Thursday, 19 October 2017

Two Barred Greenish Warbler in Dorset

Two Barred Greenish Warbler Photo by Chris Craig.

Yesterday the 18th October i teamed up with RR and headed to St. Aldhelm's Head in Dorset and the target bird was a 1st w Two Barred Greenish Warbler which had been present for 3 days & counting , it was first thought to have been an Arctic Warbler until Dorset birder  Brett Spencer expertly re-identified it as a Two Barred Greenish Warbler  on the 17th. 

A straight forward journey got us on site at approx 9am and the news was positive the TBGW was still present , we made our way down to the quarry and joined the mass of birders already present , we more or less saw the TBGW straight away but the view was very brief and certainly not good enough to be certain of id , then the shout went up it was showing on the other side of the trees, we dashed round there but had no luck.

I decided the best course of action was to stay in one place which paid of as i had several brief views and a couple of really good views seeing all the id features that make this a Two Barred Greenish Warbler.

Sadly i never managed a photo , i was just not quick enough with my camera plus i was really trying to see all the key id features and of course just enjoying watching the bird.

Many thanks to Chris Craig who did manage a photo and very kindly has allowed me to use his photo on my blog.

There were several Firecrest amongst the trees which showed really well.


Two Barred Greenish Warbler is currently a sub species of Greenish Warbler but will soon be made a full species in it's own right when the BOU adopt the IOC listing system in January.


Saturday, 7 October 2017

Wilson's Phalarope Re-visited at Oare Marshes

                                                     6th October 2017

Wilson's Phalarope

I paid another visit to Oare Marshes last Friday the 6th October to try and get better views of the Wilson's Phalarope and was pleasantly surprised that it was quite close to the road.

Here are a selection of photos i took:

Following a Teal.

The Wilson's Phalarope spent alot of time following various different Teal picking off small insects in their wake , a really clever feeding behaviour.

Often flushed.

Having a real good poke around.

Coming into land.

Having a preen.

In flight alongside a Golden Plover.

Wilson's Phalarope & Long Billed Dowitcher.

I tried to get an in focus photo of the Wilson's Phalarope & Long Billed Dowitcher together but one or the over was always just out of focus.

Wilson's Phalarope.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Wilson's Phalarope 1st for Oare Plus Lapland at Bishopstone

3rd October   2017  Oare Marshes

1st winter Wilsons Phalarope.

News reached me yesterday the 3rd October that a possible Wilson's Phalarope had been seen on the East flood at Oare Marshes , so without haste i grabbed by birding gear and headed straight there and sure enough in the middle of the flood near the reedy island was a cracking 1st winter Wilson's Phalarope !!!!

Such smart looking waders.

I was reliably informed this was a 1st record for Oare Marshes , i have been lucky enough to have seen 3 previous Wilson's Phalaropes  (2 in Kent) but this was by far the best views i have had of one in Kent.

I had really great views through the scope to be able to age this bird but it never really came close enough to get decent photos, all my photos are Digi scoped.

Wilson's Phalarope.

There was a great selection of waders on the East flood including 1 ad & 2 juv Little Stints and 3 juv Curlew Sandpipers, the Long Billed Dowitcher was also showing well close to the road.

Long Billed Dowitcher.

There was also a Black Necked Grebe in Faversham Creek plus i saw 2 Clouded Yellows on route to look at the Grebe.

Black Necked Grebe.

Clouded Yellow.

30th September 2017  Bishopstone

Lapland Bunting.

On the 30th September i called into Bishopstone near Reculver to see the Lapland Bunting which was very confiding to say the least.

Here are a selection of photos i took :

Lapland Bunting.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Eurasian Scops Owl at Ryhope in Durham plus trip to Dorset.

28th September 2017  Ryhope in Durham

Eurasian Scops Owl.

Whilst sitting in a hide on the 27th in Dorset news broke of a Eurasian Scops Owl being found in Ryhope village in Durham !!!!

There was no way i could get there on the 27th, and the news & photos just kept on coming on twitter & Rba that it was still present and showing well.

So today the 28th i travelled up to Durham in the hope of seeing the Scops Owl .

Cracking bird.

A very early start ensued and unfortunately the first early reports were negative , me & my birding mate decided to stop on route for a coffee and make a decision whether to carry on heading  north or go for other targets that were on offer , decisions, decisions !?!?

Keeping an eye on us all.

We decided to try for other targets as we were still quite a  distance from Durham , however as we were heading off for new targets the news came through the Eurasian Scops Owl had been relocated , so we reverted back to original plans and 3 hours later we were on site and having great views of the Scops Owl which was a new addition to my British list !!!

Congrats to the original birder who found this cracking bird , and for the guys who relocated it today, some great field craft and persistence.

Eurasian Scops Owl.

27th September  Middlebere Farm  Dorset

Record shot of the Stilt Sandpiper.

I had a really great time birding at Middlebere Farm near Arne Rspb reserve on the 27th September , i was invited by my mate to go down there in the hope of seeing the Stilt Sandpiper and thankfully we eventually managed to see it as the tide came in.

It never came really close but great scope views were obtained of this delightful wader , this was a lifer for my mate and a very welcome year tick for me.


There were large numbers of Spoonbills here and i recorded my personal largest ever total in the UK with 47 birds seen together , although there have been more seen here.


Other birds seen of note were Osprey , Marsh Harrier, Raven & Kingfisher which showed well at times.


We saw the Stilt Sandpiper 3 times in total , one quite close view plus again roosting with the Black Tailed Godwits, other waders seen were Knot, Avocet, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Redshank, Spotted Redshank (2) & Grey Plover (2).

Numerous Little Egrets & 1 Great White Egret were also seen, we also encountered several Sika Deer.

Sika Deer.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler in Norfolk

                                         18th  September  in  Norfolk

Pink Footed Geese.

On Sunday the 17th September news broke of a Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler being found at Burnham Overy Staithe in Norfolk , so plans were put into place and i left home at approx 4am Monday morning the 18th September heading to  Norfolk in the hope of seeing the PGW !!

I knew before i left home that this bird was going to be really hard to see despite the good views which were obtained the previous evening , they really are ground dwelling birds that like to walk or run through the undergrowth, that said i was quite optimistic.

Arriving on site at about 7.30am there was already quite a few birders there but no sign of the PGW so far.

Plenty of Pink footed Geese.

More & more birders turned up and eventually an organised flush was arranged , basically 3 birders walked through the last known area it was seen in , not a practise i really like but  provided it is not done to death (which was the case on the 19th) it is pretty much the only way you will see this type of bird unless your very very lucky.

Anyhow the flush went ahead and i was lucky enough to get a decent flight view of PGW and although i would have liked to have seen it for longer that was the best it got (for me anyway).

I spent approx 6 hours there on & off on the 18th and only got 1 identifiable flight view of the Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler .

I decided to head off to Wells to have a look at the Arctic Warbler which was much more obliging and i was very pleased i did.

The Arctic Warbler spent all it's time high up in the canopy but afforded good views and i managed to get some photo's (

Arctic Warbler.

From here i headed to Gramborough hill where a Grey Phalarope was showing extremely well in a pool near the Hill.

Size comparison alongside a tennis ball.

Grey Phalarope.


I would just like to say although i was at Burnham Overy Staithe on both the 18th & 19th September i never once left the public right of way other than to rescue a frog/toad from the trodden reed bed from the numerous flushes along the reed bed.

I have been on many twitches over many years but have to say the actions of some on the 19th left a very bad taste , and before people jump on the fact it's the  'new generation birders' , i have to disagree , most of them were 50+ who entered the field and trespassed and then had the audacity to argue with the wardens who chased them off.


13th  September   Minsmere Rspb

I teamed up with a birding mate of mine and headed to Minsmere on the 13th September and finally managed to see one of my bogey birds CITRINE WAGATAIL , having dipped many over the years , sadly i never managed a photo though.

RIP   Kevin McCoy

Very sad to hear that Kevin passed away last Saturday night , he was one of the most genuine people i have ever met and despite his long suffering illness his humour and enthusiasm for life & birding never diminished . Condolences to his family , RIP mate.