Monday, 29 October 2007

Typically Spurned...

After last weeks disappointing West coast trip, I can’t ignore the East coast. So I am back at Spurn Point, TA4011, and it’s full of rarities. At the very end of the reserve, where the sea meets the Humber, is an absolute haven for migrant birds. As I get my equipment from the car, a female and male Black Redstart, have a little game with the frustrated photographers, ‘Now you see me, now you don’t’. But what a stunning bird the male is, for me this bird is just as striking in colour as a Kingfisher, all though it only shows three colours.(check out the photo). Spurn Point is a very dense jungle, where you are at disadvantage to see birds. All the vegetation is used to good effect by there birds as cover and resting point. You could hide farsands of birds here without seeing any of them. From every bush comes a bird call, as you near it, it all goes quiet when you are close. Today we have a Very rare Dusky warbler, a few feet away, A Pallas’ Warbler in that bush to our right, a woodcock flying behind us, And with the southerly wind, comes more birds by the minute.
Elsewhere on the reserve, Rare buntings have turned up, In a ploughed field, 3 Lapland buntings play hide and seek. In the next field a very rare for the east coast, Hooded Crow turns up. Bramblings are common too. A Shorelark was lonesome on the beach. The only non productive area was the sea, only 5 Brent geese seen flying south.
A truly typically fantastic day at Spurn in October with loads of common and rare birds too SEE everywhere you walked. Except I only got to see the black redstarts. How frustrating is that! On the way home, I managed to ‘dip out’ on another Pallas’ Warbler at Holmpton.
178 – Black Redstart.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

East to West..

For a change, I try the West coast (mistake). Southport again, lots of good stuff here last week. The sun was bright, and the theme today is that most of the hides I visit, all face into the sun.
At Martin Mere WWT. A fantastic sight - and sound - of farsand and farsands of Pink Footed Geese arriving on to the reserve couldn't fail to get any ones attention. Awesome. You could follow huge skeins from a far, and watch them make splash landings in front of you.
Marshide RSPB - from the sandgrounders hide, Again the Glossy Ibis, takes most peoples attention, for me, It's the arrival for winter of Pintails, - a stunning duck -, Wigeons, Teals, and Shovelers too. A single Little Egret was on the Shore, as well as 3 Stonechats, and a watching over the sand, A Sparrowhawk.
Meresands NR - A lovely 'family atmosphere' to this reserve. Irregular shaped pools, surrounded by deep, solemn woods, that hide Red Deer. Walking through the woods, you come to the conclusion, that nature is not all piece an quiet. A large murder of crows, with Jackdaws -never quiet, constantly fly overhead, Pheasant communicate with each other with their klaxon sounding calls. A truly breath taking walk through the conifers.
No additions to the year total, This would have been different had I gone to Flamborough again. Damn! Red Flanked Bluetail.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Spurn Point

East coast again!. This time it's Spurn Point. The piece of a land east of Hull, that reaches out into the sea, and the begins the Humber Estuary. Weather today is very misty, and not much is being reported. We will have to do 'Birding in the cold' ( not knowing what is their till we get their). Pub first stop. Two weeks ago you couldn't park a car in here for twithcers wanting a glimpse of the Greenish Warbler, (Ticked), today, no trouble parking. On the mud flats, farsands of waders getting stuck into the brown stuff. Bar-tailed Godwits and a Merlin are year ticks. Just then my bleeper goes off, American Golden Plover, A mile walk later, It's flown. From inside the hide 3 Barnacle geese, 1 Little Stint, 11 Little grebes and a late Common Tern make the walk worth it. Once again it is obvious that a lot of 'Turds' are still arriving from abroad (Thrushes - LOL). During the day we see at least 3 Yellow Browed Warblers, Common Scoter, Purple Sandpiper. The day remains gloomy, but birding was great.
174 -Bar Tailed Godwit.
175 - Merlin.
176 - Fieldfare.
177 - Barnacle Goose.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Deja Vu

For the second consecutive saturday, I visit Flamborough head. Since Monday, a very rare bird was seen here, but as certain as Man.City will beat Middlesboro today, It has flown. Still, there are some other great birds here. The first two Red-backed shrike, and Barred warbler, I haven't found. Before the day turns into a disaster, my phone alerts my that a Blyth's Reed Warbler, is seen less than half a mile away. In no time at all, I am there, amongst a small, but increasing by the second crowd, surrounding this little bush. "It's gone in here", says one lucky spotter. 30 minute wait and "it's coming out", "It's flying!!", straight into another dense bush. But in that 1 second I saw the 'Little Brown Job' I was all assured that that was indeed the bird - which was identified the night before from a good picture - And a further 90 minutes of waiting to get glimpses totalling 5 seconds, I am satisfied that it is what it is, A little Brown Job. A new lifer for me.The rest of the day was spent photographing waders at Filey. Great for getting close to waders here - No sign of the Grey Phalarope, dip number 4 for the day.
News of a Slavonian Grebe on Audenshaw Res (a couple of mile from where I work), gets me out before the match starts. Great photos too of this rare grebe to Grt.Manchester.
171 Blyh's Reed Warbler
172 Yellowhammer
173 Slavonian Grebe.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Buff Breasted Sandpiper

For the second year running, The Skua cruise was cancelled.
Yippee!. I hate sailing on small boats. But it's a must if you want
good views of sea birds. Just up the road at Flamborough there is
a real rare wader to get and photo. A Juvenile Buff-Breasted
Sandpiper has been seen on the golf course for a couple of days
now. And you dont get many of them on yer yearlist. This
sandpiper is a stunner, don't you think from the photo.
Click-click-tick. Now what do we do? rare birds every elsewhere.
Between the four of us, we decide to drive down to Spurn Point,
some very good stuff there reported. On the way too, Yellow
Brown Warbler, calling in from Siberia..Tick. on too Spurn. Round
the back of the pub at spurn, there's a crowd Rochdale F.C. would
be proud of. Greenish Warbler the quarry. Wasted no time to join
the barbour army. There it was for a moment. good enough for
me..A LIFER! casually slope off to the mudfalts, get some waders
and more year ticks.
An excellent birding trip. We agree to play out together again, If
our better halfs let us.
Total now stands at 170, 30 to go. chewing finger nails now.