Wednesday 30 March 2022

Green winged - Blue winged

After visiting Dad to finish fitting his new garden fence/gates we decided on making a run around the orbital car park to Wilstone reservoir in Tring for the Green-winged Teal and after a short walk to the hide we very quickly enjoyed decent scope views of the target which we could actually have scoped from the car park without the walk. A quick check for early Terns or any hirundines as we walked back to the car failed to deliver. With a female Blue-winged Teal being reported at Marlow in Bucks and now being less than twenty miles away we decided on giving that a twitch too. The cross county route was slow but we pulled into the car park on Pound Lane and paid for a couple of hours before walking along the road to Lower Pound Lane then walked around 800metres down the lane through the kissing gate to view the ponds and found the Blue-winged Teal sitting alone on the right hand pool whist all the other ducks slept on the left hand pool.

Green-winged Teal at Wilstone

The bird is being reported as a female which I haven't seen until today having seen several males prior to this bird. Although the bird news services are reporting the bird as a female Blue-winged Teal some are still casting doubt over it's purity. For now the bird makes the year list but I'll keep an eye on developments with it and watch with interest as the debate continues.

Blue-winged Teal

Blue-winged Teal

Year list now 182

Sunday 27 March 2022

Life list targets

With the falling of Snow Goose this week my life list targets now looks like this.....                             (top ten according to those seen by other Bubo listers)

I wonder if this year will bring any ticks from this bogey bird is the Tawny Pipit having dipped a couple so that's rightly top of my list.
I've also dipped Terek Sandpiper and White-crowned Sparrow.

Sociable Plover and Bufflehead could have fallen if it not for lockdown restrictions and of course the Black Scoter winters in the north and could be a realistic probability any time I chose to make the six hour drive to look for it.

Looking forward to my next life tick in whatever shape it takes and of course looking forward to the places this crazy hobby take me this year too.

Friday 25 March 2022

It just wouldn't go away

The Belted Kingfisher in Lancashire just would not go away.

Every time it gets reported it reminds me that I really should go see it but I've seen them well in America and this bird is only seen at distance and can involve steep muddy river banks or crossing private land and paying a £10 toll for that privilege which I have no problem with when these tolls/collections are for a good cause. Then there's the risk of failure with some birders visiting four times before connecting with it so you may understand why I haven't rushed to connect. This week I planned to go but other matters got in the way until yesterday when I caught a break which freed me up for today.

I called the Jims and they agreed the trip was worth a go so we set off at 2am arriving in Roach Bridge at 6am. We walked the bridleway and crossed the field to view the river below and were the only birders on site at this early hour. Within a few minutes we'd heard the Belted Kingfisher calling and I quickly found it in the scope sitting in the trees set back a little from the river. It gave great views in the dim early light and we watched it fishing and heard it calling a couple more times. We were joined by another birder and managed to help him get onto the bird before leaving him to enjoy it too. Two other birders arrived as we left and their pace quickened when we told then it was still showing. Back at the bridge we watched a pair of Dippers and a pair of Grey Wagtail go about their courtship. Of note on the drive up was a Badger seen running along the side of the A5.

Belted Kingfisher


Our next stop was to be Banks Marsh which is only eighteen miles away. We had little information on the exact location of the target here but made our way down Marsh Road to Old Hollows Farm where we parked up and walked up onto the marsh. Within seconds Jimmy had the Snow Goose in his scope and we all enjoyed great views at x60 through the scope but I failed to capture much detail with my modest (x8) 400mm lens. This Snow Goose has to me got decent credentials arriving with good carriers in October in the north too so I am happy to finally add it to my life list. The finder of the goose was on site and put us onto a Todd's Goose (my second of the year). He also shows me a close in Greylag thought to be of wild origin and later a distant scope view of a Russian White-fronted Goose. Walking back to the car park we enjoyed good views of the nesting Tree Sparrows but I then decided to walk further east in search of Twite. I flushed two Greenshank then found a Merlin which sat long enough for the Jims to catch up and scope too but they'd missed a year tick with the Greenshank. The Merlin took off and flushed a large flock of forty plus Twite which then broke up and some settled on the fence by the car park allowing me to grab some nice images. Wheatear, Great White Egret, several wader species and tens of thousands of Pink foots added to the spectacle and made for a fantastic days birding which will live long in the memory. 

Record shot of the Snow Goose


Life list now 429
year list now 180

Watching the Belted Kingfisher

Roach Bridge

Me and Jim at Roach Bridge

Thursday 24 March 2022

Little Owl

Dad offered a quick trip to Wanstead to see if we could find the Little Owl for a year tick this morning and whilst we only had an hour spare luckily Jim spotted an Owl straight away which allowed a couple of images as it watched the coming and going of the locals from a high point in it's chosen roost tree.

Little Owl

As we walked around the park we bumped into Marco who told us he'd seen a male Wheatear a few minutes ago and sure enough after a short scan we found the Wheatear for a second year tick. Always nice to catch up with Marco too.


Year list now 173

The Belted Kingfisher continues to be seen and is now pulling at my twitch strings after four months of on and off news and almost every other birder in the country connecting with it.

Tuesday 22 March 2022

White-tailed Lapwing at Frampton RSPB

 March has been a strange month with just a single trip out until today. I made the short trip upto Cambridgeshire earlier in the month and had a very brief flight view of the Duxford Hoopoe before seeing the Yellow-browed Warbler at Milton CP. 

Then the birth of my second grandchild diverted my attention and filled a good few days leading upto the birth and beyond. I have a grandson who's almost four and this time my son and daughter in law delivered a granddaughter. My younger son and his wife are also expecting a child so by this time next month I'll be a very proud grandfather of three grandchildren. 

With a break in my responsibilities today saw me heading up the M11 arriving at Frampton around 7.30am. We had a tip off that the White-tailed Plover was showing from East hide so headed in that direction first and the WTP was indeed showing well and out on quite a show allowing me to grab some nice images of this rare visitor.

Also from the hide we picked out three Little Stint and a couple of Little-ringed Plovers to add year ticks.

A walk along the sea wall gave brief views of a probable very early Whimbrel and looking back over the reserve from the wall Jim picked out a Spotted Redshank for a year tick and I found two Garganey whilst generally scanning the pools. 

The weather was great and the reserve was full of great birds which provided a terrific days birding.

Year list now 171

and the grandkids.........

Friday 4 March 2022

American Robin in Eastbourne

Well the Robin seems to have moved on and the Go-fund me page seems to have stalled but nice to see so many donating to the local food bank which I'm sure helped keep the locals happy with the disturbance during the birds stay.

 If I get a better new bird than this in 2022 I'll be amazed.

NB: The original goal was £500