Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Bee-Eaters - East Leake

Well finally, after many cant do that date conversations/moments, we were on the road heading to East Leake for the nesting Bee-eaters. We consisted this time of Monkey, me and Dan Barrett.

Leaving just after lunch we headed north and up the M1. I was looking forward to this one - Bee-eaters, a bird that could seen from a mile away due to its over the top colour scheme. With its blues and yellows predominately screeching at you.

After parking at the.......


we made our way around to the viewing area.

Now, i was a little disappointed to be honest. I appreciate that this was a special thing going on - breeding Bee-eaters but come on. they we're nesting in the quarry and it looked as if this was to the back by the footpath bridge. The footpath that had plenty of walkers and horse riders going along it.

So why then we we situated as far back as we were. I'm not one of these that wants to be on top of the bird and cause it distress but we could have easily been a bit closer and it wouldn't have caused any problems. Oh and before any says......there was plenty of room.

Regardless though the view's were decent scope views - i would hate to have been one of the majority there who were scope less. For us 3 birds, possibly 4 as they made there way along the hedge tops hunting. Dragonfly seemed top of the list followed by Butterfly.

Anyway it was at this moment where i had a Raven, Monkey seemed to do his now usual and turn this into something random - running barn owls and flying joggers spring to mind.

This time it was the turn of the flying Marsh Frog. My Raven was dismissed but to my delight it was shortly followed by three CRONKING birds.

Sand Martin whizzed by and i started to have a play with the camera at fast flying small brown jobs. I did alright considering it was my fist go at this and the light was pretty bad for it  - and yes i was still in Manual - pics to follow.

Redpoll was a little year tick

Now if only the Black Stork had been re found before we left.........

Monday, 17 July 2017

Marsh Sandpiper - Cliffe Pools

So, i've been reading some old posts on here from back in 2013; nothing much on here really content wise and photos are either borrowed.....erherm or taken by me. However its a great little diary of my birding and although i don't like doing it as much as i used to (the blog not the birding) i think i'll perceive, you never know i may actually find something decent one day.

For now though i'll just have to go and see other peoples finds. This time it was the turn of a Marsh Sandpiper at Cliffe Pools in Kent. A juvenile bird that's been hanging around with the Black Winged Stilts that successfully breed this year.

So on Sunday evening i head down at 6.30pm. A nice easy journey and the post code provided by RBA took me straight to the site car park. Upon arrival i asked two birders where the Sandpiper could be found and got told to head straight round this path until i get to the 2nd viewing area. So far so good. Then one of the old boys states that they were just leaving, were locals, as they had just let themselves and car out of the gate with a key. They told me that i could follow them for a bit and they would direct me to a road the in turn would take me down and un-made road and i could park right next to the viewing are and save myself 45 minutes walking. Not being one to turn down local knowledge i did indeed follow them. I did give them a look, they were both in their 90's so i felt i could take them both in a fight if they had alternate motives. To my kids - do as i say not as i do.

Anyhow, they were right on the money, i found what i thought was the viewing area and started looking, Redshank, Black Tailed Godwits, mixed Gulls including Med. A couple of Spoonbill dropped into another pool. However no Stilts, no Marsh Sandpiper.

At this point another fella turned up, Jake (Everet, i think he said). Nice guy and we both furiously looked. In the end it turned out we were at the wrong viewing mound. We both jumped in the car and made our way to the next viewing mound, which to be fair to us, was so well hidden you needed to know it was there to find it, luckily we were shown in the end.

As soon as we got set up, there in front, 7 Stilts and 1 Marsh Sandpiper - Tick Tick Boom




Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Squacco Heron - Dunge

Squacco's don't seem to come up that much, so when this bird, which was relatively local at Dunge arrived, it was something i wanted to see.

After work last night i was on route mid rush hour and the traffic was Ok, i arrived just gone 6pm and parked up along by Sprinfield Bridge. I slowly made my way round the path ways but no sign. Eventually arriving at the viewing mound. I stayed here for a while hoping i may catch the bird in flight but still nothing.

Back to Denge Marsh Hide, viewing from the hide was right into the sun and useless. Slowly again making my way around i picked up a couple of Hobbies, Marsh Harrier, numerous Tern's. Warblers in the form of Sedge, Reed, Whitethroat and Blackcap could be seen in close proximity.

A family of Bearded Tit rushed about the reeds within feet of me but always buried and no camera action to be had.

I was still looking for the heron and it was looking like a dip; I made a decision to slowly head back to the car. Finally in the SW corner of Denge Marsh right out in the open on the far side stood one Squacco Heron. It fed, preened and stood motionless for about 15 minutes, great scope views to be had although always distant.



Eventually it took flight and headed towards the center buildings and out of view.







Saturday, 10 June 2017

Elegant Tern

So we hatched a plan to go Friday; but no news till late at Hayling Island - too late for us. Us being me and Monkey.

We decided on Friday to go today.......the afternoon would be best. Not because of any birding intellect. We were both busy because we have lives. We would go on News as well.

So today arrives.......what the heck lets go regardless because we thought we have lives but clearly we dont. On route by 1pm and News south of the river....... the birds at Pagham Harbour; Church Norton.

I've been there once before it was double MEGA tick day. Hudsionian Whimbrel (although this will be short lived) and Greater Yellow Legs, Titchfield. Was this a good omen??

Sat Nat reprogrammed.....more news came in. Bird flew southwest strongly. Decision time.......

Hayling Island? West Wittering just opposite East Point Hayling Island....clever huh? or stick it out at Church Norton.

Church Norton it was. About 60 odd birders still there, chilling, relaxing, up to no good.......Where have i heard that before?.....any way.......



Well after 20 minutes of scanning the terns, Sandwich, Little & Common. Dismissing a million Med Gulls, ignoring numerous Cormorants and everything else somebody shouts, its here on the spit. Not two minutes before had me and Monkey done a line up, Sandwich, Little, Little, Sandwich, Sandwich, Little, Common, Common, Little. and now the Elegant had dropped in mid line.

3rd bird from the left and TICK TICK BOOM! It settled, pruned up and sat for a good 5 minutes before flying over to the tern island where it dipped in an out of the harbor water, all good scope views. It returned to the spit and we had it in view continuously for 15/20 minutes before we left. Bird still there.









Sunday, 4 June 2017

Family Wander - Southend Gulls

So, its coming to the end of the half-term and as such a final little afternoon out found us in Southend, Gunners Park initially but the kids didn't like it. As such we headed to chavsville and all that Southend had to offer - arcades, candy floss, ice cream, tattoos, more tattoos, extremely expensive parking, flashing lights during the day and the smell of dodgy burgers. 

One thing that does take your mind of the surroundings are the Med Gulls and today there were lots, every stretch of the coast line had them. Finally a trip to the end of the pier, by train of course, and it gave me a few minutes to practice the flight photography - to say i am pleased is an under statement. I know there's better but for me this felt like a break through with the DSLR.