Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Foggy geese ticks at Farlington Marshes

Despite the increasing density of fog as the afternoon progressed, I managed to connect with 8 of the reported 15 white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons) and the single pink-footed goose (Anser brachyrhynchus) at Farlington Marshes [LNR] late afternoon.

The birds were just visible at the edge of the white out range making ID of the pink footed particularly difficult given the variation in both the white-fronts plumage and the added disadvantage of their white forehead blazes only standing out when a bird was face on, which happened rarely.

Anyhow two new Hampshire ticks and worth it for the effort of both weather conditions and ID challenge.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

skylark (Alauda arvensis L.); another Boxing Day garden tick

I had a completely unexpected new garden tick, when two skylark landed on the back garden fence, and hung around for a couple of minutes before heading off - direction unknown.

I had spotted one flying around just shortly before they landed, and couldn't get my head around what it was, because I was simply not thinking "skylark" in the middle of Southsea.

I noted on Going Birding Hampshire later that a count of 1100 skylark had been recorded at Brownich Cliffs near Titchfield mid afternoon. So may suspect that my two birds were part of a movement on the day?

A second garden tick of the day and both birds within half an hour of the blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla). Stunning!

waxwing (Bombycilla garullus L.) Havant, Hampshire

Caught up with a flock of 65 waxwing, late this afternoon in Havant on the New Road adjacent to Havant College. Still looking for my own Portsmouth flock, but no luck yet.


Taking advantage of a very fog bound afternoon on 29th December 2010 I reappraised the photographs taken in Havant on the 26th December 2010 and noted that 73 waxwing were photographed at 15:19. I would suspect that this new count could be supplemented further given that the flock was variously mobile between the roost tree and the berry tree on which it fed.

Boxing Day blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla L.)

The first garden record for this species (a male).

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus L.); Hedge End, Hampshire

Late afternoon today I caught up with a flock of 40 waxwing at Jessops car park in Hedge End Nr Southampton. The birds flew off moments after I arrived and when they returned only 39 were present. The flock then disappeared south over the M25 circa 15:30 presumably heading to roost.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

garden songthrush (Turdus philomelos L.)

A songthrush is in the garden today; the first garden record for this winter.

It joined the three blackbirds (Turdus merula) [1♀ and 2 ♂], the long staying dunnock (Prunella modularis); a couple of wood pigeons (Columba palumbus) and a collarded dove (Streptopelia decaocto).

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Southsea Rock

Anthus petrosus

locally sourced Harbour seals (Phoca vitulina L.)

After a recent tip-off I finally caught up with my first (two) Hampshire, harbour seals, hauled out on the mudflats about 500m from a local landmark restaurant. Great stuff.

Grey coloured seals on a grey mud with a cold grey sea in front and a cold grey sky above - not the ideal photo-opportunity - so I look forward to better views in better weather before catching that all important "out of focus" shot for the BLOG.

Friday, 10 December 2010

waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus L.); Petersfield, Hampshire

Responding to yesterday's late report of a flock of 24 waxwing being present in Petersfield; I headed north this morning and connected with the birds in a suburban street on the east side of Petersfield.

The flock now numbering 25 gave crippling views roosting at the top of a bare winter tree, then feeding in better light on an ornamental Ash.

Bombycilla garrulus

Monday, 29 November 2010

Blackhill, New Forest

Chlorocibaria aeruginascens

Cladonia fimbriata

Polytrichum juniperinum

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

incidental garden birding

2 x robin (Erithacus rubecula) seen this morning on the bird table; late pm single ♀ blackbird (Turdus merula) and 1 (prob 2) ♂ blackbird flew into local area, presumably to roost.

No sightings today of the dunnock (Prunella modularis) which has been seen regularly at the bird table since 9th October.

Prunella modularis at sunset 11th October 2010

Monday, 25 October 2010

October on the South Downs

top to bottom: Campanula trachelium; Fraxinus excelsior; Succisa pratensis

Friday, 15 October 2010

IOW Orb web spider

This photograph of a ♀ wasp spider (Argiope bruennichi) with her newly made egg sac was taken at a site on the IOW.

The spider was observed for over two weeks in the local vicinity, before it finally set about building its egg sac over a two day period. Then having laid its eggs the ♀ disappeared.
The wasp spider is a recent coloniser in the UK and feeds mainly on grasshoppers which it captures by spinning an orb web between grasses low to the ground. The web contains prominant zig-zag patterns towards the centre - the purpose of which is currently uncertain, although it may function to attract other insects.
Photograph is copyright Chuck Eccleston

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Motacillidae and Turdidae (via Blashford Lakes)

pied wagtail (Motacilla alba); meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis); grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) and northern wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

mini-beasts of Brittany

Following on the theme from Monday's invertebrate session in Ower Wood - these mini-beasts were photographed on Chuck and Fe's recent trip to Brittany. From top to bottom: brimstone butterfly (Gonepteryx rhamni); spiked shield bug (Picromerus bidens); large marsh grasshopper (Stethophyma grossum).

All pictures copyright Chuck Eccleston.