Birding at Betty’s Bay and the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens

`We left Rooi Els and made the short trip around the coast to Betty’s Bay. This is the site of an African penguin colony and as Tony still required the species we paid a brief visit. I won’t go on about the African Penguin having covered it in detail in past posts. We also had a number of Rock Hyrax’s near the penguin colony and a Familiar Chat on the walkway. We picked up good numbers of White-breasted, Bank, Crowned and Cape Cormorants on the nearby rocks. Again a couple of new birds for Tony.

African Penguin 1, Betty's Bay, 12 Sep 2014

African Penguin, Betty’s Bay, 12 Sep 2014

Familiar Chat 1, Betty's Bay, 12 Sep 2014

Familiar Chat, Betty’s Bay, 12 Sep 2014

Rock Hyrax 2, Betty's Bay, 12 Sep 2014

Rock Hyrax, Betty’s Bay, 12 Sep 2014

After half an hour or so we upped sticks and drove on towards the Harold Porter Botanical gardens; passing magnificent scenery en route. The gardens had recently sustained quite a bit of damage due to the river flooding heavily that runs through the middle of them. Several bridges crossing the river were closed due to damage, but we still managed to walk up one side and pick up a few good birds such as Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Swee Waxbill and several more Cape Rock Thrushes. The first two being life birds for the both of us. We also enjoyed a pleasant lunch at the visitors centre; interrupted briefly by a small pack of Chacma Baboons who were chased off by garden staff with brooms and suchlike.

Cape Town 5

Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, 12 Sep 2014

Cape Town 6

Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, 12 Sep 2014

Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, 12 Sep 2014

Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, 12 Sep 2014

Swee Waxbill 1, Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, 12 Sep 2014

Swee Waxbill, Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, 12 Sep 2014

Cape Rock Thrush, Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, 12 Sep 2014

Cape Rock Thrush, Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, 12 Sep 2014

Cape White-eye, Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, 12 Sep 2014

Cape White-eye, Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, 12 Sep 2014

We then drove along the Swart River road. Basically the road, which is actually a dirt track that runs through agricultural lands and holds a decent range of birds. Here we picked up a small flock of Blue Cranes; the national bird of South Africa. Unfortunately they were a little distant but again another new bird for the trip list. Yellow Canary on the roadside fence was a good spot and we had several species of larks and cisticolas.

Blue Cranes, Swart River Road, 12 Sep 2014

Blue Cranes, Swart River Road, 12 Sep 2014

Yellow Canary, Swart River Road, 12 Sep 2014

Yellow Canary, Swart River Road, 12 Sep 2014

Steve C

Birding Seychelles – Anse Royale

Just to finish off my visit to the Seychelles. After our hike and our visit to the Takamaka distillery we decided that a few hours on the beach was in order. We headed to the south of the island, to Anse Royale. We found a bar and had some food but before long I was restless and decided to walk along the beach. A single Tern was feeding in the shallows and this turned out to be a Lesser Crested.

LC Tern Seychelles 020615 435

Lesser-crested Tern, Seychelles, 2 June 2015

LC Tern Seychelles 020615 459

Lesser-crested Tern, Seychelles, 2 June 2015

Other than that a few Fodies were darting amongst the flowers but generally it was very quiet.

Mad Fody Seych 2 020615 042

Madagascar Fody, Seychelles, 2 June 2015

We finished up and headed back for the transport, as we did a Seychelles Fruit bat glided over our heads.

Fruit bat Seychelles 020615 490

Fruit Bat, Seychelles, 2 June 2015

An eclectic day but very enjoyable.
Mark C

Vestal (Macro Moth) in Fareham Garden

Due to the wet weather I have been unwilling to operate my 40W Actinic Heath Trap every night recently.  However, I did risk it on Friday and I was rewarded with a New For Garden in the form of a single Vestal.  It is an immigrant, and interestingly its colour is dependent on the temperature it experienced during the pupae stage of development.  High temperatures result in a lemon ground colour and a bright pink cross-band, whilst lower temperatures produce a duller ground colour and cross-band.  The brown cross-band of this particular specimen would indicate a more northerly mainland Europe origin.

Vestal, Fareham Garden – 28 Aug 15

I am particularly interested in the affect the extremes of weather experienced in recent years has had on wildlife.  As far as the records from the Friday outing of the Fareham Mothing Group are concerned it would appear that Old Lady (6) and Straw Underwing (10) have been winners.  The group hasn’t recorded such numbers in the local area since 1973.

Old Lady, Fareham Garden – 2 Sep 11

Straw Underwing, Horsea Island – 28 Aug 15

Good mothing,

Tony T   BSc (Hons) GeoSci (Open)

Cape Rock-Jumper, Cape Sugarbird and Ground Woodpecker at Rooi Els; Cape Town, South Africa

On the 12th of September Tony and I went out with a local guide for the day. We were due to be out with Brian Vanderwalt but unfortunately he was unavailable, so he put us in touch with another chap whose name unfortunately escapes me, (sorry for that). However, he was a very pleasant and knowledgeable chap and the day went very well. We left Cape Town early morning and headed out towards Somerset West; where we stopped briefly for fuel. The garage had a small reed lined pond off to one side and we picked up several birds here including Yellow Bishop and Cape Weaver.

Cape Weaver 2a, Somerset West, 12 Sep 2014

Cape Weaver, Somerset West, 12 Sep 2014

Cape Weaver 1, Somerset West, 12 Sep 2014

Cape Weaver, Somerset West, 12 Sep 2014….Guess the brand?

From there we took the coast road around False Bay eventually ending up at a small village called Rooi Els. We parked up and looking out to sea could see at least two Southern Right Whales in the surf just offshore; a good wat to start the visit. We then walked along a track into some prime Fynbos habitat with many large boulders scattered along the track running up the adjacent mountain side, to quote from the South Africa Net website:

South African fynbos grows in a 100km- to 200km-wide coastal belt stretching from the West Coast to the south-east coast. It makes up 80% of the Cape Floral Region, a world of finely branched plants exquisitely adapted to flourish in poor soils and wildly varying rainfall. 

Rooi Els and Fynbos Habitat

Rooi Els and Fynbos Habitat

We were after a special bird in this area and that was Cape RockJumper, but more on that in a minute. As we walked out of Rooi Els we enjoyed splendid views of two different Cape Sugarbirds. Another speciality of the Fynbos habitat, and a must see endemic for visiting birders. Orange-breasted Sunbirds were common in this area as were Cape Grassbirds and more Yellow Bishops. We also picked up some uncommon species in the form of Victorin’s Warbler and Grey-backed Cisticola, the former a life bird for the both of us. A little bit further on our guide picked up a call he immediately recognised and told us that Cape Rockjumpers were in the vicinity. We scanned around the boulders on the steep slopes and sure enough we eventually came across this classic mountain fynbos endemic. A bird I had long wanted to see.

Cape Sugarbird 1, Rooi-Els, 12 Sep 2014

Cape Sugarbird, Rooi-Els, 12 Sep 2014

Cape Sugarbird 2, Rooi-Els, 12 Sep 2014

Cape Sugarbird, Rooi-Els, 12 Sep 2014

Yellow Bishop 1, Rooi-Els, 12 Sep 2014

Yellow Bishop, Rooi-Els, 12 Sep 2014

Cape Rock-Jumper 4, Rooi-Els, 12 Sep 2014

Cape RockJumper, Rooi-Els, 12 Sep 2014

Cape Rock-Jumper 3, Rooi-Els, 12 Sep 2014

Cape RockJumper, Rooi-Els, 12 Sep 2014

My day was already a success and it was only mid-morning. As we walked back to our vehicle we picked up Cape Rock Thrush, an unexpected Black Sparrowhawk flying in from the sea and a pair of Ground Woodpeckers another speciality of the region. What a start to the day.

Black Sparrowhawk 1, Rooi-Els, 12 Sep 2014

Black Sparrowhawk, Rooi-Els, 12 Sep 2014

Black Sparrowhawk 2a, Rooi-Els, 12 Sep 2014

Black Sparrowhawk, Rooi-Els, 12 Sep 2014

Cape Rock-Thrush 1, Rooi-Els, 12 Sep 2014

Cape Rock-Thrush, Rooi-Els, 12 Sep 2014

Ground Woodpeckers 1a, Rooi-Els, 12 Sep 2014

Ground Woodpeckers, Rooi-Els, 12 Sep 2014

 

Steve C

 

Old Lady (macro moth) on the Calder and Hebble Navigation

During a week on the inland waterways I encountered an Old Lady within the gearing of a gate paddle on the Calder & Hebble Navigation.  Somehow the moth survived the operation of the paddle gear that is operated with the use of a 3’ long hand-spike, rather than the orthodox windlass.  It is a large distinctively marked macro that can often be found inside outbuildings.  A probable second Old Lady flew off from under the gate beam of the subsequent lock.

Old Lady, Figure of Three Locks, Calder & Hebble Navigation, Healy, West Yorkshire – 29 Jul 15

Paddle Gear on the Calder & Hebble Navigation, Thornhill Double Locks

Apart from the first night the weather conditions enabled me to rig my 40W Actinic Heath Trap on the roof of our 56’ Canal Boat.  I was rewarded with one new species – Muslin Footman (2).

Muslin Footman, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Low Wood Nature Reserve, West Yorkshire – 31 Jul 15

Other highlights included Gothic, Barred Straw, Plain Golden Y and True Lover’s Knot.

Plain Golden Y – Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Salterforth, West Yorkshire – 2 Aug 15

True Lover’s Knot – Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Salterforth, West Yorkshire – 2 Aug 15

Good mothing,

Tony T   BSc (Hons) GeoSci (Open)

Bulrush Wainscot (macro moth) New For Fareham Garden

The highlight inside my 40W Actinic Heath Trap from Thursday night was a Bulrush Wainscot.  Unsurprisingly it inhabits Bulrushes but it is a species that is highly dispersive, and females in particular, are often found far from breeding sites. It is the latest addition to my garden list.  Although a darker brown, rather than a paler straw colour, its large size would suggest that it was a female.

Bulrush Wainscot (presumed female), Fareham Garden – 6 Aug 15

New For Year from the night was a single Garden Tiger.

Garden Tiger, Fareham Garden – 6 Aug 15

Good mothing,

Tony T   BSc (Hons) GeoSci (Open)

Kittlitz’s Plover on the Cape Town Seafront

The walk from Green Point Park back to the ship takes you along a stretch of beach. I had a good look around and found a pair of Kittlitz’s Plovers. One of the two proved to be very confiding and allowed close approach as it walked around the beach picking up small insects among the abundance of broken shells. The only other waders on the beach were a pair of African Black Oystercatchers.

Kittlitz's Plover 4, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Kittlitz’s Plover, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Kittlitz's Plover 1a, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Kittlitz’s Plover, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Kittlitz's Plover 5, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Kittlitz’s Plover, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Kittlitz's Plover 5a, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Kittlitz’s Plover, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014. Same image as above, a little tighter crop

African Black Oystercatcher 1, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

African Black Oystercatchers, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Between the beach and the main road running behind it was a margin of rough weedy grassland. Approximately 20 Cape Canaries were feeding on the grass seeds.

Cape Canary 6, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Cape Canary, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Cape Canary 4a, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Cape Canary, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Cape Canary 5, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Cape Canary, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Just before the Victoria and Alfred is the Grand Cafe on the Beach. I can recommend the fish cakes and the cold beer.

img_0750

Grand Cafe on the Beach, Cape Town

grand

Grand Cafe on the Beach, Cape Town

Steve C

Birding Seychelles – Takamaka Rum Distillery

After our hike up the Copolia Trail we were all ready for something a little more relaxing so we decided to head for the Takamaka Rum Distillery. This had been recommended and as it turned out was excellent

http://www.holidaycheck.com/pi/80f2f6d4-5d35-364f-b2f6-e0ff086a711b

We arrived in the small carpark at the front of the large villa, that is the visitor centre, and I began looking for birds. Almost immediately I spotted a small falcon and was chuffed to see that it was a Seychelles Kestrel, one of my target birds for the trip.

Seychelle’s Kestrel, Seychelles – 2 Jun 15

Next we did the tour and a lovely French lady led us through the distilling process and then sat us down for taste testing. My favourite bit I might add. After this we were free to explore the gardens so I headed for the back and the noisy squabbling of Seychelles Bulbuls.

Seychelle’s Bulbul, Seychelles – 2 Jun 15

No other species of bird were found but a small paddock in the garden held a couple of Aldabra Giant Tortoises (Aldabrachelys gigantea), one of the largest tortoises in the world from the islands of the Aldabra atoll in the Seychelles that reportedly can live up to 180 years.

Giant Tortoise Copolia, Seychelles – 5 Jun 15

A good place to visit with some very nice rum.

Mark C

Common Birds of Green Point Park, Cape Town

Protector was berthed not too far from the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront; an area of Cape Town with lots of shops and restaurants. A mile or so the other side of the V and A lies Green Point Park. A small park containing a decent body of water within, the park itself is laid mainly to lawn with a few shrubs and small trees. Off to one side is the Cape Town Football Stadium built for the 2010 World Cup.

Table Mountain

Table Mountain, Cape Town, Sep 2014

African Sacred Ibis 1, Cape Town, 8 Sep 2014

African Sacred Ibis, Cape Town, 8 Sep 2014

Cape Town 4

World Cup Stadium, Cape Town.

Needless to say the park held a number of common suburban species ranging from Gulls to Shrikes to Weavers to Sparrows. All the birds below were photographed within Green Point Park.

Cape White-eye 1, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Cape White-eye, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Cape Sparrow 3, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Cape Sparrow, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Cape Wagtail 1, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Cape Wagtail, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Cape Wagtail 4, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Cape Wagtail, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Cape Weaver 1a, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Cape Weaver, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Common Fiscal 2, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Common Fiscal, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Common Fiscal 5, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Common Fiscal, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Common Fiscal 6, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Common Fiscal, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Levaillant's Cisticola 1, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Levaillant’s Cisticola, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Red-knobbed Coot 2, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Red-knobbed Coot, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Speckled Pigeon 1, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Speckled Pigeon, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Hartlaub's Gulls 1, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

Hartlaub’s Gulls, Cape Town, 10 Sep 2014

 

Steve C

Spotted Eagle Owl at Kirstenbosch

As you would expect there are many more birds to see around the gardens other than the sunbirds.  A pair of Spotted Eagle Owls regularly nest in the same location year after year. The nest is under a shrub just behind a large rock. When I was here in October 2012 they had a well grown chick in the nest which could be easily seen. This time around being six weeks earlier the birds were still sitting. Not that anyone gets too close. The adults are very tolerant but if people overstep the boundary the male has been known to pop down from his usual perch above the nest and give you a face to face encounter!

Cape Spotted Eagle Owl 4, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Spotted Eagle Owl, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Spotted-Eagle-Owl-3-Kirstenbosch-23-Oct-2012

Spotted Eagle Owl, Kirstenbosch, One of the adults from October 2012

Spotted-Eagle-Owl-5-Kirstenbosch-23-Oct-2012-Copy

Spotted Eagle Owl, Kirstenbosch, The chick from October 2012

Sombre Bulbul and Cape Bulbul were both seen during the visit, the former usually found more in cover but given away by its distinct call.

Sombre Green Bulbul 1, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Sombre Green Bulbul, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

 

Cape Bulbul 1, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Cape Bulbul, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

 

Helmeted Guineafowl are common (even in the café if you have chips to share) all around the gardens. As are Cape Francolins, but these tend to stick to the upper slopes nearer to the rougher edges where the more manicured gardens meet the native scrub.

Helmeted Guineafowl 1, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Helmeted Guineafowl, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Cape Francolin 2, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Cape Francolin, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Cape Francolin 4, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Cape Francolin, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Karoo Prinia, Hadeda Ibis and to a lesser extent Cape Batis are reasonably common around Kirstenbosch and should be seen on a visit.

Karoo Prinia 2a, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Karoo Prinia, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Hadeda Ibis 2, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Hadeda Ibis, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Cape Batis 2, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Cape Batis, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Poss Steppe Buzzard 1, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Possible Steppe Buzzard, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Kirstenbosch 3

Kirstenbosch

 

Steve C

Sunbirds at Kirstenbosch

My entries have been a little thin on the ground lately, with working away from home and such and with summer being a relatively quiet time bird-wise. The good news is I have now have Wi-Fi in my cabin so I will use these midweek periods to catch up on what is rather a long backlog of entries from the last year or so; starting with the ship’s visit to Cape Town back in September 2014.

Cape Town 1

Cape Town, September 2014

A visit to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is always a pleasant experience and this particular visit was no exception. The gardens at the eastern foot of Table Mountain were founded in 1913 and the main focus is to showcase the flora of the Cape region; in particular the Protea family, although there are an abundance of other species to enjoy. This flora in turn brings in the birds and that is why I was there. Three species of Sunbird commonly inhabit the gardens; Malachite, Orange-breasted and Southern Double-collared and it is fair to say that you would be pretty unlucky not to connect with all three on a visit.  One area of the gardens I always visit is the Protea nursery area. It is away from the main part of the garden but as its name implies it is full of Proteas and the sunbirds which feed on them.

Malachite Sunbird 2, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Malachite Sunbird, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

 

 

Orange-breasted Sunbird 7, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Orange-breasted Sunbird, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

 

Southern Double-collared Sunbird 3, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Kirstenbosch, 7 Sept 2014

 

Kirstenbosch 2

Part of the Kirstenbosch Protea Nursery

Steve C

Black Arches moth new for Fareham garden

The latest addition to my back garden macro moth list is Black Arches.  I found a single specimen that was in very good condition on the side of my 40W Actinic Heath Trap before I headed for bed last night.  It is a species of mature oak woodland with a local distribution.  The image below shows a hint of the pink banding found along the flanks of the abdomen when viewed from underneath.

Black Arches, Fareham Garden – 25 Jul 15

Good mothing,

Tony T   BSc (Hons) GeoSci (Open)

Birding Seychelles – Copolia Trail

The next day saw us driving up the mountain until we reached the start of the Copolia Trail. There were Common Mynas on the houses and it was here that after hearing a commotion in the trees I saw my first Seychelles Bulbul.

Seychelles Bulbul, Seychelles – 2 Jun 15

We headed into the trees and began the hard ascent up through the rocks and paths to the highest point. The trees were very quiet with just the odd squeak which for a while I followed looking for a bird. I was later told by the guide that it was in fact the Seychelles Giant Millipede (Seychelleptus seychellarum) but I have no way of knowing if this was correct. The path up was hazardous mainly due to the large spiderwebs we kept running into and the huge spiders that were sitting in the middle of them. These are actually harmless and have the exotic name of the Red-legged Golden Orb-web Spider (Nephila inaurata).

Red-legged Golden Orb-web Spider – 2 Jun 15

We reached the top soaked with sweat and breathing heavily. One of our party spotted the endemic Seychelles Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes pervillei), a plant that I have briefed them all to look out for as I knew it occurred on this trail. Weirdly I do enjoy seeing carnivorous flora.

Seychelles Pitcher Plant, Seychelles – 2 Jun 15

Seychelles Pitcher Plant, Seychelles – 2 Jun 15

We headed for the top and we were rewarded with amazing views.

HMS Richmond Hiking Club, Seychelles – 2 Jun 15

An hour past and then we had to head back down, once again the rainforest was quiet with some more Bulbuls near the exit. Next stop was a rum distillery, more on that next time.

Mark C.

Skomer ‘Evening Seabird Spectacular’ boat trip – 100s of Puffins and Manx Shearwaters

Prior to setting off for Pembrokeshire Mrs T and I had booked the ‘Evening Seabird Spectacular’ boat trip on the ‘Dale Princess’ around the island of Skomer.  Encountering 1000s of Auks (Puffin, Common Guillemot and Razorbill) was pretty much guaranteed, but I also hoped to connect with a good number of Manx Shearwater as the birds congregated offshore in preparation for returning to their burrows under the relative safety of darkness from predation by Gulls.  As we travelled up from Fareham we received confirmation that the weather conditions were favourable and the trip, that needs to be pre-booked, was going to go ahead as planned.

’Dale Princess’, Martin’s Haven – 16 May 15. (Taken the following day when we returned to get landed on Skomer)

The ‘Dale Princess’ left the jetty at Martin’s Haven for Skomer on schedule at 1900 with a very knowledgeable Welsh Wildlife Trust representative onboard.  The northwesterly wind resulted in a lively passage across Jack Sound but after passing through the narrow strait between Skomer and nearby Midland Isle conditions became much calmer.  In the bays of South Haven and The Wick on the south side of the island the boat was surrounded by literally thousands of seabirds that were nesting on the adjacent cliffs.  There were literally hundreds of auks on the water all around the boat with hundreds more swirling around above our heads that I had to point out to a mesmerized Mrs T.  It was a truly spectacular sight and equal to the many spectacles of wildlife abundance I had experienced in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica on HMS PROTECTOR.  Unfortunately, a mist had developed making photography a complete waste of time.  Despite ridiculously high ISO settings the shutter speeds remained grossly inadequate.  It wasn’t long before I opted, like my last few months on PRTR, to lower my camera and just enjoy the spectacle that surrounded me.

Puffin, Skomer, Pembrokeshire – 15 May 15

Puffin, Skomer, Pembrokeshire – 15 May 15

Due to the direction of the wind the ‘Dale Princess’ returned back through the narrow straight between Skomer and Midland Isle to reach North Haven where a Peregrine Falcon visible on a cliff top called out.  The boat then headed out to sea in search of Manx Shearwaters.  Although unsuitable for photography the thickening mist provided the perfect conditions for Manx Shearwaters to return to their burrows by eliminating any moon and starlight.  Within half a mile of the island the ‘Dale Princess’ was surrounded by scores of circling Manx Shearwaters.  Even though I had seen hundreds of Manx Shearwaters before onboard the various warships I had served on, HMS ST ALBANS off Ailsa Craig was particularly memorable, I had never looked up at them before as I did from the open deck of the ‘Dale Princess’ that was barely above sea level.  I enjoyed every second of the experience.  Unfortunately, all good things come to an end and the boat had to return to Martin’s Haven a little prematurely due to the deteriorating visibility.  However, the trip was well worth the £32.00 we had paid.

For information the ‘Evening Seabird Spectacular’ boat trips operate on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evenings only.

Good birding,

Tony T   BSc (Hons) Geosci (Open)

Greater Yellowlegs showing well at the Haven

Popped down to the Haven this afternoon, principally just to check on how well the Avocets are doing this year.  (Very well by the way). I spent the first half hour in the Meon Shore hide and during this period a lady picked up the Greater Yellowlegs just in front of the Pumfrett Hide feeding alongside Black-tailed Godwits.  I walked around to the hide with Keith Maycock, but the strong sunlight was behind the bird so I gave up trying to photograph it and carried on up to the Spurgin Hide. Save for an odd Greenshank it was rather quiet there, so after twenty minutes I ambled back towards the shore, noting that the Pumfrett Hide was now empty, therefore I assumed the Yellowlegs had moved on. It was only when I got back to the Meon Shore Hide that I discovered where the bird had moved on to! The small island in front of the hide!

Greater Yellowlegs 4a, Titchfield Haven, 18 July 2015

Greater Yellowlegs, Titchfield Haven, 18 July 2015

Greater Yellowlegs 3, Titchfield Haven, 18 July 2015

Greater Yellowlegs, Titchfield Haven, 18 July 2015

Greater Yellowlegs 2, Titchfield Haven, 18 July 2015

Greater Yellowlegs, Titchfield Haven, 18 July 2015

The bird was sat in company with several Redshanks, and was roosting as best it could although Moorhens and Gulls kept disturbing the peace. The Yellowlegs would then have a quick leg stretch and preen before settling back down.  This process being repeated several times as a happy crowd watched from the hide.  Cloud cover came in about an hour later so I decided to call it a day. I doubt if I will get better views of this cracking bird.

Greater Yellowlegs 5a, Titchfield Haven, 18 July 2015

Greater Yellowlegs, Titchfield Haven, 18 July 2015

Greater Yellowlegs 8, Titchfield Haven, 18 July 2015

Greater Yellowlegs, Titchfield Haven, 18 July 2015

Greater Yellowlegs 10, Titchfield Haven, 18 July 2015

Greater Yellowlegs, Titchfield Haven, 18 July 2015

Steve C