Friday 29 September 2017

Eurasian Scops Owl at Ryhope in Durham plus trip to Dorset.

28th September 2017  Ryhope in Durham

Eurasian Scops Owl.

Whilst sitting in a hide on the 27th in Dorset news broke of a Eurasian Scops Owl being found in Ryhope village in Durham !!!!

There was no way i could get there on the 27th, and the news & photos just kept on coming on twitter & Rba that it was still present and showing well.

So today the 28th i travelled up to Durham in the hope of seeing the Scops Owl .

Cracking bird.

A very early start ensued and unfortunately the first early reports were negative , me & my birding mate decided to stop on route for a coffee and make a decision whether to carry on heading  north or go for other targets that were on offer , decisions, decisions !?!?

Keeping an eye on us all.

We decided to try for other targets as we were still quite a  distance from Durham , however as we were heading off for new targets the news came through the Eurasian Scops Owl had been relocated , so we reverted back to original plans and 3 hours later we were on site and having great views of the Scops Owl which was a new addition to my British list !!!

Congrats to the original birder who found this cracking bird , and for the guys who relocated it today, some great field craft and persistence.

Eurasian Scops Owl.

27th September  Middlebere Farm  Dorset

Record shot of the Stilt Sandpiper.

I had a really great time birding at Middlebere Farm near Arne Rspb reserve on the 27th September , i was invited by my mate to go down there in the hope of seeing the Stilt Sandpiper and thankfully we eventually managed to see it as the tide came in.

It never came really close but great scope views were obtained of this delightful wader , this was a lifer for my mate and a very welcome year tick for me.


There were large numbers of Spoonbills here and i recorded my personal largest ever total in the UK with 47 birds seen together , although there have been more seen here.


Other birds seen of note were Osprey , Marsh Harrier, Raven & Kingfisher which showed well at times.


We saw the Stilt Sandpiper 3 times in total , one quite close view plus again roosting with the Black Tailed Godwits, other waders seen were Knot, Avocet, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Redshank, Spotted Redshank (2) & Grey Plover (2).

Numerous Little Egrets & 1 Great White Egret were also seen, we also encountered several Sika Deer.

Sika Deer.

Tuesday 19 September 2017

Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler in Norfolk

                                         18th  September  in  Norfolk

Pink Footed Geese.

On Sunday the 17th September news broke of a Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler being found at Burnham Overy Staithe in Norfolk , so plans were put into place and i left home at approx 4am Monday morning the 18th September heading to  Norfolk in the hope of seeing the PGW !!

I knew before i left home that this bird was going to be really hard to see despite the good views which were obtained the previous evening , they really are ground dwelling birds that like to walk or run through the undergrowth, that said i was quite optimistic.

Arriving on site at about 7.30am there was already quite a few birders there but no sign of the PGW so far.

Plenty of Pink footed Geese.

More & more birders turned up and eventually an organised flush was arranged , basically 3 birders walked through the last known area it was seen in , not a practise i really like but  provided it is not done to death (which was the case on the 19th) it is pretty much the only way you will see this type of bird unless your very very lucky.

Anyhow the flush went ahead and i was lucky enough to get a decent flight view of PGW and although i would have liked to have seen it for longer that was the best it got (for me anyway).

I spent approx 6 hours there on & off on the 18th and only got 1 identifiable flight view of the Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler .

I decided to head off to Wells to have a look at the Arctic Warbler which was much more obliging and i was very pleased i did.

The Arctic Warbler spent all it's time high up in the canopy but afforded good views and i managed to get some photo's (

Arctic Warbler.

From here i headed to Gramborough hill where a Grey Phalarope was showing extremely well in a pool near the Hill.

Size comparison alongside a tennis ball.

Grey Phalarope.


I would just like to say although i was at Burnham Overy Staithe on both the 18th & 19th September i never once left the public right of way other than to rescue a frog/toad from the trodden reed bed from the numerous flushes along the reed bed.

I have been on many twitches over many years but have to say the actions of some on the 19th left a very bad taste , and before people jump on the fact it's the  'new generation birders' , i have to disagree , most of them were 50+ who entered the field and trespassed and then had the audacity to argue with the wardens who chased them off.


13th  September   Minsmere Rspb

I teamed up with a birding mate of mine and headed to Minsmere on the 13th September and finally managed to see one of my bogey birds CITRINE WAGTAIL , having dipped many over the years , sadly i never managed a photo though.

RIP   Kevin McCoy

Very sad to hear that Kevin passed away last Saturday night , he was one of the most genuine people i have ever met and despite his long suffering illness his humour and enthusiasm for life & birding never diminished . Condolences to his family , RIP mate.


Tuesday 12 September 2017

American Redstart on Barra

10th  September   Barra

American Redstart.

Hearing news of a female American Redstart being found on Barra  last Thursday got my twitching wheels in motion , i made arrangements with my good birding mate and we left at midnight on Saturday 9th September to get to Oban and catch the afternoon ferry to Barra on Sunday the 10th.

Record shot of the tail.

The weather forecast was heavy rain for Barra all day on Sunday and we would only have about an hours window to try and see it before we lost the light , well news eventually came through that the American Redstart was still present but elusive , however the main thing was it's still there.

Rather blurred flight shot.

The ferry crossing was quite pleasant    with many sea birds seen including Manx & Sooty Shearwaters , Great Skua , Arctic Tern , Kittiwake , Eider & Fulmars plus a White Tailed Eagle showed well over Oban.

We arrived on Barra at 6.15pm and rushed around to Eoligarry and was soon having superb views of this quite stunning American Redstart , the weather wasn't bad either with no rain , the American Redstart was keeping loyal to a small clump of Sycamores and showed well on & off for a good 30mins before it went to roost at approx 7,30pm .

American Redstart.

Such a wonderful Island to visit (my first time to Barra) but unfortunately we didn't have time to explore the whole island this time.

The ferry back on Monday 11th was a bit more rough but another great selection of sea birds were seen , pretty much the same as yesterday with the addition of 3 Storm Petrels & 1 Arctic Skua.

7th  September  Oare Marshes


I called into Oare on Thursday 7th September to hopefully catch up with the Osprey that has been around a few days and thankfully this time i was successful.

Osprey over the East Flood.

There was the usual high selection of waders on the East flood with all the regular wader species in good numbers , i also saw 1 Bar Tailed Godwit, 2 Knot, 1 Little Ringed Plover , 1 Whimbrel plus a further 15 flying over the flood .

There was also 1 ad & 10 juv Curlew Sandpipers and the Long Billed Dowitcher was once again showing well near the road.

Long Billed Dowitcher.

Juvenile Curlew Sandpipers.

Saturday 2 September 2017

Red Necked Phalarope at Oare Marshes plus a Visit to Chipping Sodbury

30th  &  31st August  at Oare Marshes

Red Necked Phalarope.

On Wednesday 30th August news broke of a Red Necked Phalarope on the East flood at Oare Marshes , i was soon heading there in the hope of seeing it.

It wasn't long before i arrived on site and the Red Necked Phalarope was showing very close to the pull-in , despite the awful weather conditions (heavy rain & overcast) the Phalarope put on quite a show, here are a selection of the photos i took.

Red Necked Phalarope.

The Red Necked Phalarope was a new bird for my Oare Marsh bird list.

Long Billed Dowitcher.

The Long Billed Dowitcher was also present on the East flood and showing very well near the Pull-in , some real quality birds on this superb nature reserve at the moment , i had 19 different wader species over the 30th & 31st plus there were a couple i missed too !!!

Having a scratch.

Both the RNP & LBD were present  on the 31st as well plus i also saw the adult Bonaparte's Gull on the East flood , here are a couple of record shots of it.

Bonaparte's Gull.

1st September   Chipping Sodbury

Woodchat Shrike.

On Friday the 1st of September i was invited to go to Chipping Sodbury in Gloucestershire to see the juvenile Woodchat Shrike , i haven't seen one for a few years now and being a bit of a Shrike fan i happily accepted the invite (thanks mate).

The Woodchat Shrike was always distant but good scope views were obtained , it was quite loyal to an area of bushes on the common and was actively feeding , i saw it catch a Bee at one point.


There were lot's of other birds around on the common including at least 10 Whinchats , 2 Wheatear , 2 Common Redstarts (which were a year tick) & several Common Whitethroats , 1 Lesser Whitethroat & several Yellow Wagtails.

2 Whinchats.