Saturday, 23 November 2013

Western Orphean Warbler

Tony S, Paul, Dave and Brendan managed to connect with the Western Orphean Warbler today. Am I bothered though?! Paul's pics below.

Aspley Heath Dartford Warbler(s)

Eventually arrived at the right location after looking to the west of the A5130 and not the east! Lee Evans directions here are spot on
After about 40 minutes a Dartford Warbler started calling and then showed itself at the top of some gorse. I was joined by a local birder and we followed the Dartford Warbler around as it called quite frequently but showed itself only occasionally. We both thought we could here another Dartford calling distantly but neither of us could be sure. No Dartford pics I'm afraid just a really bad Green Woodpecker and a Robin to add some colour and movement to the post.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Parrot Fashion

Saturday 16th November 2013.
Todays original plan was a trip to Wales for the Western Orphean Warbler. Tony S had kindly volunteered to drive, however, his missus over-ruled him. Neither myself, Paul or Brendan fancied the long drive so that plan was kicked into touch. So Brendan stayed at home whilst Paul and myself headed for Holt Country Park in search of Parrot Crossbills. On arrival the car park was really full with birders patiently waiting for any Crossbills to fly into the conifers surrounding the car park. We waited for about an hour but nothing was doing. We decided to head off to the pond. Parrot Crossbills had been reported here previously. We joined some other birders who had assembled on a small hill just past the pond and after a short while a small flock of about 10 Crossbills flew into an Oak tree. Unfortunately no Parrots were amongst them. We went back to the car park again and while we were there two or three car loads of birders seemed to leave in a bit of a hurry. A birder near us spoke to the driver of the last car to leave, asking if they had some news? They told him they were giving up on the Parrot Crossbills and were off to Cley. We hung around for a few more minutes then decided to head back towards the pond. On route we spoke to someone who had information that a female Parrot Crossbill had been seen just down the road at Holt Lowes. This wasn't the reason the other birders left the car park in such a hurry? They would have spread the news, surely?! Anyway, we decided to walk to the area where the Parrot Crossbill had been seen. We joined about 20 other birders and were told that a male Parrot Crossbill was showing well at the very top of a fairly close conifer. We were straight onto it and well pleased with a new bird for us both. Then someone picked out a younger male and female type Parrot Crossbill. There were about a dozen Crossbills in the same conifer but I could only get decent views of 4 or 5. To be honest looking through my scope most looked like Parrots to me, thick-billed, bull necked.......... After a while the flock flew out of the conifer and into a dead tree in an open area, where they perched briefly before flying off and out of view.
From here Paul and myself decided to head for Salthouse and then Cley in the hope of Black Brant and Pale-bellied Brent Goose. Nothing doing at Salthouse so we moved a short distance up the coast to Cley. At Cley we viewed a large flock of Brent Geese, Pale-bellied and the Black Brant were in this flock we were informed. We were looking in the area the Pale-bellied Brents had been seen one someone said they had the Black Brant. We turned our attentions to the Brant but before we could get on it it went behind some kind of run down brick structure. We were waiting for it to come into view when news reached us of a Red-breasted Flycatcher about half a mile from where we were standing. Of course we headed straight over to the beach car park and then towards the pill box. We spoke to a couple of birders who had seen the bird but they said it had not been seen for about 15 minutes. One birder had some decent photo's and was well pleased! We waited for 30 or 40 minutes in this area but no Red-breasted Flycatcher. Whilst here everything on the fields went up including the large flock of Brent Geese we were looking at previously. The Brent Geese settled down in the field next to where they were previously. We decided to give up on the Red-breasted Flycatcher and finish our day by going through the geese looking for the Pale-bellied or the Brant. Neither us or several other birders could locate them, there was another more distant flock, perhaps that's where they were? The first six images below are my Parrot Crossbills at Holt Lowes and then Paul's Parrot Crossbills at Holt Lowes, Coal Tit and Marsh Tit near the visitor centre at Holt Country Park.

Parrot Crossbills-Holt Lowes

Parrot Crossbills-Holt Lowes


Parrot Crossbills-Holt Lowes

Parrot Crossbills-Holt Lowes

Parrot Crossbills-Holt Lowes

Parrot Crossbills-Holt Lowes
Paul's Parrot Crossbills-Holt Lowes

Coal Tit-Holt Country Park-Paul Frost

Marsh Tit-Holt Country Park-Paul Frost

Tuesday, 12 November 2013


Some random Youtube Vidz

Cornell University American Warblers.

Cornell University Spoonbill Sandpiper with chicks

Tommy Hyndman's Killer Wales hunting seals Fair Isle

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Pied Spied

A trip to Collingham Pits in Nottinghamshire with Paul. We parked up in Carlton Ferry Lane and made our way to the edge of a dry gravel pit. Here we joined about twenty or thirty other birders and soon connected with the female/immature Pied Wheatear. The Pied Wheatear offered great views as it did a circuit of the gravel ridge that surrounded the pit. First 3 pics below are mine and the last 3 are Paul's.
Pied Wheatear-Collingham Pits

Pied Wheatear-Collingham Pits

Pied Wheatear-Collingham Pits


Sunday, 3 November 2013

Wilstone Reservoir and Ivinghoe Beacon

An early morning visit to Wilstone Reservoir near Tring and then Ivinghoe Beacon.
At Wilstone I made my way to the jetty, on arrival I immediately connected with the long staying Water Pipit. Then on scanning the spit in front of the jetty I soon connected with the recently reported Yellow-legged Gull. Unfortunately as the wind was blowing directly towards me all the birds on the spit were facing the wrong way. I took a few pics but the Yellow-legged Gull was too distant for anything decent. I have posted a couple anyway!. Then over to Ivinghoe Beacon. The footpath from the car park proved quite productive. First up was a Sparrowhawk, then 5 Bullfinch, 2 Marsh Tit, Redwing, Fieldfare and lots of Goldfinches.
A few pics below.
Yellow-legged Gull

Yellow-legged Gull on rhs

Bullfinch-Ivinghoe Beacon

5 Bullfinch (honest!)-Ivinghoe Beacon

3 of the 5 Bullfinch-Ivinghoe Beacon

Fieldfare-Ivinghoe Beacon

Fieldfare-Ivinghoe Beacon

Marsh Tit-Ivinghoe Beacon

Marsh Tit-Ivinghoe Beacon

Marsh Tit-Ivinghoe Beacon

Marsh Tit-Ivinghoe Beacon

Goldfinch-Ivinghoe Beacon

Saturday, 2 November 2013

F2 and off.

A brief visit to Farmoor with Paul and Brendan.
Quite a long walk to the south-west corner of F2, here we enjoyed some nice views of the Red-necked Grebe. No time to look for the Slavonian Grebe and unfortunately we could not find the Long-tailed Duck despite us and 6 or 7 other birders giving F1 a good going over. Also of interest was my first Goldeneye of this winter.
Paul's pics below.