Thursday 30 August 2018

Otters at the BWC

A weekend visit to the BWC gave me a nice opportunity to grab a few shots of the Otters.


Wednesday 29 August 2018

Red-backed Shrike on Wanstead Flats

Wanstead Flats is a short drive from where I work so when Nick C found a Red-Backed Shrike in the pub scrub yesterday I was hoping to find an hour or so to connect but work took over on Tuesday and was difficult again today so I had to wait until I locked up to make the short trip but it was worth it as I connected quickly with the target and enjoyed an hour watching it in the company of Tony B.
We managed a few shots of the bird in the fading light without disturbing it and left with it still on site and with rain forecast I guess it'll still be around in the morning for others to enjoy.

Another good find Nick, well done.

Year list now 231

Red-backed Shrike on Wanstead Flats
Red-backed Shrike
and without the crop

Sunday 26 August 2018

Stilt Sandpiper at Frampton Marsh

I drove up to Frampton in the early hours this morning to see my second Stilt Sandpiper and in the hope that it might show for me as well as it has been this week for others.

On arrival I walked towards East Hide where the bird has been seen most but stopped on route to scan the Godwits on the main pool finding to my surprise that the Sandpiper was among them.
It showed rather distantly between the Godwits legs and occasionally popped out in the open.

I took a distant record shot and walked the reserve finding nothing else of real note so returned for a second fix of the Stilt Sandpiper. It took flight on a couple of occasions but returned to the same distant spot where it gave good scope views but challenged my 400mm lens.

year list now 230

Stilt Sandpiper

Saturday 25 August 2018

American Black Tern at Dungeness

We took the trip to Dunge today after I'd finished work in the hope that we might be able to see the American Black Tern that's spent the week on the reserve. A quick drive down Gallaways gave us a year tick when several Whinchat appeared along with the Stonechats as we drove the track. At the far end we searched for the reported Wryneck but dipped despite it being reported a few times during the day.

On the reserve we sat in the hide and enjoyed good views of a dozen juvenile Black Terns and a single adult before picking out the American bird which flew up and down all afternoon resting a couple of times on the distant Tern raft. It's hoped that the American/European birds will be split which would then give up another life tick but until then it's just a year tick for the "black" Terns.

Year list now 229

Common Tern
Common Tern
American Black Tern
American Black Tern (far right corner behind clay pipe honest!)
Black Tern
Black Tern

Sunday 19 August 2018

Slowly ticking over

The year list continues to drag itself along.

A shopping trip to Faversham Market on Saturday gave me a brief window to scan Oare Marsh where I found a single Little Stint for the first of the weekends year firsts. Also on the marsh was singles of Curlew and Green Sandpiper. A Wryneck was reported but not seen by me on my very short visit.

Sunday saw me making the trip to Rutland for the Birdfair where I obviously scored a year tick with no fewer than five Osprey sightings whilst at the optics stand. A Wood Sandpiper was the only other bird of note although a Grasshopper in the hand at the ringing demo was a welcome surprise.

So the year list moves to just 227 but I live in hope of an action packed Autumn where I can catch a few I missed on the way up.

Sunday 12 August 2018

Swallows and a first SKUA of 2018

Destination Dunge this morning arriving for first light. We took in a couple of hours in the sea watching hide where a single local was already counting Gannets and Terns. We were joined by another two guys and trying to ignore the constant call of "Fulmar down" Scoter up" etc we concentrated on trying to find something a little different and before long I'd found a single light phase Arctic Skua which was my first of the year. The bird vanished but was again picked up shortly later this time a little nearer and gave good views to all in the hide.

No seeds left in the sunflowers.
With this tick in the bag we left for Denge Marsh where we scoped from Springfield bridge and found Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Ruff, Common Sandpiper and then Wood Sandpiper for another year tick. The fence line was alive with Sandmartins in the hundreds with good numbers of other hirundines too.

The fences were full of Sandmartins
A quick stop at Elmley where we found a family of Swallows that entertained us for a while but with the reserve now very dry the only other birds of note were a Green Sandpiper, Marsh Harriers and a couple of Yellow Wags.

Swallow at Elmley
Swallow slam
Feeding time

We had hoped for a little early migrant action but this didn't work out too well but still a good mornings birding.

Year list now 227

Sunday 5 August 2018

Titchwell all to ourselves

We left home at 4am Saturday and arrived in the car park at Titchwell two hours later.
The place was empty and we enjoyed a good hour or so before anybody else arrived.

A quick scan into the rising sun failed to find the Lesser Yellowlegs so I continued to the beach which was again totally empty. The wader numbers are so impressive here and on the walk back we enjoyed great views of five Spoonbill at quite close range for a change. From Parinder hide we quickly picked out the Lesser Yellowlegs and then located my first second and third Green Sandpiper of the year before adding another late tick with Spotted Redshank. A Little Gull dropped in and a single Grey and Golden Plover added to the day list before we left for Cley.

At Cley we found another nine Green Sandpipers and more Spoonbills. Another birder thought he'd found a Buff-breasted Sandpiper and put me on it but I then had to tactfully point out it was a Red Knot which took some diplomacy but he eventually conceded the fact. I've only ever seen one Buff-breasted Sandpiper but I've seen a lot of Knot.

The Year list is really struggling along this year and I'm currently down about 22 on this time last year The 2018 list now stands at a very modest 225 but I have had the most special distraction in the form of little George.

Lesser Yellowlegs (last bird on the right of the rocks after the Lapwing and Ruff)
Adult and Juvenile Spoonbill flying in
Spoons for bills
Green Sandpipers