Saturday, 27 September 2014

Early Snow Bunting at Reculver

Distant Little Owl.

I decided to pop over to Reculver this morning in the hope of seeing the Snow Bunting that Chidders had found the other day , i also checked around the caravan park  for the reported Yellow Browed Warbler but without success however i did see Great Spotted Woodpecker , Kingfisher and several Willow Warblers , i then decided to walk along the sea wall for the Snow Bunting and on route i saw a Little Owl perched on the guttering of a disused building which was a year tick for me.

Snow Bunting coming into land.

I briefly saw the Snow Bunting flying away as it was flushed by a dog walker and the White wing patches were very evident , i met up with Chidders along the sea wall and we ventured along the beach to try and re locate it , we saw a really smart Wheatear on the rocks whilst we looked for the Bunting .


Chidders eventually found the Snow Bunting further along the beach and we enjoyed some prolonged close views , here are a selection of photos i took of it.

Snow Bunting.

I really enjoyed watching this bird feed among the pebbles and foliage on the beach and very happily added it to my year list. We also saw a Common Sandpiper flying along the shore line.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Afternoon visit to Dover

Comma on Cliff top.

On Wednesday afternoon the 24th Sept i teamed up with Chidders and visited Langdon in the hope of connecting with the rather elusive Ortalan Bunting , well to keep a long story short we didn't see it , which really wasn't such as a surprise as its been very elusive and wasn't seen at all the previous day , we did see several Yellowhammers and there was a constant stream of House Martins and Swallows migrating , we also saw a single Comma on the cliff top .

Black Necked Grebe having a stretch.

We then headed to Dover Harbour as Chidders was keen to see the Black Necked Grebe that was seen there the previous day , will it didn't take Chidders long to pick it out and we enjoyed some great views .

Looked like it was waving at us .

There were plenty of Herring and Lesser Black Backed Gulls around plus a few Turnstones and Rock Pipits.

Herring Gull.

It was a very clear afternoon and France was very visible today.

France in the background.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

3 Shrike species in 3 Days

                                                        1st W Red Backed Shrike.

After the excitement of last Saturday 20th Sept at Spurn seeing Masked & Great Grey Shrikes i was very surprised when i checked the bird news services to see that a 1st w Red Backed Shrike had been found just down the road from where i live at Seasalter ,( great find Geoff .B.) , i soon headed down there and was adding it to my year list plus making 3 Shrike species seen within 3 days .                                                                 
On wire.
Cracking looking bird.

This Red Backed Shrike was very obliging and came very close at times , here is a short video i took of it yesterday.

Red Backed Shrike video.

This was a cracking bird to watch and was busy feeding on bees and dragonflies , often perching on wires or brambles , i took some digi scope pics to , here are a small selection of them.

Having a wing & tail stretch.

There was a steady flow  of Swallows moving through  , plus a Whinchat was seen as well . ( not by me ) , a really enjoyable birding session and close to home too .

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Magical Spurn

1st winter Masked Shrike.

A manic twitch to Spurn resulted in distant but good views of  a Mega rare 1st winter Masked Shrike which was a new species for me in the UK , it was staying very loyal to a hedge row the whole time i was there , there was also at least 2 Common Redstarts and a Great Grey Shrike in the same hedge row .

Digi scoped Masked Shrike.

3 Roe Deer.

I then went around to the Canel scrape hide and had great views of a Jack Snipe.

Jack Snipe video.

Jack Snipe.

Jack Snipe.

Common Snipe.

And another Jack Snipe.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Brief visit to Reculver

Red Breasted Flycatcher Scilly 2010.

I got a phone call from  informing me of a Red Breasted Flycatcher that had been found at Reculver , i met Chidders on site and he had already seen it and as we were talking i saw it fly up into a dead tree , the white tail feathers being very evident , it sat up briefly and posed then flew into the bushes , it was very elusive most of the time i was there but seemed to end up near the dead tree almost every time , this was a very welcome year tick , the bird was in 1st winter plumage like in the above photo taken on Scilly in 2010.

I also added a male Blackcap and a Willow Warbler .

Monday, 8 September 2014

Spurn Migration Festival 5th to 7th September


Stunning Wryneck

I traveled up to Yorkshire early on Friday the 5th September for the Spurn Migration Festival weekend , i arrived at approx 10am and met a couple of birders who informed me what was around and it was quite an impressive list , the first bird i tried for was a Barred Warbler which after a while i saw but only glimpses but enough to get a positive id , i then tried my luck with looking for a Wryneck which are one of my fav birds , it had been seen early in the morning but not for a couple of hours , well i couldn't believe my luck when as i walked along side the beach when the Wryneck flew down onto a dead tree right next to me , fantastic closest and best views i have had of this species.


After getting over the shock of seeing this stunning bird i meet up with Mark and Ellis  and we tried to re locate it without success , they then very kindly showed me the best areas to bird around Spurn as it was my first visit here , we were walking towards the Warren when i noticed a Spotted Flycatcher on a small bush.

Spotted Flycatcher.

Spotted Flycatcher on the gate.

This was a welcome year tick for me , as we were watching the Spotted Flycatcher Ellis said he's got a Pied Flycatcher in the same bush , wow .

Pied Flycatcher.

Pied Flycatcher.

Devil Goat .

We also saw this Devil Goat which seemed to like the look of Ellis lol , we thought it would be best to move on from here for Ellis's safety  and headed towards Canal scrape , there was not much from the hide other than 4 Common Snipe and a single Redshank , we then headed  towards the Warren and as we were walking through the bushes a small bird flew up in front of us and although we all saw it at roughly the same time Ellis was the first one to shout Wryneck which was a great shout as it was a lifer for both Ellis and Mark .

There were birds all over the place with a constant sound of Meadow Pipit , Yellow Wagtail and Swallows calling overhead as they migrated , every bush seemed to hold Willow Warbler & Chiffchaff , there was a small pond near the road and the surrounding bushes held Reed & Willow Warblers plus Chiffchaff .

Another Spotted Flycatcher near the mist nets plus Meadow Pipits were everywhere , it was great to be present at this mass movement of birds.

Wryneck near Cliff Farm.

After awhile we headed back to Cliff farm and had another close view of the stunning Wryneck this time it was on the rocks very close indeed.

What a bird .


I teamed with Mark & Ellis again today and our first point of call was Sammy's point , as we walked along the sea front you could see why this site is so great for migrants as there was plenty of paddocks and bushes for hungry and tired migrants to feed and rest in , we saw plenty of Willow Warblers , Chiffchaffs and Swallows , all of a sudden Ellis shouts out " i have got a Skua " which we all got onto just in time to see a really smart dark phase Arctic Skua which was a lifer for both Mark & Ellis .

Moulting adult Curlew Sandpiper .

After a good bit of searching for migrants at Sammy's point we then decided to head to Kilnsea wetland center to have a look for the adult moulting Curlew Sandpiper and the Little Stints which we saw yesterday  and sure enough we were straight onto them.

Juv Little Stint.

Cracking Juv Little Stint.

We were really lucky with these birds as they were very close and seem to follow us around the reserve , we checked out another pool further around where we added 12 Wigeon , 2 Pintail and Mark found a Wheatear quite close in . Ellis picked out a late Common Swift as it flew over head towards Westmere Farm. Great find Ellis.

Smart looking Wheatear.

We also saw plenty of Yellow Wagtails , 4 Little Egrets and a small flock of Golden Plover which flew over , good spot Mark.

Barred Warbler.

We then set off to Cliff farm as Mark & Ellis hadn't seen the Barred Warbler that was there plus i wanted to get better views to and we were not disappointed as the Barred Warbler at times showed really well .

Barred Warbler.

These are such big and bulky warblers and i am pretty sure Ellis will have some better photos on his blog once he has updated it which are well worth a look , there is a link to his blog on my blog list on the right hand side of this page.
We called into the nearby ringing area and were lucky to see them ring a Spotted Flycatcher .

Spotted Flycatcher.

There were once again migrants all over the place with Common Redstart , Pied Flycatcher , Spotted Flycatcher and Whinchat being the pick of them . We bumped into Mike .B. and went for a pint and a chat in the Coach and Anchor , great to meet you Mike.


As the day went on we had a walk towards Spurn point but we only got as far as the Narrows as time was getting on and we didn't want to miss the Hog Roast at West mere farm , but we did have time to check out the wader roost and Ellis once again picked out 2 Little Stints among hundreds of Dunlin , we also added a 3rd bird shortly after , other highlights were Peregrine , Wheatear , Whinchat , Gannet and Fulmar.

The Hog roast was really great and the talk by Mike Dilger from the BBC ONE show was very good , we also added at least 2 Tawny Owls calling back at the B&B.


Today we had a quick look out at sea but it was fairly quite with only a handful of Sandwich Terns , Gannets and Common Scoter moving , there were plenty of Meadow Pipits coming in off the sea and we were treated to seeing a Tree Sparrow & Chiffchaff being rung.

Juv. Tree Sparrow.

We then had a walk along the coast towards Cliff farm which proved to be a good choice as it was alive with birds , once again every bush seemed to hold a warbler of some form and Whinchats were also in good number along this path , a Common Redstart flew low over a field then out of sight , and we had some decent views of at least 2 Lesser Whitethroats.

Lesser Whitethroat.

And in flight .


The tide was a long way out but there were a few smaller waders close in and Mark picked out a juv Curlew Sandpiper which was quickly followed by a 2nd bird which Ellis found.

Juv Curlew Sandpiper.

We added a further 3 birds all juv's a bit further towards Cliff farm , as we went past the car park we noticed a small gathering of birders so we joined them and had a brief view of a possible Siberian Lesser Whiotethroat , then news broke of a Wryneck at Sandy Beaches so we headed off there but we were out of luck this time ( although Mark & Ellis connected later on ) we did see a female Blackcap which was new for the weekend , time was catching up with us so after a cold drink and bun in the Blue Bell cafe we headed back to the cars via a quick look in Well Field display tent , then i said my goodbyes to Mark & Ellis as i had quite a long journey home, just like to thank Mark & Ellis for their great company  and for making this weekend so special.