Saturday, 28 December 2013

The Birding Year that Keeps on Giving

Brunnich's Guillemot at Portland.

My pager bleeped into life on Boxing Day which informed there was a mega in Dorset , Brunnich's Guillemot to be more precise , plans were put into place for the following day . I  left home at about 6.30am and i headed of to Portland in Dorset , finally arriving there a little before 9am , the news was a little bit mixed with only a  brief early sighting of my target bird , the good news was it is still here however the bad news was it has not been seen since its early sighting , the weather was overcast , windy with frequent rain showers and as time went on my mood was becoming the same , in the mean time i had decent views of 1 Great Northern Diver ,approx 20 Red Breasted Mergansers and 2 Black Throated Divers , a couple of winter plumage Guillemot also put in a brief appearance and then  BOOM someone had seen the Brunnich's Guillemot fly in further down the harbour .

 After a quick dash to the location i was soon enjoying great views of this very hard to get bird , there are many great photos of this bird on the net and mine don't do it any justice really . I spent most of my time just observing it , it spent most of its time sheltering from the wind behind the moored boats but was always in view . 

Record shot of the Brunnich's Guillemot.

I really enjoyed this bird and then decided it was time to head to Brixham harbour to try and see the adult winter White Billed Diver that has taken up residence there , no sooner had i reached my destination and got out of the car when i saw  this stunning bird , a truly magnificent bird and i was soon  adding White Billed Diver   year list.

Nicknamed " Banana bill ".



This super bird was very easy to see , if only all birds were this obliging lol , at one point the White Billed Diver appeared right in front of me , it often dived and then would re appear a few feet away , i watched this bird for nearly an hour before i headed off to my last destination which was only a few minutes away and my target bird here was Cirl Bunting , and yet again i parked up , walked a couple hundred feet and was instantly watching these fantastic Bunting , it was hard to put a total number of birds present but i would think it was between 20 and 30 birds.

Often perched in the trees. Male Cirl Bunting.

And often feeding on the ground .

Quite a mixed flock in the above photo , Cirl Bunting , Reed Bunting and Dunnock .








Saturday, 21 December 2013

Merry Christmas


Just like to wish everyone who has followed my blog this year a very Merry Christmas and great Birding for 2014 .

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Just a bit of Fun Quiz Week 24 Answer

Adult Rose Coloured Starling.

Last weeks " Mystery Bird " was an adult Rose Coloured Starling which i saw in 2011 near Newhaven . 

A big well done to all the correct entries this week who are :
Ellis L ,  Ben M ( you got it mate lol ) , Martyn Wilson , Marc Heath,  Mark Lewis , Bucko41 and Matthew B .

Unlucky to those with the wrong answer and many thanks for everyone who had a go .

The quiz will be back in the New Year with some really hard pics for you to try and workout what they are , thanks again to everyone who has taken part so far . 



Sunday, 8 December 2013

Now Thats What i call Birding .... In Hampshire

Record shot of Lesser Yellowlegs .

I  had a great days birding around Hampshire on the 7th , my first port of call was Drayton Lake where i lucked out with not seeing the Red Necked Grebe that had been seen the previous day , not a great start to the day , however boy did it get better.

I then headed to Lepe Country Park and as i was getting ready i soon had 2 Mistle Thrush fly over , i saw approx 5 Dunnock on the track before i reached the area where the Lesser Yellowlegs has taken up residence, a really smart wader indeed and some great scope views were obtained however it never came close enough for the camera , in the pic above you can just about make out the yellow legs.

 I also saw a  Black Necked Grebe on the sea, there were several wader species keeping the Yellowlegs company including , Redshank , Black Tailed Godwit , Curlew , turnstone , Dunlin and Common Snipe.

I moved on towards the Coast guard cottages area and saw 2 smart Long Tailed Ducks as well as 5+ Eider , several hundred Mallard & Brent Geese plus Grey and Ringed Plover added to my wader list.

Adult Ringed Billed Gull at Gosport.

I then headed off to Gosport for my 3rd attempt at seeing the adult Ringed Billed Gull , the last 2 times times i got the tide wrong however this time i was spot on . Here are just a small selection of pics i took .





A really remarkable bird and it has been coming back to Gosport for at least the last 10 winters , where it goes in the summer is any ones guess.

I spent a good deal of time here and had unbelievable great views of this bird .

My final destination of the day was Barnham Brooks in West Sussex , and i had a decent selection of birds here including several Fieldfare , although i did have 2 target birds and i connected with both , firstly i saw 2 Whopper Swans in with a distant herd of Mute Swans then i had decent views of 2 Short Eared Owls hunting over the fields , one of the birds was first seen resting up on a hedge calling , this is the first one i have heard .

Record shot of Short Eared Owl.

What a great day 2 year ticks and some quality birds seen  .






Just a bit of Fun Quiz Week 23 Answer Plus new " Mystery Bird "


Adult Summer Spotted Sandpiper at Rutland Water.

Week 23 " Mystery Bird " was indeed an adult summer plumage Spotted Sandpiper seen at Rutland Water in July 2011. There was 5 correct answers this week so a very big well done to : Ellis L, Martyn Wilson , Matthew B and Mark Lewis ( who also named the site ).

Unlucky to those with the wrong answer , great try and many thanks to everyone who had ago .

This weeks " Mystery Bird " will be the last one this side of Christmas and if you want me to start up again in the New year please let me know with your answer in the comments .

So here is this weeks new " Mystery Bird " good luck .

Week 24 " Mystery Bird "????????



Monday, 2 December 2013

Water Rail is the Star of the Show at Oare

Swimming Water Rail.

I only paid a short visit to Oare yesterday 1st December , starting of in the car park where i bumped into Murray Wright who informed me that the Little Bunting had been reported this morning however in the 20 min or so period i was there it never reappeared , you can't win them all , i then headed off for a stroll along the sea wall towards the hide and Murray and friend headed off to check out the East flood .

Well the Swale was quite with only 5 Dark Bellied Brent Geese and a small flock of approx 20 Grey Plover of any note , looking over the reed bed and surrounding bushes produced several Reed Buntings but alas no Little Bunting , there was approx 10 Greenfinch nearby to , a couple of Meadow Pipits flew over head and then i decided to head back to the East Flood .

Some of the gathered Lapwings.

As usual there were good numbers of waders here , Black Tailed Godwit and Dunlin in large numbers plus a smaller count of Ringed and Grey Plover , Redshank , Snipe and at least 4 Knot were among the roosting waders . There was a scattering of wildfowl with decent numbers of Pintail , Wigeon and Teal.

After another chat with Murray we went our separate ways and as i was getting my last couple of pics i could hear a Water Rail calling and to my delight it swam out of cover right in front of me giving me some great views .


First one i have seen swimming.

Really pleased with this and made my morning , i also saw a close Coot and although not rare it was good to study it at such close quarters.

Coot.







Saturday, 30 November 2013

Just a bit of Fun Quiz Week 22 Answer Plus " New Mystery Bird "



American Robin in Devon 2010.

Indeed last weeks " Mystery Bird " was a American Robin which i saw in 2010 in Devon , i never managed a decent photo of this bird as it was always quite distant and the weather was awful ( that's my excuse and i am sticking to it ) .

American Robin St.Agnes 1998.

Here is a better photo of an American Robin that i saw in 1998 on St.Agnes .

Anyway i digress , if i was wearing a hat i would take it off to all the correct entries this week , i only expected 1 or 2 correct answers so i am very impressed with the amount of people who got it right and you are : Ellis L , Matthew B , Findlay W , Chidders , Steve Ashton , Marc Heath , Martyn Wilson , Jason Ward & Mark Lewis .

Unlucky to those with the wrong answer , it was a really tricky photo , many thanks to all who had ago .

Here is this weeks " Mystery Bird " , if you fancy ago just leave your answer in the comments and remember you can have as many guesses as you like , i will reveal the correct answer and entries next weekend .

Week 23 " Mystery Bird " ?????

Good luck everybody .


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Just a bit of Fun Quiz Week 21 Answer plus New " Mystery Bird "

Spoonbill at Keyhaven Marshes.

Last weeks " Mystery Bird " was indeed a Spoonbill which i saw rather distantly at Keyhaven Marshes , there were quite a few correct entries last week so a very big well done to : Ellis L , Mark Lucas ( well done for spotting the Moorhen too :-) ) Matthew B,   Ben M, Chidders , Martyn Wilson and Marc Heath.

This weeks " Mystery Bird " i think will prove quite a challenge , possibly the hardest photo to id so far , so here it is :

week 22 " Mystery Bird " ???????

Good luck to everyone who has a go , remember you can have as many guesses as you like , just leave your answer in the comments and i will reveal the correct answer and entries next Sunday , its just a bit of fun and i will only publish the correct entries , many thanks for having ago .




Saturday, 23 November 2013

Oare Marshes Pintail a Plenty.

Plenty of Pintail at Oare.

I have not been here for awhile so took the opportunity to spend a couple of hours looking over the East Flood this afternoon  , Plenty of Pintail , Shoveler and Teal were on the flood with lesser numbers of Gadwall and Tufted Duck.

2 males and a female Pintail.

Waders were in decent numbers both Ringed and Grey Plover were in double figures , Black Tailed Godwit and Dunlin were in 3 figures plus there was a scattering of Redshank , the fringes of the flood held approx 15 Common Snipe and a single Water Rail bolted from cover only to disappear as quickly .

There were only 2 Avocets on the flood plus approx 50 Lapwing , when these were spooked which often happens i noticed a single Knot which must of been hidden among them which proceeded to land over the far side of the flood.

Cold looking Lapwing on the East Flood.

Passerines were in small supply with only single Pied Wagtail , Meadow Pipit and a distant calling Cetti's Warbler noted . I did see 5 Common Gulls close to the road and a Little Egret flew over before landing on the west side of the road .

I will be posting last weeks quiz answer and correct entries tomorrow so you still have time to have a go if you want to .

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Just a bit of Fun Quiz Week 20 Answer plus New Mystery Bird.

Osprey Nest at Rutland Water.

Last weeks "Mystery nest " was indeed a Osprey Nest which was at Rutland Water and a very big well done to Ellis L ,  Chidders , Tony Morris , Phil Parker and Mark Lewis who correctly named both the nest and location.

Also a big well done to Ben M
 Martyn Wilson and Scott . H. who all got the correct nest. 

And unlucky to those with the incorrect answer many thanks for having ago.

Here is this weeks "Mystery Bird " , as ever just leave your answer in the comments and i will reveal the answer and correct entries next Sunday .

Week 21 " Mystery Bird " ??????

Be warned next weeks " Mystery Bird " will really be a test , so good luck to everyone and thanks for having ago.



Saturday, 16 November 2013

Western Orphean Warbler in Pembrokeshrire


Western Orphean Warbler. 

This has been one of my best autmns for birding in many years and i added another new bird to my life list with the superb Western Orphean Warbler which  is residing in Pembrokeshire South Wales , a pretty much uneventful journey soon had me parked up on site at approx 6.15 am , i made my way down to the house where the warbler had been seen the previous 5 days in their garden , i joined the already assembled birders and waited for the sunrise , as first light appeared there were one or two glimpses of a warbler in the nearby apple trees but nothing conclusive .

Then a birder further down the line to my right picked out the the Western Orphean Warbler on the furthest back apple tree , which was very difficult to get on in our position , however eventually we all managed to connect with this superb warbler , in an approx 3 hour period we got some really great views although i never managed a photo as rather frustratingly the bird was always behind leaves or moving around in the apple trees ,  a decent pic of its face where you can clearly see the white iris and long bill of this bird , it had a very dark crown which contrasted with the the white chin and upper breast . 

One of many Ravens at Dale airfield.

I only had time for one more location after spending quality time observing the Western Orphean Warbler and that was at Dale Airfield where we had some decent views of  9 Lapland Buntings which were a very welcome year tick for me , these were very flighty but occasionally i managed to view them feeding in the long grass . i also saw a couple of Stonechats and plenty of Ravens here.

Record shot of 8 of the Lapland Buntings in flight.

2 Lapland Buntings feeding in long grass.



A special thankyou to the residents of the house for letting us all access their garden.

There is still time to have a go on my " Just for fun Quiz " just leave your answer in comments and i will reveal answer and correct entries tomorrow. 





Sunday, 10 November 2013

Just a bit of Fun Quiz Week 19 Answer plus new " Mystery Bird "

Week 19 Bird was a male Stonechat.

Last weeks Mystery bird was indeed a male Stonechat that i saw in Dorset last year , a very big well done to those with the right answer and they were :  Martyn Wilson , Ellis L , Ben M , Mark Lewis ,  and Jonathan. F. 

Unlucky to those with the wrong answer , its just a bit of fun and thanks for having ago to everyone .

Here is this weeks "Mystery Nest " , yes you have read it right lol , i thought i would try something different again , all you need to tell me is what bird nests in it ??? ,  so here it is :

Week 20 " Mystery Nest " ?????

I will give you all a clue , this picture was taken in the Uk , you get a bonus mention if you can name the place it was taken .

Just leave your answers in the comments and i will reveal the answer and correct entries next Weekend 


Saturday, 9 November 2013

Snow Bunting at Goring ,


Snow Bunting at Goring.

Here is a small selection of photo's of a very tame Snow Bunting that i saw at Goring.
                                                                     




I will reveal the answer of my quiz tomorrow plus a new " Mystery Bird " pic , so you still have time to try and guess last weeks bird , if you fancy a go just leave your answer in the comments .







Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Scilly Birding Part Two

                                      A great weeks birding on Scilly plus a Mega twitch to Porthgwarra resulted in 2 Lifers : Hermit Thrush at Porthgwarra and a White's Thrush on St.Agnes Isle's of Scilly .

Sign outside of cafe at Porthgwarra.   


Hermit Thrush.


Slightly hidden Hermit Thrush.

Hermit Thrush .


Hermit Thrush 


Another angle of the Hermit Thrush


Whites Thrush pic by Steve Williams.


Digi scoped pic of Whites Thrush



One of Black Redstarts on Porthloo Beach.