Big Rarity Drops in

OCTOBER 2012 reports
If you want to hear about arguably the most exciting bird ever to drop in on the Longham Lakes site, then details are below. I write this with a heavy heart, because the wretched thing turned up while I was away – a Patchwatcher’s nightmare.

October 30th/31st
“I had a session on 30th and then again this morning (31st), neither of which were very productive. Yesterday I had 9 new birds (3 Reed Buntings, one each of Blackbird, Song Thrush, Wren, Cetti’s Warbler, Chiffchaff, Redpoll) and two Reed Bunting retraps, one from last year. This morning, between the rain and before the wind got going, three more birds: Wren, Redpoll and Goldfinch.
“I heard yesterday that one of my Reed Buntings from earlier in the summer has been caught again at Lytchett Bay. That is the second one to go there (must be a regular flyway) as one did the same last year.” (Roger Peart)

25th October

Lesser Redpoll (Dominic Couzens)

Poor record shot of Lesser Redpoll, Longham Lakes, 25/10/12 (Dominic Couzens)

My first visit for weeks, and the lakes are very quiet indeed as far as wildfowl are concerned: pretty much nothing about. The bushes and fields are looking and sounding distinctly October-ish, though, with small numbers of typical migrants around, including Meadow Pipits, Chaffinches and 1 couple of Redwings. Most interesting, though, were the small finches, with a flock of about 20 Siskins and at least 2 Lesser Redpolls around, continuing the series of records of this species. There was also 1 female Blackcap, feeding on the ground along Green Lane.

23rd October
A quiet day for ringing, with just 18 new birds in all and 2 retraps. Highlights were Lesser Redpoll and Goldcrest, with a few Chiffchaffs around and 2 Wrens caught (Roger Peart).

22nd October
2 Little Gulls seen (Dorset Bird Club website)

21st October
Chris Parnell: “My first real visit for several weeks brought the sickening sight of a Mute Swan crashing into the powerlines and falling to earth, apparently dead. Couldn’t get to see where it landed as health not really up to scrambling over fields. Can’t understand why the power company hasn’t put ball markers on the lines to make them more visible. 2 Pochard on LR North and a late Hobby. No small migrants at all.”

Lesser Redpoll (Roger Peart)

Lesser Redpoll, Longham Lakes, 15/10/12 (Roger Peart)

15th October
Would have been quiet except for the appearance of two first-year Lesser Redpolls in the ringing nets. This is an uncommon species at Longham, usually recorded as a fly-over in autumn. Only 9 other birds were caught, with still the odd Chiffchaff and Meadow Pipit (Roger Peart).

12th October
25 birds were ringed today, including 11 Chiffchaffs and 2 Blackcaps (Roger Peart).

10th October

Yellow-browed Warbler (Roger Peart)

Yellow-browed Warbler, Longham Lakes, 10/10/12 (Roger Peart)

It was always inevitable that the ringing at Longham would one day provide a new bird for the site, and what a bird it turned out to be! This morning Roger Peart extracted a fantastic Yellow-browed Warbler from his nets, providing Longham with a real star rarity. Roger says: “This is the first I have ever seen, let alone ringed. Lovely little gem.” And a good prize for all the effort he has put in over the last few years.

Yellow-browed Warbler (Roger Peart)

Yellow-browed Warbler, Longham Lakes, 10/10/12 (Roger Peart)

Also this morning, another 14 Chiffchaffs, bringing the year’s total to 229.

1st October
“This afternoon at Longham Lakes I saw 7 Jays over a 5 minute period flying purposely west” (George Green). This was a site record count.

27th September
Ray Gleason: “At last managed to find time to visit the lakes for an hour and a half this morning. Mute Swans 13, Great Crested Grebe 37; Little Grebe 16; Gadwall 2; Heron 2; Little Egret 3; wandering flock of Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits accompanied by Chiffchaff 2, with 2 more in other corners of the site. Green Woodpecker 1; Reed Bunting 2; Kingfisher 1; Swallows 6; Lapwing 5 and according to another birder there was a flyover flock of Black Tailed Godwits (12 I think?). Highlights both in the last half hour and in the south of the site: Hobby 1 juv hunting dragonflies and seeming to follow the course of the Stour, accompanied by a flock of 50+ House Martins keeping up-sun of it. Whinchat 1 juv catching insects along the scrub to the south of the lake embankment. Also Red Admiral, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and Small White butterflies, Migrant(lots) and Southern(1) Hawkers.”

Whinchat could well be only record at site this year. Welcome back, Ray.

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