Poor old Gilbert is getting restless. Despite the fact that there is more interest in wildlife than ever before, it seems that most of the so-called conservation organisations are losing interest in species. Instead they prefer to babble on about landscape scale conservation and ecosystem services (whatever they are). Could this be because most of their staff don't have any knowledge about species if they don't have four legs?
This is my attempt to encourage an interest in good old-fashioned natural history.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

A non-race bird race

Traditionally at this time of year we take part in the Hampshire bird race. You know the sort of thing, 22 hours without sleep, rubbish weather and missing all sorts of stupid things. This year one third of the team had to work and the other two thirds couldn't be bothered so instead we had a more leasurely days birding around Hampshire, aiming mainly to pick up the migrants that we hadn't seen this year.

We started off at Keyhaven where the previous days Glossy Ibis had kindly decided to stay for another day. Initially it was asleep and obscured by vegetation but after we'd been for a wander round it was more cooperative.

Also in the area were 3 Garganey (2 drakes & a duck) and large numbers of Whimbrel, a selection of which are shown below.

One of the more interesting observations was all the hirundines sitting in gorse and bramble early in the morning. Presumably it was so cold and miserable that there wasn't any point wasting energy flying around looking for non-existent food. After a typical Hampshire sea-watch (rubbish) we headed inland with stops for Goshawk & Wood Warbler in the Forest and Little Ringed Plover.

We then went to a place I've never visited before; Casbrook Common. The site seems to be a former landfill site and like many 'brownfield' sites, is actually more interesting than 'pristine' countryside. Here we had a smart female Ring Ouzel, two Whinchat, Garden Warbler and 4 Nightingales, one of which showed quite well.

Last stop was the downs where we got good distant views of a pair of Stone Curlews. As we were driving up the hill away from the site we were stunned to see a Short-eared Owl sitting on a post by the side of the road. What is that still doing here?

With thanks to Gilbert's brother for all the photo's except the Nightingale (you probably guessed that they were too in focus to be mine).

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