Saturday, 28 November 2015

Pallid Harrier in .... Norfolk

Juvenile Pallid Harrier.

I left home at 5am yesterday morning the 27th November and my destination was Snettisham Rspb reserve in Norfolk and my target was to to try and see the juvenile Pallid Harrier which would be  a welcome year tick for me.

Top side view of the Pallid Harrier.

I arrived in good time and made my way to the southern end of the pits which was approx 30 mins walk , there was a constant movement of Fieldfares following me along the trail , such great birds to see & hear.

One of many Fieldfare.

The trail eventually took me up to the sea wall where i could see thousands of waders & geese , a really impressive sight indeed especially when they took to the sky's , fantastic experience.

Just a small section of the Golden Plover flock.

I eventually reached the south end of the pits and saw a Barn Owl hawking over the salt marsh.


Cracking Barn Owl.

I looked for a good vantage point to be able to scan over the salt marsh and distant pine belt and once i got myselfs in position i immediately got onto the Pallid Harrier as it was gliding over the bank ,  and i enjoyed some very prolonged views , other birders joined me as i enjoyed the show the Pallid Harrier put on for us , it was constantly harassing & spooking the Starlings and waders in the salt marsh.

Only 4 primaries.

The collar very noticeable.

I watched this for over an hour , it even perched at one point , it also on occasion swooped down grabbing clumps of grass before dropping it again.

Digi scoped view of Pallid Harrier perched.

There was also 5+ Marsh Harriers and a single Spoonbill out on the marsh. I decided to head off to Thornham to try and see some Twite  , well I no sooner got out of the car when i saw them , at least nine birds feeding quite close.

Twite.

In flight.

My last desination of the day was Lynford Arboretum where i had a good selection of birds including , Siskin , Treecreeper, Goldcrest , Blue,Great,Coal & Marsh Tits however my main target bird  Hawfinch didn't show up , however at least ie now know the right area to look  (thanks Jake) next time i am up this way. Great days birding .

















Tuesday, 24 November 2015

When the North Wind Blows.......

Kittiwakes.

The forecast last Friday the 20th warned of gale force North Westerly winds so i made my mind up to do a sea-watch from Reculver on Saturday morning the 21st .

I started from the car park and instantly saw a male Red Breasted Merganser and lots of Kittiwakes ,then i heard news of a 1st winter Surf Scoter on the sea at Grenham Bay (Great find by Martyn W) , i made a quick drive up there but after an hours searching getting very wet & cold without any success i decided to head back to Reculver Towers and find a place out of the wind to do some more sea-watching .

Another Kittiwake.

I soon found a spot out of the wind and begun sea watching in earnest , 1000's of Kittiwakes & Gannets flew past in a constant stream , there always seemed to be something to look at , plenty of Auk's and of the ones i could positively id were Guillemots.

Lot's of Gannets.

There were plenty of wildfowl going past , mainly Dark Bellied Brent Geese with a female Goldeneye , 5 female Goosanders , several Shelduck & wigeon plus 2 Gadwall.

Female Goldeneye & Great Skua.


There was in access of 35 Great Skuas including a group of 12 birds , 1 pale phase Arctic Skua and a very close Little Auk which was picked out by Marc Heath.

I took lot's of photos of the Great Skuas but as you can guess most were of poor quality but here are a few that i thought were not to bad .




3 Great Skuas .








Sunday, 15 November 2015

Crag Martin & Crooked Spire ....Again , Plus Oare Marshes !!!

10th November 


Black Tailed Godwit.

I popped over to Oare marshes on Tuesday morning for an hour to try and get some practise taking flight shots of birds as this is an area i really struggle with , it's was quite overcast and windy however i just sat in my car overlooking the East flood from the pull-in , here are a few selected pics i managed.

Black Tailed Godwit.

Cormorant.

Common Snipe.


14th November

Crooked Spire.

I went up to Chesterfield for my 3rd this week , having only had very brief views on the Monday and dipping on the Wednesday,  we all thought (well i did) that the Crag Martin had moved on after dipping it on Wednesday however remarkably it reappeared on Thursday & again on Friday!!! ,  i made plans to head up to Chesterfield again on Saturday and i left at approx 4.30am arriving at 7.30am .

Crag Martin.

I joined the already assembled birders noticing a few very familiar faces , and the wait begun , half past 8 came and went , still no sign , half 9 & half 10 soon followed , still no sign !!!

Fast flying bird indeed.

I was talking to Russell G who i hadn't seen since the Trimley Pacific Swift , and the shout went up .... THERE IT IS !!!!!!!!!! The Crag Martin flew over our heads and headed straight for the crooked spire , the crowd all let out a major sigh of relief and joy was on everyone's faces .

 It was hard enough just trying to follow it through my bin's , however i had superb views and decided i would try and get some photo's , it has to go down as my hardest bird ever to try and photograph , here are a selection of photo's i took of this awesome bird.



White mirrors in the tail.


Eurasian Crag Martin.

We watched this bird for nearly 45 minutes as it swooped and flew around the spire , giving some breath taking views at times , then it was time to head home .


















Friday, 13 November 2015

Crag Martin & Crooked Spire in Chesterfield Derbyshire

The famous St.Mary's church.

I travelled up to Chesterfield in Derbyshire   on Monday the 9th November in the hope of seeing the Crag Martin that had been seen flying around the famous crooked spire on St.Mary's church the previous day , the news was positive as we made our way up the M1 and through the never ending road works .

I eventually arrived at 1pm and the bird had gone missing , don't worry i was told . it doe's that alot but always comes back , (heard that on many twitches .......).

The crooked spire.

Well someone sighted the Crag Martin the other side from where i was standing and the rest of the gang headed off with me in pursuit , but we were to late , it then reappeared very briefly and i managed to see it on 3 occasions around about 1.20pm , it then was lost to view and not seen again that day , not great views to be honest but did see it well enough to id it .

Crag Martin photo by Phil Wollen.

This was a new bird for me in the UK however i have seen lots abroad , really smart birds , i never managed a photo myself , the above photo was taken by Phil Wollen , many thanks for the use of your photo Phil.

The photo below is one i took in Spain last year and shows the white mirrors on the tail.


Crag Martin in Spain 2014.

Crag Martin seen on the 14th 

I had another look on the 14th , much better views this time .