Wednesday, 18 September 2019

LITTLE CRAKE

A workday addition is somehow sweeter! 6.45pm was cutting it fine. Another monumental Yorkshire tick and a one day bird to boot. More at the weekend...

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Autumn 19

Head down for 3 trip top next next week then that's me done till November. You've heard all the justifications before but to be honest my conscience is clear, very clear. Done my bit over the years, so now it's
time to enjoy an uninterrupted Autumn.

Bring...it...on!

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

COMMON NIGHTHAWK - Memories!

BIG News today...
 
MEGA Argyll COMMON NIGHTHAWK 11mls NNE of Oban...

Brought back great memories of my No 1 twitch...24/10/1999. A brief account HERE.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Garden MEGA!

No sign of any Whinchats south of the Village first thing. A high flying and calling Curlew was noteworthy. Mediterranean Gulls are still loitering with at least 4 seen. Another seawatch,  another Skua, this time an Arctic (P.120, H.97) chasing the Terns in typical style. Then a nice pass of 12 Shelducks (H.98) south...


Home for lunch and a glimpse of a Coal Tit in the garden. The afternoon passed quietly.

I returned home around 5 for a brew. It was still warm enough for us to sit in the garden. The usual characters were flicking around the trees and bushes that fringe our modest garden. Then something... "different"?

Surely not...yep...a Yellow Wagtail!!!

I'd left my camera in the car, so I went rather hastily to get it. When I returned the bird was still there. Louise was still sat on our bench. Of course, my camera wouldn't lock on to it before it flew off. Rather disappointing!!

I decided to give it some time sitting in the kitchen. I wasn't that hopeful BUT surprisingly it came back...





So, another notable record and one I would NEVER have imagined would visit my postage stamp...


Monday, 9 September 2019

Cliff Walking

BUT...firstly I decided to try for the White-rumped Sandpiper (again) at Kilnsea Wetlands. Still no luck, not even a Dunlin. However, I did see a nice Stonechat on the way to the hide...


Both South and North today in the Village.

South first. I also checked out the Sycamores at Old Hive but nothing doing... nor anywhere else for that matter. A couple of Med' Gulls on the sea provided some interest. I then decided to have a Seawatch. I gave it an hour. Plenty of Teal (c250) heading South in various sized flocks. Then...a Great Skua (P.119, H.96) drifted slowly but purposefully South past the Canada Buoy (1.8 miles). It's a start!

After lunch I tried North from Seaside Lane. I parked the car by the old garage. I then scanned the hedge heading North closest to the sea. A Whinchat...


...then another...


Three birds...


Further along towards the Runnel, I had another couple, including one on the beach...


FIVE Whinchats! Good going around here. A couple of Wheatears were also present...



A few Terns at the Sewage finished off an excellent day...


Common
Sandwich
I kept scanning for a passing Honey Buzzard or Osprey. Maybe tomorrow?

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Choughed

No other headline would do!

After a couple of days of honest toil topping up the UAE fund, I rose early this morning to try for the unusual Corvids in the Dales.

I picked Steve Lawton up at his house at Wetherby around 7 and we reached Settle by 8.30.

After some confusion over which path to take we made our way to the Victoria Cave area. A very scenic area. Tim Isherwood and his wife were also present. They arrived first and Tim soon spotted one of the birds at the base of the screen about 100 yards away...


...and then there were two...


An amazing occurrence and a species that definitely wasn't on the radar! So, I've managed to reach 390 for the County (possibly 391 if the BAIKAL TEAL gets accepted) . Never say never...

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

BROWN BOOBIES - A nice pair!

Been quite a week!!

After my first venture to Cornwall last Tuesday/Wednesday...and all the "fun" that ensued, the/a bird was seen going west past Pendeen on Saturday. Earlier in the day it was sat on a rock for a while in Porthgwidden Bay, St Ives giving crippling views...which obviously would have been nice! That was that then...or was it?

The plot thickened mid-morning on Monday when the/a BROWN BOOBY was found at Kynance Cove on the Lizard peninsular.

The bird had settled on a rock in the Cove and showed all day!

When to go?
  • Overnight and gamble
  • Set off early next morning and react on news
  • Wait for news at home
It WOULD be nice to get a better view of a first for Britain? I set off from home around 10.30pm. Reaching Hull I grabbed the obligatory McDonald's coffee. Something didn't feel right. I'm big on "gut feeling". I headed home.

Tuesday morning. I woke at 5.30am, showered and dressed and off. The new plan was to get through Hull before the traffic, drive a while and wait for news...

Cornwall BROWN BOOBY 1s The Lizard at Kynance Cove flew to rock near car park at 8.13am

I was already on the M42, which was a good start. Onward.

After a smooth journey I arrived around 3pm...


...and parked up in the large but crowded car park.  After sorting my gear and dog out, we headed down the path to overlook the Cove...

Small triangular rock on the left
A small group of Birders remained and the atmosphere was very relaxed...not for me though, as I hadn't seen it yet! After getting a tactical, initial view through a kind gents 'scope, I settled down to enjoy a pleasant hour watching the bird on a distant rock. I have to admit I was disappointed with the distance but I could see it well enough through the 'scope...


A couple of (poor) cropped record shots



Friday, 30 August 2019

My Bury


It seems there is no salvation for my home town team. A tragic and very, very sad predicament.

Still hoping for a miracle. If not, we will rise again.

Up the Shakers!

BOOBY PRIZE

Much controversy! There's always doubt if you don't see it, I include myself here. Anyway, here's my account...not a justification...

After staying till dusk on Tuesday I kipped in the car at Marizion. After an essential McDonald's at 6 I parked in the same spot as yesterday (free) and made my way eventually up to the Chapel at St Ives again. Plenty already there. The morning was clear but rain was forecast. The crowd built up and included Dave Hursthouse and John Hewitt from my neck of the woods.

Just before 8 much agitation ensued. I had my pal on the lead, so I made my way into a clearer area. Birders were giving instructions to the relevant area across to Carbis Bay. You could see the beach beyond with a number of posts and dog walkers. There was an obvious group of Gannets fishing in the usual way, instructions were helpfully being given although there was some understandable confusion over which post on the beach they were referring to.

Anyway, I zoomed my Leica APO and started to watch the feeding group. I almost immediately picked up a very dark bird which kept lower over the water. To me, it looked slighter, slightly smaller. A different structure/jizz and "scuffier". It was more agile than the accompanying Gannets which were obviously great for comparison. It also fed differently. I saw it three times over around 10 minutes and on a few occasions saw it dive at a narrow angle, unlike the Gannets. It stood out once located and was always low over the water. On my final view the bird banked up slightly, front on and I could see a distinctly paler area on the belly. It then flew off further round the bay. I was now happy I had seen the BROWN BOOBY.

The rain closed in and I found out my waterproof coat...wasn't!

As stated this wasn't a lone bird fly-by. The fact it remained in one area with Gannets to my mind aided ID greatly. Yes it was at distance...BUT I could see the difference. Nothing I have read subsequently has made me doubt my sighting, in fact it has been confirmed.

The crowd dispersed and I made my way down to the adjacent Coastguards were other Birders had connected including Paul Chapman, who I overheard saying "100% Brown Booby".

Experienced Birders will know that birds CAN be id'd at distance. As said initially there will always be scepticism in this game BUT you have to have the courage of your convictions. Otherwise, what's the point?

P.S I've subsequently heard the bird followed a similar pattern of behaviour yesterday.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

BROWN BOOBY (3)

Pulled over on the A30 as it's at a standstill at the moment.

Happy I saw the bird early am. Worked hard for it!

Obviously late back tonight and working tomorrow. Full write up to follow...

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

BROWN BOOBY (2)

I arrived around 4pm. Interesting place to navigate St Ives! Some impressive hills also...


Groups of Birders dotted about at various vantage points...


I'll cut to the chase... the bird wasn't seen.

From what I could gather it was seen initially from the harbour. Early afternoon there was another distant sighting. Nice to bump into a jubilant Brett Richards (who gambled last night) and Mark Halliday. I also received a call from Dave Hursthouse who was watching from the other side of the bay.

Worth another stab in the morning...





BROWN BOOBY

MEGA Cornwall BROWN BOOBY again St Ives fishing offshore at 7.45am

Just having lunch (12.45) at the very impressive Gloucester services. The bird was confirmed this morning, seen well in St Ives Bay, Cornwall.

No further sign after 8.15am.

Raining hard now. What to do? Yes, another long shot BUT...you've heard all the cliches!

Onward...




Monday, 26 August 2019

Warming up

...and it's not just the weather!

Another scorcher here today. After spending the weekend in Lancashire sorting my Mother's garden out and sharing a VERY special Test Match with her (quality moments), I took it easy today before having a stroll down the cliff this evening. Glad I did as I found a Pied Flycatcher (P.118, H.95) in the Sycamores at the bottom of School Lane. I noticed a movement as soon as I got out of the car and there it was motionless for a couple of seconds on a bare branch. Always special. It did return for a moment and I got a record shot, unfortunately my camera had decided to change settings to a high ISO hence the snow scene...

For the record
I then had my usual scan of the horse paddock. A bird on a post...Whinchat, then another...


Amazingly FOUR were present on the posts! Great to see migration in progress...


Despite searching I couldn't relocate any of the birds, it was all over in 5 minutes!

The LRP at Kilnsea Wetlands showed well on Thursday...


Some interesting claims during the heatwave...BROWN BOOBY and an EAGLE sp

Anything's possible I guess...

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Britannia

Weekend at my Mum's. She's making a great recovery from her hip replacement. She's a sports nut like me, which helps the conversations! We're both preying for a successful conclusion to the Shakers plight?

Anyway, mid-afternoon I luckily remembered an appointment with a classic.

Off to Rochdale Station. Due at 3.30...she was bang on time...

Britannia

Never tire of seeing one of these beauties in full steam on the mainline. Long may it continue...

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Peregrine

During the regulation walk first thingish I received a message from Richard informing me he'd just seen a Peregrine (H.92) on prey on Seaside Lane. Five minutes later I was watching this magnificent bird enjoying its unfortunate breakfast...


No sign of the Western Bonelli's Warbler at Spurn this morning...

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Catch up

Today I continued my tried and trusted policy of "nice and easy does it"...at least for year listing! After covering Holmpton early morning, during which time I finally bumped into a couple of Mediterranean Gulls at Old Hive, I made my way down the road to try for a few Patch/Spurn Year ticks.

I walked the Canal and picked up "non-singing" Sedge and Reed Warbler...don't laugh! No Coot though. As I approached the Crown & Anchor I spotted a couple of Turnstones on the foreshore. Then a Wheatear, then two. My final count in 50 yards was SIX!

Well Field produced 5 Whinchats and a Stonechat.

I then stopped off at Sykes Field to try for the Marsh Warblers that had bred there. First bird...Marsh Warbler, seen well albeit briefly...not again in 30 minutes.

Finally back to Kilnsea Wetlands for a sit in the hide. Only one Birder present. A peaceful hour was spent enjoying what came and went. A LRP gave great views in front of the hide, always a pleasure to see...

Late news this evening of a Bonelli's Warbler sp South of the breach. News broke at 6.30pm. I was tempted BUT...

I've seen Western at Spurn before. The odds are heavily stacked towards it being this species...time of year, previous records nationally...backed up later by response to tape, strongly suggesting the "commoner" species. No call was heard.

Might pop down in the morning, if still present. I need a good walk...

P.117
H.91
S.86

Monday, 19 August 2019

Skeffling

Good walk with the "family" this morning. A wonderfully clear, fresh day with tremendous visibility. It was high tide which gave great views of the birds present. It became immediately obvious that there was a considerable congregation of Shelducks. I scanned initially from the car park and there were large numbers in tight groups as far as the eye could see towards Welwick. My initial estimate was c1000! By the time we reached Welwick Marsh I'd re-adjusted my estimate to 2000!!! An impressive spectacle.

As we were leaving I noticed some raptors to the east. One looked "different". Chuffed to pick out a distant Red Kite (P.107) from the car amongst 4 Buzzards...


The magic bath keeps producing in the yard. At least 3 Willow Warblers present this evening, including this one on the fence...


...plus a couple of Whitethroats...


Feeling optimistic about what it might produce this Autumn...but then I always do!

I've just had full approval from management for our second trip to the UAE this November. Flights have already been booked and initial planning has commenced. Plenty still to go at...

Ospreys on the move...













Saturday, 17 August 2019

Caspian Gull

Finally convinced myself I saw one of those funny Herring Gulls aka Caspian Gull (P.104, H.90). My 166th species for Holmpton. To be fair it did stand out somewhat, albeit relatively briefly, at Old Hive. Totally underwhelming though...

Initial preperations for our trip to see my son Robert, in the UAE in November are underway. Plenty still to go at. Again, no rush...

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Magic Bath

My vintage Birdbath continues to give me no end of free entertainment. I've been amazed at the number of birds that have been visiting it recently.

Obviously supplemented by youngsters, the action has been very entertaining indeed.

All this during short periods of viewing, usually based around eating habits!

This evening it was visited by a young Song Thrush, which spent some considerable time hopping around inspecting various items...


Never seen a juvenile Wren take a bath before! I have now.

I intend to spend more time viewing this Autumn...

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Cliff Walk

Started reasonably early this morning with a walk down to Old Hive. Difficult walking due to the field having been ploughed right to the edge! There were areas of weeds however, due to the unstable nature of the fastest eroding coastline in Europe...allegedly.

My main aim was to try and photograph one of Richard's Whinchats. There were plenty of birds shooting in and out of cover. Many Skylarks, Meadow Pipits...


Linnets and Yellow Wagtails...



The Sand Martin Colony is still in full swing. No sign of any Whinchats though.

On return I bumped into Richard who was going down for another go. After a chat I checked out the Clifftop. Glad I did as I had at least 3 Willow Warblers and a Garden Warbler (P.102, H.88) I was soon receiving a text informing me that...yep...he'd seen a couple of Whinchats! Never mind. He'd also had a female Goldeneye. Time to try again.

This time I approached from Out Newton. As I reached Old Hive a falcon shot inland at high speed...HOBBY (P.103, H.89). Always a pleasure to connect with this superb bird, albeit briefly. Still no joy with the Whinchat and the Goldeneye was no more. I gave it a good hour.

The fun wasn't over yet. As I was weeding the front garden I heard the familiar calling of a group of Long-tailed Tits. As they passed a gap in the hedge I managed to do a count (15). Then, a Willow Warbler hopping around on the floor, then another in the hedge. A third on the wire...


...along with some of the LTT...


Couple this with yet more Bullfinch appearances in the back, I'd say things are definitely on the up...