Friday, 30 November 2012

Hide & Seek - Howard Jones

Cold and frosty morning accompanied by some bright sunshine seemed ideal for a wander across the border into Hampshire and a visit to Blashford Lakes. Lots of birds but all of a common variety although enough to keep me busy for a few hours.
Met in the car park by this male CHAFFINCH
it was quickly on to the first nut-feeder which was attracting GREAT TIT,
many more CHAFFINCH, both male (top) and female
along with the first NUTHATCH of the day.
Lots of birds at the Woodland Hide where the GREAT TITs were keeping very much to the bushes,
while the resident PHEASANT was as ever showing very well.
There were at least another 3 NUTHATCH here
but probably most numerous were LESSER REDPOLL,
followed by GOLDFINCH,
the odd COAL TIT and
NUTHATCH back again, surprisingly
only a single SISKIN here
and a couple of DUNNOCK foraging the leaf-litter.
LESSER REDPOLL were joined by
and another SISKIN as I left the hide.
which just capped a day of common but most welcome woodland birds.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Four Ducks on a Pond - William Allingham

 Four ducks on a pond, a grass-bank beyond.
    A blue sky of spring, white clouds on the wing.
   What a little thing,
   To remember for years - to remember with tears!
With the day-long bright sunshine soon burning off the early morning frost and the Range Rover at my disposal, it was a casual drive down to the
where earlier in the week there had been the unusual sighting of a Kittiwake, pretty much a Gull that is more content to remain at sea, but in this game you just never know!
Early sightings included numbers of GREAT CRESTED GREBE, well into double figures, many more Tufted Duck, Mallard, Grey Heron along with c7 Little Egret.
The meadows to the south were more welcoming to the dozen or so MUTE SWANs there today than the horses of just a few short weeks ago. No Cetti's Warbler heard, but there were a few Moorhen and a host of Coot and several Cormorant at their usual roost atop the electricity pylons.
This small troupe of free-flying DOVEs were finding something to eat along the gravel pathway,
while a lone COMMON GULL held station on one of the depth gauges.
Most of the wildfowl were favouring the South Reservoir
and included female and
 likewise there were female
 and male TEAL
 as well as female and
Continuing along this path, where at my last visit there was a Hobby 'hawking' Dragonflies, there was this strikingly marked
First Winter
BLACK-HEADED GULL flying low and finding food on the surface of the lake.
A bracing walk, with what little wind there was coming from the north, ended at the Visitor/Education Centre with a little time for a chat with the Water Bailiff Ian Hayward before heading back to Parley. Still a good number of things to do before departure, but once again I extol the virtues of the Internet.
PS - I recorded c4 Stork/Crane-like birds at great distance and height yesterday mid-morning above the Longham/Hampreston area, which coincides with a report on the Dorset Bird Club web-site of c4 White Storks over Bournemouth Eastcliff around the same time?

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Of No Fixed Abode

So, it is done - I am now officially Of No Fixed Abode but that doesn't come without a deal of difficulty. Most computers are not geared up to accept ONFA so visiting your bank account, utility bills, council tax etc puts the authority in a muddle - that will be for them to sort out not me!
I most certainly couldn't set off on the next adventure without saying a fond farewell to my 'second family' at Parley Court, where yesterday evening a combination of the Dampney / Wickham's  welcomed me with open arms. Most of the family were gathered for a fine dinner with pudding and wine to match, so it was great to be back!
From front, Gavin (youngest son) alongside girlfriend Sam, my vacant chair, eldest son Daryl next to fiance Cath, then Hugh, Hugh's mum (Joan), Janet's mum (Joyce) and dad (John) alongside Janet herself.
This morning featured an early 'pitch inspection' to view the swollen River Stour encroaching on much of the farmland hereabouts and little else due to intermittent heavy rain and a significant fall in temperature.
Good job there was a sign as there wasn't a sign of the course,
this being the 5th fairway, also submerged, with the tee to the right,
as was most of the local woodlands as well.
However, it's an ill-wind that doesn't blow somebody (or something) some good,
as with the Annual Shoot cancelled due to rain inundation
these PHEASANTs live to see another day.
Most of the horses, and there are many dozens of them, are now wearing waterproofs and warm attire,
as local GREY SQUIRRELs go about gathering what nuts and other food they can find.
REDWING have now moved in in good numbers (100+), but remain elusive, while a similar number of Fieldfare totally unapproachable
 similar to c11 Mistle Thrush.

BLACKBIRDs are once again numerous, in every hedgerow,
KINGFISHER carry out a continued search for their next meals.
BLACK-HEADED GULLs seem to be enjoying the underwater Gold Course
spending much of their time commuting from the power lines to the various 'greens' where food seems in plentiful supply. Let's hope the rain abates tomorrow allowing for a better look around.