Wednesday 26 October 2011

Pied Wheatear in Gloucestershire

Pied Wheatear, 1w female - Oldbury on Severn, Gloucs.
Pied Wheatear
Pied Wheatear
Pied Wheatear
Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Severn Bridge

Wednesday 26th October 2011

In the shadow of the Severn bridge lies Thornbury Sailing Club which played host to a delightful 1w female Pied Wheatear today. The bird favoured the Sailing club buildings and thanks to the good will of the members of the club, birders were allowed free access to the site and enjoyed excellent views of this unexpected visitor to the western side of the UK.

Tuesday 25 October 2011

New arrivals

Tuesday 25th October 2011
Its been a frustrating few days. After getting over the irony of the Siberian Rubythroat turning up at 'our' patch a couple of days after we'd left the Shetland Isles, I chickened out of the opportunity to go back twice. Once because of the fact I knew I would be severely sea sick and the other due to the imminent arrival of my second grandchild. Good birds continued to arrive but I backed losers everytime; Rufous tailed Robin, Scarlet Tanager....alot of mileage for nought. The Scilly ticks continued to nag but I didnt want to be away for more than a day. The arrival that really mattered was on Sunday, a little girl. Mother and baby doing fine. I can catch up with Northern Waterthrush and Siberian Rubythroat another time. Arrgh!

Friday 21 October 2011

Grey Phalarope at Daventry

Grey Phalarope, Daventry C.P.
Grey Phalarope
Grey Phalarope

Grey Phalarope

Grey Phalarope

Grey Phalarope

21st October 2011
Rather than brooding over the Rubythroat twitch which I decided against I took myself of to Daventry for another go at the Grey Phalarope. Scant consolation I know but it was something and at least this time the bird was close enough for a good look and even a couple of snaps.
22nd October 2011

My patch watch around Merevale near Atherstone was interupted by a phone call about another potential twitch to Cornwall. T S and I agreed there was no point in setting off straight away but there might be something on tomorrow. I resumed the walk around Legion Wood but it was generally quiet both on the ground and overhead.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Little to report

Tuesday 18th October 2011
After the activity of the weekend, the birding action is experiencing a bit of a lull with very few new birds being found while the strong westerly/north westerly airflow continues. The southern end of the Tame valley seemed very quiet with only a single Green Sandpiper at Lea Marston and the same at Cliff pool. A handful of Fieldfare were seen to fly over and there seems to be a population explosion of Coots but little else to report.

Monday 17 October 2011

Left overs

Curlew, Pool of Virkie
Olive backed Pipit, Baltasound
Search for the American Buff-bellied Pipit, Quendale
American Buff-bellied Pipit
Eider, Grutness

Local Brew

Porpoise, Quendale Bay

Long tailed Ducks, Grutness Bay

Black Guillemot


Sea Urchin

View from the digs

Common Seal

Monday 17th October 2011

A final few images from the Shetland Isles trip and a comment on another dip this Autumn. I knew it wouldn't be there or even if it was I wouldnt see it for one reason or another. No I knew from the start there was no chance of adding Rufous tailed Robin to my list. Why did I go then when the whole episode had dip written all over it ? Its a birding thing, we'll leave it at that. Anyway taking the positives, it was great to be back in Norfolk on such a glorious day, but are there always so many birdwatchers about? After leaving Wareham Green John Terry and I moved on to Holme NOA where it was good to see so many familiar faces. The West Mids was well represented. We can dip as well as any of them. I did get good, albeit brief views of the main attraction, a Red flanked Bluetail. Amazing really, considering the bird was very mobile and the large number a people on site. The only other highlight was a roosting Tawny Owl.

PS Respect to the Welsh Rugby team in the World Cup !

Sunday 16 October 2011

Spoonbill at Draycote Water

Spoonbill, Draycote Water







14th October 2011

News from the Scillies, 'There is a Spoonbill at Draycote' an unusual way to find out about a local scarcity but the phone call from John Judge was none the less welcome. Unfortunately I was involved in that most delightful activity choosing tiles for the kitchen. Pretty high up in my list of things I dont want to spend my life doing. Anyway I got away eventually and with confirmation from Kevin Grewcock and Dennis Woodward that it was still there I headed off. It was another glorious day when I arrived and the paparazzi were there to greet me. Having already filled their boots it was a little frustrating that the bird was out of sight but it wasnt too long before the juvenile Spoonbill came into full view and I was clicking away with the best of them.

The end is in Sight

'Eastern' Yellow Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

Sunday 16th October 20 11

I'm playing catch up at the moment trying to finish off the Shetland Isles saga and doing some local birding with the odd big dip thrown in for good measure. Anyway returning to Shetland our last day saw a return to more southerly winds after being battered by westerlies for a week. We had time for a mornings birding before our flight home and concentrated on the Sumburgh area. A yellow wagtail had been reported near the hotel and it wasnt too long before we located it on the track up to the farm. It was an interesting bird with only the slightest hint of yellow in the plummage. It had been suggested it might have been of 'eastern' origin. Now fieldcraft or lack of it is often mentioned when it comes to Birding and Bird photography. Blending in with the habitat is important. Many people get dessed up to make themselves look like a tree but birds aint daft, they know trees dont move about. A good way if you must move closer is to find a herd of cows. Wagtails quite often associated with cows, and move with them. Health and Safety warning: avoid herds with Bulls or calves. Anyway using aformentioned fieldcraft skills I managed to get a couple of shots and a taste for grass.

Friday 14 October 2011

Back to the Patch and beyond

Wheatear (this bird was photographed the previous week on the Shetlands but you get the idea)
Wednesday 12th October 2011

I extended my usual walk around Caldecote Hall, feeling the need for some exercise and in the hope there might be a few migrants around. The fields were now bare but there seemed to be plenty of birds around with maybe 30 Skylarks, with fewer Meadow pipits Linnets and Reed Buntings.The highlight though were 3 Wheatears showing well next to the track.

Thursday 13th October
I was slow to react to a call from Kevin Grewcock about the Grey Phalarope at Daventry. Had it been in Warwickshire I might have got my backside in gear a bit quicker. Anyway by the time I got there it was fairly distant and got even more distant as the morning wore on. Nice bird though and there were flocks of Redwings going through and Golden Plover trying to make up there minds whether to land or not. I moved on to Draycote Water to catch up with the Rock Pipits but didnt see much else apart from the odd Dunlin

Thursday 13 October 2011

Shetland Isles 2011

Olive backed Pipit, Baltasound, Unst
Citrine Wagtail, Fleck

Citrine Wagtail

Citrine Wagtail

Citrine Wagtail

Grey Plover, Grutness

7th October 2011

It was becoming a bit of a ritual now - the daily search for Earl Gray's Rosefinch. It was only a Common Rosefinch and I did see it for a Nano second but it was now a personal thing, a mountain that had to be climbed. Again as yesterday I didnt even reach base camp. So what were the pluses. A smart Grey Plover at Grutness, a couple of Little Gull, along with a large group/pod of Porpoise in Quendale Bay, Pallid Harrier and Short eared Owl on the deck trying to keep out of the wind and Oh yes an American Golden Plover. All near Quendale.

8th October 2011

The day took a long time to get going, just like England in the Rugby World Cup. Unlike England though our day ended on a high. After watching the Rugby we headed South. The Quendale/Brake area had produced good birds throughout the week and so it continued with not one but two Common Rosefinches in the same field as the Isabelline Shrike.Thank Gawd for that. I celebrated with a flyover Hawfinch at Toab. The bird perched up briefly on a building but was extremely mobile. The Citrine wagtail was worth another look at Fleck before word came through that there was an American Buff Bellied Pipit above Quendale Mill. We were soon scanning the Kale field and as more and more people joined us the bird was located. Typically the bird took flight before most people had got on it. It flew away, and away landing on a distant hillside. A group of birders set off in pursuit. While those conserving their energy waited on developments. The dots in the distance made a broad sweep of the hillside, but then seemed to focus on something. They were clearly on to the pipit so off we set. Initially the bird was on a track but then flew to a small Quarry where everyone was able to see it. Even the boys from Coventry who had just come off Fair Isle. Putting the Rugby aside our last full day's Birding had been excellent.

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Shetland Isles - Better than expected

Isabelline Shrike, Brake
Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

Isabelline Shrike

6th October 2011

Not that I'm preoccupied with the weather you understand but it does have a profound effect on Birding on Shetland and on the enjoyment of Birding on Shetland. I know you could say that about anywhere but Shetland can be a pretty desolate place when the weather is really bad cos there aint much else to do. Today the weather was better than expected with only occasional showers and moderate winds. We toured the now very familiar sites on the South Mainland but they kept coming up trumps. This time it was another Isabelline Shrike, an adult female and a very showy individual the old 7D was going 10 to the dozen. Enjoy.