Sunday, 24 September 2017

Red Necked Grebe

Well, like the rest of the world i managed a bit of time over at Roding Valley Meadows this morning, shame i cant get the hang of this photography properly yet as i am wasting opportunities on some smart birds.

Some of mine below.......




Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Spotted Crake

A Spotted Crake over the Valley showing well.......... and i'm in Minsmere after a Citrine Wagtail. It holds so i'm over there Sunday - a nice patch Tick!




Sunday, 17 September 2017

Citrine Wagtail Yes No Yes

Birders........So cynical of the Citrine news from yesterday now as today it cant be found so they start to question previous sightings. It cant have gone today, it must have gone a few days ago and all yesterdays were wrong.......i cant have missed it by a day..........Rightly so?

So Saturdays sighting on RBA/Bird Guides were one at 8.30am North Hide, 2.00pm North Hide, 3.30pm East Hide, 4.30 Beach behind East Hide.

There were a lot of people looking for this bird on Saturday afternoon at RSPB Minsmere, in fact from North Hide at 1.30-3.00pm you could see that all other hides were full.

I make no comment on sighting 1 & 4 however the 2pm was rather amusing. A full hide, one guy shouts i'm on it (this guy is latterly the only other guy who stayed with me in North Hide).

Everyone is now on a potential Citrine Wagtail. Actually that's a lie there was a couple arguing amongst all of this about if he was looking at a Lapwing

Yep, i was on it as well and can safely say i was on a Tick Tick Boom ** twitter moment. I was happy, everyone was happy. News went out on the services by somebody.

Now from the depths of my insides, even though i had done the deed and actually tweeted Tick Tick Boom **, i heard my self mumble loud enough so that others could hear - Pied.

Quite a few in my immediate vicinity looked at me as if i was mental, after all not 1 minute ago the over all consensus was everyone had seen a Citrine Wagtail.

Now the original guy, then started to say the same at the other end, he looked down at me and we both shook our heads - it was a Pied Wagtail

The wheels were however in motion for the Citrine Wagtail to be forever immortalized as confirmed by everyone bar two in that hide. Eventually the bird and the erherm rest of the Pied Wagtails got spooked by a Sparrowhawk and left.

North Hide emptied bar two.

We scanned the web and finally found a photo of the bird taken from Minsmere that week - the bird just seen was 100% not the same.

I felt a little deflated now - i mean come on - i'd Boom Boomed it.

Eventually i too left and headed to East Hide as whilst all this was going on a Red Necked Phalarope had been seen, would be nice to see this.

East Hide was full again but decent views could be made of the Phal. The next thing i know is the chatter is up, the bird has been seen and this time its good. To help matters the guy who finds it this time is Ian Barthorpe, he works and birds Minsmere. The bird is good - i feel happier now about the Boom Boom bit :)

Shortly after the Wagtails all head over the hide and towards the beach and i leave towards the sluices and eventually home

So note to self, don't Boom Boom that quick and note to anyone who ticked on the 2pm bird, you still need it!

Pied and not the bird mentioned

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Hursey Nature Reserve - IOW


Just back from a week on the Isle of Wight and i haven't been for well over 35 years. So the IOW what did i make of it? Some of the more affluent rural areas were quite frankly stunning however the towns seemed a little lacking shall we say, not in amenities but in up keep. Possibly people moving off the island and coming to the mainland for employment. Then again the amount of residential building going on was vast but all at the 4 bedroom plus end and not in the towns (from what i saw) - IE houses for the more wealthy and rental accommodation. That suited us to the ground then - more choice of accommodation and we wouldn't have to mix with the riff raf.

We were staying at Seaview, a small yachting community with its own little club, a couple of decent gastro-pubs and lovely stretch of beech. Blue and white stripped tops were everywhere along with the non accent types - that accent that people obtain at uni.........the nothing one......you know somebody who has it i'm sure.



It was also Cowes week so the club was busy, races were being run on a regular basis, kids sailing clubs in full swing. It was actually rather good to watch. Especially when sitting there staring at the sea hoping for actually anything other than a Great Crested Grebe, Black Headed, Great Black Back or Mediterranean Gull.

Now our little complex actually had its own, small, nature reserve. This in turn rescued me from not seeing anything other than the above list. I've linked the reserve here. Thanks to Martin Blackmore who gave up some great local knowledge most mornings whilst we both sat there waiting for some action. This normally arrived in the form of a Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Little Egret or King Fisher. Unfortunately all just a little too far out for my 400 lens, Martin on the other hand with a 500, 1.4 ext and i think he said 1.7 crop sensor on a cannon 7D mark 2 managed to get some decent photos. See the above link. Mine of these birds were OK for the distance and light.



From the fields surrounding the reserve we did have some half decent geese - mix of feral population and plastic. Barnacle, Bar Headed, Snow Geese. Along with Greylag and Canada. All geese were free flying.


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 anyone 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.

Distant Bee-eater

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.........

Oh Well!


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.