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Monday, February 13, 2006


Thursday 9 February

Arrived at Alun and Trudy's cottage at Hambledon during the afternoon and after a fish and chip tea went to the cinema to see "Walk the Line", a film about the life of Johnny Cash.

Friday 10 February

Early start for ringing in the garden but it soon became obvious that a neighbour’s garden was swamped with feeders leaving little incentive for birds to approach ours. With the sun rising behind the hill and only a dozen birds caught we decided to cut our losses and head off into the countryside. First call was Iping Common Nature Reserve where the churring calls of Dartford Warblers from the gorse bushes enabled us to locate and obtain good views of this elusive species. Other species added to my year list were Siskin, Stock Dove, and Redwing. The Hamilton Arms at Stedham offered the prospect of a pub lunch but, while the beer was fine, the ham sandwiches were a disgrace.

Jim and Alun looking for Siskins at Iping Common

With the bright winter sun still high in the sky, we set off for Farlington Marsh reserve where skeins of Brent Geese afforded excellent views, together with Pintail, Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Red-breasted Merganser and waders such as Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Curlew, and a Little Egret hunting for prawns in the rock pools. After a fine meal in the local pub, the Vine, the evening was passed watching fishing programmes on Sky TV.

Saturday 11 February

A frosty morning and with the mist net coated with hoar frost, ringing was impossible. We decided to do the walk down the Meon Valley from Titchfield to Titchfield Basin. Soon we were watching Black-tailed Godwits at close range, and had sustained clear views of a Kingfisher as it plunged into the stream for minnows. We passed another birder who mentioned he had seen a Firecrest in the area, and later we found it hunting for insects in ivy, the white eye-stripe clearly visible. This is only the second I have seen in the U.K.

Alun and Trudy negotiate the raging Meon River

Arriving at the beach was time for smoked salmon sandwiches and fresh tea brewed in Alun’s new Kelly Kettle – I must get one! A walk along the sea front, and peering into the reserve from the road, added a few more species to the weekend list, but alas no Cetti’s Warbler, which had been the target for the day. However there was some compensation on the trail back as Alun was first to spot and identify a Water Rail as it walk across the track ahead of us. This brought the species list total for the weekend to 80.


Blogger simon said...

Am I to assume that it is a might bit chilly in the UK? and that you have not had a 56c day there yet?. Judging by the way you are all dressed....

Your bird lists are extensive. I have found birding at speed behind the wheel is a bit dangerous ( more so than a leisurely walk) :o)

5:13 am  
Blogger carwynfowler said...

'...neighbour’s garden was swamped with feeders leaving little incentive for birds to approach ours.'

> Isn't it excellent news that biodiversity has become such a popular concern!

6:40 pm  
Blogger simon said...

i find my birdfeeders a blessing and a curse. We get a wide varitity of species, which is nice to see, we also get "unwelcome" visitors too. for example bush rat, possum and recently a diamond python.
All very educational, but I have to clean up after them...

10:00 pm  
Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

I am glad that nobody slipped and fell over that raging Meon River! Would have been sad to get all those stunning winter clothes wet!
Simon, 56C - no thanks! We managed to get to 31C here one day in January and that is qutie warm enough for me!

5:49 pm  
Blogger simon said...

Yes Kiwi... Bloody hot. I actually "overheated" in the shearing shed and spent the following day in bed, unable to move... I have never experinced heat like it. It was windy too, the wind was the same as a hair dryers heat....

11:40 pm  

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