Thursday, December 31, 2009

BTO Atlas TTV 28th December

An enjoyable day. Sunny (mainly) - cold but without the usual sheppey biting wind!

See Devil Birders blog- David Campbell and Phil Wallace blogs alongside for photo's.

I planned on doing a couple of hours on my 1st Winter visit to my tetrads. I spent much longer but hey it was cool!

Great seeing Seth the Gibster and his other half Sam plus Glen again.
Kent birders - I hassled them al - as I want them to submit roving records!

then David and Phil - which was really nice as I only knew them from the internet!

Great birds too.....BOP -including Peregrine, Kes and Sprawk plus Marsh Harriers and lovely Hen Harriers of both genders.
Dizzies everywhere how to count em accurately? Well I did my best - it was when the 1000plus went up that it got tricky! Just doule the number u first thought and thats pretty accurate-underestimating is my folly!

37 Bewicks flew over our heads calling - delightful!
Masses of Mute Swans - I like the description given of them in a "herd"!
All birding done from the road as the water meadows were in need of waders and I didn't wporry the farmer as it was still Christmas!

When I go down for the 2nd winter visit - I shall walk all over the farm land as well. (have permission on one tetrad - the other I shall have to look at from different angles but still am able to walk along footpaths to cover quite a bit.

Lapwings by the hundreds- curlew - one spied and 15 Ruff plus all sorts!

I'm off to sort out my Sussex list!

Oh the Kent list shown on the blog is since 2004 when I re started birding seriously - I have still to find my schoolgirl diaries (in the loft somewhere) to check on any other species that I know I saw but not sure where!

2010 is the year when I attempt to get my Kent and Sussex lists respectable!
oh and sort out a London List as well - so unless its a Lifer or UK lifer I shant be travelling all over the UK (except holls on Shetland!) - perhaps a visit to Norfolk just because I have to, but I am not year listing this year.

I do have some rather important other stuff to get on with as well!LOL!

England win!

Yes - England win a Test away!

2nd Test in Durban and England win a Innings and 98 runs!

Well done Graeme Swann or Swanny! and both Batsmen who were under pressure score a hundred each.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thinking about SA and birding!

Well a couple of forum friends in SA have just got back from the Kruger NP and had some great birding, despite the weather!

In freezing conditions here I would prefer their mixture of weather!

Wonder why I am not there now? Oh yes not enough money!

2nd Test starts on Boxing Day .......

but here are two great photo's of BoP.
Sal (also known as Salamanda on here )

took these recently - the Brown Snake Eagle and the African Hawk Eagle (AHE is exceptional!)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Brown Shrike - Staines Moor

Well its the local patch - one of them!
Our visiting rare bird - appears to have gone missing following the snow- or has it relocated within the patch?
A visit today is called for - just got to find the thermals!

Here is one of the best photo's I have seen of "my" Shrike, thanks to Phil Wallace for permission to post on my blog. There is a link to Phils interesting blog on my links.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lloyds Building

A friend is working in the Financial district of London this week and his blog is full of pics of the area. It reminded me of the time I was teaching in Tower Hamlets and my chaps were out on work experience all over London. Lots in the City!
I was also involved with TH Business Enterprise - best visits were to Lloyds -
(to be continued!)

Sunday, November 15, 2009


A few random pics from Shetland - most are from Unst -

the 3 birds in my scope are Two Hornemann's Arctic Redpolls and a Common Redpoll!

The bird on a wire fence is an Arctic Warbler (that was on the Mainland)

Friday, November 13, 2009

A "Gull" for Paul!

A seal at Sumburgh watching a dog on the beach!

Well they may be noisy but they love one another!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Marine and Coastal Access Act

Today, 12 November 2009, is the day the Marine and Coastal Access Bill receives Royal Assent and becomes law. The UK's marine wildlife above and below the waves surrounding England and Wales, and in offshore waters around the whole UK, should now be afforded the level of protection that it so desperately needs.

Under this new law, the UK Government gains exciting new powers to protect marine wildlife and manage our seas effectively. These include:

* The creation of new Marine Conservation Zones, to ensure important areas for our marine species and habitats are properly protected
* A new marine planning system that will allow Government to take a strategic and co-ordinated overview of the range of human activities in our seas, and ensure that we are not pushing the marine environment to or past its limits
* In England and Wales it also allows for improved management of inshore fisheries that will consider the needs of our sealife, and marine conservation

Friday, November 06, 2009

Fan-tailed Warbler in Kent

Finally the FTW, I do prefer "Zitting Cisticola" as this is how I was first introduced. In Espana in 2005.
However the UK list and Kent list were begining to be an embarrassment.
Leaving home later than I intended I didn't get on site until after 9. Worried that the pager had said "showing well at 8am" would I dip?

Well the bird then proceeded to show briefly with quick hovers which I managed to miss!

At this point I decided that I really ought to look at the waders on show. I then recommenced attempting to connect with the FTW. I spied a birder further away from the assembled twitchers.
A nice chap (who had informed me where the bird had shown prior to my arrival) pointed out that said birder was "a local". A loudmouth "tw**" then proceeded to annoy me with his loud voice whose contents hardly added to anyones knowledge. Concentration ruined, I joined the local birder checking that I was ok to do so. Sensible Corinna - he turned out to be friendly, helpful and informative. I enjoyed the Merlin spooking the assembled waders several times, Dylan (for it was he) pointed out a small flock of Twite - which whilst I had seen dozens in Shetland recently are a bird I love to see.
Then after about 30mins, Dylan suggested moving towards the hide and as we did so the FTW decide to fly out of his previous hiding place into some cover - result! Then again after a little while, a longer flight into the bank close to the seawall.Good bin sights.

Dylan went into the grassy knoll and I stayed with 2 other quiet birders searching (with bins!) in the reeds and salt marsh. We noticed there were many passerines about in the small trees and bushes that surround the "GK", when Dylan indicated he had the bird, not using any path I walked across the grass careful not to disturb the bird along with the other 2, but the dudes almost used the path but were stopped by a quick call and arm waving!

The FTW had again dropped down but I knew where and it flew up and perched on the Tree right in front of us! Dylan made sure everyone was on the bird.

This time I had scoped brilliant views.

I turned to thank Dylan for his help and he was grinning, he finally had his photo and not a bad one at all.

It was now 11 and a cupof tea and bacon roll were calling. A happy "Eagle" left the GK - as D went off home.

Not a bad priced breakfast at the Dog Walker's Cafe.

Photo is here on Dylan's blog

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Shetland Wildlife

I went to Shetland for two week at the beginning of October. (If you have been reading my blog you know all this anyway...and my friends do!)
When I booked I was hoping to see migrating birds and some rarer birds as well. Maybe even a mega! I decided to go with a birding(wildlife) company as I hadn't been to Shetland before and I wanted to glean as much info as I could from the experts!
I have been following a few blogs from birders on Shetland for a while now and realised it was very different birding - it is different!
I had been with Hugh Harrop on a Company of Whales trip - from Portsmouth to Bilbao - 4 days watching for cetaceans and birds from just below the Bridge on a special platform at the bow- spectacular views.(if you have been- just above the helicopter landing deck).I had a great time.I went to the Guggenheim Art Gallery when we got to Bilbao as I had done quite a bit of birding earlier that year in Espana.A culture vulture!Think this was 2005 - ???????? (i will date this later!)
Hugh's Company Shetland Wildlife is obviously based in Shetland (locals always know best places and would have a network of other birders who might find good birds).

I went full of expectation and hope and returned and booked again for next year!
Yes - it was that good! Loved Shetland, loved the locals (Shetland people are warm, friendly and welcoming)loved the birding and loved being near the sea - almost all the time!I might add that Hugh ensured that everything went as smoothly as it could and we got to see the best birds in the best way. Our guide for the two weeks was David(Dave)Fairhurst - tip top birder and a top bloke. He went out of his way to seek out our own birds- Hornemanns Arctic Redpolls and the Unst birds.(another post for these). He also got us quickly and safely to any rare, scarce or mega that anyone else found!
We also looked at the local resident birds - Starlings(defo bigger here) well I did in case of a Rosy (none)I expect he did too but didn't say.Bonxies, Fulmars (I looked closely at a lot of these!)and Gulls - Dave spotted a Little Gull(I think he said it was the first he'd seen since moving up to Lerwick)which I was able to get onto quickly.
Common gulls were everywhere which was good as we dont see as many down south,oh yes and the Wrens - Shetland Wren and Fair Isle Wrens are sub species and do look different to our usual (English)Wrens.

Thanks to David and Jon Dunn (who also works for Shetland Wildlife but part-time
along with other job - the Local Council and runs his own croft!)we enjoyed a special day on Whalsay on our first full day. Two lifers - Pechora Pipit and a Veery. (see below)Nothing was too much for these guys.

David managed to put up with my stream of questions about the birds,whether it was what was usual here, specific ID questions, Shetland questions,he even managed to answer them all!

We had a great time birding and we laughed a lot as well.

Criticisms....well I never did see an Otter or an Orca but then neither did most of us!LOL! My fault for not getting up and going out on our first morning at Balta Sound Hotel,they (Otters)are there but not when I looked later in the day!
My tired legs - kicking through lily plants and walking miles on Fair Isle, getting mizzeled out - cant see through glasses when it mizzels - it was the combination of wind and mizzle!Dont mind the rain you can see through the raindrops!
Did I mention the wind?

Going out birding now...may go and see the Brown Shrike again...I need to see my local patch!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Another view of the Veery

Another view of the Veery - one I didn't get except in secs - then 20 sec bursts as it merrily hopped its way around the Ferrymans garden - feeding as he went! I didn't even try to get a record shot - I saw Jon was shooting, H was as well - pointless with the compact - tooclose for digi scoping or quick.
So with Hugh Harrop's permission here are a few shots taken when the Veery performed like the star he had become.

Ducks landing gear down!

My friend Pat took this image - which made us laugh! Thought I'd share it.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Fair Isle October 2009

Thursday 15th - in the afternoon one of the Assistant Wardens stopped the van and told us he had trapped a Blackpoll Warbler and was taking it to Chalet to be ringed and measured.
Fortunately is was not far and so we sped off on foot.A Fair Isle twitch then took place - Holly appearing with a car full of kids and parents(hers), "who else is there on the Island who we should ring?" - "anyone staying at the South Light?" -

Tommy, Liz and Henry arrived full of enthusiasm.(I was staying with them so no surprises there!)Several crofters including an ex Warden of the Obs.Two other birders who had been on the Island for a while.Everyone excited and swept up with the moment.
Eventually the beauty was brought out so we could all see him and pics were duly taken!

Then he was taken back to the area of the trap - good sycamores and other trees and shrubs there so he could rest and feed up.

Dave asked does anyone want to go and see him released? Yes I certainly did - no tick unless he was free! "Go on then", says Dave "Go"
Tommy said "I picked up a scope, is it yours- its in the car" "Great - thanks" I said
"I'll pick it up there", then one guy got out of Tommy's car into another car - Tommy said "Hop in with us" so I did!We whizzed up to the nets, in time to see the bird released and then settle on a twig to get its bearings.
I managed a good spot to watch and when I was able I got a couple of record pics hand held through the scope.
Liz had her video camera - pic of her in action another time! Henry aged 8 desperate to get a good view!
Much photography took place!

Then the others arrived - they had walked up - oh no I hadn't realised they were coming to as they had seemed hesitant. Felt better later when I arranged for Tommy to take D back to Auld Haa when they went home.

Eventually only Dave, H and I remained.We stayed until it got so dark we couldn't see the bird anymore.45 more mins. H trying to get that perfect photo! Pretty impossible with fading light and a mobile bird who perched with twigs in front of him.

We knew that Diner would be later that evening so were happy to take our time.Everybody was happy that evening. Our last Dinner at Auld Haa that night was asdelicious as ever, but the others said the Sticky Toffee Pudding was the best desert - I not having any disagreed as I thought the Carrot Cake of the night before the best!

Slept well that night.

We refound the bird next day opposite Auld Haa - and H was able to take much better photo's- as was everyone else(not me). More pics later of people taking photos!
Eventually BW flew into the neighbouring croft field and snuck away to the Beach were it was relocated much later that afternoon feeding on insects.One top lister on mainland Shetland was unable to get on a plane that afternoon(being full) so missed seeing it having been told no sign first thing(I think he was booked on the am flight but didn't travel) until Dave relocated it while chatting to Tommy outside, while waiting for me to collect my scope from Tommy's car. Misunderstanding here - car not locked so Tommy didn't realise I was waiting for a key!Only when the cry went up "Blackpoll Warblers here" did it dawn on me that Tommy was outside and not getting the key for me! So I was happy that my delay I caused us to see the bird again otherwise it might never have been seen again!

Pics are of The BW, A happy Warden and the 2 AW's. Diagnostic back, wingbars and tail "spots".The BW - after release.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Where to begin?

I will be blogging later - probably tomorrow as the weather will be aweful!

So much has happened since I returned from Shetland.But I will be retelling my tales and adventures there soon, just how good was it well I am going back in June for Seabirds (a week) and again late September/October for two weeks. So I have caught the bug which states you dont ever only go to Shetland once!

Since then I have caught up with our long staying Brown Shrike locally - been for a trip oop North for a couple of days(yes, I did see the ECW - in fact on two occasions!), so I am pleased! I have also been to Norfolk for a day or two and been down to Kent.BWof a change!

Some record pics - some no pics as bird (s) were too far away /batteriues failed, the usual excuses- generally its that other people take better photo's or there are better ones on the net!

For Paul some pics to come of gulls and Fulmars!!!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Brown Shrike on Staines Moor

Yes one of the local Kesrels!

9th day twitch makes it all so quiet. A couple of these local guys have seen the bird before.

Record shot.

I first heard about this bird on my local patch whilst on Fair Isle. Would the bird stay until the w/e?
I expected to go on my return on Saturday afternoon. On arriving home I heard my neighbour had died and all thoughts of the bird vanished.

So it was first thing Monday morning at just before 8am that I found myself on familiar territory.Bob a local surrey birder I know was there and had been since 6.30am.2 other chaps from Redhill - deliberately missing the w/e Twitchand a couple over near the bridge. That was the total until Franco arrived.

No sign of the bird anywhere.I searched bushes and tree with my scope and thats when one of the local birds - a Kestrel was spotted perched up.

It was some time about 90 mins after I arrived that the Brown Shrike decided to get up and have his Breakfast - mainly of wasps!

He showed clearly (not that you guess from my hand held digiscoped views!)
At least they look alright whe in the camera...if not on the pc or here!

Lovely to watch the bird perching, flying to catch an insect then eating it, coughing up a pellet and then repeating it all again.

Off to walk Zeta the Dog now!

Will be blogging about Shetland and Fair Isle as soon as I can - with some record shots! I am hoping that I will have some clear photos to post when Heather sends her's on to me!

Friday, October 16, 2009


There will be a full update on my return - probably Sunday eve at this rate!

Just to say Shetland went birding crazy as I arrived and continued for the first week - even Fair Isle caught the bug....and we ended with a Blackpoll Warbler!

On our return to Shetland - Hugh transported us up to Queldale (sp?) and I had brilliant views of a Spotted Sandpiper washing and preening!

Further details later but I think that adds 20 to the year list!
5 lifers and several more UK lifers!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sunday - Shetland mainland

In the garden of the Hotel I found a Greenfinch!
Yellow browed Warbler nr Sumburgh Farm.

We walked across to the farm and up to the quarrie - then around back to the hotel. We then returned to compass hill and then back down to the farm track where there had been a GSwoody! No sign of woody but Dave found a Little Bunting.

more later soups ready!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bonelli's Warbler

Yes - a lovely little bird. Clean, bright and very lovely!

Do you get the impression its a lovely bird!

There are hundreds of Redwings arrived...and apparently the local quarries are full of newly arrivedmigrants. Just what we will be looking at tomorrow who knows!

Went over to see the Hornemanns Arctic Redpoll again!

For photo's of the Bonelli's see here (it may not be there yet but try again!)

Destination Unst and back!

This will be updated later- with pics.
Briefly on route to catch the ferries to Unst - 2 are necessary - we swung around to Muckle Roe where we saw a lovely adult male Surf Scoter amid the flock of Eiders, much more rewarding than the female surfer in Devon earlier this year!

A brilliant cafe is at the ferry terminal on the end of Yell - the Wind Dog Cafe. Great coffee and delicious home made cakes.

On Unst I stayed at Balta Sound - thats way north!
Snow Buntings, Hornemann's Arctic Warbler(s), Barred Warbler, Bluethroat - nice and showy, Lapland Buntings, Rosefinch - oh and I havent mentioned the Yellow-browed saturday I must have seen 20 of them!

Just a taste!

The Shetland network is a great help to knowing where the migrants are!
We aided it on Friday when we found an American Golden Plover in with a great flock of GP.

Then another lifer - 2 Olive-backed Pipits - I managed to refind one on the ground sneaking along then it came out a posed a couple of times in the sunshine(!) and then flew up into a tree and was joined by another both pumping their tails madly!

Oh forgetting the Red-breasted Flycatcher - I think that was thursday - must check my notes!

Saturday and birding Shetland style on my own - another YBW - about 12 Redwings which must be newly arrrived overnight.Great views of seals today in a watching the antics of a dog on the beach!

Being picked up at 4 to go and see if a Western Bonelli's is still performing well in a on Hugh Harrops blog site soon!
The weather is not at all good at the mo- raining in all directions and that wind!
If not today there is always tomorrow!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Monday 5th October

Well a lovely clear sky greeted us this morning - would the target bird have flown overnight?

Well we set off for Fetlar anyway! As we journeyed it was the flat calm as we ferried our way to our destination. We met up with other birders and the twitch was on!
6 guys crammed into one car looked a bit keen - but they were staying for a week.

On route we watched a Yellowbrowed Warbler in a garden with chiffchaff(s)and a chaffinch, along with the numerous Shags. oh for Pauco - Great Blackbacks (GBH), Commons(lots), Herring(need to be searched well) and a few BH Gulls - We spotted one Kittiwake today as well - most have left.

News came through the the bird had been seen, what a relief.

Three ferry stops later we reached Fetlar,and on went the convoy. We all parked up and as we approached the garden the bird had been favouring, it hopped out into the road and would have stayed there except we were all walking towards it, surprised us and itself!.Birders mainly went over the fence and set-up opposite.
The Taiga Flycatcher showed wellon occasions,but was flitty to say the least but some birder even managed photos.(from a distance)
There were Merlin around as a tiny distraction.
Then on to see if the Blyth's Reed Warbler was still in the field,no but we flushed up Twite and Snipe, oh and another YBW was seen along with 2 in the TF garden!
H and D stayed with the Taiga and got much better views than I had had.

Back on mainland, it was off to find an Arctic Warbler.Once located(took a while) was photographed and even I managed a hand held digiscoped shot! Well one that was presentable! What a supercilium! Another really lovely bird.Here we also had great views of our first Brambling of the trip!

News had broken earlier of a Hornimanns Arctic Redpoll,on route for our Hotel we diverted and arrived there to find the finder and various local birders, a Shetland Twitch!
What a confiding bird, probably we were the first humans it had ever encountered.
Fab pics taken and I got a couple of nice shots! What a little stunner!

We finished by watching a large flock of Twite feeding in a field.

Throughout today news was reaching us of Fair Isle birds,please stay til next Monday when we arrive! Oh more birds may land but none to leave please!

Gales forcast for the next two days at least!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Shetland - Two World Lifers and a UK Lifer.

First day - travel.

Arrive and whisked off to a field near the airport at Sumborough by Hugh Harrop - walk around field full of skylarks and mipits and yes eventually after much searching by Hugh - H,D and I helped enormously by walking around searching with our eyes(!)not used to this Shetland Style birding!
Hugh delivered aUK lifer- Short-toed Lark!
Great start and after booking in the hotel. I went for a walk on my own.
Beach and Garden at Grutness and then a couple of quarries(full of Fulmars) through an open access farm and back to the hotel. Almost all in sun!
It grew dark and the wind blew,but then it does that naturally on Shetland.

Slept through the gale force winds!Sea air having its usual soporific effect on me!

2nd day
- off to seek out some recently arrived migrants.

No sign of a Pechora Pipit on the Mainland - but we did see some Common Redpolls.
On to the passenger Ferry(only)to Whalsay.No transport then, but Shetland Wildlife think of everything and there a little after we arrived was the local birder - Jon Dunn. Who proceeded to search a local garden (which the bird had been favouring) decide the bird was not there so went to search another garden where - hey presto - was the Veery! Brief (seconds) view and it was off. Disappeared again and was refound briefly.(Then re-read Jon's blog see below for the tail of the misssed ringing opportunity!)The bird then disappeared.

Jon then offered to take us up near his house - to the northern part of the Island to see a Pechora Pipit. Nearly there a mobile went off - as son as we had left (into a black hole for mobs)they had rung to say the Veery was showing stunningly! Damn!
Jon whizzed us back - defo a twitchy ride!
Bird had relocated they knew not where by the time we had returned!
However the bird then re appeared in a completly different place(after magnificent searching by Dave and Jon) and some record flight shots were taken(not by me!)I had waited not so patiently by the wall in the garden.The owner we met on the Ferry (working) who said " Please go into my garden for better views if you want."The attitude of the Shetlanders is magical, they look at you strangely for asking "May we?" -to them its a given. Dont think tho that I could ever not ask, indeed the two guides do/did everytime!
The bird returned to its original garden! This time via the roof!We waited very patiently and after what seemed an age it hopped out into view for some good if brief views!

First impressions?What a lovely place!
Yes we had rain and it was windy but I also saw two lifers - VEERY and a PECHORA Pipit. Both were stunning views, even of the less than showy Veery. (I think there were a lot of twitchers there yesterday and I think it had had enough!)
The last views enabled Jon to get some brilliant photo's which can be seen on his blog "Bitter Bonxie"...there will be a link later.

Then it was to the north of the island for the PP, oh and coffee and cake at Jon's - but that was promised and delivered later after the birding!
Again we were driven there in two goes by Jon. I was left to refind the bird with two of our group.We failed! But met the woman who lived there going out with her young son."Please go round the back of the house thats where the bird has been showing." We were reluctant.I did walk up and down the ditch the bird had been favouring. No sign. But when Dave and Jon arrived it was straight round the side and "peep carefully round the wall" - there hopping about near the pipes was a beautiful large Pipit!
The Pechora Pipit showed beautifully.
Braces brilliant - in fact this is when the sun came out!

A walk around the plantation drew a blank except for a few Blackbirds, a Wren and I forget!
On the way to Jon's I chatted to him about his croft and the animals.
The welcome Coffeee and Cake was delivered in Jon's fine kitchen/dining area with stunning sea views.

We then were transported back down the island - again in two batches!
We walked to the ferry and meet a stream of birders arriving - 26 hours from Aberdeen!The Boat across had not left due to the gales.So birders who had travelled up on the same plane from London as H,D and I, but opted for the Boat instead of the plane had had a torrid time!
They all got to see the Veery and several got to see the PP too- again thanks to Jon and a couple of other local Whalsay birders ferrying all that wanted up to the PP.
They had much more limited time than us.

A big, huge, in fact, thank you to Jon for all his efforts. It was his day off!

Two stunning birds, a lovely island, great birding and fantastic hospitality.

A great day.

Some pictures are here

Thursday, October 01, 2009

And another dip!

Well I didn't really expect that the Leach's Petrel would still be on Staines Res - but you have to give it a go dont you?

So I was there at 6am complete with large Costa Coffee - and so too were a couple of other Birders - one who is a patch birder who saw said bird yesterday!

By 8.30 my hands were cold (forgot gloves) I needed a pee and I had interviewed all 6000 other birds to see whether the smug looking BH Gulls had actually eaten him for supper or he had merrily gone on his tour of inland reservoirs!

Still rather nice Linnet and Mipit flock contained at least one Whinchat!

The Pied Wags were and there was a Grey Wagtail.

oh yes and a couple of Black-necked Grebes but since they are locally known to be about it was not so exciting as it might have been - altho they are a lovely bird!

That must be all my badluck out of the way - along with the fact I cant now go to seek out the Zitting Kent bird tomorrow am as I have a committment first thing!
So Kent birders who still need it get down there tomorrow - you are bound to see it!

So fresh climes - the thermals and fleeces will be packed in readiness for the gales I am expecting on Shetland - please some Easterlies - and a couple of calm nights...

I might even have to buy a Fair Isle cardy when I am there!

No pics didn't take the camera - the canon 100-400 is on loan to a friend...but here is a little bird I saw on Stanwell Moor this week -no prizes for guessing the id.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Spotted Crake

Finally spotted!

Got to the hide with coffee by 10am sat in desired spot - scope sorted and watched...bloke thought he saw it...on the island (but it had been reported in the usual spot..looked I saw Snipe(s) and a wisp of Water Rail!

Back to watch spot and there it was briefly - told people and one woman with scope managed to see the spot and a bit of bird - few mins later and it was there again and several were able to look in my scope and see it!

All now knew where...I vacated spot and finished my coffee on the way back to the car!

3rd time lucky.

This evening pager goes off mega on Shetland (will disappear in a day or so) - it begins!

Willet (?) anyone - altho I am not fussy really I am not - there are lots of birds that would be good - year list - Life list or - Shetland list (which is on none - so I must get some!)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A holiday and a dip plus a few birds for the year list!

Well its been a bird hunting week....dipping Spotted crake - twice - going to go again on Monday (3rd time lucky - now I know where it hides and where to sit in the hide...)LOL!

But I have seen White-rumped Sandpiper in Essex and Glossy Ibis in Kent and a Yellow browed Warbler at Barnes so not all bad!

Another trip out to Kent tomorrow. Will report back later.

I am getting very excited as I go to Shetland or is it I go to the Shetlands(?)next Saturday - for 2 whole weeks! I will be visiting a few of the different islands as well as a few days on Fair Isle! Hoping the winds change direction by then and there are lots of rare or scarce birds to be found as well as the usual local wildlife. Talons crossed for some cetaceans to be seen from the shore.

This is my first real holiday this year and I think it will be brill - its my first visit there and I am looking forward to all aspects of the culture as well as the wildlife.

Excited I am!

Monday, September 21, 2009

New Forest

Saturday was a day spent with friends - including one from Derbyshire down for a w/e.

Meeting at 8am - 8.10 I finally ring I am in the Car am I. Now we discover there are two car parks!

My friend has been watching a Treecreeper and I a variety of woodland birds including a noisy Jay!

We go for a walk where there are dozens of Stonechats and a few Dartford Wrblers. My friend has only ever glimpsed a DW before on a twitch (they are very rare in Derbyshire!) Now she is happy having seen one in my scope - so much so she now finds another one of her own!

We also have good views of Wrens and one Woodlark - which I get in my scope but as it doen't ave its crest up and its its back view with stuff in the front I am not convinced that friend will count it!

All 5 friends meet for coffee then go to Keyhaven to look at the sea - watch out for any birds - and see the Needles and a large lump that goes for the IOW.

Not a lot about - it was by now hot....august type hot andlots of locals and others...less birds - altho some Little Egrets were nice.

So it was off to the Smugglers Inn where we had a good lunch.Dragons by the stream....

A drive through the New Forest - ponies to the right , ponies to the left, ponies in the middle of the road!

I returned home by 5.30 having had a loely day in the sun...seen some birds but more importantly seen friends again.

(now where is that camera cable....?)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Beddington Farmlands and Beddington Bird Group

Thought I'd do something useful whilst waiting for cat to stop being sick.
So I surfed the net and discovered the Dip or glory had another site (see above)
click on the word here! it was't working should be now!

so I thought well I dont get there often but these guys deserve all the support they can get - real urban birders...alth on a good day it can feel like the countryside!

So a bit more advertising for a great bunch of birders - read about their work - cheers.

Oh and yes they get lots of gulls!

Tufted Puffin in Kent

where was I going this am?
Shellness/oare ....didn't get up as was awake most of the night! so decided Barnes -i am there dipping a spotted crake when the pager goes off.....Tufted Puffin --where (?)

I go home to sort out cats and go....when I look and see - seen for 15mins and then flew west....ok have time to sort myself out...and then a cat is sick!

so - I dont go.
Twitch all day at home hoping cat will be ok...(probably will but have to see!)

still no sign of bird....thats why they call it twitching.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Local Birding

Having been down to Kent to catch a Dotterel - and over to Dunge to see GWE and Red-backed Shrike. I wondered where I would go on my birthday!

I decided against Stodmarsh and a Glossy Ibis for local patch birding in the hope I might just find something special!

So Stanwell Moor and Staines Res were the two local patches picked today.

Well no rare finds however I was pleased with spotting a juv Whinchat perched high in a tree on my way out of the Moor. This was followed by finding a juv Whinchat at Staines as I arrived!

The trees and bushes on the Moor were full of birds.
A delightful Tit flock kept me amused for ages as I spotted Great, Coal and Long-tailed before finally finding a couple of Blues! Amidst this flock were half a dozen Linnets who flew off together into an ajoining bush.There were Willow Warblers a plenty as well.

In another part of the Moor a Green Woodpecker was calling and a Kestrel was hunting.

Then on the way back a Kingfisher flew low above the river flashing brilliant blue!

On the path just over the first bridge on the route back were Wrens, Robins and Blackbirds calling and appearing in bits! It took a while before I saw a whole bird. Then it was the turn of the Reed Warblers and yet more Willow Warblers flitting in the trees.

On arrival screeching RNParakeets had greeted me - not seen any for a week now.
There were dozens of House Martins stocking up on insects over and near to King George Res....the odd flyover Mute Swan and then the noisy Canada Geese.

On the way out I spotted a bird high in a tree and once the scope was on the bird a juv. Whinchat.

Off to Staines I was struck by the number of Great Crested Grebes with some juvs.
Wigeon a plenty as well....I searched for a nice wader or two and had to settle for Lapwings!

The weather was cloudy and overcast - with intermittant showers. I think I counted up to 35 species seen this morning.

Only person I saw on the moor was actually arriving as I was looking at the Whinchat.
The Staffie decided my trousers smelt exciting (cats and dogs I expect!) and the Rottweiler arriving later looked interested in my tripod! The bloke with them turned out to be a nice young man who was quite interested in birds - "dont know all the names but there are nice birds of prey here" he then went on to ask what are these?
"House Martins - look at the white on them" ....then it was all about the swallows gathering in August and September...

Off to Staines were there were Pied Wagtails entertaining as ever lots of Canada Geese and assorted Ducks....oh and the juv. Whinchat.

I did think about Barnes but decided against it today.

Kent birders are getting excited at seawatching this week - so Thursday looks like the day to go - Shellness? Reculver? or will I make Foreness early enough...looks like an early rise! Next w/e I plan on a couple of trips into Kent - I need to call in on friends in Maidstone on the way home Saturday and hopefully see a neice on the Sunday after a little light birding!

Looking forward to a fine dinner tonight at a local watering hole in Chiswick!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Really cant do this on a regular basis

Keep saying - must do better!

Lovely juv Dotterel in Kent yesterday. Sandwich - havent been there for a long time. I think this is my first for Kent - certainly since 2004 - cant remember seeing one anywhere in Kent in my early birding years - stil to find those school diaries!

I think that next year -as the first 4 months will be busy for me - that I will concentrate on Kent/Sussex and Greater London birds - with only lifers/UK lifers outside of the area with a foray or two with my mates to Norfolk/Forest of Dean.

I have to do my tetreds (4) for breeding birds early and late season BTO.

I know that there will be the KF project to help my friend get good photo's of posing fishing Kingfishers!

Well I have to do some seawatching soon- perhaps Thursday and the w/e will bring the right weather - I shall be studying the magic seaweed to see when the conditions are likely to be favourable!I want to spend some more time in Kent anyway.

Sabine's Gull here we come!
(Yes I know there is one inland- but I do want to see one at sea!)

I am miffed that I didn't see the Sabine's that was spotted on a pelagic in Canada in 2004 - mind you it would have been a terrible sight - seconds!So on reflection probably better I didnt!

Sun is out finally today so I think it is time to go out and about and see whats about- Staines perhaps?

Monday, August 24, 2009

England regain the Ashes!

Boy how good does that sound!

In 2005 it was we have finally WON the Ashes.....that felt totally amazing!

Yup we was blitzed in 2007 in Oz .....

but to win the Ashes again in 2009 was brill!

I was lucky enough to get tickets for Lords and had a brill day there - just do love Lords.

Yesterday I dodged in and out of the house - dogs need to be walked when you are looking after them (especially in their own home) and managed to watch most of the day.

This time it was a real team effort but I have to congratulate Strauss and his batting and captaincy ...I had my doubts about him but he proved me wrong!

Lots of memories including just how big a unit Freddie is - in real life as opposed to TV!
Stuarts fiver at the oval - the fact that Swan did himself proud...he is a lovely bloke....and Prior is getting it together as a WK!

Credit to the Aussies fought all the way!

I ought to have gone out birding but it was tooooooo tempting to see the Cricket!

Ruff at Rye Meadss I see and a friend I might have bumped into at Barnes!

Now to sort out those KF at Rye Meads!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Here we go again

Another attempt to catch up on my bird blog - shant worry about other things -life goes on!

KFP (Kingfisher Project) part 2 - went to Rye Meads saw the breeding pair and y friend got a flyaway photo.

KFP part 3 will be next week on my friends return from Sicily!
A Caspian Tern turned up in Welney on 4th July - as I was in the Brecks/on route for seeking out a Ruddy Shelduck.
Having seen the Tern late morning -I aborted Ruddy shelducks and went to Otmoor to spy a Marsh Warbler.

Scottish visit involved seeing the River Warbler (cant believe I missed the South coast bird last year!) Applecross - both very nice! Across to Skye for Golden Eagles, Twite and Black Guillimots - and an Otter!

West Coast for a WT Eagle -Sea Eagle rules!

A whizz into Abernethy Forest for Crested Tit and Parrot Xbill and once again no Capers capering or otherwise!
Across a moor or two for Red and Black Grouse - "go-back" and"grousing"

Couldn't face the climb up in the Cairngorms for Ptarmigan and Dotterels -so will have to hope to see young D's on route back to their wintering quaters.


A world lifer and another couple on the year list! This time I did go to Norfolk proper!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Blue-cheeked Bee- eater in Kent

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater in Kent and where am I?
No not in Kent, unfortunately owing to a pulled back muscle could not drive there!

But if you look here you can see photo's taken by Tony Morris. The bird was found by a local patch worker and they id it together!

Grrr would have been a great bird for my Kent List as well as UK life list!

That was yesterday!

Will now make myself a little happier by filling in my Bubo list for the year as I can add some birds!

Looks like episode 2 of the hunt for a photographic session with kingfishers will be happening on Monday!
I shall also be cross examining every wader seen just in case!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cricket Lovely Cricket

I went to Lords on Saturday.Brilliant day all round and great company. I will post a few pics later. I will also comment then, dont want to put the mockers on it!

The pics from Saturday will have to wait!

brilliant, well done ENGLAND -74 years of waiting a victory over Oz and at last!

Well done Freddie -what a way to sign off at Lord's a fifer!
Lovely bowling Swanny.

The team wot did it - every one of them including the busiest sub ever!

Freddie joins an illustrious band of Cricketers to be on both batting and bowling Honours Boards.

I T Botham.
Gubby Allen.

Garfield Sobers.
Keith Miller

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Just been reminded that I havent blogged for ages!

Brief note -I will put more details on when i have some time, interviewing all day today so will be another day!

1. Nightjars and a roding Woodcock in Surrey
2. Twitching - a visit to Norfolk / Brecks involved a slight diversion to Welney for a Tern
3. A Scotland visit which turned into a couple of twitches - and a collection of specialities - not the clean sweep but hey not bad for a long w/e!
4 Zip into Kent

Still wondering where that Royal Tern went......

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Search for a photogenic Kingfisher

Having promised to take my friend to seek out a Kingfisher to photograph today I could not go to North Wales to dip or otherwise a Royal Tern.The uk life list will have to wait!

Promises are promises (eeek) still I think it is on its way North so Lancs is relatively easier to get to than NWales coast! Talons crossed for Seaforth!

So to Little Marlow GPs via M40 - lots of Red kites to cheer me up!
A long walk around the Little Marlow GPs....seeing lots of Tern activity including a first for my friend young Terns(unable to fly yet), beautiful water lilies and finallyafter armies of Canada Geese (mixed ages) Lapwings a plenty - several GC Grebes including one busy building a nest, Coots various ages, Mallards similar, lots of woodland birds including a Garden Warbler that would not show! Finally I spy a KF land on a branch in the distance - and manage to get Pat on it before it flew landed on another branch on another tree and then fly over the water and away!

We decided on a walk beside the Thames as we could not go where te bird had gone and it didn't return.....

An angler had tod us of a Farm with a lake where there were 4 White Waltham....well we tried to find it without any real directions ( if we had the name of the farm we could have found it,I have now on the net!) and failed. There is always Lavell's Lake I thought - yes 2 years ago daily KF but now - nope.
However I ran into local patch worker Alan and that was pleasant and Pat got photo's of GCGrebe pair and one young another first for her - the 2 week old stripey headed beauty being fed fish by the parents!

When we were at the local country park enjoying cold Pea and mint or Watercress soup she showed me a small wabler she had taken a lovely photo of...yes a Sedge Warbler ...Alan had said he had seen Reed Warblers and Buntings today but no sedge well there it was!Another new bird for pat!

I will post up pics when I receive them.

Thinks one really needs a nest site with fledged young for KF photos.....its really a tricky assignment! Maybe we will have to return to Wakehurst.

Come on Royal Tern I need you to show somewhere accessible for a trip on Wednesday early morning.....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Reached the 250 Year Birds

Just been sorting out the lists!

Kent and Sussex still need to be entered at some point on Bubo Listing.

256 for the year so far.....missed some really obvious Dotterels - some i will have to wait for on their return from their breeding sites....and some I need to seek out like the Spot and Pied Fly's - Wood Warbler, so a trip to the Forest of Dean called for I think...doesn't help that i am not planning on a Scotland Highland trip this year (may change my mind as I do love it up there!)

some sea watching is on order!

Some Waders also to be sought out!

Looking forward to two weeks on Shetland in the Autumn...might find a rare or two!

I have enjoyed watching the Garden Birds in my garden this year as the feeders are a defo attraction for busy mum and dad birds! At the moment my tree gets filled with fledglings.The Swifts continue to scream over my house daily and its lovely watching them feeding.

(Wonder if that Ruddy Shelduck off Crossness counts or not?)

A twitch that wasn't

On Monday - Royal Tern on the pager! Couldn't go on the Tuesday. Awaited news with a slight tremor. All geared up for a long trip to N Wales - on Tuesday the bird didn't show, so I didn't go -a twitch that wasn't!

Mates of mine on their way back from birding in Northumberland via Norfolk for a raptor or two were having bets on when I was leaving and when arriving and having a laugh at my expence - so when we met up last night for a spot of Roding Woodcock and Nightjar hunting the laugh was on them!

Weather a slight factor as it decided to rain before we left and then as we arrived...nowt to stop the Nightjars! Nice healthy numbers churring and several flying - one right over us. A reasonable sight of a roding Woodcock but one of us dipped apart from the tail from in the wood !

Nice pint in the Red Lion.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A bit of a breather blogwise.

Long time since my last blog...well its been busy - between birding, electioneering, having hassles with the pc.....

I have seen Polecats in UK - not far from London!
Been collecting lifers of the Pratincole kind.
Visiting Kent, Sussex, Surrey and the Home counties with a trip to Norfolk, Devon and a very brief visit to Lancs (sorry Pauco but I didn't know we were going to do a diversion from Yorkshire!)

No time to blog!

Oh and a half term Friday visit to Wakehurst Place - on a day that turned into a scorcher -
secret target bird - a Kingfisher for my friend who had never seen one and wanted to photo one..which we saw and she got a record shot of...before we really admired the gardens...if you havent been Trish you'd enjoy it!

the day that the M25 ground to a halt and we had to go cross country to get home -a feat of navigational skills that I was proud of!

All pics are Pats.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A brilliant piece of prose!

Well by any other name.......


apart from being an hilarious blog its interesting too!

I am still elated by yesterdays happenings altho cant add the full story yet!

Must go again!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A superb day!

Well I am very happy to say that I am glad I didn't go for the Black Winged Pratincole yesterday. Bob and I went to Kent today.

Full details later as I must have a bath - creaking old limbs - well knees and have something to eat as well as dry the old boots out!

Dungeness - called in at Info centre see Melodious down nr the patch....on route 100plus Swallows over the road with Sand Martins and a few House Martins.
Saw a Tree Pipit(YR tic 1)on route
Find a Subalpine Warbler!(yr tic 2) We saw it together and Bob id it immediately as he sees lots in Spain.I managed to take a record shot (to be posted later!)This was at 11am.
Saw 10 Black Terns (Yr tic3)on the patch
Went off to the Old Lighthouse Garden to seek out very elusive Melodious Warbler (Yr tic 4)

off to Grove Ferry for Black-winged Pratincole (lifer! yr tic5 ) and then Temmincks Stint (yr tic6) along with a Little Stint - brill to compare!

Yes I got wet through but very happy! Celebrated in the Grove Ferry Inn with a Pint of Early Birder!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Where to today?

After a chat with Bob yesterday - I followed his advice and decided to visit Otmoor (RSPB) nr Oxford a nice little run out on the M40/A40 (Any excuse to see Red Kites!)

Just before I was leaving I saw the Black winged Pratincole had been relocated to Stodmarsh (it was found at Reculver at the w/e) what to do...a longer trip than i had planned on or what?

Its a lifer....its not been in Kent for 20 odd years - its not been in UK...

I changed my mind -ok Kent.

Got to car - a soggy tyre...its a puncture I thought...the nearest Kwiqfit is very near so off there....88 quid later its a new tyre...

weather clouding over whats it going to be like in Kent?

No if Bob wants to go we can only go tomorrow as he is busy today. OK stick to Plan A.

60 Red Kites on the journey there with 4 Buzzards and a Kestrel!

Otmoor is well hidden and I managed just one wrong turn into avillage rather than bypassing it but found the place . A helpful volunteer and I had a chat.

off to find see able Groppers...Grasshopper Warblers....notoriously skulkers first class...and a Cuckoo - target birds....

well the firing range wasn't today so I could walk there- lots of singing but non seeable birds due to the winds.

Back to the bench nr the feeders.Be patient -well rewarded was I!

A Gropper popped out and showed well and then vanished!

A REd Kite flew over my head and stayed for a secong or two giving fab views. I found the camera and tried for some shots of the flying beauty- shouldn't have bothered! Went back and sat down and immediately stood up again - A HOBBY! flying in that same field and then vanished. A little while later scaning with bins and I found him sitting in a tree and watched him for 20-25 mins as he swayed in the wind perched and then flew to capture an insect and back!Brilliant.

Heard the Cuckoos and on walking back up to the bridle way was rewarded again with a flyover Cuckoo!

Wow 3 year ticks - and one I was not even looking for!

Plenty of other birds about including Lapwings a very nosy Rook, Crows and Magpies as well as a wide variety of smaller birds- Reed Warblers, Long tailed Tits and Chaffinches with Greenfinches and the usual garden birds!All looking at their best...also lots of fledglings- Blackbirds and two Swallows on my way up Otmoor Lane.

I was quite happy with my day!

On the M25 - (after 38 seen Red Kites on route back!)thought should I go to Kent bird still been seen up to 2.17 and it was three ish-- no I really ought to wait in case Bob wants to go too.....( I hate the M25 in the rush hour and at other times too like today I didn't fancy it one bit!)

then it had flown off by 2.40 and I was glad!
But it was back by 3.10...reported at 3.34.

I hate this twitching lark it plays havoc with your brain! Better to be at work i think then you cant go!

Well you cant see them all says Kite!

Still I think its a phone call to Bob re tomorrow as I think I would like to go!


A couple of photo's here

you need to scroll down to see

There has been a bit of a discussion as to age....I didn't think it looked as clean black/white as adults I had seen before - but then i know not a lot about WWBT!
A birder there yesterday wondered about 2nd summer and this seems to be the considered opinion at the mo.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A local twitch

Well I arrived home after helping in my local school with the yr 6 SATs (reading).
On the pager (dont take it to School in case it went off in the exam!) was White-winged Black Tern at Staines Rservoirs - my tetrad for the Bird Atlas and a local patch.
But the bird had been flushed by a Marsh Harrier ...which is quite an uncommon bird here anyway.

Eating my chicken and sweet corn sandwich I realised there was another message seen at 1.12 - so that was it....scope into car and off I went.

Friendly bunch of birders on site as I arrived and there it was -great year tick and patch tick!So from 1.50 to about 4 I spent time watching the bird - first on the South basin then on the north -flying over the causeway nearly over our heads! Stunning!

I rang my mate Bob;s house and heard he had gone to his allotmentas the bird had been flushed - tell im I am watching it now -I said to his wife...later Bob phoned and he was on his way. Eventually (despite the traffic) he arrived and soon picked up the bird...several times we had had close passes and now the bird perfomed brilliantly - so close had I had my camera I might have even got a pic!

At one time the wind was gusting a hooly and the birds were battling against it!

Nice to have a local twitch which was with friendly birders!

I'll see if I can find a good pic for those of you who dont know what a WWBT looks like.

Friday, May 08, 2009

A cool rescue on the Scillies

My birding mate Danny the Pirate resides on the Scillies at the moment and was involved in a great rescue recently - a dolphin was stranded and he helped refloat it!

read hear for the tale

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

My Swifts are back!

Now I have seen Swifts over the last week passing over my house at first light and also when woken up and looking out of the window.But these are the "local" Swifts.
In the middle of the day screaming over the house and catching flies.

I shall have to go to see whether they have started building their nests at a local site....not too far away and in the middle of houses....all the way from SA...lovely.

Now they do outshine the Savi's Warbler.....altho from a rariety viewpoint not.
A very early visit was necessitated to see the said bird but you would have had to be deaf not to have heard it! A very elusive bird! oh it was in the Lea Valley and a certain non twitching birder went to see it with a more twitching friend but they heard only.They got there at 7 am and I think breakfast got in the way of them staying all day plus they wanted to look at said non twitchers local patches.....

Friday, May 01, 2009

A lifer and a UK lifer.

Well what an exciting week -a trip to Portland for the lifer -a Collared Flycatcher which conveniently came out of an inaccessible garden so we could see it and a Crested Lark at Dungeness which was mobile but seen!

Great sea watching as well those days but I had to turn up at Staines o my way home to see a Common Tern (well 40) and my first Swifts of the year - must have been 50!

Think it will be Norfolk this w/e but which day? Not Monday - never go anywhere if i can help it other than local on the bank holls! Not sure where else - but why is there another good bird down at Portland?

no pics not even record ones my long lens is being borrowed by a friend. Typical!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Just to say I have updated my South Africa tales

on Bird Forum in the local patches adventures in SA (last October/November)
almost finished...just updated St Lucia and the Drakensberg MOuntains....totally awesome birding up and down the Sani Pass!

oh there are afew typos as I was scurrying along - this new notebook keys dont always pick up the letters! Strange.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Heavens how time flies!

I cant believe it!

So much time gone and so many opportunities for viz mig and I just havent had timeto blog!

So here are some photos taken by Pat - in Norfolk and at Barnes I am hoping that she gets some goodies over the bank hol w/e as they will bein Devon and she has borrowed my 100-400 lens!

I hope to do some sea watching in the next week or so and seek out any rares that might arrive...a very nice Purple heron turned up in east london and then went to erith marshes which I found so much easier...alth I should have gone on the friday and bought ba permit as they were only £1.

Over the weeks there have been Velvet and common scoters on Staines...some interesting visitors to Barnes and locally the migrants are arriving.

For a laugh you might try to id all these birds and the mammal! No prizes just the satisfaction of being right!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Another Yank Sparrow

This time in Hants and has been there for ages - could have had it on the 2008 list!

Tale to be told = footy is on!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Osprey over my house!

Gets better and better!

Standing by my back door this am and I was looking up at the sky doing a little viz mig and this large bird hove into view.....too big for......

its a bird of prey..............OSPREY! yes indeed!

I discover later that a birder had reported it in from Isleworth Station at 8am - so beat me to it! Just before 8 - I am a couple mins walk from the station!

I also saw that an Osprey was reported from Beddington at 7.30am!

Thought the Honey Buzzard last september was the tops.....from my front bedroom window...

but a flyover my garden!

Friday, April 03, 2009

A Swallow!

Finally a Swallow!

I decided to go to a farm I know in Stanwell Moor (where Swallows and House Martins nest each year) to se if any had yet arrived.

Well one House Martin was spotted on my arival and eventually one Swallow flew in and perched chattering on the wires.

So that was it - whether there are others who were higher up (it was avery cloudy morning) I dont know only the one I saw.

Good news as well there were several greenfinches about - wheezing -cant call that singing! but in lovely plumage...hope that viral infection might be over ?

203 Year list

Hopefully will be seeing other migrants over the w/e

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Andy Rouse and the drunk Gorilla's.

This may not work for long --see here


Past the 200 year list!

Well I finally finished my year listing on Bubo and I have seen 201 species this year so far!

I have had a little flurry of birds that have been tricky this year - Dartfords Warbler on a site in Sussex , a Grey Partridge or 5 in Sussex as well and finally a seen LSW rather than heard in Nonsuch Park on Sunday.

A pair of Garganey in Barnes, a Bonny Gull and a Chough or 4 in Wales with alittle trip to Leicestershire for an uncounted Kumliens Gull(I await the split) and a Green-winged Teal.

Thinking about a trip to Devon to try for the American Herring Gull which whilst has been there for a while it only appears to get seen on a Friday afternoon - this is when the finder is back in the hide! Altho someone saw it last Sat morning briefly and again seen today. May haveto leave it until other good birds are about to justify the long trip, or for my mates to accompany me!I see from RBA that the gull hadn't been seen on the sat or on Wednesday- they were reports saying someone had looked for the bird but not seen it!
Perhaps I willsee if the finder sees it again and then contact him and find out when he is next going! Or perhaps not!(edit)

There are migrants in bound but where the LRP was at Barnes at lunch time - I imagine curled up in a nice roost while the wind howled and the rain pelted down!

Stil the birds are arriving ad its such fun to see them again- a lot on their return from Africa!

I feel a trip to Scotland cant be far away!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

South Africa

Well I have been posting my SA tales over on Birdforum - in the Southern Africa local patch area.It starts at post 588.

The guys and girls in SA were so very friendly and helpful before I went - it seems curlish not to post my adventures there!

I seem to forget to keep the blog up to date tho- as I really cant spare the time to be in three sites and get on with the work I need to be doing!

However since I didn't get a pic or photo of this I have borrowed it with permission from one of the SA peeps.

Spotted Eagle Owl by Martin Hobbs.

Saw a couple of juveniles outside Pretoriouskop Camp - not a chance of a pic!


Thursday, March 12, 2009


Oare has to be one of the sitein Kent I love!
When the wind blows it blows! When the wind drops all the little birds on site spring up and sing!

Finally put to bed a couple ofbirdswhich were becoming bogeys this year!

First Little Stint on the shoreline(phew!) and then Bearded Tits - typical when you want one none come along but once seen they are like buses and come in threes!
I defo had 3 different birds but there may have been more.

Tetrad week ahead now to complement the 2nd winter visits.

Now for the tricky bit nesting birds!

194 for the year .

Oh Shifty I see there is a Bonaparte's Gull been seen in Cardiff Bay. Wish t had been there when i went for the Lesser Scaup!

Looks like a Welsh trip is on the cards for the w/e?

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Top of Surfbirds!

Well for a few minutes!


6 New Year Ticks today with a visit to Dorset with Bob.

Portland Bill for 2 Puffins and a Rock Pipit for moi, Shag and Puffin for Bob. Breakfast at the Cafe for both - lovely!
Also 7 Purple sands which are always great but I fear for them as 2 GBB Gulls appeared to be eyeing them up!
To Radipole for the Hooded Merg in his fancy clothes- Bob not seen him at all, he played fast and loose with us for a while but he is a very frustrated boy duck, chasing everything - shame he cant be leant a girlfriend from a collection and their babies can be half plastic! We also saw our first Sand Martin of the year.
Radipole has so many Cettis- exploding all over!!
On in the rain to Lodmoor where Bob found the Spoonbill (with help from the friendly RSPB girl at Radipole) and I saw the Greensands- unfortunately Bob had gone off to find some low water areas and missed them flying in with Snipe - oh Snipe at least 20 , but then I think again and there may have been 30! Then I told Bob on his return what I had seen and then a while later he was elsewhere and I saw thm flying away from Lodmoor towards a Crane!

Bob is off soon to Espana where he will see lots of Greensands and Wood sands so he is not bothered!Plus other loverlies - which I am bothered about!
To Wareham for Bob and a possible Cattle Egret - nope in the field where the desstructions said it was - was a Little Egret!Either mis id or its a popular field!

On to Arne where the sun came out but so did the wind and the Dartfords were no shows (seen yesterday) - do we blame them not a bit!

But we did find one Spoonbill feeding on an island and then 5 in a channel opposite the hide.
Also Ringtail and 2 Little Egrets.
Oh I did see one small bird a Dunnock feeding on the floor in the sunshine = he didnt appear to mind for ages at being watched!- I would rather he had been a DW!

Bob spotted a Roe Deer and I found a host of Sika deer on our way back as I crossed the car park overflow field I came eye ball to eyeball with Mum...and last years young I retreated behind the gate and they fled back to where others were = eventually they decided they would cross the field but all the time keeping an eye or two on us. Eventually they got to where they wanted and we crossed the field after them!

pics later...need food!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Long eared Owls!

Went for a visit today to beddington to meet Johnny Allan of Dip or glory website fame.

You wouldn't know you were in London/Surrey there - cant hear the traffic or see any houses!

Very impressed - I have only been there only once before for a Spotted Crake in 2006 - I believe - that was a flying visit.

The Tree Sparrows were all over the feeder at the hide very nice close views and I will have to take my Canon there when next I visit.

Thanks Johnny I will return!

Then I went to a undisclosed site nr to Beddington, with Johnny to see a Long-eared Owl - in fact there were two fairly close together. One was sitting well out in the sunshine and occasionally glanced in our direction with his ears up! Not at all phased! The other well I couldn't see his/her head! Just the fabuously well camouflaged body and wings!

Lovely year tick! Dont think I would have found them without Johnny's guidance.

A week of year ticks!

There's the perched Buzzard!

So it was a trip to the New Forest, one to the Forest of Dean, a local trip to Staines and a visit to Kent! 10 year ticks in all! Began with a GWE at Farlingham Marshes on Monday,onto Ravens,Grey Wagtail,Willow Tit and Dipper - a Lesser Scaup in Wales.
Local Fudge Duck and Common Sandpiper and then Black Redstart and 25 Snow Geese in Kent!
Missed / couldn't find - any Lesser Spots, Bearded Tits or Little Stints!

Unfortunately I had a funeral to attend on Thursday which prevented me going to Norfolk for a massive miss! But was it really. Overall now I think I am glad I didn't go up but did wait as I could have gone on Friday.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Some recent record shots!

You have been warned!
Oh heck they will come out the wrong way round! I forget!

So we have Salthouse, Snow Buntings (those little white things on the ground), a view towards the SB and how close the photographers were - there was seed on the ground keeping the flock there but you could see by the activity they weren't really happy as every 30 seconds they would take off and fly around until they landed at the seed again. I am off was the Buzzard taking off from the perch dur to loud mouthed dog walker! Hawfinch at Blackwater Arboratum a little while ago...see below. Thanks Seth for your help! Directions and advice! Widerscope help again!