Saturday, 3 September 2016

I arrived at Nethergong this morning at 5.30am where I sat in the car for a few minutes listening to the day wake up. With hardly any wind I could hear the Greylag Geese leaving from the Stour Valley but they seldom fly this way. I spent c4 hours walking around the circuit a number of times in nice weather and was hoping for a good migrant to drop in or fly by but despite a good thrashing of pathways, bushes, fields and fence posts, I could not find anything new. I did manage to see or hear 55 species this morning which is pretty good but the morning promised so much more. Maybe next weekend will deliver a Flycatcher or Wheatear and I suppose there is even a chance of Red Kite, Honey Buzzard and Osprey, I just hope I can be around to find one. Birds of note this morning included 4 Bullfinch, 6 Little Egret flew north at sunrise, 2 Cetti's Warbler, 2 Green Woodpecker, 27 Cormorant, 2 Reed Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Kestrel, 4 Stock Dove, 2 Yellow Wagtail and a Turtle Dove posed briefly on wires allowing me to grab a few shots of this scarce migrant.

Turtle Dove

There were 2 Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 1 Yellowhammer, 2 Great spotted Woodpecker, 6 Swallow, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Reed Bunting, 4 Whitethroat, 1 Jay, 3 Common Buzzard, 1 Treecreeper, 2 Sedge Warbler, 1 Hobby, 1 Grey Heron and 2 Ring necked Parakeet. Back to work on Monday so I will have to wait until next weekend for a visit. No doubt birds will arrive in the week when I am not there !

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

I returned home Monday afternoon from Nethergong where the family camped for 3 days and although the weather was pretty good, there was a stiff wind for most of the stay making birding a challenge at times. I was able to get out a few times during the days with an early morning walk on Saturday and a few walks with the family in the evenings. I managed to see or hear 56 species which included 2 Whinchat (105), which were in the northern field with a male Stonechat. Although quite distant, I was able to get good views as they flew out from the fence line and returned back to the same area. When I returned thirty minutes later, they had gone leaving just the Stonechat in residence. This is the fine line between seeing birds and missing them sometimes but it made it all the worthwhile to connect with this species. Other birds of interest included 2 Swift, 13 Mistle Thrush, 2 Ring necked Parakeet, 5 Little Egret, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Turtle Dove, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Peregrine and 1 Hobby. 
I returned this morning as the forecast looked good with light winds, arriving at 5.30am where I spent a good part of the day birding and looking for dragonflies. I managed to see or hear 51 species which is pretty respectable for August on the site. I checked all the likely areas hoping for a Flycatcher, Wheatear or even a Wryneck along the path but did not find any of the wanted species. Birds I did see included 1 Little Owl, 5 Bullfinch including 3 juvenile birds, 3 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 1 Kingfisher, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Blackcap, a mixed flock of c70 Swallow and House Martin and 1 Yellowhammer. There were 3 Mute Swan, 1 Ring necked Parakeet, 1 Green Sandpiper, 17 Mistle Thrush together, 1 Kestrel, 1 Marsh Harrier which I watched hunting along the stream where I was able to grab a few shots before it suddenly saw me and banked away, 1 Skylark, 1 Golden Plover, 1 Peregrine, 3 Common Buzzard and 1 Hobby. A nice if not very hot session and a good variety of birds to keep the enthusiasm going. Fingers crossed for a few more good autumn birds passing over the site. 

Marsh Harrier (male)

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

With a few early morning jobs to do, I didn't arrive at Nethergong until 9.30am where it was already quite warm. I spent five hours wandering around the site where my time was divided between birding and looking for dragonflies. I also spent some time showing some of the campers the Willow Emerald Damselflies of which I found c60 today. It was quite quiet on the bird front but a few bits of quality were seen including the first Greenshank (104) which was heard calling 3 times but went unseen. Not long after 3 Green Sandpiper were seen and heard calling as they made their way towards the Stour Valley. Other birds noted included 1 Hobby which flew at speed over the main car park where it was seen a few seconds later flying back with a young Swallow in its talons it had just caught. There were 8 Common Buzzard seen with 7 in the air together drifting west, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Whitethroat, 8 Cormorant, 3 Kestrel, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Marsh Harrier, 8 Swallow, 3 House Martin and 1 Treecreeper. Despite much searching of posts and fences, I couldn't find and Whinchat or Wheatear but the Greenshank was definitely a bonus bird for the year and most welcome indeed. I have a few days camping coming up soon with the family at Nethergong so I will try to get out early and who knows, I might get a flyover wader calling at night as I lay in the tent.