Sunday, 26 August 2012

August 2012

The wader theme continued into this month with a splendid moulting adult Curlew Sandpiper at Pennington Marshes (4th) that still had a nice amount of red on the breast. The sea was comparatively much quieter with just 3 Manx Shearwaters from Milford-on-sea the same morning despite some promising looking winds. Remarkably Junes Night Heron also reappeared in the same place along Lower Pennington Lane, much to the delight of those who missed it first time round (Alan Lewis), but remained elusive with its wing only on view.

Highlight of the day came from inland, with a last ditch attempt for Honey Buzzards in the county just before I headed off to Greece. The weather wasn't ideal; reasonably strong winds and heavily overcast with a good chance of rain early afternoon but Lee and I gave it a couple of hours anyway. Nothing. Not even a Buzzard or Goshawk, but just as we were packing up a large bird of prey flew in from the far right, classic arched winged profile as it swung round and continued across the valley where it then decided to land on a conifer providing us with the best views of a Honey Buzzard either of us had every had. The light-phase male balanced for a good 5 minutes before dropping down into the canopy. Unfortunately neither of us thought about grabbing a couple of shots before it did so!!

The wind and rain gave way to glorious sunshine the next day and enabled me the opportunity to try again for another of my targets this year; Purple Emporer. I visited a site already stacked out where I had previously seen a good candidate but all too briefly, this time however I managed several good views of a female not only in flight but also perched! Also of note were several Silver-washed Fritillary.

Then it was time for my annual summer holiday somewhere hot (Emma's choice) to top up the tan. This year we went to the island of Kos in the Aegean Sea for two weeks. Emma got a great tan, I'm still pasty white but I did see some nice birds. Its the first time I've done any birding around the Mediterranean region so it was nice to gen up on scarce and rare passage migrants to Britain as well as seeing 5 new species that are relatively standard fair for the area. Birding sites are few and far between on the island, especially in the summer months when the wetlands at Psalidi are dry, but the saltpans at Tigaki though mostly evaporated had just enough to attract a good mix of birds. I visited several times in the second week by cycling the 10km from Kos town to get there for first thing or dusk. First up were 3 Spur-winged Plovers (6 on the last day) on the western edge of the saltpan, an adult Bonelli's Eagle flew over Old Pyli, and several Cretzschmar's Buntings visited the only freshwater stream to the saltpan to drink. Eleonora's Falcon whizzed overhead at various places on the island (6 together on the last morning) and surprisingly I only saw one Black-eared Wheatear on the eastern side of the saltpan; a species I expected to see a lot more of.
The final week of the month produced some rather strong winds up the English Channel, so inevitedably eyes were on the sea. Unfortunately things were not as exciting as I had hoped with only 2-3 Balearic Shearwaters lingering offshore. The only other highlight was an Osprey fishing in Langstone Harbour and a juv Curlew Sandpiper on the main lagoon on the final day of the month. Good news though, things are definitely heating up, with the hurricane season now in full swing inthe States I expect a wave of Nearctic waders in the next few days!

1 comment:

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