Friday, 15 June 2018

28th May 2018

First stop this morning was Acres Down to try and catch up with the New Forest's honey buzzards. I failed to locate any last year and came away with pretty severe sunburn!

Thinking it was still a little early in the year, I was surprised to find both parking areas packed on arrival. I pulled up on grass verge (and remember the suncream this time!) and headed out to the watch-point where several birders were already gathered. There were plenty of Buzzards about to check through, and before long the first Goshawk was picked out. This was followed by a pair of Hobbies, lots more Buzzards and at least 2 Crossbill flying about. Woodlark, tree pipit and nightjar were all heard and seen from the watchpoint, though I failed to connect. One birder then picked out a distant buzzard which seemed to be a promising candidate for honey. The heat haze certainly didn't help, and I only got onto the bird just as it dropped below the tree line - the wait continued. The morning was broken up by another Goshawk (at least 2 showed throughout the morning but it's likely more were present), the occasional flyover Crossbill and a male Cuckoo. I was somewhat surprised (and probably overreacted) to a flyover pair of Hawfinches, I hadn't even realised they bred in the south of the country. Eventually, one of the guys behind the main crowd said he had a good candidate heading in our direction. I was first onto the bird, it certainly wasn't a buzzard. As it got closer, we all got good views, and could see that it was indeed a Honey Buzzard. When I eventually looked up from my scope, I realised that it was virtually above us, and the bins allowed some great views of the bird's distinctive shape whist soaring. Great to finally catch up with one.

Honey Buzzard - Acres Down

On the walk back to the car, I located a singing male Firecrest to round the morning off. I considered heading to Portland next for the rose-coloured starling, but there was no further news by the time I reached Dorchester so I headed home.

I checked the evening reports around 6:45pm, and saw there was a black-headed bunting on Portland! A bit of manic drive down ensued and I arrived in good time. I was able to park near the obs and walk/run to Culverwell. On arrival, the birders on site told me they'd been on site for an hour and hadn't seen it. Things weren't looking good, but seconds later a large yellow-brown bird popped out. Raising my bins, I could see it was the 1st winter male BLACK-HEADED BUNTING! What a stunner! Can't remember the last time one of these was twitchable, so a great bird all round!

BLACK-HEADED BUNTING - Portland

Whilst watching the bunting, we someone picked out the Rose-Coloured Starling flying around. Once I'd had my fill of the bunting I went over and got some closer views. I saw a moulting adult back in late 2014, but close views of this fresh spring adult was a great end to the day!

Rose-Coloured Starling - Portland

26th May 2018 (Lincolnshire)

Bit of a weird one today: common rosefinch is a long-overdue lifer for me, so when I saw a report that one of the Gibraltar Point birds was still present in the morning, I decided I should head up. I forgot that it was the first day of the bank holiday, and the journey ending up taking 7 hours, with 17 Red Kites and a Yellow Wagtail seen from the car window on the way up. On arrival, it was negative news - what had I been thinking!? A walk around the last location of the rosefinch produced a Hobby, a Willow Warbler and a few Med Gulls - less than I saw on the journey!

Hobby - Gibraltar Point
My best ever views of Hobby on the deck was some consolidation at least

Sunday, 10 June 2018

19th May 2018

Had a look at Lyde Road yet again this morning. A Reed Warbler was still singing in the reed bed, and single Reed Buntings were at the north field and the reed bed. Apparently, a pair of Reed Buntings were seen mating in the reed bed earlier in the year, so is seems this might be another breeding species for Yeovil.

The morning was cut short following news on a terek sandpiper at Rye Harbour, Sussex, a species I still needed. The drive over was uneventful and the TEREK SANDPIPER was showing on arrival. After most birders had left, I walked up to the far end of the path nearest to the bird, and some other twitchers advised me that great views could be obtained by stayed low and still in the grass. The fieldcraft certainly payed off!

TEREK SANDPIPER - Rye Harbour

Also of note were singles of Curlew Sandpiper and Cuckoo.

Curlew Sandpiper - Rye Harbour

12th May 2018

Another look at Lyde Road produced virtually nothing except for 3 Reed Warblers, the 2 at the reedbed again plus a new male south of the compound - good to see there is still some migrants moving through.

11th May 2018

Had a Little Egret overhead today near Yeovil College. My second in Yeovil this year. The species has been more or less annual in Yeovil for the last couple years even though there was a space of several years where I failed to see any, so quite a good local record.

5th May 2018

Another look at Lyde Road today produced another flight view of the Cuckoo which was as mobile as ever. There was no sign of yesterdays garden warbler but 2 Reed Warblers were still present. Fingers crossed they will breed here. Otherwise a couple of Grey Wagtails was the best managed.

4th May 2018

Headed down to Lyde Road after work again today and it paid off with a singing male Cuckoo heard on arrival, a new Yeovil species for me. It sounded distant to the south, so I started to head in the direction of the bird. Before I got far, the bird started singing again, but right next to me! Eventually I got my first flight view as it was mobbed by a couple of jackdaws. The bird was extremely mobile, and showed a few more times throughout the evening. I also had the 2 Canada Geese over again plus a singing Reed Warbler and Garden Warbler (annoying didn't see the latter).