Saturday 19 March 2011

On spec at Wisley

Yellowhammer at Canons Farm

This morning didn't start well. Getting the bus was a bit of an ordeal, I was forced to watch in shock as some low-life threw a Yorkshire Terrier about twenty feet into the window of a (thankfully non-moving) car before I was nearly ignored by the S1 bus driver.

Brambling at Wisley Airfield

Things looked to be getting better when Ian and I located a close drumming Lesser Spotted Woodpecker within a minute of arriving at Aberdour School, and had a Cormorant fly over to boot. Then, Ian pointed at six birds flying fast NNW tightly together. I hardly glanced at them and dismissed them as 'racing pigeons . . . '. Looking up at them again I realised they were no pigeons, they were waders . . . and they weren't any waders I've seen at CFBW before. With the naked eye I saw that they were all mottled rufous underneath, stocky, short-legged and quite short-billed. By the time I got onto them in the bins I got an arse-end view as they were flying ever further away - I got them in the scope but knocked it and lost them just as they were about to bank. I've never uttered so many profanities in the space of one half hour in my life, Ian looked a little concerned about me. Whatever they were (Ian and I think that Knot fits the bill, so to speak, most closely based on the little detail that we saw - but this would be such as odd situation to get them in, but, then, that also goes for just about everything else they may have been . . .) they would have been a mega patch tick and made my month, had I bothered to do anything more than hardly give them a glance initially. Bugger.

Common Buzzards near Wisley Airfield

I then went to 'WALBOC' (Wisley Airfield/Lake Boldermere/Ockham Common) where I met Alex Bowes. The numbers of Yellowhammers and Common Buzzards were amazing, with up to one hundred and up to twenty, respectively. I picked up a distant Red Kite and we enjoyed excellent views of a female Brambling. Twenty Lapwings, a few displaying, were also great to see. A Grey Wagtail and three Chiffchaffs were additions to Alex's patch year list. Just as I was leaving a couple of Red-legged Partridges showed. Thanks for showing me round, Alex!

Then back to Canons where I saw nothing new or particularly exciting but got a couple of shots of a male Yellowhammer.