Friday 27 February 2015

Black Scoter and Waxwing Up North

Long Tailed Ducks Shetland 2011.

On Wednesday 25th February i set off  in the very early hours and headed to Northumberland in the hope of seeing the adult drake Black Scoter which would be a lifer for me , i made great time getting us there and i pulled into the car park at Cheswick at approx 8am .

I walked through the sand dunes and started scanning the sea for any Scoters , there were lots of Long Tailed Ducks and Red Breasted Mergansers either on the sea or flying by , these were two welcome year ticks but not my target bird , a few Common Scoters flew by and then i eventually got onto a large raft of Scoters a very very long way out .

I scanned  the flock of approx 75+ birds , whacked up my zoom to the max 60x and started scanning through again . this was very frustrating as soon as you started to scan them they would disappear behind the waves or they would dive .

However on about my 15th scan through the flock i located the Adult drake Black Scoter , it's huge yellow bill stood out like a bleacher beckon looking straight back at me  and then it disappeared behind a wave , aaaagh , eventually i relocated it again and distant but goodish views were obtained phew ........ There was also one single Velvet Scoter among the raft of Scoters.

I saw it a half dozen times but only brief views each time as the flock seemed to be drifting further out on an outgoing tide , the flock separated with the bulk of the Scoters including the Black Scoter drifting further out , i spent 3 hours there and was very cold by the end of it , not satisfactory views to be honest but i could see what it was and by the sounds of it most views of this bird seem to be very distant.

I also had a close in Slavonian Grebe plus several Red Throated Divers and Guillemots .

I had a brief drive through Widdrington / Stobswood area in the hope of connecting with the Pink Footed Goose flock which had a Ross's Goose among their numbers but had no luck locating the flock .

I then headed to Rufforth air field which seems to be the mecca location for Gulls however i got my timing wrong as most of the Gulls were busy feeding on the tip , i met a local birder there who very kindly gave me directions for a nearby Waxwing at Acomb , so of i set arriving on site about 10 mins later.

Cracking Waxwing.

I saw this cracking bird straight away right out in the open , and after a few photos i then had a long drive home  , i saw a Red Kite on route which was a welcome year tick.

Red Kite.

Saturday 21 February 2015

Glaucous Gull at Dover Harbour

Glaucous Gull juv/1stw.

A little bit out of sequence with this blog post , however on 14th February i popped down to Dover Harbour in the hope of seeing the recently reported Glaucous Gull , i walked along the pier with no sign as i could not get a clear view of the Hoverport area so walked back along the pier and looked through the wire fence and thankfully saw the Glaucous Gull from there , here are a few digi scoped photos of the bird. 

Pink based with black tipped bill.

Lovely white wings.

Really big bird.

Glaucous Gull.

There has been a lot of conversation about the age of this bird , some saying Juv and others saying 1st winter , it doesn't look as biscuit coloured as some juvs i have seen in the past however i would probably go with a juv going into 1st winter plumage , so basically i am sitting on the fence with this one 

Monday 16 February 2015

Richard's Pipit showing well .................Sheppey !!!

Richard's Pipit Swale nnr photo by Chiddy. 

My  destination was Swale nnr on Sheppey and my target bird was the Richard's Pipit that has been there for a few weeks now , the general consensus of this bird is it's loyal to a favoured area but very elusive , well i parked up then walked approx 200 yards along the raised footpath on the reserve and would you believe it i flushed the Richards Pipit which was in the long grass just below the footpath more or less straight away , i was expecting along wait to see this bird .

Flight shot of the Richard's Pipit.

The Pipit only flew a few feet further ahead of me and i saw it really well on & off for a few minutes , it then flew over a dyke into the ploughed field where i saw it distantly , really upright stance , pot bellied and long legged are the main features that stood out on this bird.

There were approx 200 Dark Bellied Brent Geese in the adjacent fields and they were flushed by a really smart Short Eared Owl ,i managed a few pics but sadly only record shots as the light was poor and it was quite distant , that's my excuse and i am sticking to it

Short Eared Owl.

Coming into land.

Looking at us before it disappeared.

We spent a couple of hours here trying to get better views of the Richard's Pipit however as time went on it became more elusive , there were 2 Black Swans among the Mute Swan herd, quite an exotic bird for this area .

2 Black Swans among the Mute Swans.

I then headed to Elmley to check out a report of a roosting Long Eared Owl however i could not locate it , on my return journey from Elmley i was treated to a superb female Merlin flying at full speed flushing all the Lapwings as she went by , several Kestrels and a couple of Marsh Harriers were also added to our mornings totals .

Friday 13 February 2015

All Quiet in the Woods & Purple Sandpipers at Hampton

Purple Sandpiper & Turnstone.

 On Tuesday the 10th February i decided to check out East Blean woods in my quest to see Lesser Spotted Woodpecker for the first time since 2010 , well to keep along story short i never saw or heard any on this visit , it's been quite a few years since my last visit to this woodland and checking my notes from back then i did see 3 LSW on that visit , i am sure they are still here just wasn't my lucky day this time , i did hear then see a Lesser Redpoll which was a new bird for the year . I decided to then pop over to Hampton to see the Purple Sandpipers that are often on the rocks before the pub and i wasn't disappointed as 2 birds showed well among the Turnstones.                                                      
One of 2 Purple Sandpipers with a Turnstone.

Purple Sandpiper.

Love how the water rolls over it's back.

From here i headed to Swalecliffe in the hope of seeing the recently reported Snow Buntings , i walked along the grass path over the wooden bridge and along the shingle ridge with no joy with the Buntings however i did add 3 Ringed Plovers to my year list , on my return journey i heard the Snow Buntings flight call and then counted 8 birds showing their lovely white wings as they flew over me heading towards Hampton , really pleased to see these birds , shame i never managed to see them feeding on the ground , here's a photo of a Snow Bunting i saw at Reculver last year.

Snow Bunting from Reculver in 2014.

Tuesday 3 February 2015

Another Trip to Bossenden Woods


After a very enjoyable birding session  last week at Bossenden Woods i decided to pay another visit yesterday morning as it was quite sunny , here are a selection of photos i took of up to Nuthatch .

Such stunning birds to watch.

Love their peanuts

Feeding on the ground.


I really enjoyed watching and photographing these birds , i also managed some photos of a couple of Coal Tits.

Coal Tit

Coal Tit being photo bombed by a Nuthatch.

These woods seemed full of bird life i even heard a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker which is a species i have struggled to see in recent years , also of note were 2 Treecreepers plus lots of Great & Blue Tits and no woodland walk would be the same without a Robin.


Blue Tit.