Wednesday, 26 October 2016

26th October 2016

Got up late this morning. I looked at my phone and the first thing I saw, a pine bunting just ringed at Portland Bird Obs! I skipped breakfast and quickly changed, grabbed my equipment and was on my way. After 40 minutes delay due to traffic I eventually arrived at Portland Bill. Unfortunetly there was no sign of the bird. I had a look around the Crown Estate Field for 90 minutes or so before deciding it probably wouldn't get relocated any time soon. Only species of note here was the Hen Harrier quatering Top Fields.

Hen Harrier - Portland Bill

On the way back to the car I found a fem/imm Black Redstart on top of one of the buildings near the Bill car park.

After some lunch at the bill I headed over to Reap Lane where, after an hour, the Turtle Dove showed extremely well just metres away, at one point wandering out onto the path around us much like a feral pigeon! Also had a Common Pheasant at this site which I've heard is a bit of a scarcity on Portland.

Turtle Dove - Reap Lane
It would be sad to see this beautiful species go the same way as the passenger pigeon.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

25th October 2016

Saw a good variety of birds at Ham Wall this pm, the best of which included 4 Great White Egrets and 2 Bearded Reedlings. Also heard (but didn't see) a flyover redpoll as well as a few Siskin. Quite a few Iberian Water Frogs still out as well.

Great White Egret - Ham Wall

Grey Heron - Ham Wall

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

16th October 2016 (East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire)

For weeks I've been hoping to try again for the purple swamphen that's now in Yorkshire. I didn't expect the siberian accentor to still be at easington today (it was mobile last night), but decided that it would be a good day to head up just in case. It was one of my best ever days birding:

Headed up to Spurn, East Yorkshire early this morning. Whilst driving through Hull the news came through that accentor was still there! Arrived at Easington at about 8am. A 5 minute walk and a short wait and I was watching Britains 2nd SIBERIAN ACCENTOR down to a few metres!


A fantastic bird and one I never expected to see in Britain. I didn't really stay long enough as I got news that the RADDE'S WARBLER was still at Spurn. Within 10 minutes I had arrived on site and got a 10 second view of the bird quite close up. Stopped off behind the pub on the way back to the car and got onto the Pallas's Warbler as well.

Next stop was Alkbourough for the swamphen, however it didn't show all day (until about 1730 by which time I was on my way home). I will try and make a return trip for this bird; I'm determined to get it!

Decided that I would give up on the swamphen and try for the olive-backed pipit at Spurn, but changed direction when the SIBERIAN STONECHAT was re-reported at Grimstone. Saw the bird almost as soon as I arrived and it showed close up the whole time. Amazed that only 4 other birders were present here.


Next stop was Spurn again, where I adopted the tactic of driving around looking for crowds of birders. This quickly produced 9 Tundra Bean Geese, 2 Shore Lark and a Mealy Redpoll, the latter a long overdue lifer!

Mealy Redpoll - Spurn

Tundra Bean Geese - Spurn

Shore Lark - Spurn

A really great day, what a place Spurn is! Truly magical! Some people might be surprised that my favourite bird today wasn't the accentor, but the stonechat, simply for the reason that I didn't know if I would see it or not! As good as it is seeing lots of good birds in the same place, it rather takes away all the excitment when you're being handed them on a plate. I barely got excited about twitching or seeing my first radde's warbler!

None the less, it was a unique experience, and reminded me that I don't just go twitching for the birds: I go for the chase, uncertainty and excitment!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

9-14th October 2016 (Cumbria)

Spent a week at Eskdale in the Lake District on a work-related trip. Had a great time, and whilst there made 2 additions to my year list: a flyover Common Crossbill and a pair of Dippers. Species total for the week was 27.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

8th October 2016

A late dash to Portland Bill this evening had me dip out on the blyth's reed warbler. With little time left, I had a look at Lodmoor in the fading light where I also dipped yellow-browed warbler and rose-coloured starling. Virtually nothing else of note seen today.

Going on a work trip next week where I'll have virtually no internet access, hoping to do some proper twitches afterwards though.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

2nd October 2016

Had a look at some Yeovil sites for the first time in ages today. Walking along the river between Wyndham and Pen Mill produced 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Grey Wagtails, 3 Treecreepers, a Kingfisher and a Common Pheasant - Only my second in Yeovil. The species is quite common in south Yeovil but I rarely come down here and see them.

A wander down Compdon Road produced 2 Cormorants, a Grey Wagtail and good overhead passage of Meadow Pipits and Skylarks.

A walk along Babalon Hill towards Ninsprings produced singles of Green Woodpecker and Nuthatch, and on Ninesprings Lake were 16 Mandarins, a Grey Wagtail and 4 Little Grebes (seems they've had a successful breeding year).