Friday, 18 March 2011

Thursday Patch Walk and a very wet Friday.

Another visit to Epsom and Ashtead Commons yesterday (Thursday) in very dull overcast conditions was rewarded by finding 5 Shoveler on the Great Pond (3 males and 2 females). As is often typical of this species they stayed a long distance from the lens so here is an image from a different encounter elsewhere.
Other sightings around the pond included one pair of Mandarins; obviously the 10 males seen earlier this week have moved on; several Canada Geese, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Herons and just one lonely male Teal.
A Song Thrush was high in the overhead branches blasting out its repetitive song for all to hear with Carrion Crows on sentry duty atop a number of lookout posts. The usual Tits were everywhere plus Green and Great Spotted Woodies calling from various directions.

Leaving the very muddy surrounds of the pond I decided to head onto Ashtead Common and made a wide circuit to the southern boundary where my efforts were rewarded with a brief view of a 'silent' Chiffchaff and at least 3 Dunnock in full squeaky voice. Very little was added on my route above Rushett Farm apart from the sound of Skylarks singing and four Lapwings wheeling about in their dancing flight above the  fields. So this weeks efforts have finally raised the patch list year total to 51 species.

We met some friends for a reunion walk at Pagham Spit and the North Wall around midday today but unfortunately the forecast suggesting that the heavy rain would ease off did not oblige so it was very wet birding and definitely no photography!  The highlights were two female Scaup and Red-breasted Mergansers on the main lagoon; another silent Chiffchaff; a scattering of waders and the usual wildfowl around the edges of the harbour plus a calling and flying Cetti's Warbler at the North Wall.
We have a reservation for a meal together in a few hours so I will wish everyone an enjoyable wildlife watching weekend.  FAB. 


  1. It was just a bit wet wasn't it FranK!

    Enjoy the weekend too, well done on passing the 50 for the patch :-)

  2. Cheers Warren. Here we are late pm and the weather now decides to clear up!! Hope you have a fruitful patch weekend.

  3. I agree it's a good idea to keep our cameras out of the rain! I hope you enjoyed that dinner with friends and you, too, have a wonderful weekend.


  4. You took a lovely Shoveler, great photos.

  5. I'm totally amazed at how you are able to roll off th enames of all of those birds. Just mesmerizing. Carol

  6. Hi Frank,
    Great photo`s, as usual. Here in Peterborough we haven`t had any rain for a while, just cloud, fog and dank! The forecast is good for the weekend though, fingers crossed!
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

  7. The rain does put a damper on things, doesn't it? Nice photos anyway!

  8. If we waited for sun we would miss so many shots. I'm glad you didn't let the weather stop you.

  9. Hi Lois. The meal and company were just great. Hope you get some sunshine over the weekend.

    Cheers Bob.

    Hi Carol. Well at least my memory is still fairly good as I quite often forget to jot all the info in my notebook as I'm strolling around.

    Cheers John. No rain ... lucky you. Drenched didn't even come close! Red sky tonight so hopefully a good day tomorrow. Enjoy your weekend. FAB.

    Yes Mona and it was a long drive just to get soaked through .. lol.

    Hi Tammy. The weather may not stop me birding but it wasn't good for the gear!

  10. Hi Lisa and Sarah. I really appreciate the compliments. Hope you are both having a great weekend. FAB.

  11. Great Shoveler and GW teal. Got my first Shovellers in New Jersey last week. I'm still processing countless photos. Wonderful "shovelling" feeding habits with that awesome bill.

  12. Shovelers have quite the mugs, eh? Love that shot, a face only a mum could love ;o) Nice post Frank.

  13. Hi those Shovelers, that bill gets me every it!!
    Hope you are sunny today!!

  14. Looks like you had a great bird day~ Happy Birding to you!!!

  15. Hi Robin. The Shoveler is in a class of its own. Looking forward to seeing your pics.

    Cheers Jann E. All a bit 'front-heavy'!

    Hi Grammie. Yes, plenty of sunshine today but not very warm.

    Thanks Dawn. A day out with friends is always fun, even when you get soaked through!

  16. The frontal view of the duck on top is fantastic, look at that beak!

  17. This might be a repeat -- if so just delete it please..I'm having trouble with my connection.

    Love this post and your mosaics are beautifully put together. I wish I could count birds I see on your blog for my 'life-list'!! Several of these are new to me.

  18. Hi JM. Yeah, fancy carrying that weight around all day .. lol.

    Hi Sallie. Well you could always start a 'virtual' life list.


I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.


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