Monday 30 June 2008

Away for two minutes...

Thursday, Colin found a little tern off the dam. Despite pegging it down there from work the lingering bird managed to de-linger itself and clear off two seconds before I arrived, leaving a bemused Mark who had been watching it up until I arrived.
The bird was undoubtedly still around as it wa seen again by Colin the next morning, but I had a band practise to get to, so I couldn't look around elsewhere. Doh!

Then, Colin pulled it out of the bag again, when on Saturday he found a drake Green-winged Teal in the lagoons. Now this time last year Mark and me found one in the same spot, so this could potentially be the same returning bird, coming back to moult, but we will never be sure. However, I was sitting in a garden in Taunton, Somerset, with a beer in one hand and a sausage in the other (from a bbq), so I didn't get to see it.

Arrived home Sunday night and went straight to the lagoons with full family. Enjoyable walk, but no joy with the teal. Did pick out a first summer Mediterranean Gull loafing with the Black-heads in front of the hide however, which was a little bit of consolation.

Later, had another look round and during this managed to stand on a blackthorn thorn (ouch) and tear all the skin off the end of my little finger through getting it caught in my tripod (double ouch). So, with blood everywhere, I failed to see the pesky teal. I am confident that the teal will stay to moult so let's hope I catch up with it before it becomes indistinguishable from it's European cousins!

Tuesday 24 June 2008

Bee orchids and things

Two Bee Orchids, Sulphur Clover and a vetchy thing...

Still ill

A bit of an easterly was blowing so I was not surprised to see a fine adult Black Tern sitting on J buoy and then flying around over the res at 4pm with a bunch of Common Terns. However, being the end of June, rather than mid-May, it is perhaps a little unusual.

Not a lot else doing, but managed a few shots of the Bee Orchids. Also, found a bit of Sulphur Clover in the lagoons too, just about clinging on in the scrubbing-up grasslands.

Two young men who I spied walking round the lagoons finally lay down on a sunlit slope. I thought they might be about to re-enact a scene from Brokeback Mountain, but thankfully for Willow's impressionable young eyes, they did not.

Monday 23 June 2008


Off work ill, boohoo. Went for a walk with the family round the lagoons for some air (it will do you good) mid-arvo. The Wigeon was still hanging out. Not surprising really, it has no flight feathers left. Not much else doing on the bird front, apart from a couple of loafing Yellow-legged Gulls on the res, and about 20 Common Terns gliding about. No hoped for mid-summer Manxie though. I hope we didn't peak too early with the Stormy on the 4th!
Bee Orchids and two Common Spotted Orchids also in the lagoons.

Sunday 22 June 2008

Mid-roast birding

Roast in the oven, so nipped down to the lagoons to check out the scene.
For once, the lagoon in front of the hide was full of birds. Several Common Terns loafed on the islands, with loads of moulting ducks, including a male Wigeon, which was a nice surprise. A LRP was skittering about, but the hoped for Stilt Sandpiper had still not arrived from Rutland. Smelt oven smoke so shot home...mmmm roast potatoes!

Crested Cow-wheat & Spiked Star-of-Bethlehem

Birds 0 - Plants 3

With strong westerly winds, my hoped for Little Shear did not show itself on the res, so I packed baby (10 weeks now!), dog (5 stone now!) and lady wife in to the jalopy for a drive down to Honeydon in North Bedfordshire. Having not been to this site in years I was a bit worried I would not find the exact spot...Fortunately I had had the foresight four years ago to put a little ring round the spot on my OS map, which helped no end. As soon as we turned up I could see hordes of Spiked Star-of-Bethlehem in full flower along the verge - nice! Although it is also called Bath Asparagus, we decided not to sample any. Next, we wandered north up the road spying some Sulphur Clover and then shortly the main target, Crested Cow-wheat. This mad looking alien of a plant is simply stonking and I have only ever seen it here. I was pleased to see there was plenty of it growing in magenta patches along the roadside.

We then headed over to Paxton to look for fly-over Black Storks or rare raptors, but only managed some Tufted Ducklings and a Chiffchav before leaving the site to the bull terrier-toting Sunday afternoon crowds.