Tuesday, 14 November 2017

11th/12th November 2017

Was about to head out the door yesterday when news came in of a possible italian sparrow at East Budleigh, Devon. Well I had to take a look! When I arrived at about 2:30pm, there were plenty of sparrows entering and leaving the garden and things were looking promising. 30 minutes in and it starting pouring. I waited until 4pm, but the birds were refusing to show in the poor weather, so I decided to head home and try again tomorrow.

I got up early morning and managed to break my phone scoping adapter, good start. Arrived on site at around 8:30am. A short look from the same spot from yesterday produced only a few sparrows. A number of birders had walked further up the road where the bird had also been reported. As they hadn't come back yet, I decided to head up. Quite a few people were at the top end. A large number of sparrows could be heard across the gardens, but very few were visible. After most of the birders had moved off, the call went up. After a bit of searching through the scope, I was watching the potential ITALIAN SPARROW! I waited until 12:30, in which time the bird only showed a couple more times before the feeders ran dry. It was surprisingly distinctive with it's gleaming white cheeks, brown crown, small bib and white in-front and behind of the eye. Needless to say, I failed to get a record shot by free-hand through the scope.

The classification of these birds seems somewhat confused, I'll be sure to do some more complete research into this if/when I get time. None-the-less, I'm very glad I went and saw this - birding isn't just about ticks!

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

4th November 2017

Had a look fromt the Moreton hide at Chew Valley Lake today. Although I heard multiple water pipits, I failed to locate any. The only other highlights were at least 15 Great White Egrets, 2 Goldeneye and a Roe Deer with two young.

Pheasant - Chew Valley Lake

Roe Deer - Chew Valley Lake

Monday, 30 October 2017

29/30th October 2017

Headed down to Ninesprings Lake yesterday morning for the first time since January (I really need to spend more time on patch next year!). The highlight were high numbers of Water Rails. There is one regular bird every winter, but today I saw 2 on the Lake plus a 3rd which was heard only, and a probable 4th heard calling from the river. Oddly, no mandarins were present on the lake, though 2 Little Grebes, 1 fly-through Kingfisher and a Grey Heron were on offer, and the intermittent blue-winged goose was again present. There was little of note away from the lake with nothing better than 2 Nuthatches and a few Raven overhead. On the drive back to the house I had a female Kestrel in the fields between Brimsmore and Longcroft.

Walking into work this morning proved to be a good decision as I had a flyover Lesser Redpoll, my first in Yeovil this year.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

26th October 2017

Decided to head down to Longham Lakes this afternoon to try for the lesser scaup. I saw the Chew/Blagdon bird a couple times, but it was always too distant or breif to get any decent shots. Also it was in eclipse, so a showy male bird would do my nicely.

Thankfully, the LESSER SCAUP was showing well on arrival on the North Lake, allowing me to get some decent shots through the scope. It was associating with tufted ducks, so it was nice to get some comparison shots as well.

LESSER SCAUP - Longham Lakes

Upperwing shot.

Head profile compared to Tufted Duck

Sunday, 22 October 2017

21st October 2017

No proper birding today, but had some great views of a Sparrowhawk in my Grandparents back garden.


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

17th October 2017

I checked my phone this afternoon and saw the dreaded mega alert, the possible arctic warbler at St Aldhelm's Head had been reidentified as a two-barred warbler! The 7th British record of this taxon due to be adopted by the BOU next January. With the weather so poor, and only two reports in the last three days, I was torn between going or putting in extra hours at work and hoping it stayed until tomorrow. I made that mistake once already this year so I eventually decided to give it a punt.

I arrived on site, and a birder informed me that the bird was still showing. I walked/ran the mile to St Aldhelm's Quarry where a crowd of 30 or so birders were spaced along the road. As soon as I arrived, another birder was watching the bird, however it was moving quickly. After a couple fleeting view of what was apparently the bird, I locked eyes on something with a supercillium and wing bars. A few seconds later and the TWO-BARRED WARBLER popped up again, this time working its way along the the top of the vegetation. A very striking bird with whiter underparts, brighter upperparts and an even more obvious supercilium than last months greenish.

The weather was getting pretty bad at this point, and with such a tight crowd it would be impossible to set up my scope to get some shots. Having had pretty good views already, I decided to head home. At least one Firecrest was all else of note. Very glad I made the effort to get this, as it's my first mega old-world warbler. When the bird was showing, probably only a third of us managed to get onto the bird, as there is little space to view the quarry, so it could be a bit tricky for the larger crowds in the coming days.

15th October 2017 (Kent)

Got to Oare Marshes around 8:30 this morning, and soon after arrival the WILSON'S PHALAROPE was refound on East Flood. The light was pretty terrible, so I decided to stick around for a bit, in which time I refound the LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER which promptly disappeared into thin air, plus a couple of Little Stints also on East Flood.

LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER and WILSON'S PHALAROPE - Oare Marshes

Eventually the light started to improve, and I managed some passable record shots of the Phalarope. Also of note were 3 Bearded Reedlings, a Water Rail and an overdue year tick in the form of a Curlew Sandpiper.

WILSON'S PHALAROPE - Oare Marshes

Curlew Sandpiper - Oare Marshes

Bearded Reedling - Oare Marshes

My first visit here, but I was impressed with the number of species on offer in such a small area, a very nice little reserve.