Friday, 30 August 2019

My Bury

It seems there is no salvation for my home town team. A tragic and very, very sad predicament.

Still hoping for a miracle. If not, we will rise again.

Up the Shakers!


Much controversy! There's always doubt if you don't see it, I include myself here. Anyway, here's my account...not a justification...

After staying till dusk on Tuesday I kipped in the car at Marizion. After an essential McDonald's at 6 I parked in the same spot as yesterday (free) and made my way eventually up to the Chapel at St Ives again. Plenty already there. The morning was clear but rain was forecast. The crowd built up and included Dave Hursthouse and John Hewitt from my neck of the woods.

Just before 8 much agitation ensued. I had my pal on the lead, so I made my way into a clearer area. Birders were giving instructions to the relevant area across to Carbis Bay. You could see the beach beyond with a number of posts and dog walkers. There was an obvious group of Gannets fishing in the usual way, instructions were helpfully being given although there was some understandable confusion over which post on the beach they were referring to.

Anyway, I zoomed my Leica APO and started to watch the feeding group. I almost immediately picked up a very dark bird which kept lower over the water. To me, it looked slighter, slightly smaller. A different structure/jizz and "scuffier". It was more agile than the accompanying Gannets which were obviously great for comparison. It also fed differently. I saw it three times over around 10 minutes and on a few occasions saw it dive at a narrow angle, unlike the Gannets. It stood out once located and was always low over the water. On my final view the bird banked up slightly, front on and I could see a distinctly paler area on the belly. It then flew off further round the bay. I was now happy I had seen the BROWN BOOBY.

The rain closed in and I found out my waterproof coat...wasn't!

As stated this wasn't a lone bird fly-by. The fact it remained in one area with Gannets to my mind aided ID greatly. Yes it was at distance...BUT I could see the difference. Nothing I have read subsequently has made me doubt my sighting, in fact it has been confirmed.

The crowd dispersed and I made my way down to the adjacent Coastguards were other Birders had connected including Paul Chapman, who I overheard saying "100% Brown Booby".

Experienced Birders will know that birds CAN be id'd at distance. As said initially there will always be scepticism in this game BUT you have to have the courage of your convictions. Otherwise, what's the point?

P.S I've subsequently heard the bird followed a similar pattern of behaviour yesterday.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019


Pulled over on the A30 as it's at a standstill at the moment.

Happy I saw the bird early am. Worked hard for it!

Obviously late back tonight and working tomorrow. Full write up to follow...

Tuesday, 27 August 2019


I arrived around 4pm. Interesting place to navigate St Ives! Some impressive hills also...

Groups of Birders dotted about at various vantage points...

I'll cut to the chase... the bird wasn't seen.

From what I could gather it was seen initially from the harbour. Early afternoon there was another distant sighting. Nice to bump into a jubilant Brett Richards (who gambled last night) and Mark Halliday. I also received a call from Dave Hursthouse who was watching from the other side of the bay.

Worth another stab in the morning...


MEGA Cornwall BROWN BOOBY again St Ives fishing offshore at 7.45am

Just having lunch (12.45) at the very impressive Gloucester services. The bird was confirmed this morning, seen well in St Ives Bay, Cornwall.

No further sign after 8.15am.

Raining hard now. What to do? Yes, another long shot've heard all the cliches!


Monday, 26 August 2019

Warming up

...and it's not just the weather!

Another scorcher here today. After spending the weekend in Lancashire sorting my Mother's garden out and sharing a VERY special Test Match with her (quality moments), I took it easy today before having a stroll down the cliff this evening. Glad I did as I found a Pied Flycatcher (P.118, H.95) in the Sycamores at the bottom of School Lane. I noticed a movement as soon as I got out of the car and there it was motionless for a couple of seconds on a bare branch. Always special. It did return for a moment and I got a record shot, unfortunately my camera had decided to change settings to a high ISO hence the snow scene...

For the record
I then had my usual scan of the horse paddock. A bird on a post...Whinchat, then another...

Amazingly FOUR were present on the posts! Great to see migration in progress...

Despite searching I couldn't relocate any of the birds, it was all over in 5 minutes!

The LRP at Kilnsea Wetlands showed well on Thursday...

Some interesting claims during the heatwave...BROWN BOOBY and an EAGLE sp

Anything's possible I guess...

Saturday, 24 August 2019


Weekend at my Mum's. She's making a great recovery from her hip replacement. She's a sports nut like me, which helps the conversations! We're both preying for a successful conclusion to the Shakers plight?

Anyway, mid-afternoon I luckily remembered an appointment with a classic.

Off to Rochdale Station. Due at 3.30...she was bang on time...


Never tire of seeing one of these beauties in full steam on the mainline. Long may it continue...

Thursday, 22 August 2019


During the regulation walk first thingish I received a message from Richard informing me he'd just seen a Peregrine (H.92) on prey on Seaside Lane. Five minutes later I was watching this magnificent bird enjoying its unfortunate breakfast...

No sign of the Western Bonelli's Warbler at Spurn this morning...

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Catch up

Today I continued my tried and trusted policy of "nice and easy does it" least for year listing! After covering Holmpton early morning, during which time I finally bumped into a couple of Mediterranean Gulls at Old Hive, I made my way down the road to try for a few Patch/Spurn Year ticks.

I walked the Canal and picked up "non-singing" Sedge and Reed Warbler...don't laugh! No Coot though. As I approached the Crown & Anchor I spotted a couple of Turnstones on the foreshore. Then a Wheatear, then two. My final count in 50 yards was SIX!

Well Field produced 5 Whinchats and a Stonechat.

I then stopped off at Sykes Field to try for the Marsh Warblers that had bred there. First bird...Marsh Warbler, seen well albeit briefly...not again in 30 minutes.

Finally back to Kilnsea Wetlands for a sit in the hide. Only one Birder present. A peaceful hour was spent enjoying what came and went. A LRP gave great views in front of the hide, always a pleasure to see...

Late news this evening of a Bonelli's Warbler sp South of the breach. News broke at 6.30pm. I was tempted BUT...

I've seen Western at Spurn before. The odds are heavily stacked towards it being this species...time of year, previous records nationally...backed up later by response to tape, strongly suggesting the "commoner" species. No call was heard.

Might pop down in the morning, if still present. I need a good walk...


Monday, 19 August 2019


Good walk with the "family" this morning. A wonderfully clear, fresh day with tremendous visibility. It was high tide which gave great views of the birds present. It became immediately obvious that there was a considerable congregation of Shelducks. I scanned initially from the car park and there were large numbers in tight groups as far as the eye could see towards Welwick. My initial estimate was c1000! By the time we reached Welwick Marsh I'd re-adjusted my estimate to 2000!!! An impressive spectacle.

As we were leaving I noticed some raptors to the east. One looked "different". Chuffed to pick out a distant Red Kite (P.107) from the car amongst 4 Buzzards...

The magic bath keeps producing in the yard. At least 3 Willow Warblers present this evening, including this one on the fence... a couple of Whitethroats...

Feeling optimistic about what it might produce this Autumn...but then I always do!

I've just had full approval from management for our second trip to the UAE this November. Flights have already been booked and initial planning has commenced. Plenty still to go at...

Ospreys on the move...

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Caspian Gull

Finally convinced myself I saw one of those funny Herring Gulls aka Caspian Gull (P.104, H.90). My 166th species for Holmpton. To be fair it did stand out somewhat, albeit relatively briefly, at Old Hive. Totally underwhelming though...

Initial preperations for our trip to see my son Robert, in the UAE in November are underway. Plenty still to go at. Again, no rush...

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Magic Bath

My vintage Birdbath continues to give me no end of free entertainment. I've been amazed at the number of birds that have been visiting it recently.

Obviously supplemented by youngsters, the action has been very entertaining indeed.

All this during short periods of viewing, usually based around eating habits!

This evening it was visited by a young Song Thrush, which spent some considerable time hopping around inspecting various items...

Never seen a juvenile Wren take a bath before! I have now.

I intend to spend more time viewing this Autumn...

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Cliff Walk

Started reasonably early this morning with a walk down to Old Hive. Difficult walking due to the field having been ploughed right to the edge! There were areas of weeds however, due to the unstable nature of the fastest eroding coastline in Europe...allegedly.

My main aim was to try and photograph one of Richard's Whinchats. There were plenty of birds shooting in and out of cover. Many Skylarks, Meadow Pipits...

Linnets and Yellow Wagtails...

The Sand Martin Colony is still in full swing. No sign of any Whinchats though.

On return I bumped into Richard who was going down for another go. After a chat I checked out the Clifftop. Glad I did as I had at least 3 Willow Warblers and a Garden Warbler (P.102, H.88) I was soon receiving a text informing me that...yep...he'd seen a couple of Whinchats! Never mind. He'd also had a female Goldeneye. Time to try again.

This time I approached from Out Newton. As I reached Old Hive a falcon shot inland at high speed...HOBBY (P.103, H.89). Always a pleasure to connect with this superb bird, albeit briefly. Still no joy with the Whinchat and the Goldeneye was no more. I gave it a good hour.

The fun wasn't over yet. As I was weeding the front garden I heard the familiar calling of a group of Long-tailed Tits. As they passed a gap in the hedge I managed to do a count (15). Then, a Willow Warbler hopping around on the floor, then another in the hedge. A third on the wire...

...along with some of the LTT...

Couple this with yet more Bullfinch appearances in the back, I'd say things are definitely on the up...

Monday, 12 August 2019

Waders (2)

Some nice views of Waders in flight ...and on the deck...

Busy feeders

One had a rest...eventually!
Redshank (85), Knot (86) and Sanderling (87) all new for the Holmpton year list. No rush!!

Sunday, 11 August 2019


Great to see a decent number of waders at the Sewage this morning on an incoming tide. I managed to get down onto the beach in time to enjoy some excellent views, especially of the "clockwork toy" Sanderlings (25). A lone Black-tailed Godwit south was a year tick (H.84). Dunlins (42) were present in a variety of plumages and ages. A few pics tomorrow.

Very encouraging...


News came through mid-evening that the PS had been seen around Easington Church! A quick scoot down found me scanning the considerable number of Swifts present.

Turns out it was seen briefly but then dis-appeared. I gave it till dark but it wasn't seen again.

Up at 5 this morning to try again. I started at the Church but no Swifts were present. A decent group were present just East of the Church and half-a-dozen were scanning intently. Again, no luck. I then positioned myself opposite the Visitor Centre were I had a great view of the stream of Swifts heading low South. A fine spectacle. I gave it till 8 when the stream had dried up and headed home for breakfast.

No Spurn tick...

Saturday, 10 August 2019


All things come to those who wait...well some at least...if you're still around!

It was 15/6/2013 when I made my way down to Trimly Marshes in Suffolk to try to see a PACIFIC SWIFT.

News came through that it was showing well, low over the Marsh. Of course, as I arrived it disappeared and was never seen again!

Fast forward to 14/10/2018 when I was sat on the bed, late in the afternoon, watching the Footy...

...turned out to be a first for Britain...Story here

...and now it's August 10th 2019. I was just getting into my car to take Bud when...

E.Yorks swift sp (with white rump) Hornsea Mere over west side of Swan Island at 9.25am

Change of plan!

I was getting mixed messages but I eventually decided to try the South side. I took the footpath but couldn't see any Birders? Eventually I was joined by a lad from Hull (apologies for my usual trick of forgetting his name). He said Tim Isherwood had tweeted something about viewing. I gave him a quick call and we were both soon with the gallery on Kirkholme Point. The bird had been seen a couple of times but wasn't showing. I reckon 20 Birders were present including Tim and Mark Thomas who I'd spent some time with on Shetland at the TENGMALM'S OWL twitch.

Birders were obviously arriving all the time including Tony Dixon, Trevor Charlton and Craig Thomas. Mark then picked it up distantly over the Island. I managed to get on it briefly, then it was gone. Fortunately it remained, albeit elusively, for the next hour or so until my departure. So, PACIFIC SWIFT added to WHITE-RUMPED at the same site within a year!!! British and County ticks. Amazing stuff and VERY handy/lucky.

BOC pic courtesy of Mark Thomas

Friday, 9 August 2019


Received a message off Richard yesterday evening informing me he'd found a young Whinchat (P.102, H. 83) in the cliff paddock. I nipped down and joined him and was lucky enough to re-locate it with his help. No sign this evening in a 30 minute search...

Wednesday, 7 August 2019


As promised...(at least to myself) I made my way over early to Mickletown, W.Yorks arriving at 8am. No problem parking and only 10 birders on site...marvellous!  A tight, narrow viewing area and a distant yet secure area for the bird to feed...thankfully!

The bird was faithful to the left hand edge of the distant field (just in front of the water, you may be able to make out the large bush?). Anyway, the LB popped out briefly enabling me to grab a record shot or two...

I did enjoy excellent views through my scope. A smart bird indeed. I left at 9 as the crowd started to build, as did the rain clouds...

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Little Bustard

One has turned up in West Yorkshire. Plenty of information these days...and photos! It seems viewing was cramped and some surprise there! Rumours it's been present around a MONTH!!!

Provenance questions I guess. Ties in with the Slimbridge record...probably the same bird. The question is...from whence it came? I haven't been...yet.

I saw the Fraisthorpe bird (31/12/14) which was less than spectacular. This bird is far smarter, regardless of its origin. Might pop over tomorrow...early!!


On the way home from Hull today I counted 14 Yellow Wagtails on the tarmac on Snakey Lane (3 miles). Amazing!

Thursday, 1 August 2019


Got a message off Richard informing me he'd found a Pied Fly on Seaside Lane. Despite an hour search, I couldn't re-locate it. I gave it another go during lunch (Test Match) but still no joy. I did "luck in" on a nice male Blackcap though.