Monday, 3 March 2014

Isle of Wight Weekend

Sarah and I spent the weekend on the Isle of Wight visiting my family. Early morning starts allowed a little birding and some visits to some old haunts. Saturday 1st March was a beautiful still and spring-like day and I visited Newtown Harbour and the Western Yar at Yarmouth. The spring weather sparked a great deal of pre-breeding activity with many of the wildfowl displaying and Black-headed Gulls calling and mating.

Newtown Harbour, Simon Colenutt
Newtown Harbour (Simon Colenutt)

There was a nice (albeit a little distant for photography) gathering of Mediterranean Gull off the boathouse and these were in high spirits giving their distinct and far carrying 'Keouw' calls and walking around pigeon chested chasing off any Black-headed Gull that approached too closely.

Mediterranean Gulls - Simon Colenutt
Mediterranean Gulls (Simon Colenutt)

Most of the Mediterranean Gull were in near summer plumage as can be seen below where five birds from a flock of 12 are present.

Mediterranean Gulls - Simon Colenutt
Mediterranean Gulls (Simon Colenutt)

Whereas the Black-headed Gulls seemed to show a greater variation in their progression to full summer plumage as the image below shows with the central bird in near full breeding dress while the uppermost bird shows no sign of progressing from winter plumage. The other birds show a range of plumage stages between the two extremes. A first winter bird is present to the right of centre.

Black-headed Gulls - Simon Colenutt
Black-headed Gulls (Simon Colenutt)

A walk to the Needles produced excellent views of Raven and Peregrine and my first butterfly of the year, a Peacock.

Needles - Simon Colenutt
Needles (Simon Colenutt)

Back at my Dad's house the first Frog spawn of the year had appeared and based on its condition looks to have been laid in the last few days.

Frog Spawn (Simon Colenutt)

On Sunday another early start and inspired by Saturdays weather I was convinced that I would find my first Wheatear of the year but it was not to be. A seawatch from the lighthouse in strong south-west winds produced little but for three Common Scoter, two Kittiwake and 12 Red-throated Diver moving east. The bushes were devoid of any migrants, not even a Chiffchaff to show for my efforts. The only excitement was a close view of a hovering Buzzard but the light levels were not high enough to get a decent shutter speed and the image below is on the soft side.

St. Catherines Point (Simon Colenutt)
St.Catherine's Point (Simon Colenutt)

Buzzard, St. Catherines Point - Simon Colenutt
Buzzard (Simon Colenutt)