Wednesday 22 May 2013

Bee eaters

Wednesday 22nd May 2013
Bee eater - 'fancy it ?'
Not now
I didnt mean eat it yourself
Don't you look at me like that
Or what?

Monday 20 May 2013

County listing

Monday 20th May 2013
Spent the morning in the Tame valley, at least the Southern end of it. Main aim was to try and catch up with summer migrants. First target, Garden warbler, seemed to be common in Kingsbury Water Park with at least 3 birds around the Broomey Croft car park, including this very showy individual.
Garden warbler, Kingsbury Water Park
Garden warbler
Garden warbler
Cuckoo was heard but not seen and at Shustoke Res. the 1st summer Kittiwake was still present but generally a disappointing mornings birding until a Hobby showed well over Bentley woods, Atherstone on the way home.

Sunday 19 May 2013

Meanwhile back in Cyprus

OK after a bit of, is it, isn't it? UK twitching there is some unfinished holiday blogging to tidy up. I've been going to Cyprus for years and even after the main migration is petering out in May there are usually still some great birds to be seen and the odd surprise. Remember I don't go out at the crack of dawn to various hotspots around the island. We have some regular walks around the Paphos district plus at least one visit to the Akamas near Neo Chorio. Highlight of the first couple of days were a Spur winged plover on the rocks near the Pioneer Beach Hotel and Black Francolin, LRP, Roller, and Spanish Sparrow at the ford end of the Asprokremnos Reservoir. Day 3 was very hot consequently bird sightings were low at the 'orchard' end of Smylies trail but did include Masked, Red backed and Woodchat Shrikes and the only Black headed Bunting of the holiday.
The next day started with a walk around Kouklia best birds being Olivaceous warbler, Squacco, Little Bittern and a single female Golden Oriole. Agia Varvara was remarkable for the number of large insects about, almost plague proportions and even though Raptor numbers were relatively low on our first visit it was noticeable that the number of Falcons and Harriers increased by the end of our stay. In fact, although this was not a birding holiday Raptor watching at Anarita Park became a regular pastime. By the end of our holiday there were Marsh and Montague's Harriers, 3 Red footed Falcons, and 20+ Kestrels/Lesser Kestrels as well as Whinchat, Roller, Stone Curlew, Red rumped Swallow and Corn Bunting.
Little Bittern
Red footed Falcon
Tawny pipit
Corn Bunting
Montague's Harrier
Montague's Harrier
Montague's Harrier
Spotted Flycatcher
Bee eater
Bee eater
Red footed Falcon
Red footed Falcon

Dusky Thrush in Kent

Saturday 18th May 2013
Seems a long time since my last 'twitch' so the opportunity to have a look at the Dusky Thrush which had taken up residence in Margate Cemetry in Kent was not to be missed. The journey down was uneventful but a Ring necked Parakeet sighting as we approached Margate brightened things up. It wasnt difficult to locate the bird in the well wooded Cemetry. There were a hundred or so birders looking at it. The bird would stay motionless in a tree from some time partially obscured by foliage but then moving to a more open location even allowing a few photos. On the way back we dropped in to Rulculver marshes. A female Montague's Harrier had been quartering the marshes and it wasnt long before the Monty's gave some excellent views. For once my camera was back in the car. A marsh frog and a couple of Marsh Harriers also showed well on my first visit to Reculver. So an interesting day, many thanks to Steve Lister for his company and to Dave Abbott for driving.
Dusky Thrush, Margate Cemetry
Dusky Thrush
Dusky Thrush

Thursday 16 May 2013

Birds of the Sun and the Storm

Thursday 16th May 2013
A  non birding break to Cyprus did produce a few moments of sheer birding pleasure non the less.Even though the main migration takes place a couple of months earlier there are always a few stragglers going through and some species migrate later anyway. A massive influx of Bee eaters for example, could not be ignored, the air was full of their calls throughout the latter part of our stay in Paphos. I tried to ignore the birds swooping down from wires, dead branches etc but the temptation was too great. Some birds have to be photographed.
Bee eaters
The non birding holiday had other high points. A storm lasting 3 hours put pay to other non birding holiday activities, well most of them, so it seemed sensible to sit in the car on an exposed south facing beach and watch the lightning bolts. The weather certainly brought in the birds and a walk along the beach as the rains eased produced an Icterine warbler, 2 Collared Pratincole, Tawny pipit and fly by Common tern, with flocks of Purple Heron and Little Egret all in the space of 1/2 an hour or so.
Icterine warbler, Mandria beach
Icterine warbler
Little Egrets
Purple Heron against the Storm clouds
Collared Pratincole, Mandria beach
A Common tern battles against the storm.

Saturday 4 May 2013

Back to the Patch

Saturday 4th May 2013
Nice when you see a new bird for the year without even getting out of bed. A Common Swift flew west at about 6.15am. A walk round Caldecote was cut short by a heavy downpour but not before seeing a female Whinchat on the flood meadow, apparently there for a couple of days.

Thursday 2 May 2013

Woodchat Shrike at Brandon Marsh N.R.

Wednesday 1st May 2013
A walk round Caldecote produced 4 Wheatears, a Grey Partridge, and Green and Greater spotted Woodpeckers.
Wheatear, Caldecote Hall
Thursday 2nd May 2013
I was on my way to Brandon Marsh anyway to try again for Grasshopper Warbler but a call from Andy H had me cursing every hold up in traffic on the way. A Woodchat Shrike had turned up at Brandon and having missed the last one in 2009 I was anxious to try and see this one. No need to have worried the bird was showing well from the tops of the Bramble patches and continued to do so throughout most of the day. Usual excuses for poor images.
Woodchat, Brandon Marsh N.R.
Woodchat with Leatherjacket
Grasshopper warbler ;   PS to see what a Grasshopper warbler really looks like see Steve Valentine's images on Surfbirds
Female Common Whitethroat

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Double dip

Tuesday 30th April 2013
Dip one: went over to Shrewsbury to dip the Bee-eater by 40 minutes, particularly annoying as it was reported again on reaching home
Dip two: a phone call from Steve C. had me chasing over to Hurley for a Woodlark which flew over the brow of a hill shortly before I got there. Saw plenty of Wheatears at both sites but small compensation for time wasted driving around. Back to patchwork today!