Sunday, 20 July 2014

Local little Owls doing well again

Dad had seen the local Owls in the week so an early morning visit was on the cards and today was the day. I arrived at the Roding Valley fields around 6am which is only a couple of miles from home and saw my first Little Owl within seconds of arriving. The pair seem to have reared two young successfully this year which is pleasing and seem to be using the same nest hole as last year.

Little Owl
Little Owl
Little Owl youngsters

I enjoyed watching them for a couple of hours in which time I also had good views of the local Ring-necked Parakeets, Green & Great-spotted Woodpeckers and Mistle Thrush to name a few.

Ring-necked Parakeet
Following this I picked up the Jims and headed down to Rotherhithe where there had been reported news of a juvenile Yellow-Legged Gull in the week. Arriving at Greenland Dock we found the gull straight away but then doubt  crept in and it took a while to convince frst myself then the Jims that the first bird seen was in fact the target bird. We all agreed that as far as juvenile gull ID goes we all have a bit to learn but it's days like today that we hope will help that process along.

Yellow-legged Gull
City Coot
Great crested Grebe chick
A Short-toed Lark has been reported on and off from Rainham Marsh today and the Black-Winged Pratincole lingered at Ouse Wash Cambridgeshire but neither bird was particularly showy. The reported Bridle Tern at Winterton didn't show today. All these along with the RB Shrike we all possible chases for us today but we stayed local, got home early and enjoyed a bit of Golf too.

Year list now 233

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Bonaparte's Gull Oare Marsh

We travelled down to Oare Marsh this morning to catch up with the Bonaparte's Gull there.

Distant Bonaparte's Gull 
On arrival John(sorry only know him as John) was already on the bird as it swam around on the east flood feeding. We were quickly on the target and it was in fine plumage sporting a full jet black hood, smaller than the local Black-headed Gulls it stood out and we were able to enjoy it for a while along with both adult and Juvenile Med Gulls, Marsh Harrier and Barn Owl. The flood also held Godwits, Lapwing, Redshank , Little Egret, 7+ Common Sandpiper, several Ruff, a couple of Turnstone and a single Dunlin. A possible Wood Sandpiper was seen briefly and both Kingfisher and Hobby flew over. (I missed both) In the Reeds we notd Sedge, Reed and Cetti's Warbler along with Reed Bunting and Bearded Tits.

Bearded Tit
Common Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper at Oare Marsh
Grey Heron
Konik Pony

All in all a very enjoyable mornings birding but I was left wondering if this Bonny gull is the same bird as last year and if so where has it been since it left Oare?

Year list now at 232

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Great Knot at Breydon Water and Collared Pratincole at Minsmere

With a half day available I headed up the A12 with the Jims intent on connecting with the reported Collared Pratincole and as we pulled into the car park at Minsmere the bird was still sitting on the scrape from East hide so we headed off out to the sea wall and marched along to the hide. The target had just dropped out of view at the back of the scrape but after a short wait it appeared and took a few short flights returning to the same spot several times. Double figures of Little Gulls were showing well and a smart Med Gull dropped in too. The summer plumage waders were also notable with Spotted Redshank, Turnstone and Blackwits all present.

Collared Pratincole....yes it's there...look harder!
Another Collared Pratincole was reported at Cley as we headed further north. We stopped at Breydon Water pulling into the Rugby club car park and walked the length of the pitch towards the south wall where a few other birders had gathered. We scanned the distant flocks noting Whimbrel, Curlew and then a small group of nine Knots. After careful scoping we managed to pick out the features on the Great Knot. Views remained distant and the light was harsh too but on occasions the bird would turn into the light and reveal itself. This I believe is Britains fourth Great Knot and Norfolks first so a nice connection adding both to my year list and life list too.

Great Knot.....distant but trust me it's there

News then broke that the Cley bird had been identified as a Black-winged Pratincole so we headed off in pursuit only for the pager to inform us the bird had flown high and south as we got about ten miles into the drive which meant an earlier start to our 120 mile journey home.

Sand Martin at Minsmere

Year list now 231.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

White-winged Black Tern at Abberton

Being in the middle of the slowest period I can remember for birding it was nice to catch up with the White - winged Black Tern at Abberton in Essex today. Viewed from the new causeway it was a little distant but showed well as it hunted over the reservoir before resting on the end of the spit giving good scope views. A Black Tern was seen hunting too and a Hobby gave chase to the local Starlings. A Marsh Harrier drifted through and several Common Sandpipers waded along the waters edge with LRP's. Both Yellow and Grey Wagtail were seen in our short visit and finally the year list ticked over once again reaching a slow 228.
Let's hope this is the start of things picking up again as the migrants get on the move and bring in the odd vagrant too.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Ring necks in Priory gardens

With an hour to kill this morning I took a walk around Priory Gardens in Orpington.
The park is alive with Ring - necked Parakeets and I managed to grab a shot or two.

Ring -neck

Also noticed that the Grey Squirrels in the park are very red!

Grey Squirrel
Due a bit of birding!...roll on the weekend.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

More of the Eagle with supporting cast

I travelled alone this morning to get another fix of the Snake Eagle in Ashdown Forest and wasn't disappointed. It wasn't long after arriving that the bird was spotted sitting on top of a tree from Gills Lap car park and minutes later I was in place enjoying good but distant views. I walked to the far side of the valley to get a better view without the sun in my face and was rewarded as when the bird finally left the tree it flew south and although quite high it drifted right over my head.


I moved back to Long car park and walked the trails enjoying the supporting cast of Redstart, Stonechat, Tree Pipit, Woodlark, Buzzard and Redpoll before leaving after filling a memory card with Stonechat shots.
I was lucky enough to have a family come to me as I sat watching Buzzards as is often the case the longer you sit still the more comes to see you.

Tree Pipit
Juvenile Stonechat
Female Stonechat
Newly Fledged Stonechat

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Nightjar in the Brecks

We gave up Brazil v Mexico tonight in order to make our annual visit to the Brecks in search of Nightjar.
Arriving in the woodland clearing at around 9pm we enjoyed a displaying Woodlark for a while as the sun went down behind the trees and a Buzzard flew to roost. At 10pm it was still light and we had good views of ten Woodcock as they flew over the clearing some were calling well too. Tawny Owls called around us and several large Bats hunted over the trees. At around 10.15pm we heard our first Nightjar churring and shortly after had one flying around above our heads as the light started to fade away.
Another successful night and the year list moves along to 227.

Whilst eating dinner this evening the birds in the garden went into a frenzy and thanks to the visitor below the world has one less Starling in it.

Sparrowhawk with juvenile Starling in the garden this afternoon