Tuesday, 31 May 2022
Monday, 30 May 2022
It was time to leave our beloved Galveston Island.We'd had the best of times and the house we'd rented was amazing! After a 3 year wait we were more than satisfied. It was starting to get hot also!
No surprise for Louise when I suggested an early Ferry crossing the previous evening! Not too early mind...as you can see...
This was the first occasion she'd actually got out of the car. A rare sighting indeed! Once across it was straight up towards Yacht Basin Road once again after a brief check for Upland Sandpiper. No joy but this Whimbrel was smart...
|Yes, that's one barge on the Intercoastal Canal!|
|North America's largest|
So to Monday May 2nd. Swallow-tailed Kite day...hopefully. I'd always planned to try for this wonderful species at some time during the Holiday. I'd been trawling eBird for current sightings but they were surprisingly thin this Year? A breeding bird in the State but not flagged as sensitive. I wanted to try a different area if possible from the ones I'd tried in previous Years. In the end though I chose a spot where I'd had great views of them in 2013.
After an early hour at Corps Woods were I sat at the "secret" watch point...it was quiet...
I returned for Louise and we headed North off the Island. It took us 90 minutes to get East of Houston and park at Site 1...crossing an unbelievable bridge at Baytown on the way...
Despite a couple of hours searching, no joy. I won't prolong the agony, although there was an Egyptian Goose (of dubious origin) present.I did have great views of Mississippi here...
|...better than this "Bandits at 10 o'clock" pic!|
Whilst having lunch a strange sound (worth a listen) alerted me to a Fish Crow...
...which I was surprisingly pleased with...being my only confirmed sighting of the Trip! An Eastern Bluebird also performed well...
I tried a couple more sites in the afternoon...
Saturday, 28 May 2022
...the game continues...as it often does in late May!
No news early Friday morning. I toyed with the idea of "giving myself a start" by getting through Hull and waiting but with no further reports by 9.30 I decided to head for Duff for (possibly) my last visit of the Spring. I'd exercised Bud and Louise had a day off so I went alone. As I went through Burstwick a message...
9.57am MEGA Kent ELEONORA'S FALCON pale-morph adult flew along North Stream at Roaring Gutter towards Sandwich Bay
I pulled over and contemplated my hobby! I couldn't go without Bud which would mean a 30 minute drive back to Holmpton. Again, should I gamble on a flight sighting? I waited a while longer hoping for more concrete news. I guess I'd been stung by my Cornwall escapade.
10.48am Kent ELEONORA'S FALCON? pale morph probably sat on post North of Great Wood at Worth Marsh
Probably? I set off back to Holmpton.
10.54am Kent ELEONORA'S FALCON still on post North West of Great Wood at Worth Marsh
Game definitely ON!!!
After gently sharing the news with Louise (she could tell by the look on my face) I grabbed the usual stuff...and Dog and headed West. Now then the indispensible Google maps informed me it would take me 5hrs 30 mins...with a LOT of luck on Friday afternoon! Each time I travel the highways and byways of Britain I see more and more speed restriction signs. A63 - M62 - M18 - A1 - M11 - A282 - A2 - M2 - A299 - A256. Simple as that. 20 minute delay getting over the Queen Elizabeth Bridge and another 20 minutes at the end of the M2 with the Dover traffic.
The messages on the way down keep you on your toes. There were constant updates and the inevitable flown off message...quickly followed by still present! The later messages all stated that it was sat in a tree. More information informed me that a field had been opened for the hopefuls and I had a postcode, which took me straight to it. A definite improvement on the "good old days".
I parked up, grabbed my gear...and Bud...and started down the track. It was now 6pm. I was told it was a 15 minute walk and that the bird was still sat in a tree. Tense moments! As I passed one chap he informed me the first group were hoping for a flight view and I would have to go further to see it sat in the tree. He was correct! I turned the corner and asked the first Birder if it was showing. He said it was and would I like a look through his scope. Oh Yes!!!
It was c250 yards away sat on a branch in the shade...but I'd SEEN it! I thanked the chap and tried not to look to flustered.!? I felt somehow calmer lol! It was a beautiful Spring evening with sunshine and a gentle breeze. All was well with the World. I was obviously hoping for a better view...of course. A few familiar faces were present as this was a tick for virtually everyone. According to RBA there have been SEVEN accepted records but none that were twitchable I believe?
|4 o'clock from the (inevitable) Crow|
I reckon it remained there for at least another 30 minutes . Then, a couple of brief flights before returning to the tree. A ray of sunshine helped...
Then at 7.05pm it flew across the field and perched in a bush...again distantly...
|Leaving the Tree|
Thursday, 26 May 2022
After Sunday/Monday's Cornwall Marathon, news of an ELEONORA'S FALCON confirmed from photographs in Kent today, left me with mixed feelings!? Late May is prime time for a "Biggy" and this Year was proving no different.
I admit I didn't shoot out of my chair...not that I do anyway! However, once the seed is planted...the wheels start turning. I decided on a middling strategy...I'll set off and see what transpires news-wise. A coffee and burger in Hull was wise I felt before I headed down the A63 and on to the M62 - M18. A further report...
13.31 MEGA Kent Eleonora's Falcon Stodmarsh NNR
Onward...with reservations. Having gambled previously and liking to think I'll have a go...I was...torn. I carried on down the A1...chewing it over and trying to subdue my cynicism! 2 fly-byes. As stated previously on many occasions...the power of suggestion is strong...and applies to yours truly also. The first sighting is indisputable being backed up by a photo (originally ID'd as a Hobby). I had no information on the second sighting but it's a BIG call on a fly-by! A large Hobby or a slim Peregrine. Granted it came on as a pale-morph BUT...who knows?
The further I drove the less enthusiastic I became and I terminated at Newark. Then the drive back, not sure if I wanted a further message or not!? Crackers lol! Anyway there wasn't one and I felt a strange sense of relief...not disappointment!?
It's a game...
Saturday April 30th (Day 19) and May 1st (Day 20) were spent on Galveston Island with a fair amount of time spent at the State Park. I had an early session at Corps Woods were a superb Black and White Warbler was the Star turn...
|No Barn Owl|
|American Redstart (male)|
|Brown Pelicans over the Eskimo Curlew monument|