Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Cumbrian wedding

I'm currently up north after my niece's wedding last weekend in Great Musgrave where I decided to stay for the week and following the wedding I've managed to squeeze in a little birding.

The fast flowing stream in the village holds at least six dippers over a half mile stretch so I pulled out the camera and tried to catch a few images as they darted up and down in the gloomy light. To make matters harder the stream remains in shadow all day with houses either side but I managed with the help of an inflated ISO to grab a few usable images. Also in this small stream I have seen several Grey Wagtails, a Kingfisher and a Spotted Flycatcher which I'll try to get a shot of later.

Yesterday a drive out to Langdon Beck was on the cards as it's only twenty miles away and although at this time of year Black Grouse would be difficult to find I just wanted to see Langdon Beck having read so much about it. I drove through the Pennines spotting lots of Red Grouse, Raven and Wheatear as I entered Durham and at Langdon Beck I did find Black Grouse and a very obliging Short-eared Owl.

Short-eared Owl
We took the little guy into Windermere to visit Peter Rabbit which he enjoyed and obviously we enjoyed the fantastic scenery but that's a given in this part of the world.

The Pennines
Back Grouse country
No year ticks thus far this week so I missed the July target by one and will have to work hard in August to bring the highest count back into play.

Year list still 269

PS The wedding went really well and was enjoyed by all.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Back to Titchwell for a second go

We decided last night that it would be worth another go for the Semi-palmated Sandpiper at Titchwell and as we pulled into the car park around 7.30am news came through that the bird had indeed been seen. By the time we got the first hide the news had been corrected as a Common Sandpiper. Not one to throw stones so I cracked on scanning the enormous amount of birds on freshmarsh first finding a Curlew Sandpiper for a year tick then a Common Sandpiper, several Spotted Redshank and nine Spoonbill the best of the rest.

The Semi-p is in this crowd 
We moved around to Parinder hide where the light was kinder and began scanning again but had no joy until all the Dunlin got up and resettled which gave away the Semi-P which could now be seen among the Blackwits. Had it been there all the time? was it sleeping in the rocks? had it just dropped in? Not sure but it was at the end of my scope and gave another year tick. We sat in the hide for a few hours enjoying the company of Gordon Hamlett who's guide to birding Scotland has delivered me plenty of birds and some lovely locations so a hand shake was in order.

Dodgy phonescope of the semi-p

Around noon we set off for Breydon Water in Yarmouth about an hours drive away in search of the Pacific Golden Plover. We parked up in the rugby club car park and began the long walk out to the pumping station. The walk took about 40 minutes at a stiff pace. We scanned the paddock on the advise of a couple of guys still on the bird and very quickly had the target in the bag sitting among the horse poo with a couple of Euro Golden Plovers.

We walked back a little slower but satisfied with the three ticks for the day which in July is a great count.

Pacific Golden Plover
Year list now 269

Oh and on the way out at Breydon we found a Swallowtail Butterfly which was a nice surprise especially for Jim who'd never seen one before.

Swallowtail at Breydon Water

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Back in the game

Well July has seen me hit a brick wall so far with not a single trip until today. Cricket and family commitments have seen me tied to base camp for three weeks but today I'd planned an escape and with the Jims on board  I headed off to Titchwell in the hope of finding yesterdays Semi-P. Arriving around 8am for the 9am High tide we plotted up in Island hide and scanned.......and scannned.
Fifteen Spoonbill, Spot shanks, Knot, Godwits, Avocet, Dunlin, Ruff all present in good numbers but no sign of the target bird.

Entertaining Pied Wags
News broke of two White-rumped Sandpipers at Frampton and with negative news on the Pacific plover at Breydon we decided to head off to Frampton where we very quickly (almost from the car) got on one of the White-rumped Sandpipers to give the year list a much needed nudge again.
We had good views of the Long-billed Dowitcher in it's summer plumage and then as we watched the breeding Black-necked Grebes with jammed on a Little Stint to finish the day.
Nice to bump into a few of the Bubo listers that sit around me and have a decent chat about progress etc but with positive news of both the Semi-P and the Pacific bird in the afternoon we headed home thinking we'd let a couple slip.

year list now 266

Long-billed Dowitcher
Record shot of the White rumped Sandpiper
Little Stint  record shot