Monday, 31 March 2014

Nearly there

There was one thing (and believe me this was the only thing) about getting up early on Sunday morning for work. You can check on the Lesser-black backed Gulls!! I'd presumed (you should never do this apparently) they were a pair, they may have been...but now there's THREE!

This morning only two birds present. both vigorously defending their chimney pot against a host of Herring Gulls...

Pic from last year
Quick trip to the cliff tonight produced a singing Song Thrush

Two more long days...then SIX OFF...hopefully to coincide with a flood of migrants?

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Things are looking up!

This cracker was found by my pal Phil Jones this morning at Withernsea Sewage Works. Unfortunately, it didn't wait around for me!

Clocks Spring forward tonight!

Hibernation OVER...

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Return of an old friend

Poor weather on my day off. Never mind, March has been very kind. Bud burst is well under way, Daffodils everywhere!

Had a brief look on the sea as the wind was in the North. A few RTD's moving...

but not much else.

Another trip to Sammy's drew a blank. A distant group of Mute's over Kilnsea was an unusual sight. Plenty of Brent's on the shoreline at high tide...

Lots of Oystercatchers drifting past...

I'd been checking the spot at Out Newton regularly hoping for a sighting of the Little Owl. I'd seen Barn Owls there frequently but no sign of it. Persistence paid of today...

P.91, H,57

Sunday, 23 March 2014


Not much happened this weekend. Brief trip to Kilnsea Wetlands/Beacon Ponds before work yesterday. A Common Scoter on BP was notable...

Rain set in early afternoon today but not before I paid a brief visit to Bannister St to check on "my" LBB Gulls. I was hoping for a few flight shots but they refused to budge during my visit...

Last word involving the converter lens. I took this image of one of the wind turbines at Easington (I'm a strange man).

It was taken at approx 100 yds and it was!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Photography (2)

Following on from yesterday, my point was that with today's technology even a dinosaur like me can get a decent image...from a decent distance. This allows everyone to enjoy the bird. We both know this ain't gonna happen!! We can but try.

Managed a few more promising shots with the converter this morning...

Oystercatcher, Easington
Red-legged Partridge, Snakey lane
As stated previously, the greater magnification doesn't, to my eyes at least, detract much from the sharpness of the image. No enhancements are used in my photos. I feel there are certain situations were the converter could be of great benefit. Then I won't get told off for being too close!

Enough on photography...

Tuesday, 18 March 2014


Mission statement: "I'm a Birder who takes photos for my Blog!"

I don't like it (somewhat of an understatement) when some chaps (selfishly) decide to push the boundaries and get too close...which sometimes means the bird gets flushed...and disappears!! Not good, especially if you've traveled hundreds of miles to see it!!!

It's as if there's an unwritten law that they can go "closer".

I haven't got a DSLR or/and a £5,000 lens, just a point and shoot 600mm equivalent . I have however a 1.7 conversion lens that brings the bird, not the photographer, closer... 1020mm equivalent. There's a Canon SX50 that has a 1200mm equivalent lens!

This morning I gave it an airing. A singing wren on the clifftop at about 30m...

not bad
Helicopter over the clifftop...

I personally find the above image amazing. Nothing to do with me (well maybe a little), but amazing affordable technology. I'll be experimenting more with some birds shortly...

Monday, 17 March 2014

Calm before the Storm?

Started in the village hoping for a migrant, maybe a Wheatear? No luck...but the fresh air was nice!

Next down to Kilnsea Wetlands. 24 Avocets!! A couple of White Wagtails were obviously new in...

Plenty of Brents coming and going. Very dapper...

I counted seven Whooper Swans in the adjacent fields...

A group of four

My luck was in when they decided to have trip to Beacon Ponds. The territorial male Mute didn't approve however...

They stuck it out for a while and then they were off...


A bit OTT I know...but I DO like Whooper Swans!

I decided to spend the last couple of hours down at Patrington Haven (after our first gardening session of the year). High tide was around 5.30 so I was interested to see what would turn up. On the way down I picked up a distant Marsh Harrier...

No raptors or Owls down by the Humber but impressive numbers of waders including at least 1000 Redshank. It was nice to be able to sit on the grass at this time of year!

Those migrants can't be far away?

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Number crunching

Taking it easy today after a (great) late, late night back in York with my ex-colleagues from School. So, a good time to review my year so far.

My PATCH year list so far is 90. In 2012 I managed 177 without much planning.

I'm fortunate enough to live in a prime birding area and I reckon with a bit more thought I could top


Time will tell...

Friday, 14 March 2014

A couple more "bits"

Not being the sharpest I didn't realize some readers comments don't show in my email, so I wasn't aware of them, but they are stored and I've just found and posted them! I received a nice compliment on some of my pics from Mark Heath. When you look at his pictures you can see why!!

I found this facebook page. If you love Owls like I do, you may want to join...

Review time

Time to take stock at the start of my mini-break. I've been trying to transfer my "old school" Bird Recorder programme to my new lap-top without success! The problem is I initially loaded it on floppy disc in the 80's! So I don't have the software. However, it has been transferred once but I no longer have the contact that did it.

I've bought the new version and transferred my records, so they are safe BUT I much prefer the format and simplicity of the old system. Trouble is if I continue to record on the old lap-top and it blows? If you know anyone who might be able to help transfer it I'd love to hear from you.

Just thought I'd share that with you...

Back to Birding.

The day started well with a garden lifer in the form of a fly-over Golden Plover, heard long before it eventually came into view. 

Next a trip north of With' to Sands-le-Mere campsite to see if the male Goosander I'd seen from the bus yesterday was still wasn't, but a fine Redwing was a nice bonus...

Next to "the sewage". Still no luck with the Grey Wag' or the 2 Stonechats Phil had seen a couple of days previous. So, lets see what's on the sea!

Gannets (P.90, H.56) at last! I reckon I saw at least 6.

I was going to go down Pat' Haven for high tide mid-afternoon but the wind picked up so I wimped out and went home to try and catch up with some long overdue tasks.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

25 RTD's

Made it home from a course before dark tonight. A scan from the cliff produced a good count of Red-throated's five of them...

Monday, 10 March 2014

Head down

Busy shifts this week at work...BUT 4 days off from Friday!

Thoughts are also starting to drift (understandably) towards this year's trip Stateside. We leave for Florida on the 13th April for three weeks. The countdown has started...

Here's a taster of one of the best sites for my number one target bird...

Sunday, 9 March 2014


More Buzzard (S.55) news this morning as I had one flying W over Sammy's. No (very) early migrant unfortunately...but I tried.

A Woodlark was reported flying S.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Migrant time?

Just checked my Spurn you do!

Earliest records for Wheatear and Sand Martin...9th March. That's tomorrow! It's started...

Winestead Buzzard

A few of the lads at work had mentioned to me that they'd seen a Buzzard in the Winestead area. I hadn't had any luck...until yesterday...

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Local stuff

After the weekend excitement it was back to local birding. Nothing wrong with that!

A trip down Snakey lane, at last, produced my year Red-legged Partridge (P.88, H.45)...

Further down the lane towards Patrington the Grey Patridges were still in their favourite field...

Even further down I heard a few Corn Buntings singing (P.89, H.46)...

you'll have to take my word for it!
Spent an hour or two with Phil who showed me some new sites in the area. At the last site, Stone Creek we were fortunate enough to see this Barn Owl hunting...

Just after I left him to head home, I caught sight of a raptor heading towards Patrington Haven. I lost it of course, but it tempted me to try and find it again.

I did...

Chuffed to pick it out with my bins
Closer...Cream-crown Marsh Harrier!

Then it moved because it was disturbed by a Buzzard!

Big late bonus.

Followed by another one. I was gutted to have missed the Aurora Borealis (one of the very few down sides of not watching the news!). Some great photos from fellow blogger Stringer here. BUT I had my own moment on this day at dusk...OK it's not the "Northern lights" but it's pretty unusual?

Photo as taken, not enhanced

Tuesday, 4 March 2014


What to do? I have a Pending list of birds seen in Britain which haven't yet been accepted...which I won't bore you with. One of them was Hooded Merganser. I saw the Whetsted Gravel Pits bird in Kent in 2012 and placed it on this list. Trouble id I then tend to (semi) forget about these records.

So, when I was recording my AMERICAN HERRING GULL I noticed this and checked with RBA previous records. It's been accepted! An armchair tick! This takes my (strictly) BOU British list to 489.

This is obviously reflected on my BUBO badge. I notice that some British lists on BUBO are not BOU. Birders can obviously choose to "follow" whoever they want but I do find this a tad mis-leading personally for comparison purposes.

I realise the AHG hasn't been accepted yet but I've stuck it on (so I don't forget!). If it gets rejected I'll remove it. Simple?

Monday, 3 March 2014

Larus Smithsonianus

I'd been thinking about "having a go" for the AMERICAN HERRING GULL for a while. The fact that I had a three day window off work fuelled things even more.

I must confess that Gulls are not my favourite family and I have my own thoughts on the Herring Gull complex BUT if the BOU say it's a species that's good enough for me!

My trip started on Saturday morning. Louise and my Mother had a serious shopping session planned. I did the honourable thing and suggested they'd enjoy it more without me tagging along...they agreed!

I hoped to make it to Campeltown mid-afternoon so I'd have a chance to connect before dark. A long shot I know but I like to live dangerously! I did OK for time but the weather let me down, badly. Leaden skies and heavy driving rain. Needless to say, I didn't connect.

I'd taken the lad with me so I gave him a good stretch then it was time to eat. I turned up a side street and there was Rab's Chippy! I didn't see C. NESBITT.

Next to the COOP for a few supplies. A few hours listening to the Footy then a quiet lay-by and down for the night.

The phone alarm woke me at six. Slept remarkably's been a few years since I slept in the car. pretty sure it was Oct 05 in Penzance before a week on Scilly.

I got down to the harbour around 6.20. Not a soul in sight. Plenty of Gulls in the harbour in the half-light. I started scanning. Around 6.40 I noticed a group of birders emerging from a car on the far side of the harbour. Reinforcements!

I walked round to join them. Still no sign...

Still no joy by 8am so a few of us decided to try the floods just north of town were it had been seen yesterday. Unfortunately, when we reached the floods there were very few gulls in sight. There were however some significant flocks of White-fronted Geese. I joined a birder from Cumbria called Geoff and we did a circuit which included passing the airport. No luck. Cracking Song Thrush in song though...

We returned to the floods and joined a small group. A few phone numbers were exchanged (always a good idea) and some of the chaps returned to the harbour. It was now around 8.45. The were now hundreds of Gulls on the flood, most of them immatures! Quite a daunting sight to be honest. A few possibles were grilled but nothing definite.

I reckon there were only around 15 of us looking for the bird and at this point my hopes were starting to fade a tad.

Then a phone rang. An excited conversation that could mean only one thing...someone had found was in the Harbour!!!

Drove with purpose back to harbour. Approached the group of birders scoping across the harbour in a reasonably calm way. A quick look through a 'scope. BINGO!

It's out there somewhere?

I found the lad who'd spotted it flying in and thanked him...most sincerely!

I decided to hang around a while. Partly to enjoy the moment and partly to rest up before the long journey (420 miles) home. I also hoped I might get some flight views.  Obviously I had no idea in which direction it would fly. Fortunately, it came my way...

Looks promising
Here it comes...


It's here...

Back View...

Round the harbour again...

Over my head to finish...

So, that's it.

I still get a buzz from making these trips when I can. You can't win 'em all...but you can try!