Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Traill goes cold

The bird has flown. Decided to place the Empid in 10th place in my Rush Bird list (although there was no rushing down the shingle! I see LGRE has decided it's an Alder?

Sunday, 26 September 2010

EMPID - postscript

A few thoughts:-
  • Great camaraderie between a lot of very tired but determined birders. Uplifting to see advice on distance and time left being freely given.
  • Glad it was there today - even though I saw it yesterday. Don't subscribe to the "hope it clears off" school of thought. Well done Haydn!
  • Whatever it is - I've seen it and it was great fun
  • Louise walking to the halfway house in horizontal hail is worth another mention. I'm a lucky boy!


Just got back. What a day! Got a great start leaving around 1.20. Great run down (A1 blocked solid going north at M18!). Arrived Cley 3.03, not bad. We set off but the weather was deteriorating...rapidly! I'd never had the 'pleasure' of the walk, but in a gale force North-westerly with driving rain it seemed like 6 miles. Louise being the trouper that she is, stuck it out for a good mile and a half, but we decided that with the time and distance left it was best for her to return to the car while I plodded on. Arrived around 5.45 to the news that it hadn't been seen for 10 mins. The wind was unbelievable. Just after 6 it popped out and showed very well low in the scrub. Oh happy day!

I'll post a few more thoughts tomorrow...

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Last optics quote - ever

If you've followed this Blog...the thoughts of Chairman etc (one for the teenagers), you must have noticed my ramblings on optics. Now I am content, (after much deliberation and flux) with my recently purchased mint condition Leica Trinovid 8x32 BN's and my Leica APO 62 'scope. Having tried them all and shelled out a quid or two it's very satisfying to STOP!!! You only have to check out the optics threads on Birdforum to realize the attraction of "a better view desired". I admit to having joined a discussion lately (sad I know!) but found it strangely cleansing. The desire for something better can make you constantly restless/dis-satisfied.
Hope this doesn't sound too smug but my personal search is over. If you want more the thread concerned is here...

and here's another

Key comment from Kevin Conville:-
"Once a certain optics level is attained, handling and ergos and je ne sais quoi count for more than absolute visual performance. As long as these are held in our hands, looking at real moving subjects, I believe this is true."

What do you think?

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Blog design?

I must admit to being tempted by the new templates on Blogger and I've seen some excellent efforts from my fellow bloggers. However not sure if I'm going to change yet. Like my old school design. At least I've worked out how to transfer my posts if I do decide to take the plunge!

Managed a Green Sandpiper at Duff this evening.

Weather looks very promising for the weekend?

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Damp Squib at Spurn

The forecast was for clearing skies after 12...the forecast was wrong! Still we put a good shift in from 10 till 4 but the rain kept on coming. Things started well when we walked in the Canal scrape hide to be greeted by my mate Vince informing us the Purple Sandpiper was showing well. This was the highlight of the day however. We walked around Easington hoping for a re-emergent Roller (always been a super-optimist) but surprise, surprise, no joy!! Spent the afternoon yomping around Kilnsea, peaking with 2 Song Thrushes near the Blue Bell, but finally admitted defeat and drifted home. You have to take the medicine some days...

Two good inland seabird records today. Wonder how many were missed? None at Duff unless they crash landed on the grass. Hoping the wet spell continues to flood the Carrs.

A few beauties in Europe at the moment

Superb photos of Brown Fly and Western Bonelli's on East Ayton Birding

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Something for the Autumn?

Added a link from the Met Office Site showing the Pressure Chart, so we can all create our rarity theories for the coming weeks!

Saturday morning round up

Started early this morning on Skipwith with Haydn. We had the suprising bonus of 2 Woodlarks at the west end of Sands Lane. Also had Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers (c6), Buzzard and Marsh Tit. Moved on then to the Carrs were we connected with another 3 Buzzards and a Kingfisher (again moving from river to scrape).
No sign of the cc Marsh Harrier.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Marsh Harrier still

Lovely stroll down the Carrs in the September sun this evening. 6 hot air balloons drifting over low was a relaxing sight indeed. The cc Marsh Harrier is still present and has been reliably seen in the central area of the reserve for the past week, often perching on fence posts. Large numbers of Swallows and House Martins also present. Hoping for a bumper weekend...

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Spurn Area - HOT!

After the ROLLER we now have a SQUACCO HERON!!! Quite a garden tick for Gary Featherstone. What an amazing place Spurn is. So glad I live in Yorkshire - and that's from a Lancastrian!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


We like to walk away from the central hub at Spurn, both to get some exercise and hopefully find something decent ourselves. So the news of a ROLLER on Sunday at Easington was a case of what might have been! Just gotta keep walking and looking...

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Old Friends

Arrived at Spurn around 10 and went straight to the point! Bumped into Joan Fine who I hadn't seen for ages. We used to go twitching together so we recalled a few of the better days. Nice to see you Joan. We then wound our way around the honeycomb of trails searching for the Wryneck. Not the easiest area or bird to achieve good views but after around 45mins managed to get a couple of decent flight views and a brief glance on the sandy path. On the way back to the car park we had great views of a migrant Great Spotted Woodpecker flying south. After lunch we walked via the Crown and Anchor car park (Spotted Fly and Blackcap) out to Sammy's Point. Managed 2 Little Egrets and 2 Wheatears on the Humber and a Redstart at Sammy's. Walked into rain on the way back and left about 4.

On the way home stopped off at North Cave Wetlands and Gary Dayes pointed out the juv Red-necked Grebe for us. Karl Dutton (Mr Blacktoft!) was also in the hide, hadn't seen him for quite a while also so we swapped holiday stories amongst other birdy stuff. Good to see you too pal!

A good day in the September sun.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Superb species breeding again!

Did the usual Skipwith Common/North Duffield Carrs mooch this morning. Haydn picked out a Water Rail on the common and I managed a cream-crown Marsh Harrier and a Kingfisher at Duff.

After my depressing comment on the Little Terns, I've just heard the fantastic news that Red-backed Shrikes bred on Dartmoor this year raising 2 young. I've been birding (just) long enough to remember seeing the last breeding pair in Norfolk in 1992.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Tragic Terns

Just received my copy of Yorkshire Birding. Browsing through it I read once again of the failure of our only Little Tern colony at Easington. Sad news indeed and heartbreaking for the warden who put in all those hours. I fully understand the "nature must take it's course" argument but surely we can give them a little more "help" combating predators? Otherwise, we won't have any at all soon!

Scilly starting to liven up. Nice shot of the L.G.Shrike on their website.
We'll be there 23rd October for a week...bring it on!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Duff follow up...the trail goes cold?

You may have noticed a report today from my patch...c120 Yellow Wagtails and 7 Whinchats!!! Impressive stuff indeed. So, after work I took the old lad down together with bins and scope to enjoy the spectacle. Tried hard for an hour. Total seen...NONE. Maybe they were out of view, maybe they had moved on, maybe they...

Takes me back to my "moment" in the spring with the Red-backed Shrike (just thought I'd mention it again). A few of the locals did mention that is was nice to actually "see" something in the valley!

Res' Cats casting aspersions again regarding the Brown Fly twitch. Following day, early morning only sightings are bound to raise eyebrows. Where did it go? The pressure to see the bird is great, BUT lets be honest chaps.

Controversial post for yours truly.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

A few loose ends

We popped to Spurn today with the prospect of strengthening east winds. The BIG one turned up at Buckton but still enjoyed the day. 3 Redstarts, 2 Wheatears and a Whinchat was the best we could do. Bumped into a few of the chaps including Richard Willison, Gary Dayes, John Grist and Andy Roadhouse. Talking about stuff it's interesting that experienced birders still get torn between twitching and staying on their patch! On a (much) lower level I feel the same about Duff. Love all kinds of Birding but the biggest kick is the patch find for me. Had a Swift this evening!!

Finally got round to finishing my North-east US trip report. It's a rather breif affair, focussing on my target birds as part of a wider sightseeeing trip.

Binoculars!!! Won't bore you (maybe I already have) but I've not been settled with various bins I've tried for quite a while. Picked up a thread on Birdforum that got me thinking.
So I searched and remarkably found a pair in mint condition. Have you ever had a favourite chair? (Frasier).
Like the lad says, not the sharpest, not the brightest but for me there's just something about them...the perfect fit. A classic pair to grow old with.

Anyone want to buy a pair of 8x32 Ultravid HD?!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Rush Bird 2 - Cliff Swallow

For those of you who have followed for a while I promised I'd tell a tale or two about my best twitches. Been a while now since 1 (see Labels).

So here's number 2...CLIFF SWALLOW at Spurn 23/10/1995

The bird had been seen on the previous day (Sunday) and as it was half-term I decided to give it a go on Monday morning. I arrived about 8am (it was a long time ago!) and joined the small crowd by the Caravan park. There was definitely anticipation in the air and this was well founded when Pete Pirenger suddenly cried "there it is!! You can guess the elation as the bird slowly drifted south right in front of us. Everybody (well most) then jumped in there cars and headed down to the Narrows. Sure enough within a few minutes we could see the bird approaching, again giving, as they say "crippling views". Obviously to see an american swallow in Britain and especially on the east coast was amazing. The rest of the morning was spent looking for the bird as birders in all attires screeched up and asked for the latest but it wasn't seen again that day, although there was a sighting on the 28th apparently.

Pushed into second place by the NIGHTHAWK, but still a tremendous RUSH BIRD!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Better Views Obtained - 2

After unsatisfactory "pinball" views last night I returned to Flamborough this afternoon to try and get a better view of the Eastern Olivaceous Warbler. I arrived after work about 5 to be greeted with long faces and  news of past sightings. After a couple of hours of scurying after various claims the bird was pinned down near the Style at the south west corner of Old Fall plantation. My mate Haydn arrived after much deliberating whether he could make it after work. Glad to say he timed his arrival perfectly as the bird started to show! Eventually the assembled crowd of c40 birders all enjoyed good views of the bird as it flitted in and out of the vegetation.

Glad I returned for much better views.