Monday, 6 July 2020

Gull-billed Tern

Monkey and I headed separately down to Dunge last weekend, it was a superb little trip allowing us to both tick for our BOU lists Gull-billed Tern. A few hours of birding, Black Winged-Stilt, fish and fried potatoes from the Fish Hut followed by Black Redstart and home.

Monday, 10 June 2019

España malaga

For those that need the translation of the title its "Spain Malaga" 🤦‍♂️ and this is where i found myself for the first few days in May and all because of beer. Yep beer, it has a lot to answer for on birders drinks however on this occasion it turned out fine.

No, better than fine, absolutely amazing as my first official birding trip took shape. The plan........ 

Visit Spain for 3 full days birding covering various habitats. Flying from Southend using East Jet - £45pp for return flights, staying in the Hotel Campanile within the commercial area of Malaga £172pp, a room each. Now with prices this cheap it meant that two of the three didn't have to listen to the third snoring all night. You nose who you are.......🤣. The hotel was chosen as it meant an easy walk to our first destination, it also allowed our guide to pick us up with ease for day 2 & 3.

Day 1: Parque De Guadlehorce
Day 2: Osuna
Day 3: El Torcal de Antequera & Hoz De Marin

As already mentioned days 2 & 3 were to be guided. We used Luis from A lovely guy who went out of his way to find us birds. He knew his stuff, he knew the places to go. Highly recommended and i would use him again.

So, who was going i hear you good friends Dave "the Peregrine" Morrison & Martin "the Monkey" Blow.

Martin, Me, Dave
Day 1: Parque De Guadlehorce

A early start saw us walking to the river mouth. It was dark and we were hoping to see maybe Purple Heron out of roost; However the walk took a little longer than anticipated and we also slowed up as we approached the reserve from the main road. Nightingales played out their tunes from nearly every bush. Bird song was being thrown at us from every direction.

We entered the track leading to the reserve and as we distanced ourselves from the main ring road through Malaga the cacophony of bird noise increased. zii zii zii  as i heard my first ever Zitting Cisticola and from there on in these little birds were everywhere. The light started to increase and slowly but surely birds started to take flight. Serins on mass, these little birds seemed calling from every single tree.

Then.........Hellllooooo......a flock of 18/20 Greater Flamingo's came in and disappeared onto one of the pools we were yet to see. Do a little dance  and so i did as this became the 1st, no 2nd, life tick of the day, forgot zii zii zii

Finally we found the entrance to the reserve itself, back across the river. We stopped here for some time on the bridge, a few House Martin, a few Barn Swallow however the star of the show was untold numbers of Red Rumped Swallows. They were showing amazingly well for us as they flew close and some times within a matter of feet around our heads and our feet.

I was having a great time and yet there was more to come - A LOT MORE to come. We started our wander around Guadlehorce, the sun was rising well, the temperature at this time was great but it was to get a lot warmer.

"Hold on; what are they" - 6 Squacco Heron; they too lowered themselves onto a pool we hand not come to yet. The 1st lake we came to held White Headed Duck, a male as well. Black Winged Stilt was also here and in addition to these 4 birds, they were in large numbers all over the varying pools.

We caught up

Life Ticks for me were rolling in and this theme was set to continue over the next couple of days. Birds like Kentish Plover, Slender Billed Gull, Gull Billed Tern, Booted Eagle, Monk Parakeet, Crested Lark, Pallid Swift.

I like this little photo

We did the whole place in a slow and well covered way; more birds Black Crowned Night Heron included.

This post could actually just go on and on as so far i've only covered the morning....... It was now very hot and we needed food and drink so we headed back to the hotel. After a reasonable break we headed straight back for yet more.

Oh - i forgot - Fudge Duck, Curlew Sandpiper, Bee Eater from the morning.

Pale Morph Booted Eagle

I think we ended up on 75 species for the day and we walked......wait for it.......wait for it.......21km, yep that's right we did half a marathon. 13 Lifers 💥✔✔✔💥

The afternoon was spent retracing our steps and covering the place yet again; we also spent a lot of time trying to photograph birds from the hide. Nothing is ever close enough when the camera is in hand all though i was pleased with some of the stuff i got.

from memory we counted 50 odd Slender Billed Gulls

Ahhhh - Woodchat Shrike as well......... Audoins Gull.......

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Ingrebourne Valley update

The first weekend in February saw most of the Valley Birders bashing the patch for a few hours; some early morning pre the dog walkers and others like myself early after noon. There was a light drizzle of rain in the air all times.

I met up with Monkey just after 12 and we both headed to the viewing area to tick off the Shelduck that had been there all morning.

Straight back to the cafe for a brief lunch and we headed out properly for a few hours birding. It became a bit of a tick fest for us both with Monkey ticking 6 and myself 5.

I added Bullfinch, Shelduck, Lesser Redpoll, Peregrin,  and the most fantastic pair of Collard Dove.

After the conversation down the pub Friday we both wanted to ensure it was a fair tick. We were in the car technically outside the recording area. We pulled over got out, walked across the road and stood in the required zone - high 5 (yes a proper one Jono) and a lot of childish giggling saw us back in the car with another under our belts.

The scores so far are all impressive;

Mo: 78
Hawky: 77
Me: 77
Shaunboy: 75
Dave Mcg: 74
Monkey: 66

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Little Bunting

Little Bunting kick starts the 2018 lifer list. Today saw me heading out in the gloom, rain, cold over to Walthamstow Wetlands. A place i have only been to once before to see a dying Gannet not to very far from where i stood today.

Its changed a lot, its accessible and has a nice cafe. I'm beginning to like visiting places where you get charged over the top prices for coffee. £2.80 for a Latte, smaller than Costa's small and more than the cost of a medium., mmmmm. It was OK but didn't warrant the price tag. And in my effort to ruin the planet like everyone else, i got it to take out. However this was on the way home so i've jumped ahead.

Luckily i got stuck in traffic on the A406 or my wait in the rain would have been longer, i don't enjoy travelling to London birds, it took me forever last year to get to Wanstead for a Slav Grebe and i didnt even get to see it. Today took just over and hour which considering it took me 20-25 minutes to get home is a pain.

At the site and numerous people were now all chatting, no body looking for the bird. Chat chat chat. One bloke even on the phone facing the wrong way and after 10 minutes of chat advised to the recipient of his call that nobody was looking for the bird, everyone was chatting.

In my company were two of the Wanstead boys, Jono and James. James had ticked it earlier so he quietly took his leave and headed for the drake Scaup on No. 5 Reservoir.

Me & Jono persevered. A fair few Reed Bunting and Dunnock. Kingfisher behind us. Fieldfare chacked off to our right. Other bits knocking about but no Little Bunting.

After about an hour another Reed Bunting flew into the main bush in front, both of us then witnessed another bird fly in lower down but it went further in. We couldn't see it too well so reverted to scopes. It still couldn't be see that well when it turned slightly and Jono called it.

💥💥 Tick Tick Boom 💥💥

It showed probably for about 5 minutes, not that i saw it for that long with all and sundry wanting to use our scopes. 2018 Tick for Life and London.

We headed off for the Scaup.

One gloomy Scaup on 5.