Monday, 11 September 2017

The last week, 5th - 11th September 2017

The last week has been a bit more entertaining to say the least. On Thursday, after spending a boring time in Sutton for most of the morning, I had an hour to do whatever I wanted to. I opted for a quick trip to see what Priest Hill Nature Reserve was like, with this small site often being visited by one of my favourite bloggers, Steve Gale, who has an excellent blog called North Downs and Beyond
When we arrived, for the 1st 100m, nothing was seen bar a single late Whitethroat which was beside the Glyn Playing Fields. Further on, having seen nothing else bar 30 odd Crows, a small bird flew out of a bush into the field, where it showed for 5 seconds, being a female Redstart. A half-decent bird to see here, and something of interest! It promptly flew off, over the playing fields.
After this, not a single bird was seen afterwards except a pair of Meadow Pipits which flew overhead. When heading back, an odd white-winged Crow landed on a tree a far way off. Other than that, it was fairly quiet. 

Yesterday I had a nice surprise. Whilst wicketkeeping at my home cricket ground Cheam Sports Club, I turned around and a small starling-sized bird landed on the pitch about 20m away. I turned back for the next ball, where I noticed it fly across the pitch, with the tell-tale white rump on the back showing clearly. Once the game ended, and the drizzle ceased briefly, I went outside (camera-less) to see my Wheatear; it was a male, which pleased me even more! I got a few poor pictures of it with my phone and a quick video proving what it is.as the drizzle and wind picked up again.


video
Wheatear at Cheam Cricket Club - I declare the worst video on Blogging history!

Today, 2 Meadow Pipits flew over Wilson's School, towards Roundshaw Downs and a Buzzard flew high over. Not a bad week, considering I've not been birdwatching!

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Morden Hall Park frustration 5th September 2017

Though more in hope of a miracle, and without a camera, I had 15 minutes in Morden Hall in between the showers. With nothing seen except a Robin and parakeets up till a stream, I was about to go back when I spotted a woodpecker-like bird fly from the ground under some trees up to an angled tree, which made me look twice. It then went round the tree, then flew off South. The most frustrating thing is that on first glance it looked like a Wryneck - something which I have never seen before, but was such a brief sight that I couldn't get a detailed look. 
A few metres on, a small warbler was leaping around in a bush. It looked like a Chiffchaff, but quite pale and an odd long bill. When I approached it, expecting to see it dart off, it stared at me for 10 seconds from 3 metres away.  Another problem - no camera, so the only picture I got was an awful phone picture. It then flew off into a hedge not to be seen again. My impression was almost of a Dusky Warbler, but that was just excitement and I know that it was a youngish Chiffchaff. 
On the way out, a Kingfisher flew by and a Little Egret was wading in the distance. 
Very frustrating. 
This morning I found this butterfly in the garden, but I can't tell what it is I have never seen an outerwing like this before. If you know please comment below.

butterfly sp.

Monday, 4 September 2017

The problem with being a nature-enthusiast

It really has been very boring after being back in Surrey. My poor life bird list only stands in the 170s, and since I can barely get out of the house, let alone the county, at the moment I can't see it budging for a good while! Liking nature does have its downfall - sometimes very little happens for what feels like a long time.
Last week, we went up to the Peak District and Knutsford for a couple of days - we saw the Manchester United-Leicester match then came back home overnight. During those few days, we had a night with cousins in Earl Sterndale, where a morning walk produced several Nuthatch and Chiffchaff, a Wheatear which my mum saw but I didn't, a ton of Buzzards and a probable Osprey which was heading SE. We also went for a walk in Tatton Park, Knutsford. Along with loads of deer, there was, of course, a Stonechat, Great Crested Grebes, a Whinchat and a Water Rail. I was without the camera or telescope, and just had my binoculars. I got very bored, and even tried a phone x bino scoping, which somehow, just about, pulled off.

Red Deer
I finally got some good news, having been asked to a junior volunteering camp at Arne in October. This should be something different and sounds exciting, and I am sure to meet some new people and see and help some good wildlife. With holidays ending, and the chance of getting out to a (good) nature reserve out of the question, it's slightly frustrating.
Last week, a quick walk to Wandsworth Common had [no Night Heron,] a Hobby, 2 Sparrowhawk, a few GSWs and a few Chiffchaff. In the garden we found a Vapourer moth caterpillar - a rather sinister looking creature which is still moving around the same place.
Tomorrow I might sneak a little visit to Morden Hall, where I might be lucky to see something unusual.