Thursday, 8 October 2015

Thursday Update

No doubt about today's star bird, a Kingfisher moving between the main swag and the Ford Brook, although my favourite was the flock of 22 Redwing behind the village which were my first of winter 2015/16.

Other birds seen today included fourteen Teal, two pairs of Shoveler, three male and a female Gadwall, seven Wigeon and an over flying Lesser Redpoll.

Not making an issue of it but I did hear a brief call along the railway line near Ryders Hayes which I am pretty sure was Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Neil Tipton - it was where you usually see it)! There can be no doubt from the number of reports that this significant species can regularly be found on our patch but if only it was more obliging! - Chaz

Calling all Botanists.

Can anyone help with the identification of this flower which I photographed over the weekend on the Isle of Wight?

I know that it is a Brown Knapweed, but it is not the one with which I am familiar (it is much smaller and lower growing). I didn't have time to do more than photograph it but I suspect it may be the introduced Centaurea  jacea or perhaps a hybrid?

Afraid it has been many years since I did any serious botanising and I am afraid that I have lost my edge. Just recognised this as something a bit unfamiliar. - Chaz

Just showing off now - sorry.

I may rarely find much of note on the Marsh and Mere but I was very pleased to relocate the Greater Yellowlegs on the Isle of Wight at the weekend. So I hope that you will forgive me for behaving like a smug git when I saw it in this weeks Birdguides round-up. I have copied the extract and included it below.

Review of the Week: 30 September – 6th October 2015
The week at a glance
Autumn migration continued apace, despite many areas of the county basking in the calm sunny conditions of an Indian summer. More than 400 reports were broadcast on our bird news services on Sunday 4th, the first time we've broken through that threshold since August.
The rarest bird, measured by previous records, was the Siberian Thrush seen twice by single observers on Fair Isle on Monday 5th. Unfortunately it was not seen after 11.30am, and low cloud and strong winds would have prevented any would-be twitchers from reaching the island anyway. This was the first since a bird trapped at Scousburgh on the Shetland mainland on 15 October 2014, and before that you have to go back to 2008 (again on Fair Isle), ignoring the controversial bird in Norfolk in March 2009.
Speaking of Norfolk moves us neatly on to the Blyth's Pipit that was found on the saltmarsh at Stiffkey on 2nd. It was still there early the following morning, but the state of the tides prevented subsequent access and it was not seen again. This represents the third-ever record for Norfolk and the first new Blyth's found in the UK this year.
A Swainson's Thrush on Unst was well photographed, and is the fourth of the year, coming hot on the heels of last week's bird on Orkney. The only other "mega" of the week was the Greater Yellowlegs on the Isle of Wight, which lingered on the River Medina at Whippingham to 6th at least. While on the subject of megas, the news came through that a DNA test on droppings collected from the Empidonax flycatcher at Dungeness had confirmed that the bird was, as suspected, an Acadian Flycatcher and a first for the UK.
I was particularly pleased to see that it remained in the area where I found it (Whippingham) until Tuesday at least which means that a number of other birders have obviously benefited from its relocation. Nice warm feeling that! - Chaz

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Skateboard Proposal - Consultation on hold

Hi folks, Councillor Ferguson has contacted me today to say:

"I have been informed today that the consultation is postponed until further notice to be able to give residents an informed view".

I don't think that anything significant can be read into this so I would recommend that all who are opposed to this development to continue to express their opposition in letters and e-mails as in a final accounting, the opinions of local residents have to be taken into account (and if they don't have those opinions, how can they take them into account)

Consider yourself stood-down from DEFCON-1 for now and I will do my best to notify any developments that come to my attention on the blog - Chaz

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Whats happening on the Marsh update.

Big thanks to Kev Clements for updating me on current activity and it seems that some serious winter visitors have started to arrive.

The first five Redwing of the season arrived on October second, possibly the earliest record locally and if it is, it conforms to the pattern recently set by arriving Siskin. What do they know that we don't I wonder? Two Swallow on the same day provided something of a mixed message but these birds were still a long way from setting any records as the latest so far recorded was a first of November bird on the Marsh and Graham Evans and I had one at Chasewater somewhere around the 20th of November one year!

Those five Redwing seemed to be a trickle before the floodgates opened however, as today saw 123 birds through along with Lesser Redpoll (40) - Siskin (21) - Meadow Pipit (26) and Skylark (9).

These are all typical winter migrants, probably from Europe or further north in Britain but there seems to be something building that is a little out of the ordinary to me.

Waterfowl included; Shoveler (8) - Gadwall (7) - Teal (5) - Wigeon (8) - Tufted Duck (8) - Water Rail (1) - Moorhen (19) - Coot (48) - Little Grebe (6) - Great Crested Grebe (4) and finally, a visiting Cormorant.

Blimy, I bet Kev's calculator gets through a few batteries. Don't you ever wonder what he counts to get to sleep? - Chaz

Doing it yourself

Photo: Peter Moore
It has been ten years believe it or not since I ceased to be what is contentiously described as 'A Twitcher'. For the uninitiated this involves racing around the country at the drop of a hat to see some obscure and unheard of bunch of feathers hopping about in a tree on some god-forsaken and windswept outcropping that hasn't seen human footfall since Moses was a kid.

Yeah, Brilliant Fun!

My reasons for losing the faith are outlined elsewhere on the blog so I wont bore you with that, but the upshot is that I have a moderately respectable British List and new birding experiences are few and far between.

Over the years I have chased many that have got away unseen and one of these was an American wader called a Greater Yellowlegs - that is until Sunday. This wonderful Greenshank-like species with almost Apricot coloured legs took up residence in Hampshire back in January but unbeknown to me had recently moved to the Isle of Wight and joined the Icelandic Black Tailed Godwits on the river Medina.

Guess where I was on Sunday? Mrs Chaz and I had a few days down on the island with my eldest and although this bird had not been seen for over a week, yours truly managed to find it on the river near Whippingham (by the Folly Pub if you know the island) where it showed wonderfully on the shoreline at low tide.

I do love going to see birds found by other people but re finding this one gave me a great feeling of satisfaction and also provided only my third British Tick for the last ten years - glorious! - Chaz

Photo: Trevor Codlin

Skate Park Update

Just to let local residents know, local councillor Kenneth Ferguson was kind enough to drop by last night and let me know that the consultation process on the proposed skate park has been put back until week commencing 19th October.

I would like to thank Ken for taking the trouble to keep me informed and I have formally sent him an e-mail expressing my concerns about this proposal and the potential deterioration of quality of life that it brings with it. I have also forwarded this to our new MP Wendy Morton at the House of Commons so that she is also aware of the concerns and objections of local residents.

I know that the majority of local residents oppose this proposal and will be demonstrating their objections formally when the Planning Proposal is initiated, however it would not hurt our case were you to also let Ken and Wendy know how you feel and your concerns about this issue.

Ken lives locally and Wendy can be contacted at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA. - Chaz