Friday, March 25, 2005

A really good Friday. 131 species in total.

I diverted from the direct route to Lower Test Marshes for the first part of my ride, and I was at Marwell Trout Farm before 0700 – but there was no sign of yesterday’s reported Osprey. That will be a tough species, at least in spring....

I cut across the Itchen valley to Brambridge and Chandlers Ford, then south via North Baddesley, and out onto the minor road south of Romsey, to Lower Test. Immediately on arrival, several Cetti’s Warblers were audible singing – I must have heard at least a dozen by the end of then morning, with one even deigning to show well on top of a bush! Also ‘about’ were 3+ Stonechats, plenty of singing Chiffchaffs, many Reed Buntings, a Green Sandpiper, and several Water Rails heard. No sign of any Sand Martins as yet, however.

After a good hour of dipping, I finally heard the call of a Water Pipit, and got onto two dropping in to a pool by the boardwalk. They didn’t stay long, but soon flew off to the south to join a decent sized flock of (presumably all) Water Pipits – all those I could see at all well at 250m with bins looked OK for Water Pipit, anyway! I estimated 19 birds in the end.

Pretty chuffed, I gave the park at Totton a quick check for the reported Waxwings – not present! And the big bonus was still to come – at a site nearby, I fluked a pair of Ravens croaking and semi-displaying. Not only a tough Hants bird, and a really useful one to get under the belt, but also one of the very few regular species of which Chris “Knee-monster” Mills has virtually NO CHANCE in Norfolk - one up to Woolley!

And to top it all, Julia and I took a (motorised) trip down to Titchfield Haven this afternoon (Spoonbill, 3 Avocet, 14 Buzzards etc.) - AND FOUND MY MOBILE! It had survived 9 days in rough grass where I'd locked my bike up - rain, fog and cold nights, and the battery wasn't even flat. Result!