Wednesday, 21 June 2017

A noteable Redstart

I was pleased to see that Birdguides have awarded me a noteable image for one of my Redstart shots from last weekend.

The Redstart always looks a bit special but I thought this one was a nice composition and reasonably well caught but it's always nice when it get's a little recognition.

onwards and upwards!

Monday, 19 June 2017

Garden birds doing well

It's been a good year thus far for my garden birds.

House Sparrows
House Sparrow juv,
At least thirty House Sparrows now in the family group.

The Magpies have three young doing well whilst the Robins seem to have had two broods but only one fledgling in each brood. Blue & Great Tits have done ok as have the Goldfinches and whilst the Parakeets don't visit my garden they are getting more vocal locally. I have a few juvenile Starlings coming to the feeders but numbers seem a little down whilst the Blackbirds have yet to show any fledglings for all their effort.

Magpie with mealworm

Sunday, 18 June 2017

More from Thursley Common and THE Cuckoo

What a bird!
If only he'd come a little closer!

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Thursley Common

I finally gave in today and drove down to Thursley Common in Surrey to spend some time with the returning Cuckoo that's taken a liking to having his diet supplemented by the locals. The merits of feeding it I'll leave for others to debate but although I took no food with me there was a supply of caterpillar.

I arrived early but it took me about 90 minutes to find the field that the Cuckoo uses to feed despite following the calls of another bird for about a mile in the wrong direction.
I enjoyed Stonechat, Redstart, Woodlark, Wood Warbler, Hobby and Buzzard to name a few before finally arriving at the correct field to find the Cuckoo sitting perched up in front of the five photographers already enjoying it.

I managed a few quick shots before it flew off and despite waiting three hours the bird didn't return.
So in five hours on site I had about five minutes of the Cuckoo but enough to fire off a few rounds.
Lizards and a single Adder were also seen whilst waiting for the bird and a Redstart  kept us entertained at close quarters.

I popped into Frensham Common but failed to find the Red-foot through a complete lack of effort if I'm honest.

Cuckoo at Thursley Common

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Elegant Tern at Church Norton

I had planned to drive down to Church Norton Saturday after work but the curse of back pain put paid to that plan so after a poor nights sleep I picked up the Jims and headed down to Church Norton this morning in hope that the Elegant Tern would have remained.
We pulled into the car park at the church and walked the short path to the beach to meet the thirty or so birders already on site at 7am. The bird had been seen and before long flew up from the grassy bank of the Tern colony and flew around for about an hour dropping back into the grass several times in the same spot suggesting territory or maybe even breeding activity?

Poor record shot as it flew off to feed.
part of the twitch
At about 8.10am it dropped onto the mud giving great scope views for a few seconds before heading off south west at pace not to return until after we'd left a couple of hours later.

The birds credentials are believed to be proven by DNA testing in France and as such it will hopefully jump straight onto the British list. (see here)

By the time we left the twitch had increased to c300 birders.

I heard a Lesser Whitethroat for another year tick and picked up good views of both Little and Sandwich Tern. A pair of Peregrine entertained us too chasing the local pigeons without success.
Jimmy picked up a Little Gull whilst I missed it but I did see a Chidling Pink although failed to fully appreciate it if I'm honest.

Year list now 239 and the life list now 383.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Honey Buzzard in the New Forest

Arriving at Acres Down this morning we joined two other birders at the viewpoint just before 8am and got comfortable for a mornings session.
A few Common Buzzard came up and several Goshawk gave great scope views before a single Honey Buzzard came over. Chased by a Goshawk it kept moving through and gave good scope views as it flew across the valley even stopping to give a brief display. Another darker bird was reported but I failed to get on that one but did manage good views of a passing Peregrine and more Goshawk.

On the walk back we found a Wood Warbler plus a pair of Redstart to round off a good bit of birding in the New Forest.

Year list now 237

No images today save this little guy that's visiting the garden with two cubs at the moment

Monday, 29 May 2017

Suffolk Warblers

We parked up at Lakenheath this morning at 6am and took the long walk out to Joist Fen. On arrival there was another guy listening and looking for DB'S Marsh Warbler which we heard as we approached and saw straight away sitting up belting out it's full repertoire which seemed to include a little Nightingale some Song Thrush and Blackbird with a little Serin and a few others for good measure. Shame he has no female around to show interest in his talents.

Marsh Warbler

The bird was joined by Reed and Sedge Warblers and Cetti's called from the same area.
Bitterns were seen as we waited and we had views of several Cuckoo and Marsh Harriers along with single Sprawk, Buzzard, Kestrel and Hobby.

Sedge Warbler

A Kingfisher was feeding and more Bitterns were seen in flight along with a few Beardies. On the walk back we picked up the call of a Grasshopper Warbler to give me a year tick and for the Jims there first Garden Warbler of the year.

From Lakenheath we moved on to Brandon about five miles away and parking up in the narrow lane that is Gashouse Drove we walked down the footpath and into the woodland area where we heard the Wood Warbler calling and very quickly got eyes on it. Always in the dark canopy it was difficult to get  the camera on it but with a high ISO I managed a couple of shots.

Wood Warbler
Wood Warbler

A real Warbler fest including....Marsh,Wood, Cettis, Grasshopper, Garden , Willow, Sedge and Reed.

Year list now 236

Friday, 26 May 2017

White-winged Black Tern at Rutland

As I'm driving down the A1 today news came through of a White-winged Black Tern on Lagoon 4 at Rutland Water so I made the ten mile detour and paid the £5,70 entrance fee before walking out to Lagoon 4. I failed to find the Tern on the lagoon so starting searching other hides before finally finding it from Lapwing Hide. It returned to lagoon 4 to rest between feeds and I managed a record shot of it both in flight and sitting on it's roost stone.

White-winged Black Tern
White-winged Black Tern at Rutland Water

With Garden Warbler also seen today the year list now sits at 233.

Night Heron Dingle Park

On the way up north on Wednesday for a work thing I stopped off in Shrewsbury to look for the Night Heron that's spent a couple of weeks there. I Parked up at the entrance to Dingle Park paid the £3 for 2 hours parking and followed the signs for the Quarry and within seconds of walking through the gates I had seen the Night Heron sitting on the bank in full view. I took a few shots before it flew into deeper cover but after a while it flew back and landed on a small boardwalk giving ridiculously good views.

Black crowned Night Heron
Night Heron
Night Heron in a fabulous setting
Year list now 231

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Day trip to Titchwell

We set off early this morning arriving at Choseley Barns at 7.30am where I scoped the Dotterel in the rain without too much help from the Jims who already had the tick from a recent twitch in Herts. Once I found the birds their mood changed and they jumped out to enjoy distant views along with Grey & Red-legged Partridge with Corn Bunting also adding value.

Red-legged Partridge in the rain
After putting news out we moved on to Titchwell where we found a few good birds......Turtle Dove in the car park, Spotted Flycatcher by the picnic area, Swifts over the reedbed before arriving at Freshmarsh where we picked out Little Stint and Little Tern.

Blackwit at Titchwell in cracking light
Cormorant taking on an Eel
Little Stint
Turtle Dove
Sedge Warbler
On the way home we diverted to Fen Drayton where a couple of hours gave only good views of a few Hobby but we failed the nail the Red-foot amongst them.

Year list now 230

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Scotland 2017 best of the rest

A few more images from this weeks Scotland trip.

Wheatear on Handa Island
Arctic Skua
Bill after seeing his first Great Skua        "it was this big!"
Great Skua calling it's mate.
Great Skua
Findhorn Valley
Great Northern Diver
Mountain Goat in the Findhorn Valley
Mountain Hare Findhorn Valley
Snow Bunting at Cairn Gorm
Ring Ouzel on the footpath at Cairn Gorm
Orchid at Kilchoan  (Purple Orchid if I had to guess)
Pair of Ptarmigan at Applecross
In the middle of it all