Dusky Thrush and others keep birders on their toes.

Thursday 8th December 2016.

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Dusky Thrush at Beeley, Derbyshire. Photo by Nick Montegriffo.

Nearly the end of the working week and yet another weekend beckons. It has been very mild this week with temperatures reaching a balmy 10 degrees plus on most days, which is a tad warm for this time of year. I have been putting the moth box out most nights, but yet to have a single moth to show for it! Where as, a lot of my Facebook friends have been very successful, so I am quiet jealous at the moment.

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Grove Snail. An attractive coloured Snail which comes in many guises. This was photographed using my mobile phone at our Fareham Branch.

Monday was very quiet regarding bird sightings but on Tuesday, I was working in the Hove area, helping out with another crew and so driving from my office at 7.20am to be there for 9am! Before I left the Hove office, a Black Redstart flew over but didn’t settle as it flew over the rooftops. Seconds later, I watched a Peregrine flying low over the rooftops heading westbound at some speed. On the way to Hove, both Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker were seen from the car as was a Common Buzzard that flew just feet away from my windscreen! I was stationary in traffic at the time and it felt I was watching the bird in slow motion as it flew in front of me then settled in a small orchard by the roadside.

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Though I have not been successful this winter using my substitute moth trap, Dave Levy scored with this December Moth.

On Wednesday, again all was fairly quiet but there were plenty of Goldcrests singing within the conifers of Portchester Crematorium. Maybe they were thinking that Spring had come early? December is not normally known for rarities turning up unless a real cold spell comes in. However, the UK held a first winter Killdeer in the Shetlands; 3 Eastern Black Redstarts, Isabelline Wheatear in Norfolk and incredibly, a Masked Wagtail in Wales. The Masked Wagtail is a sub-species of Pied Wagtail from Asia and possibly a first for the UK. And then these were all overshadowed by a first winter Dusky Thrush in Derbyshire. This bird has been vacating an orchard in a small village called Beeley and Hampshire birder, Nick Montegriffo kindly let my use one of his photos of the bird on my blog. Many thanks again Nick.

Today, both Green Woodpecker and a Jay were showing well within Milton Cemetery, Portsmouth, this morning and while driving between jobs, a couple of Kestrels were seen and a male Sparrowhawk was noted flying over North-end in Portsmouth. I shall be out and about tomorrow at work and so I wonder what tomorrow has in stall?

Marsh Harrier showing well at Titchfield Haven.

Saturday 3rd December 2016.

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Scruff starting out walk down the Meon Canal Path, Titchfield.

I had a nice lay in this morning for a change and after checking an empty moth box and topping up the sunflower seeds in the bird feeder, I carried on making breakfast and then enjoyed watching 5 Goldfinches come down to feed on the clematis seeds before they started on the sunflower seeds. Most enjoyable, while eating poached eggs on toast!

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One of 5 Goldfinches in our garden this morning.

Andy was unavailable this morning, most probably nursing a huge hangover after his works Xmas party! I know John Goodall must be working and so I took Scruff for a walk down the Meon Canal Path by the Posbrook Floods. It was overcast at first and still quite cold but though the temperature never really got warmer due to the breeze from the north-east, the sun came out, which really cheered me up.

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This Jay showed well by the path.

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Some of the large flock of Goldfinches from the path.

There was a nice variety of birds this morning with sightings every so often to keep me entertained. A female Stonechat was the first notable bird after failing to find any Owls roosting in the familiar tree to the west of the footpath. This bird was perched on the tall grass stems just to the east of the main footpath. No waders or waterfowl were seen on the Posbrook Floods while I was walking south, but quite a few Cormorants were perched up and a few Little Egrets and Grey Herons lingered here.

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A leafy walk south at times.

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Many a dog has a splash here.

A large flock of around 100+ Goldfinch were seen in the trees by the footpath while other small passerines included several Goldcrests, a female Bullfinch and a small flock of Long-tailed Tits flitting through the trees. Both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were heard but not seen this morning although I did see a Green Woodpecker later on as I drove home; seen by the Fareham roundabout by the motorway. A few Chiffchaffs were also heard but not seen.

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Common Buzzard out on the reserve.

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The female Kestrel above the main path.

A few raptors seen were always a bonus. A Common Buzzard was seen perched on a post on the reserve until flying low across the fields and perching on another post. A female Kestrel was hovering nearby from the footpath and then flew up to the trees, disturbing a Common Snipe in doing so, which ‘zig-zagged’ off south bound. Best of all was an immature Marsh Harrier which quartered over the other side of the reserve, disturbing both wildfowl (Shoveler, Teal and Wigeon) and also a Grey Heron which flew upstream. I managed to grab a few photos but it soon disappeared behind the vegetation.

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The Marsh Harrier quartering the reedbeds to the east of the reserve.

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One of the pair of Ravens heading north.

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Little Egret on the Canal before flying off north.

A pair of Ravens was a surprise sighting as they flew north bound up the reserve and then on towards Titchfield Village. A lone Black-tailed Godwit flew overhead and was briefly mobbed by a couple of Crows, before heading off north towards the Floods. Surprisingly, there were relatively few dog walkers this morning and Scruff behaved himself as usual; just a shame about some of the other dogs we met along the way. Apart from the birds, there were not a lot of other wildlife seen this morning, despite keeping an eye out, but at least it was a beautiful morning and so much better than doing Xmas shopping!

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The Egret heading off north.

Waxwings seen briefly.

Friday 2nd December 2016.

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I found this tiny Crab Spider species on the bonnet of my work vehicle this week, while working in the Oaks.

The last month of the year can always throw up a few surprises and for some hardcore birders, an early Xmas present turned up when a potential Masked Wagtail was discovered in Camrose, Pembrokeshire. This Asiatic species of White Wagtail is obviously far from home and is attracting many a ‘twitcher’ to get this potential first for Britain on their life lists.

It was much quieter for me this week, however, I was pleased with the fact that I discovered my first Waxwings of the year, although all to briefly as a flock of 10 birds flew low over the A27 in Chichester, heading south in the direction of Chichester Gravel Pits. I was driving at around 50mph at the time, but what I did see of the birds was enough to be certain they were definitely Waxwings. These birds were seen as I was driving west to get to Worthing Crematorium around 2.30pm.

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This Common Marbled Carpet moth was seen by the entrance to the Oaks Crematorium.

On reaching the Crematorium, it was damn cold still. This week, we have had a long period of high pressure over the UK and what with clear overnight skies, the temperature has plummeted to just above freezing during the day and minus 10 in places within the countryside! As the sun dropped, it started to get very cold by Worthing Crematorium, especially due to the fact it is right out in the countryside! However, I had time to check out the bird-life from the pleasure of a warm car and was enjoying watching a Treecreeper looking for insects within a bough of a small tree close to my car.

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A hoverfly species enjoying the sunshine and feeding on the flowers within the Oaks Crematorium.

At least four Song Thrushes were on the ground below a small tree, flicking leaves to check for anything edible along with a few Blackbirds. A Robin, Dunnock and a Wren were all seen and overhead, a couple of Common Buzzards wheeled in the clear blue sky. I have seen Grey Partridge here earlier this year out in the neighbouring fields but none were present today. Instead, there were good numbers of Pheasant dotted around the area. I was hoping for a hunting Barn Owl quartering the hedges but no diamonds I’m afraid.

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A very heavy frost in Kingston Cemetery this week.

On Wednesday, I was working over the Oaks Crematorium, Havant; and this place notched up good numbers of Thrushes passing overhead, flying from wood to wood. Around 8 Mistle Thrushes flew over along with 4 Redwing. A Common Buzzard soared overhead as expected, for I see them here virtually all the time. A small flock of 4 Goldfinch tinkled overhead and unexpectedly, I found a Common Marbled Carpet moth perched near the roof of the main entrance. It was bright and sunny, though very cold today, but there were a few Hoverflies still on the wing, notably an Eristalis species, making full use of the few flowering plants within the gardens of the Crematorium.

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A pair of Goosanders on Eyeworth Pond, New Forest. Photo by Jim Walker.

Yesterday, working in Kingston Cemetery, Portsmouth, I heard a probable Firecrest calling deep within an Ivy clad tree but the bugger remained elusive. I didn’t really have time to go in search of it but several Long-tailed Tits did show well instead. Whilst driving along the M27, up to three Common Buzzards stood out well perched along the side of the motorway in the bright sunshine.

Today, though not so cold of late, was fairly sunny but a lot more cloud than the rest of the week. A Green Woodpecker was showing well in Milton Cemetery today as I watched it within the comfort of my car. I think I have decided to do a full weekly report for the Blog instead of a daily basis, except for weekends and holiday, for there is much more to write about that way. In Hampshire this week, the Short-eared owls have been seen on a daily basis in the Point Field on Farlington Marshes; who, incidentally are looking for Volunteer Wardens to look after the reserve. Tempting, but I rarely get the time these days. Up to 3 Velvet Scoters have been seen most days this week off Hill Head, with a tidy flock of Common Scoters.

Long-tailed Duck seen well from the Oysterbeds.

Sunday 27th November 2016.

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Dawn at the Oysterbeds. An early start for me, yaaaaawwnnn!

Despite a dry cough, the good news was is that I felt much better than I did last night. John Goodall text me last night to see if I fancied birding down Hayling Oysterbeds today, although it did mean a very early start! I gambled in waking up early and thankfully, I felt much, much better than yesterday, though the cough is damn annoying! Last night, I tidied up my substitute moth box and put it on overnight, seeing quite a few ‘moth-ers’ were getting some nice results. However, a check of the box after I got back from the Oysterbeds revealed bugger all!

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My substitute moth box up and running!

It was still near dark when I arrived at the Hayling Oysterbed car park at 7.15am and I was wondering what the bloody hell I was doing here so early?! A pair of Magpies sat close to the car, first checking the bin and then walking beside the car in case I threw something out of the car for them to feed on! At 7.30am, on the dot, John arrived. I have not been birding with him for a few months so it was good to catch up with him.

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Grey Plover flying towards the Oysterbeds.

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A fellow birder enjoying the superb reserve.

We walked up to the end of the spit to view the harbour, admiring a female Stonechat perched on some Teasel as we neared. Waders were passing by as the tide was slowly rising, which included Grey Plover, Dunlin and Oystercatcher. Though I was well wrapped up against the cold, there was hardly a breath of wind in the air, thankfully, though it was overcast and the light didn’t favour any photography yet. A Kingfisher landed nearby on the rocks by the shoreline and despite taking a few photos, they all came out blurred due to the poor light.

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Grey Plover, Dunlin, Turnstone and Redshank flying over the Beds.

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Curlew wading by the Beds.

There has been a good variety of sightings within the harbour here and I was to be in luck as most of the good stuff was soon picked up through the scope. Firstly, a Great Northern Diver was seen fishing near the islands to the west; a year tick for John. Good numbers of both Great Crested Grebe and Red-breasted Merganser were seen within the harbour and literally 5 minutes after the Diver sighting, I found the immature drake (?) Long-tailed Duck preening itself. It took some time for John to pick it up but eventually he did. This was a year-tick for me which put me on 171 species for the year. The bird soon resumed diving and was a bugger to find after my initial sighting.

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The Greenshank (left) and Black-tailed Godwit on the small pool by the Hayling Billy Line.

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Red-breasted Mergansers swimming in the harbour.

Checking the Grebes to the south of the harbour, I soon found a small flock of 5 Black-necked Grebes swimming together. I had to rule out Slavonian but their head shape soon dispelled that species. Three good species in a matter of 15 minutes. A couple of Rock Pipits flew over one of the Beds as we began to leave to walk around the reserve. We decided to walk north along the remaining part of the Hayling Billy Trail and were rewarded with good views of a feeding Greenshank with a Black-tailed Godwit. A few Redshank also were active on the same pool and back out in the harbour, we found at least four Goldeneye among the many Mergansers, including a gorgeous drake.

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Dunlin and Grey Plover roosting as the tide is rising.

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A Grey Heron by the Beds being passed by a Little Egret.

Yesterday, Andy Johnson had 3 Great White Egrets flying with a couple of Little Egrets past Sandy Point in the morning and were all seen flying inland off Selsey Bill too. I kept a good eye out for the Great Whites but only a Grey Heron and several Little Egrets were seen today. Back on the small pool, a Grey Wagtail was seen behind some of the Cattle and a male Kestrel flew up to a tall tree in the distance. The walk back to the car was rather quiet, but good numbers of Meadow Pipits and Greenfinches were seen. By the time we reached the car park, there was a throng of birders present which I presume were doing a guided walk in the area.

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Waders settling on the shoreline with Mallard in the foreground.

Wintry over the Cemy.

Saturday 26th November 2016.

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The Cemy is certainly looking a lot more wintry now seeing most of the leaves are down now.

Despite being laden with a very heavy cold, I simply had to get out of the house this morning and take Scruff for a walk, albeit not very far! The coughing fits wouldn’t allow it and so I took a slow stroll around Highland Road Cemetery. It was a cold, fresh morning but at least it was bright and sunny with hazy cloud overhead and virtually no wind whatsoever.

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Blackbirds were abundant this morning with at least 10 birds seen today plus a Song Thrush with this group.

I have not been over here since Storm Angus had bashed the south coast and it was evident that it had left its mark here. One of the old rotten trees to the east of the Cemy had lost one of its big branches, which was splayed below over several gravestones. But this was all that was damaged it seems.

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I captured this Goldfinch in flight (more luck than judgement!).

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Robin and a male Greenfinch.

Not an enormous variety of birdlife this morning, but the return of the Great Spotted Woodpecker was unexpected. I first heard the bird in one of the tall trees to the west of the Cemy then spotted it high up, climbing up one of the branches. A male Greenfinch was seen feeding on seed heads with a Robin in close attendance. Several Goldfinches were noted and at least one Jay was seen flying across. At least two Wrens were seen exploring the vegetation of some graves and a few Blue and Great Tits were seen in the trees. Up to 10 Blackbirds were seen in the Cemy plus a single Song Thrush, which proved very elusive to photograph. Walking back up my road towards my house, a male Pied Wagtail perched on an overhead wire and posed nicely for me.

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The legacy of Storm Angus.

Apart from the usual Pigeons and Crows, that was about it really. Sadly, there was a homeless chap sleeping rough (sleeping bag and covers under the Holm Oaks) with his Dog, but was in good voice, singing songs heartily to his faithful companion, although getting odd looks from the local dog-walkers!

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Record shot of the Great Spotted Woodpecker.

During the past week, I had seen a few notable sightings. On Monday, I pointed out a pair of Bullfinches to a work colleague, when driving just outside the village of Botley. I spotted a Sandwich Tern fishing by the bridge from the M275, near the firing range. I cannot recollect seeing one here before.

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These were the only toadstools found in the Cemy this morning.

Controversially, a very rare bird – a female/juvenile Pallid Harrier was found at Needs Oar Nature Reserve a week or so ago and news of the bird was not released due to the site being a sensitive area. This was a first for Hampshire and only a privileged few were allowed to see the bird via a day permit that is required to view the bird. It was well photographed on my birthday, which would of made a lovely birthday present if I knew about it, but never mind. Fingers crossed, it might reappear in the New Forest. Double check your Harriers everyone!

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The male Pied Wagtail seen in my road.

Other notable sightings include a Cattle Egret in the Posbrook Floods area; the drake Ferruginous Duck at Blashford Lakes and a couple of Scaup off Hill Head yesterday.

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A blast from the past. Andy Fisher (far left) at the Baillon’s Crake ‘twitch’, Grove Ferry, Kent in the spring of 1999.

Beautiful morning at The Burgh.

Saturday 19th November 2016.

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Arundel Castle in the distance to the south west.

The day was split into two halves regarding the weather as I awoke to a very frosty morning and by lunch time, the clouds rolled in and rain soon followed for the rest of the day. I had a few options on where to go with Andy Fisher this morning and as I was driving over the Eastern Road Bridge, observing a low tide within the harbour, I had made my mind up. We were to go the The Burgh in West Sussex.

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The moon showing well in the sunshine.

A slow drive up the small country road to Burpham village and then onto the parking area near Peppering Farm, we were soon some of the best countryside West Sussex could offer. Stunning views of the valley and fields to the west were seen and Arundel Castle to the south west looked majestic in the bright sunshine. A day like this deserves to get some rewards and although I never got any ‘year-ticks’ today, it was a pleasure to be out on such a glorious day. There was a heavy frost first thing this morning and ice had formed on the puddles along the footpath.

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Andy surveying the countryside from the bridle-path.

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Red Kite soaring over the fields.

The Burgh is notorious for its raptors and there was a nice variety here again. My first trip here for the year, Andy and I were blessed with four species of raptor; most notably both male and female Marsh Harrier, which I have to say, was totally unexpected. I was hoping for a Hen Harrier but there were no sightings today despite searching the fields and hedgerows. Several sightings of Red Kite kept us entertained and at least three Common Buzzards were noted. A Kestrel was the only falcon seen today, but one individual came flying right towards us to give us both an image that one will not forget in a hurry.

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White dead-nettle was the only plant in bloom.

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This Robin was in full song this morning.

No sign of any Corn Buntings today although I thought I had one flying away from me but I couldn’t get a definite ID to be totally sure. Grey Partridges were abundant in the area with many coveys flushed along our walk as were Pheasants around the bridle-path. There were also good numbers of passerines about with flocks of Skylarks overhead and Chiffchaff, Reed Buntings and Song Thrushes seen among the more common birds.

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Another Red Kite gave awesome views.

On the way back down through Burpham Village, I had to pull over to help a female Pheasant out of the road. Sadly, it looked as though its wings were broken as I cupped the bird and put it safely out of harms reach close to the hedgerow, although I strongly suspect it will not last the night. I said to Andy that we must do a late afternoon visit here this winter for the Owls, for Short-eared, Little and Barn Owl are present at this location. A smashing walk this morning with a nice variety of birds seen.

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Another view of the same Kite.

Butterflies still on the wing.

Wednesday 16th November 2016.

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The Red Admiral butterfly seen in Tangmere today. Yep, a crappy photo but it was from my mobile phone.

Half way through the working week already and so looking forward to the weekend. I hear it is going to get colder this week, which could be interesting? I thought I would add a few words to my blog of some of sightings I have seen this week so far. I also have added a few photos of which one was taken today by a Church in Tangmere Village, near Chichester of a very late Red Admiral butterfly, although they can be potentially seen in every month of the year if the weather is warm enough. The other photo is what Jim Walker kindly emailed to me of the confiding Snow Bunting in Southsea this week.

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Close up of the Snow Bunting at Southsea by Jim Walker.

Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk have all been seen so far this week, but no other raptors so far this week. Yesterday, at the Oaks Crematorium, there were sightings of Nuthatch, Redwing and Grey Wagtail and a Goldcrest was seen in Kingston Cemetery today plus the albino Squirrel again.

In Hampshire, the Short-eared Owls are still performing nicely at Farlington Marshes and one SEO was seen flying over Portsmouth Harbour (before or after the WW2 Bomb was being dragged out to the Solent to be detonated?!) A Siberian Chiffchaff and 2 Water Pipits have been reported by the Posbrook Floods, Titchfield and on Blashford Lakes, the Bittern, Black-necked Grebe and were seen.

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Jim Walker also sent along this superb photo of a Fox he photographed recently.

Nationally, a Killdeer is present for its second day in one of the islands on the Shetlands (a species I have always wanted to see) and also an Oriental Turtle Dove nearby. The Eastern Black Redstart (a full species?) is still present at Skinningrove, Cleveland and an American Coot is on Balranald RSPB Reserve, in the Outer Hebrides.

Purple Sandpipers are on show.

Saturday 13th November 2016.

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Two of the six Purple Sandpipers on the rocks below the Castle.

It took till around midday for the rain to finally depart and even then, it was overcast and murky when I arrived at Southsea Castle. I was hoping for both the Purple Sandpipers and the Snow Buntings here but had to settle for the former only. I paid the ‘rip-off’ £1.80 car park charge for just 1 HOUR and then made my way to view the concrete embankment below Southsea Castle.

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This lone Oystercatcher stood long enough before flying over the Solent.

The tide was slowly making its way up and a few Gulls were loafing on the sea nearby, but nothing of note today. Probably needs a good storm to bring in something special? It didn’t take long to find the Purple Sandpipers and I counted a flock of six birds scurrying around on both the rocks and the embankment, slowly making their way eastwards. There numbers will swell as the winter moves on, but rarely they get into the 20’s in number.

There were no sign of any Rock Pipits today, but a lone Oystercatcher was also near the Sandpipers until flying off over the Solent. A good check of the Bandstand field for the Buntings drew a blank but a lone male Pied Wagtail was scant consolation. After the good deluge of rain on Thursday, there were a good few puddles for the Herring and Black-headed Gulls to bathe in, which was quite entertaining.

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Herring and Black-headed Gulls making the most of the fresh water puddles to drink and bathe.

I bumped into a fellow birder who I helped point out where the Sandpipers were and he showed me his superb Nikon P900 Bridge Camera. This £500 worth of kit looked both superb in the field and also the photos this chap had took were exceptional. He showed me some of the photos he took of the Short-eared Owls on Farlington Marshes and I have to say, they were simply superb. Very tempting indeed!

As I am writing this a day later after the event, I since found out this morning that both the Snow Buntings had returned to the Bandstand Field and showed very well in superb light today. Some you win, some you lose!

Tawny Owl over the Hilsea Lines.

Friday 11th November 2016.

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This gorgeous photo of a Starling caught in the sunshine by Jim Walker.

A quick catch up on some of the sightings I have seen this week included my first Tawny Owl of the year. Though a common species in our woodlands, getting to see one is no easy feat and requires more luck than judgement, unless you know of one roosting or breeding nearby. I was travelling back to our main office late afternoon and as the last rays of the sun were disappearing in the west, I happened to look out of our car window towards the trees adjacent to the Hilsea Lines, when I spotted a Tawny Owl flying low over the trees. That put a smile on my face after a rather long day!

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Another photo of the Southsea Snow Bunting by Jim Walker.

Sadly, there was no sightings of the Snow Buntings down by the Bandstand Field, Southsea, today; therefore it looks as though my plan to see them tomorrow at close range has been scuppered. I hear that it is going to be very wet tomorrow, so maybe they might have done me a favour? The three Short-eared Owls are still showing very well in the Point Field at Farlington Marshes, although the ugly spectre of photographers harassing the Owls yet again; so much so that one birder pleaded on the Hants Birding website for people to keep out of the main field. Well done that man.

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Med Gull at Hayling seafront. My mobile does not take a good shot at distant I’m afraid. Grumble!

I was working in the Camberley area yesterday and I saw the now obligatory Red Kite soaring high over the town; as well as a few Common Buzzards sitting in fields and a Kestrel on the way up to the Office there. A few Sparrowhawks were seen with both male and female clocked during the week. A couple of winter plumage adult Mediterranean Gulls were seen on Hayling Seafront with Black-headed Gulls on the grass, which is always nice. Not a great deal else to report, although Jim Walker has sent over some more superb photos for me to add to my blog.

Snow Buntings perform at the Bandstand.

Tuesday 8th November 2016.

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One of the Snow Buntings in the Bandstand field. Photo by Jim Walker.

Last Sunday, a Shorelark was reported within the Bandstand field just west of Southsea Castle, but quickly disappeared. However, to replace the bird, a pair of Snow Buntings were present in the same field and have remained there ever since. I had to admit, I could of seen them on Sunday but was simply too lazy to go down there and see them. I had seen one in Iceland earlier in the year but there is nothing like getting it on your ‘year-list’!

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Snow Bunting. Photo by Jim Walker.

Birding pal, Jim Walker, went down there yesterday to photograph the birds and quite sensibly, he kept a reasonable distance to avoid disturbing the birds. Sadly, he told me that a few birders were not behaving and literally chasing the birds to get that but closer in taking photos. I have to say, I am starting to get sick and tired of some of the antics of some of our ‘so called’ most respected Hampshire photographers, and if it wasn’t the fact that I could be facing a lawsuit should they read this, it is about time this ‘twats’ should be named and shamed.

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Snow Bunting. Photo by Jim Walker.

The last thing I like to do on my blog is rant, but yet again, the ugly side of bird photography is appearing from some of our most respected birders. Earlier this year when the Caspian Stonechat was present at Titchfield Haven, one birder still had to get that ‘special’ photo; when all he had to do was wait patiently like the rest of us and more recently, the Shorelark on the beach at Hayling Island was most confiding but one ‘well-known’ birder had to get within a few feet from it, despite the fact he was sporting a huge lens to capture some half decent photos of the bird. So, don’t just sit back and watch these idiots ruin it for everyone else, speak up and tell them to back off!

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Water Rail on Farlington Marshes by Jim Walker.

Incidentally, I was fortunate enough to grab a few minutes to see the Snow Buntings today, albeit at a distance and all of around 5 minutes. Jim Walker kindly emailed over his photos of the birds for me to use on my blog. Many thanks again Jim. The Purple Sandpipers were seen yesterday by the Castle, with at least 5 birds being present. I must pop down the weekend to see them.