Thursday, 30 June 2016

Summer 17 - Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, USA

I hope to go?
As you're almost certainly aware I'm keen on my ABA Birding. Nothing comes close personally regarding trips abroad. Additions to my list are becoming increasingly tough to achieve. There's always a way however. One is to get on board again and do some Pelagics. Always a  mixed blessing as my sea legs are poor. It's never stopped me in the past (maybe slowed me down a tad) and with the help of...
Things have improved greatly.
I've been fortunate to do many trips of the West Coast around San Francisco with Shearwater Journeys and even managed a MEGA in the form of HAWAIIAN PETREL. To increase my list though I now need to look to the East Coast and the famed site...Cape Hatteras
My targets?
Black-capped Petrel...what a beauty!
Wilson's Storm-Petrel 
Leach's Storm-Petrel
and-rumped Storm-Petrel
With reasonable luck I should secure these 4 on one trip...there I've said it now!
Thinking BIG there's a possibility of...
Tridade Petrel
Fea’s Petrel
Bermuda Petrel
Red-billed Tropicbird
White-tailed Tropicbird
European Storm Petrel
ALL have be seen in late May/early June

Also seen regularly are...
Cory's Shearwater
Great Shearwater 
Audubon's Shearwater 
I've seen these species elsewhere but they are certainly not to be dismissed, especially the views and numbers involved!
To give you an idea of the quality species and views achievable take a look at these posts...
I hope you enjoy viewing these images and reading the accounts, I did! I may be tempted to go late May and risk missing a BIG 1 here? All pie in the sky at the moment but I can dream...can't I?

Tuesday, 28 June 2016


The older I get the more I appreciate the achievement of this team. Especially when I reflect (not often) on what has followed!!!
Alf Ramsey from 1963 to 1974 (69-17-27)
Joe Mercer in 1974 (3-1-3)
Don Revie from 1974 to 1977 (14-7-8)
Ron Greenwood from 1977 to 1982 (33-10-12)
Bobby Robson from 1982 to 1990 (47-18-30)...
Graham Taylor from 1990 to 1993 (18-7-13)
Terry Venables from 1994 to 1996 (11-1-11)
Glenn Hoddle from 1996 to 1999 (17-5-6)
Howard Wilkinson from 1999 to 2000 (0-1-1)
Kevin Keegan from 1999 to 2000 (7-4-7)
Peter Taylor in 2000 (0-1-0)
Sven-Goran Ericksson from 2001 to 2006 (40-10-17)
Steve McClaren from 2006 to 2007 (9-5-4)
Fabio Capello from 2008 to 2012 (28-6-8)
Stuart Pearce for a single game in 2012 as a caretaker (0-1-0)
Roy Hodgson...
Our managers since we won with Sir Alf (who also ended up getting slaughtered) in 66. Luckily I was old enough (9) to remember it, the win that is. Since then we've tried home legends, top coaches and foreign gurus. ALL have failed to win anything. They can't all be useless?
We've also had some great players BUT they rarely perform when the heat is on. 6 tournament knock out wins since 66!!! Other countries players seem to grow when they put the shirt on, we shrink.
ALL players feel "pressure" but others handle it better. Our learning curve must stretch to the moon by now.
I want my country to win as much as the next man/woman but I can only come to the conclusion that we lack one thing.
Politely you could call it TEMPERAMENT or more bluntly BOTTLE!
The players should react to the game and show leadership and fight ON the field. Why was Wayne Rooney marking the target for the long throw? Why did Walker leave his man? Why couldn't Hart throw his cap on that shot? etc GUTTED.
Next season we'll all be watching the England players doing extraordinary things for their clubs, which will be even more irritating. Thing is, that's small potatoes compared to stepping up and performing for your country on the BIG stage. Look at the Irish and Welsh!
This morning I'm hearing the "Big Man" theory. Andy Carroll should have gone. Maybe but again a desperate tactic. Bring him on and hump it up! Surely we're better than that? Ex-players coming up with their theories, the same players who also failed.
We now have the next manager merry-go-round. Will it make any me a favour!
The fans deserve more, much more but maybe we just haven't "got it"?
Tragic really..
Had to get that off my chest

Monday, 27 June 2016

List update

As you may have read I tried to cram as much Birding in as I could during the pre-operation period knowing that I'd be laid up for quite a while afterwards. As a consequence I didn't update my lists. Now I have all the time in the world so I've done it. Lists are very personal and to be honest pretty boring to other birders! Anyway...for the record I've managed to increase my Patch year total to 149 and my Spurn to 133 (I think). Whilst checking through the additions I noted that I'd achieved second records for Golden Oriole and Rough-legged Buzzard. Also I'd seen my first local Turtle Dove for 10 years, which considering the plight of this bird is hardly surprising.

Things are progressing slowly regarding the hip but no matter. I've plenty of things to keep me occupied and I want it to heal properly...obviously!

England v Iceland this evening could make the BP soar!

A few decent birds Stateside at the moment.

Friday, 24 June 2016

The Vote!

Well..."we're" out?

I totally accept the right of the individual to make their own choice. I wouldn't want to upset anybody! I don't have to agree with it though. As a 59 year old I've seen a few changes over the years and I'm as patriotic as anyone.

Will our own lot do any better at running the Country?

We're all pretty selfish if truth be told. Personally my main concerns are for my children and wildlife. I fear both are going to be hit HARD by this decision. Financial uncertainty is inevitable and I'm particularly concerned about their Mortgages which could soar.

As for Wildlife...I'm afraid the future looks bleak indeed.

WWF " Britain’s membership of the EU has delivered benefits for our environment – such as reduced air and water pollution, reduced carbon emissions, increased recycling, clean beaches and protected areas for rare species and habitats - that would be hard to replicate in the event of the UK leaving. The report also goes on to highlight the risks and uncertainty associated with likely exit scenarios"

RSPB "We have always believed that, because nature transcends national boundaries, it needs cross-border co-operation to protect it and a common set of international standards that enable it to thrive, he said. As the Prime Minister rightly points out, UK membership of the EU has benefitted nature and the environment in ways that would be hard to replicate if we left. The RSPB will not be telling people how to vote, and we recognise that voters will be weighing up a range of issues when casting their votes on 23 June. However, we want a secure future for our most precious wildlife and the places they call home"
A final point...
I'll let you work this one out regarding the effect on our youth...
I've always liked the saying..."if it's not broke, don't fix it!" Overall, I didn't think it was...

Thursday, 23 June 2016 help our Wildlife


EU legislation on species and habitats sets standards for nature protection; but there is more to do to implement these laws fully.
In just over a decade the bittern, a rare bird which lives in reed beds, has been brought back from the brink of extinction in the UK. This was done through reed bed restoration projects driven by the EU Birds and Habitats Directives.
But if we vote to leave the EU, this piece of legislation will no longer apply, and EU funding would cease for many conservation projects. Even if the UK puts similar legislation into place in the future, there is likely to be many years of uncertainty ahead which threatens the progress we’ve made in protecting our precious wildlife.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Vote

It's the BIG Vote tomorrow then. Far be it for me to influence your decision BUT as your interested in Wildlife you may wish to read THIS before voting.

A few pics...and films

Nearly two weeks since my Op. Things seem to be moving (wrong word) nicely. My thigh swelling has decreased but I'm still struggling to bend my leg. I'm being a good lad and keeping my weight off it. I've still got 4 more weeks with the crutches. Patience my boy!
A forced lay-up means I can do some of the things I'd been putting off till now. One is cleaning up my bank of photos. Below are a few I thought would be worth posting.
A definite WHITEthroat!
Turtle Dove
Yellow Wagtail
Another is watching some classic films. Yesterday was the longest day. Today I watched the
A film I saw with my Dad when I was 6 years old. Watching it again today was a nostalgic experience. An epic if ever there was one...

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Nice and easy does it!

Slow progress on the old war wound. My surgeon is very pleased with my X-rays which is a great relief!! Euro 16 is an excellent tonic for yours truly. Especially our results so far.

I would love to have seen the GREAT KNOT (in Norfolk) and the Caspian Terns (in Lincs) but that won't be happening. I'm going to be laid up for quite a while yet. I hope to provide some entertainment on here (between matches) but there obviously won't be much on sightings!

My present state will allow me to tidy up the Blog and help plan my French Pyrenees trip (9th - 23rd Aug).

I HAVE to be up and about by then...

Sunday, 12 June 2016


Back home tomorrow...

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Bonus post

I have an hour to spare while I wait for my train in Hull.
I got VERY lucky this morning down the road. I gave it an hour on Beacon Lane hoping the Golden Oriole would didn't. As I got back to the car I heard Mick Turton report a possible Bittern over the Humber! I drove down to the Crown and Anchor just in time for it to be confirmed as a Night Heron!!!
I think I'm correct in saying it's only my 2nd in Yorks (maybe Britain?). My first was in 1987 (I think)...where? You guessed!
As I watched it flying over Kilnsea Wetlands car park another message came through from Mick...Kite! Possibly Black (that would have been nice!!!). It turned out to be a Red with better views. Still an amazing 10 minutes.
Yesterday afternoon I popped into Hull to try for a Little Ringed Plover. With the help of directions from Gavin I found the spot. I think I can safely say the bird showed well...
Another bird I haven't seen enough of over the years.
Got to trains due...

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Last day

Today was my last full day before I go to London for my long overdue hip operation. There's one thing about it. It will stop me mentioning it on here!

I had a great day today with lots of good sightings. Trouble is I'm just too tired to do it justice, so it will have to wait until I return home.

I hope to be back home by Monday...
Here's a pic of the Golden Oriole at Spurn taken by Phil Jones to keep you going...

Monday, 6 June 2016


A lie in may have cost me a glance at a Golden Oriole early this morning on Beacon Lane. My fault!
By the time I reached Easington there was no further news but as I passed the Gas Terminal I was extremely pleased to see a Peregrine...carrying nest material! I'd seen birds on the tower previously but not recently. A fine sight and great to have locally. I think I can safely say that I'm not endangering this breeding attempt within one of the most closely guarded facilities in Britain!
As I was driving down Easington straight I heard news of a close in Bonxie flying South over Beacon ponds. I didn't pick it up. I only had an hour as we were visiting the garden centre again to finish things off before my Op'.
Fortunately great news came through pronto... BEE-EATER on the wires at the Warren!!!
As I arrived at the gate I could see the bird was still on the wire. Excellent. I parked up and made my way down the road. A few of the chaps were already present. It was very flighty but thankfully stayed within the immediate area. It performed wonderfully well, giving fantastic flight views and perching regularly.
On the fence behind the bushes...
On the fence in the the sunshine...
A blur spooked by a Crow...
On the wire against the sun (unfortunately)...
...and finally in flight...
Top Bird!

Friday, 3 June 2016

Return to NDC

I've had a belly full of this N wind. So after a quick dog walk on the beach at Spurn and no news of any "new birds" I decided to head couldn't be any colder...could it?
I stopped of briefly in Hull at the O2 shop to confirm I don't need a smart phone!
I arrived at my beloved (historic) Patch at 1pm. My gamble had paid off as it was 18c and sunny! After gathering my stuff I turned to look across the field next to the car park...
It looked a picture
I could see 2 slim falcons?
Far too quick for my camera...unfortunately. They made some interesting noises as they shot off east from the field. Always special.
Amazingly not 30 seconds later a Tawny Owl flew across the field!!!? This time I DID get an image, although that's being polite...
A record shot..just!
What a start! I like to think my old pal had something to do with it...
His favourite spot
I decided to try Garganey hide first. As I opened the    I could see the GWE in the distance. My luck continued for after around 20 minutes it flew onto the bank some 80 yds away...
Still knocked out to have this elegant species on my Patch. You can imagine how many hours I've looked out onto the Carrs, so to finally see this possible addition was very satisfying indeed. I like to think I savour these sightings more these days. A massive benefit of watching somewhere for a long time. It soon flew back to the centre of the reserve. It does look very settled (there I've put the mockers on it now)...
My new pal enjoyed the day too...
It's still my favourite spot, if a little sad sometimes...

Thursday, 2 June 2016

(Not so) Common Rosefinch

After passing my M.O.T. in London for my Op' yesterday, I needed some fresh air this morning...and boy was it fresh!
I intended to try for the Montague's Harrier again by taking Buddy up onto Beacon Ponds and scanning Easington Straight. As I reached Kilnsea Wetlands car park a message came on the pager informing me that the Common Rosefinch was still present at John Hewitt's Driftwood Caravan Park. I decided to give it a try, especially as I'd have been cut to ribbons up on Beacon Ponds!
As I arrived I saw Phil and around a dozen other birders scanning the bushes. It was soon heard singing which was very nice. This was a first for me...the singing that is. It was very mobile and difficult to "get on" in the strong N wind.
The group typically started to disperse after a while. I decided to hang around the area a tad longer. Phil re-joined me and we spent some more time around the Caravan Park. The bird re-appeared and we got great views.
Phil asked if I fancied a brew so I joined him in his caravan. He showed me some footage of the CR on his new camcorder. Very impressive! Half way through my cuppa a message over the radio told us that the Montague's Harrier was showing again over Beacon Ponds! Scramble...
I rather rudely left Phil (sorry pal) and shot down to Easington straight. No sign of course. Phil joined me 10 minutes later and within another 5 we had it...albeit distantly...
A Spurn tick!
We watched it for around 10 minutes but it was always distant.  If only I'd been on the flood bank? Still, mustn't be greedy. The weather was still grim but this cracking bird lifted the spirits...significantly!
After another chat with Phil I returned home for lunch.
I spent a further couple of hours up on the embankment at Beacon Ponds hoping for a closer look at the MH but it wasn't to be.
The views of the Rosefinch were VERY satisfying however...