Archive Images of 
 COMMON WHITETHROAT
DARTFORD WARBLER
 CHIFFCHAFF
plus a
 male
 and female
 BLACKCAP
so, while each were also recorded, making for 9
species of Warbler on that day, we felt no need to snap away any further!
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Thursday, 28 April 2016

Little By Little - The Rolling Stones

given over to the antics and update of the
LITTLE RINGED PLOVER
there have been up to c5 in recent days.
Brief History
Bearing in mind that the first record of LRP in Dorset wasn't until 1950
and the first breeding record not until 1976, we feel we are blessed here.
Additionally, up until 1999 the maximum number of pairs proven to have bred
across the County was only c5 in the 1997 season with no details from the 21st century available.
The above has been extrapolated from
The Birds of Dorset - George Green.
(HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
With no knowledge of any other records, it is claimed that I was first to find and prove breeding of Little Ringed Plover at the then Hurn Gravel Pits in 2014. During that season no fewer than c11 adults were seen at a single visit and by seasons end a minimum of 9 youngsters had been produced. Before returning birds had any chance to prospect, let alone breed, at the same site the Mineral Extracting Company had, for reasons probably only know to themselves, back-filled the whole area and turned it over to grass. There was a small exception to this as 2 small patches were top-dressed with gravel maybe in an attempt to induce the Plovers to stay? At the same time (2015) Phase II of the Solar Panel Complex at Parley Court Farm had been completed and fenced off to the general public. At the same time I was privileged to be allowed access to all the compounds and in turn met the Silverstone Environmental Officer, Ms Holly Game. Her tenure was very short lived, but before her departure a 'tongue in cheek' prediction was made to her that Little Ringed Plover would like breed in the largest of the areas. On 01/04/2015 the first adult bird arrived back at PCF and from then on daily and prolonged observations were carried out until the birds departed. During the breeding period at least c4 Plover were noted together and hoped to be 2 x 'pairs', but this was not an issue as 2 of them did depart fairly quickly. During the first fortnight of residence the remaining pair were watched going through all the rigors of mating and soon after a nest was found containing c4 eggs. All 4 eggs hatched, with the young all looking healthy and feeding well, but were reduced to c2 just 12 days after. As far as is know the surviving 2 returned to their wintering grounds and could form part of the c3 which have returned this year. Of the c2 adults that seemingly disappeared last year, it is thought that they may have been the pair that successfully bred behind the Eco Recycling Unit and are present again this year. These birds were left more or less to their own devices as only access on foot is possible to this second site leaving disturbance at a minimum. The stills and videos below are our attempt at showing just how well these dainty little Wading Birds are doing so far this year. We will keep you posted!   
DISPLAYING and JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING ELSE
video
video
video
video
video
video
video
video
video
video
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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Friday On My Mind - The Easybeats

Falling behind a little, we have to go back as last Friday on which day we found just one new addition to the Year List in the Moth Traps.
 SILVER Y
 However, we didn't have to wait long or travel any great distance
 to find the next as this
 COMMON WHITETHROAT
 was showing well
video
and performing for us just outside of the 
video
Eco Recycling Works Gate.
 This was followed by a performance of c4
 NUTHATCH
cavorting among the OAK tops close to the Sewerage Works.
 Met at Merritown Gate by this
GREY SQUIRREL
prospecting the inside of the hollow Apple Tree for food,
video
but as soon as the Video Camera was brought to bear
video
it chose to remain almost static.
Now, to the casual observer this may look every bit like a
SALLOW
in full bloom, but around here it is considered
BAIT
It is hoped that once Dave Foot catches a glimpse of this he will be
over here for the week-end as fast as his wheels will carry him?
 A pair of very skittish
SHELDUCK
behind Eco soon took to the wing while the
FUNGI
PANAEOLUS SEMIOVATUS
didn't bat an eyelid.
video
LINNET
video
4 ROE DEER
inside the
Solar Panel Compound
video
CHAFFINCH
and
video
video
RABBIT
and finally from the
Trail Cameras
little new except we did catch this
video
ROE DEER
video
SCENT MARKING
and we do believe the usual local
video
FOX
there is a delay of a few seconds.
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Sunday, 24 April 2016

North to Alaska - Johnny Horton

Treading a little warily, we were in no rush to post the months most exciting find of last Monday, as it came as something of an unusual surprise which warranted some further investigation. Tending the Stable Moth Trap that morning it was only extremely good luck that we picked up on a very small, and strikingly white bird flying towards us from the south. It was observed for well over a minute as it flew, not at great altitude, purposefully north and against a clear blue sky, showing only pure, uninterrupted snowy white underparts and considered even at first glance to be a   
 SANDERLING
(perhaps needless to say this image is not the one seen on the day)
So why all the fuss? Well firstly, it is not remembered if a lone individual of this species, usually most gregarious, has ever been encountered before and certainly not 'INLAND'! Time to consult the Oracle who directed me to the findings of Green contained in
 but more particularly to
page 183 which notes "There has only been one 'inland record' etc", with the area describe being no more than a stone's throw from where this individual was seem. Not that there is any significance in that. While Green is now dated, published in 2004, it is not known if such a sighting has been recorded since nor is it known if the 1993 record referred to a grounded bird, but we are extremely pleased to add Sanderling to the Recording Area List.
The Bird? Well probably now well on it's way
With fortunes changing from a frosty -3°C overnight on Monday to +7°C this Wednesday night there followed an increase in returns from the Moth Traps. While we have secured
DOTTED BORDER
already during 2016 the same cannot be said of
 BRINDLED PUG
 EARLY TOOTH-STRIPED
 or
LUNAR MARBLED BROWN
a more than welcome 'hat trick' of year ticks.
Although we are well known for "not doing Micros" we do have a bash
at them now and again so, when we consider the identification to be
accurate we do like to publish them. We are calling this one
EUDONIA ANGUSTEA
and if incorrect we feel there will be quick response from our Mentors!
Additionally, there have been a couple of pleasing returns from the
Trail Cameras
not least this most obliging
video
COMMON BUZZARD
 followed by a 'pair' of
video
GREY SQUIRREL
with the most startling of them all left until last,
an unbelievable
video
WOODCOCK
which is one of just 2 creatures dreamed of when buying first the cameras.
The other being Nightjar, plans are afoot to capture this a little later in the season so watch this space!
Up at the Irrigation Pond it would seem that after an industrious
few days of nest building the
COOT
are now incubating eggs, while close by another opportunist

video
video
COMMON BUZZARD
video
video
was likely hoping for an easy meal.
video
Back behind bars in the Solar Panel Compound.
Now one for the
Noise Abatement Society
as this
GATES LEARJET 25-G
has been regularly invading Parley Airspace over the past few days.
Looking more like a Military Jet Fighter in fancy plumage, this
aircraft size for size has to be the noisiest in the World!!
Out in the field over the past couple of days we have recorded a
decent list of expected Butterflies which join the likes of
Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone on that particular Year List including
 COMMA
 showing the underside and the punctuation mark from
which the name is derived.
 LARGE WHITE
and
SPECKLED WOOD
Followed by what might be considered a pair of late
 male
female
video
video
TEAL
at the Gravel Pit.
 PERIWINKLE
 now in bloom,
 TURKEY TAIL FUNGI
and the
EARLY EXCAVATIONS OF
LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER
and finally
On his last visit to Parley Court Farm our friend Dave Foot took some
Moth Gall Samples from the Sallows at the Eco Recycling Centre.
 Since when he has nurtured them and watch the Moth Pupate
into an adult
CYDIA SERVILLANA
another Micro.
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