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 (amazingly...lol).

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.

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.


Tuesday, 12 September 2017

American Redstart on Barra

10th  September   Barra

American Redstart.

Hearing news of a female American Redstart being found on Barra  last Thursday got my twitching wheels in motion , i made arrangements with my good birding mate and we left at midnight on Saturday 9th September to get to Oban and catch the afternoon ferry to Barra on Sunday the 10th.

Record shot of the tail.

The weather forecast was heavy rain for Barra all day on Sunday and we would only have about an hours window to try and see it before we lost the light , well news eventually came through that the American Redstart was still present but elusive , however the main thing was it's still there.

Rather blurred flight shot.

The ferry crossing was quite pleasant    with many sea birds seen including Manx & Sooty Shearwaters , Great Skua , Arctic Tern , Kittiwake , Eider & Fulmars plus a White Tailed Eagle showed well over Oban.

We arrived on Barra at 6.15pm and rushed around to Eoligarry and was soon having superb views of this quite stunning American Redstart , the weather wasn't bad either with no rain , the American Redstart was keeping loyal to a small clump of Sycamores and showed well on & off for a good 30mins before it went to roost at approx 7,30pm .

American Redstart.

Such a wonderful Island to visit (my first time to Barra) but unfortunately we didn't have time to explore the whole island this time.

The ferry back on Monday 11th was a bit more rough but another great selection of sea birds were seen , pretty much the same as yesterday with the addition of 3 Storm Petrels & 1 Arctic Skua.

7th  September  Oare Marshes


I called into Oare on Thursday 7th September to hopefully catch up with the Osprey that has been around a few days and thankfully this time i was successful.

Osprey over the East Flood.

There was the usual high selection of waders on the East flood with all the regular wader species in good numbers , i also saw 1 Bar Tailed Godwit, 2 Knot, 1 Little Ringed Plover , 1 Whimbrel plus a further 15 flying over the flood .

There was also 1 ad & 10 juv Curlew Sandpipers and the Long Billed Dowitcher was once again showing well near the road.

Long Billed Dowitcher.

Juvenile Curlew Sandpipers.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Red Necked Phalarope at Oare Marshes plus a Visit to Chipping Sodbury

30th  &  31st August  at Oare Marshes

Red Necked Phalarope.

On Wednesday 30th August news broke of a Red Necked Phalarope on the East flood at Oare Marshes , i was soon heading there in the hope of seeing it.

It wasn't long before i arrived on site and the Red Necked Phalarope was showing very close to the pull-in , despite the awful weather conditions (heavy rain & overcast) the Phalarope put on quite a show, here are a selection of the photos i took.

Red Necked Phalarope.

The Red Necked Phalarope was a new bird for my Oare Marsh bird list.

Long Billed Dowitcher.

The Long Billed Dowitcher was also present on the East flood and showing very well near the Pull-in , some real quality birds on this superb nature reserve at the moment , i had 19 different wader species over the 30th & 31st plus there were a couple i missed too !!!

Having a scratch.

Both the RNP & LBD were present  on the 31st as well plus i also saw the adult Bonaparte's Gull on the East flood , here are a couple of record shots of it.

Bonaparte's Gull.

1st September   Chipping Sodbury

Woodchat Shrike.

On Friday the 1st of September i was invited to go to Chipping Sodbury in Gloucestershire to see the juvenile Woodchat Shrike , i haven't seen one for a few years now and being a bit of a Shrike fan i happily accepted the invite (thanks mate).

The Woodchat Shrike was always distant but good scope views were obtained , it was quite loyal to an area of bushes on the common and was actively feeding , i saw it catch a Bee at one point.


There were lot's of other birds around on the common including at least 10 Whinchats , 2 Wheatear , 2 Common Redstarts (which were a year tick) & several Common Whitethroats , 1 Lesser Whitethroat & several Yellow Wagtails.

2 Whinchats.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Another Visit to Oare Marshes

Long Billed Dowitcher.

On Thursday the 24th August i called into Oare Marshes in time for high tide , the East flood was once again alive with WadersGulls, i was hoping to get a closer view of the Long Billed Dowitcher however it stayed mainly in the middle of the flood , it did fly closer at one point but then flew back to the reedy island , i did hear it calling though.

The adult Long Billed Dowitcher has moulted quite abit since i last saw it with very little colouration on the underparts.

There were 2 adult Curlew Sandpipers , 1 juv Little Stint , 1 Spotted Redshank & several Knot in various plumage's.

Adult Curlew Sandpiper.

There was the usual large numbers of Black Tailed Godwits , Redshank, Dunlin  & Avocets , Golden Plover were well represented , plus there were several Ruff, Ringed Plover & Little Ringed Plover .

Dunlin, Avocet & Curlew Sandpiper.

Golden Plover.

There was a really showy Yellow Wagtail near the pull-in plus a Sedge Warbler made a brief appearance.

Yellow Wagtail.

Sedge Warbler.

18th   August   -  Pegwell Bay

Stone Curlew.

On the 18th August i saw only my 2nd ever Kent Stone Curlew which was roosting on the point viewed from Pegwell Bay , there was also a Spoonbill plus good numbers of Sandwich Tern roosting.

26th August  -  Oare Marshes

1 of 2 Sparrowhawks.

I called into Oare Marshes again today the 26th August in the hope of seeing the Osprey but sadly it had flown north by the time i got there , i had a look over the East flood and even though the tide was out there was a good selection of waders .

I bumped into a birder called Mike who had seen the Long Billed Dowitcher but it had flown out of sight (not having much luck today), there was a smart  Spotted Redshank plus 3 Bar Tailed Godwits with the huge Black Tailed Godwit flock , a brief view of the juv Little Stint and 2 Sparrowhawks flew over the flood spooking all the waders.

A quick look over the Swale produced several Grey Plover in superb summer plumage.    

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Long Billed Dowitcher & Bonapartes Gull at Oare Marshes

Adult Long Billed Dowitcher

News of an adult Long Billed Dowitcher on the East flood at Oare marshes yesterday morning the 8th August reached me, so i headed over there to have a look , i managed to park up in the pull-in and was quickly scanning the huge amount of waders on the East flood , i eventually saw the superb Long Billed Dowitcher out by the reedy island in the middle of the flood.

Feeding amongst the gulls.

The LBD spent quite sometime asleep but eventually started to become more active and feed amongst the Gulls , there was also a moulting adult Curlew Sandpiper keeping the LBD company alot of the time , there really was a great variety of waders on the East flood.

Long Billed Dowitcher.

I also saw singles of  Little Stint , Spotted Redshank , Knot, Green Sandpiper on the East Flood plus large numbers of Avocet , Dunlin, Black Tailed Godwit & Redshank.

Several Golden Plover.

As hide tide approached several Golden Plover flew in to the East flood and there were plenty of Ruff around the flood plus 3 Whimbrel flew over head.


The adult Bonaparte's Gull flew into the East flood plus there was several Med Gulls also roosting among the large numbers of Black Headed Gulls , there was also Lesser Black Backed & Common Gulls in the gull roost, i also briefly saw the Garganey which has been around for a few days now.

The East flood is alive with birds just now and the water levels are just about right.

Bonaparte's Gull photo taken on 8th July 2017.

The Bonaparte's Gull has moulted alot since i took the above photo on the 8th July but is still a cracking bird to see.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Pectoral & Wood Sandpiper at Dungeness

Pectoral Sandpiper.

Yesterday the 29th July i popped into Dungeness Rspb reserve around lunch time in the hope of seeing the Pectoral Sandpiper , i went into the Dennis hide and was informed that the Pectoral Sandpiper  had just walked out of sight but was still present , i waited for approx 30 mins before it reappeared and it showed well with great scope views , however not great for photography at that range.

Breast band clearly noticeable.

Digi scoped photos .

The light was not great but at least the rain had held of for now , there was at least 2 Common Sandpipers plus 2 Dunlin briefly put in an appearance.

My other target bird was Wood Sandpiper and although it had been seen earlier this morning it had not been seen for a couple of hours , not one to give up i walked around to the Firth hide .

There were another 3 Common Sandpipers from here plus a superb Turnstone , whilst checking the islands i thought i saw the Wood Sandpiper disappear behind some foliage on one of the furthest islands , it took sometime before it re-appeared but Wood Sandpiper it was !!!

Digi-scoped record shot of  Wood Sandpiper.

Very pleased to see this bird as they are one of my favourite waders , shame it was so distant but once again it was great through the scope.

I lastly walked to the Makepeace hide adding 4 Black Tailed Godwits & 3 more Common Sandpipers to my totals , there were hundreds of low flying Sand Martins and then the rain came forcing many of them to ground on the islands.

Sand Martin.

Grounded on the islands.

A really enjoyable birding session with both target birds seen .