Sunday, 11 June 2017

Elegant Tern for lifer at Church Norton W Sussex.

Despite Brian having a bad back & not looking like he would make it today, the thought of missing out on a lifer was to much for him to take, so we meet up & head to Pagham Harbour in the hope that the Elegant Tern had hung about for another day.
We arrive at 7 am & get lucky when we get parked at the church & that is only a very short walk to join the 30 or so birders already looking across to  the Tern colony.
They soon get us onto the Tern as it flies along the fence line & then back again to land out of sight in the long grass.
This is the pattern for the next hour until it flies a bit closer to us & lands but only showing it's head but that gives us great views of it's beak.
It then takes off & flies across the front of the now much larger crowd & heads out of sight over the beach & for the next two hours it never came back.
So with a nice lifer in the bag it's off home leaving a very large crowd waiting for it's return.

Part of the large crowd 300 or more over a few hours.
Brian's record shot

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Honey Buzzard Acres Down New Forest.

Meeting up at 5.30 with Brian we make a very late decision on route to head off to the New Forest in search of Honey Buzzard.
Arriving at Acres Down around 8 o'clock we park up & join two other birders over looking the valley, there had been no sighting of the Buzzard but one of the fellows tells us that he had great views of one yesterday,so we set up the scopes & wait.
A couple of Goshawks show & a couple of Common Buzzard keep us interested, then around 10 o'clock with at least 20 people here now the cry goes up Honey Buzzard coming towards us & it was a dark colour & not the one they had yesterday,the only trouble was all three of us couldn't spot it & it had gone out of sight behind the trees.
Felt a bit miffed about that as you don't know if that is the only sight there is going to be today.
But all of a sudden we all get on the lighter one as it comes out of the clouds & we get a long view of it as it flies lower & we think it is on the way towards us when a single Goshawk decides to attack it & that goes on for quite a few minutes to give us all great scope views of both birds but it eventually sends the Buzzard away & it never returned while we were here. But we do see a low flying Peregrine which was nice.
A walk around the woods gets us a view of a Wood Warbler & a year tick when we see 2 male & a female Redstart.
 So a good decision to come here a long drive but you don't see Honey Buzzard & Goshawk that often so well worth the drive.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Corncrake at Avecote pools Warks.

Up & out at 3.15 am to head up the M1 to Avecote Pools Warks, junction 11 to 12 was shut at Dunstable so we had a 40 minute horrible detour following large lorries through the town meaning that we never arrived till around 6 am, just 3 birders were already standing at the gate at the corner of Polesworth Road & Linden Lane, the bird had been heard a few times over the last hour that they had been here.
It only took 5 minutes before we hear the Corncrake calling to give Jimmy & myself a lifer tick but unfortunately after staying 3 hours we never got to see the bird,it was calling on & off frequently but we could never quite pin down where it's call was coming from, the birders that were here spread around the field & each one of us thought the bird was just in front of them each time it called.
A bit disappointed not to have seen it but still nice to be here to hear it.
We head off to get a year tick with the Osprey at Rutland Waters.
On route we pop into Kelham Bridge in the hope of getting a Willow Tit year tick, once in the hide we discover that the feeders are empty apart from one that had fat balls in & some birds were coming into feed but we never get to see or hear any Willow Tits .
We meet up with one of the fellows that puts out the food & he tells us that he had taken a few of the feeders down a couple of weeks ago & it was a cheaper option to use the fat balls as they do not get any funding & the birds were finding natural food & so the feeders are being cleaned ready for when they are needed, good on him I say not easy to keep on using your own money & time over a long period of time & although we only get to go there once a year for the Willow Tits we always seem to meet up with him.
On now to tick the Osprey's at Rutland Waters, we  park up in the lay-by on the A6003 at Manton Bay to get ourselves great scope views of the Male & female with a couple of chicks that were visible in the nest.A long drive for me & only 2 ticks but one a lifer & you can never get enough of watching Osprey's so well pleased.

Such a long way off for my camera but a record shot.The male Osprey

Monday, 29 May 2017

Marsh Warbler Lakenheath + Wood Warbler Brandon.

A nice early start See's us roll up at Lakenheath around 6 o'clock. It's a long walk down past Joist hide for about half a mile, only one fellow was about & he had not seen  the Marsh Warbler but we found it within minutes as it started singing & then showed very well & gave us great views for the next couple of hours along with many Reed Bunting & Reed Warblers plus lots of Cetti's calling along with some  Whitethroat we are well entertained. A Bittern pops up not to far away from us & a Cuckoo flies over head.
Brian picks up a year tick on the way back when we hear a Grasshopper Warbler then we stop off at the open hide & get great views of another Bittern just a few feet away as it flies just a little distance along the reed bed.A Kingfisher gives a good display & another couple of Bittern display along the tree line.
Next up we see a Hobby & hear & see more Cuckoos plus a few Marsh Harrier, down by the car park Jimmy & I get a tick with a Garden Warbler.
It's off to Brandon now hoping to see the Wood Warbler that has been around for about a week.
Brian finds the woods without any trouble but not a lot of parking space but with that sorted it's a short walk into the wood & we can hear the bird & we are soon getting great views as well.
Brian managed to get a few photos of both the Wood Warbler & the Marsh Warbler as shown below.

Marsh Warbler
Wood Warbler at Brandon

Monday, 15 May 2017

Turtle Dove,Little Stint in Norfolk.

After a week away with Jean in Devon I managed to make a visit to Labrador Bay to get a year tick when I get to see a few Cirl Bunting.
On returning home Jimmy & I meet up with Brian & head to Norfolk on a rainy morning with the weather forecast promising to brighten up later on.
First stop is Choseley where Brian is hoping to see the Dotterel that were reported,we pull up just past the drying barns but it's raining a steady drizzle & as Brian is the only one of us that needs to see them for a year tick he is the one to get wet trying to spot them,it's not long before he has them in the scope, it's then time for us to jump out of the car & get a nice day tick to start the day off well.
Also seen while here are Red-legged & Grey Partridge plus Corn Bunting & Yellow Hammer before heading off to Titchwell.
 The weather as promised is now much better as we head to Island hide, once inside we spot a few Common,Sandwich & Little Tern the latter needed for a year tick.
It took a little longer to find a Little Stint as it walked about with many Little & Ringed Plover plus a single Sandling,the Stint also needed for a year tick.
A walk up to the beach produces very little with just a few Scoters & maybe a Velvet or two but we didn't spot them but someone called them.
Down by the picnic tables on the way out a Spotted Flycatcher is seen in the Oak trees, then we hear the purring of a Turtle Dove round by the car park.
On reaching the car park we see a Turtle Dove showing really well at the top of a tree for some really great views.
On the way home we pop into Fen Drayton Lakes in Cambridge in the hope of seeing the Red-footed Falcon but after two hours it's a no show but we do get a year tick when several Hobby circle over the lake.So a good day getting me 5 year ticks & not to wet.
Cirl Buntings
The Turtle Dove

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Arctic Tern at King George Res

After a couple of trips over the K G R that only produced Common Tern & a single Kittiwake  that is quite rare for here & had the local birders running around to see it, we kept missing the Arctic Terns, but late this afternoon as soon as it was put on bird guides we shot over to the Reservoir & found a couple of them flying over the south basin & then landing on a small boat to give us a year tick & good scope views.
Also seen 3 common Sandpipers along with many Swift,Sand Martin & Swallows.

The Kittiwake

Kentish Plover at Pitstone Quarry.

On Sunday Jimmy & myself head off to Abberton Reservoir looking for the Bonaparte's Gull.
Lodge Lane has been the best place to see it from,we give it a good couple of hours but there is no sign & no reports on the pager of it being anywhere else on the reservoir.
We do pick up a Black Tern for a tick.
News of a Kentish Plover comes on the pager & it's only 30 miles away at Walton-on the Naze at a place called Stone point,so this pair of idiots drive to the Naze to be told that the Point is a two hour walk & we would have to watch out for the in coming tide, so that's a no go for me,as it turns out a couple of birders that had walked down there tell us that it's a false lead & there is no sign of any Plover so don't waste our time.So not the best day birding that we have ever had but one tick is better than none.
On Monday another Kentish Plover is reported nearer to home at Pitstone Quarry on the Herts Bucks
So 50 minutes later we have found the roundabout where we have been asked to park along the grass verges, we are now only a hundred yards away from the crowd that had gathered to see the Plover over looking the Quarry.
The bird was very hard to find as it was right over the far bank & was walking about on light sand but a fellow gets us onto it to give us a great tick after yesterdays failure.
Even then if you came off the Plover it was really hard to get back onto it.People were arriving all the time & it was a large crowd with cars parked all around the verges & I must say what a nice group of people they were.                                          

 A long way off the Kentish Plover
Some of Birders plus my head & Jimmy's arm
Where the Plover was seen over looking Pitstone Quarry