Wednesday 30 July 2014

Spoonbill and Mystery wader at Oare Marshes

Adult Bonaparte's Gull.

I spent a really good birding session at Oare today , i bumped into Chidders by the pull in and we scanned over the East flood where he picked out the Bonaparte's Gull on one of the islands , pink legs and moulting black hood were very evident.

Pink legs and heavily moulted head.

This is really a smart looking gull , it had a little swim around but returned to roost on the island , checking through the waders we saw 2 adult Curlew Sandpiper quite close to the road .

Adult Curlew Sandpiper.

These are really cracking waders and by the end of the session i totalled 4 birds.

Golden Plover with Curlew Sandpiper.

 Whilst i was looking at the Curlew Sandpipers Chiddy called me to say he has got a strange wader , i finally managed to get on it but the views were not great at first , eventually after a process of elimination we settled on a partially summer plumage Sanderling , i have to say i have not seen many in this plumage and it had us scratching our heads for awhile. Here are some digi scope pics:

Strange wader right of the Dunlin .

Face on , note crown stripes.

Side view of summer plumage Sanderling.

I think this is one of the reasons i love birding so much , the constant challenges it throws at you even among the commoner species , although talking to Murray he informed me they are quite scarce at Oare with only one seen on the flood last year.

There were several Dunlin , Redshank and a single Knot among the large number of Black Tailed Godwits , Redshanks and Avocets.


Chidders had to head off and i decided to walk around to the other side of the East flood to check out the waders in the far corner , there were plenty of Gatekeepers along the track behind the East flood hide , i eventually reached the far corner of the flood and was straight onto a Spotted Redshank which was keeping company with some Ruff.

Winter plumage Spotted Redshank .

As i was looking at the Spotted Redshank i could hear some Bearded Tits " Pinging " so i was hoping to get lucky and get some pics as this is a species that have had trouble with in the past and as i was waiting patiently for them to appear i caught sight of a Spoonbill flying in from the South and sure enough it landed on the East flood in front of me .


Just look at that bill.

Having a preen.

I quickly made a couple of  phone calls to get the news out and then proceeded to get some pics , it was quite actively preening at first and then did what most Spoonbill's do , went to sleep , i watched this bird for quite some time and also saw a Clouded Yellow fly past which is always great to see , i walked back to my car passing Murray on the way who had happily connected with both the Spoonbill and Sanderling. 

Monday 28 July 2014

Pacific Golden Plover at Drayton Basset

Pacific Golden Plover .

  Yesterday  the 27th July i took  a 3 hour drive to Middleton Lake Rspb reserve and my target bird was the adult Pacific Golden Plover which would be a lifer ,  it was an approx  15 to 20 mins walk to the site , thankfully i did not have to long to wait as the PGP kept popping it's head up and although not ideal viewing at least i could see it and hope for better views .

Just about see it in the undergrowth.

It was quite distant but through the scope it wasn't to bad , eventually during my time here it came right out in the open , it spent most of its time among Lapwing's which quite often chased it off.

Digi scoped pic in heat haze.

Pacific Golden Plover

I saw the PGP in flight on a couple of occasions and the under wing colour being one of the key features was duly noted , it's overall structure was a smaller version of European Golden Plover , longer legged which was quite evident , white forehead extended down to the bill , narrow white flanks , a really smart bird to see .

Other birds of note here were several Common Terns , Swallows and a single Little Ringed Plover , i spent most of my time trying to get better views of the PGP , there were several Speckled Wood butterflies on my walk through the woods which were good to see.

Saturday 26 July 2014

Curlew & Green Sandpipers added to the Year list.....

Cracking Golden Plover.

Once again i found my self at Oare Marshes today and managed to park in the pull in , as i was setting up my scope to check through the waders i bumped into Chidders , a quick scan through the waders produced 20+ Golden Plover in various stages of moult , these are really cracking birds.

Plenty of Golden Plovers among the Godwit's.

I did a scan further back of the East flood and soon found the Adult Bonaparte's Gull which more or less was roughly in the same area as the previous 2 times i have seen it , after a quick chat Chidders had to head off home and i carried on my circuit of the East flood past the hide to the far corner near the sluice and was straight on to the adult Curlew Sandpiper which was a very welcome year tick.

Digi scoped Curlew Sandpiper.

Curlew Sandpiper among the Godwit's.

These are really delightful waders and hopefully the start of a few more birds to come.

Adult Curlew Sandpiper.

There was quite a mixed flock of waders in this corner , Black Tailed Godwit being the most numerous plus lesser numbers of Redshank , Ruff and 2 really smart Spotted Redshanks ,from here i carried on around the flood towards the sea wall and back to the watch house where i had a quick look over the West Flood , i didn't really add much from here except a fly over Common Buzzard.

Common Buzzard.

There was a single Wigeon out on the flood , presumably the injured bird that has been there for awhile , i also saw a very brief Linnet land and fly off straight away.

Linnet landing.

I then headed back to have one more look over the East flood and scan through the masses of waders , as usual very large numbers of Black Tailed Godwits , Avocets , Redshanks plus smaller numbers of Ruff , Lapwing and Dunlin , however among the Godwit's were 2 really smart Knot.

Knot hiding among the Godwit's.

I also saw a very brief flight view of a Green Sandpiper which was my second year tick of the session , my final highlight was a single Clouded Yellow which briefly flew alongside the access road .

Thursday 24 July 2014

Birds & Dragon's at Oare Marshes

Adult Bonaparte's Gull.

Taking advantage of the glorious sunshine i decided to pop over to Oare Marshes this morning in the hope of trying to get some better pics of the adult Bonaparte's Gull but alas it was still roughly the same distance away on the East Flood , great views through the scope but just to far for a decent photo , the Bonapartes is beginning to  show signs of moulting on the forehead with quite a noticeable white patch forming.

Moulting Bonaparte's Gull.

There was the usual numbers of waders on the East flood including 2 Golden Plover , 2 Turnstone , 1 Dunlin , several Ruff and large numbers of Avocet , Redshank and Black Tailed Godwit. A male Marsh Harrier flew over the flood putting everything up which is always a great sight to see , it appeared to be carrying a Marsh Frog in its talons.

Marsh Harrier with a Marsh Frog in its talons.

I also had a close encounter with a Kestrel which was pretty smart .

Close Kestrel.

I carried on my circuit around the East flood and added several Sand Martins and Swallows to my mornings total , i bumped into another birder who i didn't know who kindly pointed out some " Dragons " to me and they were 2 Emperors , 2 Brown Hawkers and 2 Black-Tailed Skimmers .

Black-Tailed Skimmer.

Black-Tailed Skimmer.

A walk along the sea wall plus and a quick look over the West flood didn't produce anything different other than a Small Tortoiseshell .

Small Tortoiseshell.

Sunday 20 July 2014

Just a Bit of Fun Quiz Week 50 Answer

Week 50 Photo 1 : Little Bunting 

Week 50 Photo 2 : Griffon Vulture.

As last weeks Just for Fun quiz was week 50 and my final quiz i used 2 photo's and well done to all those with the correct answers .

 Photo 1 was a Little Bunting that i saw on Shetland in 2011 and Photo 2 was a Griffon Vulture that i saw this year in Spain.

A very big well done to : Ellis L , Ben M , Toby C , Mark Lewis and Chidders for all getting the correct answers.

Unlucky to those with the incorrect answer thanks for having ago.

So that's it folk's for now , i might start the quiz up again sometime in the future , i would just like to say a very big thank you  to everyone who has taken part and hope you enjoyed it as much as i have.

Saturday 19 July 2014

Adult Summer Bonaparte's Gull.......At Oare Marshes

Adult Summer Bonaparte's Gull ( On left )

After a  later then hoped for start i got to Oare Marshes about mid morning , my target bird today was a stunning summer plumage Bonaparte's Gull , i duly arrived by the East Flood and was soon onto the Bonaparte's Gull which was out in the middle of the flood , a cracking full black hood and bill were seen even at this range , it was along side a Black Headed Gull which gave a great size comparison , the Bonaparte's being obviously smaller.

Adult summer Med Gull.

From the lay by i could also see 2 Adult summer Med Gulls , the floods water level had gone up a tag after last night storm and the clouds were beginning to close in a bit so i retreated to the East Flood hide via a quick hello to Murray , i made it just in time as the rain soon come down and i would have been soaked

Digi scoped Bonaparte's Gull.

Note the black extends down the nape.

You can just make out the white eye crescents .

Completely small black bill .

There were fewer waders around this morning partially due to me getting the tide wrong , however i did see up to 6 Common Sandpipers which were a year tick for me plus the usual Avocets , Black Tailed Godwits , Redshank and approx 5 Ruff and a single Dunlin.

Adult Med Gull in flight .

There were a few Swallows hawking around the East flood hide and i briefly saw 2 Swifts fly over , after awhile i decided to check over the West Flood and on route i saw a Green Woodpecker , 1 Hobby and 3 Stock Dove plus i heard Cetti's , Reed & Sedge Warblers and the pinging of Bearded Tits .

Overhead Hobby.

One of many Gatekeepers.

No visit to Oare should be without a pic or two of Black Tailed Godwit.

Having a preen.

Nice view of the tail.

So that concludes another enjoyable birding session at Oare , hopefully i will be able to get some better pics of the Bonaparte's Gull if it sticks around for awhile .

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Great Knot ... But Long Tailed Skua steals the show

Great Knot 

I had a bit of a slow start to my day yesterday the 14th July , little did i know i would end the day with a Lifer and a bird in adult plumage that i had always wanted to see.

I did my normal routine , breakfast , coffee and took my endless medication , then i always check RBA just in case , i nearly fell of my chair when i read the words GREAT KNOT at Breydon Water in Norfolk , i then checked my phone and saw a couple of missed calls and txt's , the messages read , Are you going ? , can't go til tomorrow and so on , then as i was trying to get my head around this 4th record for Britain i checked twitter to find out if it was confirmed , it was , and are there any photos , there were .

My effort of the Great Knot .

I headed to Norfolk the traffic was awful at the Dartford tolls plus further delays on the A12 ( should have gone on the M11 ) put me over an hour behind , the news of the Great Knot kept changing , its there , its flown off , its back again , the excitement was building more and more in the car , i eventually got to Breydon Water and after a long walk ( seemed like miles and miles to me ) i reached the assembled birders and i eventually caught up with some birders who were all ready on the bird , i was also soon on it , it was really distant and although it was the bird i was battling with my conscience , could i really tick it on those views ? then the bird took to flight and landed out of view , i decided to walk even further and was scanning a bit further up the estuary  , i soon located it and although it was still distant i could see the features better from here and all key id features were duly noted , Phew.

I did see it  again right back near the Rugby club and distant but decent scope views were obtained.

Adult Long-Tailed Skua at Winterton.

I was getting comfortable in the car and just about to start my journey home when i checked the pager } an adult Long Tailed Skua at Winterton , i checked the sat nav and was only 20 mins from the site ,  i had never seen an adult bird so i went for it , and what a fantastic bird it was , just resting on the beach , i have to say i know this bird is not as rare as the Great Knot but i enjoyed this bird far more , here are some pics.

Looking awesome.

Wing stretching. Note the pale primary shafts.

Looking very settled.

Watching Little Terns.

Note the " pale legs " and pointed nape.

All the above pics were taken between 8.15pm to 8.40pm , i don't think i have seen such happy birders and i don't think i could really believe my luck , of note there were several Little Terns flying up and down the beach and the Long-Tailed Skua flew out to sea at approx: 9.30 pm although i was long gone by then .