October highlights

It’s been a few weeks since returning from my trip to Shetland, so I’ve spent most of my time doing uni work. Being a second year student means there a lot more work that needs doing, and this time it counts towards my final grade! However, I’m still doing my best to make sure I find time for birding, ringing and my other interests as well.

Saturday 18th October was going to be a day of just work as ringing didn’t go ahead due to the weather conditions. That was until I got a text from Olly Frampton saying there was a Siberian stonechat on my patch, Titchfield Haven. As he was also offering me a lift, I decided the offer was too good to refuse, so took a break from essay writing to see the bird (and my friends, of course!).

Siberian Stonechat, Titchfield Haven, 18th October 2014

Siberian Stonechat, Titchfield Haven, 18th October 2014

We joined a group of people stood on the walkway by the Meadow Hide looking out at the recently cut vegetation by the ringing area. It wasn’t long before the Siberian stonechat appeared, and at times it showed really well. I was rather impressed that I’d manage to see 2 in 8 days, by pure chance! We watched as it flew in and out of the longer vegetation, perching on the top of the reeds every now and then.

Next weekend the weather was better, so ringing went ahead as planned both Saturday and Sunday morning. The clock change meant Sunday was a 5am start again whereas Saturday was an hour later. Both sessions were quiet with 30 birds on Saturday and even less on Sunday because the main migration of warblers has finished now. Still, we had a nice mix of goldcrests, chiffchaffs and reed buntings.

one of several goldcrests ringed over the weekend

one of several goldcrests ringed over the weekend

On Sunday, as well as the goldcrests and chiffchaffs, we also had a stonechat (common, not the Siberian who outsmarted us!)

common stonechat - only the 3rd ringed at Titchfield Haven

common stonechat – only the 3rd ringed at Titchfield Haven

It was then time to dash over to Langstone Harbour for the monthly Wetland Bird Survey. I’d been meaning to get involved for a while, and after helping Wez Smith do a WeBS count on the boat around the islands while on work experience, I contacted the local organiser to find out more. This time I joined the group that does the count at Farlington Marshes.

As well as the usual mix of waders – black-tailed godwits, redshank, dunlin… there were a few greenshank, a single green sandpiper that flew onto the Scrape, a water rail hiding at the back of the Stream, and a whimbrel and bar-tailed godwit on the mudflats at low tide by the “Point”.

water rail lurking at the back of the Stream

water rail lurking at the back of the Stream

bar-tailed godwit out on the mudflats as the tide went out

bar-tailed godwit out on the mudflats as the tide went out

A single Whimbrel, possibly one that will over winter

A single Whimbrel, possibly one that will over winter

Apologies for the poor photos!

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