Sunday 29 March 2015

Swift Alpine Swift Twitch ....... In Crawley

Alpine Swift in Crawley.

As the title of this blog post says , it was a a very rewarding twitch to Crawley this morning , i  arrived at the site in Crawley at approx 6.45am in the anticipated hope of seeing the Alpine Swift come out of it's roost .

Flying low around the trees.

Well after over 3 hours there was no sign of my target bird and the weather had deteriorated so i decided to head for home , well approx half hour into my journey home  news broke . the Alpine Swift  is back !! " well a swift turn around and i was soon back on site and enjoyed some close overhead views of this wonderful Alpine Swift , this was a very welcome year tick for me .

White throat patch and belly.

Long winged .

Really enjoyed watching this bird and also great to meet up with some familiar faces .

The Alpine Swift eventually went back to roost and i could only manage  a brief look as it was on private land .

Record shot of the Alpine Swift roosting.

Saturday 28 March 2015

Great Crested Grebe Courtship Display at Stodmarsh

Great Crested Grebe.

I spent a very enjoyable birding session at Stodmarsh from the Reed Bed hide last Wednesday the 25th March and the highlight was watching Great Crested Grebes doing their courtship display , here is the display in pictures.

Facing each other head shaking.

Then bowing .

Swim away from each other.

Then one brings some foliage .

Back together again

Offering foliage .

Accepting foliage .

Taking a bow .

They have built a nest viewable from the hide so hopefully they will be successful and raise some young .

Friday 20 March 2015

The Legend That is " Waldo "

Ring Billed Gull in Gosport.

On Wednesday the 18th March i t headed to Gosport to see the Ring Billed Gull which has been returning to this area for up to 14 to 15 years as this would be a very welcome year tick for me.


This amazing bird has been given the nickname of " Waldo " and is a legend among the birding community , and he never let us down with some really great views , a loaf of bread certainly helps , here are a small selection of photos of him .

Ring Billed Gull aka Waldo.

After this visit i headed to the New forest to where i saw the Goshawks last Saturday and once again i had up to 3 Goshawks with one of them showing really well through the scope , i also had a couple of displaying Woodlarks , a single Dartford Warbler and my first spring migrants of the year in 2 Wheatears.

One of two Wheatears.

I also had brief views of a Firecrest in the car park and i heard a distant Chiffchaff calling , there were also lots of Brimstone on the wing around the car park. 

Monday 16 March 2015

A Day in the New Forest plus Blashford Lakes & Arundal


I planned a days birding on Saturday 14th March  in the New Forest area plus Blashford Lakes & Arundal , my prime target was Goshawk , i tried a new site this year and after parking up i walked to the favoured viewing area and on route i saw a Woodlark , great start and a welcome year tick .

Dartford Warbler.

There were several Stonechats around and not long after looking at them i saw a superb Dartford Warbler which i always enjoy seeing .

Then i arrived at the chosen viewing area and my quest to find Goshawk begun , as i was scanning there were several vocal Siskin's flying around and were another addition to my year list , i haven't seen or heard any in Kent so far this winter.

Record shot of a Goshawk.

After about 20 mins of scanning the tree line i picked out a distant Goshawk which gave decent scope views , then someone else picked out another bird perched on a distant tree , we all got it in our scopes and as we were watching it a 2nd Goshawk came in and flushed it of it's perch , wow two Goshawks in one view .

Another record shot of the Goshawk.

I had at least 4 Goshawks in my time here  , there were 10+ Common Buzzards one of which flew right over head i also saw Peregrine & Sparrowhawk here.

Close Common Buzzard.

On my way back to the car i saw 3 Marsh Tits plus i had great views of a Firecrest in the car park as well as a single Goldcrest. i tried 2 or 3 other sites for Hawfinch & Lesser S Woodpecker without success so decided to have a look at Blashford Lakes.

Male & Female Goosander.

There were 20+ Goosanders including one pair in the mist of their mating ritual , first time i have seen this , basically the female almost submerges herself in the water alongside the male and then male does his business whilst holding on to the back of the females neck.

Male & Female Goosander mating.

Other birds of note were several Goldeneye , Black Necked Grebe ( in summer plumage ) , plus 5+ Egyptian Geese . From here i headed towards Arundal and on route i saw 2 Red Kites .

Male Mandarin.

Female Mandarin.

I saw male & female Mandarin which were a welcome year tick plus i had approx 5 Firecrest which as hard as i tried i never got a clear shot of one.

One of 5 Firecrests.

My last bird of this great days birding was a Little Owl which was located not far from Arundal train station .

Little Owl .

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Short Eared Owls put on a Show at ........... Reculver

Short Eared Owl at Reculver.

I met up with Chiddy on the ramp at Grove Ferry at approx 1pm yesterday afternoon the 10th March , it was fairly quite to be honest highlights being approx 7 Common Buzzards plus i added a brief view of a Cetti's Warbler to my year list . We did see a couple of Small Tortoiseshell which were my first butterfly's  of the year. 

We decided to head over to Reculver in the hope of seeing the Short Eared Owl that has been showing well of late plus the possibility of any early migrants which might be around , there wasn't any , seen by us anyway .

One of two Short Eared Owls .

As we walked along the sea wall checking for migrants and the single Snow Bunting which is still around Chiddy or should i say " Mr Owl man " picked out the Short Eared Owl flying over the marsh , so without haste we headed to  the area and sat down on one of the banks and waited for the Owl to come to us , sure enough after a short while the Short Eared Owl gave us some great close views.

Fantastic looking Short Eared Owl.

As we were watching this particular Owl Chiddy spotted a second bird which was a real surprise , we watched these birds for a good couple of hours and even manged to see both birds perched on posts .

Both Short Eared Owls perched on posts.

Closer view of the first bird .

A really enjoyable birding  session , other birds seen were approx 25+ Corn Bunting which were a welcome year tick for me plus 69 Golden Plover yes i counted them !! , 5 Little Egrets , Marsh Harrier , at least 4 Stonechats and 350+ Dark Bellied Brent Geese .

Saturday 7 March 2015

2 out of 3 ... Very Happy with That !!!

Iceland Gull juv. at Weybourne.

I headed out early early yesterday morning the 6th March and my quest was to try and see the Golden Pheasents in Norfolk as it has been a few years since i last clapped eyes on them , i left early and arrived on site at 8am and to keep a long story short 2 hours later no sign of them , it really is a hit or miss bird and maybe i should have tried to get there for first light , fingers crossed for next time .

Distant record shot of the Iceland Gull.

I had a set plan today and my next target bird was the juv Iceland Gull at Weybourne as this was also a year tick , well i made good time getting to Weybourne and as soon as i pulled up i was straight onto this delightful Iceland Gull which was just roosting in the middle of a ploughed field , i walked down the lane towards the sea and had slightly better views from here , the bird took to flight after about 20 mins and flew towards the sea and appeared to land out of sight .

Digi scoped photo of the Iceland Gull.

Time was getting on and i decided to head to Shoeburyness in Essex and try and see the two male Serins .

I arrived on site and noticed two other birders looking up into the trees , things were looking promising , and sure enough i could hear the Serins calling and they were flitting about in the trees & bushes showing well at times .

One of two male Serins.

I was enjoying these birds and talking to Andrew Armstrong who is the wildlife officer of this site and getting some very useful info from him about the birds behaviour , then the Serins appeared to disappear , Andrew said his goodbyes as it was his finishing time , as i was waiting for the Serins to return i noticed Andrew waving at me and pointing to the grass .

I quickly joined him by his van and then enjoyed some fantastic views of both male Serins feeding on the abundant plants around them.

Male Serin.

I did get some photos of both birds together but for some reason ( i had selected the wrong mode switch...Doh ) they came out totally white and blurry , still luckily i noticed this in time to get at least some photos of the Serins.