Saturday 28 December 2013

The Birding Year that Keeps on Giving

Brunnich's Guillemot at Portland.

My pager bleeped into life on Boxing Day which informed there was a mega in Dorset , Brunnich's Guillemot to be more precise , plans were put into place for the following day . I  left home at about 6.30am and i headed of to Portland in Dorset , finally arriving there a little before 9am , the news was a little bit mixed with only a  brief early sighting of my target bird , the good news was it is still here however the bad news was it has not been seen since its early sighting , the weather was overcast , windy with frequent rain showers and as time went on my mood was becoming the same , in the mean time i had decent views of 1 Great Northern Diver ,approx 20 Red Breasted Mergansers and 2 Black Throated Divers , a couple of winter plumage Guillemot also put in a brief appearance and then  BOOM someone had seen the Brunnich's Guillemot fly in further down the harbour .

 After a quick dash to the location i was soon enjoying great views of this very hard to get bird , there are many great photos of this bird on the net and mine don't do it any justice really . I spent most of my time just observing it , it spent most of its time sheltering from the wind behind the moored boats but was always in view . 

Record shot of the Brunnich's Guillemot.

I really enjoyed this bird and then decided it was time to head to Brixham harbour to try and see the adult winter White Billed Diver that has taken up residence there , no sooner had i reached my destination and got out of the car when i saw  this stunning bird , a truly magnificent bird and i was soon  adding White Billed Diver   year list.

Nicknamed " Banana bill ".

This super bird was very easy to see , if only all birds were this obliging lol , at one point the White Billed Diver appeared right in front of me , it often dived and then would re appear a few feet away , i watched this bird for nearly an hour before i headed off to my last destination which was only a few minutes away and my target bird here was Cirl Bunting , and yet again i parked up , walked a couple hundred feet and was instantly watching these fantastic Bunting , it was hard to put a total number of birds present but i would think it was between 20 and 30 birds.

Often perched in the trees. Male Cirl Bunting.

And often feeding on the ground .

Quite a mixed flock in the above photo , Cirl Bunting , Reed Bunting and Dunnock .

Saturday 21 December 2013

Merry Christmas

Just like to wish everyone who has followed my blog this year a very Merry Christmas and great Birding for 2014 .

Sunday 15 December 2013

Just a bit of Fun Quiz Week 24 Answer

Adult Rose Coloured Starling.

Last weeks " Mystery Bird " was an adult Rose Coloured Starling which i saw in 2011 near Newhaven . 

A big well done to all the correct entries this week who are :
Ellis L ,  Ben M ( you got it mate lol ) , Martyn Wilson , Marc Heath,  Mark Lewis , Bucko41 and Matthew B .

Unlucky to those with the wrong answer and many thanks for everyone who had a go .

The quiz will be back in the New Year with some really hard pics for you to try and workout what they are , thanks again to everyone who has taken part so far . 

Sunday 8 December 2013

Now Thats What i call Birding .... In Hampshire

Record shot of Lesser Yellowlegs .

I  had a great days birding around Hampshire on the 7th , my first port of call was Drayton Lake where i lucked out with not seeing the Red Necked Grebe that had been seen the previous day , not a great start to the day , however boy did it get better.

I then headed to Lepe Country Park and as i was getting ready i soon had 2 Mistle Thrush fly over , i saw approx 5 Dunnock on the track before i reached the area where the Lesser Yellowlegs has taken up residence, a really smart wader indeed and some great scope views were obtained however it never came close enough for the camera , in the pic above you can just about make out the yellow legs.

 I also saw a  Black Necked Grebe on the sea, there were several wader species keeping the Yellowlegs company including , Redshank , Black Tailed Godwit , Curlew , turnstone , Dunlin and Common Snipe.

I moved on towards the Coast guard cottages area and saw 2 smart Long Tailed Ducks as well as 5+ Eider , several hundred Mallard & Brent Geese plus Grey and Ringed Plover added to my wader list.

Adult Ringed Billed Gull at Gosport.

I then headed off to Gosport for my 3rd attempt at seeing the adult Ringed Billed Gull , the last 2 times times i got the tide wrong however this time i was spot on . Here are just a small selection of pics i took .

A really remarkable bird and it has been coming back to Gosport for at least the last 10 winters , where it goes in the summer is any ones guess.

I spent a good deal of time here and had unbelievable great views of this bird .

My final destination of the day was Barnham Brooks in West Sussex , and i had a decent selection of birds here including several Fieldfare , although i did have 2 target birds and i connected with both , firstly i saw 2 Whopper Swans in with a distant herd of Mute Swans then i had decent views of 2 Short Eared Owls hunting over the fields , one of the birds was first seen resting up on a hedge calling , this is the first one i have heard .

Record shot of Short Eared Owl.

What a great day 2 year ticks and some quality birds seen  .

Just a bit of Fun Quiz Week 23 Answer Plus new " Mystery Bird "

Adult Summer Spotted Sandpiper at Rutland Water.

Week 23 " Mystery Bird " was indeed an adult summer plumage Spotted Sandpiper seen at Rutland Water in July 2011. There was 5 correct answers this week so a very big well done to : Ellis L, Martyn Wilson , Matthew B and Mark Lewis ( who also named the site ).

Unlucky to those with the wrong answer , great try and many thanks to everyone who had ago .

This weeks " Mystery Bird " will be the last one this side of Christmas and if you want me to start up again in the New year please let me know with your answer in the comments .

So here is this weeks new " Mystery Bird " good luck .

Week 24 " Mystery Bird "????????

Monday 2 December 2013

Water Rail is the Star of the Show at Oare

Swimming Water Rail.

I only paid a short visit to Oare yesterday 1st December , starting of in the car park where i bumped into Murray Wright who informed me that the Little Bunting had been reported this morning however in the 20 min or so period i was there it never reappeared , you can't win them all , i then headed off for a stroll along the sea wall towards the hide and Murray and friend headed off to check out the East flood .

Well the Swale was quite with only 5 Dark Bellied Brent Geese and a small flock of approx 20 Grey Plover of any note , looking over the reed bed and surrounding bushes produced several Reed Buntings but alas no Little Bunting , there was approx 10 Greenfinch nearby to , a couple of Meadow Pipits flew over head and then i decided to head back to the East Flood .

Some of the gathered Lapwings.

As usual there were good numbers of waders here , Black Tailed Godwit and Dunlin in large numbers plus a smaller count of Ringed and Grey Plover , Redshank , Snipe and at least 4 Knot were among the roosting waders . There was a scattering of wildfowl with decent numbers of Pintail , Wigeon and Teal.

After another chat with Murray we went our separate ways and as i was getting my last couple of pics i could hear a Water Rail calling and to my delight it swam out of cover right in front of me giving me some great views .

First one i have seen swimming.

Really pleased with this and made my morning , i also saw a close Coot and although not rare it was good to study it at such close quarters.