Wednesday, 30 December 2015

YBW & a Shag in Hampshire

A Yellow-browed Warbler has been near Eastleigh SF for a week or so and I scooted over there for a look on Tuesday. I followed the satnav to the general area and was surprised to see two birders only 10 yards or so from the parking spot and this was indeed the venue, no walking/cycling miles involved here! The bird showed more or less constantly but was always on the move apart from when it stopped for a preen on the top of the Ivy:

Yellow-browed Warbler:

Yellow-browed Warbler, magnifying glass required:

Yellow-browed Warbler, "exit pursued by a bear"!:

At Southsea Castle, no Purple Sandpipers for me but the glorious velvety Shag was showing well.


Saturday, 26 December 2015

Aythya sp.

A duck that might be a Scaup or a Tufted Duck or a Aythya hybrid on Pagham Lagoon today, difficult to get any decent pictures in the gale force wind but here we go.

An aythya sp. with apparently good head shape for Scaup and no apparent tuft; bill looks dodgy in this shot possibly due to terrible light:

Bill looks much better in this shot:

Possible vestigial tuft after all though? But more likely the wind as didn't appear obvious in the field.

Possible vestigial tuft on this one too but again I suspect the wind. Also note pale area at base of head, good for Scaup. Hopefully someone will take a look in the next few days and confirm one way or the other.

Update: after talking to AH & OM it seems that the best we can come up with is that it is probably a Scaup but we can't be 100% certain so alas it may have to go down as one that got away. There has been no further sign of the bird in the area.

Update 2: Bird was re-found by AH on New Lake on Saturday and again by ARK also on New Lake, Chichester Gravel Pits on Monday. Generally considered as a bona fide Scaup now. I'll submit the record and see what happens!

Update 3: Decided not to submit the record as little chance of acceptance apparently. ARK has changed his mind and it's now not a Scaup.

Update 4: From the Selsey blog:

The contentious female-type Scaup/Tufted/hybrid was again on the Breech Pool this morning (AH) and at risk of boring everyone to death, some final comments.......

I think it is a likely hybrid or possible Tufted, whilst AH considers this bird to be a Tufted. However, it is AH's view this is a different bird than the one seen on New Lake, Chi GPs a short while ago - and he still feels that bird is a likely genuine Scaup. There is a further complication concerning one (or the same?) seen on New Lake a few days after by ARK - who thought it to be a Tufted. And of course there is the original bird found by BI on Pagham Lagoon, which some may consider different? So we may have the two, three or even four bird theory!
The editors propose to draw a line under this one now and observers can make up their own minds - see pics no further comments unless there is some future definitive information... !

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Ticking Ducks

There have been four or maybe five Mandarin Ducks on Birdham Pool off and on for a while now which is in itself not much of interest...however, the pool counts as part of the Selsey Peninsula and Mandarin Duck is a hard species to get on the list for that area, hence a fairly constant stream of birders checking the area out! Well today myself and SR got lucky and managed to see two male & two females at the very back of the pool as well as a surprise male Red-crested Pochard (not sure what this says about the credentials of these birds though, someone got a wildfowl collection nearby?!!)

Mandarin Ducks:

Red-crested Pochard:

Over at Saltern's Way the two Little Gulls were back again:

Little Gulls:

At Apuldram, a paid of Stonechats and fifty Yellowhammers by the horsefield dung heap.



Saturday, 19 December 2015

Winter at the Sewage Works

At Lidsey sewage works today an apparent Siberian Chiffchaff, looks pretty good anyway, nice chestnut wash to the ear coverts, all black bill & legs, hint of a wing bar, pale supercilium etc.. Looked much more "contrasty" in the field too.

Siberian Chiffchaff ?:

Had a good look for any Whooper Swans in the area but no sign unfortunately, not coming this year maybe? :-(

Friday, 18 December 2015

Down at the old Gull and Goose

An adult winter Little Gull still in the field to the right of Saltern's Way from Chichester marina today. In the left hand field a Black Brant with the Brent Geese:

Little Gull:

Little Gull, terrible pic but you can see the underwing:

Black Brant at the back:

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Hampshire Day Out

A day out over in the bandit country of Hampshire was most rewarding on Friday! Three Penduline Tits had been a Titchfield Haven for a few days and due to work I hadn't been able to get over to try to see them but after a three hour wait in West hide I was duly honoured with the appearance of the stunning adult male:

Penduline Tits:

A video here: Penduline Tit, Titchfield Haven

After that I went and got stuck in traffic for hours on the way to (and back actually) the female Ring-necked Ducks at Rooksbury Mill LNR near Andover. Only one showed in poor light, partly because I was checking the wrong lake..always read the signs...

Ring-necked Duck:

Earlier in the week a tweet from Bola at Climping alerted me to a Dusky Warbler by the Atherington pools. On arrival I was surprised to see just the man himself and no other birders and so we had the bird to ourselves for an hour or so while it dashed around the lower canopy and then the brambles calling constantly. Impossible for me to photograph I'm afraid but there are some pics on:
Birds of Climping. Still never managed to picture a Dusky or indeed a Radde's Warbler so hopefully next year!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Herring Gull

The other day on the SOS website Alan Kitson remarked on the particularly dark Herring Gull that has been at Pagham Lagoon for a few days. I went up there today and managed to get some decent close shots of the bird although no flight shots were possible due to the bad weather. 

Herring Gull, sp.uncertain:

Zoom in on barring on the undertail:

Rather than go through all the pros & cons for smithsonianus, the American Herring Gull, I would encourage readers to look at: American Herring Gull ID.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Arctic Skuas

If you sea-watch on the south coast in spring this may be of interest, dark/pale morph Arctic Skua research on G.A Heath's Blog:

Arctic Skua Migration Research

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Winter Birding

Some from Church Norton & Ivy Lake over the last few days:

Pochards, Ivy Lake:

Red-breasted Merganser:


Common Gulls/Black-headed Gulls:

Friday, 27 November 2015

Pale Geese & White Swans

ARK had reported five Pale-bellied Brent Geese near Pagham Lagoon on Wednesday and they were still there on Thursday along with other assorted wildfowl and passerines:

Pale-bellied Brent Geese:




Chiffchaff bathtime:


On Friday the four Bewick's Swans were also still present, this time from the footpath near Burpham Church:

Bewick's Swans: