A very handsome looking male Hobby landed on the gravel bank at the New Workings, Moor Green Lakes today at 11.05am. It's a regular visitor to the reserve and is often seen. It was too far away for photos but gave good views through the telescope. It appeared to be eating something, but I couldn't make out what it was. Whilst it was eating its prey, it was being mobbed by small finch type birds, which could not be positively identified. Perhaps it was the same species that it had caught.
With all the rain in Berkshire yesterday, I had high hopes of perhaps something more unusual turning up at Moor Green Lakes today. But I was wrong, nothing out of the ordinary appeared, at least whilst Gordon and myself were there. Never mind that's birding for you. Later on we where scanning through the Gulls and Lapwings on the diggings at the New Workings, when suddenly they all took to flight. A quick look towards Manor Lake showed that those birds, again Gulls and Lapwings, were already in the air. We immediately began searching for a possible raptor as the cause for their panic and we weren't disappointed when a Peregrine landed in the middle of the diggings. After having a good look around for three minutes it took off towards the North West, much to the relief of the Gulls and Lapwings. The Peregrine more than made up for not seeing something new. It's true what they say, 'every cloud has a silver lining'.
I went to my usual birding site today, arriving at about 09.40. The sun was shining on what promised to be another lovely day. Birds were conspicious by their absence as far as the New Workings, where sightings began to improve. Lapwings were starting to congregate at Manor Lake and East Fen, a total of 41 were seen, which were with 45 Tufted Ducks. Further on 8 Lesser Black Backed Gulls were resting and preening on the small gravel islands together with 5 Herring Gulls. With the sunny conditions and an almost clear blue sky, it was easy picking out birds in the distance through the scope. A Buzzard was flying low over the western end of the diggings, whilst a male kestrel hunted over Manor Farm. At the sewage farm, 4 juvenile Chiffchaffs were feeding, preening and sunbathing. The sunbathing part was something I had not seen before. They would perch on the concrete wall and lay flat, spreading their wings out, much like a Jay does when wanting ants to clean its feathers of lice. They didn't stay in that position long, certainly not time enough for ants to do their work. It looked as though they were enjoying what they were doing. Opposite to where I was on the far side of the workings I could see the warden and a few other people, one of them carrying a ladder, making their way towards the owl box. Shortly afterwards I saw what I thought were 2 young Barn Owls being ringed and returned to the box. All this was being viewed through my telescope, a distance of about 375 yards. I will contact the bird recorder of the site to confirm my sighting, good news that the owls so far this year have been successful. On the subject of owls, the Little Owl was sunning itself in its usual spot in the old oak tree.
Keyhaven/Pennington 1st July 2011
It's a lovely sunny summer's morning and I'm off to Keyhaven/Pennington on the Hampshire coast, it's one of my favourite spots and its a welcome relief from decorating at home. Its an early morning start for my birding friend Gordon Duffus and myself. We usually take turns in each others cars to cut petrol costs when travelling further afield and have a good chat at the same time.
On arrival at Keyhaven I was surprised to realise how little wind there was, this area is normally very windy and you get blown about a bit. Next to the harbour, on the other side of the bridge, Common Terns were fishing in the river. On walking away from Keyhaven harbour towards Pennington we noticed a flock of 20+ Gannets, adult and juveniles, circling above the sea on the far side of Hurst Beach. Later on we did a spot of sea watching and were rewarded with 3 Eiders, 2x Male and a female coming ashore near to us, we had good views through our scopes of these spectacular sea ducks. There were hardly any waders about, but we expected that for the time of year. Further on Little Terns were fishing in the lagoons. A male Dartford Warbler was seen singing from the gorse which form a hedge alongside the lagoons and coastal walkway. A total of 56 different species were seen on the day which turned out superb, for both birding and weather.
Hi, I'm Roger Milligan. I have been interested in birds since I was a boy growing up in south east London, which was a long time ago. I now live in Farnborough, Hampshire.