Friday, February 29, 2008

Wild Boar

More pics taken from the Gloster Birder

So thanks to Andrew Carey and Gloster Birder.
Wild Boar in the Forest of Dean.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Mammal Lifer!

Went to the Forest of Dean and saw a Lifer - a mammal lifer and then there were two adults and 6 Babies!

see a video here

That was taken last Tuesday so they appear to have lost one baby as we could only see 6.

Meant to post more photos.....

but life got in the way!

Tetrads needed to be completed.They have to be done by the end of the month and the results need to be in before I go to Scotland next week.

I had a couple of birding trips planned. Bob and I needed to return to Rye to try again for the Shorelark that has been there for 7 weeks is it or 8 now! Last time it was a w/e and a very sunny day and too much disturbance.

We went on Friday morning to arrive about 8am and hopefully get the bird feeding and few people about.

We spotted a birder plus small well behaved dog right by the hut sheltering from the wind. Boy does it wind there!
There was the Shorelark posing on a rock ! So simple it was laughable. We watched the bird for quite a while as it disappeared in and out of grasses and up and dowm slopes. I even managed a record shot but they still have to be down loaded and they might be so bad they wont be posted!
Bob spotted a Common Seal hauled up on the shore and later with gentle waves washing it!
The scope kept wobbling and it wasn't til saturday that I realised it wasn't the head at fault but when I had put the scoipe back on I had put it on backwards! One of my birding friends discovered this on Sat when we were in the Forest of Dean!

We went on to Dungeness via Denge Marsh Road where the ARMY mod were firing, lots of red flags about. Surreal scanning through bins with gunfire in the background!

We spotted some geese but could only see Greylags and Canada's.

On to the RSPB centre and a welcome cup of hot chocolate.
One of the guys working there was on his day off and had just arrived. He informed us of the 3 Caspians that had been seen there the day before, we were already looking for good to know some were about.

But real wild Barnacle Geese had flown in recently and he told us where they were usually seen from...yes they were on Denge marsh but had been seen from the viewing round we went! Blowin a hooly as only Dunge can we battled our way around!

We spotted "our" geese no Barnacles and as I said "there may be another group", Bob spotted them...really close to the Denge Marsh Road so must have just flown there.

We had time to look watch and put a party of older birders onto them(many looking through our scopes) and there was rapid gunfire and as the Lapwings went up so the Barnacles took off and flew away.

Back at the Centre I found a 2nd winter Caspian! Finally quest complete!
Bob had actually spotted it but said nothing so I had had the opportunity to find it for myself! Satisfaction! We went through all the id points. Back at the car later I showed Bob an article I had found on the net describing text and photos the same bird going through its 2nd winter cycle!

We also saw a possible near adult but it was a long way away and we couldn't see all features so gull sp. Later we saw the young man again and learnt that they had had a 2nd and 3rd winter bird with an adult.

There were plenty of ducks about the best being a Male Smew and 4 Redheads and 2 Goosanders.
We also saw Cetti's flying across our path.
Earlier on the road from Denge M to Dunge we had close views of a Little Owl as it scowled at us!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More Espana Photos

Well Jules is off to Morocco on the 22nd...I want to go but it is the wrong time for me as I have an important AGM on the 27th and i have to organise it.
Hopefully they may go in March next year. Talons crossed.

To make myself feel better I shall post some more photos by John Moon (who is going to Morocco - groan!)of our trip to the Pyrenees last June.

Audouins Gull

Little Tern

Whiskered Tern

Now that feels better!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Thetford forest

What a lovely place. I say this every time I visit.

On Sunday a planned visit to the Brecks lived up to its reputation.

There was a full on frost minus 3 almost all the way from West London to the Forest.Just occasionally it went to 0!

We walked miles around Lynford and ended up with one fly by Hawfinch! Chaffinches by the barrel load in fact almost every other bird was a Chaffie!

Blue, Great, Coal and LT tits abounded.

Blackbirds and Robbies.Canada Geese, Mute Swans in fact 7 decided on a fly past nosily and then back. Coot standing on the ice looked comical.

Mistle Thrushes, Song Thrushes and ducks.....
No Crossbills!

On to Wayland Wood- where we heard and then saw Nuthatch and on the same tree a surprised Treecreeper. Surprised by the Nuthatch who may have landed on it!
No Golden Pheasant but scraping and heard again.Oh and Marsh Tit to add to the tits seen today.

On to another place in the Forest nr Brandon...St Helens?
Looking for Crossbills and Lesser Spots....not a sound from a LSW! Perfect weather for singing.
Siskins,Chaffinch and Goldfinches along with the Tit squads the cones were cracking open in the sun and all the birds were up in the canopy eating!

Great Spotted Woodpeckers everywhere including Lynford.

Heard and saw Green at Lynford too.

Bob heard a Brambling at the car park but we couldn't locate it (wished I hadn't known!)

Then to Mayday....the sun was full on but there were still patches of ground with frost on from the morning and this was 3.30!

We walked to the water trough and birds flew every which way.
We retreated away from the track and set up scopes and

in the sun 2 Crossbills posed then flew away! and
....a Brambling! Looking beautiful! The orange really orange, the white shining brightly and his head nearly black! My first of the year!Then 2 in another tree and then another 6 flew over our heads the orange and white like flags!

Then some more and by the time we left we must have seen 20!

We then went on a Woodlark hunt and eventually Bob spotted one perched up who then promptly flew down as I looked!
We eventually saw 2 well!

At this point we retired to the car and our journey homewards!

6 woodland birds nicely added to the year list!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Some Espana Photos

No I havent been on a short trip to Espana!

I received a CD from John Moon who was on our Pyrenees trip last June.
We went with Jules and Ken Shaw of Oliva Rama Tours

We had a terrific time and its been lovely to look at the photos and remember the holiday all over again!

Extract from Jules Birding diary
Friday 1st - 9th June :- This was my second week away to the Pyrenees & N/E Spain and was ever bit as fantastic and bird-filled as the week before, with most of the species being seen again with one or two additions or exceptions. During our eight days we saw many excellent birds including :- Great White Egret, Glossy Ibis, Squacco & Purple Heron, Little Bittern, Marbled Duck, Crested Coot, Lammergeyer, Egyptian Vulture, Golden, Short toed & Booted Eagles, Audouin's & Slender billed Gulls, Caspian Tern, Black bellied Sandgrouse, Black Woodpecker, Dupont's Lark, Ring Ouzel, Western Orphean Warbler, Penduline Tit, Wallcreeper, Alpine Chough, Citril Finch, Alpine Accentor, & Ortolan Bunting plus much more.

I will add that Tony, Brian and John who were also with us had a good time as well altho where their photos are I dont know!

I shall post several of John's photos here.
Mine were record shots mainly and not worthy!(Might just have another look at them again?)

This Night Heron was intent on his prey!

The Crag Martin's nest was on the end wall of our Hotel in Hecho.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The wonders of modern science

Well now here we Eagle has had her sight restored by an operation on her cataracts.
Full story

I like stories like this!

Sunny Sussex

Last week I went to Bedfont Lakes CPs to do a tetrad return for the BTO Bird Atlas.
It was a lovely if cold day and the birds were in spring mood with lots of singing and flying about!

Of note were
Kingfisher flashing across a lake.
Lesser Redpoll among a small flock of Siskins.

Several Green Woodpeckers "Yaffling" and GS woodies hammering.

One of the Scaup's from Staines Reservoirs was here this morning (later went to Staines and saw the other 2!)
Decided to do tetrad for Staaines res another day.
Thats not sunny sussex.

Still on the quest for a Caspian Gull!
Visited Queen Mary Reservoir on Saturday afternoon and watched gulls flying into the roost.Will have to go earlier with a torch in order to get closer to the birds and then walk out safely!Its enormous!
I will need to explore Queen Mother (Berks) next!

Sunday frosty start to a gloriously sunny day.

To Shoreham - first the Southwick Canal and find Cemex Cement. Opposite on piles of sand, ballast and other stuff were gulls, gulls, gulls.

We were joined by two other birders one who admitted he would need help spotting a Glaucous (target Gull)as it would be a lifer and the other a very experienced local birder.
We looked at the Power Station chimney and there outside the nesting box was the female Peregrine she is so much larger than her mate (who we saw late last year).
Having gone through the flock...on water and the quay. We were discussing the whereabouts of a Black Redstart and I looked through my scope and saw the suspect!
I waved my hands in the general area and said "of course he may be in this area and the local birder said "THERE IT IS!".

This is the same Glock we saw end of last year (see post below) but it seems to be getter is it a first winter getting ready for 2nd Summer or a 2nd winter bird after all?

Off we went to the Old Fort to seek out a Black Redstart and perhaps see a Purple Sandpiper or two.
We walked about but the bird was not about, we heard Rock Pipit but could not see them. Eventually Bob and I spotted the slim shape of a Black redstart on top of the roof of a nearby house after hearing him singing(!) and scoped views confirmed it was indeed.
To the sea....arm of the harbour walked and scaned opposite arm Turnstones but no Purple Sands.But over our heads finally 2 Rock Pipits flew!

So on to Newhaven Harbour and the pier where as predicted by Robert a Purple Sandpiper was seen!
We walked out to the end of the pier and wondering if the tide was too high I wasn't confident! On the way back I saw a little bird below me, who promptly flew under and off across the sea calling as it went!

On the way back to the car I saw another Black Redstart and a flock of Linnets.

At this point I had 4 new Year ticks and Bob had 5.

Then the long journey across Sussex to Rye. (some frustration here as posted below...struggle through Hastings....and on)

Eventually we reached Rye Harbour and down on the saltmarshes to a Red roofed Hut....
in a flock of Skylarks was a reported Shorelark. As this is one of the few reported this year it was high on our "see" list.
Well people had been there hours and seen the skylarks no sign of the Shorlark.

One couple we meet up with had been looking earlier and a older birder had sen the bird while they had gone off to look at Greylegged Partridge(grrl not about we still need to tick them!)it was repoorted on the pager at 2.30 whilst we were on route- so that gets your interest up further!

We arrived at 3.30 and left 2 hours later on first name terms with 6 Skylarks passing aquaintence with another 8 and nodding terms with another 8 or so!

The idiot people and their dreadful stone throwing kids grrrrrlllllll! Nature Reserves are for Nature and people who want to run on pebbles and throw stanes Please go to a beach!

The 100plus Curlews which flew over in a flock, the Golden Plover and Lapwing flocks were no real compensation! They helped!

The birders and locals who spoke to us were lovely.

The sunset was another matter beautiful, the setting wonderful.

(camera in the car boot as I thought I might spook the bird...that didn't work -usually does!)

A moan in Sussex

What amazing weather!
Only problem...people!
In the winter one of the joys of birding is arriving at your destination and finding few if any people around.
The ones that are are either walking the dog (good and bad behaviour from owners here) or out for a proper walk!
Out comes the sun and what?
People who understand little or nothing about Nature and the accompanying children. Now I dont know whether the lack of knowledge about wildlife correlates with lack of child discipline but I observe it all the time!
Oh other moan with the sun out come people who clearly dont drive often or very far usually!We observed some of the more bizarre behaviour driving yesterday than usual.
I will comment on one 20 something driver (the fact she was a woman is irrelevant)we had stopped at Sever sisters CP so I could use the loo and Bob could consult the map as to which of several ways we would continue across Sussex to Rye Harbour.
Out of a very packed car park and up an admitted narrowish country road...and behind scared of sussex. Was she a new signs. Was she actually scared to be driving? Stop and use only large roads have another driving lesson or walk!
I am glad it wasn't me driving behind...after applying brakes in places where there were no reasons to do so and practically climbing the hedges when another car came in sight all at under 20mph! in a 30 mph area...we came to the A27 and relief we thought. No on a Sunday in the sunshine the powers that be had closed both lanes of a major road and no sign of any work going on!
Cross country to reach another main road unfortunately all the time behing said nervous driver.
By the time we had reached the main roan and had to turn left our relief was still being tested as yes we waited and waited and waited for her to decide to turn out into two lanes in which almost all the traffic was in the outside lane!!

Anyway once we were out RELIEF!

I do not know what posesses people to drive at 20 mph take ages to decide to turn out into any road clearly does not understand the highway code,when there is nothing to see except hedges...there are laybys to go into which are not used....grrrrl!!

I expect I will moan about the behaviour of some people in the Nature Reserve at Rye Harbour in my next post but mainly we did have a good day! Oh for overcast skies for the rest of February and keep non nature lovers inside their doors!!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

What is this gull?

This could be a quiz?

So what is this gull?

On the Thames this January.

The Black-headed Gulls are there for size comparison.
Paul its your turn!

Janice's Gull (she refers to in Comments)

More pics from West Wales

Starts with Llys-y-fran, the Pacific Diver(!)and then to LisvaneReservoir. Whilst I was waiting for the Spotted Sandpiper to show, I watched a pair of Great Crested Grebes and the beginnings of their nest.In between them leaving the nest, a Coot would come and stand on the nest. It soon abandoned the nest when the GCG returned! Struck me as funny at the time, as it happened quite a few times.I did not get a pic of the Coot on the nest, as either I was laughing, or it wasn't long enough or something else happened!

Some pics from my birding wanderings!

Most are record shots hand held to a scope with my Leica compact.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

New bird in Nepal

A previously unknown sub-species of bird has been discovered in the southern grasslands of Nepal, scientists say.

The bird is a warbler with a very long tail and slender beak and has been named the Nepal Rufous-vented Prinia.

Scientists say the bird provides an important geographical link between previously-known varieties in Pakistan and India.

But they warn its tiny population means the sub-species is endangered.

Trip to West Wales

I shall be writing this w/e birding up later...the summary of it!
I have a couple of record shots to post as well!

This w/e joined by Bob's birding friend (becoming mine as he always brings good luck) Geoff on Saturday.

We went to West Wales target birds

Pacific Diver

and a Spotted Sandpiper

Well we did see both plus a Black Throated Diver

a Yellowhammer on a wire on route (nearby) to Llys-y-Fran.

3 Red Kites (and 6 Buzzards)and 3 Ravens

and a Grey Wagtail at the Lisvane Reservoir.

Plus lots of other birds.

The BTD and PD (also had a Black necked Grebe there as well as GC and Little Grebes plus 2 Kingfishers!) were easy to spot were most other birds but

the tale of the Spotted Sand...well that will be on my blog tomorrow!

UK year list 150 (Pacific Diver not counted by BOU - yet!)
I had the best sleep that night I have had for ages!

Sunday was Bob's turn to drive and we had 2 target birds again.

Ring neck Duck and Lesser Scaup - both long staying birders overwintering to Buckingham and then to Abingdon...

same Ring necked Duck - should be ring billed!

on the way to the RBD we saw a Bullfinch now we had heard these in several places this year and not seen them!A lovely radiant bird!

while looking at the Lesser Scaup a Kingfisher flew across!
Far from struggling to see KF as I usually do this year we seem to be seeing them everywhere!

and just where we had parked our car were two Mistle thrushes proving like buses when you have seen one three come along! LOL!!

So after today

UK year list 155

Another very successful w/e birding.


Eagles Rule!