Gone birding...

Ornisobscura has departed the blog field but continues undaunted as Ornisobscura on Flickr..enjoy

Grafham Water - 26 September 2013

Anticyclonic weather again mostly sunny with some cloud and a light south-easterly breeze. 

Spent the 4 hours in the morning covering the dam and the area from the fishing lodge westwards...

A bit happening in the morning: 8 Grey Geese sp (not Greylags) which were probably White-fronts flew over south-eastwards distantly, 16 Yellow-legged Gulls were counted early morning; 16 Lapwings flew high south; 1 juvenile Turnstone circled over the Dam then flew off West; 4 Ringed Plovers flew north-west; 8 Swallows south; very few Meadow Pipits moving or grounded due to the easterly air-stream no doubt and 10 Chiffchaffs were counted.

A distant aythya duck with a very broad white band above the bill which was clearly not a Greater Scaup was too distant to get decent views so I decided on a return visit in the afternoon and spent a couple of hours looking for and viewing the bird from the Mander area albeit distantly again. In the end it turned out to be a very dark juvenile Tufted with an exceptionally large white patch above the bill. With a hint of a Tuft on the rear of the crown and finally a wing stretch revealing a typical Tufted wing pattern with white band on secondaries clearly extending onto the primaries it had to be a Tufted. Nevertheless a very odd looking bird.....

By way of compensation a Sooty Shearwater had been found by another birder off the dam so all was not lost.

A troublesome juvenile Tufted Duck - Grafham Water 26 September 2013 

Grafham Water - 25 September 2013

After a few days birding on the Yorkshire coast it was back to Grafham for a few hours this morning mostly on the dam. Anticyclonic weather, initially misty and murky with a light south-easterly breeze weather which delivered a few minor goodies 

2 juvenile Common Scoters were off the dam as was a juvenile female Scaup with the Tufteds; a juvenile Hobby flew south; 1 juvenile Little Stint was on the dam with 3 Dunlin; 1 Little Gull distantly in the middle of the reservoir; 6 Swallows though south low and fast; c. 220 Meadow Pipits through south-west; 1 Yellow Wagtail; and c.160 Linnets in the fields north of the dam.

Common Scoter - 2 juveniles in the murk off the dam
Little Stint - juvenile Grafham Dam 
Dunlin and Little Stint Grafham Dam 

Grafham Water - 18 September 2013

A bright morning with a fresh westerly wind.A couple of hours watch from the dam early morning. 

House Martins were present in numbers with c.600 over the dam and 300 elsewhere; Meadow Pipits were on the move with 16 south and c. 30 along the dam; 2 Yellow Wagtails south and 6 still on the dam; 2 Reed Buntings flew high south; 1 Spotted Flycatcher and 3 Chiffchaffs were at the north end of the dam. 

Later from home hirundines were on the move south-eastwards with c. 350 mostly House Martins with a few Sand Martins. 

Grafham Water - 15 September 2013

A day of fresh south-westerlies with heavy rain showers..

Having noted groups of hirundines passing steadily through south-west over the house earlier in the day it was no surprise to find 1300+ (probably an underestimate) over the reservoir early afternoon along with c.700 Swallows; Meadow Pipits were still moving south-west late afternoon so there must have been quite a movement today (big numbers of House Martins were recorded passing south over Spurn and Gibralter Point  today). Otherwise 18 Little Egrets, 1 adult Common Tern; 2 Common Sandpipers and a few Chiffchaffs were all that I could find on forays which were limited by the weather conditions. 

Grafham Water - 13 September 2013

A very autumnal morning with westerly winds an rain initially becoming brighter though still quite warm at 16 degrees. 

From 0700 covered the dam and walked from Hill Farm to Savages Spinney. 

Being a transitional month September can produce avian variety particularly during spells of mild weather as summer visitors linger and mix with transient migrants and early incoming wintering birds, Grafham Water today was a fairly typical example of this albeit on a fairly modest scale.

14 Little Egrets; 3 Wigeon flew in from the north-east; an adult and 2 juvenile Hobbies lingered over Savages Spinney the juveniles still begging for food from the adult; 4 Common Buzzards; 1 Dunlin and 3 Ringed Plovers on the dam; 1 Sanderling on the dam then flew off south-west; 4 Yellow-legged Gulls; 2 Grey wagtails and 6 Yellow Wagtails on the dam with 27 of the latter over high south-east; 1 Rock Pipit on the dam until flushed by an angler then flew off high west; Meadow Pipits were typically on the move with c.30 south-west, 8 south-east and 60 south; c.80 Swallows with several small groups arriving from the north-east swelling the number to c.140; c. 200 House Martins; a sprinkling of Whitethroats, Chiffchaffs and a few Blackcaps.

A male White Admiral along the Oaks at the eastern end of Savages Spinney was quite late in the year. 

Grafham Water 8th and 9th September 2013

More autumnal type weather on the 8th with fresh westerly winds and the odd shower. A late afternoon visit yielded 3 adult Yellow-legged Gulls; 1 juvenile Common Tern; 1 Greenshank through west; an adult Mediterranean Gull off the lagoons, c. 30 Swallows and c.20 House Martins.

Rain in the early morning of the 9th cleared late morning thenreturning again lunchtime. A late morning visit delivered 3 Yellow-legged Gulls; 5 Ringed Plovers on the dam; 5 Greenshanks which circled over the dam during rain then flew off east; a juvenile Grasshopper Warbler was in low scrub near the fishing lodge, 1 Swift; c 120 House Martins; c. 80 Swallows, 6 Sand Martins a smattering of common warblers; Yellow Wagtails now down to just 7.