Saturday, 30 May 2015

30th May 2015

Returned to Lodmoor today to look for the Purple Heron, but didn't locate it until we left at 20:00hrs, when it started to rain. However, did see 3 marsh  harriers, a whimbral, 2 sanderling (2 in summer plumage), whitethroat and raven.

Monday, 25 May 2015

25th May 2015

Took the two-hour drive to Titchfield Haven to arrive at 0935 hrs. Parked at the reserve end, but coudn't locate the greater yellowlegs. After hearing that the bird had been seen at the north of the flood, it was late enough that it would take longer to walk out there than it would for the tide to go down, which hopefully the bird would follow. Then I remembered reading that the footpath along the flood could be accessed from bridge street in Titchfield village. We drove up there and walked south for about a mile, where a group of birders were watching the GREATER YELLOWLEGS amongst Black-Tailed Godwits, and was very vocal. Unfortunatly, it flew south alone towards Titchfield Haven before I could get any decent pictures of it.

We rushed back down to the southern end and headed to the Suffern Hide where 2 birders had already picked it up on the far right of the hide. Fortunatly, the bird flew closer and started feeding just in front of the hide, allowing a much better photo opportunity.

Also at Titchfield Haven, I had Sandwich Tern, 2+ Avocets and plenty of common terns.

Next stop was Water Meadow, Wareham. We had a Jay and yet another Red Kite, increasing my year total so far to 12!

Eventually, the RED-FOOTED FALCON showed at close range in front of us, however its appearances were brief, quick flybys, so it was tricky to keep up using my camara.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

24th May 2015

Stopped off at herriott's Chew Valley Lake this morning, and had a sleeping male garganey at the rear of heriott's pool.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

23rd May 2015

First stop this morning was to see the American Golden Plover at Exminster Marshes, which was pointed out by some birders on the road-side as soon as we arrived. However, it was very distant and ussually only the head was visible.

We were told that a gull-billed tern was seen earlier at bowling green marsh, so we quickly headed over there only to find that it had flown into the estuary half an hour ago. Only other birds of note here were 2 ravens, a greenshank and good numbers of bar-tailed godwit and whimbrel.

Stopped off at Darts Farm for some lunch and were treated to a group of 3 flyover red kites, increasing my total to 11 so far this year.

After hearing that the gull-billed tern had been seen again breifly at Exminster Marsh, we decided to have another look there. Had the american golden plover again but more distantly and in poorer light. Also had at least 1 distant red kite, probably one of the same birds that I had earlier.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

19th May 2015

Had a Red Kite over the house this afternoon, first one I've seen here for over a year.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

16th May 2015

Went back to Portland Bill today. Sea watching produced a distant Great Skua, 7 gannets as well as the usual guillemots, razorbills and fulmars. A hobby in the top fields again was the only other bird of note. Ferrybridge produced goods numbers of Little Tern and Bar-Tailed Godwit at long range but I didn't walk out very far.

After hearing that a Red-Rumped Swallow had flew west past Lodmoor, we headed there (though we weren't able to get there until an hour after) only to find that it hadn't been seen again. We then rushed over to Radipole Lake in the hope that it might have lingered, but still no sign despite increased number of hirundines. We headed back to Lodmoor to look for the Purple Heron but didn't locate it before we had to leave at 1800 hrs. Did have at least 3 common terns - much lower numbers than have breeding here in previous years.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

9th May 2015

Headed to Portland Bill this morning, but failed to find the Tawny Pipit in 2 hours. Managed little else; singles of kittiwake and hobby.

Also watched briefly from chesil cove but found very little. A watch from Ferrybridge produced good numbers of Little Terns, oystercatcher ringed plover, dunlin and sanderling and singles of knot, turnstone and whimbrel.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

3rd May 2015

Returned to Shapwick Heath today to get some better pictures of the HUDSONIAN GODWIT. Also had a pair of Garganey, a Great White Egret, a Bittern and my first hobby, ruff and swifts of the year from Meare Heath Scrape:

From Noah's Hide, had 3 common terns and a cetti's warbler.

On the Ham Wall side, had a further 6+ hobbys, 3 Great White Egrets, 1 Bittern and another cetti's warbler. Also my first Cuckoo of the year was seen distantly from the 1st Viewing Platform.

Cetti's Warbler

Friday, 1 May 2015

28th April 2015

Went to Sutton Bingham Res to try and ID the female/hybrid ferruginous duck on the west pool this evening, but didn't see it - The lighting was bad enough that through the scope I couldn't distinguish between land from the water at the back of the pool. Didn't manage anything better than 3 Mandarins that flew over the road, my second sighting so far this year.

25th April 2015

The original plan was to go and look for the pied-billed grebe in Gloucestershire this morning, but I almost had a heart attack when I saw that a HUDSONIAN GODWIT had been present at Meare Heath Scrape!!! We headed up there as quickly as we could, and fortunately, the bird was still showing when we arrived.

Hudsonian Godwit is an American Species, and is Incredibly rare in the Western Palearctic, this individual represents only the 7th record, and only the 3rd record in Britain; the last occurance was in Yorkshire 1988 - 27 years ago!

I was very happy with seeing this, as I haven't had a Mega since the brunnich's guillemot in Dorest, Decemeber 2013.

Terrible Picture of a Brilliant Bird! (dark individual in background)

A quick scan of the scrape also produced Wood Sandpiper, greenshank, redshank and dunlin, and a common tern flew over towards Noah's Lake. Had a good selection of warblers including Wood Warbler, blackcap, garden warbler and whitethroat.

18th April 2015

We headed to Greylake this afternoon, quite quickly picked up 1 of about 3 Yellow Wagtails. Also saw 2 drake Garganey (though another drake and a female were also present apparently) which showed at fairly close range, but spent most of its time in under vegetation.

I eventually located the Green-Winged Teal amongst Common Teal at the back of the marsh. It shortly after hid behind vegetation, but kept coming back out every so often, each time further round to the right. More and more birders gradually entered the hide, and most of them were onto the bird when I left.

7th April 2015 (Norfolk)

This morning, had a willow tit briefly from the garden of the house we were staying in, as well as a pair of flyover oystercatchers. Unfortunately, we didn't manage any tree sparrows on this trip. I had one in the garden briefly about the same time last year. On the return journey, we had no less than 5 Red Kites: 1 over the local heath, 1 over the M25 through London, 2 over the M3 near London and 1 over the road near Chicklade.

An awful attempt at photographing a kite from the car window.

5th April 2015 (Norfolk)

Went to Lynford Arboretum this afternoon, where we picked up a pair of Hawfinches feeding on the ground along with chaffinches and at least 2 brambling.


After this, I went further into the arboretum, and after following calls for about 20 minutes, I managed to spot a Firecrest. Also heard a second firecrest, and had several Siskin and a Marsh Tit.

Next stop was Grime's Graves to look for another Great Grey Shrike. We drove to ride 24 only to find the route blocked off. We decided instead to head to the north end by the car park, and walk south, however by this time it was getting dark and it was paid entry, so reluctantly, we accepted that we had dipped on this species for the second time this week.
By chance, as we we're driving out, the Great Grey Shrike was right there on the road side - about a mile from where it had been reported!

Driving back, we had 2 egyptian goose and 3 shelduck in a field, and 2 albino pheasants on the heath local to where we were staying.

4th April 2015 (Norfolk)

We headed to the seafront at Weybourne, and located the Iceland Gull in the second field, but it was surprisingly flightly, and flew over to the next to field as we approached. Eventually it settled down and allowed some better pictures before it flew west on the sea.

On our return to the car park, another birder had managed to locate one of the Lapland Buntings in the 2nd field, and I was surprised to see that it was almost summer-plumaged. The bird later joined up with a second bird, again a near summer-plumaged male.

As we returned to the car park, we had yet another surprise in the way of a pair of Eider flying east on the sea, and also a male goosander. Also a mediterranean gull near the car park.

Walked along Blakney Quey towards Cley, had little more than a marsh harrier, a bar-tailed godwit and 3 avocets.

3rd April 2015 (Norfolk)

Travelled back up to Norfolk again yesterday to visit relatives. On the way, we had only 1 Red Kite going through London. Driving through the local heath near our desination, I spotted a Barn Owl in a road side field, so we pulled over, and I got out and took some photos. Also present was an albino pheasant.

Being out in the country, the back garden gets far more visitors than we get back home, so I took some time to photograph some commoner species.

Today, we stopped off at Roydon Common to look for the Great Grey Shrike without success, however we did have singles of Grey Partridge and Goshawk, and two settled canada geese looking very out of place. We also heard several woodlark, but failed to see any.

29th March 2015

We went on a 10-hour birding trip along the south coast today. An early start got us to Dunsford NR, just west of Exeter by about 0815 hrs. Our target birds were dippers and lesser-spotted woodpeckers, but saw neither. I think the poor weather probably put off the woodpeckers, but not really sure how we didn't manage a single dipper. Only other birds of note here was a female Goosander on the river, plenty of marsh tits and at least 1 calling willow tit.

Our next stop was Branscombe Sewage Works to look for a yellow-browed warbler and a firecrest. There were a few chiffchaffs as we arrived, and gradually more started to appear along with goldcrests and a single treecreeper. Things started to quiet down, and I was begining to lose hope, when another goldcrest-sized bird flew in. Just as I was about to get it under the bins, it called and flew further back. I went over and refound the Yellow-Browed Warbler, and got a good but brief look at the long supercilium and double wing-bar. About 30 seconds later, it took off again in the direction it came from. It must have been hanging around in the conifers next to the entrance gate.

Next stop was Seaton Hole, and then the Esturary, where we dipped on the summer plumaged slavonian grebe and caspian gull. As we had more time than we really needed, we headed over to Weymouth. A short watch off Chesil Cove produced little in the stormy conditions, except for a very small black bird flying very quickly along near the shore low over the waves. I didn't get it under my bins quickly enough, but may have been a storm petrel. Portland Castle produced little more than the usual Red-Breasted Mergansers.

We stopped for a quick look at Radipole Lake, which produced the resident hooded merganser as well as some mediterranean gulls. We prolonged our visit when we heard that the 1st winter BONAPARTE'S GULL was still present, so we went up to the end of the buddleia loop, where I quickly picked the bird up, our second one already this year, and certainly easier to photograph than the Dawlish bird:

I'm particularly happy with this last shot, as it show all the key ID features for a 1st winter bony - White underwing with black trailing edge, jet black bill, neat rounded black spot behind the eye, grey nape area and rather pink legs.

The controversial Hooded Merganser. Wild or not, a very pretty bird.

 Last stop of the day was Maiden Castle, Dorchester, where we had 4 Corn Buntings and a flock of Golden Plover.