Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Long-billed Dowitcher

Today it really felt as though Spring had arrived. We were off down to Pennington to look for the Long-billed Dowitcher. It wasn't exactly warm but the sun was shinning, the sky was blue, and there was no wind, and for the first time this year the birds seemed to be out singing and marking out their territories.

On the walk down to the lagoons from the car park we had Linnets, that I didn't manage to photograph, a Reed Bunting and even a Wren happy too be sitting out in the open singing.

Reed Bunting


Waders were in short supply, as they have been for most of this Winter, but the comparison of this Spotted Redshank and Redshank made an interesting picture.

Spotted Redshank and Redshank

Spotted Redshank

A search for the Long-billed Dowitcher found it sleeping in the reeds along side three Snipe. It looked promising when we first spotted it but it wasn't until it raised its head and revealed the bill that we could be sure.

Long-billed Dowitcher and three Snipe

We watched it for a while and it was beginning to look as though it would not leave the cover of the reeds. Luckily a low flying Lapwing spooked the Snipe and the Dowitcher took to the air with them. I would normally have expect it to head deeper into cover.

The flight shot gives a good view of the white cigar shape on its back.

Long-billed Dowitcher - showing cigar shaped white mark on its back

The bird did not travel far and was soon heading back to its favoured resting place in the reeds

Long-billed Dowitcher

With the shot below showing the greenish/yellow legs and truncated bill with slightly down turned end.

and heading back to the reeds

Next stop was at Mark Ash wood in the New Forest but our usually reliable Tawny Owl seems to have moved on and our quick search for a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker revealed no sighting and no sound of drumming. Perhaps still a little too early in the year and certainly a little late in the day.

Next stop was Eyeworth Pond at Fritham. The small birds are always easy to photograph here  as they are very tame and use to visitors providing them with food. The only difficulty is getting a decent shot of the bird without piles of seeds getting in the way.

There are usually Mandarins on display although they tend to stay on the far side and shelter under the trees but the bonus on this visit were four Goosanders, three male and one female.


Goosander and Mandarin Duck

Goosander and Mandarin Duck

Mandarins escorting the female.

We had great fun watching and photographing these and there were a number of flight shots that nearly made the grade but in the end were all consigned to the bin. It is amazing how different the male Mandarin looks in flight.

Then it was back to the feeding station and a few shots of the more common birds.

Great Tit

Great Tit

Marsh Tit

Marsh Tit


A great days birding with, for a change, some decent lighting for the photography.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see you got your Marsh Tit at Eyeworth Martin...I've been there a few times.