Sunday, 30 July 2017

Missing Monty

Another trip to Norfolk in search of Montagu's Harrier and another trip home without seeing any despite scoping some very promising habitat.

We did encounter a nice Barn Owl on the way up and a stop at Titchwell was good without any really noteable birds.

Barn Owl
Shame about the gloomy light
Lot's of Ruff, Avocet, Black & Barwits along with the usual waders. Three Spoonbill sat out on freshmarsh and we picked out a couple of Little Gulls and a few Med Gulls in the roost. On the sea a couple of Arctic Skua came close and both Little and Sandwich Terns hunted the shore line.

Despite some useful information on the Norfolk Monty's we found only Buzzard and Marsh Harrier although one particular Buzzard was almost entirely white.

Avocet at Titchwell
Another Fox in the rain 
Reed Bunting at Titchwell

No ticks but a nice days birding all the same.

PS: So it now transpires that a single pair of Montagu's Harrier had nested in Norfolk this year (one of just a handful to breed in Britain in 2017) Sadly I had waited until the time when the young would be flying to go in search of any to save any disturbance to the nest site. The info I had gathered was totally wrong and my search sites were well off track from the actual site and the birds fledged three young to add to last years two but then tragedy struck when the female went missing losing her radio signal around the start of the glorious 12th when posh folk entertain themselves by blasting birds out of the sky.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

New hanging bird table

I received a new bird table this week and the locals have enjoyed using it.
My old table was a pretty sad looking thing so it was nice to hang this much improved dining area out for my feathered friends. 

The hanging feeder
I added some softbill ( Prosecto Insectivorous) food and within minutes of putting the feeder up it was being visited by Blue Tits. Great Tits, Robins and Starlings. The Pigeons found it challenging and the Magpies found it interesting.
The table is really well made using solid timber and the rustic rope adds to it's appeal. The  Food stays dry in the rain and I think it'll stand the test of time too as it appears well preserved. I'd highly recommend it if you're looking for one so much so that I'll probably buy another for the bottom of the garden.

A couple of links here to the good people at Haith's who supplied the table and the food.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Bonaparte's Gull at Oare Marsh

Another trip to Oare today to get the old fella a year tick with the Bonaparte's Gull which we very quickly found feeding out on the mud to the right of the slip way.
A couple of Whimbrel was the only other bird of note on the mud but back on the reserve we had a couple of Turtle Dove, at least nine adult Curlew Sandpipers, a single Spotted Redshank and the other usual waders etc in good numbers.


Bearded Reedling

A quick stop at Cliffe on the way was disappointing  as the Marsh Sandpiper had been flushed by a Peregrine early this morning and failed to show during our stay. We'd seen it before but wanted a closer look from Radar pool. Large numbers of Greenshank roosted and a couple of Common Sands were seen before we left for home and an appointment with some skirting boards I'd promised to keep. Of note was the massive flock of Hirundines numbering well over a thousand as we left Cliffe heading for the M2.

Year list now 246

Friday, 21 July 2017

Another day another Fox

No apologies......just some more Fox shots!

Fox focus
Fox watching pigeons
Just chilling
Fox looking me in the eye
My favourite

Monday, 17 July 2017

Swallows at Minsmere

A few more images from the weekends trip to Minsmere.

Looking at me looking at you
Swallow at Minsmere

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Vagrant Emperor Minsmere

With the Jims needing Roseate Tern for a life tick I took them up to Minsmere today arriving at about 6.30am. We headed out along North Wall and plotted up in the Public hide that overlooks South scrape. With no sign of the target we continued to scan finding twenty plus Little Gulls with some in full summer breeding plumage. A Little Tern and several Sandwich Terns mixed up the count with the breeding Common Terns. Med Gulls have had a good year here and a trio of Kittiwakes was a nice find too.
The wader count was pretty good with Spotted Redshank, Green Sand, Common Sand, Lapwing, Blackwit, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Oystercatcher to name a few.

Marsh Harriers and Bearded Tits showed themselves along with Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Stonechat and the usual Warblers but for me the star birds were the Swallows at the sluice gates.

Unfortunately despite a six hour shift we failed to connect with the Rosie Tern so that tick will have to wait for another day but any day at Minsmere is one to be remembered.

Little Stunner
what a star!
Common Tern
Young Robin in the garden 3rd single bird brood this year!
Young Stonechat at Minsmere
And another Fox to finish.
Oh and on another note....Jimmy just text to say the Dragonfly we took a photo of today may be a rare visitor (we wouldn't know!) He put it out on twitter hoping somebody would put a name to it and it seems to be considered a Vagrant Emperor which he's been told is quite twitchable in the dragonfly circles so here's my shot hoping it helps with a positive ID for those interested.

Vagrant Emperor at Minsmere ?
Note: Jimmy has now had the ID confrimed by the British Dragonfly society

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Marsh Sandpiper at Cliffe Pools in Kent

An after work drive down to Cliffe Pools rewarded us with distant views of the visiting Marsh Sandpiper. We drove the track down to the mound in the wifes 4x4 and with the track being more pot hole than road we needed it. (Take the Pond Hill route if you're brave enough otherwise park in the Salt Lane car park and walk along the track to the second viewing mound after the Black Barn)

The views are distant but with good light and the scope max'd out you can make out some of the key features. The bird has spent some time on the closer pool which would make things a bit easier.
The RSPB have sensibly kept the two broods of Black-winged Stilts quiet until news of the Marsh Sandpiper broke and with them being on the same pool it was time to make things public but they are still keeping a close eye on the young birds to give them the best chance of making it.

Map of the reserve
A Barn Owl hunted the fields and the pools also held Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Avocets, Redshank etc.

And to finish off just one more from the recent Fox session.

Year list now 245
Life list now 384

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

More Fox action birds just a few more images of the local Foxes.

 my personal favourite
nearly too close!
shame he chose to sit in the shade.
causing havoc with the plant pots.
into the darkness
Now.....did somebody say Marsh Sandpiper at Cliffe Pools!!!

Monday, 10 July 2017

Sunday, 9 July 2017

The return of Napolean

After a successful night watching Nightjars in the Brecks we headed off this morning in search of the returning American visitor that is the adult Bonaparte's Gull at Oare Marsh.

We arrived early and got distracted by the presence of Turtle Doves for a while before heading off to the the sea wall to search for gull among all the Black-headed Gulls feeding on the mud. We got put on the bird by another birder which helped but once on it it was easy to pick out being the only true Black Headed Gull and slightly smaller than its Brown headed companions.

The bird eventually flew to the east flood and joined the mass of waders which inlcuded Avocet, Blackwit, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Redshank, Lapwing, Ruff and the usual other suspects for the marsh. Bearded Tit, Water Rail, Marsh Harrier, Little Tern, Common Tern, Sedge and Reed Warbler added to the day list.

Blackbird basking in the sunshine
Young Fox
Great Crested Grebe
Pigeon in the garden 
Sedge Warbler at Oare Marsh
Sedge Warbler

Year list now 244

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Bee Eaters at East Leake Nottinghamshire

A day off work gave me the opportunity to travel up the M1 where a party of Bee-eaters have set up home and look like trying to produce some little Bee-eaters with a little luck.
Bee-eater at East Leake

The RSPB has set up safe viewing with the help of a local farmer and the quarry owners.
We paid the £5 car park fee and walked across the road where we managed scope views of the birds siting in a distant Ash tree. We then walked the footpath to get closer views along with the hundred or so other birders on site. We enjoyed great views of six of the seven birds as they flew out from the Ash to collect a constant supply of bees and dragon flies and they seemed to achieve 100% hit rate.

Four of the six
Fab four!

After a few hours we left for home with a very short stop at Kelham Bridge where we failed to give Willow Tit a year tick but who's complaining.

year list now 242

Little ....Little Grebe