Sunday, 16 December 2012

'Interesting birds...'

Shock horror, I actually managed to get out of the office yesterday afternoon although I still didn't make it to the sea. Mind you, I cant complain too much as it was a couple of interesting sightings that slowed  me down.

My main reason for getting out was to test a 20-60x zoom eyepiece for my Swaro scope (another story). The first birds to test on were some brent geese on thee grazing meadow but as I was setting up my scope I noticed a large raptor circling in the distance, 1st target for the zoom... As  soon as it circled and showed its upperside I could see that the uppertail was white!! I radioed to Richard and Tony to come out of the shop but the bird remained frustratingly distant and always in poor light. The bird spent most of its time quartering over the saltmarsh, hovering regularly and dropping several times. The underwings showed the isolated dark carpel patches and dark belly of a rough legged buzzard but I don't think I had enough to claim for sure. The main thing that worried me was the large broad black tail band that came at least half way up the tail making the white area rather small (not a good rough leg feature I thought) but looking in Forsman, it fits pretty well... The bird flew off over Thornham and unfortunately I couldn't chase it for better views.

The 2nd bird was a little more straightforward. I was looking over the fresh marsh with one of the volunteers when I spotted a drake teal asleep on one of the islands showing both the horizontal and vertical white stripes of a hybrid green-winged/common teal. The bird was pretty distant but the stripes were obvious. I hoped it might still be around this morning for our WeBS count but lots of the teal had left the reserve. Another one to keep an eye out for!

25 twite on the east along the beach, shag and bittern were the WeBS highlights this morning and a look around the patch this afternoon produced several calling marsh tits and a green woodpecker

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