Friday, 29 May 2015

Bonus sighting

I went down to Kilnsea after work to see if I could see the Spoonbill again, it had been reported earlier.

It took me 15 minutes to get out of the car after the heavens opened. It was a short walk to the safety of the hide were I began to scan. No sign of the Spoonbill just the over protective Avocets (4 young noted) and a couple of Little Egrets.

Then I noticed a couple of distant gulls...

They started flying around at the far end. The flight style was Tern-like, almost floating, low over the water. Could only mean one thing...Little Gulls! (P.108, S.86).

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

A brighter post

After yesterdays depressing post I have something a little more uplifting tonight. No, it's nothing to do with the weather!

Half term meant my shift finished early. A message to say a Spoonbill was in the triangle was all I needed to head down. Within 5 minutes I was looking at it, albeit distantly. The weather was deteriorating so I thought I'd try the campsite. When I arrived I noticed a sign saying "no unauthorised entry". Being a good lad, I followed the advice. I then tried the canal bank from the Crown and Anchor end. After a bit of shuffling I managed a record shot...

The bird was around 80 yds away and constantly on the move. Always nice to see especially locally. It's almost certainly the bird seen earlier today flying south at Flamborough. The extra habitat around the peninsular is definitely encouraging more birds to stick.

As on all previous occasions during the past week a/the Cuckoo put in yet another appearance despite the now heavy rain...

Even after leaving teaching I'm still getting Half Term bonuses!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015


I usually report when something has happened or I have something riveting to say.

Neither are the case at the moment I'm afraid...but I'm still here!

Things can change of course...hopefully SOON!!!

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Sloooow times

Is this really the end of May? Where are all the birds? I've seen 2 Swifts so far this year! VERY quiet at the migrant watch points. Even scarce birds like Wryneck and Red-backed Shrike are absent. Obviously the weather systems play a major part but even so it's a strange one.

The 24th of May is one of my key days in the Birding calendar. Lets hope I'm right this year!

Spent an hour down at the Canal Bank again this morning. I didn't try for the Golden Oriole on Beacon lane although it was seen (typically) briefly around 8. It was 11 before I made it down. In my defence I was on the last bus.

A Tufted Duck on the scrape was notable...

The Cuckoo was still around and I'd heard it calling from various locations.Then as on previous days it flew in and landed on the sea buckthorn...

Flight shots were difficult as it kept breaking the speed limit...


Turtle Dove - NO

Went on a Patch twitch to Church Field, Kilnsea yesterday morning. I gave it an hour in a nicely developing area but no luck with the now rare Turtle Dove thanks to our "friends" in the Med.

What else would I expect to see at lunchtime?

Not this...

Following on from my personal views on splitting of species I've just read on my pager that a SUBALPINE WARBLER sp has been trapped and ringed at Portland Bill? Does something seem odd to you or is it just me?

Friday, 22 May 2015

Searching hard

Day off...therefore Blog post! I've got a couple of late shifts Friday and Sat (which gives me most of the day) otherwise clear until Wednesday so hopefully available if something breaks while I'm out on the Patch.

Well we're into late May and I have to say the quality of migrants in both numbers and species is very poor. There's plenty of time yet and I'm sure there are "good birds" to come. Hopefully?

The local Sand Martins are back at Intack near the sewage plant. It's one of my doggy walking spots (and Phil's local patch). They use the puddles to collect mud for their nests. Using the car as a hide I managed to catch them in action this morning...

Next down to Long Bank, Kilnsea for lunch. Might as well eat somewhere were I might see somert. I did! It came in from the south...

Sinister silhouette
A jizz that just exudes power.

It then descended and flew low around the field a few times...

Finally coming to rest at about 80 yards...

Had to be a female.

Next up onto the floodbank at Beacon Ponds on a wonderful afternoon. The Avocets were there usually noisy selves obviously agitated by our passing. At least one pair already have young. They are wonderful birds however...

Five minutes in the hide at Kilnsea wetlands produced a decent view of a Little Tern...

The last couple of hours were spent along the canal bank watching the elusive Cuckoos! They are VERY quick and flighty. I failed miserably in my attempts to get a decent flight shot. In my defence they spent most of the time south of me and therefore into the sun. This was probably about the speed they were going!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Fleeting glimpses

We braved the strong wind this morning and took Bud on the beach at Spurn. He loves the sea and is completely fearless. Not many birds abut or birders for that matter which was a bit surprising for mid-May?

Still we continues our walk. We'd just reached the Canal bank when I noticed something unusual in a distant bush. Medium sized and stocky, then a flash of white rump. Could it be? Yes...a Jay! (P.107, S.87)

I was pretty sure this was a Spurn tick (confirmed later). The bird then took off and was lost to view. I then picked it up again flying towards Big Hedge...then another...after fumbling with the camera I tried to get a record shot (which wasn't easy with the speed of the birds and the strong wind. Somehow I managed to get something in the viewfinder...

I only noticed the second bird when I downloaded my pictures! All three then crossed the road and made their way to the back of Canal Scrape...

Then they were gone! We walked to the car at the Blue Bell and drove to the Crown and Anchor so we could walk back down the canal but we never saw them again. I reckon they were in view for less than two minutes.

We then heard the familiar sound of a Cuckoo fairly close by. As is often the case I couldn't see it. Then I picked one up over the reedbed, then another, then another!! Again I pointed and shot...

I like the following pictures because they portray the speed at which these birds were travelling in the strong wind...

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Seen as well as heard

I'd HEARD a few Cuckoos over the last few weeks but never managed to SEE one. That thankfully changed this morning at Easington Cemetery...

Friday, 15 May 2015


I was in the right place at the right time (for a change) at Spurn this morning...

Just made it from Sammy's with Mick Turton before Paul Collins released it. Such a cool bird (P.107, S.85), totally relaxed. Great to see some of the locals including Steve Exley and Andy Roadhouse who was telling me about his recent trip to Australia were he saw his Cassowary House! I unfortunately failed in 2003 at the same spot. I may return one day?

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Letting one go!

...if you'll pardon the expression.

The last day of my three day break had me at Blacktoft hoping to see the Montague's Harriers. I'd taken Bud and couldn't leave him in the car so I was scanning from the public footpath by the sharp bend. Optimistic I know but they had performed over the car park on occasions and they do like arable land. Besides he had a great time!

No luck in an hour then yet again a MEGA alert!

MEGA Norfolk MOLTONI'S SUBALPINE WARBLER male Blakeney Point in Plantation at 12.14pm

I was already at Goole so I reckoned 3 plus hours with favourable traffic. Ah BUT then there's the walk along the shingle for 3 MILES!! Don't be a whimp. I like to think I'm fairly resilient but the state I'm in at the moment it would be just too much and don't forget the 3 miles back! Also it just didn't er...hit the spot. The previous three birds this Spring definitely but not this. Yes it's a tick and as you know like most of us I like a tick (never grown up).

Expressing opinions on on-line forums can be fraught with hassle as I've found out in the past. I'm a big boy and it doesn't bother me but I prefer to air my personal views here...if that's OK.

Believe it or not I'm not a scientist! I do find all the recent splits less than inspiring however. Also as well as splits some are lumped...sent the other way?

Caspian Gull
Iberian Chiffchaff
Sykes Warbler

To name but three. Race or Species?

Birds that can only be identified by song/call. Extremely subtle differences in plumage. Don't get me wrong if the authorities deem it so...then so be it...and I'll go and see it, if I can. I just won't try a yesterday.

Just a personal opinion you understand. Best not to take it TOO seriously.

Now then, suppose a BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER had been in the Plantation...mmmmmmm?

Monday, 11 May 2015


The day started slowly after a night out. Just having breakfast when the dripping tap started.

MEGA: Norfolk CITRIL FINCH Burnham Overy Dunes at west end of Holkham Pines at 9.15 though elusive

Response...finish breakfast and have a shower? Playing it cool? No...just half asleep still!!

It was probably around 10 when we eventually set off. Had a clear run down the boring fenland. Stopped off at a McDonalds for lunch (more time wasted) but as Louise said "we have to eat".

Found Lady Anne's drive easily enough and parked along the driveway...plenty of room. I'd seen on the pager that it was approx 1.5 miles walk to the site which was going to be a problem for yours truly. Anyway, with a few stops I managed to eventually make it. Brought back (very) distant memories of the RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH chaos many moons ago. As I approached the group I saw quite a few coming away (never a good sign) and sure enough when I joined the crowd the bird had flown off.

How long ago I asked. "10 minutes" was the reply! Shower...McDonalds!! As I beat myself up I was joined by Trevor Charlton (great to see him) who also told of how he could have been here sooner (a common trend in twitcher hard luck stories). We consoled ourselves! There was obviously still plenty present and more were arriving by the minute.

A distant Hobby was nice...

It had apparently disappeared for periods previously so hopes were still fairly high. Half an hour passed with no sightings. Things were tense. Then a flurry of movement. The bird was seen briefly in flight, twice. All went quiet again.

Fifteen minutes later it was re-located (well done that man/woman) and we were all enjoying decent views of it feeding on the ground. Not as close as previously apparently but good enough. You could have easily overlooked the bird if you didn't know it was there...

It was fairly mobile whilst feeding but it did perch for periods...

Best I could get...

What a Spring we're having! 2 seconds and one third for Britain.

Sunday, 10 May 2015


Quite a Spring we're having!!!

Off to bed now. Full story tomorrow.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Late Spring?

Cool conditions this morning. I had a walk down to Old Hive. No Sand Martins...yet? Very strange!

I haven't seen a Swift yet!

Checked out my line of trees...which is going to produce a MEGA one day!! Nothing.

Apologies for the less than inspirational post...but that's the way it is at the moment. Plenty of potential left this month however.

It's that slow I had to resort to updating my year lists!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015


I'd never seen a RTP in summer plumage so I'd been contemplating a visit. A decision to visit Mother in deepest Lancs settled it.

Took us a while to find the location. A combination of Bank Holiday traffic and dodgy minor roads delayed our arrival somewhat but we eventually found the tell-tale line of cars. The admiring group were in view from the car...

Have to say Pipits are not my favourite family of birds but this one was a stunner. So glad I made the effort and fortunate the weather was kind. It stood out even at distance...

It then did a tour of the surrounding area in the company of the Meadow Pipits. It also disappeared for intervals of 10 minutes or more. I was hoping to get some decent pictures of this cracking bird. With patience (one of my strong points!) I was able to enjoy the bird down to 30m for a considerable length of time. I also bumped into my mate Vince...nice to see you again pal. Below are a series of images showing various features of it's plumage.

Last of my long day shifts tomorrow. A late one on Friday the 3 days off. Time for some intensive Patch birding...

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Here and there

Bank holiday Monday saw us visiting my Mother in Bury. Just took a little detour to see a rather splendid Pipit with a terracotta throat!

Tonight I managed to make it down to Kilnsea Wetlands after work to eventually see a Dotterel.

That's all for now. It's bedtime!