Sunday 19 February 2012

2 out of 3 Cant be Bad

Adult male Lesser Scaup.

I set of on Saturday 18th and  headed to South Wales with 3 target birds to try and see , the main bird was of course the 1st winter Common Yellowthroat which had taken up residence at Rhiwderyn  , i arrived on site at 7am and after sliding into place in the field car park i set of to try and see it , the weather was overcast with quite strong winds with a light drizzle , so not ideal warbler watching conditions.

Birders had staked out various hedge rows and by 10am there had not been even a sniff of my main target bird , i gave it another hour and the weather had got a lot worse , the rain was becoming heavy and the wind had become stronger and i was feeling just a bit dejected to say the least , i decided to head off to Cosmeston Lakes for the adult male Lesser Scaup and within minutes of arriving i was soon on the bird .

 This was a  very welcome year tick for me , I watched this bird for quite some time getting very good views this is the 4th Lesser Scaup i have been lucky enough to have seen and by far the best views i have had of one .

Lesser Scaup note the high peak at rear of head.

I then headed off to Cardiff to try and relocate one or both of the Bonaparte Gulls  however i was abit unlucky with the tide as it was still out and there was only a handful of gulls and sadly no Bonapartes , i added 3 Bullfinch and  a single Chiffchaff here which was good to see plus i had 3 Fieldfare fly through , i got soaked to the skin here as the weather was showing no sign of improvement , i got back to the car dripping wet and was pondering what to do next ??? 

Then the pager bleeped and the  Common Yellowthroat  had just been seen , so without haste i was off heading back to Rhiwderyn , i arrived on site only to be told the field was flooded and i had to park somewhere else , i found the new parking area and made my way back to the promised land , oops i mean field

1st Winter Common Yellowthroat .

Well i no sooner joined the gathered crow of birders waiting in anticipation of the Yellowthroat  making an appearance than i heard  'tacc' then this incredible warbler made an appearance , quite stunning , the bright yellow throat and undertail coverts were striking , its partially facial mask was evident.
What a stunner, it was quite breath taking to be honest , this was not a lifer for me as i had seen one on Scilly in 1997 , but that bird was alot further behind in its plumage and was abit more distant and only seen through my scope , however this beauty put on a show for us all to enjoy .

You can see the bright yellowthroat and face mask .

Sorry about the poor quality of the photos .

Happy Birders .

This was a truly amazing birding experience and a special thanks must go to the local birders who organised this event and the land owner who allowed us to explore his land.

Sunday 12 February 2012

A very icy Oare Marsh

East Flood.

This was the view from the road of the East Flood at Oare Marshes today , almost completely frozen over , i haven't been out for a couple of weeks mainly due to work and weather conditions , this was my car ankle deep in snow last weekend .

My snow covered car last weekend .

So it was nice to be able to put in a couple of hours at Oare today , there was a large gathering of ducks in the middle of the East flood where there was only a small amount of water not frozen over , these mainly consisted of Shoveler , Mallard , Teal and large numbers of Pintail of which there was approx 50 birds .

Mixed flock of ducks .

I drove down to the sea wall from here and was soon scanning the mud flats and the Swale , lots of Dunlin , Redshank and Avocet with lesser numbers of Curlew and Grey Plover , several gulls were moving up and down the Swale although i didn't see anything out of the ordinary amongst them , i decided to walk along the sea wall towards the sea hide and was followed along the path by 3 Rock Pipits which were busy looking for food along the rocks to my left , there were a couple of Meadow Pipits here and there plus a female Marsh Harrier was busy flying around the reed bed and East flood unsettling the ducks every so often.

Avocets on the mud flats .

 I continued my walk along the sea wall adding a very cold looking Turnstone to my year list and also i picked out in the distance on the Swale a male Red Breasted Merganser which brightened a dull day , i scanned the whole area not adding much more other than a few thrushes searching desperately for food plus a tiny Wren put in a brief appearance , poor little thing hope it survives the snow and ice , i decided to head back to my car and took anther look over the East flood before heading home for a welcome mug of hot chocolate .

Grey Heron on a very icy East Flood.