Monday, 21 March 2011

Misty morning

drumming male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

The thick mist this morning (we always get it bad at Canons) gave me a good excuse to adandon the usual early morning skywatch and stake out the Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers. I had no trouble as I could hear one drumming as soon as I made my way towards their favoured spot. I then enjoyed excellent views of the drumming and preening male for about ten minutes before it started to wander around and feed. The female then came in and took her turn, drumming for a shorter period of time than the male before going off to feed again.

male of the Circle Field pair

and the female

Mid/late morning I got a text that caused me to grab everything and run to the top of Reads Rest Lane, I dropped my gloves and water bottle on the way up but didn't stop to pick them up for the message from Graham James read 'ringtail Hen Harrier heading your way' (presumably the bird P-Go & Mark had yesterday at Banstead Woods)! I scanned and scanned the horizon which was looking directly towards Holmethorpe but didn't pick anything up. I then called Graham to get a better idea of how high and fast the bird was flying and while talking to him spotted a distant, appropriate-looking raptor flying Harrier-styley. As I zoomed in the blasted thing dropped in front of the horizon and I couldn't pick it up again. Not another near miss!?!?!

I then made my way over to Woodpecker Meadow in case it was hunting over the Chipstead Valley. I picked up a Sparrowhawk, a female Kestrel and at least five Common Buzzards but not the main quarry. I got good views of another male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker behind the bench I was sitting on, I can't get away from them!

Little else happened for the rest of the day and I headed home. Roy said he was going to try for th Barn Owls in the evening so I decided to join him. A few Little Owls called and we used the detector on a couple of Pipistrelles but the Barn Owls did not show.