Saturday, 22 October 2016

Autumn around and about

Saturday 22nd October 2016

Seem to be spending half my time tidying up my garden and the rest of the day birding or the other way round. I was doing a bit of serious pruning on Thursday I think it was, when a Raven flew over calling. Not a Garden tick but quite an unusual event although they are regular now on both the Caldecote and Mancetter walks. Friday saw me doing the Mancetter walk, not much on the hill, a few Redwings flying about,but near the farm there was a mixed Finch flock which included a Brambling. There was also a Tree sparrow tagging along. The first I'd seen in area for some time. Visits to Alvecote produced a G W Egret (apparently there had been 4 a day or so earlier) and a pair of Stonechats.
Today I made a belated visit to Shustoke Res. to see the pair of Red breasted Mergansers which had been there for a couple of day before returning to the tree pruning.

Great white Egret with Grey Heron, Mill pool, Alvecote

Great white Egret with Little Egret

Monday, 17 October 2016

Yellow browed Warbler in Warwickshire

Saturday 15th October 2015

After the trip to the east coast and a local walk to a local hill in the morning I was feeling a bit weary. A message from Steve Haynes though quickly re-energised me and stirred me to action. John Harris had reported a Yellow browed Warbler at Ridge Lane near Atherstone. I met Steve at the Church End Brewery and we travelled the short distance to the site. The bird had been seen and heard in the willows around a small pond on the former Golf course. The search began. It was some time before the bird was located but eventually it was seen in company with a blue tit. It was not possible to see the whole bird at first but a view of the wing bar was enough and eventually the bird showed on the outer branches yellow 'brow' and all.
With a large influx of Yellow browed warblers in the country there was always a chance one or two would find their way into Warwickshire.The difficulty bit would be finding them, so on this occasion a big Well done to John Harris working his patch.
The Yellow browed was a bit of a personal milestone. It was my 250th species seen within the current Warwickshire boundary.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

The camaraderie of Birding

Sunday 16th October 2016

Over the past two weeks I've been very fortunate to see some great birds. The strong Easterly winds have brought a bonanza of rare and eagerly awaited species to Britain. The reactions of the birding fraternity has been as interesting as the birds. Below is a record of observations over the past fortnight in order:

1. A broad grin                Brown Shrike -                 Shetland

2. Gasp of disbelief         Lanceolated warbler         Shetland

3. Firm handshake           Siberian Accentor             Easington

4. Pat on the back            Yellow browed Warbler   Warwickshire

5. High five- 1 hand         Siberian Thrush               Shetland
6. High five- 2 hands                       "                                "

7. High five- 2 hands with jump     "                                 "  

8. A hug                             undisclosed

Saturday, 15 October 2016

One of those days

Friday 14th October 2016
Much of my introduction to birding was at Spurn/Kilnsea. My wife would spend the day with her parents in Beverley and I would spend the day at either Flamborough, Filey or Spurn, having phoned Birdline to see what was about. I can remember classic 'fall' days with 'ticks coming in 3s in those early days of listing.
Friday brought those memories back, checking out Sammy's point, the Crown and Anchor car park various churchyards and so on.Flocks of common migrants, Geese, Thrushes, Goldcrests, Robins etc, less common migrants Ring Ouzel, Dusky warbler, Yellow browed warblers, Firecrest, Brambling, Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and Woodcock. I also missed a few such as Olive backed pipit and Great grey Shrike but I'm not complaining. Oh, and of course don't forget the Siberian Accentor. Having missed the Shetlands bird by a day, for one to turn up in Easington a few days later was truely amazing.
Siberian Accentor, Easington, East Yorks.

Siberian Accentor

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Shetland Isles - part 2

O K so there I was standing in this field when folks start shouting and jumping up and down. The only word I could hear clearly was Whites. The bird in question flew away but appeared to drop into some gardens at the edge of the field. As we closed in, it became clear that the bird in question was thought to be a Siberian Thrush not a White's thrush as previously suggested. The small group of birders kept a reasonable distance from the garden and waited until other birders on Unst could get there. The bird did fly round once but thankfully returned to the bushes of the same garden. More birders arrived as we waited patiently.
Eventually the Siberian Thrush flew out giving excellent flight views as it banked away.We left it there and hurried back to catch our ferry. It had been a great week with ridiculous views of Lanceolated warbler and memorable views of a pod of Orcas but little did we know that we would be denied the greatest prize as news broke of the Siberian Accentor on our return to the Midlands.

Yellow browed Warbler



probable 'Siberian' Chiffchaff

Little Bunting

Monday, 10 October 2016

The Shetland Isles, Great week but no Cigar - Part 1

Sat 1st Oct. - Sat 8th Oct.2016

Another great week on Shetland. Didn't manage to photograph the rarer species ( they were too close),but got a few shots of some of the more regular Shetland birds.

Sunset from our accommodation

Common Rosefinch

Lapland Bunting

Rose coloured Starling

Yellow browed Warbler, Quendale

Snipe, Aith

Brambling, Norwick, Unst

A week of good days and very good days, On the good days it was generally windy with few new birds found and involved a good deal of driving around. On the very good days there were plenty of new birds to be found and the weather was excellent. On our first very good day we had an extremely close encounter with a confiding Lanceolated warbler and saw 4 Killer whales to make a memorable day. We also had a very good day on Unst. Having seen most of our targets; Little Bunting, Bluethroat, Red breasted Flycatcher and Lapland Bunting we met another team checking out a field next to a small wood. We were spreading out to cover the field when an excited shout went up...........

( part 2 follows shortly)

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Sandwich Tern at Draycote Water

Tuesday 27th September 2016

Started the day at Brandon Marsh, which was very quiet with all the hides deserted. The only birds of note were a pair of Stonechat viewed distantly from the Ted Jury hide. Moving on to Draycote Water I walked towards Toft, a young Yellow wagtail was seen briefly on the rocks and the group of Ringed plovers were at the 'entrance' to Toft Bay. I had no intention to walk round the pond so made my way back along the dam. There was a large flock of B H Gulls on the freshly harrowed fields. The birds suddenly 'got up' and flew round with a single Ruff among them. It could not be relocated on the ground when the gulls settled. Approaching the cafe another bird caught my attention, smaller than the gulls it landed on a pontoon used by the fishermen. With better views as I got closer it was clearly a Sandwich Tern. The priority was to try and get a couple of photos for the record and to notify other birders. It got a bit complicated due to the fact that I'd left my mobile at home. With the cooperation of the blokes in the fishing lodge and the manageress of the Cafe I managed to achieve both goals.

Sandwich Tern, Draycote Water

Sandwich Tern