Wednesday, 18 October 2017

European Otter.

I have never seen Otter in the UK, so when I was given a site to try and also the offer to be shown the best spot along the river to look I grabbed the opportunity. A dark, wet and windy early morning start was required and arrival on site at 07:20 had us walking along the river and then at 07:50 there it was, the Otter cub in these images. 

It was ridiculously close, just swimming along the edge of the river bank, diving down and searching under the rocks of the river bed coming up with small crustaceans. This is a young individual that tends to get shy when numbers of people build up and so it then swims away up-river, The was a really nice treat and local as well. 

I was really pleased with this and I couldn’t believe how close this individual can be, “brilliant stuff”


Monday, 16 October 2017

Middlebere Friday 13/10/2017.

As Friday the 13th's go, this one went pretty well, apart from nearly loosing it on one of the cattle grids with the front wheel sliding but with enough time for me to hit the throttle to speed up out of it that was the worst that happened. 

A session at Middlebere was very productive seeing as I couldn't locate the Stilt Sandpiper at all today on site. A female Merlin seen as a distant fly by was appreciated when it re appeared later in the day perched up close by. The Great Egret put in "an on the deck view" instead of the usual fly over. Marsh Harriers continued to cause panic amongst the feeding waders and a female Hen Harrier providing a fly by as the day began to come to a close.  

Sunday, 15 October 2017


Another visit to Middlebere was had and the Stilt Sandpiper was present showing closeby at times but always brief as the waders were being spooked by the presence of both Peregrine and Marsh Harrier I did manage to observe and record some colour rings on the Avocets with combinations as per below. Sika Deer are becoming more vocal and more visual. 
1) Right Leg-green over yellow, left leg- green over green 
2) Right leg-green over yellow,  left leg-white over yellow
3) Right leg-orange over yellow, left leg-yellow over green flag 
4) Right leg-green over blue, left leg-yellow over grey (could be a faded / stained white)
5) Right leg- red over yellow (with alphanumeric X) left leg- single white


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Middlebere & Hartland Moor.

Had a wander up through Windspit Valley this morning with c50 Chiffies and just as many Goldcrests gave hope of something slightly off location but a Single Whitethroat and my first Redwing of the autumn was as best it got. 

Lunch at the Worth Matravers Tea rooms was a relaxed affair, sat in the garden basking in the midday sun with a cloudless Dorset blue sky above.

Mid afternoon was spent sharing time with the juv Stilt Sandpiper at Midddlebere with a couple of Curlew Sandpipers, 9+Knot, and a single Golden Plover and several colour ringed waders, Sika Deer are becoming active (image above & below).

Early evening had us having a wander around the higher parts of Hartland Moor where a second Hen Harrier of the season was present, this time a ringtail, a Male Merlin perched up preening in the distance and a single Snipe added to the daily Wader List with a winning sunset and then rounded off the day with a Ruby in Wareham, "had worse days"

Monday, 9 October 2017

Grey Male @ Middlebere, Dorset.

Following on from Lytchett Fileds RSPB I continued on to Middlebere NT Reserve and spent a few hours each day enjoying this scenic site with a special guest appreance of the juv Stilt Sandpiper, which showed each visit.  

A rather apprecaited sighting was of this Grey Male Hen Harrier seen crossing the channel of the lake at Middlebere before passing the hide. I have often heard of Hen Harrier's flying by the hide here but never expected to actually witness it for myslef so when Simon K advised that a male Hen Harrier had been seen twice earlier this day and that he was hoping that it could put in an appearance here this evening I had to give it a go and then at 17.50hrs the bird showed. "Result"

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Lytchett Fields, Poole Harbour, Dorset.

I was offered the opportunity to join a couple of friends for a few days in Dorset, and so I thought I would take up the offer but on route I wanted to pop in to Lytchett Fields reserve. A nice site and one of those places you would like as your local patch, an inter-tidal series of fields that flood during high tides and allowing some good & up close views of Waders. Its had a few goodies already but I thnk there will be more to come from this uniquie site in Poole Harbour. I missed the Stilt Sanpiper that was here the previous day but did have 3 juvenile Little Stints, several Ruff and a nice selection of the commoner waders. "a Great Site with a couple of nice local die-hard birders"

Friday, 29 September 2017

Stilt Sandpiper@Middlebere Dorset

I arrived on site and had to wait around for four hours before I luckily managed to locate the bird feeding in and out of view in one of the many channels. 

This is my fourth Stilt Sandpiper in the UK but my first juvenile. The bird was distant at best but luckily it finally gave up the ghost and showed as it fed out on the upper-flats of this inter-tidal channel of Middlebere Lake. 

Also when the birder with the Swarovski ATX 95 offered the opportunity to view the Stilt Sandpiper through his scope, made me want to chuck my STS 80 in the bin. 

The above image shows the view from the hide at Middlebere Farm looking accross the channel at Middlebere Lake with Arne RSPB reserve in the background and below shows the hide on the Arne side of the channel. As estuaries and area's of inter-tidal mudflats go this has to be one of the most scenic with a beautiful backdrop.

There was no way my 1-400mm Zoom was going to pick anything up on this bird at the distance and so it was back to digital-scoping, the videos above and below give the idea.

However, not everything was so distant, this Fox was much appreciated by all. I spent around 4 hours watching the Stilt Sandpiper and just enjoying the surrounding views and the fact I was out, I don't enjoy sitting in hides as a rule but sometimes it has to be done. I was just getting ready to pack up and leave the hide at 18.00 after arriving at 10.00 when a local advised me to hang around as a Barn Owl often shows at around 18.30, so I decided to give it a go and at 18.10 this Barn Owl had a fly-by and then landed on the post right in front of the hide. 

Other sightings included; 
Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Common Buzzard, 
Blackwit, Avocet, Curlew, Dunlin, Knot 9, 
Spotted Redshank 2 ads, 3juvs, Greenshank 
2, Redshank, Oyc,Snipe, Spoonbill, 
Little Egret, Kngfisher. 

I decided to overnight locally and went back the following day, where I happily bumped in to Martin M of WWT, this was a real nice couuple of days and big thanks to Dorothy and Trevor for such great company and Martin M for the catch up.