Friday, 26 August 2016

British birds list UPDATE

I put together a quick review of the state of play in British listing last April and it was quite interesting to do so I thought I'd have a quick review a year on and see where we now stand.

As of the June 30th 2016 the official BOU list now stand at 603 so in the year since no fewer than seven firsts for Britain have been accepted.

Firstly the Alder Flycatcher in Cornwall 2008 was accepted. (597)

Moltoni's Subalpine Warbler was officially split and accepted as a new species (598)

Northern Harrier accepted as an official split from Hen Harrier.  (599)

Yelkouan Shearwater was added as the official 600th species although the first record dates back to 2008 with one seen off Berry Head in Devon being the now accepted first for Britain. (600)

Azoean Yellow-legged Gull accepted from a record in Cornwall from 2008 (601)

Chinese Pond Heron from Hythe, Kent in 2014 (602)

Slaty Backed Gull at Rainham in 2011 (603)

Of these sadly I connected only with the Pond Heron and memorably dipped the Slaty Back ten miles from home!

visit   for more detail

Of these 603 species

585 sit in Category A
(Species in Category A have been recorded in an apparently natural state at least once since 1 January 1950.)

8 sit in Category B
(Species in Category B have been recorded in an apparently natural state at least once between 1 January 1800 and 31 December 1949, but have not been recorded subsequently.)

Ruddy Shelduck last recorded in 1946
White-faced storm Petrel last recorded in 1897
Egyptian Vulture last recorded in 1868
Spotted Eagle last recorded in 1915
Eskimo Curlew last recorded in 1880
Great Auk last recorded in 1840
Pallas's Gull last recorded in 1859
Red-necked Nightjar last recorded in 1856


10 sit in Category C
(Species in Category C, although introduced, now derive from the resulting self-sustaining populations)

Ring-necked Parakeet First recorded in 1969 now over 8600 pairs in the UK
Little Owl First recorded in 1758 now over 5700 pairs in the UK
Golden Pheasant Introduced in the 1870's less than 100 pairs remain in the wild
Lady Amherst's Pheasant Introduced in Bedfordshire in 1890 less than five birds remain
Common Pheasant Introduced in medieval times with an estimated population over two million.
Capercaillie Re - introduced in 1837 less than 1300 birds remain in Britian
Red-legged Partridge Introduced in 1779 and now over 86,000 territories in the UK
Ruddy Duck First recorded in 1949 but due to constant culling less than 50 birds now survive.
Mandarin Duck First recorded in 1866 and now numbers over 7000 wintering birds
Egyptian Goose First recorded in 1898 and now numbers over 3000 wintering birds

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Lesser Yellowlegs at Vange Marsh RSPB

I was busy decorating when the Jims called this afternoon asking if I fancied a trip to Vange for an Essex tick and of course I had to go. Arriving at 6.30pm we parked up and walked under the flyover to the railway line. We crossed and walked the field to find six birders spread around the waters edge.
Luckily we had a tip from Dave B to walk to the far end and look back for the best views and he was spot on. Although the bird was distant it was showing well within scope range and we were able to pick it out easily amongst the Redshank, Ruff, Green Sandpipers and Blackwits.

A cracking bird for Vange and if I kept an Essex list this would now be on it but as I don't it's just bird 261 on the year list. (7 birds up on the end of August last year which I find surprising)

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

hotting up in NORFOLK

Norfolk today where Titchwell delivered a bucket load of waders including Little Stint and 13 Curlew Sandpipers of note along with a couple of Spoonbill.

Reed Bunting Titchwell
The drying barns produced a single Corn Bunting but the best was to come when I connected with both the Red-backed Shrike at West Runton and the Wryneck at Weybourne.

Record shot of the Weybourne Wryneck

Other birds of note were five Whinchat and four Wheatear along with both Spotted and Pied Flycatcher. 


Good to meet John Lewis of Norfolk Wildlife Photgraphy today. Keep on keeping on John and be lucky.

Year list now 160

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Balearics at Dungeness and a Bonaparte's at Oare

Birding has been very limited of late save a quick trip to Fairlop in the the week to catch the local Hoopoe so today we decided on a trip to Dunge for a spot of early morning sea watching.
Arriving at 6.30am we were rewarded for a two hour stint with several Arctic Skua, three Manx Shearwater and two Balearics. Gannets, Scoters, Great Crested Grebes, Fulmar, Black, Common and Sandwich Terns all added to the spectacle before we headed off for the reserve which was very quiet save a very obliging Kestrel. I thought I had a Honey Buzzard from the car on the way out and later found one had been seen at Dunge this morning so could be the same bird and I'm now wishing I'd found somewhere to pull over for a better view.

Kestrel at Dungeness

We moved on to Oare Marsh where we eventually found the Bonaparte's Gull which is getting more difficult as it loses it's summer plumage. Also present were six Curlew Sandpiper and two Little Stint.
Other waders on offer here were Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Dunlin, Knot, Ruff, Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit and Greenshank. Yellow Wagtail, Kingfisher , Marsh Harrier, Kestrel and Water Rail also added to the count.

Getting harder to find him.  
Showing the slender black bill and smaller build next to the Black-headed Gull
Bonaparte's Gull
Bonaparte's at Oare Marsh
Little star.
Bonaparte's in flight
 The water levels are good at Oare and it's attracting good volume and variety.
 I wouldn't be surprised if it turns up something else good this autumn.

Year list now 258

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Wheatear at Minsmere

An early start saw us walking Minsmere in search of Swampy without joy as it had seemingly "done a bunk" been eaten or simply decided it likes the deeper section of reeds. Anyway we didn't give much time to scanning the pool and instead decided to enjoy a mornings birding around the reserve.

We picked up a scruffy little Wheatear at the sluice and as usual the Swallows entertained us here.
A Kingfisher was seen along with Sparrowhawk and Bittern while sitting here.

Wheatear at Minsmere
Wheatear at the sluice
From the hides we enjoyed 40+ Little Gulls, 20+ Spotted Redshank, a Green and 2 Common Sandpipers along with the usual Blackwits, Avocets, Ringed Plovers and a few Dunlin.

We moved up the road and plotted up at Westwood Lodge hoping the Honey Buzzards would display but it was a little windy and the targets failed to show. We picked up Tree Pipit and Spotted Flycatcher here to make it a worthwhile stop but left without the Swamphen or Honey Buzzard.

Year list now 254


Thursday, 21 July 2016

Bonaparte's Gull at Oare Marsh AGAIN!

Work took me to Kent today so a quick trip to Oare Marsh was on the cards.
I arrived at lunch time and Napoleon was sitting pretty just by the bridge on East flood a few yards from the road. He was in the company of hundreds of Black headed gulls and Black-tailed Godwits but was easily picked out from the mass gathering of the high tide roost. A few Dunlin, a single Spotted Redshank, several Avocet, Redshank and Lapwing added to the list before a Golden Plover and Greenshank were added. Marsh Harrier, Bearded Tit and Yellow Wagtail were also encountered.

The Bonaparte's slept for a while before taking a brief swim before flying out to the estuary when spooked by the cattle as they walked across the flood.

A quick stop on the way home added good views of Spotted Flycatcher with recent fledglings and a young Robin was also seen here.

Year list now 253

Bonaparte's Gull with Blackwits
Bonaparte's  Gull
Bonaparte's Gull with Black heads
Bonny Gull (top right)
Young Robin
Young Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher
Spot Fly
Spot Fly with fly

Monday, 18 July 2016

Sabine's Gull Carr Vale NR Derbyshire

With a meeting in Yorkshire today (Yes I had to drive to Yorkshire and back today for a meeting) I managed to find time to make the 3 mile diversion off the M1 to Carr Vale NR where a Sabine's Gull has been resting on a small pond for a few days.

I followed the postcode given on the news pages S44 6UU and pulled up at the bridge. I could see a very small pond with gulls on so parked up and walked back over the bridge turning right into the field. A short walk of a hundred yards or so and I was looking at several Black-headed Gulls and in the middle the splendid looking Sabine's Gull. The light was reasonable and I managed a few respectable shots which are shown below.

Year list now 252

Sabines Gull
Sabine's Gull Carr Vale NR
Sabine's Gull