Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Walking From House" List additions

A few additions to the "Walking from the house list" to report ...

1. Mediterranean Gull and Herring Gull 80 & 81. I was out on 27 August with just my bins, and noticed lots of gulls on a field being ploughed just east of Lower-Sheering Road. A quick scan revealed a smaller gull which was pale white/brown without any of the distinctive head markings of a BH Gull. It flew, showing heavily black forewing and secondary panel, and a black terminal tail band. I ummed and ahhed about this for a couple of days afterwards, I think because when I saw 15 of these at Lodmoor a couple of weeks previous I'd had my scope and could check the bill, and eye-lids to confirm and couldn't do that on this occasion. But after I'd seen some of the photos of juveniles going into first winter on Birdguides it was stupid not to tick it as they were the spitting image. And belated Herring Gull too.

2. Hobby 82. 17 Sep. An overdue event this. Out with the dogs, and one shot over my head. Nice. That makes for 4 raptors on the list. Could I get another one? Well obviously yes. Red Kite is present in this area, and eventually one will be flying around when I'm out, but after that it's looking fairly impossible.

3. Marsh Harrier 83. 18 Sep. Well, so much for how hard the next raptor was going to be. Out with the dogs in the park again, with a patchy blue and white sky and a dark grey cloud getting closer and closer ... I noticed a few hirundines high up, and after scanning noticed that wherever I looked were swallows and martins. I guessed about a hundred moving in advance of the rain. And then a larger bird. Just as soon as I thought another gull it was obvious that it wasn't. It was flying hard SE, but then turned E and it was clearly a Marsh Harrier. All dark, longish tail, bulky but long wings, and if I looked really hard possibly a cream crown? Then, incredibly, it joined a second bird and they soared round for a while, taking their time, before they slowly drifted East and out of sight into Essex. Well, knock me down with a feather. I remember seeing three of the five UK birds at Minsmere in 1975, and now they are so common that pairs of them are flying over my house. The rain duly came down, but I couldn't have cared less.

So in just over 10 months of moving into the house I'm on 83. The scrape hasn't been playing ball having been dry through the autumn, so if that gets muddy at the right time there's another few species to pick up, and with no chats, starts, or owls on the list then 100 is possible. I'm slightly stunned, to be honest, at what I've seen over the year. I can't wait to see what turns up next.

1 comment:

Clive Nutton said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog. Not dropped by here for ages. I'd love to see a Hobby. Lineham Farm is good for Red Kite these days too since the release project at harewood some years ago. Hope to be working there more in the near future.

Hello Old Friend

What a year its been for notable birds. It started off with Canvasback at Abberton, then Northern Waterthrush at Maldon, then Surf Scoter at...