Tuesday, 30 April 2013


A couple of hours at Marsworth and Startops this morning; Acrtic Tern, Common Tern, Sand Martin, House Martin, Swift, Swallow, Grey Wagtail, Lesser Whitethroat, Cetti's warbler, Kingfisher, Red-crested Pochard.
Lesser Whitethroat-Startops Reservoir

Sunday, 28 April 2013


A mid morning trip to Amwell with Brendan. We were hoping to see the recently reported Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler. After parking the car we made our way towards the watchpoint. We spoke to several birders along the way. They all said both birds had been showing well. We walked from the viewpoint for about a hundred yards and after a short search we connected with our first target a Wood Warbler. A few yards further on a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling but did not show. Then about fifty yards further along the footpath we stopped where a group of birders had assembled. They had all seen the Pied Flycatcher but it had not been seen about ten minutes. Whilst waiting for the Pied Flycatcher to re-appear we saw two Treecreepers. The birders said the Pied Flycatcher had been chased off to our right hand side. However, after waiting for about fifteen minutes the Pied Flycatcher flew into a tall sycamore from our left hand side and showed quite well. A fair crowd of birders and non birders had gathered and we were able to let the non birders see the Pied Flycatcher through Brendan's scope.
From Amwell we battled through some fairly heavy traffic over to Fishers Green. Nightingale our target here. Although we heard two birds, one at very close range none of them showed.
Another disappointment here no ice cream van!
Whilst Brendan and myself were at Amwell, our birding pal Paul Frost was at Pennington enjoying a Golden Oriole. He managed to capture the images below.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Sub Up

An afternoon visit to Suffolk with Ephraim. First stop was Landguard NNR. Here we soon connected with and enjoyed great views of an Eastern Subalpine Warbler. This bird was so confiding it had the "big lens guys" scuttling backwards so they could focus. Before heading off we had a bit of a wander. An amazing amount of Wheatears, possibly up to 100 birds. Also 2 Ringed Plovers and a Turnstone.
We then headed over to Orford where we saw a Rose-coloured Starling skulking in a hawthorn in a back garden in Toller Close. We spent some time here trying to get better views of this elusive bird but decided to head for home with a stop off near Chelmsford at Chigborough Lakes. After trudging along an extremely muddy path we located a few Tufted Ducks. On closer inspection our target bird a female Ring-necked Duck was amongst them. Viewing from this side of the lake was difficult because of the dense over hanging trees. We made our way to the opposite side of the lake where viewing was less obscured but a bit more distant.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Springwell Sprung

An hour and a half at Stockers Lake this morning. I concentrated on the Springwell Lane end of the lake. A decent selection of birds; Red-crested Pochard (on Inns), Swift, Common Tern, Ring-necked Parakeet, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Treecreeper, Great-spotted Woodpecker.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Shakespeare's Birthday

Yesterday was William Shakespeare's birthday. On twitter the BTO suggested bird related Shakespeare tweets. Although I have been a member of Twitter for quite some time, I have never tweeted but I decided to have a go at this one. My efforts below.

as you Lark it

what Twite through yonder David Lindo Crakes

A Scaup, a Scaup, my kingdom for a Scaup

I'll get my coat (me not Shakespeare!)

my twitter name sh4rpy

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Eggplant Lane

A stroll around the fields near my house known locally as Eggplant Lane.
House Martin, Swallow, Nuthatch, Ring-necked Parakeet, Yellowhammer, Linnet, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Skylark, Green Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Stockers, Withey Beds, Croxley Common Moor

A quick visit to Stockers; Red-crested Pochard on Inns. Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Egyptian Goose, Common Tern, Ring-necked Parakeet, Treecreeper.
Withey Beds; Stock Dove, Blackcap.
Croxley Common Moor, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Reed Bunting, Common Tern.
Treecreeper again in my front garden as I left.

Treecreeper-Stockers Lake-22/04/2013

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Day Listing

As promised an account of our trip to the Brecks and Norfolk on Saturday 19th April 2013.
An earlier start than usual leaving at 05:00. After scraping the frost from my car windscreen I picked up Dave and we made our way to the Harvester in Garston where we met Brendan and Paul. Brendan was driving and we set off for the Brecks to have a quick look for Stone Curlew.  We arrived just after 06:15 and it was a bit misty with quite a heavy frost. We had a quick look for Stone Curlew but none were visible. We didn't want to waste too much time here so we headed for Wolfreton near Sandringham. Unfortunately for us after a couple of circuits of the "Golden Triangle" no Golden Pheasants were to be found. We did see a Nuthatch collecting mud for it's nest hole from roadside verge. Titchwell was the next destination to be punched into the twat-nav. On route we stopped at some fields near Sherborne (I think?). Here we saw c6 Grey Partridge. Then another stop, this time quite close to Titchwell at Choseley. More Grey Partridge here along with; Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer, Linnet, Marsh Harrier. Then on to Titchwell. As usual a good selection of birds were on offer here, the most notable being; Brambling, Willow Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, ringtail Hen Harrier, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Pintail, Little-ringed Plover, Ruff, Spotted Redshank, Scaup, Whinchat.
From Titchwell we headed in the direction of Cley with the intention of visiting Walsey Hills NOA where Ring Ouzels had been reported. On route near Burnham Norton the news services reported 7 Cranes in our general area. So we looked a decent place to park and waited hoping to catch sight of the Cranes. Sure enough after about 10 minutes they appeared gently thermalling their way along the coast. They seemed to linger for a while near to where we were offering us good views for about 20 minutes. So on to Walsey Hills NOA. No Ouzels here but Lesser Whitethroat offered some consolation. Cley was next up and a brief sea-watch. A fair few Sandwich Terns were all we could manage. A walk to the North Hide produced a few Wheatear and our first Dunlin of the day. Not a great deal from the hide either so we headed back towards the car park. On our walk back there were lot's of Meadow Pipits and then a "different" looking pipit caught our attention. On closer inspection it turned out to be a Water Pipit. We decided not to go onto the reserve at Cley itself but instead head to Holme where again Ring Ouzels and been reported and also a Redstart. The actual location given by the news service's was quite confusing and despite our best efforts we couldn't find the birds. In fact I'm not so sure we even found the right location although we did add Mistle Thrush to our day list! If your still reading you would be right to assume it was getting quite late in the day. We set off for home and called in at Wolfreton and the Brecks again. Same result at Wolfreton but better luck in the Brecks where we connected with 2 Stone Curlew. Also in the Brecks we saw Siskin, Redpoll, Wheatear. A decent end to our day. As the title of this post suggests we decided to keep a "day list". The total number of species= 107. A full list in my previous post here http://sh4rpysbirding.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/norfolk-and-brecks.html
Paul Frost's pics below.
Grey Partridge-Sherborne-Paul Frost

Whinchat-Titchwell-Paul Frost

Cranes-Burnham Norton-Paul frost

Male Marsh Harrier-Burnham Norton-Paul Frost

Lesser Whitethroat-Walsey Hills-Paul Frost

Yellowhammer-Brecks-Paul Frost

Siskin-Brecks-Paul Frost

Lesser Redpoll-Brecks-Paul Frost

Water Pipit-Cley-Paul Frost

Stockers Farm/Lock, Withey Beds, Croxley Common Moor

A couple of hours at some local sites with Paul. As I left my house a pair of Treecreepers spiralled a Silver Birch in my front garden.
At Stockers Lock no sign of Steve Carters Gropper. 2 Common Terns up and down the canal was the best here.
On the farm flooded field a Little Owl was the best on offer.
Withey Beds; Bullfinch (2m, 1f), Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Ring-necked Parakeet, Great-spotted Woodpecker.
Croxley Common Moor. Reed Bunting, Green Woodpecker, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Cuckoo (singing).
Treecreeper Abbots Langley 21/04/2013

Whitethroat Croxley Common Moor 21/04/2013

Whitethroat Croxley Common Moor 21/04/2013

Whitethroat Croxley Common Moor 21/04/2013

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Norfolk and the Brecks

A days birding with Paul, Brendan and Dave. A total of 107 species were encountered. The list below in alphabetical order. I will try to write a brief account of our day sometime tomorrow.
1 .   Avocet   Titchwell
2 .   Bar-tailed Godwit   Titchwell
3 .   Black-tailed Godwit   Titchwell
4 .   Bearded Tit   Titchwell
5 .   Blackbird   Brecks
6 .   Blackcap   Choseley
7 .   Black-headed Gull   Norfolk
8 .   Blue Tit   Titchwell
9 .   Brambling   Titchwell
10 .   Brent Goose   Titchwell
11 .   Buzzard   Brecks
12 .   Canada Goose   Titchwell
13 .   Carrion Crow   Brecks
14 .   Cetti's Warbler   Titchwell
15 .   Chaffinch   Brecks
16 .   Chiffchaff   Wolfreton
17 .   Coal Tit   Wolfreton
18 .   Collared Dove   Brecks
19 .   Common Scoter   Titchwell
20 .   Coot   Titchwell
21 .   Cormorant   Titchwell
22 .   Corn Bunting   Choseley
23 .   Crane   Burnham Norton
24 .   Curlew   Titchwell
25 .   Dunlin   Titchwell
26 .   Dunnock   Norfolk
27 .   Egyptian Goose   Holkham Pines
28 .   Gadwall   Titchwell
29 .   Goldcrest   Wolfreton
30 .   Golden Plover   Burnham Norton
31 .   Goldfinch   Titchwell
32 .   Great black-backed Gull   Titchwell
33 .   Great-spotted Woodpecker   Norfolk
34 .   Great Tit   Titchwell
35 .   Green Woodpecker   Brecks
36 .   Greenfinch   Norfolk
37 .   Grey Heron   Holkham Pines
38 .   Grey Partridge   Sherbourne
39 .   Grey Plover   Titchwell
40 .   Greylag Goose   Titchwell
41 .   Hen Harrier (ringtail)   Titchwell
42 .   Herring Gull   Titchwell
43 .   House Martin   Norfolk
44 .   House Sparrow   Norfolk
45 .   Jackdaw   Brecks
46 .   Jay   Wolfreton
47 .   Kestrel   Titchwell
48 .   Lapwing   Titchwell
49 .   Lesser black-backed Gull   Norfolk
50 .   Lesser Redpoll   Brecks
51 .   Lesser Whitethroat   Wolsey Hills
52 .   Linnet   Choseley
53 .   Little Egret   Titchwell
54 .   Little Grebe   Wolsey Hills
55 .   Little ringed-plover   Titchwell
56 .   Long-tailed Tit   Blakeney
57 .   Magpie   Brecks
58 .   Mallard   Norfolk
59 .   Marsh Harrier   Choseley
60 .   Meadow Pipit   Titchwell
61 .   Mistle   Holme
62 .   Moorhen   Titchwell
63 .   Mute Swan   Brecks
64 .   Nuthatch   Wolfreton
65 .   Oystercatcher   Norfolk
66 .   Pheasant   Brecks
67 .   Pied Wagtail   Titchwell
68 .   Pintail   Titchwell
69 .   Pochard   Titchwell
70 .   Red Kite   Holkham Pines
71 .   Red-legged Partridge   Brecks
72 .   Redshank   Titchwell
73 .   Reed Bunting   Titchwell
74 .   Ringed Plover   Titchwell
75 .   Robin   Wolfreton
76 .   Rook   Brecks
77 .   Ruff   Titchwell
78 .   Sand Martin   Titchwell
79 .   Sanderling   Titchwell
80 .   Sandwich Tern   Titchwell
81 .   Scaup   Titchwell
82 .   Sedge Warbler   Titchwell
83 .   Shelduck   Titchwell
84 .   Shoveler   Titchwell
85 .   Siskin   Brecks
86 .   Skylark   Brecks
87 .   Song Thrush   Titchwell
88 .   Sparrowhawk   Norfolk
89 .   Spotted Redshank   Titchwell
90 .   Starling   Brecks
91 .   Stock Dove   Choseley
92 .   Stone Curlew   Brecks
93 .   Swallow   Titchwell
94 .   Teal   Titchwell
95 .   Tufted Duck   Titchwell
96 .   Turnstone   Titchwell
97 .   Water Pipit   Cley
98 .   Water Rail   Titchwell
99 .   Wheatear   Cley
100 .   Whinchat   Titchwell
101 .   White Wagtail   Titchwell
102 .   Whitethroat   Titchwell
103 .   Willow Warbler   Titchwell
104 .   Wood Pigeon   Brecks
105 .   Wren   Choseley
106 .   Yellow Wagtail   Titchwell
107 .   Yellowhammer   Choseley

Friday, 19 April 2013

Non Starter

A trip to Croxley Common Moor before work. A female Redstart had been seen on the Moor before my arrival, however, after a bit of a search I was unable to connect with the Redstart. I did by way of compensation see a Whinchat, Wheatear (2), Common Tern, Whitethroat (6+). Also a Small Tortoiseshell.

Whinchat Croxley Common Moor 19/04/2013

Wheatear Croxley Common Moor 19/04/2013

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Earlier Today

Early this morning 3 Siskin on the feeders in my back garden and a Treecreeper spiralling up a Silver Birch in my front garden were a nice start to the day.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Croxley Common Moor New Arrivals

Yesterday (Monday 15th April 2013) a quick walk around the moor before work produced my first Willow Warblers and first Common Tern of the year.
Today I met Brendan on the moor and much the same as yesterday but 3 Common Whitethroat were new in. Interestingly my first Whitethroat of 2012 was on April 16th 2012 also on Croxley Common Moor.
Also yesterday and today a Comma. I took the pic below with my phone this morning.
Comma Croxley Common Moor 16/04/2013

Monday, 15 April 2013

House and Garden

On Wednesday of last week (10th April 2013) I had a male Blackcap on the feeders in my garden. My first of the year. On Friday (12th April 2013) I had a Swallow fly over the garden, again my first of the year. Yesterday (14th April 2013), a brief sighting of a butterfly as it flew across the garden. A Red Admiral I think. This morning (Monday 15th April 2013), 2 male Blackcaps in the garden and my first local House Martin over.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Wet and Windy

Saturday 13th April 2013. A trip to Portland with Samuel and Paul.
The weather on the drive down was pretty good but as has been the case in recent months it soon got worse, much worse! First up was a spot of seawatching. Visibility was quite poor but not as bad as it was about to get. Guillemot, Razorbill, Shag, Fulmar, Gannet, Rock Pipit about the best we could do. We were given some info of a Common Sandpiper and Whimbrel close by so as it had started to rain we aborted our seawatch and went off to look for the Common Sandpiper and Whimbrel. We soon found the Whimbrel but no luck with the Common Sandpiper. By now it was raining hard and the wind was whipping the spray in off the sea. We decided to head back to the car for some shelter. When we got back to the car we received news of a Redstart at nearby Reap Lane.  So we headed off to Reap Lane but could not connect with the Redstart. Only a pool of water that approaching 10 Chiffchaff were flycatching over was of interest. So back to the bill and a hike around the "Top Fields" produced 2 Raven and a fair number of Wheatear but little else. Nothing in the Observatory Quarry either. A search for the Long Eared Owl was in vain. All this time it was raining hard. To be honest our spirits were severely dampened. However, Samuel had a plan up his sleeve or should I say in a Tupperware box. He had baked some student style chocolate brownies. Soon after sampling one the rain started to look beautiful man and all of a sudden the rocks had arms and legs and were smiling at me WOW!
After I had come down from my "trip" we decided to head over to Radipole. An Iceland Gull and some Garganey had been reported from here. We called in again at Reap Lane but again no luck. The pool in the field had now attracted 3 Swallows.
At Radipole we had a good look for the Iceland Gull but as is the theme of late drew a blank. We then headed up the North Hide where after about 20 minutes a nice pair of Garganey emerged from the reeds on the far bank. So back to the visitor centre to have another look for the Iceland Gull and again no luck. At the visitor centre or close by we did manage; Swallow, Sand Martin, House Martin, Little Grebe, Shelduck and all on it's own near the marina a dapper looking escaped Hooded Merganser. From here we headed for home hoping maybe the weather would improve along the way so we could stop off somewhere Hants or Surrey perhaps? Of course as it had done from about 09:30 it poured down all the way home. 
I was of course joking about the brownies thanks Samuel same again next time!
Samuel's account of our trip http://samuelbirding.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/a-good-port-of-call-13th-april.html

Sunday, 7 April 2013

And Another Good Half Days Birding

First up this morning was another trip to Tewinbury. Unfortunately no Jack Snipe again. I stayed from 07:00 to 08:00 a few Reed Buntings and a pair of Little Grebes was the best I could manage. I decided to head for home with a quick call in at Tyttenhanger. Redshank, Lapwing, Egyptian Goose the best on offer here. While wandering around Tyttenhanger Paul phoned and suggested we go over to Otmoor. So I met up with Paul and off we went to Otmoor. Just outside Otmoor at Beckley we saw 2 Grey Partridge on the grass verge. At Otmoor we connected with both our target birds. A drake Garganey from the first viewing screen and a Ferruginous Duck from the second.
Pics below; Little Grebe at Tewinbury and distant Garganey at Otmoor.



Another Good Half Days Birding

Saturday 6th April 2013. An afternoon trip to the New Forest with Paul, Ephraim and Samuel.
Samuel and Ephraim have already updated their blogs with accounts and pics of our day out. So as I did the driving I'm taking the lazy option!
Ephraim's blog http://mybirdblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/new-forest-new-species-goshawk-and.html
Samuel's blog http://samuelbirding.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/something-new-6th-april.html
Our day list below. We may have also seen Pochard, Tufted Duck and Pied Wagtail but none of us can remember!
1. Rook
2. Magpie
3. Buzzard
4. Woodpigeon
5. Carrion Crow
6. Blackbird
7. House Sparrow (heard only)
8. Robin
9. Sparrowhawk
10. Goshawk
11. Stonechat
12. Blue Tit
13. Great Tit
14. Marsh Tit
15. Lon-tailed Tit
16. Goldcrest
17. Mistle Thrush
18. Song Thrush
21. Bullfinch
22. Meadow Pipit
23. Siskin
24. Nuthatch
25. Collared Dove
26. Jackdaw
27. Wren
28. Feral Pigeon
29. Oystercatcher
30. Moorhen
31. Lapwing
32. Greenfinch (heard only)
33. Mute Swan
34. Mallard
35. Redshank
36. Canada Goose
37. Brent Goose
38. Shelduck
39. Shoveler
40. Wigeon
41. Pintail
42. Gadwall
43. Teal
44. Little Grebe
45. Great Crested Grebe
46. Cormorant
47. Little Egret
48. Grey Heron
49. Spoonbill
50. Ringed Plover
51. Coot
52. Grey Plover
53. Ruff
54. Dunlin
55. Snipe
56. Turnstone
57. Black-tailed Godwit
58. Curlew
59. Spotted Redshank
60. Greenshank
61. Mediterranean Gull
62. Black-headed Gull
63. Herring Gull
64. Stock Dove
65. Skylark
66. Dunnock
67. Cetti's Warbler
68. Chiffchaff
69. Coal Tit
70. Linnet
72. Reed Bunting
73. Green-winged Teal
I did manage some pics at Keyhaven. Green-winged Teal, Ringed Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Spoonbill.

Monday, 1 April 2013


A couple of hours at HMWT Tewinbury. I had to take my wife to work for an 07:00 start today. Along Smug Oak Lane Bricket Wood a Barn Owl flew alongside the car. Fairly quiet at Tewinbury birdwise although the Canada Geese mad quite a racket. The best I could manage were; Little Grebe, Reed Bunting, Mandarin Duck. No Jack or Common Snipe.