Sunday, December 26, 2010


Me and blogging recently!

Nice Waxwings at Barnes today!

well over 250 birds for the year list - its been a busy year and the birding has had to fit around work and stuff.

Yes two trips to Shetland helped! June and seabirds and then September/october migration.

Hope this weather improves and I can fit in some birding before the end of the year - but whatever I am thinking of a special effort on Jan 1st....either Kent or Sussex
probably Kent................

Once Bob is back from Espana - 14th Jan -I think - then I hope to get some good birding in before Rose comes back from Espana and fit work around the birding - that wont happen of course but we can dream!

Friday, November 26, 2010

another gap!

well its been a while - didn't post about the expedition to north of Manchester to see a Pied -billed Grebe- sorry!
I went , I saw and I ticked!

Still in need of waxwings tho!
I have been a bit too committed to work to drop stuff and go any distance and I managed to miss those in Surrey!

Well depends on the weather but might go somewhere over the w/e....

I have to sort out some trips to do my Atlas work - in December.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Busy but another UK lifer

Been really busy lately - but had time for a foray to Cornwall!
Yes in pursuit of an American Bittern - a UK lifer for me having had fantastic views of one in Canada in 2004(in fact I had spotted it for the group - not that we had known it was present - so I call it a self found- lol!)

Anyway I was not able to go to Cornwall when the bird first appeared - so was lucky it relocated to a better site!

Thanks to the members of the Walmsley Sanctuary for allowing access. a good twitch!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Morse RIP

I had to have one of my cats put down this afternoon. Poor sweetie at least he came to me and didn't go off somewhere to die.
My friend Pat drove me to the vets who were professional but really kind.....
Morse was never any trouble, he was such a sweetie.....he was a scared cat in many ways
- first met him as two small eyes shining at the back of the cat box the three siblings were in! I wanted a black cat and another one - the woman said I have two black cats and another one---I couldn't leave the scared one!
14 years and a few months later ......bless him he was never any trouble and even today he was not any...he ay have run away whenever the front door banged but he was at his happiest sitting on the louge near me!

I will be able to remember all the good times after tonight.....


I wish!

I have just heard from my friend Tommy on Fair Isle and they still have waxwings there - even in the wind and rain!
These are all Tommy's photo's -I am sure he will be happy to let me share them!
Fancy looking out in your garden and there is a flock!
Such exotic birds and so very lovely!

Earlier this week I went to Sussex ( photography of the Autumnal season being the main aim) and watched more woodland birds than for a long time!
Treecreepers by the 10! Jay's, and tits galore plus wrens and the usual suspects.
Nuthatches too.
Have to say I was hoping we might see a Waxwing or two and took the pager in case any had been spotted locally where we were - never mind there are so many around this autumn that I feel sure I will be watching some before long!

(photos from Tommy H Hyndman)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Catching up on a UKtick!

Hugh Harrop's photo of the bird that I dipped!

I left Shetland full of cold and a great deal miffed! on the Friday my biggest bogey bird had just been seen at Sumbrough Farm and it had been flushed or gone to roost when we reached the Hotel (having been thrilled to see my second only ever Red-flanked Bluetail at Goesetter)everyone else was happy to wait until the morning when they could see now I was due out on the 8.15am plane..."you will have time to go and see it before the plane"- oh no I was actually in a minibus on route to the airfield still in the dark at 7.00am

Sometimes people can be too effecient!

However a Pallas was seen in Norfolk and else where - then yes one in Sussex! I could go for this and an adult Rosy was also nearby!

Well I managed both - a uk tick and my first adult rosy! such pretty birds both!

The other highlight was passing 250 for the non year listing list!

Locally a Lapland Bunting was at Staines reservoirs....funny I thought I had seen lots of these on Shetland and Fair Isle - oh yes but this was a London tick - not that I have a London list!(something to do on a wet cold winter evening - see just what is on that list!) - or is that a Surrey tick? anyway i really dont care they are a lovely bird and it was local so a patch tick!

The twitching documentary that I might have been the time I decided to speak to the producers they had obviously found their token woman who went on some twitches!LOL! Well finally it is being shown on BBC4 on 1st November at 9pm (an hour)will record it.
A new birding blog has been recently launched -here is a photo from Ken Kaufman's entry - it also includes Tom McKinney .....cheer - whoo hoo and others will be one or two to blog on a regular day - short text with photos! Rarar .....
here - sorry I cant link it as my pc has decided to stop showing https or http on the screen and I cant unravel it!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Some pics from Turkey

Not mine - but Pat's - finally a pic of a Kingfisher and she had to go all the way to Turkey for it!

And the gull - well I think its a Yellow-legged Gull.
I like this pic!

I had no pics from Shetland of mine! So I will beposting some of Hugh's and if I am lucky a couple from Jon - but that might be a while.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

another lifer!

This time Citrine Wagtail...and what great views we got as well!

Another warbler species causing id problems...a Booted - wellthats what we thought but later re id as a Sykes Warbler!
Either way - another british tick! But what to do about it? Can I be sure in mm mind what I actually saw - should we go with the actual id?

I will ponder this a while!

Still 3 UK lifers was good reward!

Well the shetland local usuals - Paddyfield, Pallas' Grasshopper Warbler and Lancy still defeat me!

So to Fair Isle - actually the winds were in the wrong direction but we did enjoy a Honey Buzzard and 2 Little Gulls - an Adult and a 1st winter....the Little Gulls are a FI rare!
Bluethroat showed well .......

The bonus of a visit to FI - well a stay at Auld Haa with Tommy and Liz - the best food on FI by a street!
Good to see them again and Henry!

We returned via a flight up the east coast of Mainland (due to high winds) with fantastic views of Mousa!
Hugh was there to take us to Geosetter where I enjoyed eventually great views of a fab Red flanked Bluetail! My second ever!

Then my biggest ever bogey bird was seen just before our arrival at Sumburgh Hotel - Pallas warbler! No sign ....and unfortunately no time in the morning as I was on the 8.15 flight! Big error there!
I now see it was at Sumnburgh Farm in the morning of sat! that hurts!

What to do about next year?
I will be going to the Labour Party can I then go for a couple of weeks to Shetland? Not sure but I really want to go for at least a week!Have to try to sort out dates soon!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

2 lifers in one day!

I am watching the news and the phone rings - get your birding gear on - Swainson's Thrush!
Speedy change and out to the minibus.

I cant quite believe it! A possible second lifer in a day!

We arrive and its the biggest Shetland twitch ever.

Eventually the bird was seen - phew relief!

Its now Sunday and I think we will return to see if we can get better views with less crowd later this morning.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

A lifer at last!

Great news - a lifer and not just any lifer!
Radde's Warbler here at Sumburgh Head in the 2nd quarry!
Came up on my pager at 1.39 and off i went - arrived with lots of birders watching and fortunately for me there was a space next to Paul Harvey - who happily directed me to where the bird was- and what a lovely bird- fortunately it was busy feeding and showed all the features nicely in the sun!
Hopefully some photographer will get a good shot!

This morning I was watching Redstarts - they are a really fine bird and a woodcock - and now a Bluethroat!

So on my 8th day on Shetland I have a Lifer! I shall celebrate tonight!

Unfortunately the Booted Warbler that was found yesterday but refused to show for me, was seen beautifully this morning by Hugh and I hear a couple of people who have been here with us for the last week. Thats a blow as it would have been a lifer for me - well I know which bird I want us to go for tomorrow morning as i expect it will have to wait until then.


Here are a few photo's with thanks to Hugh Harrop.
Well between slow internet here on Shetland and travelling to Unst the blog has a bit of catching up!

I will stick to highlights and the dips not always sure that they were all dips as birds may have not stayed overnight!

So Sunday was the Arctic Warbler in sunshine and posing nicely besides roses!
Monday were three Buff-breasted Sandpipers at Esha Ness lighthouse - such pretty waders and quite confiding!
Tuesday was a real twitch - Buff-bellied Pipit a lifer for Jon and only my second ever! Eventually the bird did show and quite close to the minibus!

Meanwhile a White's Thrush was seen and then didn't show for the assorted twitchers!
Certainly are more birders on Shetland this year!

Wednesday we had a delightful and showy Arctic Redpoll on Unst.

Thursday it rained everywhere and boy did it rain!
I forgot to mention that Sunday and Monday the weather was positively hot for Shetland - well the sun shone and there was little wind!
That was made up for by Friday where the wind howled!
Severe weather warning put out so it was bad over night - gale force winds!
seasterlies so ther should be more good birds about!

oh those dips well David found a Redflanked Bluetail on Tuesday night on Unst and we spent a lot of time on Wednesday trying for it - no sign!
There was a drama in Quendale where a Paddyfield Warbler had been reported - but when we were there a very flighty warbler was found -Blyth's Reed Warbler.
This was re-found by us on Friday - after 90 mins walking through the lilies but even then I didn't get good enough views for me to id it! so Warbler sp it remains!
I did however self find a very nice Yellow-browed Warbler on Burra later that afternoon!

Totals for those who are interested?

11 Year ticks(as you know not so much birding this year!)
with 8 new birds for Shetland including Rook, Collared and Turtle Dove!But best of all were two Hawfinch on Unst on Wednesday!

Now for a day birding in the South to see whats landed in the storm - and another week on Shetland - going to Fair Isle on Monday!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Interesting birding.

I am sorry I was interrupted!

However I am again!

Monday, September 27, 2010

a year tick and a dip!

This morning a revisit to the lighthouse in sun! Arctic Warbler really showing well and a photographers dream.
Hopefully i will be able to post one of Jon Dunn's lovely images later!

Barred Warbler in the quarry.

Eventually we saw a lovely if elusive Yellow Browed Warbler at the mill!

The dip well .....a White's Thrush that had a huge twitch on at Sandwick!
Whilst the bird is still there whether we get to see it or not will be down to luck rather than fieldcraft!

Still it was a lovely day and we ended up with a Common Rosefinch that finally gave itself up to view thanks to Rob and his very well behaved dog!

The supporting cast wasn't bad for a days birding! More later!
Oh the title - actually two year ticks!
Awaiting that lifer!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Shetland birding

Arrived at Sumburgh Airport at 1.15 - at 2.10 I was watching a juv. Barred Warbler - very confiding! Hope for its sake its not too confiding otherwise the Farm cats might have a tasty morsel.

Then up to the Lighthouse to seek out the veru elusive Adult Arctic Warbler - well i arrived and immediately was able to see it and watched it in among the rose bushes for another few minutes! Very nice start!

Walked down to the quarry and saw a few birders leaving and with that so did my chances of spotting the Yellow-browed Warbler....probably decided enough being watched ! Still there is always tomorrow!

Assorted cast including Gannets, a Bonxie scaring the life out of some curlews! hooded crow and a Redshank marching about in a Shetland Pony fiels in Grutness!

Weather forecast is great for the next week - south-easterlies and gale force! Watch this space!

Photo of Arctic Warbler on Hugh Harrop blog....

Friday, September 24, 2010


Well I shall be off soon to Shetland for two weeks - including 5 days on Fair Isle!
Whoop...whoop as a friend of mine says!

I really need to get out in that fresh(!)air - smell the sea and just relax!

I may get the chance to up date my blog as I go - all depends on the internet connections and time!

My year list will grow - been so busy this year that the bird list is not up to its regular totals!
Hopefully so will my Shetland list and with talons crossed my UK Life List too!(grow that is!)

So in anticipation watch this space!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Big Butterfly Count

Read here for the results of the big butterfly count

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Plants from Shetland 2

Edmudsen's Chickweed

Plants from Shetland

Heath Spotted Orchid


Ragged Robin


Yellow Rattle

Even I manage to photo a plant that cant move out of focus...I dont have any of Yellow Rattle that are in focus- 3/3 eek!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pictures from Grove Ferry 11/08

These are all Pats photos....I need to look at her photos as she hasn't sent me the duck photos - hopefully she has some of the Garganey family! One problem with having a non birder photographing birds is you are never really sure that they have taken photo's of the more important birds - the Spotted Crake was too far but I did hope she had at least one shot of it! This will have to wait until her return from France.
Marc Heath has a record shot on the KOS site.

Sunset over Oare Marshes

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Part 2 Kent

Dungeness in the sun!
First to the sea.....100's of Common Terns and usual Gulls.

then to reserve - no sign on route in of CE ....but was there Denge Marsh Road and lots of waiting after the initial several seconds of flight by
Purple Heron seen - one adult! No photo much to the despair of the photographer!

Dip = Cattle Egret and GWE

Nice time at the Arc followed.

Then to Grove Ferry in pursuit of the Spotted Crake!

Lovely cross country journey from Dungeness via Folkstone to Grove keeping off the main roads!Kent countryside still difficult to beat!

Grove Ferry Inn parking snip at £1 a day!

To the mound and then to look at the brand new hide next to deep water and then on to the hide where the Spotted Crake had been seen.....long wait as one two three Water Rails kept us on our toes!
Whilst waiting we were treated to some lovely interactions between Coot parents and young, Garganey adult female and her brood plus a nice variety of other ducks and waders.

At 5.15 I said lets give it 15 more mins and lo.....just beyond 2 water rails a slaty blue back is glimpsed before all vanish!

at 17.30 out comes the Spotted Crake lurking along the reeds and as far away as possible....but eventually giving good views of all the salient id features and as a Water Rail obligingly decided to feed next to it -good comparisonswere made!

Eventually they chased each other off!

So to Oare.......

by now it was getting late so a swift visit rather an introduction to the delight
that is Oare.

Photos to be added

Two days out Part 1 Sussex

Monday found us wandering around Sussex - first Ardingley Reservoir in the Loder Valley to try to photo a posing Kingfisher....nope the nesting adult Kingfishers had said goodbye to their fledglings and were seen leaving the roosting site!

So on to East Grinstead for coffee as the delightful village coffee shop was shut!

Thence to Weir Wood Reservoir where a friendly local birder engaged in conversation and happy bird watching - whilst my friend went into the hide to take photographs.

Common and Green Sandpipers among the grey herons (many) including lots of juvs...successful breeding season by the looks!

No sign of the hoped for Osprey altho a couple of other regulars joined us and good banter took place.

So then it was to where?

Bough Beech? or further south?

Pulborough - thoughts were - Pats not been - a nice cafe (for coffee) and loo stop!
What might be about not high on the list altho oner of the guys talked about the possible Butterflies......

pleasant day if over cast.....

wandered around P......

so now where?

Burton Mill Pond - well been there before but much liked so off we went......

Not huge numbers of birds sen but Dragons and Butterflies were about.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Dungeness , Dragons and almost dipping!

On Tuesday Bob and I were goingto go to Minsmere (Fudge Duck, Little Gulls and Dartford Warblers for me- Fudge for Bob and whatever might be about in Suffolk!)but when I got to his house - at 7am it was well the Cattle Egret was seen yesterday at Dunge and we both wanted GWE - and surely I wouldn't dip it for a third time?

I was hopeful of Sandwich Tern and maybe Little Tern we went to Dunge!

It turned out to be a lovely day and Dragons and Damsels and Butterflies were everywhere!

I also ran into a couple of my friends attending a Bumblebee talk in the afternoon!

Yes - we saw a couple of Sandwich Terns out on the patch - lots and lots of Gannets - the usual cast of sea gulls and Harbour Porpoises!

We went to Dunge and heard the Cattle Egret had been seen early morning from the Screen....not visible.....

drove down the road - still no sign - so off to Denge Marsh Rd

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Hounslow Heath Nature Reserve

A quick jaunt down the road to Thursley produced a lovely Wood Sand.

Went for an amble around Hounslow Heath after looking at a couple of Planning issues.

Saw one Rabbit, one Rat and lots of birds despite the fact it was very cloudy humid and overcast! It was quiet until you stood and waited....

Wren, Blackbird, Blue,Great and a large flock of LTTits.Herring Gulls, Crows and Magpies with Wood Pigeon and Ferals.Kept hearing the Yaffle and finally saw a Green Woody!
Then came the Warblers, Blackcaps, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat and then the unexpected year tick- Garden Warbler! Later on another Garden Warbler- typical!

I didn't go over to the River Crane as it was getting on and I wanted to watch the last evening of the European Athletics Championships!That can wait-Butterflies seen Meadow Brown, Small Copper and Large White - that I could id and a black Insect with red wings which looked menacing!

(Heard that Little Owls are back in Osterley Park on Saturday when I ran into a friend as we were leaving OP...good to catch up with Hugh again)
Yesterday we had some good views of a very large Dragonfly and some pretty Blue Damselflies (?) where is that book?
So a little search on the net is required here!

Cattle Egret at Dungeness along with the GWE so I wonder?

Maybe it will be Kent?
Then Frank is back - seems to roost at a Staffs reservoir....long time since I have seen one and this is a lovely male adult!

Ok Athletics on -----

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

White-tailed Plover

Yes - get in!

in 2007 I was in Espana when a WTP came up on my pager - in Scotland - no chance to go to see it.
So when I saw the wandering WTP that was in UK - thn Holland - then at Rainham I wondered would I ever be free to go to see it.

I cant complain - I was In Shetland having a great time, I was busy working on council business and attending a Conference which was very helpful but that bird!

I was on my way to friends in SE London for the World Cup Final and dinner and I knew just down the road was my bird!

Monday came and a meeting and tour of MOgden Sewage Works......then Zeta to walk and freedom!
Zipping off to Kent under gathering black clouds....

as I approached the M20 Breznet turn off the sun was out! The sun shines on the righteous - was the bird still there? Nothing worse than looking at the pager and nothing since the morning...when it had flown towards the reserve - where was it , had it gone?

Arrived at the arc pit none the wiser - about 3.30 ...birders walkking back to the car park - still there? yes!

At the screen it was jammed full a bloke in suit trousers and little bins was staring over the next bit of the screen....others in the distance were on the bank.

Where is he? Brilliant directions and there was the quarry!
Up went the scope and what a stunning bird! So - would you like to look through my scope- due reward to the bloke who had escaped work early!

We then spent a pleasant 3/4 of an hour watchingWhite-tailed Plover - apt name feeding and being territorial - a hapless Oystercatcher was harried from his area...
a feisty bird!

The bloke left - and I stayed another 15 mins just enjoying the bird who did a little circuit so every now and then came inro full view! 389 Uk bird!

I the went to the Dunge Centre - to use the facilities - collect water and off to Denge Marsh to see how the Purple Herons were and maybe a year tick of a GWE!

(more later)

Andy Lawson's photo's follow

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Red-necked Phalarope

To Fetlar - last time I was here it was to see a Taiga Flycatcher!
This time it was to see a female RNPhalarope (all talons crossed)...there was always the chance that any females may have already left - and left their male partner looking after the children!
However we were fortunate and there was one and showing well...well when you could locate her!

Scope views so we didn't flush her and hand held compact record shots. But she was a beauty!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Wheatear - family

At the Sumburgh Hotel was a pair of Wheatears nesting in a wall. It was great to be able to watch the parents feeding hatched chicks. One day I managed to set up my scope and digi scope a couple of record shots.
We went to Unst for a couple of nights and on our return the chicks had fledged which was really good to see. No pics from me of the fledglings.I am hoping that I will soon be geeting some pics from Alan - whose photos are much better than mine- and will be on my blog.
The pics are of a female Wheatear - even the male(looked a bit worn!) who I also saw but didn't hang around long enough for a pic!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Friday, July 02, 2010

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Hedgehog in Chiswick

No photo as I was more concerned with the large mature Hog who I found in the middle of the road as I drove a council colleague home after a clp meeting!Camera was in car...but...

I thought oh no is s/he dead as I spotted a hedgehog in the middle of this side street nr Chiswick Park tonight. Ed checked him/her out and s/he was breathing!

So I got one of my towels out of the car and after discovering the parks gates were locked and the gaps too small to drop a hog through - I picked a nearby garden and placed her/him gently on the lawn.

It was really cool - I could feel the hog breathing and no panic...
Talons crossed for its continued life....

First hog I have ever seen in London!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Bonxies- the Shetland name for Great Skua.Fits them perfectly!