Monday, 31 March 2014

Baikal Teal at Fen Drayton............

Baikal Teal at Fen Drayton.

My destination yesterday morning was Fen Drayton in Cambridgeshire and my target bird was a stunning adult drake Baikal Teal which had been seen recently , i arrived in very good time , i then had to find the lake it was last seen on the previous day , sounds easy enough however there are 12 different lakes on this site , i eventually found Moore lake and it was not long until another birder picked out the Baikal Teal a sleep on a far bank , its white crescent on the flank was the stand out feature at this range.

Lovely plumage on the Baikal Teal.

The last 2 Baikal Teal's have been accepted so fingers crossed this one will be to, its unringed and has no wing abrasion , it never came close at any stage i was there .

 There was also  several Wigeon , Teal , Tufted Duck Pochard and Mallard , i also saw a Kingfisher very briefly as it flew through , this was a very welcome year tick.

Baikal Teal with an Avocet in the foreground .

The Baikal Teal eventually woke up and had a swim around and its fantastic plumage could be fully appreciated , it never came very close but great views were obtained through the scope , i watched this bird for a good couple of hours then decided to head back checking out various lakes as i went , several Goldeneye were seen plus a very smart male Scaup which was another welcome year tick as was 3 Egyptian Geese.

2 of the 3 Egyptain Geese yesterday.

There was plenty of bird song in the area with lots of Chiffchaff in full voice ,i then decided to head back to Kent and had time to call into Swale nature reserve on Sheppy , i didn't really add much from here other than a selection of waders ,Little Egret , Marsh Harrier and 3 Common Buzzards plus several Peacock butterflies . 

Little Egret on Sheppy.

One of many Peacock butterflies.













Saturday, 29 March 2014

Just a Bit of Fun Quiz Week 35 answer plus new " Mystery Bird "

Female Pintail from the Feast hide at Grove Ferry.

Last weeks " Mystery bird " was indeed a female Pintail that i saw at Grove Ferry , a couple of years ago , a very big well done to all the correct entries who are : Ellis L , Mark Lewis , Martyn Wilson &  Ben M. 

Unlucky to those with the wrong answer and many thanks to everyone who has had ago , here is this weeks " Mystery Bird " .

Week 36 ????????

Ok it's a little different than normal as i am running out of pics lol , its not that hard this week and if this  proves popular i will keep the quiz going for a bit longer.

If you fancy ago just leave your answer in the comments or DM on twitter @RobsBirding


Thursday, 27 March 2014

Hoopoe at Snodland and Oare Marshes




Hoopoe in Surrey in 2011.

I called into Snodland today to try and see the Hoopoe that has been seen there recently , i parked up behind the golf club house and proceeded to walk around the various locations it has been reported from , i bumped into some other birders who had seen it earlier and they showed me the area they had seen it from , however it had flown off when they had seen it , it only took a few minutes for one of the other birders to pick out the Hoopoe a bit further back in an adjacent field , it was to far to get a photo but lovely to see all the same , the above photo was one that i took in Surrey 3 years ago and that bird showed alot closer.

I watched the Hoopoe for about 15 minutes before it had walked out of sight so i decided to head off to Oare Marsh for a quick look , there was not alot around other than a single Ruff and approx 100 Black Tailed Godwits , there was also 2 Avocet amongst the godwits , 

Black Tailed Godwits with 2 Avocet for company.

Ruff .

Another pic of the Ruff.

Wildfowl numbers were quite thin on the ground with just a few Shoveler , Teal , Mallard , Gadwall and only 3 Pintail. I did see a single kestrel hovering over the East Flood.

Kestrel hovering over the East Flood.






Sunday, 23 March 2014

Dungeness & Restharrow ....... Local Birding

Tufted Duck at Dungeness.

I called into Dungeness yesterday 22nd March to try out my new camera and hopefully connect with some lingering winter migrants and some newly arrived spring birds , i started off in the Hanson hide to look for the Long Tailed Duck but sadly i could not relocate it although i did hear a Chiffchaff in full voice , i also heard at least 3 Cetti's Warblers , i then decided to pop into the RSPB reserve to see what else was around , first port of call was the Dennis hide and a distant male Goldeneye was good to see plus a single Great White Egret was to far away for the camera , there were some very close Tufted Duck including the above showy male bird , a couple of Long Tailed Tits made a brief appearance and were captured by my camera.

One of two Long Tailed Tits.

I then decided to walk to the other two hides and they were pretty quite to be honest , whether its due to the water level still being very high , no islands were visible on the reserve or most of the birds were keeping out of sight of my camera i am not sure ?? i did encounter 6 Sand Martins which were my first of the spring. I also had a single White Wagtail and a fly over Grey Plover.

1 of 6 Sand Martins near the hides .

I then decided to have a drive down to the sea but had time to quickly check out the bird feeders at the start of the entrance track and was treated to these quite superb Tree Sparrows.

A regular sight on the feeders at Dungeness.

I didn't spend to long down by the sea as the wind was very cold , i know i am a wimp lol , however i did add a single Gannet to my year list , i know its all very exciting lol.

I then made my way to Sandwich and to Restharrow Scrape in the hope of seeing the reported Garganey that had been seen earlier in the day , well i duly arrived on site and there was a photographer in the hide who had no idea what a Garganey was when i asked if it was still around , so i did a quick scan with no joy but there was a very close Coot which i could not resist getting a pic of.

Coot at Restharrow.

There were good numbers of Teal , Shoveler and Gadwall plus smaller numbers of Mallard and 2 Wigeon , the water level here is also very high and the middle island is completely submerged however i did add Curlew , Lapwing , Redshank and approx 5 Common Snipe on the fringes , There were several Little Grebe in fine summer plumage .

Little Grebe in summer plumage.

After a while the photographer left and i could then check out the end of the scrape which i couldn't see before and there
it was tucked up out of the way with 2 Teal , a superb male Garganey, there were 2 reported this morning however i was happy with 1.

Male Garganey with Teal.

The Garganey was a sleep the whole time i was there however i was really pleased to see it as it looked like i had dipped at one point , this was a very welcome addition to my year list .






Saturday, 22 March 2014

Just a Bit of Fun Quiz Week 34 answer plus new " Mystery Bird "

Green Heron in Devon 2010.

Last weeks " Mystery Bird " was indeed a Green Heron that i saw in Devon on two occasions back in 2010 , a very big well done to all the correct entries and they are : Ellis L , Ben M ,  Martyn Wilson , Marc Heath , Mike.H. , Mark Lewis and Mark L .

Well done also to the wrong entries a really great try , and many thanks to everyone who has had ago , Here is this weeks " Mystery Bird " .

Week 35 " Mystery Bird " ????

If you fancy ago just leave your answer in the comments or DM on twitter @RobsBirding , good luck and remember its just a bit of fun .


Sunday, 16 March 2014

Just a bit of Fun Quiz Week 33 answer plus new " Mystery Bird "

Western Subalpine Warbler on Scilly 2013.

This bird proved to be very hard to get right and those who did managed to also get the "race " correct to , so a very big well done to : Ellis L , Ben M ,  and Mark Lewis.
A really great try for those with the wrong answer , many thanks to everyone who had a go , here is this weeks " Mystery Bird ".

Week 34 " Mystery Bird " ????????

Just leave your answer in the comments or DM on twitter @RobsBirding and i will reveal the correct answer and entries next weekend , Good luck on this one .


Thursday, 13 March 2014

Dip and Tick in Scotland

Day one 10th March


2 Snow Geese among 179 Greenland White Fronted Geese.

I teamed up with David and Lee  on Sunday evening for a 2 day trip to Scotland and our main target bird was the American Herring Gull which would have been a lifer for both David and myself and a year tick for Lee , well to cut a long story short we dipped the AHG which appeared the very next day which is rather frustrating , however that's birding sometimes you win and sometimes you dip.

However the trip itself was very good with some other top birds seen including 2 Snow Geese which were a lifer for me , they were among a flock of 179 Greenland White Fronted Geese .

White & Blue morph Snow Geese.

This was the most Greenland WF Geese i have seen together and over the day and half we spent in Campbeltown we saw a total of 1600 birds which was an  incredible sight.
We spent all day on Monday 10th checking through gull flocks in various flooded areas, we did see a 2nd year Iceland Gull which was great to see , we ended the day checking the gulls coming into roost in the harbour and hoping the AHG would appear on its favoured bouy , sadly this didn't happen although we did score with two 2w  Iceland Gulls,  then Lee suggested we check out the gull roost at the far side of the harbour near the harbour mouth and although they were very distant we went through this gull roost very carefully and apart from a juv. Iceland Gull bringing our total to 3 birds we didn't see the AHG.

Rock Pipit .

Other birds around the harbour included this confiding Rock Pipit plus good numbers of Black Guillemot in summer plumage.

Black Guillemot.

And in flight.

There were great numbers of Eider plus David picked out a distant Great Northern Diver we also saw a close Hooded Crow.

Hooded Crow.

Day two 11th March 

After spending the night in a very comfortable B&B we started the day more or less as yesterday checking the harbour and various flooded fields but still no luck with the target bird however we got decent views of this Iceland Gull.

2w Iceland Gull

We only had til approx half 10 to try and find the AHG before we had to leave the area and sadly we never connected and set of for other target birds , our first port of call was Loch Caolisport for the ad winter Bonapartes Gull  these are really smart dainty birds and although this bird was fairly distant i managed 1 or 2 record shots.

Note grey nape.

Pink legs quite obvious in this photo.

There were several Common Buzzards in the area plus we also heard a Tawny Owl calling from a nearby wood . From here we headed of to Strontain in the search of a long staying Black Duck which would be a lifer for David , we duly arrived after a short ferry crossing and  after quite some searching Lee re found the bird and we enjoyed some great views .

Black Duck.

Paired up with a female Mallard.


Sadly time had caught up with us and we had to start our long journey back home however we did get some great close views of Red Deer on route.

Red Deer.

Another Red Deer.

And that concludes my short trip to Scotland , just like to thank David and Lee for their company on this great trip.













Sunday, 9 March 2014

Just a bit of Fun Quiz Week 32 answer plus new " Mystery Bird "

Black Crowned Night Heron 

Last weeks " Mystery Bird " was indeed a Black Crowned Night Heron which i saw in Hampshire in 2011 , there were no wrong answers this week so well done to everyone who took part and they were : Mark L, Mark Lewis , Martyn Wilson , Eunice Horspool , Mike .H. , Ben M , Matthew B , Dave Dowell and Ellis L ( who had several photos published this week in the Yorkshire wildlife Trust magazine , well done mate ).

This weeks " Mystery bird " is going to be a tough one so good luck to everyone who has ago , just leave your answer in the comments or DM on twitter @RobsBirding.

Week 33 " Mystery Bird " ???????

You get a bonus point if you can name the " race " of this species . You can have as many guess's as you like .


Monday, 3 March 2014

Dungeness Site Tick.......

Glossy Ibis at Dungeness.

I spent the morning at Dungeness yesterday 2nd March , and was delighted to add Glossy Ibis to my Dungeness patch list which now stands at 228.

Eating a tasty looking worm.

Lovely colours when the light was right.

I also went down to have a look at the " Patch " on the sea front and was rewarded with approx 5 Little Gulls with good numbers of Kittawake keeping them company. From here i then ventured onto the RSPB reserve and added 4 Tree Sparrows on the feeders by the entrance to the reserve and a single Grey Heron was feeding in the nearby flooded marsh.

Winter plumage Black Necked Grebe.

I didn't have much time left to do the whole reserve circuit so i just checked out Burrows pit from the Dennis Hide , first bird that caught my eye was this superb winter plumage Black Necked Grebe which was among a small flock of Tufted Duck .

Love the bright red eye.


Having a snooze along side a female Tufted Duck.

Other birds of note here were Great White Egret , Great Crested Grebe and several duck species and then time had caught up with me and it was time to head home.












Saturday, 1 March 2014

Ring Necked Parakeet & Hume's Warbler in Ramsgate

Ringed Necked Parakeet at Ramsgate cemetary.

I thought i would try out my new camera today at Ramsgate cemetary and i was quite pleased with the results , i was also hoping to see the over wintering Humes Y B Warbler having missed it on two previous attempts , and as we all know  birding sometimes you have to work for your birds and another time they just appear.

Well today as i was attempting to get some pics of the Parakeets the Hume's warbler just appeared in the top of the canopy , i saw the wing bars and supercillium straight away , it only called twice and was spending most of its time in the canopy , still i was very happy to finally see it . I n the pic below you can just make out one of the wing bars.

Record shot of the Hume's Warbler .

I had some great views of the Ring Necked Parakeets today otherwise it was a fairly quite birding session.