Thursday 29 July 2021

Rutland Water

Male Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
Thursday 29 July

Eventually forced myself out of be and still at Rutland Water by 7.30.  Unfortunately, the beautiful clear and sunny start was spoilt by the very strong, cold wind.  Not the least in that it also neutralised any help that I might have received from wearing my hearing aids!  On the other hand, all the local birds seen from the bedroom window were to put in an appearance on site so a final total of 42 species, given the time of year and very windy conditions, was a good reward for my two hours.

The fields approaching Egleton held the usual Wood Pigeons along with over an hundred Canada Geese plus Jackdaws and Carrion CrowsBarn Swallow, Starling, Pied Wagtail and House Sparrow were also recorded before arriving at the car park.  Once again the Feeding Station was deserted and no evidence of neither the necessary management nor food in the feeders.  However, on exiting the screen both a Robin  and Blackbird were awaiting me outside.

A visit to the Redshank Hide produced the expected Sand Martins and Mallards and then straight on the  Sandpiper Hide overlooking Lagoon 4.  No waders other than Lapwings to be seen but still plenty of Mallards and Black-headed Gulls along with a Little Egret.  A couple of Mute Swans drifted by along with a feeding Teal.  Surprisingly not many Coot on show but many more Canada Geese and, right at the back, a couple of Egyptian Geese and then the arrival of eight Greylag Geese.

Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus

So on to the Shoveler Hide overlooking Lagoon 3.  At last the water level had dropped to reveal the small bar opposite the hide upon which a number of Common Tern, Black-headed Gulls and Mallards were resting.  Working the edges a Green Sandpiper and in the water a lone Oystercatcher

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

 Away to my far left, in the corner just beyond the duck trap, a Great White Egret was hiding in the reeds but eventually lifted its head up and out to reveal the solid yellow beak, so confirming identification.  Just in front both a number of Pochard and a Common Sandpiper was working its way along the edge of the water.

Pochard Aythya ferina surrounded by Tufted Ducks

Beyond the bar on the open water a good-sized flock of Tufted Duck along with a few Great Crested Grebe. Back on the bar I noticed a sleeping Common Tern as the Moorhen wandered along and on the right-hand edge a single Black-tailed Godwit.  In front of me in the reeds a Reed Warbler presented a short sighting in addition to the repeated calling.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

On to the Buzzard Hide  where I found a female Tufted Duck with half-dozen young including one riding her back.  Making my way back to Lagoon 4 I spent a while checking out the water from the Plover Hide in order to check the northern side of the water.  Lots of Lapwing and more Common Tern plus both Mallard and Tufted Duck on the water in front of me. Way over the far side on a sandbank I picked up a number of Great Black-backed and a few Herring Gulls.

Lapwing Vanellus vanellus with Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus and single Common Tern Sterna hirundo

A very quick visit south of the Visitors Centre to the Mallard Hide simply confirmed the very large number of roosting Cormorant along with many duck and both Canada and Greylag Geese.

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

The usual anti-clockwise drive round the water to check out Manton Bay which duly produced an Osprey and a Lesser Black-backed Gull along with many more Great Crested Grebes, before heading on to the Lyndon Visitors Centre.  Here the feeders were in use and my ten minute stay produced both Great and Blue Tits along with both Chaffinch and Goldfinch.  Not just a couple of Carrion Crows also visiting the feeders but also a Magpie.  And so back home in Stamford but not before noting the Red Kite drifting past the tree tops to my left as I left Edith Weston towards the dam.

Common Terns Sterna hirundo in flight
Juvenile Moorhen Gallinula chloropus passing Common Tern
Lapwing with Common Tern

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Mallard, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Osprey, Red Kite, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Blackbird, Reed Warbler, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch.

female Fufted Duck and young hiding in the reeds

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Friday 23 July 2021

Ashmore Green, near Thatcham, Berkshire

 Friday 23 July

Will it rain; Won't it rain?  Still bright, warm and sunny arriving at our son's new home in Ashmore Green, way out in the countryside, so what better way to watch the birds that sit down on an armchair, coffee at my side and simply look at the birds feeding on the feeders, not five metres away, through the extremely large open window.  A Nuthatch was already nibbling away and ere long both Goldfinches and Blue Tits.  Obviously a good breeding season as most of the second pair were juveniles of the year.  

The garden feeder with Blue Tit Parus caeruleusGoldfinch Carduelis carduelis and Great Tit Parus major

Once settled, the above were regularly joined by a few Great Tits and the occasional Chaffinch.  The Great Spotted Woodpecker eventually returned and was more than happy to feed away as I took he photographs.  A Robin made an appearance followed by Great Tit and wandering Blackbird to forage amongst the spillage created by the above, as did a Wood Pigeon.  Finally a single Coal Tit which, of course, ignores my bird of the afternoon, a most handsome male Bullfinch.  Indeed, watching the Bullfinch depart the feeder to the nearby trees it was joined buy the female and, of course, noting the favoured landing area I was also able to get a few shots away from the feeders. 

Birds seen:

Wood Pigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Robin, Blackbird, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch.

Male Blackbird Turdus merula

Male Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula

Male Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs (right)

Female Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs

Male Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs

Adult Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis (left) with juveniles

Great Spotted Woodpeckers Dendrocopos major

Great Tit Parus major (left) with Blue Tit Parus caeruleus

Nuthatch Sitta europaea

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Thursday 22 July 2021

The Solent shore at Warsash

 Thursday 22 July

Out of the house and down on the shore by 6 am and this time a walk "round the corner" of the Hamble river mouth to follow the shore track in Warsash down to the Solent.  Again, perfect weather although by 7.30 I wish I had taken the opportunity to venture out in just my thin short-sleeved cotton shirt; it's going to be another hot and humid day.

Immediately aware of all the Black-headed and occasional Herring Gulls, it was lovely to quickly see both Curlew and Oystercatcher.  This first stretch of exposed shore also produced a couple of Little Egret and a lone Redshank.  The departing Carrion Crow over to the field on the land side of the path duly produced both Wood Pigeon and House Sparrow whilst I carried on towards Hook Spit.  Many more Black-headed but also a lone Yellow-legged Gull on the mud flats.  In addition, I now sight of a couple of Little Egret and a Whimbrel.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

Leaving the newly-arrived flock of eight Turnstones I rounded the corner and found a Heron with a second flying over me towards the spit itself.  Reedbeds to my left and I could hear the Reed Warblers calling with the occasional glimpse.  

Magpie Pica pica

A solitary, perching bird further back seemed to distant to identify with the bins but enlarging the record shot discovered I had actually captured a male Reed Bunting. Meanwhile, sheltering in the lee of the spit, eight Canada Geese along with a handful of Mallard and both watched over by the Heron on the spit and almost two hundred Black-headed Gulls on the mud flats opposite.

Distant record shot of Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus

Then it was onwards along the Solent shore towards the pool at the centre of Hook Links.  A Cormorant was making its way south and, in the opposite direction, the cruise ship "Arcadia" was slowly making its way north and would be expected to dock in Southampton around 7 o'clock.  A couple of Magpies were foraging in the grasses in front of me and having already seen eight Rock Doves fly over near Warsash School of Navigation, I now had a pair of Stock Doves in the air above me.  A short stop to check out the drainage ditch behind the path produced a foraging Willow Warbler but by now a few dog-walkers were beginning to appear so a case of taking distant shots of ground working/resting birds and hope for the best.  Certainly, best it was as I discovered I had photographed both Linnet and Dunnock.  Meanwhile, a Blackbird was followed by at least three pairs of Sky Lark.

Distant record shot of Dunnock Prunella modularis

A stop at the pool produced more Mallard and both Oystercatcher and Little Egret until the Coot put in an appearance.  Other than more Sky Lark sightings and the back end of a deer in the tall grass to the south of the pool it was time to turn and head back.  A second stop at the pool was rewarded with a couple of Common Tern and a Moorhen.  Strange to see a single Common Starling flying out and over the Southampton Water but breakfast was calling.  Almost back into the Hamble river shore with a trio of Black-tailed Godwit when I noticed a pair of Collared Dove on the mud below.  Seems remarkable that these were the first Collared Doves seen in the area!  With the bungalow overlooking the shore, perhaps appropriate ti include the Goldfinch on the feeder when I reached the back door.

Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa

Birds seen:

Canada Goose, Mallard, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Tern, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove, Collared Dove, Sky Lark, Dunnock, Blackbird, Reed Warbler, Willow Warbler, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Linnet, Reed Bunting.

Cruise ship "Arcadia" passing Calshot as she slowly makes her way to Southampton

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Wednesday 21 July 2021

Hamble River, Hampshire, UK

Carrion Crow Corvus corone

 Wednesday 21 July

Up bright and early and walked across road at 6 o'clock to start my walk upstream from near the Hamble River's mouth.  Beautiful start to the day with clear skies, no wind and a low sun behind me. On the other hand, I had not expected the dozen or so joggers during the next hour or so with, on the return journey, the dog-walkers starting to put in an appearance.  Meanwhile the tide was well on its way in and pushing the waders and gulls nearer to the riverside path so good news for me.

A Blackbird as I made my way down through the hedges to the actual shore and as soon as I arrived fifty yards later a Whimbrel waiting for me on the shore line.  In addition, having noted both Black-headed and Herring Gulls close and a Green Sandpiper hiding in the corner to me left, a quartet of Mallard were enjoying their early morning bath in the shallows.  A pair of House Sparrows took off from the pebbles and a couple of Wood Pigeons moved down from the path to the beach.

Curlew Numenius arquata

having noted a couple of Redshank at the water's edge I looked further upstream and counted a further thirty.  In total there must have been around 55 on my 2km walk upstream.  The same with the Whimbrel.  Having seen one I was then to see a further six and to make it even more worthwhile a quartet of Curlew.

A few of the distant Redshank Tringa totanus

Next up both a solitary Greenshank on a shallow stream on the inland side of the track followed by the first of eight Oystercatchers.  

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

A single Little Egret was foraging in the shallows and then a couple of pairs of Carrion Crows, one on the beach and the other on the marsh. A Lapwing was also recorded on the inland edges near the tall grass.

Greenshank Tringa nebulatria

Amazing.  Having found a small group of Black-tailed Godwits within twenty yards the number had increased to almost forty.  And another score were to be found later a little further upstream.  As might be expected, many were still in their summer plumage.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

More Curlews and Redshanks before a single Turnstone was observed.  Meanwhile the "honking" of geese made me look up and follow the eight Canada Geese that were making their way down stream towards Southampton Water.  And all the way upstream, in addition to the few on the beach, scores of Black-headed and occasional Herring Gull.  However,  mid-way back I did find a couple of Common Gull.  Approaching a bend in the river I was in time to record the single Pied Wagtail that landed on the path before moving off out of sight.

Herring Gull Larus argentatus

A most enjoyable walk in limited clothing to allow for the beautiful weather before it got too hot and approaching home I also managed to add a small charm of Goldfinch.

When the tide comes in the Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus and Little Egret Egretta garzetta seek shelter

Birds seen:

Canada Goose, Mallard, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Curlew, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Goldfinch.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus with Redshank Tringa totanus

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

Monday 19 July 2021

Meon Shore, Titchfield Haven

Turnstone Arenaria interpres

 Monday 19 July

Time for Jenny to make her first venture away from the house after eight days so the short drive over to the Meon shore adjacent to Titchfield Haven where she was able to sit in her support chair and then make a slow walk along to the Titchfield haven Visitors Centre for a coffee, taking in the activity in the Mean harbour and river outlet.  Naturally, we both took binoculars and a camera on the off-chance that the recently seen Roseate Tern might still be about (it was not).  The water was approaching the high tide mark so limited exposed shore and becoming very hot with many visitors enjoying the seaside. Twenty species recorded but obviously a need to return when tide much lower and, preferably, well before 7am.

Common Terns Sterna hirundo at nesting platform

On the main pool reserve pool seen from the road a couple of Canada Geese and many Mallard along with the expected Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns.  Walking along the road o the viewing point overlooking the nesting platforms and main island, more of the same plus a Little Egret and two Cormorant.  

Little Egret Egretta garzetta checking out the Mallard Anas platyrhynchos

A Coot was working the far side of the water and a Moorhen was resting to the front of the island.  Time to check out the emptied harbour where a good number of resting Mallards were awaiting me along with a trio of Turnstone, a few foraging Black-headed Gulls and a solitary Wood Pigeon.  Just the two Mute Swans moving around in the river outlet itself and, looking up, a couple of Carrion Crows were flying over the reserve.

At least the Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo appreciated the joke!

A stop for coffee and ice cream, well it was extremely hot, and a chance to check the Cottage Hide where the only visitors were a Wood Pigeon, Blue Tit, Greenfinch and handful of House Sparrows, before the short walk to see what might still be seen on the southern shore.  Lots more Black-headed Gulls and Mallards plus a second Little Egret.  Yet more Turnstone, probably totalling a dozen in all on the site, the the finding of a single Oystercatcher plus a Great Black-backed Gull and a couple of Herring Gulls.  Making our way back to the car for the return journey a Magpie was seen leaving the harbour and heading off towards the reserve and no sooner in the car than a Blackbird crossed the road in front of us.

More Turnstones Arenaria interpres

Birds seen:

Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Mallard, Cormorant, Little Egret, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Greenfinch.

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information