Headed up to Norfolk today to visit relatives, and had a Red Kite from the M25 on the way up. Stopped off at the Ouse Washes to look for the red-necked phal, but there had been no sign all day. An hours visit produced plenty of compensation, including a juvenile Cuckoo, Garganey, Hobby, 2 Kingfishers, plenty of Yellow Wagtails and Ruffs and my first Clouded Yellow of the year.
Went out to Sutton Bingham this evening, the first time I've been birding in almost 2 weeks. I was hoping to connect with the yellow-legged gull, however there was no sign of it from the causeway. It was raining quite heavily, so I didn't stay too long, however I did note 2 Little Egrets and a single Great Black-Backed Gull.
Walked back into my street today and was surprised to find a female Kestrel sat on a lamp post! The species tends to be a bit commoner around south Yeovil, but generally it's still rarer in Yeovil than either Hobby or Peregrine. This bird is also the further from the outskirts than any other Kestrel I've seen in Yeovil so this was quite a surprising addition to the patch year list!
Headed down to Ferrybridge this afternoon to connect with the pair of Roseate Terns, a species I haven't seen since 2010! A scan on arrival produced nothing, however the two birds then flew in over my head and landed on the mud. Great to get to grips with this species again. Also of note were plenty of Little Terns and Med Gulls.
After news breaking last night of the marsh sand at Cliffe Pools in Kent, I set off at 4:30 after work. The journey was fairly uneventful, with 30 minute hold ups on the M3 and M25 (also a single Red Kite from the car window). I parked at the top of Cliffe and walked to the pool which took a further 25 minutes. I finally met Cliff and a couple other birders at the site at 8:30pm, and after a bit of confusion about which pool the bird was on, I eventually connected with the MARSH SANDPIPER. It was incredibly distant, and it wasn't until it re-emerged that I could really get to grips with it, it was much smaller, paler and more elegant than the surrounding Redshanks, and had pretty long legs (just about visible in the first shot below). When it stretched it's neck, it had a very stilt-like appearance. Also present were the 2 families of BLACK-WINGED STILTS (I counted at least 4 adults and 5 juveniles, but there were no doubt more) and a Little Ringed Plover. We all hitched a lift with an RSPB warden back to our cars, and after a quick bite to eat I set off home at 10pm. Due to multiple road closures, I didn't get back home until after 2am. Very glad I went, but I think I'll have to give second thoughts before doing any more twitching via the M25 at that time of night!
Wanted to extend my streak of lifers to week 5, so this Sunday I headed up to Nosterfield, North Yorkshire for the sabs gull. On arrival a report came in that the bird was at Kiln Lake, however it flew minutes before I arrived. A search of the area came to no avail so I walked to the top of Flask Lane. A scan of the black-headed gull flock on the opposite shore produced a sleeping gull with dark grey markings extending quite far down the nape. It raised its head breifly and indeed it was the Sabine's Gull. Shortly after, it flew across in front of us and back over the Kiln Lake. It flew back and forth a few times whilst I was there, and eventually I managed some decent record shots. Also of note was a Little Ringed Plover and 2 Common Sandpipers.
Headed up to Burnham-on-Sea this afternoon to see the showy male red-backed shrike. I've never seen a full adult male before; I last saw this species in 2013 and I really wanted to improve my file photo!
My only previous record shot of a red-backed shrike, a juvenile at Lodmoor in 2013.
After a 30 minute walk I was watching the male Red-Backed Shrike. Gradually the bird moved closer along the hedgeline as it hawked across the field until it came about as close as possible, allowing me to get some decent record shots. Heat haze made it trickier, but they're certainly a big improvement on my previous one!