Sunday, 17 January 2021

Patch birding

Can't do much else but its the way i like it, no pressure to twitch others birds, lets find me own. The list is steadily climbing but nothing hugely special that i haven't already blogged about. 

7th Jan Nipped to the patch tonight and the Hollesley rspb screen. Highlights being 12 Bean Geese, 130 Whitefronts, 1 Adult Caspian Gull and a cracking Barn Owl.

A Song Thrush showed nicely from the Screen.

A grey Heron too

9th Jan
A Diver flew in from the North, very slow wing beat and looking large, i was sure it was a Great Northern diver just from the Jizz alone. It then very kindly flew and landed on the sea just off the river mouth confirming my initial I'd. A Drake eider went North. 100 whitefronts, 6 barnacle 1 juv and Brent on patch. A Turnstone on scrape and a Marsh Harrier showed well. Peregrine in its usual tree. 

Male and female Blackcap using the garden over the cold spell.

Jan 16th
Highlights at a very wet Hollesley rspb were 5 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover, 5 Common Snipe. Marsh Harrier Usual ducks. 2 fox and a Muntjack together. All the wild Geese seem to have moved on now. 56 sp in total

Jan 17th
Did the Staverton loop today which is part of the Sandling walk.  
At least 3 Singing or calling Firecrest, The Great White Egret and Hooded Merganser still, link to the blog post on why its not the released bird here. Marsh Tit a few Lesser Redpoll and a shed load of Siskin. Fieldfare and Redwings in the woods. 

Thats it for another weekend. Always goes far too fast.

Hooded Merganser Staverton Pools

Just a bit on why i feel the Hooded Merganser is NOT the released Christchurch house bird.

26th December I was out birding the Staverton Thicks and Staverton Parks area near Boyton. Google ref 52.110815, 1.442633

Picking out 2 Firecrest as soon as I got out the car. I moved through the 700 year old Oak woods to Staverton Pools. I started looking for the Great White egret that I had seen earlier in the month 2nd December but no sign as yet. Whilst looking through the ducks I noticed a smaller diving duck. A Female type Hooded Merganser. The bird had a greyish-brown body, with a narrow white patch over the lower breast and belly. 4 White stripes on both sides of the wings. It had a light reddish-brown crest extending from the back of the head. Black feet with no visible rings and fully winged. ( I wont mention the birder who turned up telling me it was a first winter male due to the white stripes in the wings.) after checking the literature I realised the dark eye did still make this bird a female.

It was then muted that’s this bird was Pricilla the released bird at Christchurch park as that had gone missing. But after seeing close up pictures from Swallow birding of Pricilla I could rule that out. Pracillia had a small worn out nail to the bill and a small notch half way along the lower mandible. The Staverton bird had a nice large clean nail and the lower mandible was in a clean condition.

Make your decision as you wish but there is definitely 2 female birds within the area. This bird turned up in Winter and wasn’t present on the 2nd of December but was on the 26th of December, fully winged no rings and very wary. Wouldn’t come to food either.

I've attached some pictures hopefully supporting my 2 bird theory. Pracillia pictures courteous of swallow birding the rest are mine.

Christchurch House released bird Below.

Staverton Bird below bills look completely different with no damage on thee Staverton bird. Also a larger nail tip. 

I don't think the bill can ever heal itself, certainly not in such a short time. 

Bird still present as of 17th of January.

Sunday, 3 January 2021

New Year New list

 Back to work tomorrow but I could quite happily take another 2 weeks please. Ive had a great time birding locally as usual and its been nice to have that time spare. Ive not had any real time off at all this year so i was certainly ready for a break. I had to make the most of it and i think i have, too much, that's why i need more of it :-) Works boring and gets in the way of birding. 

Anyway since January 1st Ive seen 90 species all within 6 miles from home and mostly on foot. 

Highlights being the 12 Bean Geese 1 Pink footed goose and 250 White-fronted Geese at Hollesley.

At Staverton Pools The Great White Egret and the Hooded Merganser were still present. Not many other highlights just lots of common stuff. 

Thursday, 31 December 2020


Just tallied up my Year list and pretty much patch list for 2020 and have to say not a bad 188 total. highlights being the Siberian Stonechat, Great Grey Shrike, Red backed Shrike, Golden Oriol, Black Winged Stilt, Serin, Yellow Browed Warbler, Red Breasted Flycatcher the recent Hooded Merganser but im sure that will have to come off, Black Tern, plenty of Spoonbills and a few Cattle egrets.

When i look back actually quite amazing, missed a few bits too. Wood Warbler, Corn Bunting Purple Sandpiper and what hurts is Radde's Warbler and Richards Pipits.  

I hope next years just as good. 

Couple of bits from last few days male and female Velvet scoter (record shots) from East lane as well as 180 Golden plover. I managed a few local walks but nothing added to my list really. All the Geese are still at Hollesley. Local Dartford warblers 1 mile from home and Bullfinch was nice .

Happy 2021 and thanks all for reading. 

Saturday, 26 December 2020

Christmas Day and Boxing Day Hooded Merganser


Great couple of days at home on the patch down at the RSPB Hollesley the 12 Bean Geese were still there and about 180 Russian White-fronts still. An Adult Caspian Gull was again on the flash, 

Over on Hollesley Upper Common we were surrounded by Dartford Warblers and the wintering Great Grey Shrike. A great finish to a really nice day.

The Moon put on a show to.

Boxing day we headed for Staverton Thicks and pools again near Boyton, the 700 year pollarded Oak Woodland.  2 Firecrest were in hollies as we left the main rd. On the pools i started looking for the Great White egret which wasn't there but i did spot a small duck with the Gadwall.
Boom a Female Hooded Merganser, I kept an eye on it to check it wasn't clipped which it didn't and to see if it had any rings on the legs. One leg certainly had nothing, i never did get to check the other one as it never came out the water and only scratched with one leg. 

The Great White Egret flew over eventually and then after a while showed itself distantly.

A host of other birds were Marsh Tit, loads of Siskin, Redpoll and a few Crossbill. A Kingfisher was in the area too. 
A nice couple of days so close to home.