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Sunday, 28 June 2015

Sunshine Hols

Just back from a sunshine Holiday to Santa Ponsa in Majorca with the Mrs, nothing much birdwise seen around the resort as per usual, just a few common Swifts and House Martins flying around with the odd Swallow, the ever present chattering of Sardinian Warblers as well as the more common Green and Goldfinches, House Sparrows, Blackbirds and the occasional Serin, quite a few Spotted Flycatchers about and the occasional sightings of Hoopoe, Kestrel and Monk Parakeets were about it. I managed a day out birding and visited the Island of Dragonera on the South Western point of the Island, I caught the bus out to Sant Elm where the ferry ran from having to change at Port Andratx, it was a 40 min wait for the connection so I investigated a small river running into the Marina there, quite a bit of tall vegetation held singing Reed Warbler and Zitting Cisticola and there was loads of Butterflies flitting around although I only managed to ID Swallowtail, Wall Brown and Clouded Yellow, I was soon on the way, got the ferry over and spent the afternoon wandering around the Island, they weren’t kidding about it being the Island of Dragons there were Wall Lizards everywhere, it was hard not to stand on them, if I spent any time stood still they would be clambering over my feet, the other claim to fame was that the Island hosted the highest density of breeding Eleonora’s Falcons in the Med and they didn’t disappoint, up to six in the air together at times, a good few Pallid Swifts were also flying around the high points, on the rocky shoreline there were a few of the Mediterranean race of Shag as well as hundreds of Yellow Legged Gulls with plenty of young in tow and a handful of Auduoin's as well, Passerines were represented by Spotted Flycatchers, Serins, Goldfinches, Greenfinches and Sardinian Warblers, no Balearic Warbler though, a couple of Turtle Doves were in an Olive grove and there was a superb male Blue Rock Thrush near the Harbour as I returned for the ferry, other aerial predators include a couple of Ravens and Booted Eagles over. 
Port Andratx

the little river at Port Andratx


looking back to the mainland


this one looks like its just regrown its tail

Spot Fly

Eleonora's Falcon


distant Booted Eagle

the second one was a bit closer

the little Harbour area


male Blue Rock Thrush

lots of Yellow Legged Gulls all over

plus a handful of Audouin's

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Down South and the South Downs

An early start last Sunday with Mark and Paz picking up Darren on the way for a twitch down south to Pagham Harbour near Chichester for a Hudsonian Whimbrel that had been found there earlier in the week, the bird was best viewed from behind the churchyard at Church Norton and was indeed showing when we got there, a little distant but good scope views were had, it flew a couple of times showing its diagnostic dark rump but also in comparison with the Eurasion Whimbrels there it was a slightly larger bird, paler and more brown looking with a bolder head pattern and markedly contrasting dark primaries, after enjoying the bird for the best part of an hour it then flew off to the other end of the reserve so we took our leave and headed off to nearby Titchfield Haven for the long staying Greater Yellowlegs. After fortuitously failing to find the Bridge Street car park we ended up on the coastal road where we spied a group of birders watching intently, we parked up and joined them to find the Yellowlegs showing there and remarkably close, unfortunately it was on the rising tide and after two or three minutes it and the small flock of Black Tailed Godwits it was with flew off to the area they favoured at high tide, we hung around a while longer, there was a good selection of other stuff typical of the area, Little Egrets, Mediterranean Gulls, Common Terns etc and chatted with some familiar faces before driving back around and managing to find the Bridge Street car park, we walked out to the Posbrook Floods and relocated the Yellowlegs getting longer but more distant views of it, a Cetti’s Warbler teased nearby, we thought it was going to pop out and pose for us but no. We had been hoping that Saturdays Black Eared Wheatear in the New Forest would still be around but they are notorious one day birds and there had been negative news on it so we decided on an afternoon with the Butterflies at Martin Down near Salisbury, superb place but very expansive, full of flowers including Fragrant and masses of Greater Butterfly Orchids, quite a few Turtle Doves purring away, kicked up a few Moths including the distinctive Burnet Companion and a good number of the more common Butterflies then eventually Paz found a couple of Small Blues, Butterfly tick for me, superb little things we ended up seeing 40-50 of them during which time Mark and Darren came across another Blue type, it was a lovely sky blue colour and seemed to have a different flight pattern to the Common Blues and although it was very worn there was a hint of chequered fringes to the wings, tick number two, Adonis Blue, it was all topped off nicely when a Badger ran across in front of us. A few Red Kites and Buzzards seen near Oxford as we headed home.
Hudsonian Whimbrel, just a bit distant for decent photos

compared to the Eurasion Whimbrel on the left a bit paler with stronger head markings

flying off showing its dark rump

good views of the Greater Yellowlegs for the first two or three minutes

Banded Demoiselle

Burnet Companion

a rather tatty Brown Argus

Small Heath


and Greater Butterfly Orchids


first of the main target species, Small Blue

with an underwing pattern reminiscent of Holly Blue

ensuring future generations

and the second target, we were pretty happy this was Adonis Blue although it is fairly worn there is a hint of
chequered fringes

a lovely sky blue colour

and the underwing pattern looks spot on

a quick snap of the Badger as it sped past us