Saturday, 31 October 2009

CALVERT images from today - kindly provided by Tim Watts

A real red letter day for Tim

Calvert Sailing lake; 2 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS in middle of lake in gloomy conditions early on. Watched them for two hours or more and they fed, then roosted/rested then when got brighter - a long spell of vigorous preening/wing stretching. They flew off after this, heading East at 11:30.

Whilst sat at water edge got glimpse of small brown jobby in flight that suspected was ROCK PIPIT, even though never had one here in 14 yrs of watching! No white in outer tail. With Ian Burrus we saw it again in flight. After another hour found it feeding along rocky shoreline to right of clubhouse.

On BBOWT lake were 4 RED-CRESTED POCHARDS, 2 male + 2 female (Tim Watts)

Monday, 26 October 2009

Hillesden and Calvert BBOWT 25/10

Hillesden; Did a 2 hour watch up until dark; male and female COMMON STONECHAT/ 2 Barnacle X Canada hybrids/ 6 GREY PARTRIDGES/ 3 FIELDFARE flew into house grounds bushes to roost/c 200 Starling/ adult PEREGRINE over pools at dusk.

Calvert BBOWT; earlier in afternoon JACK SNIPE. Returned when dark and 2 Little Egret in roost trees (Tim Watts)

JACK SNIPE at Calvert 25/10

JACK SNIPE near waters edge in front of first hide along with single Water Rail, Little Egret and Common Snipe plus a Cetti's Warbler heard.

The JACK SNIPE was close to the end of the right-hand reedbed near to a post sticking up at an angle. Initially found by Nita and Pete Brazier.

A sizeable gull roost this evening but nothing particularly out of the ordinary noted (Ken Earnshaw)

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Another confusing hybrid to entertain us

Quainton Hills; Large numbers of Chaffinch over West in 1st hour, only spotted 14 !! Redwing.
Calvert BBOWT; Male Scaup-type hybrid roosting by 2nd hide - round head, yellow eye, light mantle but brownish head and large nail on bill. Did wonder if young male or male coming out of eclipse. Not the peak headed Lesser Scaup lookalike seen here in previous year (see pix above). Also Water Rail/ 61 Pochard
Hillesden Pools; 50 Fieldfare/c300 Greenfinch/c 250 Linnet/2 Little egret/c20 Skylark
Rough field nr Waddesdon; pair of COMMON STONECHAT. Usually Common Snipe here but this year too dry at moment (Tim Watts)

Calvert blank

Spent 3 hours at Calvert BBOWT today 11am - 2pm but no sign of Ferruginous Duck. Still, plenty else to see with 33 species for the visit; best included party of Bullfinch (m, f and juv) on berries on railway line path, Red Kite over, two flocks of Redwing totalling 37 over, 675 gulls on lake (mostly Lessers, some Herring and a couple of Black-headed and Greaters) and great views of Kingfisher perched on one of the posts visible from the second hide (Steve Marshall)


The drake RING-NECKED DUCK remained as did at least one female COMMON GOLDENEYE (per Richard Goodlad)

QUAINTON HILLS viz-migging 17/10

Tried new observation spot half way up S/W slopes and infinitely better than summit. From here an all round panoramic view; get everything passing over tops and most importantly a good view across Aylesbury Vale. Picked up many more Thrushes high over vale that would have been missed before. Wrote down flocks from 10-150 and just added them up. Totals were 2050 REDWING and 470 FIELDFARE. Some Fieldfares went low overhead. All birds flying West, between 0745-0900 hours.

Also c300 Starling, c200 Finches, an increase in Woodpigeon,1 Skylark,1 Bullfinch.

Later walked bushlines and only odd blackbirds/Song Thrush.

Tried the massive East hollow,which can't see from new watch spot and 30 Fieldfare in bushes but also 170 feeding on Cattle grazed slopes, also 100 Redwing in flight.

At base of South slopes was a male COMMON STONECHAT in area never seen one in before, Grey Wagtail (scarce here) and a Chiffchaff and 90!! Fieldfare around churchyard. Fieldfare could have been counted already, earlier? (Tim Watts)

FERRUGINOUS DUCK at Calvert BBOWT - the photos

Last year's returning adult drake - seen just on three dates so far, and never consecutively. Hopefully will start into regular pattern soon (Tim Watts)

Thursday, 15 October 2009

First real push of winter thrushes

An excellent morning on QUAINTON HILLS today: first hour- c1,750 Redwing over S/W then W./ C 300 finches/40 Stock Dove.

Later wasted lot of time watching hedgelines on tops but only c30 mixed Thrushes.

Walked down and a large hedgeline half way down S/W slopes stuffed with birds!! My first 6 FIELDFARE of the year on grass. Original estimate of c200 birds woefully under!! Got in position (difficult) and 150 flew out and away, these included at least 10 Fieldfare. Then another 80 Redwing flew off. Remainder settled down and still a good 200 thrushes, amazingly 30 Fieldfare still. Also c40 Blackbird/c30 Song Thrush/c200 Starling/lots of mixed finches including Bullfinch/2 G.S.Woodys/2-3 Jays/Robins/Dunnocks/2 Goldcrest. Also surrounded on open grass by c80 Mipits/6 Skylark/c40 Goldfinch. FANTASTIC!!!

Next dawn watch I won't go to summit but will watch from here. As noted before here a lot of passage is over Aylesbury Vale on this side of hills (Tim Watts)

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

FERRUGINOUS DUCK - further details

Calvert BBOWT; Drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK, roosting with small group of Northern Pochard in SE corner. This will almost certainly be the same returning bird from last year that Steve Norman found at Calvert in early September. It wasn't seen again on here, but re-located a week later on a private site for one day and has not been seen again until today.

Also seen- female Mandarin Duck (3rd one ever had on here) preening on raft by first hide/ 1 Green Sandpiper/5 Snipe/30 Pochard/2 Shoveler/1 Wigeon.

At work this morning 24 Redwing in bushes at Fenny Stratford and c 30 at Drayton Parslow (Tim Watts).

Drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK reappears

The adult drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK was again at Calvert BBOWT Lake this afternoon, consorting with Northern Pochards (per Tim Watts)

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Sightings 8 October

Three COMMON RAVENS at Foxcote Reservoir and a late WESTERN REED WARBLER in front of the hide were the only birds of particular note there, although Wigeon and Teal numbers were quite good, while at Calvert BBOWT similarly a Green Sandpiper and Little Egret were only birds of note (Ken Earnshaw)

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

POLECAT hunting

Chronic quality pics but even so managed with small compact camera and scope
to get record shots of something even Simon King failed to do in Scotland!!
A POLECAT hunting!! This was on Quainton Hills, tops of Denham Hill, at 10 a.m today
5/10/09. Not just crossing field but actively stalking, running after Rabbits and sticking
head down burrows.
It moved quickly most of the time,mobbed by Crows and on view for 5 minutes. Spotted at extreme
range 3/4 mile? on private large, steep, sloping hollow riddled with warrens. Lost it to sight at
base of old wall that goes over top, possibly den there?

Saw one at close range in headlights at base of hills last Autumn. Today,through scope could
see it had the distinct, diagnotic white facial markings and think 1 or 2 of pics show this.
Pic of crows mobbing and another uncropped (it's the brown blob!!) on slope to give idea
of scale. Saw lots of birds today but this fantastic sight was easily the best (Tim Watts)

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Quainton Hills 5 October

Haven't been up hills for a while so not sure if birds collected over period or arrived last night but there was about as much as you ever see, quantity wise, in bushes on tops. Top of West slopes; c20 Song Thrush/c 10 Blackbird/c50 Chaffinch/ 3 Chiffchaff/2 Blackcap/ Robins and Dunnocks popping up everywhere!/many more Tits than usual and unusually a female Reed Bunting in bushes. Was happy sat watching this area but next spot better.

Top of East slopes; c 60 Song Thrush, 49 counted flying out in small groups to lower bushes with more remaining/ c 30 Blackbird/1 Redwing ,seen well perched/1 Mistle Thrush/ c40 Chaffinch/2-4 Chiffchaff/3 Bullfinch/ 10 Greenfinch/c40 Goldfinch/3 Linnet/1 Blackcap/ Robins and Dunnocks again popping out all over shop! Limited time so only sat and watched 2 hedgelines, many other similar spots in area so these must be minimum counts! also massive flock of c150 Mipits over open area.

Easily best sighting of day was watching a POLECAT hunting Rabbits on top of Denham hill (S/E slopes). Seen for 5 mins and got some long range record shots (Tim Watts)

Images from Sunday 4 October

Peregrine and Common Stonechat on Calvert Landfill (Tim Watts)



Calvert BBOWT; 4 Little Egret, 3 in roost trees/ 303 Greylag Geese roosted/ 2 Snipe/Grey Wagtail/ influx of c20 Song Thrush/Blackbirds in bushes.

Quainton hill; Quick look from base, c50 Mipits/1 Mistle Thrush.

Foxcote Reservoir; Lots of wildfowl! Wigeon most numerous after Coot!/Grey Wagtail

Hillesden Pools; 2 Little Egret/c 100 Linnet/c100 Greenfinch

Calvert landfill; (no general access) Juvenile COMMON SHELDUCK, PEREGRINE attacking Lapwings then landed on boulder. Green Sandpiper/c600 mixed Canada and Greylags/8 Shoveler/10 Teal; female COMMON STONECHAT (Tim Watts)