Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Scilly summary

Checked my records and happily I have reached 200 for Scilly! What was my 200th? Great White Egret. It's possible the Lesser Whitethroat I saw briefly was the Central Asian one that is still present on the Garrison. For the record my other additions were Kittiwake, Coal and Penduline Tits.

As previously mentioned not a classic week but always enjoyable and it didn't rain once. In fact the first three days were more akin to the Mediterranean. I'm a self-confessed Scilly addict. I've never been to Shetland or Fair Isle and have only made the trip to Orkney once for the first twitchable PALLID HARRIER in June '95. So, I can't comment on the Northern Isles and maybe one day I'll get there. It won't be for a one off twitch though which probably costs more than a weeks accommodation and food on the Scillies.

Scilly gives me:-

Good birds...sometimes great ones...always better than a week on the mainland.

Great memories

Fabulous scenery

Excellent Beer

We've managed to acquire a flat for next year which will save us a few bob. We'll be back on the 19th for a week.

Sadly no more sightings of these...

But hopefully still some of these!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

NEVER take sightings for granted!

Popped down to Easington again this Shrike, no Redstarts of either species and no reported Waxwings!! Although a Woodcock shooting through Easington Churchyard at head height was certainly unexpected.
Just goes to show, you've got to see 'em when you can, right...the sooner the better!

So, here's a few more images from yesterday...

A Binocular sized view!

Active confiding Redstart

Black one at Easington Church

Holmpton Sunset

Choughed on Scilly!!! One of the re-introduced Lizard birds surely but more exiting than a Rook? More from there tomorrow...

Monday, 29 October 2012

Back on the Patch

Spent the day down the road. First stop was Easington Cemetery but no sign of the GGS. Nice Brambling (P.166) and Redstart though. Plenty of thrushes but couldn't pick out a Ring Ouzel...I (very) rarely do!

About an hour later I managed to locate the Shrike (P.167) at the back of the Cemetery...

Always a star bird, I watched it for over an hour feeding in the immediate vicinity. It had a particular liking for bees.

Finished off at Easington Church and quickly connected with one of the Black Redstarts (P.168) that have been present there for several days. I had at least 4 birds.

Good news on my Scilly list but more of that tomorrow...

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Scilly reflections

Just got back! No rain all week. Not a classic year but always enjoyable. Never thought I'd twitch (and dip on) a Rook!!

My second
Camera wouldn't perform but you get the idea.

Again not a great shot but an excellent Scilly tick. It departed almost immediately after I arrived out of puff after a feeble attempt at a jog!
Also managed to see Penduline Tit plus one of "the Coal Tits". So by my reckoning I now stand at 198 for the Fortunate Isles.

I'll post more during the week but I've had it tonight...

Saturday, 20 October 2012


Arrived around 10. Weather glorious(sounds like a postcard!). Decided not to go for the Booted Warbler...too much of a rush and I'd seen one in 06. Long walk this afternoon around the Coastal path finishing up at Porth Hellick for the Ring-necked Ducks...hopefully? Dodgy signal and speed on I-phone. I'll post more when I can. Hopefully tomorrow when things liven up...

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

We're off!

Packed up and ready to go! We're staying at my eldest son's tomorrow night, dropping Bud off for the week. My other lad's coming over here to look after the cottage. The sea air will do him good.

Hopes always high, as regular followers will know from my "possibilities" photos!!

Seriously though, we just love the islands. First visit in 1991.I camped...but wised up in future years. I also took the Scillonian in a force 8 gale...never again!!!

There was a Spotted Crake which had been knocking around since early October which was a Lifer for me. Thing got much better when it transformed into one of these...

5 species required for my 200...

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Wet Wet Wet!

Strong westerlies here meant a quiet day (Pallas's Warbler at Flamboro' to be fair). I was just settling down for the (hopefully) BIG match match? Waterlogged pitch. Hang on...there's a roof? Ah, they left it open!!! Great idea and Beautiful Day by U2 playing over the tannoy...priceless!

Roy Hodgson

Game off 8.56...

Still no WHOPPER. If, no when it does arrive, hopefully it will be mainland this week, Scilly from Saturday!

I'll try to post while I'm over there to give a flavour of what's occurring. Here's another possibility I saw in Chicago...

My mate Tony Dixon saw the Prawle bird in '95...on the 18th!!!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Good morning!

Glorious weather so I decided to try once more for the Tawny Pipit. Walked south with "ma boy" from Easington until I reached the tern warden hut. A couple of other birders turned up but I decided to do my own thing due to my energetic young male! He did try to keep a low profile to be fair...

An hour later I still hadn't connected despite covering a large area. It was gone 11 by now but I was determined to give it a "good go" so I continued scanning. Then...there it was (S.105, P165) running around on the shingle and VERY well camouflaged...

A large bonus came in the form of this SEO near the car park...

Just had a text of Tony Dixon telling me his caravan is rocking in Cornwall...I hope that's from the westerly wind! Jet stream directed straight at Scilly...

Sunday, 14 October 2012


Finally connected with one this morning (S.103, P.163) down the peninsula albeit briefly. We then walked down to the point but the best we managed was a Stonechat. After the regulation pasty and beans we walked back to the car and bumped into Trevor Charlton. Hadn't seen him for quite a while. We go back a long way and it was great to catch up on old times. Great lad.

Also managed a few Fieldfare and Redwing (S.104, P164).

Missed the Jays and the Bearded Tit...and the Tawny Pipit!! We made the walk from Easington but the bird kept moving south and ended up by the hide at Beacon we gave up! Would have done it on my own but with a few dodgy clouds around I took the gentlemanly option and we returned north. There were slight similarities to Blakeney Point...Empid Fly!

Large numbers of Blackbirds in Holmpton today...

Awesome SEO photo on Spurn website

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Promising Movements?

As I sit here trying not to listen to come prancing (Bruce makes it just about bearable) I regret to report that my pager decided to pack up today!!! Marvelous timing in mid-October. RBA as usual provided great back-up and a replacement is on the way. It decided to start working again (with half a screen display) later this morning and hopefully will last until the replacement arrives? RBA also provided free texts. Excellent!

Easterlies tomorrow followed by a series of fast moving low pressure systems that will be winging their way across the Atlantic this week. Fingers crossed...

Why not?

Friday, 12 October 2012

Nuff said!


In these difficult times t'is quite a relief! I'll really miss the Carrs and will return on a regular basis. Holderness is the future though and I hope to spend many years scouring the area. Maybe I'll find something decent?

Any excuse for another pic!

BIG days ahead...hopefully...

Thursday, 11 October 2012


Computer or internet (or both) playing up tonight so the photo I was going to thrill you with won't be appearing. Grey Catbird was the offering which I took (guess where) in Chicago. No, I didn't see the controversial Anglesey bird. Maybe this year? At this rate I'll have been through most possibilities by the time I leave for Scilly on the 19th...earlier if a Lifer turns up.

More techno. I stumbled on Blogger stats which informed me I have in fact had over 51,000 hits of some description

Pageviews today 58

Pageviews yesterday 111

Pageviews last month 2,239

Pageviews all time history 51,028

This doesn't really tally with my Stat counter? Never mind. Just glad I'm not talking to myself!! Thanks again.

It did download after all...

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Save The Best For Last

No music for a looooong time, mainly due to my snail speed internet connection. However, heard this great song today and thought it my apply to this month...hopefully. Not bad to look at also...

Like Kingfishers...who doesn't! Try these!!!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Calm before the storm?

The magic month is having a lull but we all know that potentially, great things are possibly to come. More westerlies this week, so stand by yer beds! Seems to be more of a NW pull from Greenland through northern France.

Hopefully something will miss Ireland and hit the Fortunate Isles...

Monday, 8 October 2012


Pleased with my first local Black-throated Diver (H.108, P.161) this evening, seen at fairly close quarters. Nicely accompanied by a group of 8 Eiders (H.109, P162) flying south.

The Little Gull show continues with birds stretched out all along the coastline...a fabulous sight. Great to watch them feeding on the sea surface and in the air in their characteristic dainty way. At least one thousand, probably more. With large numbers at Spurn, it makes you wonder what the total number stretched out along the Holderness coast might be?

Sunday, 7 October 2012


Spent the day over at North Duffield partially emptying the house in preparation for next Fridays long awaited house sale completion! Great entertainment watching and listening to my 2 sons work out the best way to load the van!!

Nearly home when I got a text from Phil Jones informing me of a large group of Little Gulls off Withernsea sewage works. I joined him on the clifftop around 5 and enjoyed the wonderful sight of at least 2000 feeding less than half a mile out...

Easily the largest number I have ever seen and very fortunate to be able to enjoy this occurrence so close to home.

Note: I had seen a large group flying north off Holmpton last week but at much greater distance (H.107, P.160). Keep it quiet but it's actually a Patch lifer!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

More Owls!

Change of plan meant combing the village this glorious morning. Leaves falling more readily now so viewing those trees much easier and that's all I saw!

Needed to see some birds, so I had a drive down to Kilnsea Wetlands for a walk up to Beacon Ponds. At least that was the plan. Louise's car didn't co-operate however by losing power for some unknown reason.

This meant a call to Green Flag. Shortly after my phone call the pager informed me of a redhead Smew and 2 Goldeneye (both Spurn lifers) off the seawatching hut!! Your intrepid birder used te time wisely by scanning the flood bank and Sammy's. Around 3.40 I was looking at 3 SEO's and a Barn Owl hunting the Humber shoreline!

The breakdown truck rolled up 90 minutes later and sorted her out. I drove down to the seawatching hut but alas, by the time I scanned with my 'scope they were long gone.

Just been reading Andy Roadhouse's article in Yorkshire Birding regarding the Spurn Recording area. It seems it's been extended to include Easington i.e. the greater Spurn Area as outlined in the report. I'll have to review my records. WHITE'S THRUSH springs to mind!!!

Also, it seems we can all add Ring-necked Parakeet (371) to our Yorkshire lists...

Have you seen this bird?

Acorn crop failure in Europe...

Friday, 5 October 2012


Long walk along the clifftop this morning produced 5 Swallows and a Red-throated Diver. Business in Selby this afternoon then a walk with Bud at dusk producing 3 calling Tawny Owls again. A last glance out to sea and BINGO...Short-eared Owl hunting the clifftop fields to the north. About time a Barn Owl made an appearance.

MEGA count rising. Whopper in Ireland. Never been and never will. Britain for me. Must have saved a fair few quid over the years. Ireland is just in the way!

Need SYKE'S WARBLER but not enough to travel to Scilly...there'll be one on the East Coast eventually. Not sure that applies to the SWAINSON'S THRUSH though? Still pondering on that one. Too late now.

Saturday tomorrow, so it's off to Spurn. Hope something (really) good turns up...

Palm Warbler
 Although it's doubtful with a high pressure moving in from the Atlantic. You never know. At least the weather will be nice...

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Still there!

SWAINSON'S THRUSH still present on that far flung island. Mixed messages confusing the issue. A deceptive species on the rarity front. Yes, quite a few records BUT many shortstayers, especially recently.

27 accepted records, a 7 day bird on Shetland in 2007 and an 8 day bird on Scilly in 2000.

How about another one of these...

Taken in Chicago

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Nearly went

News of the continuing presence of the SWAINSON'S THRUSH on Barra prompted a phone call to my pal Tony Dixon in Flamborough. After checking weather forecasts (very good) and ferry timetables (not so good) we wimped out! Basically it would have meant 2 overnight drives and 2 days on Barra.

Maybe it will re-locate to the mainland or another will turn up on Scilly...after the 20th of course. Maybe pigs will fly?

I'll content myself with some I saw in Chicago a while ago. My pics were poor so here's a Northern Waterthrush that was walking around my feet!

30,000 hits!...thank you!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Called it!

Swainson's Thrush on Barra!! My pick. Pity it's on the Outer Hebrides. Tried to twitch a YELLOW WARBLER present there in '04 with Tony Dixon, Richard George and Erich Hediger. We made it up to Oban. The chaps slept in the car (cosy) while yours truly got a B&B. Yes I know, but in my defence I'd had a hip resurfacing 6 weeks previous!

We woke up next morning to a force 8 gale. The harbour looked like a washing machine. We later heard that a sub had got into trouble off the Outer Hebrides.

No bird.

There MUST be something lurking in the SW...

Monday, 1 October 2012


Busy day over in York today, doing this and that. Got back around 6 and took Bud up Seaside lane. I heard Tawny Owls calling almost immediately. Managed to get pretty close near North farm but couldn't manage a view. I reckon there were at least 3 different birds. Try again tomorrow...