Monday 28 August 2017

Pied Fly at Wanstead

Today started with a visit to Landguard hoping for some migrants and we found only three Wheatear, two Yellow Wagtails and four Lesser Whitethroats for our trouble. As we headed home the pager bleeped with news of a Pied Flycatcher in motorcycle wood so we carried on down the M11 and into Wanstead. With bumped into Nick and John on site and after some time John located the Pied Fly and we all managed decent views as it caught flies in the company of a Spotted Flycatcher.

Year list now 255

Lesser Whitethroat
Lesser Whitethroats
Lesser Whitethroat

Sunday 27 August 2017

Black Terns, Red Kites and supporting cast

If there's one bird the wife enjoys seeing it has to be Red Kites so today when I mentioned I'd be driving around the 25 to Staines and taking in the Red Kites up the A40 she said she'd tag along and she was pleased she did as we enjoyed great views of several Kites.

Red Kite
Red Kite 
What a bird!
What a bird and what a success story in terms of reintroduction.

First stop today though was Staines were I picked up a late year tick with Black Tern and also found Common Sandpiper, Avocet, Sanderling and dozens of Pied Wagtails to add interest.

Then came the real highlight as we headed up the A40 to enjoy some fantastic Kites both in flight and sitting on top of the trees. They were calling each other and would take to the skies at regular intervals. Some times you get out there and the birds just seem to perform for you and today was without doubt one of those days.


Year list now 254

Saturday 26 August 2017

Robin red breast

The juvenile Robins visiting the garden are now slowly moulting into Adult plumage. I had five different birds feeding today at various stages of moult with the Adult birds looking quite drab at this time of year.


Friday 25 August 2017

British List now 610 with the acceptance of the Swamphen

Check the link below.

As expected the Purple Swamphen has been accepted and becomes the 610th bird recorded on the British list.

The Full British List

Day on the east coast

I started my day on the heath at Dunwich enjoying the runrise in the company of the many Dartford Warblers that have made the heath their home. They seem to have had another good year.

Dartford Warbler on Dunwich Heath
Down on the reserve at Minsmere it was clear there was a build up of migrants already. Several Lesser Whitethroat showed well as I walked through North bushes and the Bearded Tits showed well along North wall. Yellow Wagtails were all over the place and Willow Warblers were also well represented.

Bearded Tit at Minsmere
Bearded Tit at Minsmere
On the Scrape I found a Little Stint in with fifty or so Dunlin and twenty or more Ringed Plover. There must have been at least twenty Spotted Redshank around the reserve and several Ruff. Two Greenshank and over a hundred Blackwits were also notable along with at least two each of Wood, Green and Common Sandpipers. Two Little Gulls sat in the Black-headed roost and both Whinchat and Wheatear were seen by the sluice along with more Willow Warblers and Lesser Whitethroat.

Dunlin and Ringed Plover (spot the other bird)
Dartford Warbler

On the way back down the A12 I stopped at Abberton where the Jims had both the Pec Sand and Red-necked Phalarope lined up in the scope for me making them a nice easy pair of ticks even if somewhat distant.

Year list now 253

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Caspian Tern at Rush Hill scrape Potter Heigham

Jim needed Caspian Tern for a life tick so we headed north this morning to the small village of Potter Heigham. We parked by the church and walked up the lane and then down the hedge line towards the trees. A quick walk through the trees and we arrived at the footpath. Turning East (right) we walked through the gate and arrived at the hide to find the Caspian Tern flying around behind the scrape.

Caspian Tern Rush Hill Scrape Potter Heigham
Caspo dropping in
Distant but great scope views!
A very obvious large bird with a very obvious large red bill. After a while the bird came back in and landed at the back of the scrape giving great scope views. Also on the scrape were a Little Stint with a few Dunlin, Green and Common Sandpiper, Avocets, Ruff, Blackwits, Redshank, Oystercatcher and Lapwing.

We left after a couple of hours and dipped Swallowtail Butterfly on the way home.

Year list now 250

Sunday 20 August 2017

Black Redstart at Dungeness

A quick trip down to Dunge today rewarded me with a couple of year ticks.

Swallow at Dunge
First I found three Black Redstarts between the lighthouse and Observatory then on the beach a local put me onto a Yellow-legged Gull although apart from that and the usual Terns the only other bird of note was a single Arctic Skua. Two Peregrines hunted around the power station and took a pigeon whilst I watched them taking the kill back to the pilons to eat.

Hundreds of Swallows and Sandmartins sat on the wires along the back of Denge Marsh and I counted at least five Wheatear along with good numbers of Willow Warbler.

Sand Martin
Sand Martin
From Hanson hide I only found a couple of Ringed Plover and Common Sands along with Redshank, Lapwing, Blackwit, Ruff and Golden Plover on the wader count.

So two year ticks taking the year list to a pretty low mid August total of just 249.

Black Redstart
Resting Fox

Sunday 13 August 2017

Long-billed Dowitcher at Oare Marsh

Another visit to Oare Marsh today in order for Jim to connect with the Dowitcher.
We arrived at about 7am and with the sun in our face from the path we walked up to the sea wall and quickly found the Bonaparte's Gull out on the mud to the east of the slipway. Whimbrel, Curlew, Redshank and Turnstone added to the list here before we walked around the wall to view the East flood from the East with the sun behind us.

Long-billed Dowitcher ( and Curlew Sand, Ruff, Blackwit, Lapwing, Dunlin, Redshank etc)
Long-billed Dowitcher (distant cropped record shot)
Dowitcher in flight
Bonaparte's Gull

The Dowitcher was showing well from here and gave great scope views as it walked up the edge of the reeds before flying out to join the Blackwits and roost. Two Curlew Sands and a pair of Spotshanks, Ruff , Dunlin, LRP and Snipe added to the wader count. A few Yellow Wagtails were present and Bearded Tit "pinged" as we stood watching the Dowitcher.
Back at the road and we added Common Sand and Little Stint to the day list before setting off for Elmley which was a total disappointment with zero water and zero birds!


Wednesday 9 August 2017

Long-billed Dowitcher at Oare Marsh

A meeting in Orpington today put me close enough to Oare to try for the LB Dowitcher that returned yesterday.
I arrived at 4.30 in the rain and scanned the hundreds of waders finding Blackwits, Avocet, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Spotshank, Knot, Snipe and Little Stint before eventually getting a shout from another guy that had located the Dowitcher in the far North East corner of East flood.

The drive home was a nightmare in heavy rain with the M25 and A2 being a real mess but I somehow cut through the traffic and made it home in about 90 minutes.

Year list now 247

And another Fox pic to add some colour.


Sunday 6 August 2017

Cley birds

A few images from Cley

Bearded Tit /  Bearded Reedling
Bearded Tit
Three of the eight feeding in the bush
Same bush different bird
Sedge Warbler
Meadow Pipit
And apologies but here's a few more Fox shots!.


Blue Rock Thrush accepted

Life list now 385