Monday, 30 September 2013

Made it by a minute

I had today off work; I'd been thinking about going to the Lincs coast, but in the end decided to give it a miss and do a morning's work on my section of the Notts Bird Report (just hirundines left to do now...), and then some local birding in the afternoon. 

I began at Ferry Lane Lake, which was pretty quite, so I counted the Pochard (146, including one with a pale greeny-blue nasal saddle, which appeared to bear the code T4 but was difficult to make out even with my scope whacked up to 50x), noting the 2 Red-crested Pochards as well. In the field to the west, there were 312 Golden Plovers, which were too distant to grill properly. On Mons Pool, yesterday's Black-tailed Godwit was still present, along with 2 Green Sands and a Curlew (heard only towards the Silt Lagoon). More time along Northcroft Lane produced 6+ Chiffchaffs and a male Blackcap, but little else. Where is that Yellow-brow?

I then decided to give Meering a go, mainly to see if there were any warblers in evidence; there were, but again only a few Chiffchaffs. I then wondered round the wetland areas, not really expecting to see anything; there was however, a Green Sand on the reedbed creation area, and then a Dunlin on the old Eon Lagoon; closer inspection suggested there were a couple of other waders here as well, but they were partially concealed round a corner. I crept along the bank on the north side of the lagoon, and peered through the vegetation along the fenceline; Dunlin. Ruff. Another Ruff. And a fourth bird which looked interesting... a juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper

I got myself into a better viewing position  and took some poor hand-held shots (I'd left my adapter in the car, always a guarantee that I'll see something I want to photograph). Unfortunately I couldn't spend as long with this bird as I wanted, as I had to be back for a home delivery from Sainsbury's in the 7-8pm slot; I pushed it for as long as I felt I could, and made it back home at 7:04pm. The delivery driver was waiting for me, and apparently I had one more minute before he was leaving. Perfect timing!

Pec Sand
Pec, showing breast band
The best Pec pic I could manage
Spot the Pec - with a Dunlin and 2 Ruff

So Pec Sand becomes my 132nd Patchwork Challenge species of the year, and my first 3 pointer - doubled to 6 as a self-found bird. It's only taken 9 months!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Another Black-wit

The best waders tonight at Collingham was a Black-wit on Mons Pool; elsewhere, there were single Green Sand, Ringed Plover and Dunlin, and the 2 Red-crested Pochards were still in residence. A bit more hedge-bashing along Northcroft lane produced only a few Chiffies (c.4), whilst 7 Swallows flew through Ferry Lane Lake in an increasingly brisk north-easterly. 


Saturday, 28 September 2013

Hedge bashing

I managed two trips to the patch today, either side of hockey (6-0 victory, yours truly bagging a hat-trick). Both times I worked the hedges along Northcroft Lane with limited success - a few Chiffchaffs (4+ this evening) and a pair of Blackcaps (this morning), as well as a few Robins and Song Thrushes, but no Sylvias (or indeed, Yellow-brows). There was also a bit of Skylark passage over the patch this morning, along with a few Meadow Pipits; I'm still awaiting a fly-over Tree Pipit. Non-passerines included a 1st W Yellow-legged Gull this evening on Ferry Lane Lake, along with single LRP and Dunlin, and a flock of 70 Golden Plover off to the west. This morning, a Green Sand was also present on FLL, as were the two eclipse drake Red-crested Pochards

Thursday, 26 September 2013

RCP gripback

I was a bit perplexed to see on the Notts Birdwatchers website that two Red-crested Pochards had been seen yesterday at Collingham. Having missed one already this year, I was keen to see these birds, so made that my mission tonight. But no sign on Ferry Lane Lake. Fortunately, John E then arrived and informed me that he'd had these birds on his WeBS count on Sunday, and that they were on Wharf Pit - which I must confess I haven't checked for a couple of weeks. And there indeed they were, 2 eclipse drakes; 131 for the Patchwork Challenge list and a good gripback. 


Whilst grilling John, we also had 3 Grey Plover put down briefly, before continuing south. 40 minutes or so later, another Grey Plover called in on Ferry Lane Lake - whether a new bird or one of the original 3 I'm not sure, but good to see waders dropping in. However, other waders were thin on the ground, with no Dunlin or Ringed Plover and only one LRP now present, whilst single Greenshank and Green Sand flew up from Mons Pool whilst I was looking at the Silt Lagoon. 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

A clear out

It was evident tonight on the patch that there had been a big clear out of Chiffchaffs; there were several hweeting (and singing) last night, but not a single one this evening - the hedgerows and trees were silent except for a few Robins chortling away to themselves. 

Waders included 2 Dunlin (present since at least Sunday), a single Greenshank, and two each of Ringed Plover and LRP on Ferry Lane Lake, with a Green Sand on the Silt Lagoon and another Green Sand and 2 Curlew on Mons Pool. The Lesser Black-back flock hosted a juvenile and a 2nd W Herring Gull, and a 1st W Yellow-legged Gull

When I got home, I popped out into the garden at about 8 o'clock to put our one surviving chicken away, and had a Greenshank fly over on its way south, calling unseen in the night - a quality garden tick. 

Sunday, 22 September 2013

A day of ducks

This morning was WeBS count time at Girton; nothing spectacular, but a numbers of Tufted Ducks are starting to build up (259), and the summering Goldeneye was still on the Sailing Lake. There were also a couple of waders around - single Greenshank and Common Sand, and 2 Snipe. I then went over to Boultham Mere in Lincoln to see the three imm. Blue-winged Teal. Well worth the effort - they were nice and close and showed very well. 

One of the three Blue-winged Teal
All three

The day was completed at Collingham Pits, with a Greenshank, 2 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, 4 Green Sands, 6 Snipe (3 in flight only) and 571 Lapwing (most on Ferry Lane Lake). 

Throughout the day there was an almost constant trickle of Meadow Pipits and Swallows heading south - but obviously nothing to match the 36,000 logged over Christchurch on the south coast this morning - must've been quite a sight!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Some movement

There was actually a bit of passage over Collingham this morning - only a few Meadow Pipits and Skylarks, but an improvement on current form, and there were still a few Swallows hanging around. Waders included 6 Dunlin, 7 Ringed Plover, and single LRP, Green Sand and Greenshank

There was even a bit of passage over Newark this evening, with a mixed group of 30+ Swallows and House Martins heading south just after 5pm.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Clocking 130

After a false start with the scoter a week or so back, I finally notched up 130 species for my Patchwork Challenge list - a juvenile Water Rail, feeding along the edge of the reedbed on Mons Pool. Unfortunately by the time I'd zipped back to the car for my camera it had vanished, but it was good to get this species under my belt at last.

On the wader front, John Ellis had just found a Ruff on Ferry Lane Lake when I arrived; only my third of the autumn at Collingham this year. The Dunlin flock had increased by one since yesterday, with 8 present, and 7 Ringed Plovers trying to hide an LRP. Single Greenshank and Green Sand were also present along with 44 Wigeon. At Mons Pool, aside from the Water Rail, 4 Curlew and a single Green Sand were the best I could do. 

Where the Water Rail was...

Thursday, 19 September 2013

A day of Dunlin

I've rather neglected the patch this week, having only managed two visits since sunday; a look on Monday night produced only small numbers of waders (5 Ringed Plover, 1 Dunlin, 2 Green & 1 Common Sand), but there were also 2 juv/1st W Yellow-legged Gulls amongst 50 or so LBB Gulls.

Tonight was more of the same, although wader-action improved slightly with a little party of 6 Ringed Plovers and 7 Dunlin (the largest group of Dunlin so far this year) and there were 2 YL Gulls again - this time and adult and a 1st W (which looked like one of Monday's birds). Unfortunately the light was too bad for any photography.

Earlier, I'd spend a few hours near Kilvington Lakes and had a Peregrine, 6 fly-over Dunlin and 1 fly-over Ringed Plover, suggesting there there have been a few of these on the move today. Unfortunately I didn't have my scope so couldn't give Kilvington itself a proper look.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

A truly Great Snipe

No patch birding today; some twitchin' was had instead. I was doubtful whether yesterday's Great Snipe at Spurn would be found again this morning, but found it was, so I bombed over there, solo, as soon as I got up. The problem with Spurn is that it looks fairly close to Newark as the crow flies, but it's a long way round; even when you get to Hull it's still 40 minutes further on. However, with 1977 by Ash and Bagsy Me by the Wannadies on full blast (who knew Poundland sold refurbished CD's?), the time passed and Spurn was reached just after half 10.

When I arrived, the bird was showing on and off through a fence, under some bushes. Not so great. However, it then walked out onto a grassy verge within the caravan park on Beacon Lane. To say it then showed well is a massive understatement - it performed phenomenally, and despite my initial concerns, it was completely unperturbed by the twitchers and paps who had it covered on two sides. It fed, dozed, and wandered around, showing down to just a few feet at times. 

However, viewing wasn't always straightforward...

A really fantastic bird, and I'm glad I made the effort to go for it; bird of the year for me so far. 

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Waders 'n Gulls

I had two visits to Collingham, either side of my first hockey match of the season (we lost 5-1, but I scored). Totals for the day were 2 Greenshank, 10 Ringed Plover, 3 LRP, 2 Dunlin, 2 Green Sands, 2 Common Sands, and a Redshank (the first of those in ages), as well as the Pintail. There were a few hweeting Chiffies and a single Lesser Whitethroat in the hedges, whilst a Yellow Wag flew over south. I also spent some time looking at juvvie gulls this evening, which included 2 Herrings amongst the LBB's, along with a possible juv Caspo - unfortunately it was pretty dark by the time I got onto this.

I also had a slightly perplexing gull at Collingham yesterday; it was a 2CY, and looked pretty convincing as a Yellow-leg on the deck. It then flew a short distance and showed an odd combination of a white tail base and neat black band, very prominent pale windows on the inner prims (too prominent for a Yellow-leg really), and very pale underwing. Wader-wise, there were 11 Ringed Plover on the Silt Lagoon, plus a Greenshank and 2 Green Sands around the site.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Scooting scoter

There was no sign of the 18 Common Scoter which had been reported from Collingham Pits (on Ferry Lane Lake) this morning. A shame, as I'd almost already ticked them off as my 130th Patchwork Challenge species. There were, however, good numbers of duck around, with the Pintail still present, as well as 2 Greenshank, 1 Green Sand and a Common Sand.

I also had a quick look at Girton Pits, as this site has been productive for scoter in the past. No scoter, but 138 Tufted Duck and 17 Wigeon were on the Sailing Lake, and 11 Meadow Pipits flew south.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

A stint (or two) at the patch

I almost didn't bother with a visit to the patch tonight; I didn't have much time, and it was a bit dull and wet out. However, I decided to go in the end, and came up with 2 juvenile Little Stints on Ferry Lane Lake! The pictures I managed of them are awful even by my usual standards, but they were quite distant and the light was bad (etc. etc.):

Little Stint (R) and Dunlin (L)
Little Stint
Both Little Stints
Little Stint

Also present were 4 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, the Pintail again, and a mixed group of 70+ hirundines (Swallows and House Martins), as well as 8 Little Egrets. Not bad for a half-hour visit. Who knows what may've been on Mons Pool though...

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Grabbing a Garganey

After weeks of scrutinising all the Teal at Collingham, I finally struck gold in the form of a Garganey on Mons Pool this morning. Thank goodness, as I was about giving up hope of seeing one on the patch this year! It preened briefly and showed pale grey feathering and broad white bars on the inner wing, indicating this was an eclipse drake.


Waders were very thin on the ground, and I didn't see a single Common or Green Sandpiper. However, there was a Ruff on Ferry Lane Lake, along with 3 Ringed Plovers and a Dunlin, and 6 Curlew on the Silt Lagoon. 


Saturday, 7 September 2013


Some soon-to-be award-winning pics of the White-winged Black Tern at Attenborough NR from this morning.

I then didn't have time to go for Netherfield Lagoons for another try at the Spotted Crake, so went to Collingham, where there wasn't much at all - 2 Clouded Yellows were the best migrants.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Lots at Langford

Langford had obviously pulled in a few waders today, with Little Stint, Grey Plover and Whimbrel the pick of the bunch, along with 15 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, 2 Green Sands, 2 Redshank, and 'masses' of Snipe reported via Twitter.

I was therefore feeling quite hopeful when I got to Collingham. Whilst there were definitely more waders around than yesterday, there was nothing notable. However, 8 Curlew on Mons Pool was a good count, where a Hobby put on a good display and I was particularly pleased to see two half-grown Great Crested Grebes hiding round the back of the island - I'd not seen these birds since they were newly hatched on 13th August.

On Ferry Lane Lake, LRPs were two more than usual, and there were 2 Ringed Plovers on the Silt Lagoon, plus a total of 4 Common Sands and 3 Green Sands around the site. On the wildfowl front, there were more ducks around than recently, with a total of 21 Wigeon, and a female Pintail on Ferry Lane Lake was clearly new in - 30 seen in flight over Langford today suggest a local arrival.

Greylags over Mons Pool

I also had a quick look at Girton Pits, in the hope of terns; 2 Hobby and quite a few hirundines were the best I could manage though.

No Pec but a Parakeet

There were 4 Pec Sands in the county yesterday, 3 at IVNR and one found by Carl C at Kilvington at lunchtime. Needless to say, there wasn't one at Collingham. However, whilst hanging over the gate at Ferry Lane Lake reading messages about the Yellow-breasted Bunting on the Farnes, I heard a familiar screech, and sure enough, there was a Ring-necked Parakeet flying south over the lake. Completely unexpected, and probably a first for the site - certainly a patch tick for me, and another one for the Patchwork Challenge list (now up to 127 species)! 

And yes, I would've preferred to find a Pec. 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Saved by a Black-wit

Tonight's trip out to the patch  was shaping up as yet another uneventful visit, with things much as they have been recently; there were small numbers of common waders across the site - 2 Greenshank, 3 Common Sands, 2 Green Sands, a Dunlin, a Ringed Plover, and 3 Curlew. However, the evening was brightened up by a Black-tailed Godwit, which flew up from the south side of the island on Mons Pool and then disappeared off to the north. Nice, but where's my yank wader?

Earlier in the day I'd visited several sites in the west and centre of the county to undertake Farm Environment Plans for an HLS application. I saw Bullfinches at 5 out of the 6, and heard a Willow Tit on the Teversal Trails (my first for ages), where I also counted 11 gone-over Fragrant Orchids in their usual spot.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

A slow start to September

Another day, another visit to the patch. To be honest, it's hardly worth blogging about, with the same species as usual seen today, but in lower numbers. My hopes of a Garganey are fading with the every declining numbers of Teal, but I'm still hopeful for something good on the wader front; with a Pec Sand at Idle Valley NR and the Stilt Sand in Cheshire, I don't think it's not too much to hope for something similar..?!