Tuesday 14 December 2010

Monday 13 December 2010

Taste the difference...

I was at a Pantomime with the kids yesterday afternoon in Bournemouth when the first flock of Waxwings to reach Poole this winter arrived. They were first reported at a Sainsbury's just 5 minutes walk from my house and not far from the school which my sons attend. ''Behind you' indeed. But a day off today meant that I could take my eldest son to school and look for the birds on the way. Grandad was visiting as well and managed to locate the Waxwing flock just outside the playground - 38 birds in total.

This was a tick for two of the three generations present, and the first time I had seen Waxwing in Dorset as well. The light improved later in the day so Christmas shopping was combined with another trip to Sainsbury's to watch the Waxwings making light work of the local berry crop. Shoppers joined birders in admiring the flock, which seemed to contain more juveniles than adults. The birds never settled on the lower berries for long, but long enough to enjoy some excellent views and the jingling calls.

Saturday 11 December 2010

Snow on the Beach

After a few hours with the Lapland Buntings I headed up Hurst Spit to look for the Snow Bunting which had been seen earlier in the day. Although reportedly flighty, with a cautious approach it proved very tame, feeding on the landward side of the beach. Returning to the Cut Bridge, the nearby feeding flock of Dark-bellied Brent Geese held a single Black Brant, while several Mediterranean Gull were roosting in the same field.

Momentary Laps

Theme parks are my idea of hell so I dropped the family off at Paulton's Park today and headed to Hurst Beach in the hope of catching up with Lapland and Snow Buntings. 3 or 4 Lap Buntings were present almost continuously in the south-east corner of the corn field next to the Cut Bridge, and several more calling birds were flying around. A large flock of Skylark were also present, along with many reed buntings, Rock Pipits, Meadow Pipits and a flock of stubble-feeding Turnstone. The Buntings were close but just too far for my 400 mm lens until this well-marked individual landed momentarily in front of me.

More from Milford

Some more photographs from the Hampshire coast today - from top Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting, Black Brant, Rock Pipit:

Sunday 5 December 2010

Sandbanks Auk and Shore Road Waders

Children's birthday parties this morning and a Santa Special train in Swanage this afternoon prevented me from joining the boat to Brownsea today - a shame as a Little Auk was sitting just off the island's landing stage. Fortunately, it was viewable from Sandbanks with the scope so a quick diversion between family commitments enabled me to add Alle alle to my Dorset list. Despite it's popularity with dog walkers and windsurfers, Shore Road on Sandbanks can be an excellent place to get close to waders when the tide is right. Today a mixed flock of Sanderling (bottom), Dunlin (top), Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew and Oystercatcher gave a brief window of opportunity for some photographs as the tide turned.