Monday, 27 November 2017

American Horned Lark ( Staines Res )Sunday

Jimmy & I picked up a year tick at a very cold Rainham Marshes when we finally caught up with some Yellow-legged Gulls in mid week but I missed out on finding a needed Rock Pipit for a year tick when we decided to it was just to windy & cold so only a short time spent here, why is it always so windy & cold whenever we make it to Rainham.
On Saturday after checking with Brian that he couldn't get off work to come with us we headed off to Oare Marsh in search of the Green-wing Teal.
We arrive just after first light & spend over four hours scoping the scrape, at first with the scrape being a bit frozen there is not a lot going on with very few birds about, but as the morning warmed up a bit, many more Tern arrived & we kept scanning every thing that looked like a Tern but it never showed & there was nobody else finding it & it never got reported all day.
A couple of Common Sandpipers a pair of Goosander many many Dunlin & Redshank the odd Curlew but no sign this time of the Dowitcher.
The plan was to go to Sandwich if the Pallas's Warbler came on the pager but that never happened so being chilled to the bone it's a very disappointed sort of day.
Sunday See's Brian pick us up in his new car & we are off to Staines Reservoir in Surrey.
We found a space to park just off the road & headed up the slope to find about a hundred birders already in place & we are told where the Horned Lark is feeding, it is a long way over on the middle slope of the reservoir but with the scope we get grand views of this American visitor.
When the twitch is fairly local it is always so nice to catch up some local birders such as Harry & Stuart plus Graham J who we have had the pleasure to meet up with on the last 3 bird trips.
The Horned Lark.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Dungeness Dartford Warblers.Plus Great Egrets

With the weather set fair the three of us head off to our old favourite Dungeness, not been there much this year due to the traffic problem that we have encounted when heading back from there.
We heard that 2 Dartford Warblers had been seen around the area by the Britannia Public house, so we set about finding them & drive around that area.
Jimmy spots a Stonechat & we think that the Warblers would be some where near to that, & it's not long before we find one of the Warblers around the bottom of the bushes.
We stay in the car & the bird came near to us for a few photos & the other one soon shows as well so a good start to the day.
Off to have a look from the hide where we see 2 Great white Egrets & something that I had not seen before when a Marsh Harrier landed on a branch & then dropped into the water & just hung about there for 20 minutes or more.
A Kingfisher showed on &off but only usual stuff apart from that.
A walk on the beach watching the Gulls was nice. A report says that 6 Jack snipe had been seen at Elmley so with Brian needing a tick we head off but after a few drives up & down the main track it's a dip. We do sea a few Marsh Harrier & a group of Red-legged Partridge but not a lot about despite there being a fair amount of water about.
The Dartford Warbler
Dartford Warbler
Great White 
One of the Red-legged Partridge
One more of the Warbler

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Windy old day at Cley for Little Auk

It takes us two & a half hours to arrive at Cley today to find it is blowing a wind around 50 mph in a Westerly direction we expected these conditions & hoped for some good sea watching.
We spend over 3 hours on the car park beach & it's freezing cold before we find a bit of space in the brick shelter for some protection.
I pick up a year tick when a flock of over  30 Snow Bunting fly in & around the Shelter & over the time we are here they keep flying up & down past us.
 So a good start to the day for me.Plenty of Great Skua fly past at regular intervals & a small flock of 4 came in very close to the beach for the best views I have had of them. We expected to see a few Auks go past but all we got was just one Little Auk ,that gave us all a year tick but we hoped for a lot more.
We are really cold now so we give up our space in the shelter to head up to the visitor centre for a Bacon bap & a pot of tea & to warm up before going back to the beach for another 2 hours, but nothing is happening out at sea just a few Kittiwake & some Common Scoter plus some Gannets & nice to see a few Seals close in as the giant waves washed over them. Then a nice juvenile Glaucous Gull lands near to us on the beach.
Of course this is Brian's photo of the Glaucous Gull
We don't need one for a tick but always nice to see & it put a gloss on the day for us before we set off for home a bit disappointed but still 2 ticks pushes the year total up.
Snow Bunting

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Dusky Warbler at Sandwich.

We meet Brian at 5.30 but no decision has been made as where to go, the only bird that we needed that was not to far away was the Dusky Warbler in Kent so that's that & off we go & arrive about 7 am.
After paying the toll to drive down the private road we park up near the Chequers pub & soon spot a few people standing on a high sand mound & after joining them we hear the Warbler & it shows on & off for the next 4 hours to give us all the best views of a Dusky that we have ever had.
It was to quick for me to get my camera on so the photo of it here is one Brian took. It was freezing cold on the mound with a cold wind blowing. A bonus when a Woodcock drops down in the bushes in front of us & a small flock of Brambling fly over. Time to leave & say goodbye to a nice friendly group.
To fill the day up we head off to Oare to find it alive with hundreds of Golden Plover & Dunlin plus Black-tailed Godwit & one single Bar-tailed.
Loads of Avocet, 4 Greenshank a Purple Sandpiper & the long staying Long-billed Dowitcher.
Jimmy had a Spotted Redshank but I never got on that.
 A really nice finish to the birding day with just so many birds on show I really like Oare Marshes.
The Dusky Warbler
Long-billed Dowitcher

Monday, 30 October 2017

At last Rock Thrush ( Lifer )

Thanks to Brian Jimmy & I finely meet up with the long staying Rock Thrush.
Fighting with my heart & head, the Heart says drive the 360 mile round trip back to Gwent in Wales or as the head kept telling me over the last  couple of weeks don't be stupid it's too far for this old boy to drive, so when Brian says lets go back & get you both a lifer we jumped at the chance.
It takes us 3 hours & we arrive at 7.30 am.
About a mile walk to to the 3rd quarry is done at pace & it's smiles all round when we see the Thrush only a few yards in front of us to give Jimmy & I a nice lifer at last, we dipped a couple of weeks ago so this is sweet.
The bird has been here a few weeks now but over 100 birders showed up while we were here about 5 hours in all.Now for the long drive home but this time we have smiles on our faces 720 miles to bag this bird, when you look at it in black & white it is really mad what we do to see a bird but so much fun is had so there is the reason we do it.
Rock Thrush

Brian in happy mood waiting for the Thrush to come close, maybe thinking of the long drive home

Monday, 9 October 2017

American Wigeon at Rutland. Willow Tit at Kelham

On Sunday we hope that the Scops Owl will be found & reported  in Ryhope, so we head up to Rutland so if the Owl shows we will be half way up to Durham & can shoot off there.
After last weeks big dip we don't want to go that far without it being seen.
So a nice early visit to Rutland to look for the American Wigeon.
We park up & head to pool 2 and find Smew hide and once inside we find the Wigeon without to much trouble.
A cracking little  bird to see & only the second one we have seen, the first being in Devon a few years back.With no news of the Scops Owl we head towards home but stop off to try once more to find a Willow Tit having tried at Kelham a few times already this year & dipped we hope this time will be the one.
Brian headed off to do his own thing as he has already ticked Willow Tit while Jimmy & I watch from the hide where the feeders had been filled & plenty of birds were feeding but it's it a long time nearly 2 hours before we get a very short view of a single Willow Tit as it lands on the tree behind the feeders but never came onto the feeders & was gone very quickly but we got a good look at it for a year tick.
While here a Kingfisher kept landing on a couple of posts to give great views & a pair of Green Sandpipers landed near to us & a Snipe was also seen.
So a very pleasant weekend that got me four year ticks.
Willow Tit
The American Wigeon
American Wigeon
American Wigeon Wigeon
The friendly Kingfisher
Green Sandpipers

Wilsons Phalarope & Long-billed Dowitcher at Oare Marsh.

A quick bonus trip to Oare Marsh after Brian finished work See's us arrive around 2 o'clock.
We find the reserve packed with birders looking over a pool packed with flocks of Golden Plover & Black-tailed Godwits also Turnstones, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Red & Greenshank,3 Little Stints,2 Curlew Sandpipers,a few Ruff the place is just packed with birds.
We are not here to long when we find the long staying Long-billed Dowitcher that only I needed for a year tick & then the reason for our visit when the Wilson's Phalarope flies in & lands very close to us for a great view of this funny little bird.
This is the third Wilson's that we have seen the other two being found on the Isle of wight & one at Vange in Essex. So another year tick that we all needed made for a very nice afternoon indeed.
The Wilson's
Wilson's Phalarope
Long-billed Dowitcher