Sunday, 27 November 2011

Tundra and Whitening

A midday visit to Tyttenhanger Gravel Pits today produced the following; Tundra Bean Goose, Eurasian White Fronted Goose (2), Tree Sparrow (6+), Pochard, Meadow Pipit, Kestrel.
Tundra Bean Goose pics below (click on pics to enlarge).

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Chew-Chew dipped Dipper.

A visit to Chew Valley Lake near Bristol with Dave Johnson of the London Peregrine Partnership. Our target birds were; Sharp Tailed Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper and Long Billed Dowitcher. We were lucky enough to connect with all 3 of our targets. Notable birds at Chew Valley Lake were; Sharp Tailed Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Long Billed Dowitcher, Snipe, Black Tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Pintail, Goosander, Bewick's Swan, Peregrine, Kingfisher, Cetti's Warbler, Common Gull.
We observed the Kingfisher trying to swallow a large fish it had caught, it first smacked the fish against the branch it was on numerous times, then attempted to swallow it without success. Then after a lot more battering of the fish it tried again this time successfully. We also visited the wonderfully named Wookey Hole in search of Dipper but drew a blank, we did note Grey Wagtail and Siskin.

Friday, 25 November 2011


My new grandson Joshua Toon born at Luton and Dunstable Hospital at 01:00 on weds morning (23rd Nov) 6lb 1 oz. 2 weeks early. 1st pic taken early yesterday and 2nd early today.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Walpole and Sandwich Bay's

A morning visit to Walpole Bay nr Margate in search of Eastern Black Redstart. I arrived at the Palm Beach Cafe around 08:45 and immediately made my way down some steps leading towards the shoreline where i could see 2 birders chatting casually. I approached and asked if the recently reported Eastern Black Redstart had been sighted. It's around here somewhere was the answer! Within a minute the 1st-winter male (form phoenicuroides) Eastern Black Redstart flew in to view and perched on some railings along a slope that led to the beach, it was soon joined by a female Black Redstart. For the next hour I enjoyed some great views of this very confiding bird. One of the birders was the finder Barry Hunt. Apart from the Redstart's I also noted 5 Rock Pipit. Eastern Black Redstart pics below. (as always click on pics to enlarge)

From Walpole Bay I made my way over to Sandwich Bay. I parked up on a grass verge near the beach and stated walking along the shingle ridge. I had walked about 400 meters when I could see a smallish flock of birds on the beach but too far away to identify. The flock was soon disturbed by dog walkers and when they flew i could make out lot's of white. I noted where they landed and made my way towards them. I soon got close enough to see they were Snow Buntings, 19 or 20 in total. As luck would have it the flock flew towards me and over my head. They landed quite close offering really good views before flying over the road to the nearby golf course. They did return again shortly after to allow further views before I made my way home.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


Maple Lodge after work; Siskin (20), Snipe (14), Green Sandpiper (2), Bullfinch (2, m and f), Teal (c30), Redwing (6), Fieldfare (2), Ring Necked Parakeet (4), Goldcrest (2), Egyptian Goose (2 on Lynsters Farm), Little Egret.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Bewick's Swan at Wilstone

A midday visit to Wilstone Reservoir with Brendan G; 8 Bewick's Swan (5 adult, 3 Juvenile), Dunlin, Golden Plover. Brent Goose in field near Rushy Meadow

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Holme Sweet Holme

A days birding in you know where with Brendan G and Dave J.
First stop was Holme Dunes. We parked up in Thornham Harbour and headed over to the dunes at Holme NWT. We were soon onto a male Desert Wheatear, see poor quality pics below. The light was really bad and coupled with the way the bird was camouflaged in the sand and shingle getting a good shot was not easy. Either that or I have "all the gear but no idea!" The Desert Wheatear was feeding with a Northern Wheatear along a shingle ridge, they appeared to be eating live mealworms. I can only assume someone had put the mealworms out earlier that morning.
Also noted at Holme were the following; Bar Tailed Godwit, Sanderling, Grey Plover, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Knot, Long Tailed Duck (m and f), Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Eider, Peregrine (m and f), Red Breasted Merganser, Red Throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe (3), 50+Little Gulls, Guillemot, Pomarine Skua, Gannet, Goldeneye, Teal, Wigeon, Great Crested Grebe, Fieldfare, Redwing, Brent Goose, Reed Bunting.

At Holme lots of Thrush's were coming in off the sea, a birder standing next to us alerted us to a Peregrine persuing a Blackbird. The Peregrine attacked the Blackbird knocking it into the sea, the Blackbird managed to get out of the sea and began flying again, this time the Peregrine came back and knocked the bird back into the sea at the same time flipping it onto it's back. As the unfortunate Blackbird lay dazed and confused in the sea the Peregrine came back and plucked it from the water and took onto the beach. No sooner had the Peregrine started to devour it's prey when another Peregrine a somewhat bigger bird and presumably a female appeared on the scene. It landed next to the smaller male Peregrine (tiercel) forcing it to give up it's prey. Both Peregrine's then flew off when disturbed by dog walkers, the female taking her prey with her.
Another Blackbird was flying in off the sea when it was subjected to some persistant mobbing by a gull. The exhausted bird landed on the beach only for a dog to come and have a go at it, luckily the dog owners called it away. The Blackbird remained on the beach for a while but after a short time it had disappeared.

Next stop was Titchwell. We parked up in the overflow car park and made our way towards the visitor centre, we had just reached the main car park when another birder alerted us to 7 Waxwings perched in a tree, we had brief views before they flew off towards Thornham. We made our way onto the reserve where we noted the following; Chiffchaff, Cetti's Warbler (several calling), Pintail, c1,000 Golden Plover, Avocet, Water Rail, Brent Goose, 3 White Fronted Goose, 20+ Little Gulls, Short Eared Owl, Knot, Bar tailed Godwit, Red Throated Diver, Red Breasted Merganser, 25 Eider, 2 Scaup (f), Goldeneye, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier, Little Egret, Little Grebe, no sign of Yellow Browed Warbler.

From Titchwell we made our way to Choseley, here we noted the following; 11 Grey Partridge, Red Legged Partridge, c300 Pink Footed Goose, 4 White Fronted Goose, Marsh Harrier.

Whilst at Choseley a message came through of a sighting of Yellow Browed Warbler at Titchwell, so we made our way back there. On arrival we saw 10 Waxwing fly over the car park. Then a pager message of a Hoopoe at Holme had us back in the car and heading back to Holme. Here we joined around 30 other birders but in about an hour and a half until darkness fell we could not locate the Hoopoe. We did manage to connect with 3 possibly 4 Barn Owl, 3 Marsh Harrier, Kestrel. One of the Barn Owls was mobbed by a Marsh Harrier and at one stage a Magpie also got involved in the fracas.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

MLNR then Woodoaks Farm

A quick visit to Maple Lodge then Woodoaks Farm after work today. Poor light conditions but did manage the following at Maple Lodge; Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldcrest, Siskin, Ringneck Parakeet, Redwing, Goldcrest, Jay, Snipe, Grey Wagatil, Song Thrush.
Woodoaks; Egyptian Goose, Meadow Pipit, Goldfinch, Yellowhammer, Kestrel, Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare. Pics below Snipe at Maple Lodge.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Maple Lodge

Lunchtime at Maple Lodge; 7+Snipe, 2 Kingfisher, 2 Green Sandpiper, 2 Egyptian Goose, Teal, Shoveler, Ring Necked Parakeet, Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

North Herts

A midday visit to Kelshall and Sandon with Brendan G.
First stop was Wallington Road where we hoped to connect with the recently reported Merlin, however, we were out of luck again. We did manage 14 Grey Partridge, Sparrowhawk and Skylark.
Coombe Road near Kelshall; Great Grey Shrike, Yellowhammer, Buzzard, Kestrel. Then another stop at Wallington Road but with the same result.