Showing posts from May, 2008


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…


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

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…