Thursday, 26 March 2009

Bogey bird

The Water Rail was my bogey bird (never seen one despite sitting for hours in bird hides overlooking reed beds whilst they taunt me with their pig-like squeels) until this morning at Star Lane Pits. Just off the path and tucked under a tree root on the water's edge, there it was, almost too close to focus with my bins, staring right back at me before scooting off into the reeds. I'll try and get a photo tomorrow, but until then here's the magic moment captured in a doodle.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Waxwings - Benfleet

What an odd day. We (me and Dad) went to Minsmere today and although we saw some good birds on paper (Bearded Tit, Bittern, Marsh Harriers, Whooper Swan and a Buzzard) all our sightings were too distant or brief and left us a little unfulfilled. Imagine our Surprise when on our return to Benfleet we turned into Dad's road (junction of Kimberley and South View Road to be precise) and there were 5 Waxwings eating from an apple tree in somebody's front garden. We had lovely close views of them for about 5 minutes before they flew off (South East). All that way and all we had to do was walk round the block!
One other bird of note today was a Marsh Tit feeding from the feeders at a small plant nursery in Dunwich.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

More pics from The Pits

I'm trying to make the most of these sunny, bare branch mornings for photographing.
I met a bloke called David this morning who feeds the Robins. Sure enough when I bumped into him there was a robin waiting for him. He said it was excellent for Cuckoos at the lakes and also he tipped me off about some orchids to find later in the Summer. On his days off he goes to the lakes and cleans up the rubbish that gets dumped there - local legend or what!
I'm happy to report I heard a Cettis Warbler again this morning (good to know they made it through the harsh winter). I also had nice views of a pair of Goldcrests and a chiffchaff.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Star Lane Pits - 16th March 09

Spring had officially arrived at Star Lane Pits this morning with at least 4 Chiffchaffs 'chiffchaff'ing (the one chiffchaff I did see shown above left). Also of note this morning were 1 Goldcrest, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker (drumming), 1 Green Woodpecker and 2 Cetti's Warbler (heard only).

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

New patch and unexpected lifer

I've started checking out a spot every morning for 20 mins before I go to work. It's called Star Lane Pits and it's basically a series of smallish fishing lakes, a good sized area of unspoilt scrub and some mature trees, all nestled between an industrial area, houses and farm land. I'm going to start a list for the spot and it got off to a flier this morning with a close view of my first Lesser Redpoll (flew down and drank from the lake).

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Superb Blue Wrens, Vaucluse

Superb Blue Wrens  Mahurus cyaneus

I didn't get out birding this weekend but a few came to me including this pair of Superb Blue Wrens who found the bird bath for the first time. I also added Grey Butcherbird (#29) to the garden list and yet another unidentified Moth.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Meloe Proscarabeus - Wallasea Island

Couldn't resist putting my first insect picture of the year up.
According to my field guide I shouldn't have seen this oil beetle until April.
This was all I saw for ages at Wallasea today until I was eventually rewarded with a ringtail Hen Harrier right round on the South Eastern tip of the island.
My luck continued with a nice view of 2 Little owls together on my way home.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Eastern Shrike-tit, Lilydale, Victoria

Eastern Shrike-tit  Falcunculus frontatus

We've been down to Melbourne this weekend. During a productive half-hour roadside stop at the Olinda Wetlands, Lilydale, I got two new ones: Eastern Shrike-tit and Grey Shrike-Thrush.