Passing Milestone 100

As you will know from my last post, things on the patch have been excellent so far this year with an abundance of migrants. Luckily for me, they show little sign of slowing down.

This past week, me and Katie have been dog-sitting Ozzy, the King Charles Cav. He’s a wonderful little dog but the 5am wake up calls can get tedious! It was Friday morning when I decided I’d take Ozzy down to the Serpentine Lake to see what was occurring. I am guilty of not visiting this lake often enough, however most of the birding is best around James’ Pond and Orton Brick Pit and with the limited time I have, I prefer to focus my efforts. Regardless, I’m glad I made the detour on Friday as I managed to pick up my first group of Common Tern, flying high over the lake. These birds are usually numerous in Hampton but the few birds which have been around so far this year, seem to only pass through. I imagine the reason for this is water levels. Terns need a suitable island or raft to land and, at the minute, there’s just not enough exposed earth on Serpentine to accommodate them. I wonder if a tern raft would be a worthwhile installation in the Hamptons? The water levels are definitely dropping however as the island on serpentine played host to Grey Heron, Cormorant, Herring Gull and Shoveler that morning. I do fear though it will be too late by the time it reduces enough for Terns to use. While checking the Terns for Arctic, I became aware of a brief and raspy song from the willows, west of the wooden bridge. Further listening confirmed it to be Common Whitethroat, my first and only record for Hampton, surprisingly!

Common tern

Common Tern – Image taken from Google.

Common whitethroat

Common Whitethroat – Image taken from Google

The best bird of the past week however came at 22:30 last night. Following my usual ritual of letting Ozzy out before I go to bed, I headed out the front door and over to the circle bench on the north side of James’ Pond. It’s usually a quiet and peaceful time of night in these parts but not last night. Immediately, I became aware of an incredibly loud and melodic song, definitely a song bird… in the middle of the night! The time, combined with the utterly beautiful array of notes coming from this bird, confirmed straight away that it was a Nightingale. These birds can be tricky in Britain compared to mainland Europe, they’re not showy and unless you hear them, you will probably never know they are there. The bird continued to sing for a further 15 minutes, allowing me to get back into the flat, open the window and tick it on my flat list too! My morning walk with Ozzy this morning was, again, met by the song of the Nightingale. This time I was able to track it down to the corner of County Road, high on the hill bordering Orton Brick Pit. The bird sat in the middle of an open bush singing brashly before I got too close and it retreated into the undergrowth.

Common Nightingale

Common Nightingale – An unusually drab bird for such an astonishingly beautiful voice.

A great record for Hampton and subsequently, on checking my lists, this puts me on 102 birds for Hampton, it’s amazing how much turns up in this suburban sprawl!

Current lists for the year:

  • Britain – 126
  • Peterborough – 125
  • Hampton – 92
  • Flat – 44

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