Saturday, 29 February 2020

The "easy" targets

Here's one of those thinking out loud posts again............

So I've made a decent start without trying too hard and sit on my best February total of 183 and now have March in sight where my best total is 192 so just nine to find to chase down my best total again and with the current British year list sitting at c263 with the Sand Martin reported from Cotswold Water Park this week I've obviously missed a few.

Dartford Warbler 
But the good news is I have some relatively easy birds to look forward to finding like.......

Golden Pheasant
Jack Snipe
Little Gull
Dartford Warbler
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Lesser Redpoll

Which I should hopefully manage to find in March

Then there's the traditional March new arrivals to look forward to.....

Stone Curlew
House Martin
Sand Martin
Sandwich Tern
and maybe even an early Osprey

And then of course there has to be the chance of a road trip.....Scotland would for sure deliver a dozen or more ticks if I can get the motivation for the drive and lastly there is the TWITCH with candidates further afield that at this stage have left me uninterested maybe because of time, distance and expense or maybe because I have a realistic chance of seeing most of them closer to home later in the year???

One of these would be nice
Oh and of course there's those unexpected new arrivals.....and there my friends lies the excitement in this crazy hobby we share.

NB: Previous March rarities to find my year lists have included

Lesser Yellowlegs
Snowy Owl
Red Flanked Bluetail
Little Bunting
Pallid Harrier
Alpine Swift
American Coot
Chinese Pond Heron
Kentish Plover
Lesser Scaup
Common Yellowthroat
Red-breasted Goose
Paddyfield Warbler
Rose coloured Starling

so I'm full of hope for a birding good March (and just maybe the rain will stop)
A repeat of March 2018 would be most welcomed

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Newlyn Iceland Gull

Whilst searching for the Black Guillemot in Newlyn harbour this week I was distracted by a stunning and very obliging Iceland Gull waiting for scraps from the fish market.

Cirl Buntings at Broadsands

A few more images from my recent day with the Cirl Buntings at Broadsands in Devon

Full respect to the guy that feeds them every day and has helped them establish a spreading population again.

Friday, 21 February 2020

Another couple of hard won ticks in Devon

Whilst away on a "non birding" break with the family I'd already sneaked off for a morning to bag Cirl Bunting and Blue-winged Teal and that was after gaining a couple of ticks on the doorstep of the cottage we rented but the rest of the break proved difficult to find birding time although I managed an hour at Newlyn on a drive down to Lands End where I dipped the Black Guillemot but did pick up a year tick with an Eider duck in the harbour and enjoyed great views of Great Northern Diver and Iceland Gull whilst searching for the Guillemot.

Iceland Gull at Newlyn
Great Northern Diver at Newlyn
My only other venture was an hour at Bowling Green Marsh whilst the family were enjoying some retail therapy at Darts Farm where we later enjoyed a great Cream Tea and the finest burgers imaginable from this great farmers market venture. If you are down that way treat yourself to the Rugby burger.

Long-billed Dowitcher at Bowling Green Marsh
Whilst at Bowling Green there was no sign of the Long-billed Dowitcher from the hide and after I'd walked to the viewpoint to search the estuary and then the Goat walk to search the other side of the mud without joy I walked back only to be told there was still no sign at the hide. I reluctantly conceded defeat and set off to walk back to the car checking the marsh through gaps in the fence as I went and to my surprise at the very last gap I found the Dowitcher and managed to put out the news for the other birders to get on it. For at least three people the bird was a lifer and one guy had visited several times without luck so he was very pleased with my find as was I.

Classics courtesy of Darts Farm
I dipped the Glaucous Gull at St.Ives but did enjoy a fine fish supper and my grandson really enjoyed the RNLI launch. St Ives was thriving despite the poor weather and remains a real family favourite. At Lands End I'd hoped to stumble over a Chough but that didn't happen as the strong wind kept us inside a little more than I'd have liked but the trip was a highlight with my daughter in law who'd not visited before.

Missed opportunities remained with Ring-billed Gull, Glossy Ibis and Lesser Scaup all possible if I'd had more time but we had some great time with our Grandson to compensate for the lack of birding and none of the life ticks of the previous week remained to test my resolve. (American Herring Gull and Pacific Diver)

All in all a very enjoyable laughter filled trip with the family which boosted the year list to 183