January and February 2018 at Longham Lakes

3rd February
Round South Lake this afternoon, the highlights were Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Raven over. 54 Pochard still about with 24 Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler and Tufted Ducks. Still a few Redwings about and Grey Wagtails, and a Water Rail was feeding along the southern edge of North Lake. Also some Frog spawn, at the southern end of South Lake, in the large puddle in the dip by the small island (Martin Wood.)

27th January
31 species in wind and rain this afternoon. Water Rail in north-east corner of South Lake, 44 Pochard counted, 14 Little Grebes. Still a few Wigeon and Shoveler about along with Gadwall, Tufted Ducks. Good to see Bullfinch and Redwing and hear Great Tit singing (Martin Wood.)

26th January
Nice little surprise today with a male Blackcap near the bungalows. Its the first time I have had one during the winter on patch (Matthew Bell.)

20th January
Best birds for me this morning were Great White Egret, Water Rail and Peregrine (Robin Trundle.) Additionally, Greylag Goose – 105 on the meadows; Water Rail – 2 by the jetty on south lake and 1 on the main island, with a few others heard; Mediterranean Gull – 5; Kingfisher – 1 flying over the meadows; Hawfinch – again in hedge along the east side of south lake (Kevin Lane.) Lots of Great Tits singing, plus Long-tailed Tit and Goldcrest, a Reed Bunting and 5 Greenfinches (Martin Wood.)

14th January
Spent the morning (06.45-12.00) and also the last hour of daylight at Longham today, with a total of 70 species. [that equals the day-listing record]. Mainly common/expected stuff, but a few notable bits: Great Egret – 1 early morning on north lake and the second briefly over south lake. 1 flew back in to south lake at dusk; Greylag Goose – 80+ left south lake at dawn and returned after dark; Peregrine – 1 over south lake with prey; Water Rail – 5+ mainly heard. 1 feeding along the causeway; Black-tailed Godwit – c80 circled but didn’t land; Chiffchaff – 1 giving the downslurred juv-type call at the thicket by north lake; Magpie – roost of 70+ south of south lake; Raven – 1 on the pylons in the morning; Starling – small murmuration/roost (c1,000 birds) in the scrub behind the larger of the 2 ponds at the south end (Kevin Lane.)

Meanwhile, Steve Smith had a Lesser Redpoll in the se corner of South Lake, with Goldfinches. He also counted 77 Pochard and 18 Little Grebe. Martin Wood added Stock Dove, Jay and Rook to his yearlist.

13th January
A Hawfinch was seen in the morning perched in Oak tree on east side of South Lake, Longham. 2 Great Egrets the best of the rest (Kevin Lane.)

12th January
The Hawfinch was seen again today still in the general area of the Sheep Field. Also great views of Siberian Chiffchaff which was calling nicely near The Thicket (Matthew Bell.)

11th January
There were 2 Great Egrets , 3 Chiffchaffs and a Water Rail was heard (Dave and Pat Harris and OWLs).

10th January
Lovely morning but seemed a little less birdy than yesterday.  Sadly no sign of yesterday’s Hawfinch.  The 2 Great White Egrets were present mid morning but then both flew off SW towards Poole.  Best of the rest – 2 Chiffchaffs and Raven heard (George Green.)

9th January
Absolutely delighted to find a Hawfinch on patch today. The bird was frequenting the trees surrounding the Sheep field in the east of the patch. Also two Great White Egrets (Matthew Bell). Also 17+ Black-tailed Godwits, a Peregrine, a large flock of Fieldfare and Redwing and a pair of Ravens (George Green.)

8th January
Time limited visit to site this morning between 0930 and 1030, viewed from concrete slipway only, yielded 23 species the highlights of which were a Black-tailed Godwit on the island shore, Water Rail and Grey Wagtail both close to slipway and a Common Gull.  Large numbers of Lapwing, Shoveler and Gadwall amongst other regulars (Ron Poulter.)

7th January
Now 2 Great Egrets on island and a pair of Cetti’s Warblers also seen, large numbers of Shoveler and Pochard. Group of 40+ Cormorant arrived together (David Foster.) Mandarin – drake on/around the same island; Black-tailed Godwit – 17 flew north without stopping; Greylag Goose – 82 on Hampreston Meadows [a record] (Kevin Lane.)

6th January
Great White Egret – still present; Pintail – 3 circled over south lake but didn’t settle; Chiffchaff – 1 at the far end of the causeway; Firecrest – 1 near the Scarlet Darter pond (south of South Lake); Lesser Redpoll – 1 feeding on the small island at the south end of south lake; Siskin – 2 or 3 in the woods (Kevin Lane.) In the afternoon, highlights were c30 Black-tailed Godwits circling the lake and Hampreston Fields, a Fieldfare with 3 Song Thrush in the sheep field and 2 Water Rail again by the slipway jetty in the north east corner. Male Kestrel working the south-east corner (Martin Wood.)

5th January
Much quieter than recently with much smaller numbers of wildfowl.  Apart from the Great White Egret the only sighting of note was a pair of Pintail (George Green.) Martin Wood saw a Bullfinch, 350 days earlier in the year than 2017.

3rd January
The Great Egret is still present (Ian Ballam).

Mute Swan

Mute Swan (immature), Longham Lakes, 2/1/2018 (Trevor Wilkinson).

2nd January
The Great Egret was on the main island on South Lake, and there were also 3 Little Egrets and 2 Grey Herons. Among other waterbirds were 4 Moorhens, 5 Little Grebes and 2 Great Black-backed Gulls. 7 Greylag Geese were on Hampreston Fields (Trevor Wilkinson.)


1st January
The year began in true style with a major Longham rarity, a Hawfinch in the hedge by the Study Centre car park. This is the first one that has not been seen simply flying over, and a nice surprise for arch Longham lister, Martin Wood. The Great Egret was still around, and he also saw 5 Redwings and 2 Water Rails, the latter by the slipway jetty (north bank of South Lake). I started the New Year’s birding off at Emily’s Wood and was rewarded by a delightful flock of 50 Siskins preening in the rain, as well as a Nuthatch. Among 50 species seen were a female Pintail and a Great Black-backed Gull (Dominic Couzens.) Terry Elborn’s 90 minute birding sweep added a Sparrowhawk to the Patch’s year-list.

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December 2017 at Longham Lakes

THE YEAR 2017 in review at Longham Lakes, Dorset

This year has been fantastic in just about every aspect for this site, for birding and wildlife-watching generally. The total of 134 species of birds is a record, just, but it was the quality that stood out, and a nice touch was that unusual species often came at the same time. Six bird species appeared for the first time: Bonaparte’s Gull (26th April), Red-rumped Swallow (27th April), Serin (29th April), Common Scoter (7th October), Velvet Scoter (16th October) and Lesser Scaup (23rd October) bringing the overall total to 186 species. Several made their second appearance, namely Grasshopper Warbler (27th April), Bar-tailed Godwit (13th May), Grey Phalarope (12th September), Little Stint (15th September) and Black Redstart (31st October), while Hawfinch (21st October) turned up for the 3rd time. Other good birds included Great Egrets, with 3 at the beginning of the year and 1 at the end, Bearded Reedling, Yellow-browed Warbler, Arctic Tern, Water Pipit, Firecrest, Coal Tit, Osprey, Merlin, Black Tern, Garganey, Whinchat and many others. Other eclectic bird highlights included gatherings of 1000+ Starlings, a Chiffchaff ringed here after a trip 770km down from Scotland, a summer when over 200 Tufted Duckings hatched, and superb numbers of ducks and other waterbirds present in the autumn.

Among other wildlife, 2017 will stand out as an exceptional year for dragonflies and damselflies. This included 2 new species for the site, which were Red-veined Darter and Britain’s 8th Scarlet Darter. In early July these two, plus Lesser Emperor and Small Red-eyed Damselfly, were all present, allowing an unprecedented spectacle of 4 rare or scarce species on this single site. On 9th July no less than 16 dragonfly species were present on one square kilometre. This could constitute the highest number recorded at a single location on one day ever in Britain. At the same time there were 16 species of butterflies on site, although no rarities among these.

It was not spectacular for mammals in 2017, but there were at least 5 records of Otters, plus a Mink and a Stoat, and at least 6 species of bat, including Nathusius’s Pipistrelle.

This year, perhaps not surprisingly, saw a sharp increase in the number of birdwatchers visiting Longham, and there are now almost 200 pass-holders that use the car park. As a visitor and regular, I have been really pleased to see how the dog-walking visitors have almost invariably kept their pets under control. Unfortunately, the kayakers in the DUCKS group have regularly been seen violating their exclusion zones, particularly around the island in North Lake.

I will give the last word to Martin Wood who, along with Lorne Bissell, has visited Longham more often than any other birder this year, taking up the Patchwork Challenge, as did Darran Jones (https://greatbritishbirdhunt.blogspot.co.uk/).

“It has been a great year patching Longham with a list of 112 species seen with some wonderful lifers and site firsts for me, and it has been a pleasure and good fun sharing these birds with other Longham Birders and others. As I reflect on the past year some of the best moments were seeing my first Bonaparte’s Gull, which led to an exciting hour or so watching the Bonaparte’s with Terry Elborn and a Mike Gibbons, only for a Red-rumped Swallow to arrive, another first for me. Then on another day seeing Bearded Reedlings and the Lesser Scaup on the same day.  And of course I cannot forget that magic moment when my picture of a dragonfly, which I assumed was a Red-veined Darter,  was re-identified as a Scarlet Darter.

“There is something I have learned on this journey, and that is I need to learn more about how to identify bird calls during visible migration, as this is one part of my birding that lets me down . Also get to grips with the Dragonflies, more Butterflies and one new hobby I started this year,  Moth-trapping (thanks to Mark Andrews.)”

A very Happy New Year to everybody. Bring it on!

31st December
The Great Egret is present, topping and tailing the year (Ian Lewis).

30th December
There were 2 Great White Egrets this morning – 1 on the Island in the South Lake and a 2nd bird which flew up from the River Stour and headed SW towards Poole Harbour.  Otherwise still large numbers of birds on the South Lake including 17+ Pintail which is an exceptional count for the site.  Also of note were at least 20+ Snipe flushed from the middle of the Island by a passing raptor and c1000 Starlings feeding in Hampreston Meadows (George Green.) Also 26 Greylag Geese, 171 Canada Geese (easily a record), 117 Lapwing, 13 Moorhen (also a record!), 1 Kestrel and 2 singing Song Thrushes (Trevor Thorpe).

29th December
Martin Wood writes: “Possibly my last walk round South Lake today as the New Year is starting to close in.  A rainbow greeted me this afternoon as I pulled in to the car park and I wished for one new bird for the list. I scanned the island from the slipway just as it started to rain and sheltering from the wind a much as was possible were 10 Little Egrets, a Grey Heron and the Great White Egret (hopefully it will stick around for the New Year!) Most of if not all of the weed has now been blown on to the shore line, the Hampreston fields were flooded with most of the gulls and Canada Geese were in the far field on the other side of the river. While a few Teal and Wigeon were on this side of the river in the flooded field, a large number were still out on the lake with the best count of Pochard I have had this winter with 30 birds seen, still lots of other wildfowl about like Shoveler, Wigeon, Gadwall , Little Grebes 14, and Mute Swans 60. It was very nice to see the male Kestrel again with a small mammal which I was pleased to see that he is still hunting successfully and surviving this weather.

“Alas, my wish never came true as I could only locate two Snipe on the large island and neither of them a Jack snipe, which is one of the two birds I have been hoping to see, the other was a Water Pipit before the end of the year” (Martin Wood.)

27th December
There was a Goosander briefly on the North Lake today (Lorne Bissell).

26th December
Had a wonderful morning’s walk round south lake until the rain started. Still plenty of wildfowl about a good. Finally ticked off Treecreeper with two seen on the Oak Tree close to the to the fence in Samuel’s Wood. The Treecreeper is possibly the last new bird I will see at Longham in 2017. It as been a great year at the lakes- 113 birds for the Patch Work Challenge List, though for the Longham list this works out as 112 species plus 1 Siberian Chiffchaff (Martin Wood.)

24th December
Great White Egret still present – seen flying along River Stour and then across South Lake (George Green.) Plenty of other birds about; the lakes are thick with them. A Mediterranean Gull was a decent bird (Dominic Couzens, Ed Parnell).

23rd December
Still lots of wildfowl out on the water. Looked through c200 Black-headed Gulls hoping to find a Bonaparte’s but only 1 Mediterranean Gull among them, plus a couple of Common Gulls. 40 odd Lapwing were circling round the Island (Martin Wood.)


Firecrest, Longham Lakes, Dorset 21/12/2017 (Lorbe Bissell)

21st December
2 Firecrests were present today (Lorne Bissell).

20th December
Great White Egret still on South Lake this afternoon, plus Black-tailed Godwit (George Green.)

18th December
I did a rough count and estimated at least 1700-2000 birds were on the South Lake. These are by far the highest numbers since I started regularly visiting Longham Lakes in 2011. Today’s highlights have included Pintail and Black-tailed Godwits (George Green.)

Sibe Chiff

Putative Siberian Chiffchaff, Longahm Lakes, Dorset 16/12/2017 (Martin Wood)

16th December
I had brief views of what was presumably a Siberian type Chiffchaff. Also Pintail and Black-tailed Godwit (George Green.) Another good walk round South Lake this afternoon, with 42 species seen. The highlight for me was seeing a site 1st for me, a wonderful Firecrest. A mass of wildfowl are still out on the lakes with c50 Teal, 2 Pintail, 20 Pochard and loads of Wigeon, Gadwall and Coot. The Great White Egret was on the large island again this afternoon with 5 Snipe with 8 Little Egrets at one time. And I found another Bullfinch today  (Martin Wood.)

14th December
Stacks of birds – about c200 Wigeon, Lapwing 100, Gadwall c100, Pochard 25, Meadow Pipit c40 but could not find a Water Pipit among them, they were on the flooded field west of the lakes. The highlight of the day though was seeming a Great White Egret on the large island in South Lake and 4 male Pintails close to the western shore . Mission Bullfinch was also completed[finally!] with 2 Bullfinch seen near the visitor centre (Martin Wood.)

Great Egret

Great Egret, Longham Lakes, Dorset 13/12/2017 (Trevor Wilkinson)

13th December
The South Lake was very busy, and with more ducks on the North Lake than I’ve seen for a while. Counts included 1 Great White Egret, Little Egret, 3 Moorhen, 3 Little Grebe, 10+ Goldfinch, 6 Fieldfares, 5 Lapwing, 1 Greylag Goose and 70 Canada Geese (Trevor Wilkinson.) On the same day, Dave and Pat Harris saw some extra stuff, including Grey Wagtail, Chiffchaff, Pintail, Black-tailed Godwit and Water Rail (heard.)

3rd December
There was a nice male Kestrel on a fence, consuming a small mammal. Still c100 Lapwing resting on the mat of weed close to the western shore. Plenty of Redwing and Fieldfare about, and a Goldcrest. A Water Rail was showing well by the jetty in the north east corner (Martin Wood.)

1st December
A very nice, icy-cold walk round South Lake, revealing a good number of Wigeon and Gadwall, plus at least 10 Pochard along with 8-9 Teal. A Kingfisher was on the west bank, perched on a low branch over the ditch. A Sparrowhawk came over the south end of Samuel’s Wood and flew across the little pools towards Emily’s Wood. Great to see 24 Fieldfare and Redwing feeding on berries in the scrub area on the east side . Also it was wonderful to be able to get close to two Water Rail feeding out in the open in the north-east corner of south lake just by the jetty (Martin Wood.)

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Autumn 2017 at Longham Lakes

5th November
A nice afternoon, with male Kestrel seen several times, 3 Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk low over the lake. 80 Lapwings were counted before being put by canoeists , 1 Common Gull in with lots of Black-headed Gulls and a few Herring Gulls (Martin Wood.)

3rd November
The lake was stacked with birds, mainly Coots and Mute Swans, with plenty of Wigeon, a few Shoveler and a small number of Teal. 100 Lapwings were resting on the mat of weed. What did surprise me, though, was the number of Moorhens – I counted 9 birds never seen so many round the lakes before. The male Kestrel was in a small bush  on the west side of the lake. In the far distance over by the farm there were two Egrets (think they were Little Egrets) roosting in a tree with crows for company (Martin Wood.)

Little going regards ringing from 3.30pm, an adult female Blackbird, an adult Robin, a Goldcrest and a re-trap Chiffchaff. The latter was a bird I ringed on 5th December last year so nice to see it is still around (Roger Peart.)

2nd November
Ringing very quiet today – only 4 new birds: 2 Goldcrests, 1 Great Tit and 1 Green Woodpecker. Also 1 re-trap, a Great Tit first ringed October 2015 (Roger Peart.)

31st October
The best bird today was a Black Redstart late morning behind the pumping station at the south lake hopping around on the solar panels (Matt Bell.) Also 1 Black-tailed Godwit (Darren Hughes).

Ringing produced only 25 new birds – a big drop from yesterday. 8 Goldcrest, 6 Long-tailed Tits, 5 Chiffchaffs, 2 Firecrests and one each of Redwing, Song Thrush, Wren, Great Tit. The 4 re-traps were 2 Long-tailed Tit, 1 Great Tit and 1 Blue Tit. The latter was first ringed at the end of May 2016 when it was aged as in its second year. The other re-traps  were all from this summer.

Amazingly I have had news today of the control Chiffchaff I caught yesterday. It travelled a long way (almost 770km) in 30 days, from the Deer Park Forest Croft, in the Scottish Highlands.

Coal Tit

Coal Tit, Longham Lakes, Dorset 30/10/2017 (Roger Peart)

30th October
It was a good morning’s ringing session today. I caught 45 new birds and 4 re-traps plus a control Chiffchaff [a bird previously ringed somewhere else]. Almost half of the new birds were Goldcrests (22) and there were 4 Redwings, 4 Chiffchaffs, 3 Wrens, 2 each of Blue Tit, Great Tit and Song Thrush, and one each of Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Bullfinch (female), a Firecrest and, a new ringing record for Longham – a Coal Tit [and a rare bird here overall.] (Roger Peart).


Firecrest, Longham Lakes, Dorset 30/10/2017 (Roger Peart)

Meanwhile, around the site generally there was a decent range of birds, including a Water Rail showing well on the smaller island in Longham Reservoir South, plus Stonechat on Hampreston Fields, and counts including 80 Mute Swans and 11 Lapwings. There were also 3 Red Admirals and a large blue dragonfly (of some sort). (Trevor Wilkinson). There appears also to be  small roost of Magpies in the bushes in the south-east corner, at least 6 birds.

29th October
Pochard numbers have increased to 10 birds (Ron Poulter).


Woodpigeons, Longham Lakes 28/10/2017 (Lorne Bissell)

28th October

Today’s visible migration was dominated by Wood Pigeons, with 2200 of them moving south-west between 07.55 and 08.35. This is the highest count at Longham by far, and was, at times a good spectacle. Other moving birds included 15 Redpolls (it was a good day for these county-wide), 5 Reed Buntings, a few Skylarks, maybe 30 Redwings/Song Thrushes and several other species that may just have been flying around: 5 Linnets, 3 Grey Wagtails, 100 Starlings and a few Bullfinches and Siskins. In the early morning the Great Egret was settled on a tree by Longham Reservoir North but soon flew off north, while there was also 1 Dunlin, 2 Snipe, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 3 Common Gulls and the 2 Bearded Tits were still along the east bank (Dominic Couzens, Lorne Bissell.)

Meanwhile, it turns out that the Lesser Scaup has disgraced itself by moving to Blashford Lakes.

27th October
A classic October day. It would have been good anywhere, but here on this inland patch it was exceptional. Having said that, the Lesser Scaup proved to be a party pooper and wasn’t seen at all.

Longham is never really good for visible migration, but at least it has now tapped into the countrywide Hawfinch extravaganza, with one low over the south-eastern corner (the Settling Marsh) at 07.55, calling loudly on its way north. Thereafter there were a few Redwings and Song Thrushes over west, plus a small finch passage that included the first Redpolls of the year, a singleton and a flock of three. Reed Buntings, Linnets, Chaffinches and Meadow Pipits were also on the move in very small numbers, and Wood Pigeons in a more significant movement, certainly in the 100s. Most surprisingly, during this early flush of birds a Great Egret flew fairly high to the north at 08.37. Meanwhile, the Starling roost was terrorised by 2 different Sparrowhawks, which kept on calling loudly and seemingly cowed the birds into leaving very late; at least one Starling never made it out. A little later on a late Swallow turned up, the odd Skylark flew over and so did 2 Ravens.

Bearded Tit

Bearded Tit (male), Longham Lakes, Dorset, 27/10/2017 (Paul Wilkins).

A big feature of the morning was the amazing entertainment provided by the Bearded Tits on the eastern shore of Longham Reservoir South. One pair was showing astoundingly well, and regularly “High-flying”, taking to the air, circling and then dropping down again, like a stone. Many birders got great views of this delightful autumnal behaviour.

By 11am I was beginning to realise that I had seen a lot of birds and, when I tallied them, it came to an equal of the previous Longham Lakes day record, 67 species – and no Collared Dove yet. A quick change of work plans meant that I made a quick trip to Emily’s Wood, where a flock of Siskins and a single Treecreeper brought me to 69. And now the magical 70 would be easy, with a Collared Dove somewhere on a roof on the houses along Ringwood Road. Half an hour later it became clear that these doves were enjoying an awayday somewhere else. In some desperation I decided to return to the lakeshore to check out the roofs from there. But on the way, at the end of the short private road, a small flock of Passerines contained a fabulous Firecrest. This 70th species of the day was also my very first for Longham Lakes – what a way to reach the milestone.

Apart from Collared Dove, I also missed the following species that were probably present on-site: Nuthatch, Kestrel, Peregrine, Snipe, Great bb Gull, Med Gull, Tawny Owl, Stonechat and perhaps Yellow-browed Warbler. Longham may well have played host to 80 species today.

Matt Bell was also out and about and managed 65 species, which is also seriously good, especially since he doesn’t have access to the private sections of the site. He did see a Collared Dove!

In addition to all this, Trevor Thorpe saw an Otter loping along the fence-line in Hampreston Fields, heading for the stream.

26th October
The Lesser Scaup was still around for the whole day, settling on Longham Reservoir North in the afternoon.

Even after 15 years of watching, a local patch can still surprise you. This morning I got on site before sunrise and was astonished to discover a Starling roost in the bushes next to the south-western tip of Longham Reservoir South – the site’s very own murmuration. The birds, 500-1000 individuals, were making quite a din. The Starlings’ departure from a roost is always worth watching and today’s was no exception. The birds sang loudly while it was still dark, but every so often they suddenly went quiet (apparently these silences average three minutes apart). As it gets light, the singing birds get restless and, during these sudden silences, birds shuffle about and some depart. This morning, since it was a small roost, they actually all departed in one surge, individuals going off low in all directions. It was fabulous. If the roost builds up this autumn, it is going to be quite a treat.

Who knows what flew over while I was watching the Starlings? – several Lapland Buntings and Olive-backed Pipits no doubt. Or at least Hawfinches. But no, overhead passage was very light, with a few Meadow Pipits, Redwings, Song Thrushes, Siskins and Linnets. Elsewhere there was at least 1 Bearded Tit along the eastern side, 2 Black-tailed Godwits were on the floating weed and, at one point, a small flock of Passerines on the path south of the Study Centre contained 2 Meadow Pipits, 2 Linnets, 3 Chaffinches and 2 Song Thrushes. There are loads of birds about (Dominic Couzens.)

25th October
The Lesser Scaup is still present and there are 3-4 Bearded Tits around in the reeds on the east side of South Lake. Early on there was a trickle of Skylarks overhead, plus 10 Chiffchaffs and, on the lakes, 574 Coots (Lorne Bissell, Martin Wood, Darran Jones, Roger Peart, Steve Smith, Terry Elborn).

Bearded Tit

Bearded Tit (male), Longham Lakes, Dorset 25.10.2017 (Lorne Bissell).

Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaup (male), Longham Lakes, 25/10/2017 (Roger Peart)

Tufted Duck and Lesser Scaup

Drake Tufted Duck and Lesser Scaup, Longham Lakes 23/10/2017 (Lorne Bissell).

24th October
Bless its heart, the Lesser Scaup remained on site today, much to the relief of your correspondent. By all accounts, it was again much visited, despite the often appalling, damp weather. Interestingly, it seems to dive incessantly, perhaps more often than the accompanying Tufteds. It is now at the south end of the large (South) lake. Also today 2 Dunlin flew over and there was a Swallow near Longham Bridge (Dominic Couzens.)

Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaup (male), Longham Lakes, Dorset 23/10/2017 (Lorne Bissell)

23rd October
Well, this is getting ridiculous. A combi-nation of a visiting Ian Lewis and Longham’s own George Green managed to find and identify a LESSER SCAUP on the North Lake today. After what has been a magical year and a fabulous autumn, this American vagrant is now Longham’s rarest bird. It soon attracted a stream of admirers, while this blog author was on a family break to Devon. Happily this species has a reputation for staying put. By the way, this brings the site total to 186. Ian Lewis also saw the season’s first Firecrest along Green Lane.

22nd October
George Green had a brief encounter with the Bearded Tits this morning. Meanwhile, Martin Wood connected with his first Yellow-browed Warbler in the afternoon, making it a red-letter day for him, although amazingly these birds are nowadays expected fare here – it was at least the 4th this autumn. It was in a flock of Long-tailed Tits in the south-west corner, near Samuel’s Wood.

20th October
Got another Longham tick this pm.  Not a bird, but my first Longham Otter.  It was just south of the island at the top of the South Lake.  Initially it flushed all the gulls and ducks on the floating weed, it then swam directly towards the west bank and disappeared into the marginal vegetation (George Green.) Meanwhile, early in the morning one Great White Egret flew over Longham heading east. There was also one 1 Mediterranean Gull (first of the Autumn) 3 Swallows and 50 Lapwings, plus a brief call from a Bearded Tit (Lorne Bissell.)

18th October
A dog walker saw a dog Otter in river by Hampreston fields today. There was one Redshank on the weed in the middle of south lake, plus 2 Swallows and a Common Gull (Lorne Bissell.)

17th October

Bearded Tit

Bearded Tit (female), Longham Lakes, 17/10/2017 (Lorne Bissell)

Yet more excitement today appeared in the form of Longham’s third record of Bearded Tit. Two birds were located in the reeds on the east side of the South Lake, and appeared fitfully until at least lunchtime (Matt, Lorne Bissell). It really has been an amazing year. During a pretty “birdy” morning, there was a reasonable selection of other stuff. Two Coal Tits were in the south-west corner near Samuel’s Wood in mid-morning; these are still rare here and it is the first time we have recorded two together. Other birds in that area included Bullfinches, at least 2 Siskins, 3 Redwings and a smattering of over-flying Skylarks. There were also good numbers of Goldfinches, Greenfinches and Reed Buntings in this area of the site (Dominic Couzens).

16th October
It was always going to be a surreal day with ex-Hurricane Ophelia turning the skies dark and the sun red. And whether it was weird conditions or normal October milling around, yet another great bird turned up on-site today. Hot on the heels of his Common Scoter flock at the weekend, Lorne Bissell managed to unearth another seaduck early this morning, this time a male VELVET SCOTER – another first for the site, too. Unfortunately there was to be no repeat of last week’s twitch. The bird flew off by first light and wasn’t seen again. Apart from this the birding was actually rather meagre, although the first Redwings of the autumn, 12 of them, flew over.

12th October
Thought I would try for some visible migration today, especially after the high winds of the last few days. Although stuff was hardly streaming over, there were a few goodies: a party of 6 Skylarks over at 11.00am were, amazingly, the first of the year. There were also a couple of Siskins, at least 40 Linnets, 8 Reed Buntings and, flying hither and thither and not necessarily moving, were Goldfinches and a couple of Chaffinches. To complete a “finchey” hour there were also 3 Bullfinches in the south-west corner, alongside Samuel’s Wood, and the odd Greenfinch about. Of moderate interest was a Grey Wagtail, and the usual ducks. 40 species wasn’t bad for a single hour (Dominic Couzens.)

11th October
A Water Rail was heard this morning among the commoner birds (Dave and Pat Harris.)

8th October
A couple of Siskin flew over today, reportedly.

7th October
It was a great day for birding at Longham Lakes, with lots of excellent birds present. Pride of place goes to the group of 4 COMMON SCOTERS found in the early morning by Lorne Bissell, which had gathered a small band of admirers before 9.30am. This is a new species for the site, but it wasn’t the only highlight. George Green found the 6th Merlin for Longham, a male, and also

Common Scoter

Common Scoters, Longham Lakes, 07/10/2017 (Darran Jones)









saw Peregrine, these two among a very impressive total of 53 species seen by him. There was also a Yellow-browed Warbler in the western corner of the Causeway again, while on the weed was a Ringed Plover among the 62 Lapwings. While it is easy to overlook commoner birds, Trevor Thorpe’s WEBS count of 656 Coots massively beats all other previous totals; there were also 114 Gadwall. Other more routine fare included 25 Greylag Geese, a Great Black-backed Gull, a small passage movement of Swallows, Pied Wagtails, Meadow Pipits, Reed Buntings and Linnets. A Stoat seen by Trevor was also highly notable, the first for a number of years, while there is also visible Mole activity by the Study Centre.

Common Scoters

Common Scoters, Longham Lakes 07/10/2017 (Lorne Bissell)







6th October
There was a Yellow-browed Warbler along the Causeway today (Matt). 63 Lapwings out on the mat of weed, with a good number of Wigeon and Shoveler. Plenty of Chiffchaff moving about but the best two birds were Kingfisher on North Lake and a Sparrowhawk flying across Hampreston Fields towards Green Lane (Martin Wood.)

GBB Gull

Great Black-backed Gull, Longham Lakes 07/10/2017 (Roger Peart)

4th October
In the early morning 2 Green Sandpipers were chasing around North Island and there was 1 Snipe, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk and 1 Swallow (Lorne Bissell). Later on the Cattle Egret returned and there were 64 Lapwings resting on the weed (George Green.) During a brief ringing session 1520-1700 there were just 10 new birds – 7 Chiffchaffs and 3 Goldcrests, the latter all 1st-year males (Roger Peart.)

3rd October
2 male Nathusius’s Pipistrelle bats were caught at Longham Bridge in the evening (Jan Freeborn.)

30th September
The Longham Lakes Open Day was a great event for all concerned – all the clubs associated with the Lakes, which are now run by the South-west Lakes Trust. Many thanks to all of you who attended, and thanks particular to George Green and Martin Wood for giving up their entire day to help. As it turned out, the birds themselves provided the chief objects of gratitude, not least a CATTLE EGRET which was only the third for the site (the second was last week) and provided decent, if distant views to most visitors. The eclectic supporting cast included lots of wildfowl, a Peregrine, showy Green Woodpeckers and a few Swallows.

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret (on left of cattle), Longham Lakes, 30/09/2017 (Darran Jones).









26th September
Lots of variety around today, although no rarities. The most prominent highlight was an impressive increase in the number of wildfowl, with maximum counts of 59 Wigeon, 22 Shoveler and 10 Teal, along with many Gadwall, making it feel like winter. Another highlight was the presence of no less than 5 Ruffs flying around the site this morning, a record count for here, and in company with 18 Lapwings. Visible migration amounted to little, with a small number of Meadow Pipits, Swallows and House Martins; a flock of 40 or so Goldfinches was also about. Other oddments included a Stonechat, a Goldcrest, a Peregrine, a Snipe and the two first-year Moorhens (Dominic Couzens, Martin Wood).

25th September
Remarkably, YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER is now annual at Longham and the “first” definite record of the season was seen and heard today in the south-east corner of South Lake behind the bungalows, in the scrub. There were also 2 Ruff on the weed, but no sign of any Cattle Egrets (Lorne Bissell).

24th September
A pair of CATTLE EGRETS visited the weed briefly this morning (KD Johnson.) This is only the second record for the site (although others look likely this winter).

20th September
A busy day on-site. Firstly, Roger Peart had a short afternoon ringing session and caught new birds in the form of 26 Chiffchaffs, 3 Blackcaps and 1 Goldcrest. There were als0 two re-trap Long-tailed Tits, one ringed in July this year the other in June 2015.

Meanwhile, Martin Wood found 2 Stonechats on Hampreston Fields, 1 Common Sandpiper still on the island; Ruff out on the mat of weed with the Lapwings . 1 Wheatear was a bonus, and still some Swallows, House Martin, 2 Reed Warblers and a Sedge Warbler. George Green counted the wildfowl and scored Gadwall  at 100+, Wigeon 19 and Shoveler 16, all good counts for the time of year.

19th September
Had another evenings walk round South Lake. The Ruff were still out on the mat of weed with the Lapwings,  and 1 Common Sandpiper was on the island. A number of Chiffchaffs moved along the willows, while a large group of Swallows came in from the north. Besides the Gadwall and a few Shoveler, it was Coot city (Martin Wood).

17th September
Dropped in to Longham this evening: still lots of House Martin and some Swallows over the lake.  Scanned the mat of weed the normal number of 21 Lapwing and with a juvenile/female type Ruff. It was nice to watch C80 what I believe were Greylag Geese fly in from the North and over the two lakes going South (Martin Wood).

Little Stint

Little Stint (juvenille), Longham Lakes, 15/09/2017 (Lorne Bissell).

Swallows and Martins

Swallows and Martins, Longham Lakes 15/09/2017 (Lorne Bissell).

15th September
Today’s surprise in a memorable year came in the form of a very small wader on the floating weed. Despite the remarkable run of American waders that have graced Dorset this week, this one proved to be nothing more than a well marked juvenile Little Stint. Even so, it was a fantastic bird, and only the second after one in November and December last year. The supporting cast included enormous numbers of Hirundines, many of which were migrating very high overhead, together with a couple of Sparrowhawks, a late-ish Willow Warbler calling and a number of Meadow Pipits over west, including, coincidentally, two flocks of 16 birds (George Green, Lorne Bissell, Dominic Couzens, Marcus Lawson et al.)

House Martin

House Martin (juvenile), Longham Lakes, 13/09/2017 (Lorne Bissell).

14th September
A very brief ringing spell in windy conditions produced 3 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs and a Robin (Roger Peart.)

13th September
To the disappointment of its potential suitors, the Grey Phalarope was gone this morning. Instead, the lake scene was one again dominated by aerial birds. Yet again there was a late Swift. This year has already beaten the previous latest record for Longham (8th Sept 2011). The rest of the birds – probably at least 1000 of them, were House Martins and Sand Martins (maybe 3:1), with very few Swallows at all. Otherwise, there was a Hobby around, a Snipe was on the island, the 4 Garganeys were found in the afternoon, there were at least 7 Shovelers and the usually gathering of weed-loving ducks, Coots and grebes. There were also still a few Reed Warblers about (Dominic Couzens, Martin Wood.)

I happened to scrutinise the Black-headed Gull flock on the weed this morning, scanning for something phalarope-like. Instead I noticed that, among the 131 individuals, they were all adults except for a single first-winter. Odd.

Grey Phalarope

Grey Phalarope, Longham Lakes, 12/09/2017 (Lorne Bissell).

12th September
Longham’s remarkable year continues, this time with a GREY PHALAROPE on the South Lake (see above). Other goodies today included Ringed Plover, the 4 Garganeys, a Common Sandpiper , Hobby and a Swift (Lorne Bissell). The Phalarope is the second Longham record, the first being on 3rd September 2009.

9th September
The long staying 4 Garganey still present on the South Lake.  In addition there was a large arrival of Willow/chiffs with at least 30 possibly 50 or more in among a large flock of small birds moving through the woods in the south-west corner of the site. This flock also included 2+ Spotted Flycatchers which is a scarce species at Longham.  Finally a late Swift was present among large numbers of hirundines (George Green.) The flycatcher was Martin Wood’s 100th species at Longham this year. He also saw a Jay, and a Moorhen with 2 chicks on the pools to the south of the South Lake.

7th September
There were plenty of birds on-site today (I saw 56 species) but very few landbird migrants (apart from Hirundines) and little special on offer. That said, the 2 female-type Garganeys remain and are always a good birds to see. A Hobby made an appearance long enough to catch a Swallow and carry it off south, while there was also a Peregrine, and a Black-tailed Godwit flew over. There were a few Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps, and the odd Sedge Warbler. There was, in a sense, a remarkable changing of the guard as far as aerial birds were concerned; while Sand Martins were dominant a few days ago, today the House Martins took over, greatly outnumbering their smaller relatives. For probably the last time this year, the aerial bird tally was completed, by the appearance of a single Swift. One of the more interesting other observations was a Moorhen chick on the Stour, as this species is not recorded breeding every year. Other bits and bobs included the first 4 Meadow Pipits of the autumn, at least 3 Grey Wagtails, a Teal and a few Shovelers (Dominic Couzens).

6th September
Quick look at Longham Lakes late pm produced the 4 Garganey showing well on the South Lake and a Wheatear (George Green). Meanwhile, an evening ringing session produced 28 Chiffchaffs, just one adult among them, 3 Blackcaps, 2 Goldcrests, 2 Blue Tits and one juvenile male Bullfinch, moulting into his pink breast. Also two retraps – a juvenile Chiffchaff first ringed in early July, so presumably one local bird still hanging around. The other was more interesting – an adult male Great Tit, which I had first ringed at Canford as a nestling in a brood of 5 in May last year. Good to see that he is doing well. Details below (Roger Peart).

Great Tit
TX57681         Nestling    20/05/16            Canford Park, Wimborne,
Recaptured      06/09/17         Longham Lakes, Dorset (3 km SE, 1 year 109 days)

5th September
A morning visit revealed large numbers of Hirundines flying low over the lakes, and perhaps surprisingly these were heavily dominated by Sand Martins, which are often tailing off by now. As ever they were all but impossible to count, but a tentative estimate of 350 birds is undoubtedly many fewer than were actually there. This, though, is the highest count ever on site, beating an estimate of 300 in bad weather in March 2010. There were also some Swallows and a handful of House Martins. Perhaps not surprisingly, a Hobby flew over. The Garganey total is back up to 4, along with a few Shovelers and very strong numbers of Gadwall. There was only a scattering of other migrants, including singles of both Reed and Sedge Warbler (Dominic Couzens).

4th September
Just two Garganey present.  Otherwise little of note, but still good numbers of Gadwall (72+) and Little Grebe (50+) (George Green).

2nd September
A better than average visit this morning with 3 Garganey, juvenile Ruff still on floating weed with 3 Black-tailed Godwit and 22 Lapwing, and a Hobby briefly flying over Hampreston Meadows.  Also good numbers of Little Grebe (44+) and Gadwall (43+ on North Lake+ others on south Lake). (George Green.) There were also notable numbers of Sand Martins about, with a minimum of 20, plus a few Shoveler and 2 Teal (Dominic Couzens.)

1st September
Three Garganey still present.  They were mobile this pm being seen both on the South Lake and North Lake.  Ringed Plover and Ruff reported on the floating weed this am. The Ruff was still present this pm but no sign of the Ringed Plover (George Green).

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Summer 2017 at Longham Lakes

30th August
Four Garganey still present this evening showing well close to the west bank of the South Lake (George Green.)

Grey Heron

Grey Heron, Longham Lakes, 25/08/2017 (Martin Wood)

28th August
Perhaps not surprising re recent events in Poole Harbour, but an Osprey circled over the South Lake at Longham Lakes at 11am.  The 4 Garganey were still present, but more mobile than usual (George Green.) Plenty of Dragonflies on the wing, including Gold-ringed Dragonfly. 21 Lapwing on the mat of weed with a couple of Shoveler in South Lake, 1 Pochard and the highlight for me, seeing the 2 fledged Great Crested Grebe chicks (Martin Wood.)

25th August
Four Garganey (3 together + 1 separate bird) still present this evening showing reasonably well on the South Lake.  Large numbers of waterfowl on both lakes presumably attacted by the extensive mats of weed incl 410+ Coot, 43+ Gadwall, 40+ Little Grebe along with 6 Shoveler and singles of Teal & Pochard (George Green).

Juv Black-tailed Godwit

Black-tailed Godwit (juvenile), Longham Lakes 24/08/2017 (Ron Poulter).

24th August
Lots of birds around Longham Lakes today, almost 60 species in all. Most notable were probably the 4 Garganeys that remain on South Lake, as well as a juvenile Black-tailed Godwit on the floating weed. However, in Longham terms the top bird would have been the Coal Tit heard in Emily’s Wood this morning, a very rare bird here. On the nearby Stour, an Otter made an appearance, the second record of the year. There were several Swifts and excellent numbers of Swallows and Sand Martins. Other Passerine migrant numbers were pretty low. Wildfowl included 5 Shoveler and 33+ Gadwall. (George Green, Dominic Couzens, Ron Poulter).

23rd August
Drove past Longham lakes about 18:30 and surprised to see easily 20 Swifts above the King’s Arms (Terry Elborn). Earlier there were 2 parties of 15 and 20 Swifts, along with 100+ Sand Martins (John Lockwood).

21st August
Flock of 4 Garganey still present this morning sleeping amongst floating weed on the South Lake.  A few other minor things of interest – a distant Hobby, my first Shoveler of the autumn and 3+ ‘latish’ Swifts. Also of particular interest to Longham birders – after prolonged and seemingly repeated nest building on the North Lake, a pair of Great Crested Grebes have 2 young chicks (George Green). There was also a new brood of Tufted Ducks, 4 chicks in all and the Greenshank remains (Dominic Couzens.)


Ruff (juvenile), Longham Lakes, 20/08/2017 (Ron Poulter)

20th August
The Greenshank was present again, this time with a juvenile Ruff (Ron Poulter).

19th August
Greenshank and 4 Garganey still there this afternoon, as well as 16 Gadwall and 2 Shoveler. It was odd seeing the Lapwings on in the middle of South Lake resting in a mat of weed: 16 today (Martin Wood).

17th August
Four Garganey and Greenshank still present mid afternoon (Ian Lewis, George Green.)

Garganeys (Ron Poulter)

Garganeys, Longham Lakes 20/08/2017 (Ron Poulter)

15th August
A flock of 4 Garganey still present in the middle of the South Lake.  Telescope required to get reasonable views!  Also a Spotted Flycatcher (George Green.)

14th August
Counts today included 23+ Mute Swan, 4 Cormorant, 4 Garganey, 2 Lapwings, 25 Goldfinches, 40 Starlings and 18 House Martins. There were also some Coot chicks, 2 Broad-bodied Chasers and an ovipositing Emperor dragonfly (Trevor Wilkinson).

11th August
3 Garganey together on the South Lake this morning.  Little else of note except for a single Peregrine which I don’t see that often at Longham. Small Red-eyed Damselflies were present yesterday afternoon on both the small pond at the SW corner of the site and the North Lake, plus one Gold-ringed Dragonfly (George Green.)

4th August
A couple of birds of minor interest early this afternoon – a flyover Dunlin and a Common Tern.  Also c106 Tufted Duck chicks (George Green.)

1st August
Just 12 new birds ringed – 3 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Greenfinch and one each of Reed Warbler, Bullfinch, Blue Tit, Wren, Blackbird, Kingfisher (another juvenile), and the first Willow Warbler of the year. Just one re-trap, of one of this year’s Long-tailed Tits (Roger Peart.)

31st July
Ringing produced 23 new  birds – 9 Reed Warblers, 4 Wrens, 2 each Blackcap, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Kingfisher (both juveniles) and one each of Robin and Blackbird. Rather surprisingly no Chiffchaffs. There were two re-traps, a recent Robin and a Song Thrush (RS61960) which was first ringed 21st June 2012 as an adult female. This is certainly the oldest ST we have recorded at Longham and probably the oldest one I have ever had. As the present bird was first ringed as an adult it will be over 6 years old. At 5.10am there was a Hobby over the trees to the SW of the lakes flying round for a few minutes trying to catch early House Martins (Roger Peart.)

Little Grebes

Little Grebes, Longham Lakes, 30/07/2017 (Darran Jones).

30th July
It was an incredibly quiet time for the 40 minutes I was there, with a couple of Lapwing on the island and around 60 Tufted Ducks on the North Lake. The biggest surprise was 19 Little Grebes around the south island, he most I’ve ever seen at Longham (Darran Jones).

29th July
Had a walk round the lakes this morning before the rain. The highlights were 5 female Shoveler on North Lake, a Kestrel and 2 Common Sandpipers (Martin Wood).

22nd July
There were lots of Swifts, House Martins and a few Sand Martins about. The Common Terns (2) were still there this afternoon, plus 6-7 Little Grebes and Great Crested Grebe still sitting on nest in the south east corner of the smaller lake (Martin Wood.)

21st July
There was one adult and two juvenile Common Tern, all atop separate buoys in the model yacht corner of the large lake. Also two juvenile Kestrel being fed by their parents on the water meadows (Trevor Thorpe.)

Grass Snake

Grass Snake, Longham Lakes, 18/7/2017 (Kim Smith)

18th July
Had a wonderful morning at Longham in bright sunlight and was treated to a basking Grass Snake on the rocks of south lake and then a swimming Grass Snake which possibly was the same one as it was not much further along. We saw 3 Green Woodpeckers, a pair which flew down from Samuel’s Wood and pecked the grass for a long period, then saw a single green woodpecker in between the 2 lakes on the path. A pair of Kestrels

Tufted Ducklings

Tufted Ducklings, Longham Lakes, 18/07/2017 (Kim Smith)

hovering at the edge of South Lake. 3 Cormorants on the solar panels of South lake and enjoyed the many crèches of Tufted Ducks including having to wait whilst large numbers of ducklings and a few adults crossed the path in front of us transferring from South lake to North – was lovely to watch. In addition, 2 nest-building Great Crested Grebes.  As always it was a joy (Lesley Wilkes and Kim Smith).

17th July
Still at least 1 Lesser Emperor at Longham, one was flying around the east end of the causeway path before moving into the Horse Paddock, another was photographed along the southern shore of South Lake so presumably a different individual. Plenty of the rest of the normal dragons, although the one absentee was Red-veined Darter. My first 2 Clouded Yellows of the year. The adult and juvenile Common Tern were still on South Lake, quite comical watching the juvenile trying to land on the buoys , several times he just slid straight over it and ended up in the water. Also 1 Common Sandpiper on North lake and 3 on one of the fishing Jetty on South lake. The Great Crested Grebes don’t look to be having much joy, still building a nest around a single egg that spends most of the time submerged (Ian Ballam).

16th July
The Common Tern fledgling was still being fed by its parents. There was a Black-tailed Skimmer on the far side of the south lake by the end of the causeway and I saw a small flock of 4 Greenfinches feeding there. There were plenty of Reed Buntings


Sparrowhawk being mobbed, Longham Lakes, 16/07/2017 (Darran Jones)

and Reed Warblers around as well as around 60 Canada Geese on the lake. Returning to the car park I saw a Green Woodpeck-er on the causeway and Sparrow-hawk being mobbed by Swallows (Darran Jones.) In the late evening another mobbed Sparrowhawk, juvenile Song Thrush, 2 Green Woodpeckers, a Jay, a Whitethroat and a Kestrel seen. The two Common Terns were on South Lake, but left at about 7pm going over Emily’s Wood (in south-east corner) with a load of gulls going the same direction (Martin Wood).

15th July
Early this morning at the lakes the weather was too overcast, cool and damp for any Odonata to be on the wing, although I met a chap who had travelled down from Bristol to observe the Dragonflies and Damselflies. Occupied myself with counting the Tufted Duck families and noted groups of 3,1,2,2,7,7,3,1,17,17,9,11,20 and 29 ducklings [that’s 129 ducklings, back to form after a poor year last year], the latter group a combined crèche attended by three females. Also noted singles of Lapwing, Kestrel, Common Tern and Common Sandpiper (Trevor Thorpe). Sandwich Tern briefly fighting with a Common Tern over fishing rights to the south lake. Later adult Common Tern feeding juvenile on north lake (George Green.) In the late evening a session with the bat detector revealed a few passes by Noctule Bats, then large numbers of Soprano Pipistrelles with a few Common Pipistrelles (Dominic Couzens).

Common Tern adult and juvenile

Common Tern adult and juvenile, Lomgham Lakes, 14/7/17 (Lorne Bissell).

14th July
This morning an adult Common Tern was feeding its Juv. mostly on North lake (Lorne Bissell). Finally I managed today to tick off Common Tern at the lakes with an adult and juvenile bird on North Lake, bringing my total up to 97 species for the site. There looks to be a good build-up of Coots and lots of Tufted Duck ducklings. Butterflies and moths included Red Admirals, Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites and Six-spot Burnets (Martin Wood.) A late evening walk was fun this evening, giving close views of Roe Deer and Red Fox. At around 9.30 an adult and young Tawny Owl were calling from Samuel’s Wood. A Hobby was feeding over the North Lake well after 10pm and it seems that there is a roost of young Starlings (at least 100) in the bushes on the west side, at the end of the Causeway (Dominic Couzens).

13th July
We had the usual small birds and wildfowl apart from a Sandwich Tern out on one of the small buoys (Dave and Pat Harris).

12th July
Lesser Emperor and at least 2 Red-veined Darters still present.  The darters were showing well and landing on the gravel path along the north side of the north lake.  Also a Grass Snake on platform beside south lake (George Green.) 1 Sandwich Tern from 9:45 am (on north lake) for maybe an hour, 2 Grey Wagtails and several Common Sandpipers calling. The female Great Crested Grebe keeps trying to construct a new platform by the original failed nest in the south-east corner of North Lake, but the male’s not keen and wants to use the new nest about 2 meters north. This morning they were demolishing this third nest to add to the one favoured by the male (Lorne Bissell).

11th July
Unfortunately the Great Crested Grebe nest in the south-east corner of North Lake has failed. The birds are building in two other places nearby although they visit the original nest (Lorne Bissell).

10th July
There was no sign of the male Scarlet Darter today.

Scarlet Darter, Longham Lakes, 8/7/17 (Martin Wood).

Scarlet Darter, Longham Lakes, 8/7/17 (Martin Wood).

9th July
12:30hrs: Male SCARLET DARTER showing well along edge of small pool at far end of South Lake (James Phillips). This is a dragonfly MEGA!

Please could you be aware that there is a pair of nesting Great Crested Grebes near the fishing platform in the south-east corner of the North Lake. They have one egg. This is the first breeding record here for a while, and it is technically illegal to disturb them. 

What is going on with this place. Today James Phillips concentrated on insects and recorded an incredible SIXTEEN species of damselflies and dragonflies on-site. Has this total ever been matched on one day in a single location in Britain? – LL is only just over one square kilometre! There were three significant rarities.

In addition he also saw SIXTEEN species of butterflies!

The species concerned were: ODONATA:
1. Brown hawker
2. Emperor
3. Lesser emperor
4. Golden-ringed dragonfly
5. Scarce chaser
6. Black tailed skimmer
7. Common darter
8. Red-veined darter
9. Scarlet darter
10. Banded demoiselle
11. Common blue damselfly
12. Azure damselfly
13. Blue-tailed damselfly
14. Red-eyed damselfly
15. Small red-eyed damselfly
16. White-legged damselfly

1. Red admiral
2. Peacock
3. Comma
4. Meadow brown
5. Gatekeeper
6. Ringlet
7. Marbled White
8. Common blue
9. Brown argus
10. Small copper
11. Small skipper
12. Essex skipper
13, Large skipper
14. Large white
15. Small white
16. Green-veined white

This brings the total site list of butterflies up to 23 species.

8th July
Managed three different male Lesser Emperor in the end! All were in the NE corner of the North Lake. 12 species of Odonata seen in all, with best of the rest being one male Red-veined Darter, many Small Red-eyed Damsels and a couple of White-legged Damsels too (James Phillips). Also a Hobby (Lorne Bissell), 8 Little Grebes and a Song Thrush collecting food (Martin Wood). Martin also took a photo today of what it turns out is a SCARLET DARTER dragonfly.

7th July
Had a nice evenings walk South Lake lots of small Tufted Ducklings with 17 with one female then two and three broods. A lot of Mallards about and it was very nice to see two smart looking Little Grebes. A Common Sandpiper was on the large island a part from that it was pretty quiet (Martin Wood).

6th July
Ringing was rather quieter than Tuesday. Just 19 new birds and 3 retraps (a Blackbird from 2015, juvenile Robin from May and a Great Tit from Tuesday!). The 19 new birds were: Wren 4, Reed Warbler 3, Chiffchaff 2, Blackcap 2, Robin 2, Great Tit 2, Greenfinch 2, and one each of Dunnock and juvenile Whitethroat. Also a dead Pygmy Shrew (Roger Peart.)

Lots of dragonfly action today, with at least one, probably two male Lesser Emperors, at least one Red-veined Darter and many Small Red-eyed Damselflies. One Lesser Emperor was on the North Lake (especially south-east corner), together with the Red-veined Darter, while another very probable individual was on the large pool beyond the south-west corner of the South Lake, the stronghold for Small Red-eyed Damselflies. Also present: Black-tailed Skimmer, [Common] Emperor, Brown Hawker, Red-eyed Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly and Banded Demoiselle. Also Common Sandpiper, Common Tern and Sandwich Tern, a 1st-summer Mediterranean Gull, 120 Starlings  and 5 Song Thrushes around the car park and 9 Lapwings on the island. (Lorne Bissell, Dominic Couzens, George Green, Darran Jones). NB: If you are checking out dragonflies and damselflies, please take care not to disturb nesting birds.

Sandwich Tern, Longham Lakes, 5/7/2017 (Darran Jones)

Sandwich Tern, Longham Lakes, 5/7/2017 (Darran Jones)

5th July
Ringing this morning produced a good number of 44 new individual birds and 6 retraps. Retraps were 4 Long-tailed Tits, a Dunnock and a Great Tit. One LTT and the Dunnock were ringed in 2012, the Great Tit in 2014. The new ones included two new species for the Longham ringing list: a House Sparrow and a juvenile Starling! The other new birds were Long-tailed Tit 10, Chiffchaff 8, Robin 5, Reed Warbler 5, Wren 4, Great Tit 3, Blackcap 2 and one each of Bullfinch, Reed Bunting, Green Woodpecker, Song Thrush and Dunnock (Roger Peart.)

A fair number of baby Tufted Ducks are about now, but I saw no Great Crested Grebe chicks. There were around 70 Starlings on the industrial part via the second side. A lone Kingfisher was fishing on the tiny island on the far side of south lake and a Sandwich Tern (a first for me) briefly stayed on one of the buoys before heading towards the River Stour (Darran Jones.) The Sandwich Tern was present fishing on South Lake for much of the evening.  A count of the 1st hatchings of Tufted Duck was 5 broods of 9,7,3,1 and 1 chicks.  Finally a flock of 150+ Starlings is by far the largest lock I’ve seen at Longham Lakes (George Green.)

4th July
A visit this pm produced another brief sighting of a nice bright red male Red-veined Darter over the pool in the SW corner of the site.  Also Small-red-eyed Damselflies are much in evidence on the same pool (George Green).

1st July
Among the dragonflies were a few Black tailed Skimmers ; also Cinnabar caterpillars and a Redshank on the large island (Martin Wood).

Gold-ringed Dragonfly, Longham Lakes, 24/06/17 (Lorne Bissell)

Gold-ringed Dragonfly, Longham Lakes, 24/06/17 (Lorne Bissell)

30th June
9 species of Damsels and Dragons in total including male Red-veined Darter on path on east side of South Lake, first Small Red-eyed Damselfly of the season on the pond in the SW corner of the site, first Brown Hawker of the season and Scarce Chaser. Also first Common Sandpiper of the autumn (George Green).

23rd June
Neither rare dragonfly was seen today in the wind, but a White-legged Damselfly was about (George Green)

21st June
It’s still all systems go on the dragonfly front. In the early afternoon there were no less than 7 dragon-twitchers, a record for here. There seemed to be multiple Red-veined Darters at the eastern end of the Causeway, and at least one male Lesser Emperor there at 3pm. A Lesser Emperor is holding territory near the pumping station along the east side of the south reservoir (Ian Julian). Also a Gold-ringed Dragonfly, Scarce Chaser, Black-tailed Skimmer, Red-eyed, Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies.

20th June
In the south-east corner of the North Lake I noticed an Emperor-type dragonfly patrolling over the reeds. I was able to confirm it was a Lesser Emperor as it flew past me patrolling up and down along the path no more than 6ft away. It then proved difficult to follow, but I later found it or another patrolling between the jetty & the slipway in the NE corner of the south lake, & a definite 2nd shortly afterwards on the north side of the causeway, about halfway along. Returning to the SE corner of the N lake, I found one perched about 5ft away from me and whilst watching this one, another flew past chasing a large dragonfly, which looked as though it could well have been a 3rd Lesser Emperor. I also had 2 male Red-veined Darters patrolling the SE edge of the North lake, but none settled, & several Scarce Chasers (Olly Frampton.)

Update: 1 Lesser Emperor and 1 Emperor still at Longham just before 2000. Lesser appeared occasionally in SE corner of N lake as reported by others, always going anti-clockwise – the speed it was moving and time between appearances made me think it might even have been doing a circuit of the entire lake! Well done Olly and thanks for putting news out, that’s the first Lesser Emperor I have seen (Peter Moore).

In the evening (10.30pm), there were large numbers of Daubenton’s Bats feeding over the River Stour close to Longham Bridge, with a Serotine (Dominic Couzens.)

19th June
I found 3 Red-veined Darters at Longham Lakes this morning.  The first and second involved a pair mating in brambles near the Study Centre and the third was a male I watched for some time along the south shore of the South Lake. Very quiet on the bird front (George Green.)

10th June
I escaped from the Wimborne Folk Festival this afternoon and went to the lakes, plenty of Swift with a few House Martin, Sand Martin and Swallow hawking over the lakes and causeway. Apart from the usual, the best bird I got was a Hobby around the south east corner and over Emily’s Wood (Martin Wood).

5th June
Remarkably, the Bonaparte’s Gull was seen again this morning. It was thoroughly hassled by the Black-headed Gulls and eventually left the Lakes, headed for River Stour (Lorne Bissell).

Bonaparte's Gull

Bonaparte’s Gull (1st Summer) with Black-headed Gulls, Longham Lakes, 5/6/17 (Lorne Bissell).

1st June
A drake Garganey was reliably reported to me this morning.  Apparently it was at the south end of the South Lake skulking in the reeds.  Despite my best efforts I failed to relocate it (George Green).

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Spring 2017

Reed Warbler

Reed Warbler, Longham Lakes, 29/5/17 (Lorne Bissell)


















29th May
I didn’t wander far this morning but a visiting birder went round and didn’t mention anything out of the ordinary. Young Reed Warblers are being fed and Great Crested Grebes are displaying, plenty of Hirundines about and  a Grey Heron now sits in the Great White Egrets’ tree…(Lorne Bissell),

26th May
Went round the south lake this morning very quite again.  15 Reed Warbler singing,  1 Blackcap, 2 Whitethroat and 5 Reed Bunting, 2 Chiffchaff also singing. 13 Greylag Geese settled on the water before flying off east. Carp spawning in South Lake along the edge of the causeway from the slipway up to the north west corner (Martin Wood.)


Coot, Longham Lakes, 25/05/2017 (Lorne Bissell)

25th May
A gorgeous day to be around the lakes, and the site was full of activity. One interesting observation was of a Bank Vole, the first seen at Longham this year. Unfortunately it was in the talons of a Kestrel, so close that I could see the colour of the vole’s back, even as it was carried off. There is obviously a pair of Kestrels breeding nearby. Other observations included a singing Treecreeper in Emily’s Wood, plus a pair of Stock Doves and a Great Spotted Woodpecker there. Roger Peart had a Raven over at 6am. In the general area was a flock of 15-20 Starlings, mostly juveniles flying noisily about.

A long-lived Great Tit - 5 years, 260 days and counting!

A long-lived Great Tit – 5 years, 260 days and counting!

Meanwhile, ringing this morning revealed Wren 1, Dunnock 2, Robin 2, Whitethroat 2, Great Tit 3, Bullfinch 1, Reed Bunting 1. There was more interesting re-traps: one each of Blackbird (ringed Sep 2015 as juvenile), Robin (ringed July 2015 and retrapped 2 days ago!), Cetti’s Warbler (ringed Oct 2015 age unknown) and Great Tit (ringed Sep 2011 as a first year bird). I am sure this is the oldest Longham Great Tit known to date – 5 years, 260days and counting!

24th May
The male Garganey was still around today (Dave and Pat Harris).

23rd May
During a ringing session at Longham this morning were 19 new birds and 5 re-traps. New birds were, 2 Dunnock, 3 Robin, 2 Song Thrush, 1 Blackbird, 3 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Long-tailed Tits, 1 Blue Tit and 2 Chaffinch.
The re-traps were interesting: a) Robin ringed July 2015 as a juvenile ; b) Dunnock ringed in May 2012 as adult female ; c) three Chiffchaffs – one ringed March this year, one ringed April 2016 as adult  and the other ringed September 2015 as a first year. Nice to have some oldies back again!
At about 6am there were 20+ Swifts high overhead (Roger Peart.)

21st May
Not much to report about very quiet round the lakes today with few Tufted Duck on north lake and a couple of Great Crested Grebe on south lake; also 19 Greylag Geese, these moved off to the Hampreston fields. 12 Reed Warbler singing between the causeway and round South Lake with 2 Whitethroats singing on near the north west corner and one near the south east corner of South Lake (Martin Wood).


Garganey, Longham Lakes, 18/05/17 (Martin Wood).

18th May
A fine pair of Garganey turned up on Longham Lakes this evening (Martin Wood). The Bonaparte’s Gull is still around (George Green). Otherwise quiet.

16th May
After failing to see it on my last 4 visits, despite thorough searching, I was surprised to find the Bonaparte’s Gull back at Longham Lakes this pm showing very well perched on the floating tyres close to the shore of the North Lake.  The black head is progressing nicely. Otherwise nothing to report (George Green).


15th May
A Red Kite flew over today, the first of the year (Rose Kempshall.)

Meanwhile, Darran Jones has created a Flickr album of his favourite Longham Lakes pictures. See here https://www.flickr.com/photos/101862661@N04/sets/72157680061752184

Bar-tailed Godwit, Longham Lakes, 13/05/17 (Martin Wood)

Bar-tailed Godwit, Longham Lakes, 13/05/17 (Martin Wood)

13th May
Yet another great bird was at Longham today. Martin Wood found this Bar-tailed Godwit (presumably a female owing to the lack of orange colour) on the main island in the south lake today, and fortunately it stuck around. The only previous record was on May 1st 2007, see here
so it’s been ten years! Among the other birds reported were Cuckoo, PeregrineHobby and at least 80 Swifts (Robin Trundle, Trevor Thorpe, Bob Moore.)

11th May
Longham has never been quiet for long this spring, and today’s new treat was a pair of Garganey that showed on the south end of the Big Lake during the morning (Darren Hughes). Still present at 9.30am but then flew east towards River Stour and disappeared from sight. Common Tern and Common Sandpiper also present (George Green). Later in the day, the Bonaparte’s Gull was reported (Dorset Bird Club).

8th May
The Bonaparte’s Gull was seen again today.

7th May
3 beautiful Black Terns appeared at Longham this morning and remained on-site during the whole day, delighting many of the locals and continuing the astonishing run of good records here. They provided an excellent supporting cast to the Bonaparte’s Gull, which has now been here for 12 days. Other good birds included a singing Cuckoo.

Black tern

Black Tern, Longham Lakes 7/5/2017 (Darran Jones)

Black Terns

Black Terns, Longham Lakes 7/5/2017 (Darran Jones)

6th May
This morning I had my 2nd site record of a Marsh Harrier.  A female type bird which arrived from the south, circled over the South Lake and then headed east (George Green). The Bonaparte’s Gull was there between 2:00 and 4:00. Also 3 Pochard, 3 Hobby and a Garden Warbler (David Taylor) [first of the year]. There was also a Cuckoo calling in the afternoon (Darran Jones).

 5th May
Another new bird for the year appeared today, when a Little Ringed Plover briefly flew over the South Lake and then left east towards Christchurch (Matthew Bell). This afternoon there were lots of Swifts hawking over the Causeway. whizzing past at eye level and close at times. Then high up, I heard them screaming, as they do, so I looked up expecting a Hobby,  but there were at least 200 birds, and the best way I can explain it was they formed a large dark mass like when you see a large herring ball  on the documentary programmes.  All the birds were travelling in a westward direction. On the south side of the island two Shelduck were asleep, but the best bird of the afternoon was a wonderful Osprey that came in from the southeast over south lake. It was harassed by the gulls so turned drifted over Samuels Wood and looked like it was following the river going south southeast (Martin Wood.)

4th May
This morning at Longham Lakes, 14 singing Reed Warblers, 5 singing Cetti’s Warblers, c40 Swift, 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Cuckoo calling (Trevor Thorpe.) The Bonaparte’s Gull was showing very well on the North Lake this evening c7pm.  For the last 2 possibly 3 days it seems to have been absent during the day but present in the evening. Presumably it wandered to Hengistbury yesterday.  It will be interesting if this pattern is repeated in future days.  It is moulting rapidly and it will not be long before it has a black head (George Green.)

3rd May
The Bonaparte’s Gull was absent for most of the day but reappeared in the evening (Nick Whitehouse.)

2nd May
The Bonaparte’s Gull showed well again (Caroline Herbert.)

Bonaparte's Gull

Bonaparte’s Gull, Longham Lakes, 1/5/2017 (Darran Jones)

1st May
Longham was absolutely swarming with Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings. I must have counted at least 17 Reed Warblers and easily saw over 20 Buntings as I walked the lakes for a couple of hours. I heard my first Cuckoo of the year. Caught my first Pheasant in the back fields and also saw my first Shelduck on site since I’ve been going to Longham. The Bonaparte’s Gull was showing exceptionally well, but there was no sign of the Black Terns that had been reported the previous day. I counted 8 Cetti’s Warblers as well [that’s a record!], although I’ve seen no Little Grebes whatsoever (Darran Jones.) Also 20 Swifts (Steve F Smith).

Bonaparte's Gull

Bonaparte’s Gull, Longham Lakes 29/4/17 (Roger Peart)

30th April

Two Black Terns moved through during the day (Birdguides). Otherwise the 1st-Summer Bonaparte’s Gull is still around, along with an excellent general variety. Cuckoo was heard again (George Green).

29th April
There was a SERIN around the Study centre in the morning, heard just a few times and not seen (Darren Hughes). This is the third new species for Longham in less than a week! Bearing in mind that the Bonaparte’s Gull continues to delight visitors and you could say that this site is in dreamland. It was also a day for more usual fare, with the first Cuckoos of the year appearing, first a male singing early morning (Dominic Couzens) and then a brown female flying over the lake (Lorne Bissell).

Obviously, many birds are settling into breeding territories. To this end, it was interesting to see a pair of Shelduck on the south side of the site, near the settling pools south of the River Stour – could they breed in a tree hole nearby? At the same place there was a pair of Mistle Thrushes with well-grown young, fledged and almost independent. This is the first confirmed breeding record for the site. There was an Egyptian Goose on the main island in the South Lake in the evening, and 3 Common Sandpipers around.

28th April
Another amazing day at Longham Lakes! The Red-rumped Swallow was not seen today, but instead the first Osprey of the year appeared a couple of times mid-morning (Trevor Thorpe). Meanwhile, there was some serious Bonaparte’s Gull worship going on, as the photos here show.

Bonaparte's Gull

Bonaparte’s Gull (1st-summer), Longham Lakes 28/4/217 (Darran Jones)

Compared with Black-headed Gull look out for the black bill and bubble-gum coloured legs of Bonaparte’s.

Bonaparte's and Black-headed Gulls

Bonaparte’s and Black-headed Gulls together, Longham Lakes, 28/4/2017 (Lorne Bissell).

Note that Bonaparte’s Gull (right, closer) is slightly smaller and more delicate than Black-headed, and also slightly darker grey on the mantle (although this is very subtle on this bird). The 1st-summer Black-headed can be seen to have an orange bill.

Bonaparte's Gulll

Bonaparte’s Gull, Longham Lakes 28/4/2017 (Lorne Bissell).

The above photo shows the distinctive underwing. In particular, the inside of the wingtip on the underwing is entirely pale, where in Black-headed Gull there is a dark band just behind the wing-tip. Incidentally, the very boldly marked black V on the upperwing is quite distinct from the bird at nearby Blashford Lakes.

In other news, there was a Great Spotted Woodpecker on site, which you can see next to the big white bird that’s been here for ages!

Great Egret

Great Egret, Longham Lakes 28/4/2017 (Lorne Bissell).

27th April
Unless your local patch is Spurn Head or Minsmere, you aren’t meant to get days like Longham produced today. For one glorious hour this evening, the first-summer Bonaparte’s Gull was swimming on Longham Reservoir North, while a RED-RUMPED SWALLOW, new for the site, was hawking insects over the Causeway. One bird, the swallow, is an overshoot from southern Europe, and the gull is a native of North America. These birds were on a small wetland in Dorset. Birding does this sometimes. The long-staying Great Egret was also around this morning – three rare birds at once!

Red-rumped Swallow

Poor record shot of Red-rumped Swallow, Longham Lakes, 27/4/2017

For most of the day, my main excitement was actually in the morning when, on a walk along the Stour on the South Side (unfortunately out of bounds to the public) I heard a Grasshopper Warbler singing, only the second record for Longham. In the same place Cetti’s, Reed and Sedge Warblers were also singing in a glorious patch of reedy, overgrown marsh. With Blackcap, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff in earshot, this was a major delight in itself. There were also 2 Bullfinches and a Treecreeper in Emily’s Wood, while a pair of Mistle Thrushes, quite scarce here, were feeding next to Ringwood Road south of Longham Bridge, inside the South-west Water holding. What with seeing a male Blackcap displaying to its mate (ruffling its feathers and chasing), and listening to such delights as the gentle cooing of a Stock Dove as a Hobby dashes past, this is great spring birding in its own right. There were also 2 Shelduck on the island and Mediterranean Gull flying over.

Then came a tweet about the Red-rumped Swallow (thanks, Martin) and the evening was madness. Here’s to patch birding!

26th April
This lunchtime and afternoon there is a 1st-summer BONAPARTE’S GULL on Longham Lakes, commuting between the North Lake and the NW part of the South Lake, found by George Green. It might be the bird from Blashford. It’s a first for the site.
If you’re visiting, please don’t use the Study Centre car park unless you have a Longham Birders permit.

1st Summer Bonaparte's Gu;;

Bonaparte’s Gull, Longham Lakes, 26/4/17 (Lorne Bissell)

Bonaparte's Gull

Bonaparte’s Gull (1st-summer), Longham Lakes, 26/4/2017 (Dominic Couzens)

There were lots of Swifts and all three Hirundines about, which attracted the first Hobby of the year (per Martin Wood).

25th April
This morning was cold but glorious. I saw a Grey Heron in between the 2 lakes and after quite some time it flew to a central perch in North lake. Saw 2 pairs of Mallards on North lake with clutches ducklings one had 4 and the other pair had 7. Saw a Pied Wagtail near North lake, a male Greenfinch and a Goldfinch in the Thicket. The whole time I was treated to aerial displays from many Swifts (Lesley Wilkes.)

23rd April
Last night’s flurry of migrants has disappeared but a Dunlin has appeared on the island in Longham Reservoir South (Martin Wood). A Whimbrel flew over.


Whinchat, Longham Lakes 22/4/2017 (Martin Wood)

22nd April
By Longham standards, especially by its spring standards, today turned out to be good for migrants. In the morning, a Wheatear flew alongside the south lake, close to where the site’s first Sedge Warbler of the spring was singing. Meanwhile, Swifts were moving in quantity, with good numbers of Swallows and one each of House Martin and Sand Martin. Then, at lunchtime, Martin Wood found a glorious male Whinchat on Hampreston Fields – this is a rare spring migrant here. In the evening, a Wheatear was around the east end of the Causeway, near the Study Centre, while another was in the Horse Paddocks along Green Lane, close to the main road. There was also a flock of Pied Wagtails here, about 20 in all, together with a glorious male Yellow Wagtail, these days another quite scarce migrant. All this time at least 2, perhaps more Common Sandpipers were around the site. Other interesting birds included 3 Shovelers, 2 Shelduck and 3 Egyptian Geese, while there are still plenty of Gadwalls around. Some of the Mallards have broods of ducklings. A Linnet was by the south pumping station and a Goldcrest was singing along Green Lane (Dominic Couzens, George Green, Martin Wood).

On a personal note, I saw or heard 62 species on site today, close to the day-record of 67. I missed Blue Tit, too (Dominic Couzens)

20th April
There were 2 Egyptian Geese on Hampreston Fields this lunchtime, while Mallards on-site are in mass-production mode, with broods of 8 and 9 ducklings about. Other counts included 8 Great Crested Grebes and 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Migrants are still only trickling in, although at least 3 Reed Warblers are in and singing, while 10 Swallows and some Swifts passed by. At least 7 male Reed Buntings are about (Trevor Wilkinson).

16th April
Whitethroat, Blackcap, 3 Redshank and 1 Common Sandpiper.  Last two on North side of large lake. Also my first Orange Tip and a Muntjac Deer in the copse by the river (Ron Poulter). [The Muntjac is the first site record for more than 10 years, although there have been tracks].

15th April
A very quick look in the afternoon today revealed nothing much on the lake, but there were a pair of Linnets by the Pumping Station on the east side of the South Lake. Also 8 Gadwall, 3 Shelduck and a Lapwing, with Reed Warblers and a Whitethroat in(Dominic Couzens).

14th April
Had a wonderful morning at Longham Lakes today from 09.00 -11.40hrs. A Cetti’s Warbler was blasting out its short song just south of the Study Centre, while nearby I heard the wonderful song of a Willow Warbler. Stopping off at the slipway to look across to the large island I noticed the Common Sandpiper on the little jetty, two Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a Lapwing and Tufted ducks on the east side of the island. I stopped and scanned up and down the oak trees at Samuel’s Wood with binoculars, as I have done on every visit for the past four years with the hope of seeing a Treecreeper or – the holy grail of Samuel’s Wood – a Nuthatch. I was very surprised to find working a large limb of an Oak at the back of the wood a wonderful Nuthatch!

Eventually I arrived at the small ponds at the south end of the lake were I found the Great White Egret working the edge of the reeds, before flying up in to the large Oak at the back of the ponds. Working along the reeds I was surprised to find a fresh water terrapin out up on the bank warming up in the sun (Martin Wood).

In the afternoon, there were Swallows, House Martins and 2 Swifts. The latter are the earliest ever recorded here, by 1 day! (Dominic Couzens).

13th April
A light scattering of migrants, including Sand Martin, Swallow, Reed Warbler and Common Sandpiper. One Great Egret remained [this was the last record of the long-stayers]. (Dave and Pat Harris).

12th April
Had a quick hours walk round the North lake. Couple of Swallows, 8 Sand Martin , also the Common Sandpiper on the large island in South Lake. Also 3 Cetti’s Warblers calling/ singing (Martin Wood).

11th April
Great White Egret still present roosting in tree just south of southern shore of South Lake.  Also a Common Sandpiper on the shore of the North Lake (George Green.)

9th April
It was a lovely morning though walking down Green Lane, with Blackcap singing, Collared Doves cooing and Goldfinches sinhing. Out on North Lake the usual fare of Tufted Duck, Coots and Great Crested Grebes with 2 Mediterranean Gulls over and a Swallow. At least 5 calling Cetti’s Warblers round the lake. On the large island in south lake there was one Black-tailed Godwit and one Shelduck (Martin Wood).

8th April
Had a really great walk around the lakes this morning. What a fabulous day. The Great White Egret still there. Plenty of Cetti’s Warblers, Wrens, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs, all singing their hearts out and a good representation of Mediterranean Gulls (Robin Trundle.)

7th April
A Swallow over the south lake. A few Gadwall are still about. Looking forward to a flood of migrants when the weather turns (Dominic Couzens). Also 1 male Blackcap, but also a (fairly quietly) singing Reed Warbler on the northern lakeside. 2 Great Egrets flew over the causeway from the fields by the river (Carl Wilcox).

5th April
A 20-minute look on the north of the site produced a bonus in the form of 2 Linnets feeding in the big field (with huge oak tree) to the north of the Study Centre. These finches are not common here (Dominic Couzens).

4th April
The seemingly ‘resident’ Great White Egret was still present on Hampreston Fields.  Otherwise nothing to report (George Green.)

2nd April
Went to Longham again today. Chiffchaffs and Chaffinches were singing away as we walked down Green Lane, while out on North Lake it looked like most of the Tufted Ducks were on the water with a few Mediterranean Gulls and Great Crested Grebes. A Cetti’s Warbler was calling on the western side of the lake, while scanning over the fields I found the Great White Egret down on the river and 2 Shelduck in the pool in the shire horse field. As we returned we found a Great Spotted Woodpecker, but still no sign of those darn Bullfinches (Martin Wood.)

1st April
The site was pretty quiet early morning, with no obvious overhead migration except for a Meadow Pipit. However, it is clear that plenty of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps are in, and a few Willow Warblers are passing through. Apart from that, a few wildfowl are hanging on (8 Shovelers today) and 2 Shelducks were on the island in the South Lake, a new species for the year. There were also 6 Snipe on the island, quite a good total.

The appearance of Mediterranean Gulls in large numbers at Longham is a strange and very seasonal phenomenon (mid-March to early April). It is also a daily ritual. Very few birds were on the lakes at 7.00am, but almost on 8.00am sharp, flocks began to appear from the south-west and gather in a large, noisy group (Dominic Couzens.)

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February and March 2017 at Longham Lakes

30th March
A ringing session this morning produced 3 new birds (2 Blackcaps, 1 Great Tit) and a re-trap Reed Bunting. The latter was ringed in May 2011 so coming up to 6 years – and it was an adult female when ringed, so actually at least (almost) 7 years. The oldest known is almost 10 years so she needs to go on a bit longer yet!

Med Gulls

Mediterranean Gulls, Longham Lakes, 30/3/17 (Roger Peart)

As few birds were being caught I had a look at the south lake where by 0830 there was an increase in noise from Mediterranean Gulls on the water. A very large flock had arrived (there were a few earlier on) and I estimate at least 200 birds including some Black-headed Gulls and possibly a few of other spp. So I reckon there were about 150 Med Gulls. The single Great White Egret was still present, and a pair of Shoveler. At about 10am just before I left there were at least 10 Sand Martins darting around – difficult to count exactly as they fly so quickly and one isn’t quite sure if they are the same or different (Roger Peart.)

28th March
I had the nets open this evening while putting them up and caught 2 new birds (Wren and Chiffchaff) and five retraps (3 Long-tailed Tits, 1 Robin and 1 Chiffchaff). The Chiff was ringed in Sep 2015 and I caught it again last summer so it is a ‘local’ bird! One LTT was ringed in Sep 2012, a nice old bird but only half the age of the oldest known from UK ringing (Roger Peart.)

25th March
Very pleasant this morning with singing Song Thrush, Chiffchaff and 4 Cetti’s Warblers, Dunnocks busy chasing each other and Wren blasting out its loud song. The 2 Great White Egrets were on the large island in South Lake, 4 Sand Martins over North Lake, two pairs of Great Crested Grebes performing their courtship dance, with lots of head shaking with their chestnut frills held wide open but not much else going on. A nice spring sighting of 12 Mallard ducklings by the slipway (Martin Wood.)

19th March
No sign of any Sand Martins today, but I did hear and see a Cetti’s Warbler dashing for cover and found the long staying Great White Egret. I counted around 8 Reed Buntings, the most I’ve seen at Longham, as well as around 60 Mediterranean Gulls on the south lake. There were around 37 Mute Swans in the back fields, three Redwings (no Fieldfares alas) and a small group of Teal were on the small pond past the woods with five Little Egrets. The most notable bird for me was a female Bullfinch which I found in the far corner of north lake by the stile (Darran Jones.)

18th March
Had a very good morning at the lake. The long staying Great White Egret was on the large island in south lake with two Little Egrets. The wintering duck have departed as no sign of any Pochard or Wigeon only 3 Shoveler and 6 Teal and 6 Gadwall. Also singing Chiffchaffs, calling Cetti’s Warblers, c20 Sand Martin and a wonderful sight and sound of 103 Mediterranean Gulls settled on South Lake. It looks like the farmer of Hampreston fields has been busy cleaning out the ditch and cutting some willow down along the ditch and on the river (Martin Wood.) Also 1 Raven in the afternoon, and several Sand Martins still (Dominic Couzens).

No sign of the Sand Martins that Martin saw on the 18th, but I did hear and see a Cetti’s Warbler dashing for cover and found the long staying Grea -White Egret. I counted around 8 Reed Buntings, the most I’ve seen at Longham, as well as around 60 Mediterranean Gulls on the south lake. There were around 37 Mute Swans in the back fields, three Redwings (no Fieldfares alas) and a small group of Teal were on the small pond past the woods with five Little Egrets. The most notable bird for me was a female Bullfinch which I found in the far corner of north lake by the stile (Darran Jones).

17th March
Redshank on island in South Lake. Also a small influx of 10+ Sand Martins plus 72+ Mediterranean Gulls – my first high count of the spring (George Green.)

14th March
One Great White Egret still present perched in tree at south end of South Lake (George Green).

11th March
It was a nice walk round the lakes with birds singing and calling. Those Bullfinches are still eluding me; I looked all round the hedges of North lake. There were Reed Buntings, Goldfinches, Long tailed Tits and Cetti’s Warblers. Out of the thicket shot a male Sparrowhawk that flew low right over the top of me –  a wonderful sighting. Two Great White Egrets were on the Stour, while out on South Lake, 9 Pochard still remain but numbers going down; with them 16 Wigeon, 9 Teal, 2 Shoveler and 6 Gadwall, plus Mallards, Tufted Duck and Coot. Looking through the gulls I had 1 Common Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 1 Great Black-backed Gull and 11 Mediterranean Gulls mixed in with the Black-headed Gulls. Besides all of these there were the usual woodland species like Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chiffchaff, Green Woodpecker a Kestrel and a new bird for the Patch Work Challenge: a pair of Jays which brings the years patch list up to 70 species of bird and 4 mammals seen so far (Martin Wood.)

8th March
News of a local ringing recovery today:
Blackbird LA58296 N
3JF 07/07/14 AMT Longham Lakes East (5), Dorset
X 0F Dead 07/03/17 Bournemouth Airport, Dorset (5 km, E, 2 yrs 243 days)

4th March
At the lakes late afternoon 2 Great White Egrets on the River Stour. 20 Little Grebe, 36 Mediterranean Gull, a Kestrel plus a Sparrowhawk seen. Also 12 Pochard in the south west corner of south lake, in the flooded pools in Hampreston Fields: 14 Wigeon, 7 Gadwall, 10 Teal and a pair of Shoveler (Martin Wood).

2nd March
Today’s best bird wasn’t a bird. Actually, you couldn’t really describe it as a “best” sighting either, because it was an American Mink. It was only my second sighting of this sleek mammal here at Longham, so I couldn’t help but be pleased. On the other hand, Minks are bad news for many native animals. It cut across the path next to Emily’s Wood, paused while we looked at each other, and slunk away. There were also 4 Roe Deer on-site, in two sets of two.

Bird-wise today was quite average, excepting that one Great Egret remains. There were also plenty of wildfowl, including all the winter ducks such as Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon and Shoveler. Gulls included a second-winter Mediterranean Gull and three Great Black-backed Gulls, 2 adults and a first-winter. 2 Stonechats, a male and a female, were beside the reservoirs, and 40 Greylag Geese made as much noise as you would expect 40 geese to make. The many ringing calls around the site show that at least two pairs of Green Woodpeckers are holding territory. The level of song is increasing delightfully.

I had an interesting Pheasant encounter on the West Fields (not accessible to the public). I flushed one, then two more, one and another two Pheasants, making six in all, a record for Longham Lakes. One of these birds was a male, and all the rest females, so there is one happy bird out there all set for a lively breeding season (Dominic Couzens.)

1st March
I had literally 15 minutes to look over the lakes this afternoon, but it was well worth it. A male and a female Goosander were fast asleep out on Longham Reservoir South, unaware that they were my 72nd species for the year (Dominic Couzens).

26th February
At first the lakes looked devoid of any birds besides a few Coot and Tufted Duck in the very choppy water. But looking carefully on the causeway there were 3 Stonechat, a couple of Reed Buntings and 32 Pied Wagtails. On the river the Great White Egret was fishing and in the fields were 54 Canada Geese and 38 Greylags which took flight and landed on the south lake. I had my 1st patch record of a male Goosander, which I presume it took off while I was watching the geese fly in. Up at the top end of south lake mixed in with the Black-headed Gull were 5 Mediterranean Gulls, and while up at this end I watch 23 Shovelers fly in and land on the lake (Martin Wood).

24th February
Dropped in to the lakes on the way home from work this afternoon. The best finds were 2 Great White Egrets (possibly three), 26 Pied Wagtails in the horse paddocks by the visitor centre, a Cetti’s Warbler and a Mediterranean Gull. And no Bullfinches! (Martin Wood).

Great Egret

Great Egret, River Stour at Longham Lakes, 21/2/17 (Lorne Bissell).

21st February
A visit to the lakes produced 2 Med Gull, 2 Great White Egret and good numbers of all the common ducks (except no Wigeon). A pair of Bullfinches were seen in the hedge south of the visitor centre. A single Lapwing was also present with a pair of Stonechat on the island (Daniel Whitelegg).

20th February
A drake Goosander showed well on the South Lake this afternoon.  Much to my surprise this is my first sighting on the actual lakes since winter 2011/2012.  All subsequent records have been the from nearby River Stour. Oh yes!  A Great White Egret was still present on Hampreston Meadows.  Also first sign of Med Gull spring passage with 4 birds present (George Green).

18th February
How about a nice surprise when you are looking through the scope on a sunny day? I was scanning the fields from the west bank looking towards the River when one of the Great White Egrets flew up from the river and head up river. Then something caught my eye moving in the undergrowth,  can it be, no it is, I could hardly believe my eyes as the creature emerged from the undergrowth with a lovely sleek brown coat and ambled a long the bank. It was an Otter no less, but in my excitement and just overwhelmed to be watching it through my scope I forgot about grabbing a record shot. This was the first one I have seen from the Longham Patch. Also 15 Shoveler, 30 Teal, about 46 Pochard, 91 Tufted Ducks, 3 Buzzard over, 5 Med Gulls and, a new bird for the Patch Work Challenge this year, a Cetti’s Warbler. Two Great Crested Grebes were performing their courtship weed dance yesterday and today, the first time I have seen this happen. An absolutely  wonderful afternoon (Martin Wood.)

17th February
Out on the lake 12 Pochard, some Tuftys and a pair of Great Crested Grebes attempting, half heartily it seemed, a weed dance. Making my way up to the causeway, the Great White Egret flew from the island in South Lake and landed in one of the pools on Hampreston fields. I scanned the island from the west side of South Lake and had a nice surprise with a Water Rail showing well and feeding along the edge of the island until some people started flying there boat plane , which also flushed 11 Lapwings from one side of the island to the other. 20 Shoveler near the western shore made for a very enjoyable sight with the colour of the males and the drab females and the long bills. Song Thrushes, Dunnock and Robins singing made a very pleasant and relaxing walk round the lakes after work (Martin Wood.)

14th February
Valentine’s Day saw me getting up early for two things: flowers for the wife and a chance to spot the Fieldfares that had been spotted by Martin at Longham Lakes. I headed right over to the usual spot, spying one lone Great White Egret, around 21 Pochard and a small group of Tufted Ducks and Great Crested Grebes, but very little else. I found my new birds over the far side of South Lake but I really had to work for them. Martin had already seen some Mediterranean Gulls, so I scoured the large group of gulls that were floating around and causing a ruckus. I counted 127 Black-Headed Gulls, two of which were Mediterraneans, Success! (Darran Jones.)

11th February
A very cold walk round the lakes this afternoon produced newbirds for the Patch Work Challenge and Longham year list, with Fieldfare, Pheasant, Kingfisher and Goldcrest. Also 2 Great Egrets, 27 Greylag Geese, 44 Pochard and 3 Wigeon. Some other counts: Canada Goose – 4, Wigeon – 3, Gadwall,  Teal – 16, Shoveler – 15, Pochard – 44, Pheasant – 1 male, Little Egret – 1, Grey Heron – 1, Little Grebe – 16, Moorhen – 2, Common Gull – 1, Lesser Black backed Gull – 3, Collared Dove – 2, Kingfisher –1, Green Woodpecker – 1, Goldcrest – 2,  Blackbird – 3, Fieldfare – 20, Redwing – 30, Grey Wagtail – 1 (Martin Wood.)

Pochards, Longham Lakes, 2/2/17 (Roger Peart)

Pochards, Longham Lakes, 2/2/17 (Roger Peart)

4th February
At Longham Lakes, the water level was down on the large lake, exposing large areas of shore line of the island and sides. As I walked up to the slip way I could hear Wigeon calling, but was not expecting to see  a large raft of them – to my surprise there were 152, and another 4 out on the flooded meadows; also 6 Pintail. I also heard a Water Rail at the south east corner down by the river (Martin Wood.)

3rd February
I had a brief visit to Longham this morning before the rain arrived. The three Great White Egrets were still around – all of them initially spread out along the north bank of the north lake. At least a couple of hundred (I guess) Canada Geese on the flooded Hampreston fields, plus some Shovelers and at least 6 Pintail – presumably from the group that arrived a week or so ago. There may have been more than 6 but that is all I could pick out (Roger Peart.)

Totals: Canada Goose 150+ Some by large island but most on flooded fields to the west
Gadwall 4+ By large island on S lake
Pintail 6+ On flooded fields to the west
Shoveler 3+ On flooded fields to the west
Pochard 9+ Party on North lake
Cormorant 4+
Little Egret 2+
Grey Heron 1+ At least one
Great Crested Grebe 2+ on N lake
Buzzard 1 Low over trees to the north
Coot 20+

3 Great Egrets, Longham Lakes, 2/2/17 (Lorne Bissell)

3 Great Egrets, Longham Lakes, 2/2/17 (Lorne Bissell)

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January 2017 at Longham Lakes

29th January
Had a grey wet trip round the lakes this afternoon nothing new seen and only one Great White Egret about, and 46 Pochard spread about the two lakes. So that’s me done for January ending on 63 species seen for the month (Martin Wood.)

27th January
Usual waterfowl seen but only one Great Egret (Ian Lewis)

21st January
A good walk round watching and looking for new birds, recorded 44 species with 3 new birds for the Patch Work Challenge. The best bird was a Peregrine going west with some type of prey in its talons. Also a nice largish flock of c60 Lapwings flying west over the South Lake. And of course the 3 Great Egrets are still there two on North Lake and one on the large island.
The full list: Mute Swan, Greylag goose – 14, Canada Goose, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler – 8, Pochard – 40, Tufted Duck, Little Egret – 6, Great White Egret – 3, Grey Heron – 2, Little Grebes, Great Crested Grebes, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot,Lapwing- c60, Snipe – 5, Black-headed Gulls, Common Gull – 1, Lesser Black-backed Gull – 1 Great Black-backed Gull – 2, Woodpigeons, Collared Dove, Green Woodpecker – 2, Peregrine, Magpies, Jackdaws, Carrion Crows, Blue Tit –3, Long-tailed Tit – 4, Wren – 4, Starlings, Blackbirds, Song Thrush – 4, Robins, Stonechat – 2, Dunnock, House Sparrows, Grey Wagtail and Chaffinches (Martin Wood.)

20th January
Usual birds around the lakes this morning, by now this includes the three Great Egrets. Also a Green Sandpiper on the north lake. Water levels in the south lake somewhat lower than usual (Alan Pearce).

14th January
A surprise today came in the form of a flock of 13 Pintail. These ducks average just one record a year at Longham Lakes and the highest previous count was 7. The lakes were stuffed with egrets, with the 3 Great Egrets and at least 8 Little Egrets. Also Sparrowhawk among 44 species recorded by Martin Wood.

10th January
Nothing particularly new around the lakes today, with Great Egrets still present and a reasonable range of ducks. A Chiffchaff appeared along the west side of the north reservoir, and there was a flock of Redwings and Fieldfares on the large field on the north-west corner of the site. I heard a Pheasant, too, my first of the year (Dominic Couzens).

6th January
The 3 Great Egrets are still there. Also a male Garganey on the south lake and the Kingfisher at Longham Bridge (Gail Taplin). Just 41 species in a very quick visit, but there was a healthy sized goose flock on Hampreston Fields, with 90 Canada Geese and 22 Greylags. Also 2 Goldcrests in the scrub on the west side of Longham Reservoir North (Dominic Couzens).

4th January
There were 3 Mistle Thrushes and a Redwing on the field opposite the King’s Arms pub today – not strictly on-site, but viewable from the Longham Lakes recording area (Dominic Couzens).

3rd January
I saw 56 species today, and George Green recorded at least one other (a Nuthatch calling) so once again there were a lot of birds to be seen at Longham Lakes. The Great Egrets are still the highlight, along with Little Egrets and Grey Herons fishing along the banks of Longham Reservoir North. There are lots of Pochard around, and a few Wigeon among the commoner ducks. Other species included 3+ Stonechats, Treecreeper, 1 Grey Wagtail, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Kingfisher, 5+ Snipe, 2 Reed Buntings and a Jay. My personal total for 2017 for Longham Lakes is now 65 species; also 2 mammals with several Rabbits today (Dominic Couzens).

1st January 2017
Determined to do more birding at Longham Lakes this year than last, I decided to spend the first few hours of the year birding here. It paid off handsomely, and I managed what is probably a record day total for mid-winter – 58 species. Highlights included the 3 Great Egrets, a good variety of ducks, 3 Cetti’s Warblers, 1 Chiffchaff, 6 Common Snipe, 2 Little Egrets, a Water Rail heard, a Kingfisher on the River Stour, a Stonechat and a Bullfinch. For what it’s worth, there is a complete list at the end of this post. I met a birding couple and they pronounced what was present as “the usual trash”, which is a bit harsh!

Another highlight was chatting with a fisherman (Doug, from Ringwood Angling Club) near Longham Bridge. Apparently Atlantic Salmon regularly work their way up the Stour at Longham and may spawn not far away. He had also seen Sea Trout regularly, and Sea Lampreys and Eels also pass through in season. Graylings are common, Minnows are abundant near the Bridge and there are also Chub. Somebody apparently once caught a Pirana downstream, presumably released by somebody (no, really, it wasn’t a fisherman’s tall story, I don’t think). He also mentioned a lot of Otter activity and a Mink den – so keep your eyes open at Longham Bridge (Dominic Couzens).

Today’s bird list in order of seeing: Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Black-headed Gull, House Sparrow, Collared Dove, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Wren, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Stock Dove, Kestrel, Stonechat, Robin, Cormorant, Dunnock, Grey Heron, Magpie, Chaffinch, Green Woodpecker, Goldcrest, Song Thrush, Teal, Little Grebe, Gadwall, Moorhen, Water Rail, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Coot, Mallard, Lapwing, Wigeon, Great Black-backed Gull, Pochard, Rook, Common Gull, Cetti’s Warbler, Meadow Pipit, Redwing, Shoveler, Great Crested Grebe, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Great Egret, Chiffchaff, Buzzard, Common Snipe, Bullfinch, Feral Pigeon, Starling, Pied Wagtail, Kingfisher, Little Egret.

Mammals: Grey Squirrel.

Martin Wood comments: Apart from the 3 Great Egrets, Great Spotted Woodpecker was the best, along with plenty of Gadwall, 31 Pochard, 6 Snipe.

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December 2016 at Longham Lakes

Great Egret and Water Rail, Longham Lakes, December 2016 (Lorne Bissell.

Great Egret and Water Rail, Longham Lakes, December 2016 (Lorne Bissell).

So another year comes to an end. It was far from a vintage year for Longham Lakes, with just 116 species recorded, well down on last year (130). However, there were 2 species making their first appearance, Nightjar (May) and Little Stint (November-December). Other goodies included 2 more Yellow-browed Warblers, and the remarkable appearance of no less than 3 Great Egrets together. Indeed, December was arguably the best month of the year, with the egrets, Stint, Jack Snipe and Water Rail all visible at the same time.

It was a pretty average breeding season, with a large fall in the number of young Tufted Ducks produced (fewer than 20, down by over 100). Not many migrants were recorded either, with Yellow Wagtail, Redstart and Whinchat missing completely. Two Marsh Harriers was good, a November Wheatear was intriguing and, for mammal enthusiasts, Longham Lakes is now confirmed as a regkar site for Nathusius’s Pipistrelle bats.

29th December
Had a trip round the South Lake today 11.25-14.30. I had hoped that a Bean Goose might have turned up, or a Bewick’s Swan – but no such luck, only Canada Geese and 13 Greylags. The 3 Great White Egrets showed well, also a Jack Snipe and an Egyptian Goose on the large island on south lake. A good trip round the site was had with 44 species recorded and one more for the Patch Work Challenge (and a site first for me) with two Ravens flying west. Also Snipe – 6; Cetti’s Warbler – 1; Reed Bunting – 1; Redwing – 2; Bullfinch – 1 (Martin Wood).

23rd December
Highlights included the 3 Great Egrets again today; also 1 Peregrine, 1 Little Egret, 12 Pochards, 6 Snipe, a Kestrel and a Stonechat (Lorne Bissell, Martin Wood).

Great (left) and Little Egrets in flight

Great (left) and Little Egrets in flight, Longham Lakes, 22/12/16 (Ian Julian)

22nd December
Egret Central at Longham yet again, also a Kestrel (Ian Julian).

17th December
I arrived at 12.50 to a cacophony of noise as 77 Canada Geese and 2 Greylags made for Hampreston Fields, a party of 19 Cormorants discussing their days fishing and the piglet like squeal of Water Rail rolling across north lake and another ear blast of one right by the north west corner of South Lake. Combined with all the wildfowl and passerines (but no Water Pipits) made the grey afternoon a pleasant walk round the lake. Highlights Shoveler – 11, Pochard – 18, Teal– 13, Great White Egret – 3, Stonechat, Grey Wagtail – 2; lots of Tuftys and Gadwall; Water Rail – 2.

There is something about patch watching and Longham which drives me on and on with the hope of finding new birds and one day to find something special. So again I have signed up to Patch Work Challenge 2017 for Longham (Martin Wood). [Well done, Martin. Good to hear.]

16th December
The 3 Great Egrets were still about on Longham Reservoir North, together with 2 Little Egrets and 2 Grey Herons, making it something of a heron-fest. Plenty of ducks around, mainly Gadwall and Shoveler, as well as a record total of 95 Canada Geese on the lakes and Hampreston Fields. Surprisingly, there were no other geese among them. Also a few extras such as 1 Stonechat and 1 Sparrowhawk (Dominic Couzens).

15th December
The 3 Great Egrets are still around and there was also a report of a Water Pipit (Dorset Bird Club website).

12th December
Had a couple of hours at Longham today in the mist and rain. Water levels have gone up so the gravel where the Jack Snipe were is now submerged. There were Snipe on the island but I was unable to see any Jacks. Nice variety of birds with 2 Green Woodpeckers feeding along the path up though the centre on the 2 lakes; also 2 Great White Egrets and a Grey Wagtail (Jessica Evans).

Great Egret and Little Egret

Great Egret and Little Egret, Longham Lakes, 10/12/16 (Martin Wood)

10th December
Went over to Longham Lakes this afternoon and had good views of the Little Stint, 3 Great White Egrets and a Jack Snipe and my 94th species for this site this year with the Redshank. Watching the Stint next to Pied Wagtail it did not look much bigger than this species; it is a very tiny bird. Other birds about today are as follows: Cormorant – 37 mostly on the pylons; Great Crested Grebe – 4; Little Grebe – 10; Pochard – 15; Teal; Wigeon; Shoveler – 7; Gadwall; Lapwing – 1; Common Gull – 3; Black-headed Gull – 60; Herring Gull – 52; Grey Wagtail – 1; Reed Bunting –1; Meadow Pipit – 4; Moorhen – 1 (Martin Wood). There were 2 Great Egrets

Jack Snipe

Jack Snipe (above left end of log), Longham Lakes, 10/12/16 Martin Wood)

on site at 9am (Gary White).

9th December
Following all visible on edge of island in southern lake this morning: 2 Great White Egret, 1 Little Stint, at least 3 Jack Snipe (Nick Woods).

7th December
Was on site from Midday until 1.30p,, all 3 Great White Egrets were on the North lake , 2 of them on the far shore and 1 less than 30ft away. Amazing views. Had at least 4 Jack Snipe on “George’s Shore” and the Little Stint was still on the main Island with a Redshank for company (Ian Ballam). Eventually saw 5 Jack Snipe (John Down).

5th December
I had a short session at Longham this morning. 17 new birds caught and one re-trap Dunnock from 2014. The new ones were 6 Chiffchaff ( my latest ever date – previous being Dec 4th in 2014), 4 Redwing, 3 Blackbird, two Wren, 2 Goldcrest (Roger Peart).

If anyone wishes to enjoy views of up to 4 Jack Snipes feeding (and sleeping) in the open, follow the east bank of the South Lake south from the causeway for about 20 metres until you reach an obvious red lifebelt stand.  Using your telescope view the south shore of the causeway in line with a distant pylon (at about 1o’clock).  Carefully scan the exposed gravel beach where there are about 6+ Common Snipes and 4+ Jack Snipes.  They favour the beach to the left of the distant pylon.  A Water Rail was also showing well along this beach. Other birds of interest today were 3 Great White Egrets which are becoming ridiculously tame, Little Stint, Redshank and Shelduck. Lots of birds present due to the low lake levels (George Green).

4th December
Arrived to see 17 Little Egrets and 2 Great White Egrets showing brilliant white against the island in the bright sun. The third GWE had relocated to the N lake shore. Unfortunately, the kayakers were also launching for their now regular Sunday paddle around the lake, putting a large number of birds into the air which seemed to relocate elsewhere on site (Alan Pearce).

I also called past Longham late morning until lunchtime. Great White Egret – 3, much disturbed by the kayakers, so were regularly up in the air or scattered around the lakes or Hampreston Fields; Little Stint – still on the island off the causeway; Jack Snipe – 4 along the causeway with 2 Common Snipe; Redshank – 1 commuting between the south lake slipway and the muddy edges of north lake; Kingfisher – 1 (Kevin Lane).

2nd December
It was an afternoon of threes with three Great White Egrets still. Followed this up with my first Jack Snipe then incredible there were 3 together followed up with a Water Rail then another and very good view of a Water Rail on the small island on south lake and heard one near the visitor centre – so possibly 4 on site. To round off the afternoon while watching the Little Stint, 3 Black-tailed Godwit flew and started washing on the edge of the island which made a total of 4 seen as flushed one on the west bank. Other birds seen: Little Egret –10; Collared Dove – 8; Shoveler – 12; Gadwall – 24; Teal – 25; Wigeon – 16; Pochard – 9; Kingfisher – 2; Snipe –3; Grey Wagtail – 2 (Martin Wood).

Little Stint

Little Stint, Longham Lakes, 01/12/2016 (Lorne Bissell)

1st December
The “peep” found on 29th November  was looked at for much of the day, and the consensus is that it is a Little Stint, the first for the site and a strange inland mid-winter record. The very small size and short bill are all good “peep” features (i.e. not Dunlin or Sanderling), while the rotund shape and short wings rule out White-rumped Sandpiper (George Green also managed to see that the rump wasn’t white). Others were able to confirm there were no palmations on the feet, so suggesting the bird is a Little Stint and not a Semipalmated Sandpiper. Apparently the bill structure, too far away for me to really get to grips with, is also good for Little Stint.

Other birds seen today included 3 Great White Egrets, Water Rail, Jack Snipe, 7 Common Snipe, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Stonechat, 1 Kingfisher, 3+ Little Grebes and a Common Sandpiper (Martin Wood, Roger Peart et al).


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September to November 2016

30th November
Much better views of the stint this morning along with several other observers.  The consensus view is that the bird is a Little Stint albeit in unfamiliar plumage (George Green).

Other good birds present included 3 Great Egrets and 8 Black-tailed Godwits (Dave and Pat Harris).

29th November
Popped in very briefly this afternoon to find THREE Great Egrets together on the main island on Longham Reservoir North. Surely this is the largest ever gathering in Dorset? Lorne Bissell was also there and had found a very small wader on the island – indeed, you could see Great and Little Egret and the wader through the same telescope view. Immediately it was obvious that the bird was of a stint type, since it clearly had a much shorter bill than a Dunlin or Sanderling. It was also barely larger than the Pied Wagtails walking nearby. But which species? The problem was, the island is quite a long way out and the light was against, and fading. However, the wings seemed too short for White-rumped (or Baird’s) Sandpiper, a former a species that appeared here around this time of year a few years ago. There was a noticeable white patch between the wing and the belly, and otherwise the underparts were clean white, with an obvious demarcation against the breast band. There were no obvious white V-lines across the back, so typical of Little Stint. The bird was portly (as Little Stint) but remarkably sluggish for that species. Semipalmated Sandpiper has to be a possibility. Hopefully it will be there tomorrow. Also a Water Rail called (Dominic Couzens). Also 1 Black-tailed Godwit this morning (Martin Wood).

28th November
Two Great White Egrets still on the island in the South Lake (George Green). Also 5 Little Egrets, 8 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Little Grebe, 3 Greylag Geese, a family of Mute Swans with 6 juveniles, 12 Cormorants, 2 Meadow Pipits and 2 Pied Wagtails (Trevor Wilkinson).

25th November
Now 2 Great White Egrets at Longham Lakes still present 11.30 roosting on the big island in the South Lake.  Also 16 Black-tailed Godwits feeding on a small pool on Hampreston Meadows (George Green).

23rd November

Great White Egret was still on the large island in the South Lake at 14.50pm.  Also found an adult Yellow-legged Gull – only my 2nd site record (George Green).  Hampreston Fields flooded with little about apart from small number of Teal. Around the lakes, 1 male Stonechat and a Sparrowhawk (Alan Pearce).

15th November
A trip round the South lake this afternoon after work and finally I connected with a Bullfinch for the Patchwork Challenge. Out on the lakes were 3 Wigeon, c33 Gadwall, 1 Teal, 12 Mallard, 1 Shoveler, 1 Pochard, c100 Tufted Duck, 2 Little Egret,
14 Little Grebe and 10 Great Crested Grebe. Also Cetti’s Warbler, Stonechat and Grey Wagtail (Martin Wood).

14th November
Wheatear still present on the Causeway.  Best of the rest was the first time I’ve seen 4 species of raptor on one visit – Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Peregrine (George Green). Some numbers included: 4 Teal, 2 Greylag Geese, 6 Gadwall, 8 Little Grebes, 14 Cormorants, 2 Little Egrets, plus Kingfisher, Cetti’s Warbler, 1 Grey Wagtail and 4 Meadow Pipits (Trevor Wilkinson).

13th November
The Wheatear on the causeway again this morning (Trevor Thorpe).

11th November
The Wheatear was still present on the causeway this afternoon. Also a Marsh Harrier high over the large lake (Trevor Thorpe).

8th November
A Wheatear on the causeway was a bit of a surprise,e particularly as it was my first site record this autumn (George Green).

Egyptian Geese

Egyptian Geese, Longham Lakes, 7/11/16 (Ron Poulter)

7th November
4 Egyptian Geese were present (Ron Poulter).

6th November
I was at Longham just after 10am and was encouraged by a Snipe flushed from the grass as I crossed the causeway and a Sparrowhawk overhead. However, things then went downhill as a party of around a dozen canoe paddlers turned up and five of them proceeded, under instruction I think, to paddle across and around about three-quarters of the south lake. So, disturbance with tuffties and other ducks in the air. I thought that these on the water activities we supposed to be confined to the NE corner of the south lake. Have the ground rules changed? (Alan Pearce). [No, not as far as I am aware].

Anybody else see the canoeists or other users disturbing wildlife? If so, try to take photographs and get details and pass these on to me. Dominic.

In the afternoon, 5 Mandarin (1 male, 3 females and 1 immature male), 2 male Pochard, 1 Lapwing and 2 Snipe (Martin Wood).


Cormorants on Longham Reservoir North, 6/11/16 (Darran Jones).

5th November
Late morning to early afternoon: 2 Egyptian Geese, 12 Great Crested Grebes, 70 Tufted Ducks, 10 Shoveler, 11 Gadwall, 28 Wigeon, 1 Pochard, 1 Teal, 11 Little Grebe, 1 Jay, 1 Grey wagtail (Martin Wood).

31st October
Birds present included 12 Cormorants, 2 Little Egrets, 53 Canada Geese, a site record of 6 Egyptian Geese (flying overhead north-west), a Stonechat, 5 Meadow Pipits and 4 Cetti’s Warblers (Trevor Wilkinson).

29th October
Birds today: Cetti’s Warbler – 3; Tufted Duck – 56; Great Crested Grebe – 12; Little Grebe – 10; Snipe – 3; Chiffchaff – 2; Long tailed Tit – 10; Wigeon – 3; Gadwall c10; Little Egret – 2; Meadow Pipit – 4; Reed Bunting –1; Cormorant – 22 (Martin Wood).

28th October
Found a Black Redstart this morning which is my 2nd site tick this month.  It was feeding in the compound of Bournemouth Water which can be viewed from the east bank of the South Lake. It favoured the road and fence on the right side of the compound (George Green).

27th October
Among the more usual birds were 2 Ravens and 2 Egyptian Geese (Dave and Pat Harris).

25th October
I had a ringing session this morning but very few birds about and I only caught 10 new birds and 2 Robin re-traps between 0720 and 1100. The most interesting were 2 Meadow Pipits. The others were 3 Chiffchaffs, and one each of Goldcrest, Wren, Dunnock, Song Thrush, Blackbird. One Robin re-trap was ringed last month the other ringed in 2014 as an adult female but not seen since until today (Roger Peart).

23rd October
I went to Longham late afternoon yesterday and just caught 7 birds – 5 Chiffchaffs, 1 Blackbird and 1 Great Tit (Roger Peart).

22nd October
Superb views of an Osprey circling over the South Lake for about 10 minutes around 2pm.  Eventually flew west hounded by local gulls (George Green).

Yellow-browed Warbler

Yellow-browed Warbler, Longham Lakes, 21/10/16 (Roger Peart)

21st October
Yet another Yellow-browed Warbler found its way into the nets today, the 6th for the site (and the first I have seen – Dominic). It was one of 21 birds (all new) made up otherwise from 9 Goldcrests, 8 Chiffchaffs and one each of Blackbird, Blackcap and Wren (Roger Peart).

Had a very pleasant walk: 16 Mute Swans, 6 Gadwall, 3 Shoveler, 42 Tufted Duck spread across the two lakes, a Little Egret, 12 Lapwing, a Grey Heron and 2 Snipe. Out on the water c86 Coot , 15 Little Grebe, 7 Great Crested Grebe, 64 Herring Gull, 42 Black-headed Gull. Also 1 Cetti’s Warbler and 2 Grey Wagtails (Martin Wood). There were also 8 Cormorants, 2 Cetti’s warblers and 7 Meadow Pipits (Trevor Wilkinson).

19th October
A short ringing session produced 18 birds, all new: 11 Chiffchaffs, 3 Goldcrests, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Great Tits (Roger Peart).

Yellow-browed Warbler, Longham Lakes, 17/10/16 (Roger Peart

Yellow-browed Warbler, Longham Lakes, 17/10/16 (Roger Peart).

17th October
Another Yellow-browed Warbler this morning! I was a bit later going than intended as it was raining hard when I woke up, but I had the nets up by about 7.30am and caught in all 37 new birds and 3 re-traps. There was no more rain (and very light wind) until a light shower at about 10.40 when I was closing down anyway. I had 15 birds in one net at the very end, mostly Long-tailed Tits and Goldcrests. The totals for the morning were Chiffchaff 10, Goldcrest 6 (+ 1 re-trap), Wren 5, Long-tailed Tit 4 (+ 2 re-traps), Great Tit 3, Cetti’s Warbler 2, Robin 2, and one each of Yellow-browed Warbler, Jay, Blackcap, Blue Tit and Blackbird. A nice variety (Roger Peart).

15th October
Great excitement yesterday when I located a Jack Snipe on the open gravel beach of the island at the north end of the South Lake (George Green).

10th October
Trevor Wilkinson had 2 possible Yellow-browed Warblers around the lakes today, together with 5 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Goldfinches, 2 Green Woodpeckers and a decent range of common water birds.

8th October
On the large Island there were 5 Little Egrets, 15 Lapwing, 3 Snipe and one Grey Heron, on the water round the island there were 15 Shoveler (the first of the autumn/winter? ) a 1st winter Common Gull, 6 Gadwall, 2 Teal, 14 Great Crested Grebes and 8 Little Grebes. 12 Swallows came over high, then later three hawking across the lake. Also had 4 Jays, a Kingfisher, 2 Grey Wagtails and 6 Meadow Pipits (Martin Wood).

3rd October
A Rock Pipit on the main island on Longham Reservoir South today (George Green). Also a very good candidate for Scaup, although a hybrid cannot entirely be ruled out (Ron Poulter).

23rd September
No new birds for the Patch Work Challenge list but was nice to see what was about. A nice Kingfisher on the large pool at the top end of South lake, plus a Snipe. 25 Lapwing were in the air when I arrived and flew east but 3 remained on the large island, with 54 Canada Geese hanging around. Also in the Settling Marsh area I had about 25 Chiffchaffs (with perhaps some Willow Warblers). Other counts: Mute Swan –10; Mallard – 3; Gadwall – 5; Great Crested Grebe – 18; Little Grebe – 22; Coot – c150; Tufted Duck – c70; Buzzard – 2; Swallow – 2;  Reed Bunting – 1; Grey Wagtail – 3 (Martin Wood).

21st September
Some useful counts today included 8 Mute Swans, 4 Great Crested Grebes (north lake only), 21 Coots (north lake only), 105+ Tufted Ducks (north lake), 16 Cormorants, 6 Little Grebes (south lake), a Lesser Black-backed Gull and 10 Lapwings (Trevor Wilkinson).

16th September
Early afternoon 11.50 – 14.15, birds included Kestrel – 1, Gadwall – 10, Wigeon – 8 the first of autumn, Teal – 2, Green Sandpiper – 1 flushed from the large pool at the top of South Lake, Coot – 146, Tufted Duck – 70, Great Crested Grebe – 14, Little Grebe – 22  and Lapwing – 4 (Martin Wood.)

15th September
Ringing results: new birds 28 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 2 Bullfinch (juveniles), 1 Blue Tit. Also 2 re-traps – a Chiffchaff ringed on 13th August and a Reed Bunting (Y512436) ringed 27 Jun 2012 (adult male) and re-trapped again at least once  each year since – 8 handlings in all. It is (was) now 4yrs 80 days since ringing – my oldest Reed Bunting  and second oldest Longham bird [oldest is Reed Warbler L902332, ringed 21/06/2011 and retrapped 03/05/2016]

14th September
Ringing results: new birds 11 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, 3 Robin, 2 Long-tailed Tit, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Wren. Also two re-trap Long-tailed Tits, both ringed on 30 May this year (Roger Peart).

11th September

Little Gull

Little Gull (juvenile), Longham Lakes, 11th September 2016 (Martin Wood)

Juvenile Little Gull testing in north west corner of south lake was highlight today (Martin Wood).

10th September
This afternoon I made the following counts across the two lakes: Mute Swan-11, Gadwall –2, Mallard – 5, Little Grebe – 21, Great Crested Grebe – 23, Grey Heron – 1, Coot – 157, Lapwing – 12, Green Woodpecker – 2, Swallow – c50 (Martin Wood.)

4th September
Good start to the autumn with an immature Little Gull over the lakes this evening. Also 16 Lapwings (Martin Wood.)

1st September
Generally quiet so only Grey Wagtail, 3 Lapwings and Kingfisher. Perhaps also as many as 30 large fish cruising the still waters of the south lake. From the those showing the scales beneath the dorsal fin, I am sure they are all carp. I have seen 5/6 large carp here in past years, but never these numbers (Alan Pearce

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Summer 2016

Grey Heron, Longham Lakes, Dorset 11/08/16 (Roger Peart)

Grey Heron, Longham Lakes, Dorset 11/08/16 (Roger Peart)

20th August
Had walk round the south lake late morning early afternoon, 4 Swifts, lots of Sand Martins and House Martins over the lake. Also of interest were 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Hobby over and a Pochard at the south end of the lake, and a Tufted Duck with 4 ducklings (Martin Wood).

18th August
Birds included 23 Mute Swans, 8 Swallows, a Coot with young, a Tufted Duck with 4 ducklings, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Sandpiper and Common Whitethroat. Non-bird sightings included 9 Red Arrows and the Memphis Belle! (Trevor Wilkinson).

14th August
A quick walk round the North Lake this afternoon the highlights were Willow Warbler – 4, Common Whitethroat – 2, Stonechat – 2, Sparrowhawk – 1, Great Crested Grebe – 7 (Martin Wood).

13th August
I had an evening ringing session at Longham yesterday. From 18.00 to 21.00 there were 15 new Chiffchaffs, 13 Willow Warblers, 8 Long-tailed Tits and, the last bird, a single Reed Warbler. Also one re-trap Chiffchaff ringed at the end of July. A bit strange that there were no Blackcaps and only the one Reed Warbler. (Roger Peart)

Green Woodpecker (juvenile), Longham Lakes, Dorset 11/06/16 (Roger Peart)

Green Woodpecker (juvenile), Longham Lakes, Dorset 11/06/16 (Roger Peart)

12th August
Quite a good session at Longham yesterday. 28 new birds ringed and two re-traps (one an adult female Chiffchaff ringed earlier in June and the other a Great Tit first ringed in 2012 as a juvenile). The new birds were: 8 Chiffchaff, 7 Blackcap, 7 Willow Warbler and one each of Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Garden Warbler and a juvenile Green Woodpecker. Kestrel over the nets about 05.45 and Grey Heron on small island in Longham Reservoir South about 10.20.
(Roger Peart).

2nd August
A walk round the South Lake, 11.00-13.15 revealed 12 Great Crested Grebe (in fact on Longham Reservoir North), Coot (58 in far SW corner of South Lake alone) 2 Little Egret, 8 Mute Swan, Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Bunting (f), Blackcap (f), 50+ House Martin (12.00), 30+ Swift and 30+ Swallow at 12.20,  then 20+ Swift and 25+ Swallow (12.55), 20 Jackdaw, 2 Willow Warbler and 4 Little Grebe. Dull, grey sky, following rain showers (Trevor Wilkinson).

31st July
Although referring to last year, I thought people would be interested in what dragonflies and damselflies are present on-site in the summer. Here is George Green’s 2015 report.

Although a total of 13 species were recorded at Longham Lakes during 2015 it is very likely that a few additional species were overlooked. The 2 pools just to the south of the South Lake were excellent sites for damselflies and dragonflies and were particularly favoured by the Red-eyed and Small Red-eyed Damselflies and the Four-spotted Chasers.

Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens)
A wanderer from nearby River Stour.
Small numbers present on 17th, 25th & 29th June 2015.

Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas)
Scarce breeder.
Small numbers present 15th July-2nd August 2015.

Small Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma viridulum)
This is a recent colonist to Britain.
Small numbers present 9th-31st July 2015.

Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)
Common breeder.
Present 13th June-26th August 2015.

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ishnura elegans)
Scarce breeder, perhaps overlooked.
Present on 25th June 2015.

Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis)
Fairly common breeder.
Present 31st July-27th August 2015.

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Scarce breeder.
Present on 26th August and 2 late Individuals on 4th November 2015 including one eating a bumblebee!

Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)
Common breeder.
Present 17th June-31st July 2015

Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii)
A presumed wanderer from nearby heathland habitats.
Singles on 29th June & 15th July 2015.

Scarce Chaser (Libellula fulva)
A presumed wanderer from the nearby River Stour which is a favoured river for this nationally rare species.
Singles on 23rd May and 9th July 2015.

Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)
A scarce breeder.
Present on 29th June 2015.

Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum)
Fairly common breeder.
Present 13th June-2nd August 2015.

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)
Fairly common breeder.
Present 31st July-26th August 2015.

26th July
Ringing produced 14 new birds (3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Reed Warbler, 2 Wren and one each of Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Robin, Bullfinch, Song Thrush, Great Tit and Garden Warbler). All were juveniles except one Wren and the Blackcap, Great Tit and Bullfinch. The Garden Warbler was nice to have – didn’t get one at all last year and only one in 2014. Also one re-trap Reed Warbler which was ringed in early June last year also as an adult. (Roger Peart).

24th July
The most notable sightings on today’s Wetland Bird Survey (WEBS) were: 3 Common Sandpiper, 5 Lapwing (2 adult and 3 full grown juveniles among the tall herbage on riverside water meadow. Could they have bred here I wonder?) 1 Raven, and 37 Tufted Duck with 3 broods of 5, 2 and 2 ducklings. No synchronized mass hatchings yet this year (Trevor Thorpe).

23rd July
Ringing early morning was rather slow going, with just 12 new birds and 4 re-traps. New ones were: 7 Reed Warblers, 2 Chiffchaffs, Robin, juvenile Bullfinch and Great Tit. The re-traps were two Robins, both juveniles ringed earlier this summer, and 2 Wrens, both adults ringed last year. Not a lot of other birds about which was fairly unusual for this time of year. At least some Reed Warblers and Chiffchaffs have been productive. (Roger Peart).

Meanwhile, a walk round the lakes this afternoon did not produce much, but highlights were 1 Common Sandpiper, 14 Lapwing and 1 Grass Snake (my first for Longham) swimming along the edge of the rocks on the east bank by the pump house (Martin Wood).

22nd July
This morning there were 8 Common Sandpiper in one flock mobile around south lake and occasionally resting on the willows. Also 4 Sedge Warbler (Lorne Bissell).

Apparent female Scaup, Longham Lakes, Dorset 22/08/16 (Lorne Bissell).

Apparent female Scaup, Longham Lakes, Dorset 22/08/16 (Lorne Bissell).

21st July
There were 2 Common Sandpipers, 3 Common Terns and what looks like a female Scaup [left] (Lorne Bissell).

16th July
Survey work at Longham produced a Little Egret in the ‘off-limits’ south settling pools..

Invertebrates included the usual good numbers of Small Red-eyed Damselfly in the south-west pool and a few Scarce Chasers closer to the river with a good scattering of White-legged Damselfly. Also, of note, Ringlet (an excellent year for them), a Six-belted Clearwing (moth) in the grass at the extreme north end (probably checking out the Bird’s-foot Trefoil there). Also very good numbers of Lindenius panzeri (a solitary wasp) at a discrete site – possibly the best in the Dorset (Steve Morrison).

15th July
14.45-16.45: highlights were Sedge Warbler (new for Patchwork Challenge year-list), 3 Common Sandpipers, 13 Lapwing, a brood of 4 Tufted ducklings and a Grey Wagtail (Martin Wood).

7th July
Lunchtime today 4 Common Sandpipers on North Island in south lake and 2 Sand Martins (Lorne Bissell).

6th July
First Common Sandpiper of the autumn. Also good numbers of Small Red-eyed Damselflies Erythromma viridulum on the small pond just beyond the SW corner of the South Lake (George Green).

2nd July
A single Black-tailed Godwit flew over the South Lake (George Green) and a Hobby flew over (Martin Wood).

26th June
A good number of Banded Damselflies about, plus a few Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites, a Brimstone and one Red Admiral. (Martin Wood).

24th June
Walking up along the causeway there were about 30 Swifts flying this way and that and some darting past at head height after insects. I just love watching these masters of the air as they go about hawking across the lake and high in the sky specially when we have good conditions like this evening.

I decided to count the Tufted Ducks that were about across both lakes and came up with a count of c150 tuftys and 44 Coots on south lake only. The most interesting thing to happen this evening though was a Cuckoo I heard call behind Samuel’s Wood and a Fox trying to catch Woodpigeons. Other sightings were 1 Marbled White , a Cetti’s Warbler, 1 Jay, 6 House Martin, 4 Great Crested Grebe and 2 Chiffchaff singing (Martin Wood).

21st June
Sandwich Tern perched on buoy at south end of South Lake this pm (George Green).

17th June
Out on the water this evening I counted Tufted Duck – c113 on Longham Reservoir South and 60 on LR North, plus Mallards c25, Mute Swan 20 and 2 Great Crested Grebe plus the usual Coots and Herring Gulls. Along the western side up to Samuel’s Wood the best was a Cetti’s Warbler on show for a brief second or two, a Whitethroat, a singing Chiffchaff and a Peregrine (which brings my Patchwork Challenge year list up to 82 for the year). (Martin Wood).

11th June
Had a moderately good time at Longham yesterday morning with 18 new birds and three retraps. Robins were again the star performers with 9 juveniles and all three of the r-etraps (all adults, two ringed last month and the other last July as a juvenile). The other new birds were 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Dunnocks, 2 Greenfinches, 2 Bullfinches and a Song Thrush. The finches were 2 adult pairs, each pair caught together. No Reed Warblers – they have gone from the layby area and, seemingly, the clump.

Blackcaps and Reed Buntings singing around the clump but not venturing near the nets. Other interest: One Cuckoo calling to the west at 0500 gradually moved closer and then ended up just to the east of the site by 0540. At least one Mandarin heard calling flying over around 0530. One Shelduck seen flying south over the works area at 0640. NO Swifts over this time.

Several Banded Demoiselles flying about, and one Scarce Chaser.

When I set the nets up the evening before there was female Pheasant and four weakly flying young in the long vegetation on the way to the clump [first confirmed breeding record for Longham]. (Roger Peart).

8th June
Very quiet, only two Great Crested Grebes, 5 Gadwall plus the usual Coots and Tufted Ducks. 1 Shelduck on the large island, 7 Swift and 7 House Martin and a Buzzard were the best seen (Martin Wood).

2nd June
I have just had another ringing recovery. Sad but quite a nice movement (Roger Peart).

Willow Warbler
EJK898 N 3 (1st Y) 28/07/14 Longham Lakes (11), Dorset
X Dead 03/05/16 Cascob, Presteigne, Powys (188 km, NNW, 1 yr 280days)

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