Friday, 8 July 2016

14 Months Is A Long Wait!!

Friday 1st July

With the appearance of the White winged Scoter in Aberdeenshire last weekend, I was keen to head up for it as my last lifer was back in April last year, 14 months ago!!

I made a quick detour on the way up, for a Bittern which had turned up at North Cave this afternoon, a site tick for me. I'd made enquiries about the gate being left open for me as I knew I'd be arriving late, luckily there was another birder still in the hide when I arrived and was able to point me in the general area it had been seen. Almost immediately, the bird poked it's head up above the reeds, seemingly agitated by the Grey Herons flying into roost(?). After a short while, I headed off as I had a 7 hour drive ahead of me and wanted to be on site for first light.

Saturday 2nd July

Aberdeenshire on a sunny morning

Didn't quite make it for first light as it didn't really get dark all night on my journey north! I arrived at Murcar Golf Course just after 5 and headed out towards the beach, joining the small crowd, I was put on the WHITE-WINGED SCOTER (496 BOU/205). It was a really tricky bird to get on because of the constantly moving flock of Velvet Scoters (206), Common Scoter and Eider, but when you did, it did actually stand out from the rest of the birds.

White winged Scoter (centre bird)

With the target bird in the bag, I thought I'd try for the resident King Eider on the Ythan estuary, but despite searching for an hour or so, there was no sign. Plenty of Arctic Terns (207), in the colony along with Common, Sandwich and a few Little Terns. It later turned out that the King Eider had moved down the coast to join the White-winged Scoter at Murcar.

Ythan estuary 

Seal colony at the mouth of the Ythan

Sunday 3rd July

A family day out to Bridlington, gave me a bonus year tick with Yellow legged Gull (208) on the beach, south of the harbour.

Blacktoft Again

Friday 1st July

Seem to be spending most of my time here of late and found myself heading here again this morning, hoping to catch up with some waders.

First up was Marshland Hide, 13 Spotted Redshanks (203), a large flock of Black tailed Godwits and a couple of Little Egrets.

Sleeping Spotted Redshanks

I then headed down to Townend Hide but there was no sign of the Green Sands, stayed for a while, then headed to Singleton but no waders at all, so went back to Townend to sit and wait. Both birds had been seen earlier this morning so I knew they were about, probably just on the back of one of the islands and out of sight. Sure enough, after being spooked by a Lapwing, one of the Green Sandpipers (204), flew out and landed in front of the hide. Also had a nice Hobby do a complete circuit of the reedbed.

Green Sandpiper

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

June At A Glance

Thursday 2nd June

A first visit to North Duffield Carrs today for the Great White Egret (192), with the kids, luckily there wasn't anybody else in the hide with all the ensuing noise!!

Great White Egret

Monday 6th June

First up was a trip to Old Moor for Little Bittern (193), presumably last years returning bird? A wait of about 2 hours in the hide and it was seen very briefly by just a few before eventually giving itself up and perching on the fence between the reedbeds!! Then even better as it flew directly at the hide and up and over it on to the wildlife ponds.

Next up was a visit to Waters Edge Country Park at Barton, Lincs, having only been here for family days out, I wasn't exactly sure where to head but felt sure there would be other birders present. Unfortunately, I was the only one when I got there!!! I had less than 30 minutes to find the area it had been showing in, see the bird and then head off to pick the kids up, easy!!! Luckily I found the pool and even more luckily, I picked it up the Great Reed Warbler (194), on call straightaway and was pretty mobile as it flew up and down the far side of the pool, regularly in the company of a couple of Reed Warblers, obviously not keen on it's presence!!

Great Reed Warbler (top bird of the 3 and twice the size of the other 2!!)

Monday 13th June

With a few good birds at Spurn in previous days, I thought it may be worth a trip over, the lure of potentially 4 or 5 year ticks helped!! Unfortunately, everything had seemingly cleared out and very little was seen. I headed up towards Beacon Lanes with the hope of seeing the Little Gulls but unfortunately there was no sign. Great views of the Little Tern (195) colony though, definitely one of my favourite commoner birds.

Little Tern

Headed back to Kilnsea Wetlands and headed to the hide. Scanning round the pool, I was surprised to see a Short-eared Owl perched on the fenceline, then scanning a bit further, I was even more surprised to find a drake Common Scoter, looking slightly unwell!!

Drake Common Scoter

Thursday 16th June

After swimming with Toby this morning and lunch, we headed off for the reported calling Quail near North Cliff woods. With no sound of it after a couple of slow stop and drive-bys of the field, I was about to give up, Toby was getting bored but I decided to give it one more go, wound the windows back down and Bingo!! There it was, or at least it was calling several times, Quail (196). There were also quite a few Corn Buntings on theb ordering hedges.

Friday 17th June

Big trip after dropping the kids off at school, heading south into Lincolnshire and on to Frampton RSPB. Several year ticks on offer with star birds being 4 Turtle Doves (197) in the hedgerows. Also seen from the visitor centre were a large flock of Bar tailed Godwits (198) as well as a few smartly plumaged Ruffs.

Turtle Doves (2 of the 4 birds)

With the continued presence of the Caspian Terns at Gibraltar Point, I decided to give it a go, I was needing to be back for school pick ups so it was going to be tight, as always! Arriving on-site to negative news was never a good start, I met a few birders in the car park who said they hadn't been seen since flying off earlier but told me the best hides to look from. The first hide had just one birder in watching the waders and then the door burst open and a red faced birder burst in with news that one of the terns was in front of the other hide. I ran down to the next hide and immediately had one Caspian Tern (199) out on the pool.

 Caspian Tern

It was a great surprise then when the man next to me casually announced to the full hide that the other Caspian Tern was now also on view, nobody had seen it drop in but guessing it was because we'd all been watching the other bird. There was also a Spoonbill and 2 Little Egrets out on the pool and a Cuckoo calling.

Friday 24th June

With a bit more time today, I decided to head down to Norfolk for the lingering Great Knot, with news of it being on Scolt Head, I headed to Brancaster beach carpark. On arrival and with no news, I headed off along the beach. With very few birders out towards Scolt Head, I was lucky to be told by one of the people enjoying her day on the beach that "all other other people had walked off in the opposite direction!" Scanning towards Titchwell, I found the assembled crowd and the birds in front. I made the decision to walk along the beach rather than drive back to Titchwell and then down to the beach from there. So I carried on but at one point I had to take my shoes and socks off and roll my trousers up to cross the channel just to be able to carry on.

A short walk afterwards and I joined the others watching the Great Knot (200) with the vast numbers of Knot feeding out on the mussel beds.

Great Knot (Honestly! It's the bird directly up from the Oystercatcher)

I then headed back to the car and along to Titchwell. There were 2 Little Gulls (201) out on the reserve along with a Mediteranean Gull, 10+ Red crested Pochards and Cetti's Warbler.

Little Gulls

Thursday 30th June

A quick visit to North Cave before a school meeting this morning gave me Wood Sandpiper (202) for the year having missed a couple earlier in the year.

Wood Sandpiper