Friday, 31 December 2010

December 2010

December continued with the Waxwing theme, they were pretty much everywhere!! And even when I returned to Hampshire there were still Waxwings to be found. Including individuals over my house (garden tick) and local flocks.

The highlights of the month didnt come till after Christmas; when a 1w Pink-footed Goose was found at Farlington Marshes with 15 Eurasian White-fronted Geese as part of the influx into SE Britain. This represented my first county tick for a while.

The other highlight was a trip to Norfolk with Dan Houghton for the Northern Harrier which we obtained frustrating views of but enough to see it was the bird with its dangling - diagnostic of this individual. A quick dash to Cantley RSPB for the Lesser White-fronted Goose was fruitless but 40+ Taiga Beans were seen.

The last couple of days of the month were spent in the New Forest with the regular Great Grey Shrike at Beaulieu Road Station.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

November 2010

Thankfully for the sake of my bank balance, November was quieter but it didn't go without at least one quality bird. I considered twitching a Pied-billed Grebe in Ireland the previous winter, but was talked out of it by a wise Dan Houghton who said I would eventually get one on the mainland if I just waited. Well that came much sooner than expected and so on the 9th news broke of an immature at Hollingworth Lake in Greater Manchester. The Grebe stayed loyal to this small bay where it showed well and occasionally came close to the hide - but never when I was there.

November was also the start of the massive Waxwing invasion, and so naturally it wasn't long before Cumbria joined in on the act. Leading up to the end of the month I found several flocks, most of which small but one exceeded 100 birds.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

October 2010

Surely October couldn't match the previous month!! But it certainly started that way...first was a fem/1w Rustic Bunting at Flamborough Head on the 3rd, it was alot of hard work and patience but it eventually returned to it favoured bush. On the return journey I managed to locate the American Golden Plover at Great Heck amongst 2000+ Golden Plovers. On the 6th I met up with Cain Scrimgeour, a keen birdwatcher who is taking the same course as me to see the Ross's Goose at Rockcliffe Marsh in Cumbria amongst thousands of Pink-feet and Barnacle Geese.
The 9th was Radde's mission, with a bird reported at Tynemouth, myself and Emma headed out that way, only to find out that it was a Dusky Warbler as we promptly approached, so we fell back on a nearby Red-flanked Bluetail that failed to show itself before news came thru of a Radde's Warbler at we headed South again...It was an elusive bird that I only managed brief views of, but enough to tell what I was looking at amongst the very numerous Goldcrests, Chiff-chaffs, Robins and Siskin which were literally falling out the sky that day!!
Two days later (11th) I was off again with Dan Pointon, Adrian Kettle and John Pegdon heading to the Outer Hebrides for one of the two Hermit Thrushes out there. Unfortunately there was no further sign of the South Uist bird but the Barra bird was still in situ. It took longer to get too and included another boat journey but it was well worth it. This bird showed beautifully after a short wait as the photo shows:

Due to the boat timetable we had to stay another day on the Hebs, not that that bothered us. And so the 12th (my birthday) had us searching the plantation near North Loch Eynort for the two Red-eyed Vireos. These were frustratingly elusive and after about 6 hours we found one!! I arrived home late that night in Cumbria completely shattered!!

October got even more hectic, and on the 15th I made the epic trip south from Penrith, via Sheffield for the Solitary Sandpiper at Black Hole Marsh, Devon which had taken up residency for about a week. This bird too showed at point blank range and was unmissable:

The day ended watching the Glossy Ibis down the road at Budleigh Salterton which showed well but distantly.

At the end of the month I made my first trip home of the term, where I was hopefully going to connect with the Hampshire Red-flanked Bluetail that unfortunately didnt hang around long enough. But there was however; an American Bittern found at Zennor, Cornwall. This obviously took priority!! I travelled over night on the 29th to see the bird on its first twitchable morning. Unfortunately we unwittingly managed to flush the bird from cover shortly after first light as we tried to get a view of the pool there. The bird was only seen on two more occasions that day before relocating to Walmsley Sanctuary where it performed much better!!

Thursday, 30 September 2010

September 2010

2010 will always go down in my books as one of the best birding years for me...the number of quality birds I have seen this year is unbelievable and has given me another chance to see many that I have missed over the last 5 years...these include the likes of White-tailed Plover and Brown Flycatcher, as well as much easier species that have eluded me like Bluethroat, Short-toed Lark and Ortolan Bunting!!

September followed the trend, with a superb county first; an Isabelline Shrike found in Gosport. Thankfully this was just before I headed north to Cumbria to begin a 3 year stint at University to study Wildlife and Media. Once at University, it didnt take long for the autumn megas to start arriving. First was the Epidonax Flycatcher at Blakeney Point, and although I saw the first Alder Flycatcher in Cornwall in 2008 with rumours that this could be Yellow-bellied, I didnt want to mess around...

The following day (26th) was spent battling the elements of the North Norfolk coast line, but at this point it had already been decided that it was most likely another Alder. The whole trip didnt go without a 'tick' though as on arrival a Little Bunting put in a brief appearance at the plantation before heading east.

News quickly followed of a Northern Parula on Tiree, a species I have always wanted to see in Britain!! So by the 28th; myself, Josh Jones and Ollie Metcalfe were booked onto a plane from Glasgow costing £150 each to spend two days on the island. Within an hour of landing we were watching the 1w female Parula at point blank range and all to ourselves. It really couldnt have got any better. But it did with a supporting cast of Buff-breasted Sandpiper, a late Corncrake and fly-over Lapland Buntings.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

I'm back

Before I got continuously lazy, I used to keep an up todate blog of my outtings locally and nationally.

This blog can still be viewed by following this link:

It has taken me a while to get back in the swing of things, although I have been birding constantly since giving up on my previous blog. My new approach to a monthly write-up should be much easier to cope with and something that I can keep up with while I am at uni etc.