Monday, 30 July 2012


This morning before work I decided to have an hour walking the fields near my house. My intention was to get some Yellowhammer pics.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Acre's Down

A morning trip to Acre's Down in the New Forest with Paul; Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, Stonechat, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Coal Tit, Redstart, Nuthatch, Raven (4), Common Buzzard, Tawny Owl.

Thursday, 26 July 2012


This evening I met up with Paul at a local farm. First bird of note was a Little Owl in the Old Orchard then we heard a distant Tawny Owl calling and finally as we left the farm to head home we caught site of our target bird the Barn Owl.
My distant Lil Owl pics below.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Shearwaters at Portland

A day's birding with Paul.
First stop a couple of hours sea-watching at Portland Bill; Manx Shearwater (50+), Balearic Shearwater, Fulmar, Gannet, Common Scoter. Also Rock Pipit.

Godlingston Heath near Studland; Dartford Warbler (3), Stonechat (3-4 pairs plus young), Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting.

Salisbury Plain; Stone Curlew, Corn Bunting.
Pauls pics below; Rock Pipit at Portland, Yellowhammer and Stonechat at Godlingston.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Crepuscular Birding

Tues 17th July 2012.
A late evening visit to Chobham Common in Surrey with Brendan, Paul and Jim; A better than expected visit produced in excess of 6 roding Woodcock. Only 2 Nightjars but one showed really well and close up, hovering in front of us then circling for a while before flying off some distance and churring. On proof reading this post I noticed I had the nightjar hoovering, now that would be a sight to behold.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Barn Owl

A pair of Barn Owls have been showing well recently at a local site. Paul Frost was able to capture the image's below.

Return to Hayes (pics added)

A quick return trip to see the Red-backed Shrike at Lake Farm, Country Park, Hayes, with Paul and Brendan. The bird showed well for a few minutes before flying off. It was re-located but we had to leave as I had to take my wife to work but before that the joys of Asda's! Paul managed the pics below.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Clock the Cuckoo

This afternoon Paul and I paid visits to firstly Spadeoaks Gravel Pits, Little Marlow and then later Otmoor.
At Spadeoaks; Yellow-legged Gull (2), Little-ringed Plover (3), Dunlin, Common Tern.

At Otmoor not quite the quality of birds as on our recent visits, however, we were delighted to observe a juvenile Cuckoo being fed by a pair of Reed Warblers. On one occasion a Reed Warbler landed on the demanding juvenile Cuckoo's back, fed it then flew off in search of more food.

Red-backed Shrike at Dawley Road, Hayes.

A morning visit to Dawley Road, Hayes with Paul. After an hour and half's wait in the rain the male Red-backed Shrike finally showed itself to us and about another dozen birders. We then made our way over to Staines reservoirs where we noted; Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Common Tern, Black-necked Grebe (2).

Friday, 13 July 2012


You tube video of 13 spoonbill sandpipers hatched at Slimbridge

Sunday, 8 July 2012

the "links" effect

A trip to Aberdeen in search of Black Scoter.

Brendan came to pick me up at about ten to nine on friday evening. He had collected our hire car, a two litre diesel vauxhall astra ealier in the day. However, he had fogotten his mobile phone so he went back home to pick it up. This gave me time to bolt down my dinner which was a nice beef wellington courtesy of my better half. Brendan returned and we made the short journey from my house to Kings Langley Station where Dave was waiting. We set the sat-nav for Murcgar Golf Course clubhouse and off we went. We arrived about eight hours later around ten past five a.m. The journey was quite good no rain and not too many roadworks. On arrival the weather was windy and overcast. After unloading our optics from the car and putting on our waterproofs we made our way across the golf course to the dunes. Incidently whislt I was putting my waterproof trousers on I stumbled and had to put my hand on the ground to stop myself from completely falling over. Brendan says this counts as a "fall" as I was not in complete control. I don't think it does but conceded as I didn't think it was worth falling out over (no pun intended). We spent the next few hours viewing a large flock of mainly Common Scoter. The flock did contain a fair few Velvet Scoter. We also connected with a couple of Surf Scoter (new bird for me.) Dave connected with the Black Scoter but neither Brendan or myself could get onto the bird. Both Brendan and myself did see a Scoter that looked a likely candidate for the Black Scoter but our description did not quite match Dave's and Dave was not able to connect with our bird. Dave's description matched the Black Scoter that had been seen but both Brendan and myself noted a more yellow bill with no obvious black and some paleness at the base of the bill.Visibility was not good and got worse as the day wore on. Scoters were joining and leaving the main flock quite regularly mainly flying in or out to towards Black Dog. We decided to drive to Black Dog and walk the dunes back towards the golf course. On our walk from the car to the dunes we noted several Northern Marsh Orchids. Then shortly after we had started walking the dunes back towards the golf course the higlight of our trip occured! No not the Black Scoter or a sighting of some other "mega" raritly but a spectacular fall by Brendan. Not even top bootfaller Didier Drogba who actually falls over for a living could have done better. Anyway back to the birding. On our walk along the dunes we noted a massive flock of Eider hauled up on the beach. A quick inspection did not reveal any King Eider. We saw some smaller flocks of Scoter, one of which held a nice drake Surf Scoter, also noted were ten Red-breated Mergansers and several Red-throated divers. After a bit of a hike we caught up with the main flock of Scoters that had drifted a fair bit north. We started going through the flock again but our attention's were distracted by two Great Skua's that flew north fairly close in. By now the weather was quite bad the wind had picked up a fair bit and drizzle had turned to rain. After a while Brendan and myself picked out the Scoter we had seen previously but again we could not get Dave onto it. We stayed scanning throught the flock noting Common, Velvet and Surf Scoter but no positive i.d. for a Black Scoter. We had now been looking for this elusive sea duck for approaching nine hours and our backs, legs........ were aching and our optics were steamed up and soaking wet making for poor viewing. So after a quick team meeting we decided to pack up our optics, get out of our wet clothes and head back home. Some traffic in Aberdeen city centre but the rest of the journey was pretty good and we were able to drop Dave off at Kings Langley about ten to eleven. After a lot of discussion and viewing many different pictures of various types of Scoter both Brendan and myself are not convinced we saw the Black Scoter. In an edition of "Birding World" there is a photo of an abherrant Common Scoter that looks remarkably like the bird we saw. Coincidently an aberrant Common Scoter has been reported from this location. Update; Unusual Scoter with all yellow billl reorted again on sunday. Also after viewing photo's and video clips of Black Scoter including the bird at Murcgar on various websites we still cannot make a strong enough case for the bird we saw. Despite not ticking "Black Scoter" I still enjoyed the trip and it is already on the calendar for next year. After all it's not every day you get a chance to drink nine cans (3 for a £1) of Tesco's berry flavoured energy drink.

A breakdown of the cost
Car hire from Enterprise, Watford; £80.
Diesel; £150
Total £230 divided by 3 just under £77 each. Aditional costs Tesco Energy drinks/Red Bull, sandwiches, crisps and chocolate about £10.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Hairbrained Scheme

Brendan had the bright idea of driving to Aberedeen to look for a Black Scoter. The plan is to leave at 21:00 tomorrow evening and drive through the night arriving at the Ythan estuary early on saturday morning. Despite a less than favourable weather forecast and the fact the Black Scoter has not been seen since monday, both Dave and myself have agreed to go. I think I am more attracted by the lunacy of the trip rather than the chance of seeing a distant sea duck with an apricot on it's beak. Anyway, I will post update's as often as I can.

Update: Black Scoter seen this evening along with 3 Surf Scoters.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Sabine's Gull at Startops

Mon 2nd July 2012. A late evening visit to Startop's Reservoir, Tring. The Sabine's Gull was on the green barley bales for the  45 minute's I was there, although it did move from bale to bale enabling me to see it's wing pattern. Paul made a visit earlier and when it was performing a lot better. He was able to capture the following image's.

Otmoor pics

Paul Frost's pics from our visit to Otmoor then Marlow on Sunday.
First pic Grasshopper Warbler, next 2 Turtle Dove, Egyptian Goose and young at Marlow Gravel pits.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Otmoor Gropper

A midday visit to Otmoor with Paul; Grasshopper Warbler, Turtle Dove, Hobby, Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler, Reed Warbler, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, Red Kite, Buzzard, Redshank, Little Egret, Common Tern.

Spadeoak Nature Reserve, Marlow; Little Ringed Plover (3), Egyptian Goose, Common Tern.