12th November – what a busy day.   Leave a comment

The 12th November proved to be a very busy and interesting day. After a spell of indifferent weather it was great to get out in some lovely autumnal sunshine. We had our regular monthly waterfowl count at 0900, so Shaun, Terry and I did a little bit of ringing at Fleets Corner beforehand. We didn’t catch many birds in the short time frame, but what we did was quite notable. A Redwing and a Firecrest were lovely birds to handle, but better was a Goldcrest that had been ringed there the previous winter, showing winter site fidelity for this tiny bird, but even better still was a Chiffchaff that we had ringed in January 2012 and retrapped in March 2013, a bird that has returned to this area for its third winter. As Chiffchaffs are considered to mainly be a summer visitor to the UK and little is known about winter site fidelity, we consider this to be quite a significant discovery. The fact that we have ringed regularly at this site and not retrapped this bird between March and November indicates that it migrates here specifically to winter, rather than being a breeding bird that just hangs around all year.

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This Redwing was trapped at dawn at Fleets Lane.

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Another female Firecrest

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It is only a short walk from Fleets Lane to my Webs count area in south Holes Bay. This monthly count of waterfowl and waders is carried out throughout the country from September to March and gives an accurate picture of numbers nationwide.

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The weather was excellent, visibility good, but there were very few birds in my sector, the vast majority being beyond  the railway line in the north of Holes Bay, where there is a lot more exposed mud. Here I am looking across Holes Bay to Cobb’s Quay marina. I briefly joined Robin Heawood who was counting the northern sector after my count and saw 10 Spoonbills, a Spotted Redshank and Yellow-legged Gull along with hundreds of commoner birds.

PB100679-Remembrance-Sunday

I was back home before 11 and in time give my respects to the country’s fallen heroes on Remembrance Sunday – This view of the Cenotaph was photographed on the telly.

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As it was such a nice day Margaret and I decided to have lunch in the New Forest. Although most leaves are still on the trees, many are turning colour and others have already fallen. Autumn seems to be getting later each year, the temperature was about 13C and it seemed amazingly mild for mid November.

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In reality, the trees of Rhinefield ornamental drive positively glowed in the autumnal sunshine.

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Roads closed for repair and other hold ups meant it was quite late before we got to Beaulieu

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We headed for the The Bake House at Beaulieu, once a bakery now a cafe. Margaret and I met there at the end of October in 2006 and we like to go back on or near to the anniversary to celebrate.

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Well it wasn’t quite our anniversary, it was blowing a gale on that day, but it was near enough. We even managed to sit on the same table as we had seven years ago.

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We were thinking of birding at the Blashford lakes on the way back but we received news of a Lesser Yellowlegs at Lepe County Park, which was only five miles away. Here is a view of the Solent and the Isle Of Wight from Lepe.

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Similar in size to our Redshank, Lesser Yellowlegs is one of the commoner North American waders to occur in the UK. This is the tenth I have seen in Britain.

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Breeding mainly Canada and Alaska, Lesser Yellowlegs winter in the southern USA, Middle and South America and the Caribbean. Several are recorded annually in the UK.

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This Rock Pipit was wandering around the car park unafraid of the Sunday trippers and the odd twitcher.

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And finally we topped off a very busy day with a quick visit to John and Anita’s in Bournemouth. All that remained when we got home was to pour a beer and watch the ‘Strictly’ results!

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