Sunday, 3 December 2017

Searching Pines for Parrots

Yesterday saw a five hour dip on the Santon Downham Parrot Crossbills. We heard a group moving through but failed to locate them and despite news coming through of some being seen we failed miserably to connect with any.
A nice chat with BW, GM & MM helped kill the time along with a few long searches of the Pines.

Today the birds were reported all day while I stayed home apart from a very brief fix in the hide at Lee Valley where both Bittern and Water Rail showed in the grey damp light.

Year ticks are getting harder to find and 2017 has that fizzle out feeling to it now.

Bittern at Lee Valley
Bittern at Lee Valley
Water Rail

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Quick catch up with the Roding Valley Red-necked Grebe

I haven't been to see the Grebe on our local lake since late September so two months on I thought I'd check out the plumage difference and with nice light managed a few images of the bird as it moves into first winter plumage.

1st winter Red-necked Grebe on Roding Valley lake
Little Cracker still looks sharp
Growing up
where;s that Red neck gone?
And how he looked back in Spetember

Horned Lark at Staines in the bag for ron.

A quick trip round the orbital car park this morning provided good scope views of the vagrant American Horned Lark at Staines reservoir.

We scoped through the fence from the public causeway but in three hours the bird didn't venture too close instead feeding in the sun light on the west bank with Mipits and Linnets. The only other bird of note was a fly over Peregrine.

Good company with a few Essex birders on site and good to catch a chat with GJ again.

Reading up on the taxonomy of the Horned Lark I found the useful link below on the BBRC site

So we await the split on this one which will provide a nice armchair tick when it comes.

The view up the west bank the lark just under the first pilon.
The Fence on the causeway!

Sunday, 19 November 2017

A day at Dunge with a couple of guys from Dartford

Arriving at Dunge for 7.30am this morning we had a quick search for the reported Dartford Warblers.
Jim spotted a pair of Stonechat and thinking they may be keeping company with the Dartfords I scanned the area finding first one Dartford then the other and managed to capture a few images before moving on. A scan of the gulls at the fishing boats gave up just nothing but the expected.

Dartford Warbler
Dartford Warbler
Dartford under cover
Little Cracker
At ARC we watched a Marsh Harrier take a bath and two of the Great White Egrets dropped in to feed. A Kingfisher called a flashed by a couple of times and a Peregrine flushed everything before we left for Elmley.

Great Egret
Great Egret
Great Egret
At Elmley Six Jack Snipe had been reported but we failed to find them. We did see a Marsh Harrier several Buzzard and a Merlin.

Red-legged Partridge
Herring Gull
Marsh Harrier at Elmley

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Unexpected Noteable

Didn't see this one coming

Always nice to see the noteable tag on an image but although this is a great bird I'm not sure it was that noteable as far as the image goes but I'll take it.

The original

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Watching the Sea at Cley

With 50 mph North Westerlies forecast for Norfolk today we headed up to Cley for a full days sea watching session.

On arrival the coastguards car park was pretty full and around twenty fellow fools were already on site. The wind was moderate but more West than North but it was bitter cold as we huddled around the shelter eventually managing to get in the shelter as the first birders left.

By around eleven the rain started as the wind started to pick up and twist more from the North so we took brief shelter in the Cley visitor centre where coffee and toasted Bacon sandwich helped take the chill out of the bones before we returned for a little more sea watching before heading home.

Glaucous Gull at Cley
Juvenile Glaucous Gull 
The fruits of our labour today included a single year tick in the form of a single Little Auk.
A juvenile Glaucous Gull flew west down the beach giving the chance of a quick couple of images for the blog as I left out into the rain and wind as it flew by. (I took a bit of a battering)

Great Skua were seen in groups of two, three, seven and then four as well as a few singles and they came very close for a change. Gannets were present in good numbers and Kittiwakes flew west at steady intervals in good numbers and these groups included a good few juveniles.
A couple of Little Gulls plenty of Common Scoter,  larger Auks (mostly Guillemot) and the following others........

Great Crested Grebe
Red-breasted Merganser
Red-throated Diver
Bar-tailed Godwit
Brent Geese

A flock of c30 Snow Bunting flew back and fourth in front of the shelter during the morning but retreated to cover as the wind picked up at lunchtime.

A decent day but in truth it didn't quite live up to the one I'd thought possible looking at the forecast yesterday.

Year list now 271

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Lynford and Cley

A trip to Norfolk on Monday delivered very little in terms of excitement. It was bright and the tide was really high and quite choppy. After failing to find any Barn Owls I stopped at Stiffkey where two Cattle Egrets were seen before I headed up to Cley.

Gannets flew by and Seals poked their heads out to see the fools standing on the beach watching them. A Great Skua bombed the Gannets and a couple of Red-throated Divers flew east as large flocks of Common Scoter headed West.
On the beach there was no sign of Shorelark or Snow Bunting but a few linnets, Skylark and Mipits kept me entertained as I searched for them. The Turnstones at Salthouse were present and feeding well at the top of Beach road and a Marsh Harrier flew over.
Thousands of Pink Feet gathered and I managed to pick out the Black Brant from the gathered Brents too although the group was quite distant. The biggest movement seemed to be Starlings and Thrushes with Redwing and Fieldfare all moving in big flocks.

I drove home stopping at Lynford where I managed to see a single Hawfinch and found a Firecrest as a little bonus. A Yellow-browed Warbler was reported with the tit flock but when I found the tit flock I failed to locate the warbler seeing just Long -tails, Blue, Coal, Marsh and Great Tits along with Chiffchaff and Goldcrest. Whilst scanning I found Treecreeper and Nuthatch too.

An enjoyable day but with little in the way of real highlights.

Nuthatch at Lynford (dark background is provided by a distant fir tree)
Onwards and upwards!