Saturday, February 26, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

NZ birds

On Tuesday as it was raining heavily in the morning, instead of exploring somewhere north of Cambridge for spring flowers we retreated to Barnes!

Pat managed to catch this photo of a Long tailed tit- no idea how she managed it as it was flit,flit, flitting everywhere!

We had good sightings of a Cetti's.
There will be a few more photos downloaded soon!

oh and two photos fron NZ - Pat visited friends of ours after Christmas and they stayed fora few days at the very North of North Island(see gull chick!) - and she also went to tiri tiri matangi island where the NZ robin was taken.
Cant download these at the mo....

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Slaty-backed Gull revisited

With thanks to Andrew Lawson for permission to use photos of the Slaty-backed Gull.

Trip today to Arne in Dorset.
Target Birds- Spoonbill, Avocet and Dartford Warbler.

Briefly - 8 Spoonbills found!
I saw 2 Dartford Warblers including one up and singing on a bush really close!
We dipped the Avocets!

we then went to Swanage to a Country Park next to the sea and saw a Shag!

There were other birds including great views of a Peregrine hunting at Swanage.

Hundreds of Godwits - lots of Brent Geese -

Mammals as shown - this was one Stag and his Deer!
We saw enormous numbers of these plus a huge Stag who was lying on the ground - with the biggest antlers!

So 3 Year ticks!

The Dartford Warblers were special as there dont appear to be many about.

Must get some Dinner!

Bob will try for the Slaty- backed Gull tomorrow - of course it showed today despite the tip not working!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Well whilst a variety of birders were either in Oxon or at Rainham - this happy Eagle wandered west!
It seems this has become my half term! Weather was suposed to be dreadful all week after Monday but has been surprisingly clement especially in the south for Wednesdy and Thursday!

Well I needed a RBG x 2 - yup Ring-billed Gull and Red -breasted Goose.

Bob went for a wander one day in the week a couple of weeks ago when i was up to my eyes in meetings! Dab nab it!

So as Gossie has not been reported since 6th Feb (does that mean anything - I decided that the Poole park RBG would be worth a look!
I was worried about the Goose - since it and the Brents have been flying to IOW and all points in Hants!
So I thought lets target the rbg first and go to Keyhaven (hoping for some waders I hadn't seen- nope - that bit didn't work out!) so when I had looked around Keyhaven
no RBG - lets look at Pennington --hohoho a couple of birders were looking at

yes! RBG so get in there my dear!
I do love Red b geese - in fact I do often go and see the tame ones at Barnes - just cos I can!
I will see them one day in the wild in quantity!
Anyway time to be getting on as i had limited time today!
So to Poole......1st winter Ring-billed Gull ( a different character to my friend Gossie!) but i was in fortune and the boy was present! Yes.

Pager is a friend indeed and news of Cattle Egret(s) was welcome...not been many i could go for this winter!
Fordingbride is becoming a favoured place in the winter!

Well not F but A!

Still grateful for the wellies still not cleaned...muddy path and there they were - bit of a shock as only one on the pager but there were two! with the Little Egrets (I have had a few! but too few to mention!)

I then had a couple of phone calls from Council Officers! - one had been asked to ringme when a letter was ready to be signed and his colleague nearby in the same section but with a different job picked up I was available to talk! lol to be a Cllr!

Anyway it was obvious I should get back earlier than I thought so I had to give up ideas of tagging the WTE Hordle!

Lovely thing was when I did get back to the Civic centre an Officer asked me about the difference between a Crow and a Raven!This lead to conversations about RNP- the Falcon the council brings in to clear the Ferals - must remember to find out when the Falconer comes in I really want to see this!
and Woodpeckers!

3 nearer to Bob!

When I came home tonight after a meeting or two...I see there were 3 Golden Pheasants at Brownsea.....when am I going to see these beauties again?

See I am on missionary activity in spreading the good news re birds!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A mega week!

Phew what a week so far!
Went to Dungeness to try again for the Glock.

I was happy this morning as I saw not only the Glaucous but also a Slav Grebe on the sea!Nothing else new that I could id altho there were one or two divers- decided they were red throated!
Nothing new on the Arc or around the reserve so
went off to Hythe to see if the Purple sandpipers would be cooperative and they were!
(nowt new that I could see at Greatstone!)

So thought I might drop in on Oare or Elmley ......possible owls?
On route the pager went off. Pulled over to look and THAT Gull was back at Rainham on the tip.
That decided me- so off to Rainham.i had parked up and news came through that it had relocated to Wennington Marshes. Thank goodness for pagers!(and one Andrew Lawson - who had relocated said gull- nice one Andy!)

GBBG, Herring G, GBBG, GBBG, Herring ..... "its here in my scope" what?
I look up from my bins and the guy says "look here, quick"

Do I need another invitation - in focus and YES! yes GET IN!

2nd Lifer of the week! Wow!

I then managed to get back on the gull! Great- thats a goodie!

I was then having to drive around the Motorway to home to change and get ready for a
Governing Body Meeting.

Several had heard about the "Oriental Turtle Dove" - I had taken in my Collins to show point talking about the Gull though!

Not sure where I might go tomorrow - but I have to be back for meeting at 5. Not sure I can manage another Twitch! its all too stressful!

Thanks to Andrew Lawson for permission to use his photo.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Forest of Dean (campaign against govt sell off)

This is one of very many "Old Oak Trees" who have Yellow ribbons tied around them!

I was waiting for Bob to return in the car - waiting at the side of the road and the tree just begged to be photographed - fortuitously the battery held out long enough for this fine specimen to be taken!

A wonderful campaign to keep our trees public and not sold off for profit to this Condem govt ---get involved if you can sign the petions!

Oriental Turtle Dove

With many thanks to Roger Wyatt who I met in the kitchen of Steve and Sharon's home in Chipping Norton yesterday afternoon.Great photos!
Thanks Steve and Sharon for opening your home for us!

Monday, February 14, 2011

A wonderful day in the New Forest!

Brilliant birding day ....Gos at least 7 - with at least 6 views plus a dozen Ravens and 20 odd Buzzards and 5 or so Crossbills before we left New Fancy.
To Cannop - my goodness what are they doing to our stream?

But I finally pinned down a Treecreeper there were so many I had to score!
Wellies the order of the day but its seriously muddy , squelshy - I wouldn't have walked down the stream if I had known!
Off to a well know site for Dipper and wow good sightings as it fed on cadice flies!
no Grey Wags - so off to another site - oh back to Cannop but where the tea mobile thingy is usually but none today but 3 Grey Wags and a Yellow -legged Gull!In different places...and my mate Bob spotted the gull (birds a lot in spain) when i looked at it it was very clean and quite dark mantled ( between Lesser and Herring in colour!)...what about the legs - no show - we changed out of our wellies and bird flew and perched conveniently on the bank - bright yellow legs! great!
On our way home - (I had two important meetings tonight!) I spotted a couple of Grey Partridges in a field!

(forgot to mention I had a nice SEO on the way down...I love wols!)

on way home we had 44 plus Red kites - it was too dark to see any on the way down!

I keep the best to last!

On our way home my pager went off and there it was - Oriental ( Rufous) Turtle Dove!
Where? Chipping Norton!
instructions to follow.....
when they came through...very clear..and £5 (when we got there to Birds International - no problems there!)

We travelled through sunlit countryside...yes the orb was in the sky again!

Chipping Norton - find a central Car Park now where is The Lays - Bob does not have sat nav!
Pass an Estate Agent ...there - go in " not buying a house today , but where is "the Leys"?
Helpful comments and then the young man got out a map and explained where to go ...and gave me the map...a woman gave helpful short cuts!

we were off!

we reached our destination...flew off ten mins ago - we missed it by 2 mins and we missed it by 10 seconds! We were all in this together I looked at the back garden from the road and saw - bins up..a Brambling!

we decide to see if we can go in...
made very welcome - the owner a lovely guy - just take off the shoes then you will get hot with the outer clothes...
I am desperate for the problem...

Then we are waiting ....searching....
" cup of tea or coffee?"

then spot! wow in tree above a wood pigeon...a scope came forward and there were the tell tale neck markings!

yes! both Bob and i had got others on to the bird and seen it in the scope - so we were off with thanks to all concerned.

The owner and his partner and the Oxon birders and there will be a photo - thanks to Roger - on this blog when I have received it!

Very happy Eagle!
Great birding day...
thanks to Bob for the driving and good company!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Local patch!

A couple of years ago I used to show friends a Grebe that is not easy to see.

I decided that it was time that I went to Staines Reservoir today and guess what not one species of Grebe but two!

Black necked Grebe for the year list- very nice!

Where did the yellow globe go?


Tuesday - I had two meetings this morning postponed/cancelled! Great but I couldn't go where - no contest lets try to see the GGS!

off to Thurlsley Common in Surrey ....arrive and find a few birders about...walk around none I recognise!

I carry on and get to the hill where I saw Goshawk last year.....none this!
What is that yellow globe in the sky?Oh yes.....its the Sun! WOW!

In the sun and perched up yes a Shrike! GGS! Beautiful - there is the bird a good few mins and then gone! Never to be seen by me again!

Where to now...I had heard of a Firecrest nearby so it was off to explore the wilds near Puttenham!

I arrive and there is a couple of birders intently watching ...what?
I get near and one says "Firecrest!"
I look and there fliutting about in that distinctive style a Firecrest! I love Firecrests so feisty!

I have run out of time and have to get back to change for yes more meetings!

Red crested Pochards

Well Monday arrived and after a bit of blogging andcatching up I was free to go out birding!
Destination? Stockers Lake! Well Bury Lake for the above and then a wander around Stockers for what ever could be found!

Bury Lake was first - must get those Red Crested pochards! There they were two pairs!

on to Bury Lake and what have we here lovely male Smew! Always a lovely duck!
Then Goosander! and yes its a pair! (Sounds like Valentines Day is about! LOL!)

Goldeneye s as well.

I go in search of Kingfisher ....and lol I dont believe it there is one! hooray and yes my luck must be in - I here a treecreeper...where is the little bird? after about 20 mins of searching...I think its going to be blocker for the beginning of the year!
So still no sighting of Treecreeper!
Those were the highlights!
If dipping can be a highlight!
So where to next - back to Barnes!

Cetti is the quarry and eventually after hearing one pops up and looks me in the eye...well actually no it doesn't really it popped up and I looked in its eye and it popped back down! lol.
Still with Chiffchaff as well its not a bad day!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Norfolk again!

We had arranged to go back to Norfolk to pick up the birds we dipped 3 weeks ago and last Sunday!
Talons crossed that American Wigeon, Shorelarks were still at Cley and we also wante another trip to Stubbs Mill for the Cranes!

We arrived at Cley with the pager telling us that a Glaucous Gull had been on the North Scrape first thing. We were there about 10 and no sign!
So then off to the East Bank and finally we spotted the American Wigeon, I am so glad that Bob spotted the white amidst all the wigeon on the bank in amidst the grass.
The wind was really gusting and blowin' a great would there be any Shorelarks to be seen?
We walked to the end of the East bank and ther were some birders way to the east in between the shingle dune(to the beach) and the sheltered area before the pools.

We meet a pair of birders returning whohad seen the Shorelarks altho they were being kicked along the area further and further by a small group of other birders.
Bob whizzed off and I walked along normally (foot still not perfect!)without saying anything we had both thought bet there is a greedy photographer not content with giving the birds room to feed and get reasonable shots but wanting just that better shot! Why is it that some do this?
I arrived to see all 5 watching the Shorelarks and Bob had one in his scope- yes - I looked for a bit longer and there was a lovely adult male in all his glorious make up!
Oh yes and guesss what at least one of this group had a long lens!

We left after watching the birds for a while.

There had been a Tundra Bean Goose reported at the Hangs with Pink consult the map and try to find the Hangs! So we drove around and saw no geese at all - Bob got out a couple times to check the fields - but directions were sadly lacking!

So to Sheringham......a little sea watch Purple Sands as people on the beach walking dogs or what ever - so we sat in a shelter and watched the sea!

We had Turnstones near our feet as they boldly picked up any crumbs left by the visitors!

We spotted a Rock Pipit at the same time!

The only other new bird a Great Northern Diver - soon after came a Red throated and the contrast in size was noticeable - apart from Gulls and Oystercatchers the only other bird seen was a distant Gannet!

We attempted to find a Fudge Duck (f) on the Broads but unfortunately a long division to North Walsham left us without much time - so we abandoned the effort
- and dived off for Stubvbs Mill. We arrived earlier than usual - and watched lots of Marsh Harriers....Bob went for a walk came back having seen a nice male Bullfinch and a couple of Siskins...
we waited and waited - then wow a family group of 3 Cranes flew in from the right and on towards a field followed closely by 4 more!

We waited - and after seeing a Merlin.....and my feet in wellies statrted to get cold...we left happy with our Crane sightings.

So 3 targets all connected with plus 2 more for the year list!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Great White Egret

A record shot - from hand held camera on a scope on a hide clamp all very wobbly!LOl.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Trip to Hants and Dorset

Phew - what a day!
Spents hours this morning seeking the Great White Egret that has been resident at Blashford Lakes this winter. Zip.Dip.
We saw hundreds of Finches and other passerines! Including brilliant male Bramblings and Siskins(year tick!) and finding a Mealy Redpoll (year tick) and a Lesser.
But the numbers of chaffinches, greenfinches, siskins, and tits - including a Marsh Tit
were stunning!

We finally gave up and went to poole to seek an American visitor - a Long billed Dowitcher - looks like a Godwit with short legs!;)- well the wind had got up and we parked at the NW end and walked to the NE end - lots of common waders- dunlin, redshank, noisy Oystercatcjers - gulls galore including a nice Med Gull.A few when we got to the NE end there was the quarry - showing beautifully inn a quite area with one Godwit! Lovely!
Pager - GWE seen from Ivy Lake dash from Poole back to Blashford!
(more later - got to go to a Meeting!)
Did we see it?

Hoho ho!
We arrived speedily and whizzed to the North hide Ivy Lake. Enterung the Hide we saw - GWE! yaarrhhh! Head poking up in the reeds - just as we were sorting out the scopes.....a Bittern flew across a channel of water next to the hide out of the reeds , landed and then promptly flew back. A pale coloured Bittern. Almost immediately a very Dark coloured Bittern stalked across the channel - brilliant! It then stood with its head and neck showing for a bit (meanwhile the GWE is more visiible) then the Dark Bittern stalked slowly back across the Channel!
At this point the peeps at the only opening window in the hide (note not a clever idea...shouled be more that do open!)left the hide and Bob and I commendeered it!
The dark Bittern then decided to fly from the reeds acroosss the front of the hide and away! Stunner!

At this point the GWE began moving towards the open channel (further back than the Bitterns) and I was even able to get a couple of record shots digi hand held scoping!

We actually were able to watch the entire bird stalking frogs across the channel of water and then stand upright and visible at the other side wow!

What a bonus!
I neglected to mention I finally saw Pied Wag!

We left looked at the feeders again and then departed for Blackwater Arboreatum for
Hawfinch. We arrived at about 2.45 and both od us but separately heard Crossbill - no sightings. The wind had got up and not good to see any birds at all!
But as I wandered towards some pine trees a bird flew - landed on a bare leafed tree at the top and yes! Hawfinch - it then flew into a Pine tree about 2/3rds up!
We then heard another and another call!

Bob then spotted a Gos! Damn missed it!

great excitement today!

137 Year list!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Iceland Gull on Fair Isle

Looks like my friend Tommy has found an Iceland Gull off Fair Isle!
Way to go Tommy!

Bushy Park and Barnes

Well a gentle stroll through Bushy Park this morning for a couple of hours with Bob
increased my year total by 4!
Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers - rather more Green around. Mandarin Ducks - 4 males noted plus one female.

A roosting Tawny Owl was the best!

My first Snowdrops of the year.....a chance meeting with the Royal Parks Ecologist was very interesting.

He had been in a meeting earlier that day and they witnessed a Sparrowhawk consuming a Pigeon - he even had photographs.

At Bob's suggestion I visit Barnes in the afternoon (I usually go first thing) was rewarded by finally sighting Bittern for the year! Also heard was a Cetti's but where the little rascal was I could not locate!

So year list is 131....and awaiting Cetti's to be seen!

Last years Bittern - on ice! Battery in camera ran out whilst at Bushy so did not have it with me!I will post a couple of pics later when they have been downloaded!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Sunday SEO

Short eared Owl gave a great flying and hunting display over Thornham Marshes on Sunday.
On Monday Dean Eades posted some photos he had taken that day of ......Short eared Owl.
With Dean's permission I give you SEO!