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!

Another Gull!

Some gulls for a friend!

New Forest and a twitch!

Lovely day monday - so after a lete start Bob(day off)and I found ourselves in the New Forest looking out for Gos - again - raptor lovers both!

First bird seen? Crossbills!
Second bird a Buzzard who very conveniently flew into perch right in front of us giving lovely close views - I had the compact with me- the Canon of course was in the car!
So it was hand held digiscoping!
We watched the Buzzard until a loud mouthed dog walker disturbed the bird! Shame was a very nice dog walker and well behaved dog were close by for ages - then idiot walks in and not so obedient dogs hared over to good dog!

One Gos had been seen 30 mins earlier by one chap and another different bird by another birder!

I went for a walk into the trees and flushed accidently 3 Roe Deer - our own native breed with their lovely velvety antlers! 3 birders were very pleased as the deer made off down the side of the valley and up the other side giving great views!

Hawfinch were also about.

On to Blackwater Arboratum (third visit) to look for Lesser spots....heard very clear Firecrest calls along with many Goldcrests. Goldcrests seen - Firecrest (much to Bobs friustration kept his head down! A flash of white - 75% certain but not a good enough view for Bob! We continued to hear Firecrests but not seen em except for a flash here and there! I did try - even though I do have a year tic already - but I love those feisty little birds! Of the Lesser spots? Well we heard long drilling but no calls- I did see a small bird flit off through the trees with a jerky woody flight but so brief and very quick no chance of bins on it!Now I really like BA but another frustrating time.

Bob says well its off to Farlington then...what we were supposed to go to Keyhaven and also see if we could find any Dartfords....what?

Great White Egret has turned up there - ok at least we would gain a year tick for the day and maybe that LEO was still about?

Off up the M27 quite good in the true twitching fashion I hadto drive quickly now didn't I....arrived to park and see a warden(?) go through the locked gate to the Information centre by the time we arrived he was watching the GWE.
With a Little Egret in the same field and in the scope view for comparison!

Is the LEO about? Well I dont know as I havent looked today and I have just arrived says the warden(?) He then directed us to the seawall.

Once there were the bushes to the right or left o well lets look here. We searched one set of bushes - you wouldn't elieve how many LEO's I saw! ON 60x zoom though they were all leaves/twigs and stuff! LOL!
Bob had seen the Splatt Bridge one on Sat but searched hard for this one.

A local birder eventually walked by and I asked him about the LEO- oh I saw it last week over there and took me towards the bushes/trees nearer to the car park!
It was there- but not today! Bob had gone in totally the other direction and found another local birder who took him towards our bushes/trees and I joined them. of the LEO well another birder who knew every inch of this area had been here earlier and said he hadn't seen the LEO at all!

Thats it lets get back to London as I ad an evening meeting to go to!

A lovely day in the sunshine, some fab scenery, some nice birds and a twitch and a miss or two- thats a birding day!

Record shot!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Buckinghamshire for a duck!

Yes this afternoon was a little(!) long way through Bucks for a famous Ring-necked Duck. This young man has been coming from the States to spend his winters with his British cousins- Pochards at Foxcote Reservoirs for ages now...a fully mature stonking beauty.

Now some of you like ducks...this is a duck to be respeced. he is way bigger than any tufty and that head shows so big but its his smart attire that takes the biscuit! So elegant. Nearly as lovely as a Smew or a Marbled but not!

Well the chaps had a brilliant day yesterday....and Bob enjoyed telling the tale. I shall have to pop down there on Wednesday! Cant bear the thought of Dipper and Grey Wag and Raven and LEO being missed. They even saw a bunch of Waxwings on their arrival in Frampton village - they had only been there ten mins!
Geoff clawed back quite a few birds today and so did Bob - only just ahead of them - I am!

Raptors in Surrey

Well having had to cancel going on our annual pilgrimage to the Forest of Dean at 6.45 on Saturday I went to sleep until 10.30.

The weather looked great! The birds were singing in the garden and the feeders were covered as was the tree!
How do I feel? Better.

A little later I thought about my mates watching Ravens and Goshawks at New Fancy and then the penny dropped. Thursday I had seen a report of Goshawks on Thursley Common on birdguides.Well why not? Not very far at all. So off I went down the A3 to Thursley armed with OS map. Now I dont know Thursley so I had a plan, start at the Car Park at the pond named The Moat and then walk to Pudmore Pond and thence to follow the path that leads to the highest point where I can scan around.

On arrival I heard Woodlark great, and then Coaltits and Greats and Blues and all these sounds became reality!

I had a scan of the Mote not much of note there, so on to walk towards Pudmore and as I was walking I spied a Buzzard and then another and then three! At least some raptors.
I turned to look towards the highest point and then my eye was caught by another bird of prey...and there were two soaring up higher and higher and they
disappeared before I could get them in my scope. OK,looked like Gos but need to be sure, so on we go..... another 10mins and there were two BOP flying, no tumbling in the skies....and as I watched two Goshawks became closer and closer until they were in my scope and they were displaying!

Exhilaration! Not only was I in Surrey not far from home but I was watching what I had been hoping for today but somewhat earlier in the day! February and Gos displaying! What a treat!

Now for a Raven!

Nope no Raven.....

I watched the Goshawks for another 20 mins and then once more they soared higher and higher until they disappeared into the ether!

I continued walking across the Common and looking for birds but no sign of the Dartford Warblers that Bob remembers so well being here.

About 3.30 I got myself in a nice position and decided to watch the skies...scope set bins alert and scanning.....

two Buzzards flew by no idea if the same birds but I guess so and then the unmistakeable male Hen Harrier flew magnificently into view - wow! They do take my breath away!

I am always in awe of Raptors as they hunt and fly!

A very satisfactory half days raptor birding.

Wonder how Bob and Geoff got on? Did they get to see the LEO? Bet they did and the Ravens. Cant have it all! Actually the Gos make up for missing the trip!