Sunday, 26 February 2017

Glossy Ibis Ely

First stop this morning was Kiln Lane Ely where we parked up and walked down the lane a few hundred yards to view the flooded fields. The first walk along the footpath failed to locate the Ibis that's chosen to over winter in Cambridgeshire. As I walked back the Jims called to say the target was now in view so I stepped up the pace and quickly got on the bird grabbing a few distant shots.

Glossy Ibis at Ely
Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis and Glossy Lapwing
Glossy buddies
Glossy in flight
Canada Goose
From Ely we drove across to Santon Downham where a walk down the river was the order of the day.
We were searching for Lesser-spotted Woodpeckers and spent the next three hours listening and looking. A group of corvids grabbed my attention and rewarded me with nice views of a young Goshawk as it flew across the river to escape the attentions of the pack. Three Sparrowhawks and a few Buzzards were seen. Green and Great-spotted Woodpecker called and a single drumming of Lesser-spot was heard but we failed to see or hear anything else in the long session. Siskins, Brambling, Nuthatch, Treecreeper were the other birds seen before we left for home.

Year list now 154

Sunday, 19 February 2017

More of the stunning Bluethroat

Top bird!

Bluethroat at Willow Tree Fen in Lincolnshire

I took the plunge today and drove the 100 miles to the Willow Tree Fen in Lincolnshire in the hope that the sun would shine and the bird would show. On arrival I parked in the small car park having set the sat nav to postcode  PE11 3JH . At 7am I was sitting on the track watching the reed bed on the opposite side of the track. The mud and flat grass area gave a good clue we were waiting in the right area and within half an hour I spotted the bird feeding on the grass opposite us and quickly got the small gathering on it. The bird flew back into the reeds and didn't come back out for about forty minutes by which time we had been joined by another fifty or so birders.

Bluethroat at Willow Tree Fen in Lincolnshire

This was the pattern of the morning with the bird popping out for a minute or so each hour but when it did come out it really did perform well often coming too close for my 400 lens to hit within the focal length. By the time I left the gathering had risen to over a hundred all enjoying crippling views and with most being well behaved although I have to add most being far too loud!

Meal worms had been put out before I arrived and a couple of birders added to the food bank causing some discussion among those present but nothing too heated. The guy offering to play a tape was shot down though and thankfully the bird didn't have to deal with that as well as a hundred people watching it feed.

Locally I found my first Whooper Swan of the year and five Barn Owls. On the way home I found a single Goshawk and Woodlark in the Brecks.

The Bluethroat is only the second British Winter record so what are you waiting for...get up the road and see the little star.

Year list now 151

A proper little star.
"Showing well"

Sunday, 5 February 2017

RIP Tia 2004 - 2017

The Special One

This man's best friend
Loving the snow last year in Scotland
Simply the best!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Pine Bunting at Murston NR Kent

Arriving at first light and walking the extremely muddy track down to the sea wall we spent the next 3 hours scanning the bushes around the shooting pool hoping for a glimpse of the Pine Bunting.

I had the briefest of views as it walked about with a Yellowhammer feasting on the seed put out by the shooters. Another guy had a similar view before the shout went up that somebody had it sitting up on the far bushes and he kindly shared his scope with us so we could get a pointer for it. I managed to get on it in my scope but it dropped to the floor and out of sight so we left with the cold now setting into the bones.

With a fifty mile detour on the way home we landed in Beachy Road Broadfield and were straight on the Rose-coloured Starling that's wintering here. The bird came down giving good views in gloomy light and is starting it's spring moult so we may still get to see it in the pink.

Rose-coloured Starling
Rose-Coloured Starling at Beachy Road Broadfield
Rose-coloured Starling

Cold and tired we headed home with the two year ticks and the Lifer in the bag.

Year list now 147 
Life list now 382

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Lapland comes to Scotney

First stop this morning was an easy Red-necked Grebe at Camber although with temperatures of minus six as we arrived the small lake was frozen forcing the Grebe to the far side.

Next stop was Scotney where we failed to find the wintering Black-necked Grebe and with the Geese not present we decided to walk the footpath out behind the the lakes. It was cold but with very little wind not as biting as it could have been. As we reached the very end of the footpath we found the Geese flock and scoping them delivered a year tick with a couple of Tundra Bean Geese. Pink-foots and Brents were also in the Greylag flock and the feral Barnacles, Egyptians and Snow Geese added to the days goose count.

As we watched the Geese the Lapland Buntings flew around us landing occasionally in the grass but always out of sight keeping company with Reed Buntings. Two Peregrines flew across scattering the ducks before we left for a brief taste of Dunge where the Tree Sparrows entertained us for a while and we recorded no fewer than nine Great white Egrets on ARC pit.

Last stop of the day was Hythe to pick out a Purple Sandpiper for the old man as it was missing form his 2016 list. We quickly found one feeding on the rocks in front of the Imperial Hotel but with the tide in and the sun in our face we settled for snapping the Turnstones instead and left happy with todays four year ticks moving the 2017 list to 145.

Tree Sparrow
Tree Sparrow
Pied Wagtail
Song Thrush
Tree Sparrows
The Jims trying to get on the Purple Sand!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Lynford and an Iceland Gull in Thetford

A very wet grey day in Lynford ended with a very wet grey twitch for the Iceland Gull on Thetford tip.

At Lynford I heard Crossbill in the car park but failed to see any. I did find a single Hawfinch sat in the Hornbeams in the paddock and another two flew straight over in the rain. Huge flocks of Siskin noisily flitted about overhead and I found Coal Tit, Marsh Tit, Nuthatch and Treecreeper by the bridge. A Water rail walked along the edge and three Bullfinch added a touch of colour to a very grubby day. A Great-spotted Woodpecker gave another year tick before the weather got the better of me and I left for the short drive to Thetford where an Iceland Gull had been seen this morning.

On arrival there was no sign of either the Iceland or reported Glaucous Gull but after a while the smaller white winger flew in to feed on some scraps at the tip so I grabbed a few shots in the rain to record it and then left to get home for lunch.

Iceland Gull
Iceland Gull at the tip
Iceland Gull

juvenile Iceland Gull

Year list now 140