Sunday, 15 October 2017

Mad weekend with a certain Rock Thrush in Wales

I say mad but how mad?

With work commitments Saturday morning I had kept one eye on the news and with a mid morning sighting it was all systems go provided I could arrange things with my good lady. With that bridge crossed as I left work I contacted the Jims and arranged to meet them and we hit the M25 at 12.30 to make the 170 mile drive into Wales. As we drove up the news was still good and as we parked up the bird was again reported as showing well. On the walk down to the quarry  we passed people that had just left the bird and it wasn't until we arrived at the gathered group that we found out the bird had just flown.
We searched all over picking up a Black Redstart, Wheatear and a couple of Raven for our effort.
We hung around hoping the bird would return to it's roost site but only added a couple of bats to the day list before the long walk back in the dark followed by the long drive home.

Now this is the mad bit if the above wasn't mad enough.
I laid in bed thinking the weather would have kept the bird down and that there was a reasonable chance it would still be there but if I didn't go I'd never know. Having dragged the Jims up yesterday on a wild goose chase this time I'd go solo to keep the risk on just my shoulders. I got up at 4.30am and drove back up the M4 arriving at the Quarry for first light. The twitch was about thirty strong and with the group split and intent on searching it looked interesting. I searched the first Quarry then the rocky area beyond it then the second Quarry then as I was walking down to the third Quarry I saw two birders already down there showing signs of excitement with waving arms and running good indicators so I got another two birders interested and we set off with added pace.
As we approached two motorcross bikers came over the hill and spooked the bird before we saw it and it again had the feel of Saturdays dip but with a little work and the help of the gathering birders I eventually got on the target.

Rock Thrush 
Never close but showed well at distance
Rock Thrush and Robin
Rock Thrush 

I had decent views for an hour, enjoyed some good banter and was even gifted lunch by an especially friendly group from Yorkshire. I managed to get a string of other birders on the bird before leaving for the 170 mile drive home.

A great bird but with 680 miles covered in two days for it I suppose it needed to be good.
One I'll remember for a while.

Year list now 269
Life list now 382

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Kingfisher and a trio from across the pond

A right little poser!
A fishing stone
What a bird!
American Wigeon at Rutland
Long billed!
Two Yanks in Kent

Sunday, 8 October 2017

American Wigeon at Rutland

So the plan today was to get half way up the A1 hoping the Scops Owl reappeared giving us the chance to fly up north and connect with it after last weekends dip.

We started with an early arrival at Rutland Water and a brisk walk to Smew Hide looking over lagoon 2 and before long we'd found the American Wigeon. After a while and with no news on the Scops we decided to move on and visited an old haunt in search of Willow Tit for the year list. On arrival we heard one calling and the Jims picked one out in the willows too. The bonus for the day was stunning views of Kingfisher at a site we've been asked to keep quiet to limit disturbance.

Year list now 268

American Wigeon
Wigeon and American Wigeon
Kingfisher
Cracker!
A white Woodpigeon
Strange bird adding to my list of white birds that includes Starling at Capel Fleet and Great Crested Grebe at Dunge.

Pintail
Little Egret


Saturday, 7 October 2017

Wilsons Phalarope and Long-billed Dowitcher at Oare

A run down to Oare so the old fella could connect with the Dowitcher gave Jim and I the chance to add the Wilsons to our year list.

Oare was alive with waders today.

Wilsons Phalarope
Long-billed Dowitcher
Turnstone
Greenshank
Redshank
Curlew Sandpiper
Ruff
Little Stints
Ringed Plovers
Dunlin
Golden Plover
Black-tailed Godwits
Avocets
and on and on!

A really great place to connect with a good variety and kind to us over the years.

Year list now 266


The Dowitcher with a Blacwit
The Dowitcher
Challenging light today.
The Wilsons 

Sunday, 1 October 2017

The Luck ran out as we dipped the Scops Owl

Nothing to say other than next time I think it's a good idea tell me I'm mad and remind me of my two hour rule!

Spotted Flycatcher (not quite the target bird)

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Red-throated Pipit at Landguard

Having asked the Jims if the Pipit was still at Landguard and the answer being "yes we've just seen it" I had to duck out of work a little early and head up the A12 some seventy miles to find the little Pipit for myself.
Once at the end of the boardwalk it didn't take long to pick out the paler bird among the darker/greener Meadow Pipits. Disappointed with the overall plumage I spend a while watching it trying to work on some of the diagnostics but the bird was quite elusive and difficult to get any time on it either in binoculars or camera.

There were lot's of Wheatear and Clouded Yellow about plus a single Hobby and Black Redstart to complete the trip highlights.

Year list now 265 Life list now 391

Red-throated Pipit at Landguard Suffolk

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Another Noteable on Birdguides

I was pleased to see Birdguides awarded me another noteable for one of my Red-necked Grebe images today.

The image
Other news: Scops Owl Durham......Red-throated Pipit Landguard (If only I didn't have to work!)
Pretty tame twitcher letting a little work get in the way of a good bird eh?

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Another go at the Roding Valley Red Neck

Better light today and with patience the bird came quite close,
The guys chasing it around the lake only helped push it back to it's favoured corner where I sat and waited for a few hours enjoying the best views possible of the little cracker.
If you go plot yourself up on the concrete pad in the corner of the lake and wait.

Nice to bump into a few more local birders again today.

Lot's of keepers today but here's just a few of my personal favourites.


It comes quite close!
If it flies to the far end wait cos it will fly back in no time
If it gets close to the Great Crested Grebes there's usually a reaction
What a bird
Sit still, stay low and it'll treat you to fab views
Not sure if I liked the clear or shadowed water better?
My favourite  (I think)
A nice stretch after a Great Grebe attacked it from under water
Not always so close
Other birds allowed too.
If you haven't been do yourself a favour and go....it's a stunning bird and shows really well.
What other reason do you need.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Red Necked Grebe at Roding Valley Lake

I returned to my local lake today hoping to get an image of the Red Necked Grebe that's found itself a little lost on the patch.

The bird was still present and showed well even if the light was a little limited.
Plenty of local interest today and good to meet and chat with Jonathon L, Harry, Rich B, Andy T, Bob V and many of the other visiting birders. LRGE was present too for his first trip the the valley.

Red necked Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Red necked Grebe
Red necked Grebe
Red Necked Grebe
Red Necked Grebe
Grebe with a red neck
What shall we call it?
Red necked Grebe


Black-headed Gull at Roding Valley Lake
Three Kingfishers feeding around the lake today with a supporting cast of RN Parakeets.


Friday, 22 September 2017

Red Necked Grebe Roding Valley

It's not very often we get to twitch a good bird on foot from the front door but that was the case tonight with the Red Necked Grebe juvenile on the main lake behind Bradwell Road, Buckhurst Hill.

With the light fading and after a hard days graft I walked over to the lake to catch decent views of the youngster which I think would be my first in Essex.

Hope it hangs around a few days as being local It'd be good to catch up with it with the camera at some point.

Bird on main lake by red pin

Monday, 18 September 2017

Arctic Warbler at Wells, PGT at Burnham and a bonus Phalarope

Norfolk with Suzanne today rewarded us with three cracking birds.

I started at Burnham Overy where views of the Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler were difficult and the phrase elusive was rewritten for this one. I moved on with a single flight view under my belt and walked down the track at Wells Woods to find the Arctic Warbler showing much better as it flitted around in the top of the willows doing a reliable circuit and giving everybody a chance to get on it every ten minutes or so. I managed a half decent record shot and then returned to the PGT for another wait and another short flight view.
News of a Grey Phalarope at Salthouse reached me so I made the short trip to enjoy a few minutes with it before returning to Burnham for another go and in the hope that I might grab an image of the bird but alas it decided not to "show well" until I was well on my way home.

Life list now 390
Year list now 264

Arctic Warbler
Over a hundred eyes on the prize.
A lot of bush beating and tape playing and the odd disagreement about the right and wrong way to see the bird. It wasn't the nicest twitch I've attended and certainly  wasn't a good advert for putting the birds well being first although It should be noted the the majority showed restraint and only a few got a little over emphused  in their approach.

Grey Phalarope at Salthouse
Grey Phalarope

Grey Phalarope