Friday, 29 March 2019

Days of contrasting fortunes

Friday 29th March 2019

A day of decision regarding the E U , or perhaps not. Birding also requires decisions.Yesterday was relatively easy: get up early, no shower, no breakfast early and head south to look for a White Stork ( a real one). I had a rough idea where I was going in the Granborough valley but was relieved to locate a small group of cars in the middle of nowhere. Had to be Birders and yes there was Lee Evans with Mobile stuck to his ear hurrying along obviously on a mission. Good man to follow, seems to know what he's doing, which is more than I did. I'll follow at a respectful distance. But wait, he's stopped, hes coming back. A brief word as other Birders arrive 'its in the next village',Sawbridge, apparently. The treasure hunt begins, just four cars,but all eager to track down our quarry. Eventually we stop to look at some trees quite close to the road and there it is, perched on top of the tallest tree giving excellent views and opportunities for photography.

White Stork, Sawbridge

By contrast today was  disappointing . A migrant search taking in a number of sites in North Warks. was completely fruitless.  A reliable sighting of a Ring Ouzel came to nothing even after a search of likely habitat and not a Wheatear in sight, anywhere.Tomorrow, there will be a 'good' bird tomorrow.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Alvecote pools - some recent highlights

Wednesday 20th March 2019

A few of the recent highlights at Alvecote pools.

Whooper Swans

Great White and Little Egrets

Ferruginous duck with Tufted duck

Friday, 4 January 2019

Review - 2018

Friday 4th January 2019

So we start 2019 with a Top ten photos of the year just past. Not a particularly great year for photos but a few nice birds scattered here and there.

A very local Firecrest, In January

Horned Lark, January somewhere near Heathrow Airport


Demoiselle Cranes, Kazakhstan, June


Pallas's Gull, Kazakhstan, June


Black Lark, Kazakhstan, June

Lesser grey Shrike, Kazakstan, June

Audouin's Gull, Menorca, August

Mediterranean Flycatcher, Menorca, August

Common Rosefinch, Shetland Isles, October

Red breasted Flycatcher, Shetland Isles, October




Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Swans and Geese, not.

Tuesday 4th December 2018

Not a lot to write home about, let alone Blog. I could comment on the apparent increase in the numbers of Thrushes, Robins, Starlings, Meadow pipits etc, etc on local walks but its similar to last year and the year before that. Not that its not good to see these birds but something a little different now and again would be much appreciated. Having said that, when a pair of Russian Whitefronts turn up at Alvecote I did contrive to avoid them despite numerous visits. I did, however,see the Smew today AND 3 Great white Egrets. I also enjoyed the Swan fest. at Brandon  Marsh yesterday.


Whooper and Berwick Swans at Brandon Marsh

Berwick Swan

Whooper Swan

Berwick Swan

Sunday, 4 November 2018

October 2018

October provided a rather mixed bag of Birding experience as it  so often does. The end of September into early October had seen a good number of migrants particularly Redstarts on the local patch-walk. My first 'twitch' took me to Hornsea Mere, E.Yorks in the early hours. A White rumped Swift had shown well over the Mere the previous day but unfortunately there was no sign the following day. Despite the need for sleep when the chance came for a lift to Cornwall I was up for it. A Catbird had turned up at Lands End, and thanks to John Holtham we were on our way. We had to wait some time before the bird appeared but our patience was rewarded as we got stunning views later on. The third twitch of the month took me to Salthouse N.Norfolk to see a very showy 'eastern Stonechat' the exact identity of the bird has yet to be determined but it was/is an interesting bird non the less. Thanks go to Tony Shep. for the lift. So after a burst of frenzied activity producing one 'tick' its back to the local walks. Not much to report though.A barn Owl was a nice surprise near Alvecote.Stonechats at their usual winter sites and incoming Thrushes, Larks, Starlings over 'the hill'.

Stonechat 1w
Stonechat
.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

The Shetland Isles. Oct.2018

I should start by thanking the various members of our group who contributed in making this year's trip so enjoyable and rewarding The fact that I got on the right planes at the right airports at the right times is in no small way due to Pete and Joy Forbes to whom I am very grateful.
It was in many ways a typical Shetland trip with a mixture of weather and a variety of migrating birds. Although the overall numbers of birds coming in was probably down on previous years there was a fair sprinkling of scarce and rare birds to keep birders interested. Day 1 on the islands produced Pied billed Grebe and a delightful Marsh warbler. This is by no means a comprehensive account of all the birds seen just some of the more memorable scarcities. On day 2 we took a ferry to Bressay where we failed to see an American Golden Plover but did connect with a very showy Citrine wagtail. The next day saw us visiting a number of sites on South Mainland highlights were a Pied Flycatcher and a Common Rosefinch. Another Rosefinch was found the following day. Other 'good' birds included Red breasted Flycatcher and Yellow browed warbler.
The next day saw us heading for Fetlar for one of the highlights of the week, a Snowy Owl. An impressive sight as the bird flew over the hillside in front of us. We also had good views of Barred warbler before returning to Yell where we eventually saw a Swainson's Thrush.
Our final days saw a few more rarities: Pallas's warbler, Ring necked Duck and Booted warbler to wrap up a very enjoyable week.

 Citrine Wagtail

R.B. Flycatcher
R. B. Flycatcher
Common Rosefinch