Posts Tagged ‘Kestrel’

The morning dawned bright and sunny and I made my way to the north west side of Portsmouth harbour and the town of Portchester. I started my walk just south of the town and walked south towards the castle.

Portchester Castle

There were Redwings in the trees surrounding the water meadows plus a single Blackcap, presumably an overwintering bird rather than an early migrant.

On the mudflats were Oysercatchers, Redshank, Curlew and a single Greenshank.

Deeper water remained further out into the harbour and here there were Red-Breasted Merganser, a Slavonian Grebe and a Great Northern Diver.

Slavonian Grebe.
Photo by Anthony Pope (https://www.flickr.com/photos/4gyp/
Red-Breasted Merganser
Photo by JP Newell (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jpnewell/)

As I retraced my steps towards Portchester a Common Kestrel eyed me from its perch before flying off.

Common Kestrel

Started the morning at Hamm beach on Portland Harbour, where the conditions were arctic with a strong wind blowing in from the bay. A single Red-breasted Merganser was present along with 14 Ruddy Turnstone and a Meadow Pipit, but no sign of the divers or Grebes that had been frequenting the harbour.

Ruddy Turnstone

A Common Kestrel was actively hunting along the vegetation at the edge of the water and allowed me to come quite close

Walking along the Fleet, an inlet from the harbour, a Male Eurasian Stonechat was active in the vegetation.

DSCN8737-22

The Fleet at Ferrybridge

DSCN8733-20

Eurasian Stonechat (m)

A small flock of Brent Geese were by the visitor centre and 40 Mediterranean Gulls were on the high tide gull roost along with Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls and a single Lesser Black-backed Gull. Had a distant view of a Black-necked Gull along with a Little Grebe, which gave a good comparator. Also present were 14 Red-breasted Merganser.

                   Meditteranean Gulls with Black-headed Gulls (top), Brent Geese (middle)                         and Red-breasted Merganser (bottom)

In the afternoon I visited RSPB Radipole Lake where along with a good variety of water-birds the highlights were a Water Rail, a Bearded Reedling and 2 Western Marsh Harriers.

Shelduck (top), Great Cormorant (bottom left), Herring and Black-headed Gulls (bottom centre) and Northern Shoveler (bottom right)

Brent Goose [sp] (Branta bernicla)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Black-necked Grebe [sp] (Podiceps nigricollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Water Rail [sp] (Rallus aquaticus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Ruddy Turnstone [sp] (Arenaria interpres)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)

Common Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Bearded Reedling [sp] (Panurus biarmicus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)

Today we visited Pensthorpe, a nature reserve near Fakenham. It’s a mixture of a wildfowl collection and a wild area. Our first stop is the wader scrape. Unfortunately, the only waders present are a single Green Sandpiper and a pair of Ruff. Egyptian Geese, Canada Geese and Greylag Geese were all present but the highlight was 5 species of birds of Prey that we saw whilst we were in the hide. A Hobby flew over the hide, followed shortly afterward by a Common Kestrel. In the distance, we could see Buzzard and Marsh Harrier. Sue spotted a raptor sitting on a fence post which turned out to be a Sparrowhawk.

Kestrel hunting

Greylag Goose, Egyptian Goose and Coot

 

From here we made our way to the woodland hide where there was a flurry of activity on the feeder station. A Nuthatch and a pair of Marsh Tits were the highlight species amongst common woodland birds.

Small White butterfly

Marsh Tit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our final stop was the lake where there was a large party of Tufted Duck.

Pensthorpe has a number of large lakes

 

Pensthorpe as well as having a wildfowl collection and a nature reserve has a large conservation centre involved in the preservation and re-introduction of endangered species. These include Turtle Doves, Corncrakes and Common Crane.

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Eurasian Hobby [sp] (Falco subbuteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Marsh Tit [sp] (Poecile palustris)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Whilst out surveying three sites this morning for the Great Butterfly Count (a nationwide 10-day survey) I came across the female kestrel from the pair in Oxleas Meadows perched in a tree between hunting forays. She didn’t stay long and was soon off hunting again.

On the butterfly count, I recorded 8 species across the 3 sites but was surprised that there were not higher numbers of each giving the temperature was 23C and it seemed like ideal conditions. I do hope this doesn’t mean it is going to be a bad year again!

Gatekeeper

Small Tortoiseshell

Red Admiral

Speckled wood

Meadow Brown

Keith and I off to Cliffe, an RSPB reserve in the north Kent Marshes, hoping to catch some autumn migration. We begin, as always, at Tabitha’s snack wagon at West Court Farm for our morning refreshments and a chance to look over the fields for any birds migrant or resident that might be feeding there. A Rook is a good sighting but there seems to be very little else.

West Court Farm

West Court Farm

Moving onto the RSPB reserve, we notice how quite it seems to be. There is very little evidence of small bird activity, perhaps a result of the breeze that is blowing. As the day wears on the rising tide on the adjacent River Thames starts to move the wading birds off the tidal mudflats and onto the marshes.

River Thames at Cliffe

River Thames at Cliffe

 

We were delighted to find a Common Kestrel perched on the Sea Wall. As we approached it took off and proceeded to hunt over the marshes

Common Kestrel

Common Kestrel

 

Common Kestrel

Common Kestrel

By the time we are heading back from the riverside there are good numbers of Golden Plover, Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwits arriving to feed on the marshes.

 

Waders gathering on marsh pools

Waders gathering on marsh pools

In amongst them are smaller numbers of Red Knot, Grey Plover, Eurasian Curlew, Redshank and Ringed Plover. Unfortunately apart from these common species there were no rarer migrants with them.

Grey Plover

Grey Plover

One sighting which we had not seen on previous visits was a very large roost of Great Black-backed Gulls, possibly over 200 in total.

Great Black-backed Gulls at roost

Great Black-backed Gulls at roost

All in all, although we totalled over 50 species, a quiet day for this reserve, but that’s the beauty of birdwatching – you never now what you might find.

 

Little Egret

Little Egret

 

Old Man’s Beard – Clematis vitalba was much in evidence around the reserve

Old Man’s Beard – Clematis vitalba was much in evidence around the reserve

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Grey Plover [sp] (Pluvialis squatarola)
Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Red Knot [sp] (Calidris canutus)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Skylark [sp] (Alauda arvensis)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Linnet [sp] (Carduelis cannabina)

The weather influenced a change in destination for a days birding in Kent and Keith and I went out to Cliffe for the day instead of going to New Hythe as originally planned. We started at West Court Farm where the fields were flooded. There were good views of Kestrel, Fieldfare and Greylag Geese. Pintail and other water birds were taking advantage of the flooded meadows as a new habitat.

Fieldfare

Fieldfare

Kestrel

Kestrel

As we walked towards the RSPB reserve at Cliffe we added some more water bird species on the old quarry lakes. A female greater spotted woodpecker perched on top of a telegraph pole and small birds flitted through the trees. By the time we reached the reserve we had already seen 31 species.

Our first target on the reserve was a male Scaup which had been seen that morning. The eagle eyes of another birdwatcher located it associating with a flock of Tufted Duck on the far side of the pit and through the telescope its pale back (by comparison to Tufted Duck) were clearly distinctive.

Greater scaup LMO 2
A male Scaup
Photo by Paul Sullivan (https://www.flickr.com/photos/pfsullivan_1056/)

Tufted Duck (male)

Tufted Duck (male)

Also present were Goldeneye and the largest number of Little Grebes I have ever seen in a single place.

Male Goldeneye (taken 2013)

Male Goldeneye (taken 2013)

LIttle Grebe

Little Grebe (Kelsey Pk Jan 2015)

We walked out towards the River Thames as the tide was rising and we wanted to see what would come off the Thames marshes. A Cetti’s Warbler calling from the path-side bushes was an unexpected bonus as were 2 Corn Buntings, although small birds were generally low on numbers, most probably due to the wind. At the river we were treated to a fly-by procession of over 1000 Dunlin plus good numbers of Golden and Grey plover. I located a lone Greenshank on the far side of the Flamingo pool.

Greenshank
Greenshank
Photo by Tony Sutton (https://www.flickr.com/photos/59269512@N08/)

A Marsh Harrier and later a Peregrine Falcon were hunting over the marshes, but probably due to the wind there were no sightings of Owls. The overcast conditions meant that the light was fading mid-afternoon and soon it was time to head back to the car-park. Even so we still added species on the way back as birds moved to roost.

An excellent days birdwatching which finished at 61 species, despite the absence of some expected species) with excellent if distant views of some good species.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Greater Scaup [sp] (Aythya marila)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Peregrine Falcon [sp] (Falco peregrinus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Grey Plover [sp] (Pluvialis squatarola)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos) 1
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
White Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
Eurasian Rock Pipit [sp] (Anthus petrosus)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Corn Bunting [sp] (Emberiza calandra)

A weekend in Marlow and the opportunity to visit a couple of nature reserves that I haven’t visited before.

In the morning we visit the RSPB reserve at Otmoor, a large area of marshland and water meadows.

RSPB Otmoor

RSPB Otmoor

RSPB Otmoor Photo by Sue

RSPB Otmoor
Photo by Sue

It was reasonably quiet but we did see Red Kite and Kestrel.

Kestrel  Photo by sue

Kestrel
Photo by sue

On the walk back to the car park we saw two doves fly onto a fence. At first I thought they were collared Dove, but in the telescope it was clear that they were a pair of the much rarer Turtle Doves, a species which is becoming rarer in the UK. They are both juveniles, so lack the characteristic neck markings of the adult.

Turtle  Doves Photo by Sue

Turtle Doves
Photo by Sue

Turtle Dove Photo by Sue

Turtle Dove
Photo by Sue

We also saw a really pristine Comma butterfly which was unexpected for so late in the season

Comma  Photo by Sue

Comma
Photo by Sue

Our afternoon stop was Farmoor reservoir.

Farmoor

Farmoor

As we approached the reservoir there were a number of Pied Wagtails together with a Grey Wagtail.

Pied Wagtail

Pied Wagtail

Walking along the causeway between the two reservoirs we located Rock Pipit and Little Ringed Plover in addition to the large numbers of geese, ducks and Great Crested Grebes.

Photo by Sue

Photo by Sue

Returning to the car park I scanned the bottom of the southern basin and located one of the two Black-necked Grebes that have been present there for the last few days.

On the way back to Marlow we were passing Stokenchurch and there were 14 Red Kites in the air at the same time. Quite a sight!

We hadn’t got a large number of species during the day but we had some good sightings.

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Black-necked Grebe [sp] (Podiceps nigricollis)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Little Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius dubius)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
European Turtle Dove [sp] (Streptopelia turtur)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Eurasian Rock Pipit [sp] (Anthus petrosus)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)