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Showing posts from 2008

Garden ringing

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We've spent a good few hours trying to ring the redpolls in my Garden. This morning, I had a flock of ten in the garden first thing that included a definite male Mealy and so Mark Breaks came around with his mum and nets. No sooner had we put them up than the flock re-appeared and six of them went in the net. These were processed and all found to be Lessers - five females and one male (below).
The next batch conincided with Bill's arrival as well as a few other interested parties! These included an interesting individual with a pale head, similar to the one photographed yesterday. This could have been the same bird and turned out to be a Lesser as well - the head pattern somewhat similar with white wing bars. However it looked browner on the back and rump and had buffy flanks.
We managed to catch 32 birds of 11 species in three hours including 10 Blue and 5 Great Tits. I'll now keep an eye out for those birds to try and get some idea of the number of birds using the garde…

Redpolls in the Garden

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I've been getting lots of birds on the garden feeders over the past couple of weeks, most notably, the return of the Redpoll's I had earlier in the year - except now their numbers are increasing. A Maximum of 6 at any one time yesterday increased to ten this morning. But that's not all: The bird on the left below is a probable female Mealy. The firrst image doesn't show how bright the white supercilium and wing-bars are but you can see how grey the head is, especially when compared to the Lesser.
We're going to do some ringing today! This image shows how distinctive the face pattern is.
Anyway, today I've just had a definite male Mealy with a pale pink rump.

A bit of Hartlepool birding

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We had to take Heather up to Peterlee for an exam so whilst we waited for her to finish, we spent a little time down at Hartlepool.


From the Headland I did a quick sea-watch - several Eider, a few Common Scoter as well as a single Brent Goose and a few Red-throated Divers. Just around the corner behind the breakwater, there were several Purple Sandpipers as well as the regular stuff.
There had been a Great-northern Diver in the marina, so we tried for that without luck at first but after a trip to re-fuel, the bird put in an appearance.

Local birding

Following Bill's sightings of an Iceland Gull at Fishmoor, I decided to head there after I'd checked the football pitches for the weekend games. I arrived about 4pm an already there were a huge number of gulls on the reservoir and on eth roof of Walkersteel. Soon after setting up my scope in the lee of the car, I picked up an adult Yellow-legged gull in amonst the Herring and Lesser Black-backs. These quickly moved onto the roof but more birds were streaming in. In the half hour I was there I estimated that there were around 10,000 gulls in the area with over 6,000 Black-headed's, 2,500 Herring as well as hundreds of Common and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. There were around 50 Greater Black-backs as well.
It was getting rather dim when I picked out an Iceland Gull - a first winter - looking pinky in the receding light with a full dark bill. Elated at that, I decided to call it a day.
On Sunday, it was back to Atlas work. My second square is around Hoddlesden - nothing much to …

A twitching day

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The news of a Steppe Grey Shrike in Lincolnshire along with plenty of other good birds on that coast was far too tempting so it was east I headed with Billy, Phil and Neil early on Saturday morning. We arrived at a very blustery Horseshoe Point and was immediately given alternative directions to the bird that negated the walk in excess of a mile each way. After a wrong turn we eventually found the right track which led us to a crowd of birders watching the bird. After about ten minutes it decided that it was far too far away from us and gave a great show, feeding actively. The hush of the assembled throng spoke volumes for the appreciation of this star performer.
We then decided to head for the Two-barred Crossbill in North Yorkshire - a bit of a trek! Two hours later we were yomping up the track to the isolated house that sat nestled amongst a stand of Larch. The bird hadn't been seen for ages but just as we arrived there was a bit of commotion - I moved myself away from the crow…

A Buzzard at last!

November 1st and the start date for the winter bird survey. I've chosen a couple of tetrads to do this year - Rishton Reservoir/Whitebirk and Hoddlesden. I did my first two hour count on the former - as I set off, I could hear the distinctive calls of Pinkeet overhead - a skein of 210 headed south-east over the house. As it was a bright and cold morning, birds were active. A couple of drake Wigeon were unexpected as was a Kingfisher - a bird that keeps turning up on my count days!
There was nothing else out of the ordinary so I headed back home to do some work in the garden. One thing I have noticed was the lack of finches in the area - Redwings and Fieldfares have arrived or are passing through, but the number of finches has dropped dramatically. Anyway it was mid-afternoon when I heard a bit of a commotion from some Crows overhead - I looked up and saw a large raptor being mobbed. I dashed for my binoculars and was rewarded with wonderful views of a Common Buzzard right over the …

Wet, windy and cold in Ireland

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As it was half term, I decided to take Bernie for a few days to the west coast of Ireland to see some lovely scenery and hopefully some good birds. The weather forecast was not good, so we packed all the weatherproofing gear Ryanair's baggage limit would allow!Taking advantage of the new service from Liverpool to Knock, we decided not to do a pilgrimage and headed for the Galway coast in the vain hope that the Little Blue Heron might still be there. The scenery was magnificent and the Connemara mountains foreboding as we dodged our way through showers to the extremity of Galway in about two hours. The wind was blowing strongly from the north and it was COLD! There were very few birds to be seen so we headed off to our B&B (run by an ex-roadie of U2 and a very nice place too!) and a meal in the town of Clifden. The following day didn't seem much better but a brief respite in the morning gave us the chance to do a circuit of one of the Galway headlands where we saw Chough, Tw…

Some 'local' birds

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Cut Wood - October 18th - leaves are starting to fall.
A cold north-west wind blew across the waters of Rishton Reservoir this morning and the first Redwings I've seen this autumn passed overhead with their characteristic high pitched calls giving away their imminent presence. I've seen a large flock of Canada Geese on the fields as I go to work but have had little opportunity to count them. They were very obliging today - 228 at least with some on the Reservoir and some on the field above the small res (as in the photo).There were eight Great Crested Grebes on the Reservoir including at least four of this year's juveniles. A flock of 45 Lapwings on the far bank was put up by a passing Sparrowhawk.
It was then off to see my mum in Ainsdale and check some of my old haunts when I was a teenager (all those years ago!)
Driving along the coast road I was accompanied by a Little Egret - you certainly never saw them thirty years ago. I called in a tthe Sands Lake at Ainsdale where …

Garden migrants

The nice weather over the weekend saw me in the garden doing various bits and pieces. However I was delighted to hear the call of a flava wagtail and then a flock of six Skylarks over the house. this morning, there were at least one Willow Warbler, one Chiffchaff and Goldcrests - still no sign of a yellow-browed, though.

Shrikes Galore!

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The news of a Brown Shrike at Flamborough Head the previous evening was the prompt needed to have a days birding on the east coast. Tony Disley, Bill Berry and I started out at 7, arrived just before 10 and parked the car in a field FULL of cars near the site. I was somewhat surprised to find John already there as he said he couldn't go on Thursday and Billy who should have been working (and had a change of heart)! This was the site of a real mega-twitch with crowds of birders lining the road for a distant glimpse of the bird that had moved from the Old Fall hedge to one a little more problematical. I've got to say the local constabulary did a good job in cordoning off half the road for the birders. Thankfully, after half and hour's wait, the adult Brown Shrike appeared on the hedge alongside a juvenile Red-backed Shrike - it was a stunning bird even at distance with a completely different jizz to the Red-backed. Once we'd had our fill we headed down to the Old Fall pl…

Some Milestones

Thanks to everyone who came along to our party on Saturday to celebrate our daughter Heather's 18th Birthday and our 25th Wedding Anniversary. It was a great night and not even the knowledge that I was missing a Pallas' Grasshopper Warbler at Spurn could dampen my spirits!

The wonderful north-east

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September 7th , and after days of torrential rain, the winds started to veer from the south-east and a front over the north sea raching land around Hartlepool could only mean one thing - stacks of drift migrants. It had started on the Saturday so Billy, Bill and I headed off early on Sunday morning - first stop Hartlepool Headland. As we arrived, the ringers had just caught an Icterine Warbler which was obligingly shown to the assembled birders. Pied Flys and Redstarts adorned the nearby trees and there were loads of Willow Warblers as well as Blackcaps, Garden Warblers and the like. A Lesser Whitethroat was also caught in the Doctors Garden and we also had Wood Warbler by the Town Hall.

After a very enjoyable hours or so we eventually decided to go for a nearby Greenish Warbler - we were too late and after an hour and a half we decided to give it a miss and head for South Shields. Half an hour later we were thrashing some bushes near Marsden Rock - more Redstarts, Pied and Spotted Fl…

All sorts of goodies!

It's been rather a busy few weeks and so much so that I haven't been able to update the blog until now.
August 29th: I took half a day off work to spend some time with Bernie and do a bit of birding at the same time. A juvenile Black Stork that had eluded us on our visit to Durham earlier in the summer had taken up residence near York. As ever, I played this one quite cooly - had a nice pub lunch before seeking out the spot where it had been seen. It was a fine day and the bird had been seen to fly off high to the north-east :-( Was I to miss this bird again?
After several hours of seeing nothing but a Peregrine, Yellow Wagtail and Kingfisher, we decided that it must have gone - I'd not gone two paces when "It's there!" came the cry. .. and then it wasn't. A few minutes later it took off from eep cover and flew over the field and out of sight again and try as we might we just couldn't get an angle through the hedgerows to see the bird. After another hou…

Having a whale of a time

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Arran from Girvan

Sunday morning saw me at Turnberry - far too early for the golfers but just in time to watch the Manx Shearwaters passing in their droves. I was watching a group of Gannets when suddenly this fin appears out of the water (at least a mile away). I excitedly trained my scope on the area and was rewarded with the huge bulk and fin of a Minke whale three times in five minutes as it made its way UP the Clyde between me and Arran - absolutely fantastic.A couple of juvenile Wheatears popped up and then everything was spooked first by a Sparrowhawk and then by a Peregrine. One of the Knot on the rocks still had its orangy plumage and the Trunstones were still in their summer finery. More medals ensued!!!!!!

Girvan in August and an unexpected find

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Time for a well deserved week off and we've headed back to Girvan. I love the tranquility of the place (away from the main road of course) and plan to spend more time searching out some good birding spots.Anyway, we arrived on Friday evening so as there was a stiff wind blowing on Saturday morning (16th Aug), I decided to get up early-ish and do a seawatch from the harbour wall where I'd seen some good birds earlier in the year. It was a good decision to make as straight away there were plenty of Manx Shearwaters passing (though distant) as well as the usual Gannets and Sandwich Terns. I was totally taken by surprise when a Storm Petrel flew south not too far off the coast - the wind wasn't too strong and southerly so it was completely unexpected - as was another (and eventually 4 in the hour I was there). Then came something I was very pleased to see - a couple of Manxies appeared followed by a dusky brown version - a Balearic Shearwater. This was a UK tick for me and it w…

Wind + Rain = Good Birds

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After a couple of days of wind and rain, there was bound to be some good birds around - just as I was about to set out I got news of a fine drake Common Scoter on Rishton Reservoir (managed to get this shot in between the squalls). There were still six Great Crested Grebes here as well as a Common Tern. A juv Peregrine zipped through causing some consternation!Next I thought I should visit Formby Point for high tide - a good move as it turned out. I managed to find myself a sheltered spot near the top of the dunes and watched for an hour before moving on to Seaforth. There were at least 8 Manxies, several Gannets, lots of terns (Common and Sandwich) and  a lovely Storm Petrel just beyond the breakers. At Seaforth there were loads of terns including a few Arctic. There were Little Gulls as well and a juvenile Little Tern put in an appearance.

Definitely NOT a Pink Stink

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Well it's been an eventful few days in the Lancashire birding scene. I was fortunate to get to see the Melodious Warbler at Jackhouse Reservoir last Friday before work - I was there early but not as early as some! At the time it was thought to be an Icterine because of the obvious wing panel but after some puzzling, the rest of the features pointed to Melodious. This bird had been singing for two weeks before the news got out and checking its song against recordings, it was definitely more like Melodious. Thereafter there was a lot of controversy as the bird was trapped, ringed and released never to be seen again!Fortunately, I was not there as we had a weekend in Girvan. The King Eider had long gone but I really enjoyed sitting in the living room looking out at Ailsa Craig and the fishing Gannets and Sandwich Terns. A Black Guillemot off shore was the first I'd seen there in over 15 years of visiting. Today we'd been fumigating Heather's room whilst she was away on Duk…

Atlas Work

An early start saw me wandering around the tetrad between Rishton and Great Harwood in search of breeding birds. It was a beautiful morning and a flock of 20 Swifts over Mill Lodge was a nice sight here. The Grebes had got two well grown young but there was only one adult present. A little further down and I was delighted to come across not one but a pair of Kingfishers as well as Sand Martins and Grey Wags on Hyndburn Brook. Having never ever seen more than one Kingfisher in a day, I was gobsmacked when a third appeared before me on the canal at Rishton!The feeders are still very busy with a female GSWoodpecker visiting regularly as well as the usual crowd of finches - there was one bit of heartache when a juv House Sparrow decided to fly into the bedroom window.

Garden Birds

After a busy week at work its really nice to sit in the garden and watch the birds come into the feeders - helps me relax. After a couple of weeks where the number of birds visiting the garden had dropped, this last week has been very busy, no doubt because there are youngsters to feed.This evening there was the usual crowd of Sparrows plus at least six different Greenfinches (no juvs yet), several Chaffinches and passing parties of Goldfinches. The Redpolls put in an appearance again - the male is one of the brightest I've ever seen, as did the Bullfinches (at least three) and an unexpected female Reed Bunting. The garden will be busy with juveniles pretty soon I think judging on the activity of the adult Great and Blue Tits.

Wilson's Phalarope

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Another bird I hadn't seen in a while turned up very obligingly at Seaforth and stayed just long enough for me to twitch it! This male Wilson's Phalarope was definitely worth the trip as it fed relatively close to the hide (certainly a better view than the people standing at the Marine Lake. After that I headed to my sister's house in Orrell via Houghton Green Flash where the Black-necked Grebe was sat in the middle alongside a couple of Great-cresteds.

Titchwell

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What a fantastic place the Titchwell reserve is - a nice high bank where the birds can see you and you can see the birds without seemingly worrying them, and a few well placed hides. Having seen teh Monague's Harriers again and had a brief glimpse of the ever more rare Turtle Dove we hoped to see some migrants. We weren't disappointed as Tim found a splendid Grey-headed Wagtail (the Scandinavian version of Yellow Wag) and John found the three Temminck's Stints. We admired these birds for some time along with the large numbers of Little Gulls and assortment of other birds.
John, Bill and I headed back to the Honey Buzzard spot for midday whilst T & J enjoyed the delights of the North Norfolk coast. There was quite a crowd at Great Ryburgh and as the sun beat down and no birds showed, Bill dozed off and entertained the masses with a virtuoso snoring performance! We said that we'd give it to 3 but fortunately we'd forgot the time and at five past a bird appeared br…

Minsmere

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Most of us were truly knackered after Tuesday but John got up at 5 to reccy Westleton Heath for Woodlark. He succeeded but when the rest of us got there (after a very nice breakfast), the birds were playing a little hard to get. We heard Woodlark, saw the Nightingales and had great views of Dartford Warblers.
Some Crossbills also put in an appearance for the group as we set off to nearby Minsmere.The last time I was at this flagship reserve was about 23 years ago and the reception area had changed quite a bit. However the birds hadn't changed for the most part and the reed beds and scrape were full of the thing we reasonably expected to see. I just love Little Terns, so one hovering outside the East Hide was manna for me. There was a good supporting cast with a very rusty Sanderling being strung by most as a Little Stint, a Purple Sandpiper (!) and a very rusty Cuckoo that looked almost scarlet as it flew from the beach to the woods. Three Bitterns flew high over the reedbed - ever…

A little sojourn to East Anglia

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It didn't take much persuading to get me to go to East Anglia for a few days with a few friends. Tim and Janet picked me up early on Tuesday morning and we met up with John and Bill (who'd got up even earlier) at Fen Drayton in Cambridgeshire. It was 9am and a beautiful sunny morning as we stood by the road admiring the singing Sedge Warbler and the first Hobbies of the trip.

The bird we'd come to see was a female Red-footed Falcon that duly obliged giving us some tantalising semi-obscured views before joining the local Hobbies in searching out various odonata for breakfast. A splendid start.
We had spent a good two hours here and though we knew it was rather late, we decided to head to Lakenheath to see what we could find there. The Orioles were in the farthest plantation so we set out on the trek along the riverbank to see if we could get a glimpse. En-route we were serenaded by what seemed hundreds of Reed Warblers and then treated to an amazing show by at least eight Hob…

Bird Race 2008

Yawn! the alarm goes off at one-thirty and I've just fallen asleep. I drag myself out of bed as quietly as possible and get a hurried breakfast (I always have to!). I met John, Tony and Phil just after 2 - they all piled in my car and we set off for Belmont in the hope of some LEO's.No LEO's but a singing Gropper and Barn Owl were a good start. We drove the 40 miles up to Leighton Moss where we arrived at 3:30 and the other night-singing warblers were quickly ticked off. We struggled a bit for Water Rail but eventually they squealed! Back on the road we listened to the dawn chorus - the weather was warm and the air still and this resulted in the loudest chorus I've ever witnessed. the Song Thrushes and Blackbirds drowned everything else out! We managed to get some of the woodland birds needed at this point of the day but dipped on Green Woodpecker and Jay which we didn't see or hear the rest of the day. At Jenny Brown's Point, there was poor visibility so other t…

Another rare gull

I got a call from Tony D regarding whether I wanted to do a Bird Race on Sunday - a bit short notice. Having been out of the bird-race scene for 12 years I decided to have a go and busily started to plan a route based on our routes all those years ago. I was full of good intentions about getting an early night when, at 8pm, I got a message about a Bonaparte's Gull on Stocks Reservoir. I missed the one in Burnley several years ago as I was away so this had to be twitched. Half and hour later I joined four others at the island viewpoint and picked up the Little Gull and a few Med's in amongst the throng of Black-head's. The bird had flown from its original place and hadn't been seen for a while when Mike refound it. We enjoyed pretty good views considering the distance and light (thanks for letting me use your super-scope, Margaret!). A dainty little thing with a darker mantle than BHG and a pale grey shawl over the shoulders. It eventually took flight and made it's …

Wood Warbler

I couldn't sleep so I decided that a quick tour of the local reservoirs might yield something. There was drizzle in the air, a shame after such a nice day on Saturday, but that could mean something unexpectedly dropping in. Well there was zilch on Rishton Reservoir apart from the two nesting pairs of Great-crested Grebes - the reservoir is full and so there's no edge to tempt down a passing wader. Willow Warblers, Blackcaps and Whitethroat were singing but that seemed to be all that was new. I headed to Parsonage Reservoir where there was even less - apart from Bill Berry who had just got a message that there was a Wood Warbler down at Cut Wood - well I didn't hear it when I was there. So it was back to Rishton where I listened intently for quite a while but with no joy. We spread the search and soon I could hear that lovely trilling song. I summoned Bill over and we enjoyed a very active Wood Warbler, feeding and singing.... then the phone rang - work - b...! Later that d…

Back to Census work

At last! A fine weekend morning to get out and do the BTO Atlas work. I decided to do both tetrads in one go so it was going to be a 4 hour session of pretty much non-stop walking and counting. My hip had held up pretty well last weekend when I decided two Dotterel at the top of Pendle could not be missed - it took me twice as long as it used to but they were there and so was I. I also got Ring Ouzel, Peregrine and a few other goodies. Anyway, it was all calm at 6am as I worked my way through the housing estate, past the golf club (Linnet and Whitethroat here) and onto Cowhill where the Skylarks were singing and a few Wheatears were stopping off on migration.
Most of the birds were pretty much as I expected, a Little Owl at Plowtalgh was not unexpected - I've suspected them being there for some time. Dippers were on the river and a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers decided to get down to brass tacks on a bare branch in front of me - how brazen!
A House Martin and a Swift finally p…

The Elusive Ross's Gull

The news that the Ross's Gull had been refound on the Fylde was definitely very welcome but as I couldn't get out of work, I was getting rather twitchy! When it was reported as loitering around Granny's Bay at Lytham, I knew that I had to go. I still waited for home time (which is mercifully early on a Friday) and headed for the coast. 3/4 hour later, I was pulling up behind Maurice Jones's car as her was packing up - the bird had been really close but was now out on the channel. I made my way to the remaining birders including Bill and John but it wasn't showing. I was starting to get that horrible feeling!
However, after about an hour I caught a fleeting glimpse as it took flight from behind he bank that was concealing it and landed a few yards down river (and hiding again). I managed to get four flight views over the next half hour - glad it wasn't my first though I think my previous one many years ago at Seaforth was also rather distant.
Knowing that I'll…

A Lancashire Lifer

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Well, I certainly played this one cool - spring migrants don't generally hang around but this beautiful male White-spotted Bluethroat did just that allowing me to get to grips with this species in Lancashire for the first time (my 297th for the county).

What a stunning bird! Fortunatley it waited for me to finish work and get up to Lancaster by 6pm. As I arrived it started to show quite well for a short while before hiding back in the thick cover. I just about managed to get this single shot of it before it hid!

March 31st Abuko and Home

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Tijan picked us up one final time to take us to the airport via Abuko where we were successful in drawing out a Grey-headed Bristlebill and Collared Sunbird as well as getting better views of Malachite Kingfisher, Green Turacos and several other birds.

We finally said our farewells to Tijan – an excellent guide and great company – and headed for home. We’d seen 204 species (136 lifers for me) in what was the quietest part of the year and had several memorable experiences of the real Gambia that so many visitors don’t see.

March 30th Bund Road/Atlantic Hotel/Camaloo Corner/Bijilo Woods

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Our last full day and we tried to pick up some water-birds that we hadn’t seen up to now. Along the Bund Road we came across lots of herons and kingfishers (including three Greats) as well as several Pink-backed Pelicans. 

From here we headed to Tijan’s garden at Atlantic Hotel in Banjul for a mini-Gambia twitch.
We got the Greyish Eagle Owl that had been present for a few days as well as a first for Gambia – an elusive European Robin!
On the way back we called in at Camaloo Corner where there was a single African Spoonbill, two Yellow-billed Storks, Marsh Sandpiper and a circling flock of 16 Great-white Pelicans.
Back at the hotel I was still itching to get a few more species so I succumbed to the pestering of one of he local guides and went with him to Bijilo Woods – and what a good move that was. Grey Woodpecker, African Silverbill, three Oriole Warblers and the sought after White-throated Bee-eaters were all bagged as well as the Blue-breated Kingfisher that kept avoidin…

March 29th Pirang/Bush Track

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Today was to be a full days birding a little further inland but as we set off, we knew that things were going to be rather hot. We finally caught up with a Grey Kestrel on the way as well as a Black-winged Kite, Lizzard Buzzard and Shikra. At Pirang, everything was dry – Wire-tailed Swallows swooped around and we picked up a Yellow-throated Longclaw on the track to the viewing point. All the shrimp pools were dry apart from a couple of damp patches that attracted a few herons. We added Mosque Swallow at the creek and African Mourning Dove back nearer the village.
We headed for the bush-track (having had a brief chat with Tijan’s sister in a nearby village). Quite soon we found a pair of African Hobbies at a best site but not much else at all initially. A flock of at least 30 Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters flew high overhead whilst we ate lunch.
A little further down the track was a far more productive area with the road lined with some denser vegetation. Here we sa…

March 28th Brufut Woods

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We decided that as it was Friday, we’d just have a morning’s birding at Brufut Woods in order to allow Tijan time to go to the mosque later in the day.
First call was to see two obliging White-faced Scops Owls right next to he track. The Verreaux’s Eagle Owls had not been seen for several months; we tried the regular places but to no avail. African Green pigeons fed in the top of one of the trees where they should have been. Then we were directed to a site where three Long-tailed Nightjars were roosting – first time I’ve ever seen any nightjar in daylight. On to the hide overlooking the almost dry drinking pools and we picked up several more birds. Black-winged Red Bishops joined the Red Bishops and doves. We saw another Lanner falcon and a couple of Harrier Hawks.  We noted several migrants – Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap as well as more Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters, Fork-tailed Drongos, Lesser Honeyguides, Sunbirds and Prinias. We came across a Black-winged Kit…

March 27th Brikama/Marakissa

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We’d asked Tijan if we could visit a school and he arranged for us to visit his local Lower Basic School at Sifoe in the morning. 

We had a wonderful time there and arranged some links to be made with Bernie’s school. We took names and photos to show the kids back home – Sifoe is a large village but has no electricity. The school teaches 840 8 – 14 year olds but they had nothing. We’ll see what we can do!
From there we headed for Marakissa near the Senegalese border where there was a lodge where we could recuperate. On the way we had Wire-tailed Swallows, Tawny Eagle, Long-crested Eagle and Plain-backed Pipit. At Marakissa we sat in the shad but the temperature had soared and there was no breeze. It was 38 degrees in the shade and Bernie was getting over-heated – we just had to keep as cool as we could. Fortunately there were some bird baths around and our patience rewarded us with fine views of lots of birds including Orange-cheeked Waxbills, Greater, Lesser and the rare Spotte…