Sunday, 22 December 2013

Christmas time, Ivory Gull quite fine!

Finally managed to get over to Patrington Haven this morning to see the Juvenile Ivory Gull, unfortunately I was about 5 minutes to late to see it feeding close and the bird was sat out on the rocks when I arrived. Managed to get 'good enough' views in the scope in the brief moments the wind wasn't blowing force 10 in my face! A really big gull, looked completely white except some small black markings on the wings and mottled black around the bill, an adult bird would be entirely white. This bird is a rarity on these shores and should be in the Arctic right now! The bird was preening and flying between a couple of spots allowing me some nice flight views. Happy with what i'd seen I decided to head off, many stayed with their cameras trained on the 'feeding area' but not sure if it came back in later on.

                                                                         Ivory Gull

Next up I decided to try my luck with the Green-Winged Teal at North Cave Wetlands. Only a handful of people were in the hide when I arrived and they'd not seen the bird, suffice to say I was worried. We spent a good half hour scanning hundreds of common Teal when a gentleman managed to pick out the bird which was hiding behind a female teal. The big differences between common and Green-Winged Teal is the white 'stripe'. On the Green winged teal it is vertical not far from the breast, on the common it runs horizontally along the lower scapulars. See photo below, the bird in the bottom right is a male common teal, notice the white stripe along the scapulars; the Green-Winged Teal is the bird in the centre of the image with the vertical white stripe on the breast. Again this is a rarity in the UK, a bird which breeds in North America and winters further south in the USA and below. It may be that both these birds have been brought here by the recent storms.

                                                       Green-Winged Teal & Common Teal

A very enjoyable day, didnt think I would manage to get any more birding in before the new year so 2 lifers in a day was definitely a bonus!

Merry Christmas to all my blog followers, hope you all have a wonderful time and best wishes for 2014. As most of you will know i've got a little one on the way in mid February so I dont think my blog will be too active in 2014! Thanks for reading my blog in 2013 I hope its been informative and enjoyable! 

Friday, 29 November 2013

A bit late.... Cornwall Oct 13

I've been meaning to do a blog on my visit to cornwall for some time now but one thing and another seems to have conspired against me! I'll keep it short and sweet and just post some photos!
I spent lots of time at Hayle Estuary but didnt see much other than the usual stuff unfortunately!

On my second day I headed to penzance early morning and sat on my own in morrisons car park, I know it sounds odd but with good reason! A juvenile Rose-Coloured-Starling eventually gave itself up but was very elusive and flighty, saw the bird twice but no photographs! I moved on to long rock Marazion and managed to see this fantastic Great Northern Diver in summer plumage.

                                                                  Great Northern Diver

A few from Hayle Estuary

                                                                Common Buzzard
Bar Tailed Godwits

After the big storm had blown in a Hermits Thrush turned up at Porthgwarra, talk about being in the right place at the right time! I managed to see the bird a few ttimes in fading light on the evening of the day it was found, it was too dark for photos though!

The next day I got news of a juvenile White Rumped Sandpiper at Marazion so I headed out early. Myself and two other birders were the only ones there and after a long walk we managed to locate the bird on the incoming tide with a Dunlin. After lots of umming and aaah ing the bird started to bob in the typical sandpiper way which along with other features (scapular v's, white rump) confirmed we were looking at the right bird!

                                           White Rumped Sanpiper (L) & Dunlin (R)

And a few more from Hayle Estuary...

                                                     Oystercatcher with Redshank, Lapwing

Hopefully next time i'll get around to uploading sooner!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Spurn Point 12.10.13

With a spare day I decided a days birding was in order, I visited North Cave wetlands early in the morning looking for the Little Ringed Plover which has been present for some time, unfortunately it had cleared out ahead of the cold and wet weather! I did enjoy watching a stoat causing havoc with the wildfowl whilst chasing a hare around near the waters edge! Present on island lake were Snipe, Teal, Mallard, Pintail, Little Grebe and Black-Headed Gulls. After half an hour and seeing the news coming through of more and more stuff turning up at Spurn Point there was only one option, so off I went (not before a stonkingly good bacon and egg sandwich from the catering van thats usually on site, not to be missed!).

Arriving at spurn the weather seemed perfect, drizzle with easterly winds, perfect for migrating birds getting blown off course and ditching at the first sight of land because of the poor conditions. There were plenty of other birders present some fairly big groups along the road to the Crown and Anchor Pub, so I walked up the road to join them in looking for the reported Firecrest. Im quite certain I heard the bird call but was unable to locate it, however there were big numbers of Goldcrest present, my favourite little bird so this was a bit of a treat in itself for me!

                                        Goldcrest - you can see where the name comes from!

Another bird present in much bigger numbers (in the hundreds) were Redwing which were seen constantly arriving throughout the day, along with Blackbirds, Fieldfare & Song Thrush.


Moving on down the road and heading down to the 'triangle' I found quite a few Chiffchaffs together on the ground feeding on what they could get, they seemed to be everywhere! Then I was alerted to the presence of a bird i've not seen before, a Black Redstart seen just around the corner! I quickly went to look for the bird and was in luck as it hung around for quite some time.

                                                                   Black Redstart

Walking further down the triangle more winter thrushes were arriving and news filtered through of a Great Grey Shrike! It took me a while to locate the bird with the help of Martin from the Spurn team. The bird was too far away to photograph in the poor visibility but I could make out the grey bird and the mask through the scope. I heard a message coming through on the radio that a Long-Eared Owl was at the car park of the Crown and Anchor, so I quickly re-traced my steps! From further up the path I looked back & realised the Shrike was out in the open & I managed to get a better view of the bird in the scope.

Eventually arriving back at the pub car park I could see the Long-Eared Owl with the naked eye, a very big bird sat roosting safely in the distance. Sorry about the rubbish quality photos, it was very difficult to get any good shots in the bad weather.

                                                                    Long-Eared Owl

After some great views of the owl (another bird I hadn't seen before) I walked back down the triangle. By this time the tide was starting to go out and on the shoreline there were plenty of dunlin, knot, ringed plover, a grey plover and a Black Tailed Godwit.

As I walked down to Canal Scrape hide I flushed a Great Spotted Woodpecker, one of 3 I saw throughout the day. Arriving at the hide all seemed pretty quiet until a Jack Snipe appeared in the distance, I managed to get on the bird and observed it bobbing away! A while later while the rain lashed down and the hide filled up another Great Grey Shrike showed up! I managed to get much better views than the one seen earlier, result! Another Jack Snipe was found on the opposite side of the scrape, a bird I managed to see again much better when I returned a couple of hours later.

                                                           Jack Snipe (phone scoped)
                                              Watch my video of the Jack Snipe bobbing HERE

Leaving the hide I walked down to the Warren to see if anything was about but it seemed very quiet and the conditions seemed to be getting worse, though I did find this very tired looking Brambling on the path, I took a couple of quick photos and left the bird to rest after its long journey.


I dropped in to the seawatching hut but it was pretty dead there too so I walked north back up the coastline to the Blue Bell Cafe for a well earned Lunch! I tried again for the firecrest but to no avail so I returned to Canal Scrape to see if anything else was about and was rewarded with clearer views of the Jack Snipe (see above).

A very rewarding day, really enjoyable despite the constant rain and cold! Looking forward to my next trip to Spurn already!

Until next time....

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Horwich - Bolton : Glossy Ibis

Not in the LDV! These 4 Glossy Ibis were at Horwich in Bolton feeding in an upland field. Far from their home in Africa these wading birds usually associated with marshland seemed oblivious to us standing the other side of the wall and got closer and closer. Fantastic views and a lifer for me! A few photos below.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Evening walk Bubwith - Aughton

I decided to go for an evening walk along the river today, a very pleasant day and felt warm for this time of year. Little about bird wise but an enjoyable walk on a route i've not done before.

34 meadow pippits were picked up on the walk, with many currently passing through the area on migration.

                                                                     Aughton Church
                                                                        River Derwent

Also along the way were 2 Moorhen, 1 Gadwall & 2 juvenile Little Grebe. 3 Cormorant flew overhead and one Common Buzzard.

                                                                Common Buzzard

Lots of aviation going on today, many will know im a bit of an enthusiast, so a low very low overhead pass by one with the pilot waving was a bit of treat for me!

                                                     Not sure what this is but it looked nice!
                               couple of Bat sp flying around before the light was lost, anyone able to ID?

This morning in my Garden:

                                                              Brimstone Butterfly (male)