Sunday, 23 October 2016

Wheatear Double at Burnham Overy

I arrived at Burnham Overy this morning before first light. After a short wait the light came up and the rain stopped; allowing me to walk to the dunes in half light.
On the way I encountered two Barn Owl, a Marsh Harrier and hundreds of geese (Pink foots, Brents and Greylags). The bushes held large numbers of mixed thrushes and starlings.
Arriving at the dunes a small group of birders already had the Isabelline in their sights so I quickly joined them to get on the bird. The views were distant and the bird was quite mobile. Whilst here we had the unpleasant sight of a Stoat taking down a large Rabbit. I grabbed a few shots in the gloomy light but don't know why as it really was a grim thing to witness.

Isabelline Wheatear at Burnham Overy
Stoat on it''s kill
this is what they call a killer bite!
Talk about biting off more than you can chew.
Stoat v Rabbit
As we moved down the dunes the Desert Wheatear was flushed and gave good views but was again quite mobile but did make for a nice pair within a couple of hundred yards.

Desert Wheatear
I walked to the far end of the dunes but found little else of note so left in search of Waxwings failing miserably in that quest too, News broke of a rarity at Brancaster so I headed there in hope but after a short walk news came out that the bird had not been refound so I left for home and an afternoon dinner date.


Year list now 271

Sunday, 16 October 2016

This could be a bad day

I woke this morning at 3am having arranged to meet the Jims at 4am with our destination being Easington in East Yorkshire a four hour drive away. My usual two hour rule was to be broken but with the target being a Siberian Accentor the extra mileage was justified but may have put me on a slippery slope for future twitch rules.

Siberian Accentor 
The weather guys had forecast clear skies over night so we left worried that our target may well have taken the clear skies as an aid to continue on it's stretched/reverse migration route but as we drove up the A1 we encountered large thick fog patches which kept us positive. Eight miles from the target and some three and a half hours into the journey the pager bleeped for the first time and news was good. Ten minutes later we're watching the splendid vagrant as it picked insects from the moss covered tarmac backing onto Vicars Lane. The twitch was well managed by the locals and seemed to go off really well whilst we were on site and what a star the bird was.

Shore Lark at Kilnsea
With good views had and the bird then flying to the gas works over the road we left to search for migrants. The Shore Lark was our first bird found just a short walk from the toilet block car park at Kilnsea. Two Ring Ouzel and a probable glimpse of the Raddes' Warbler followed by a group of Tundra Geese and then a Pallas's Warbler made for a good trip before the heavens opened and cold wind and rain arrived forcing all but the hardiest back to the cars. We left and thanked our lucky stars for a great day that could have easily been a very bad day.

Year list now 269
Life list now 378

Siberian Accentor

What a little cracker!

Sunday, 9 October 2016

WWW. wet Warbler weekend

Norfolk this morning.

First stop Holkham Pines were we eventually found the Radde's Warbler after a two mile walk, two hours in the wrong place and a good soaking. Yellow-browed Warblers numbered at least six and a single Ring Ouzel flew over. Large flocks of thrushes contained Redwing and Song Thrush with smaller numbers of Mistle Thrush. Grey Partridge in the car park added to the day list as did Jack Snipe on the pond opposite Eastbank at Cley.

At Cromer we connected well with the Dusky Warbler which called and showed well but we did get another soaking for our trouble here so headed home wet with three year ticks and a lifer in the form of the Radde's. (We dipped one here a while back so nice to put that to bed)

The camera didn't make it out of the bag today mainly due to the weather and the birds being really elusive and mobile.

Life list now 377
Year list now 267

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Western Swamphen Alkborough in the bank for ron

So having dipped the Western Swamphen the day it left Minsmere I've been watching it during it's stay at Alkborough Flats in Lincolnshire. As I've stated before I have this soft self imposed two hour twitch rule and with Swampy now 200 miles from home I'd need to break that rule if I wanted to see the swamp monster.

Today was that day so I collected the Jims and drove up the A1 arriving at Alkborough Flats for 7am after the uneventful 3 hour drive. We quickly found the "first hide" and plotted up with two Kent birders hoping for the target to reveal itself. Five Spoonbills entertained us along with numerous Spotshanks, Avocets and Blackwits and a couple of Greenshanks all of which repeatedly took to the skies when the Marsh Harriers appeared. We sat it out in the hide until noon without seeing the target and with no reported sightings elsewhere on the reserve we feared a second dip. Before leaving and after a light lunch we plotted up at the end of Sandpit Lane with another couple and viewed the square pool only to find the bird walking the fringe of the pool. Just the five of us saw it but I quickly put news out and then watched as the hide below emptied as the twitch moved up the hill to join us. Now some thirty birders strong all we needed was for the bird to appear again but it had other ideas and went missing for the next three hours.

We left before it was refound but were happy for the guys left behind that it did eventually reveal itself to them. Now all we need is for the bird to be accepted but lets face it if Chinese Pond Heron can make it then this must have a good chance.

Onwards and Upwards!

Spoonbill over Shovelers
All five of the Alkborough Spoons
Take Flight
Year list now 264  Life list 376
with Swampy added as pending.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Wheatear exodus

It's always great to see the first Wheatear of the year as they arrive in the spring and great to see them gathering for the mass exit too. I hope these guys do well on their epic migration and look forward to their return next spring.

Wheatear at Landguard

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Wheatears and Wagtails at Landguard

A nice morning at Landguard NR in Suffolk where the place was alive with Wheatears, Willow Warblers and Wagtails with both Yellow and Pied in the dozens feeding and getting ready for the off.

Pied Wagtail at Landguard NR
Wheatear at Landguard NR
I found a couple of Lesser Whitethroat and Common Whitethroat before fly overs from both Common Buzzard and Sparrowhawk. Common Tern and Turnstone put in an appearance but otherwise things were quiet but enjoyable.

Willow Warbler
Common Buzzard
Lesser Whitethroat
Common Tern
Ticks are getting difficult to find now and the year list remains static at 263

News now in of a Tawny Pipit at Dunge if only I'd had headed that way this morning I might have connected with another bird on my thus far "dipped list" 

Monday, 29 August 2016

more images of the Baird's Sandpiper at Reculver

Dunlin (left) and a Baird's Sandpiper (right) 
Baird's Sandpiper Reculver
Baird's Sandpiper Reculver
Baird's Sandpiper Reculver
Baird's Sandpiper Reculver
Baird's Sandpiper Reculver
Baird's Sandpiper Reculver

Dunlin and Baird's Sandpiper at Reculver
Dunlin and Baird's Sandpiper
Baird's Sandpiper with Dunlin 
Sad to see the bird has moved on but maybe it's relocated to Oare Marsh with a possible reported there today.