With the the upcoming changes at work my time is going to become increasingly busy over the next few months so taking any leave is going to be difficult. My solution is to take a few days 'here and there' and head further afield for long weekend birding trips.
With Spanish sparrow (UK tick), dark eyed junco, rose-coloured starling along with firecrest and hawfinch I decided to head to the New Forest as my first destination with mixed results. Unfortunatly the sparrow didn't show (it was like looking for a sparrow in a housing estate!) but I did spent a pleasent couple of hours around Caldhot Spit before heading into the Forest proper. The weather was stunning and every man and his dog was out but I did manage to find some quiet areas of heath were I had good numbers of stonechats, several pairs of Dartford warblers, my first raven of the year and loads of buzzards.
The plan is to kip in the back of the van so I headed towards Boulderwood for a suitable carpark for the night. No problems and I settled in for the night. The only problem was I must have picked up a stomach bug at work the day before as I spent most of the night climbing in and out of the van being sick and doing what bears do in the woods - the worst night ever....ever!!
With not much sleep I stumbled around Boulderwood looking for firecrest and hawfinch but I really couldn't be arsed. After a couple hours sleep I was feeling much better and went in search of raptors. The site failed to produce any large accipiters but I did get loads more buzzards.
A trip down to Hordle for the rose-coloured starling also failed to produce so I cut my losses and headed home.
The rest of the week has been pretty decent. Managed to add several new species to the yearlist but it was kites that stole the show again.
While out checking on some contractors I noticed all the gulls up over the fresh marsh. A scan produced a red kite coming in from the east. The bird circled around and I managed to get a few visitors onto it. As I walked down to the hide I picked the bird up again. It was quickly joined by a 2nd and almost straight away, a 3rd! All three birds circled up high and went west. A 4th bird arrived over the reedbed and also headed west. Add these to a bird over in the morning (seen from the office window) and at least 4 common buzzards it was a pretty good migration day.
First blackcap and chiffchaffs ringed this morning.