Monday, October 09, 2006

The Bird List

On the Monday we were fortunate to see a Blyth's Reed Warbler and Yellow Browed Warbler.
I think it was the Tuesday we saw Barred , Garden and Marsh Warblers.

There was of course a tale or two behind these bland sentances of -----------------------
scrambling over barbed wire fences, checking whether other fences were electrified or not...well on or off really you can see easily if the fence is capable of having a current run through it!! Learning how to climb dry stone walls with out knocking them or yourself down....and other useful stuff!! Making sure there were no rabbit holes to fall fact it was quite an adventure!!

I was very glad of my gaitors...specially where the thistles and stinging nettles were!!

There was also the local pager service...well mobile phone calls (if you were high enough to receive them!) This was from the Observatory when they heard of a rare or scarce bird.

Now I saw a Wood Pigeon and in my innocence called it one night...the room went still and the silence was great......Alison the Warden said....thats very unusual....and moved on quickly...
I thought but I did see one , but I hadn't said anything thinking thay were as common as my local patch!! Apparently not! So I was highly relieved when a tip top birder reported one the next day early...and others saw it too and my call went on the record!!

Self found Wood Pigeon does not really have a ring to it does it?

To be continued

The Birds and the sheep...

On the Monday suitably celebrating the Ryder Cup victory of Europe over USA...well Tony and I were.

We birded before we had to go to the Airport. We found a Moorhen...our first on Orkney. Now there are a few birds who are actually a different sub-species, as in Orcadian Wren...yes They are bigger...apparently they have longer toenails...not that we noticed...but they do weigh heavier..

(Just remembered forgot to mention the huge numbers of Black Guillemots - not looking as smart as usual but in their Black and White Plumage!!-we saw hundreds!!)

I actually wrote some notes to help me but I'm finding more memories than I took notes on!!
Yesterday we went to the best public WC anywhere...yes the World!!
And I cant remember the name of the place...but I will back in a mo....

Waulkmill Beach, Orphir thats it even has a loo listed on the council web site!!

What I was supposed to say was that on our way to the Airport we stopped to look at waders and found Black tailed Godwits, a moorhen and a Male Hen Harrier sat on a stick!!

Defo my bird of the week....altho not the rarest the best!!!
They are not two a penny tho...
Circus cyaneus-


not for nothing are they known as Ring tails...this is a Northern Harrier -same species..just couldn't find a better shot of a UK bird!!

We exited the airport and climbed into a Land Rover complete with Border Collie(vvvvvvvfriendly)and drove to the Observatory to dump our bags...what bags? Have coffee/tea .
The views from the Observatory were great.The sea in front with a field containing lots of rabbits - more about rabbits later.
Wheatears - more about them later too.
We then ventured forth (little knowing that Mike and Frank were not to arrive until the next day!!) saw a Robin which we looked at and smiled and carried on. Didn't know it was one of two that had arrived that day and is a rare bird well a scarce bird for N.Ron. Wewere to learn a lot about what was rare for N.Ron during the week.

We walked down the the main road...did I notice the difference? I think the main road was slightly wider! Stopped at a Gate and looked down on a Beach- Nouster (I know that because my room was called Nouster as my view was of this beach- I didn't know that when we first spied the beach inhabitants) Sanderling doing their Keystone Cops imitations- I think there were 13 (this became a hot topic later..and during the week at the evening callover-more later!!) Turnstones, a Knot, and some Ringed Plovers.

and SHEEP....everywhere on the beach....well eating the seaweed.
N. Ron is known for its Sheep - they roam around anywhere outside a wall built to keep them off the land , to eat the seaweed.(there are a few usual sheep kept in some fields as well) these produce the Famous N.Ron Mutton. Mutton which I had on my last night there...roasted. It was very nice...a bit stronger than normal mutton - which is much stronger than the Lamb that most of us eat.
Read more hear

I think that the price in the Observatory was £2.00 extra for a Mutton Dinner.

See the sheep look different too.
They are very quick and when you go onto the beach when they are there they look at you...then they bolt for it!! Only going out of range for being caught. I have every sympathy for the men who have to do the catching!

One unexpected side effect - was that my thumbs which have been quite painful recently and I thought I'd have to go to the GP worried that it was the first signs of Arthritis.
When I got home on the Sunday I realised my thumbs were working properly when I opened a jar with out thinking!! So Kelp tablets from the health food shops are on my list for tomorrow!!

111 species of Birds seen, including a walk by the Abernethy Forest with an excursion or two inside!!

Swallows still fact we saw some Swallows but not as many on North Ron!!
Best though were the Siskins...the adult males so bright I wished I had my sunglasses with me!! Oh and the fly-over me Wryneck!!
30 Robins reminded me of the migrants that arrive from Scandanavia each year! They are more orange!!

We travelled north on Saturday to Gills Bay to catch the ferry to St Margarets Hope.
On route we sea watched...Gannets, Fulmars, Kittiwakes and Gulls(various)...Guillemots, Razorbills and Puffins (3) they apparently leave here later than elsewhere.
Sooty and Manx Shearwaters....but no Leach's Petrel which would have been lovely, but several Stormies attempted to make up for their absence!

We travelled through Scapa Flow....the sea was almost flat calm --not not what we really wanted for sea watching!!
Sunday- we birded on Mainland- went all over!!

Highlight for me was watching well I'll come to that - perhaps you can guess?

Mist, wind and rain. Hallo Orkney!

Off to RSPB The Loons- Coot, Mallard,Gadwall,Shoveler,Wigeon and Teal. Fly over Grey Heron ...then......HEN HARRIER!!! Flying low and hunting.
Happy? I was very happy!! Well we watched the Harrier for ages!! I watched it for some more.Then we all had to look again as a Male HH flew as well!! What a little stunner!!

(When we were on the Ferry - Mike had spotted a HH at a great distance- I saw a BoP flying but until I saw it briefly in my bins I couldn't have been certain it was a HH!!- now I could see it through my new glasses!!)

I saw HH every day except Tuesday...but on Wednesday we saw 2 juveniles, to make up I expect!!

We actually saw HH every day except Tuesday
We had lunch over looking Birsay Bay....real cliffs.

I say that because the Orkney's are relatively flat, so hills look huge...but these cliffs are real cliffs!

We witnessed a Bonxie (Great Skua) knock a Gull out of the air into the sea, attempt to drown it for fun...and then fly away leaving a very weak gull to be finished off by a Greater Black Backed Gull.(eaten I mean)

Later that day we were at Stromness harbour (we all decided we liked Stromness) and A Bonxie flew really close to Denis (more about him later),but I decided he (Bonxie) was put off attacking Denis by - the Pom-
on Mike's hat!!
We had absolutely close up views of Bonxies....they are really big!!
Have a look at this!!

Birding on Orkney

Well I'm suddenly having more problems with my blog.

I shall attempt to post my birding tales on Orkney later, as it hasn't let me do so until now.

I deleted my post that somehow had a portugese advert in it that took several attempts - but its now gone!!

Will be back later going out to practise with my new compact digital camera which almost speaks!!
Wonder if my photography will improve?

Actually visited 5 unexpected landing on Sanday on the flight to North Ronaldsay (North Ron as its referred to on the Island) to pick up
"medical specimens" said Alison - the Warden at the Bird Observatory. She and her son were waiting at Kirkwall Airport when we arrived to discover they should have flown back the day before!!They were on our flight. The smallest plane I've been in so far! Pilot and then behind him, 8 seats.
The weather fog and mist or as I used to say clouds on the ground. This meant we flew higher than usual.
We discovered that as well as the 4 peoples luggage we left behind for the next flight that we had an extra piece of luggage, then the next flight attempted to land and couldn't,so returned to the Mainland (main Island of Orkney) with two of our group there minus one suitcase!!
The next day the skies were clear so all luggage and people were reunited!!

Where we stayed.
The Journey from St. Margaret Hope was interesting with Mike saying well I've never seen Orkney so sunny, the weather is the best I've ever seen, and so on and so on backed up by a couple of chaps who had been before!! Then it was off in the minibus along the 4th Churchill Barrier to we stopped and spied our first Waders! Redshank, Oystercatchers and Turnstones (this was were we might have seen a Little Gull or two but they were elsewhere)
Culture- The Italian Chapel, a visit here (not one Pete has been to - I think?)
You can read about it here

On the Mainland we meandered about eventually visiting another cultural place the Ring of Brodgar- you can read about these stones here

We finally reached our hotel at 18.00 having left my b and b about 8.45am.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

109 Questions

Borrowed from Janice...borrowed from Pete and Kate and ....
1. (X) Smoked a cigarette.
2. (x) Crashed (into) a friend’s car.
3. ( ) Stolen a car.
4. (X) Been in love.
5. (X) Been dumped.
6. ( ) Shoplifted.
7. (X) Been fired/laid off.
8. ( x) Been in a fist fight.
9. ( ) Snuck out of your parent’s house.
10. (X) Had feelings for someone that didn’t have them back.
11. ( ) Been arrested.
12. ( ) Gone on a blind date.
13. (X) Lied to a friend.
14. ( x) Skipped school.
15. (x ) Seen someone die.
16. (X) Been to Canada.
17. ( ) Been to Mexico.
18. (X ) Been on a plane.
19. ( ) Purposely set a part of yourself on fire.
20. ( ) Eaten sushi.
21. (x ) Been skiing.
22. (X) Met someone in person from the internet.
23. (X) Taken pain-killers.
24. (X) Love someone or miss someone right now.
25. (X) Laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by.
26. ( ) Made a snow angel.
27. (X) Had a tea party.
28. (X) Flown a kite.
29. (X) Built a sand castle.
30. (X) Gone puddle jumping.
31. (X) Played dress up.
32. (X) Cheated while playing a game.
33. ( ) Been lonely.
34. ( ) Fallen asleep at work/school.
35. ( ) Used a fake I.D.
36. (X) Watched a sunset.
37. ( ) Felt an earthquake.
38. (X) Touched a snake.
39. (X) Slept beneath the stars.
40. (X) Been tickled.
41. (x ) Been robbed.
42. (X) Been misunderstood.
43. (X) Petted a reindeer/goat.
44. (X) Won a contest.
45. (X) Ran a red light.
46. ( ) Been suspended from school.
47. (X) Been in a car accident.
48. ( ) Eaten a whole pint of ice cream in one night.
49. (X) Had deja vu.
50. (X) Danced in the moonlight.
52. (X) Liked the way you looked.
53. (X) Witnessed a crime.
54. (X) Questioned your heart.
55. ( ) Been obsessed with post it notes.
56. ( ) Squished barefoot through the mud.
57. (X) Been lost.
58. (X) Been to the opposite side of the country.
59. (X) Swam in the ocean.
60. ( ) Felt like dying.
61. (X) Cried yourself to sleep.
62. ( ) Played cops and robbers.
63. ( X) Recently coloured with crayons.
64. ( X) Sung karaoke.
65. ( ) Paid for a meal with only coins.
66. (X) Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t.
67. (X) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out your nose.
68. (X) Caught a snowflake on your tongue.
69. (X) Danced in the rain.
70. (X) Written a letter to Santa Claus.
71. (X) Been kissed under the mistletoe.
72. (X) Watched the sun rise with someone you care about
73. (X) Blown bubbles.
74. ( X) Made a bonfire on the beach.
75. (X) Crashed a party.
76. (X) Gone roller-skating.
77. (X) Had a wish come true.
78. (X) Worn pearls.
79. ( ) Jumped off a bridge.
80. ( ) Ate dog/cat food.
81. ( ) Told a complete stranger you loved them.
82. ( ) Kissed a mirror.
83. (X) Sang in the shower.
84. ( ) Had a dream that you married someone.
85. ( ) Glued your hand to something.
86. ( ) Got your tongue stuck to a flagpole.
87. ( ) Kissed a fish.
88. (X ) Sat on a rooftop.
89. (X) Screamed at the top of your lungs.
90. (X ) Done a one-handed cartwheel.
91. ( ) Talked on the phone for more than six hours on one occasion.
92. (X ) Stayed up all night.
93. (X) Didn’t take a shower for a week.(I was sailing!!!)
94. (X) Picked and ate an apple right off the tree.
95. ( X) Climbed a tree that had a tree house.
96. ( ) Been told by a complete stranger that you’re hot.
97. ( ) Ever had a one night stand.
98. (X) Ever missed someone so much it still hurts to think of them.
99. ( ) Ever loved someone that you knew wouldn’t love you back.
100 (X) Ever been to a professional football, or tennis game in a stadium ground.
101.(X ) Went hiking in the mountains.
102.(X ) Smoked a cigar.
103.( ) Had a crush on someone you worked with but never told them.
104.(X) Wished you had the chance to change your profession.
105.( ) Ever cremated and kept the ashes of a pet you cared a lot about.
106.( ) Wished you could live your life over again from age 21.
107.(X) Been baptized?
108.(X) Rode a horse.
109.( ) Sent flowers to someone you never met


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Four Birds and a Wedding!!

I am not very good at posting every week let alone every day. Maybe if I was at work I'd do it every morning when I arrived.
I went to very close friends Wedding in August and I wrote a draft before the date...just read it and its too personal to put here.
So it was a really lovely Wedding, now some sceptics out there will say aren't they all. No they are not. Often everyone makes an effort but people know its not going to last or somebody makes a fuss or is ignored or its just a really plastic day.
This one was fantastic, everybody loves Shelley and Paul, all the families were great, which with the remarriages and stuff might not have been so hot.
But it seems everyone mixed and got on !!

I have had some great birding adventures. I have posted these elsewhere (The Big Bird Forum) so I am not repeating them here, but meeting up with a group of birders who call themselves
"Widerscope", was great. We had a laugh, I learnt a lot about other beasties and gained lifers!!
I was also entertained by a RIB ride out of this world...well out in the seas off the Cornish Coast!!
I saw a couple of year ticks. I was soaked three or 4 times in one day. I still find seawatching very difficult.
I now know why...well another reason other than I'm rubbish at sea watching. I went to the opticians to have an eye test the other day. Prescription has to be changed for both eyes...but the shortsight has def worsened.
I shall soon have 3 pairs of glasses...a reading pair and sunglasses and normal glasses for distance.(I had already decided to change from varifocals)

I know I have often said where is a particular bird and people say you can see it without I know why I couldn' eyesight really couldn't see it!!!

There is hope for the Eagle after all!!

I spent a long time watching Honey Buzzards from a raptor watchpoint in Devon. In my scope.

Well I have reached 300 species of birds seen this year...but the 301 is proving tres difficile!!
Went to Weymouth to see a Glossy Ibis a first for my UK list and dipped!!
Now anything I havent seen is appearing in Ireland (that's not BOU..but some people seem to count the birds they see there along with their UK ones??????????)
Scillies or Cornwall or in Western Scotland or Shetland......

Next Friday I go to Scotland to go to Orkney birding....across to Mainland and North Ronaldsay
so talons crossed for some new birds , possibly lifers and more sea watching practise!!!

oh..lovely today I received my prize for a raffle I went in with RBA (Rare Birds Alert).
at the Bird Fair I was in 4th place I I got to pick a couple of Kit Day's photographs.
They arrived today...really lovely copies of Black Throated Thrush...seen in S Wales earlier this year....and a bird I just never have been in the right place for.....Rose Coloured Starling.
I chose it as it is a lovely composition and a really wonderful example of the species - and as an incentive to see one soon!!

Oh yes the title? well there are at least 5 birds here but who cares its my title!!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Save the Albatross

19 of the world’s 21 albatross species are seriously threatened by longlining. This is the highest proportion of species under threat of extinction of any bird family.

Albatrosses face threats at sea and in their land-based colonies. The biggest threat faced by most species is death on longline fishing hooks, and their lifestyle makes them very vulnerable to the drastic impacts of this way of fishing.

Why are they so vulnerable?
Albatrosses are long-lived birds - some live up to 60 years. They only breed once they are fully mature, which can take several years. And they only produce one chick at a time. Some species only breed every two years.

Adults are being killed on longline fishing hooks in such vast numbers that they can’t breed fast enough to keep up.

Please visit this site and get involved....someway...anyway....

I am going to New Zealand in November and hope (talons crossed) to see some of these magnificent birds.
Albatross: — Black–browed mollymawk
Buller’s mollymawk
Grey–headed mollymawk
Shy mollymawk
Light–mantled sooty

Even one will do!!

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Well I had hoped to put up a wish list...go get them all and post pix!!

Something happened and I didn't get round to posting.

However after a hot week in Scotland and really not too many midges or other nasties. I managed to escape most bites...still probably got more than most. I do wish my blood wasn't so tasty!!

I had a good birding week and managed to see a mammal lifer - an Otter! (Having seen giant river otters in Peru I thought it time I finally spied a uk otter!!) well i actually saw 1 and a half otters as the first was half dissappearing into braken having crossed a road.

Minke the Moray Firth and off the Isle of Mull. Good views. Even better views on the Moray firth of Bottle nosed Dolphins. Thought the first sightings good but we had even better ones later in the week. They were playing and tails and snouts out!! Needless to say I got a couple of pictures I was quite pleased with and I managed to delete them before posting.
Such is life.

As to the birds...well -Red Grouse showed and Black Grouse and Capers didn't. White Tailed Eagles posed well and one flew for us. The Golden Eagles were terrific...and one flew the closest I've ever been to one.

After a struggle up a mountain in the cairngorms.....breathing hard on way up and agony on the knees on the way down.I saw a closer view of a Ptarmigan than before...she had chicks but was not about to show them. Then my favourite wader....Dotterel with at least one chick...he kept his eye on us!!

I found a Crested Tit myself early one morning....and we saw a Parrotbilled Crossbill.

Ospreys were everywhere, well it felt like it. I didn't get to see one last year and this year I have been elsewhere to the ones in Kent, Sussex, Surrey and even over my local patch Barnes!!
But I have made up for the misses....seen them fishing....close to and far...looking after youngster in nest and perching and flying so feel pleased with myself!!

A good week...really looking forward to a week in the Orkneys at the end of September.

I'll try to post a pic or two but still seem to have the gremlins about!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Fulmers and egg

Finally a photo!!
Well here are a pair of Fulmers and thei egg at Bempton on Sunday. They were sharing (non too happily this ledge with...a Razorbill...whether the RB had an egg we couldn't see but after the male(?) chased it off he was seen to be looking in the corner out of sight....??
The egg is pushed against the wall.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Finally gone in the correct way!!

Thanks Digibirder for the helpful hint on Sunday.....I have now actually entered the blog in the correct way for the first time!!

I shall now wait til later to post again!!

Just to say what a pleasure it was to meet Birdman, Anna and CherryPie on Sunday (well Cherrypie on Sat too!!) at Bempton!!!!
It was good to see the Quacks of Life and Digi plus Keith as well!! What a merry little birding crew we were!!

Puffins......ahhhh factor. Kitties, Guillies (bridled too), Razorbills.....Fulmars and GANNETS!!!!!

Plus a cast of extras!!!

More later maybe even a pix or two.....steady on!!!

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Finally got into dashboard and proper posting!!
But will have to wait til Friday to finish!! Out all day tomorrow.

Here we are.....
Well after yesterdays long but fab day..we went to El Hondo Information Centre (to see what was about but also to book to go onto the Reserve on another day)(New Birds)
Cattle Egret, Squacco Heron, Fantailed Warbler(everywhere!!), Collared Pratincoles,lovely Whiskered Terns,Shelduck, Reed Warbler,Stonechat,Short Toed Lark,Purple Heron,Grey Heron,House Martin,(Great Reed Warblers everwhere!!!)
Now I've got confused...I'll have to consult Bob...cant remember where we saw.....
Audouin's Gull
I know we then went to see if we could see Rollers, as Rose was with us for the day. We did and quite stunning views too!! A pair who they thought had probably just arrived from Africa.
Even I managed a record shot or two!!
Montague's Harrier put in an appearance which I saw!! As ever though I wanted better views!!

Went back to the apartment and we ate in tonight and watched TV!!
Chatted and were really shattered...from Wednesday....had a few drinks too.
We had arranged to meet Bob, Geoff decided to have a chilling day. I decided I wanted to go out later and as Rose was meeting Bob for a late Breakfast near to his local patch, Clot de Galvany it was agreed that Rose would pick me up about 11am and we'd meet Bob for an all day breakfast!!
We had noticed a lot of local police activity the day before...they seemed to be stopping Spanish cars and letting the hired cars through road blocks in the Gran Alicant area.
Rose has a little car there all the time...and yes we were stopped...checking Insurance!!
After a bit of a delay...boy you should see the paper work they want you to have with you...makes our system brill!!
Finally we met up with Bob fortunately he had no idea of the time as he had lost himself in the birding!!
After a real English Breakfast fullworks for Bob and Scrambled Eggs and Bacon for Rose and I ...Then we went to the coast road to see if we could find Rusus Bush Chat for Rose....and yes indeed still there!! But when we first arrived I heard this most extraordinary noise....and walked in its direction...afterwards I thought perhapsif I'd thought about it I would have run away...the most eerie and strange noise I'd ever heard!! Up flew this huge bird in the mid distance....a Stone Curlew making a collection of really loud noises!!Bob was behind me ever the gentleman helping Rose over very tricky tracks pits and holes...and he rushed up , but missed!!
That was it Stone Curlew top of agenda!! After giving up finally altho we heard its more usual cries and calls!! We returned to find Rose had seen her own Rufous Bush we saw some more!!It was a really lovely day...sun shining bright and Butterflies flying!!
Also seen Pied Wagtail and Linnet (as well as Sartdinian Warbler....) other birds too but I didn't write down everything seen today...mainly the new ones!!
Then Bob and I went birding!! I think Rose went to do some gardening?
To find Waders....Salinas and Playa-de-Pinet....very little about on Salinas...some Marbled Ducks..The usual Flamingoes...Yellow Legs ....Avocets and BW Stilts.. and a Yellow Wagtail and Cormorants. a small pond.....Curlew Sandpiper (some in full stunning breeding colours and boy did they shine!!), Little Stints and Sanderlings. Then a walk by the beach...Avocets, Common and Little Terns, Slender billed Gulls ( gull for me on this trip so far!!) BWS, lots of Kentish Plovers,back past Salinas and Redshank and Greenshank and Dunlin spotted along with more Marbled Ducks!!
and a Gull Billed tern!!!!We also looked at a salt museum area with a large reserve...over 40 Little Egrets!! and a recovering Greater Flamingo....apparently this is where they are rehabilitated after trauma, injury or illness.
more later....
I also had chance to see

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Espana Day 2

Wednesday 10th May

With thanks to Jules I'm posting his version here and then amending some bits.
Wednesday 10th May :- Today I was guiding Corinna, Bob, & Geoff who were staying around Gran Alicant on the outskirts of Santa Pola. John had asked if he could come along so we met the others at 9am and headed off with a specific 'targets' list to a nearby dwarf pine plantation. Almost immediately from getting out of the vehicle did I hear our first target and minutes later we were enjoying good views of a Rufous Bushchat.Lifer for me to be shown as (L). Over the next 30 minutes we logged 6 or 7 singing birds, hopefully a good sign for this scarce breeder. Next we called into the 'Clot de Galvany' and ended up staying there longer than expected due to the excellent birding. First we checked the lagoon finding Little Stints, Kentish & Little Ringed Plovers, Common Sandpiper, Black winged Stilts, Avocets, Whiskered Terns, Black headed & Yellow legged Gulls, Red Crested & Common Pochards, Shelducks, Coot, Great Reed Warblers, Little Owls, Southern Grey Shrikes, Crested Larks, Turtle Doves, Hoopoes, and Sardinian Warblers. The walk to the 'Charco de Contacto' produced a female Common Redstart, and on the pool there were a pair of (displaying) Marbled Ducks, 6 male & 2 female White headed Ducks, 2 Purple Gallinules, Shoveler, Little Grebes, 2 Carrion Crows(very unusual for this part of Spain- Geoff missed them but saw them later in the week) and 2 Red rumped Swallows. Our next destination was the vulture re-introduction scheme in the hills above Alcoy, and en-route we h times during the late night at the Finca.) Finally we left after an excellent meal to our final destination of Elche in the hope of finding our final target species. As dusk was falling we saw 2 Black Wheatears, and heard a Green Woodpecker, but then I picked up an adult Eagle Owl as flew out of it' roost and landed in full view. We watched it for about 10 minutes and while doing so heard Red necked Nightjar calling then the nightjar flew out and showed above the horizon in the falling light.(You guessed I missed this!) As we left the canyon we saw a second Red necked Nightjar fly up from the road in the vehicles headlights.(my first - a Lifer!!)


Friday, May 19, 2006

Birding Tales 1


Well after the incredibly busy last few months I really needed a holiday. The original plan had been shelved,but Bob a fellow Cllr and birder and his other half Rose have an apartment in Gran Alicante. Bob suggested that his birding buddy Geoff and I share a rented apartment near to where they are. Within a short space of time it was all arranged.
On Tuesday 9th May we met at Heatjrow and flew to Alicante.
Once there the adventure began.Over a glass of white wine I was seranaded by a beautiful male Serin,who landed on a wire over their garden! Spotless Starlings , H.Sparrows and Common and Pallid Swifts flew over. On our way to the lighthouse the first of many Southern Grey Shrikes were seen. On route we saw Collared Dove ,Woodpigeon and Hoopoe.Red rumped Swallows, a pair were dashing over the cliff edge as Thekla Larks caught our eyes.
Up the hill from our apartments is a lighthouse surrounded by scrub land and trees and is good for birding. Over the cliffs flew Yellow Legged Gulls and in the distance on the shoreline we spotted Little Egrets. Goldfinch and Greenfinches were evident as too were the sounds of Dartford Warbler.The latter proved elusive to me!Sardinian Warblers were first heard and then seen. I became quite blase about these by the end of our week having seen them everywhere!! A pair of Black Wheatears were seen on our return down the hillside, a good spot. As were Pied Wagtails and Spotted Flycatchers.
I did take my camera with me on most of the trips so will post some pix (once I know how to post them!!) after I have downloaded them.
So the first day.

Just been listening to Bruce Springsteen's latest album and watching the DVD. "We shall overcome" a tribute to Pete Seeger.
Took me back to College days and folk music...I really enjoyed some of the arrrangements....and I loved the fact that it was recorded live so they were making music. No rehearsals. Pure enjoyment from the musicians.I am in a good mood, great cos I'm off out to visit friends!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Another try!!

Just to see if this works or not!!

Election Blues!!!

Election blues!!!

Well, like many hard working Labour Cllrs up and down this country I have suffered an election loss. Wiped out!! Due to our Prime Minister who should have gone ages ago, and the government, plus ministers who ought to have resigned last week or been sacked. I ask you what good is it doing this today...after our hammering in the polls. Our voters were not unhappy at our performance, or the Council's performance they were just registering a protest to our govt. That's what they said to colleagues who went "knocking up".
The Leader of Crawley Council was interviewed at lunchtime on the radio.....very sensible...up and down this country are 254 (more now) hardworking and talented cllrs who through no fault of their own have lost their seats due to our government and the Blair factor (bad) plus the ministers who have let us down by their words, actions or lack of competence.
Iraq was bad....I reluctantly remained within the party as Blair refused to listen...I was with Robin Cooke and not just opposed the war but marched and argued against us starting the War without the backing of the UN, I felt lied to over "weapons of mass disappearance"because I was an elected Cllr.(having been a member since I was 16 some 35+ years ago (and long to see principles and practice of socialism within the party again.)....the non listening PM and his merry men in No 10 continue...the rarified bubble that is Westminster seems to pervade all that they do...get real...and down and dirty with the rest of us in the country....
yes a lot has been achieved by Labour in government and in our Councils....and there is a lot still to do but why shoot ourselves in the feet when there is so much more we could achieve.
Is it too late?
Why did Gordon not seek to take over before....will I forgive him his reluctance to stand up and be counted?
Will the shuffle be in vain...
in the name of God Blair go..GO!! will blow apart all the good your govt has achieved. I may not like your political colour but you could go down as the only Labour Leader to lead us to 3 victories in GE.not one that lead us to chaos and disaster...there will not be much left at this rate for Gordon or any other leader to lead!!
(Rant over!!)

Several things
...most people say I will now have more time to bird!!
I've been advised to move to Norfolk..(can I afford too?)
well I will see, lots of thinking to be done.
I need a part-time job.
I go to Espana on Tuesday with a fellow ex-Cllr who also got wiped out in another ward on our Council plus his better half and his birding pal of over 25 years....I think I'll be learning more about the finer points of Spanish/European birds!!
I think a week away is just what the Dr. ordered!!
I have a feeling that the painting and decorating that my lovely house requires will now be done by me.All those jobs that must be attended to will be listed rather than ignored and the garden will be sorted again....weeding a bit today!!

(Yesterday in a garden of our committee room we saw a Willow unusal guest along with the house sparrows...the RN parakeets flying over and seranaded by Robins, Blue and Great Tits and Blackbirds!!)
Tomorrow the play-offs....come on you Eagles!!!!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Eagles eye on life!!

Eagles eye on life!!

Well it all seems to be working now!!
Thanks Diane!!

Sunday, April 23, 2006


something is wrong probably me but I am just not seeing a front page ...

Thank you digi birder!!

It appears that I am getting confused in my old age !! But its really that I just dived in the deep end with this blogger stuff...should have known I should read the manual first!!

Thanks to digibirder...I am now able to find what I was looking for!!

Well done to West Ham today...I used to work in the east end and have many friends who are happy hammers!!!Good luck on the 13th...

My boys did well yesterday beating Southmpton...we are just getting into form...for the spoilinbg party next week and for the playoffs!!!

Went to my local patch and found a twitch!!

I wrote a very good article on this today..but I'm now deflated as I lost the post...then I managed to find it...and then I found a page where you can delete articles and cos I'm so stupid I had written a couple of comments that got saved as...too depressing to go there...I LOST MY ARTICLE!!

Short version saw 5 new year ticks yesterday...went to see Common and Black Terns dipped the Black....lovely sunny day met a nice welsh birder who told me about a twitch at the very place I was on my way to.....
went on a twitch at my local patch (Staines Moor) and saw a Bluethroat...met a guy called Paul.
Paul should have been collecting his fiance engagement ring but she had said he could go to see if he could see a lifer!! I brought him luck he said as we did see the bird!!Hopefully we shall be going birding again.

Birdman.....swallow and swifts now seen (just seen your comment...) see Bigg Bird Forum.....

Oh boy!!

Why there are no more posts

I dont understand I keep losing my posts!!I write up a post I publish it I cant see it again...I save a draft I lose it- rats!! Just spent 30 mins posting on a birding trip yesterday and its gone...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Tuesday 14th March

I like enthusiasm, and today I was both at the receiving end and the giving!! What's the expression it is better to give than receive?
I'm a Governor of a local Primary School. I took part in the RSPB's Big Bird School Watch in January...and took out half a year group (Yr2's that 6/7 years old) it was part of their numeracy curriculum...well it aided that!!)So I felt I ought to return for the others as well!!
The birding went down so well with the first group I had comments from the parents and some of the children who took part wanted their friends to have a go.
Today was the day.....very cold again!!
I think I now have two teachers converted into beginner birders and hopefully the children will keep looking for birds and getting their id's right!!

In the Summer I think a trip to Barnes might be in order.....

The Nature field (called the New Ground) has a tatty hide and a pond....we are loking to raise monies / grants to do it more on this later!!

Top birds today? Wren, nice and showy, singing Robin,Goldfinches, Song Thrush, LTTits(lovely!!)and the usual RN Parakeets!! (17 species)

Big Bird School Watch (19 species)
(Top Bird Green Woodpecker!!)
Total 22 Species

A birding day!!

A birding day!!

Been Birding today...went to Kent to hunt a Serin. I've only ever seen one (well more but that's another story!!) in Hungary.
Down to a place called North Foreland and a bay called Joss...thanks to a map and clear directions I found it. Well I had to look for a cleared cauliflower there was the object of my attention...except it wasn't . I asked a local dog walker, who pointed out that I was looking into the wrong field. How was I supposed to know one cleared field from another? So looked into the field.I had been directed to..and looked and looked...nowt!! So what was next? Have a cup of coffee.
Well I was standing with coffee cup in one hand and a cheese sarnie in the other and there was movement,so the coffee went flying in my attempt to get bins to face!! There was a bird...couldn't see what!! Scope on to the bird...drat!! (well a few other things too!!!)
So I left the scope ready, poured another cup (well a half cup) and found the cheese sarnie in my pocket...still in its cling film!! Just as I'm about to drink...back came the flying ......into scope...bird yes....but in shadow...(wasn't a very nice day today and it was cold...biting wind.)...then "Yes" Serin..(Yr tic)............spent ages the other week looking for one in Lincs with 3 other birders...dipped..but today....hurrah!!

2 half cups of coffee gone...and the cheese sarnie was now outside its wrapper and only good for feeding to the birds!!
So flushed with sucess I was able to watch the little bird for about 5 mins and it flew away!!

Now where? Dismal viewing to the sea....I’m not that good at seawatching anyway so unless I have another birder with me and the views are good I shy away!! I knew there had been a Swinger or two seen at Stodmarsh and I thought a better place for birding after a celebratory cup of coffee and the other half Cheese sandwich oft I went!!( Lets collect Swinger’s!!)

Well ....I was expecting to have to search diligently for Swingers ....well none to be seen where I thought at first!!

After spying a moving reed…(hahaha) I scoped it and yes a Bittern!! It moved twice in about 10 mins and then I looked at a duck (with my bins) and when I looked back it(Bittern) had gone or at least I couldn't find it!!

I went to the Tower hide...and on the Lampen Wall showing well was a male swinger
( Penduline Tit) which I watched for a while!! Attractive bird.

I then spotted a male and female Gargeney (yr tic!!) on the flood beyond some burnt reedbeds near the Lampen Wall and there were also several Water Pipits. This was getting better and better!!

I was walking away from the hide when I saw a Tern...first this year
a Sandwich Tern....this is a bird I always remember from my childhood birding at Shellness on the Isle of Sheppey!!

So apart from the Marsh Harrier (always mention a MH!!) and a Kestrel I didn't see any other BoP....still love to see Kes hovering!!

A happy birder if a very cold one, had another cup of coffee....and whizzed to the nearest loos!!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

It begins!!

It should have begun, but something went horribly wrong and Diane has had to sort me out!!