Mersey Birders

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The Scillies 6th-14th Oct

Posted on October 18, 2013 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

A return holiday to the Isles of Scilly, after an absence of 3 yrs, started unusually on the Sunday 6th, with the accomadation being from Monday-Monday, we travelled down Sunday morning, and we were able to get some birding in Cornwall, first stop Pendeen, where an adult male Daurian Shrike had been found on Friday.

We soon located the Shrike, on rough ground with gorse patches, it was catching insects and perching up, before flying long distances to hunt another area, so good views were had as it flew by, a stunning bird and probably the best I've ever seen out of 10 or more I've had before.

Ad Male Daurian Shrike Pendeen Cornwall 6th Oct 2013

Ad Male Daurian Shrike Pendeen Cornwall 6th Oct 2013

Ad Male Daurian Shrike Pendeen Cornwall 6th Oct 2013

Ad Male Daurian Shrike Pendeen Cornwall 6th Oct 2013

Ad Male Daurian Shrike Pendeen Cornwall 6th Oct 2013

We left after adding a Whinchat and several Stonechat, a couple of Chiffchaff and a Whitethroat, and arrived at Hayle estuary where a Black-winged Stilt and a Lesser Yellowlegs had been seen, after passing a group of 25 birders near the road, we parked by the pub and viewed the estuary, and it wasn't long before the Black-winged Stilt was picked up roosting with a few Redshank, the tide was quickly filling the creeks and pushing waders to higher ground and closer to the prom wall, a couple of Brent Geese, several Little Egrets and several Greenshanks and a single Little stint amongst a flock of Dunlin.

Black-winged Stilt Hayle estuary 6th Oct 2013

Little Egrets Hayle estuary Cornwall 6th Oct 2013

A scan of the near by waders close to the birders, revealed the Lesser Yellowlegs, which disappeared from our view behind the pub, we relocated to the prom next to the other birders, but it became obvious that they were'nt on the bird, but were watching the Stilt, the legs was just 25 yds away in front of everyone, we got people onto it and managed some shots before an Osprey flew low overhead and flushed everything, the Yellowlegs flew across the road to another pool, while the Osprey gave great views.

Juv/1stw Lesser Yellowlegs Hayle estuary Cornwall 6th Oct 2013

Juv/1stw Lesser Yellowlegs Hayle estuary Cornwall 6th Oct 2013

Osprey Hayle estuary Cornwall 6th Oct 2013

Osprey Hayle estuary Cornwall 6th Oct 2013

We stayed in the Travelodge overnight and caught the Scillonian Monday morning, a relatively quiet crossing in the calm conditions, with just a single Bonxie, lots of Gannets, and several pods of Common Dolphins.

Common Dolphins from the Scillonian 7th Oct 2013

Common Dolphins from the Scillonian 7th Oct 2013

Common Dolphins from the Scillonian 7th Oct 2013

Gannet off Scillonian Oct 2013

After docking at St Marys, we set off to Newford duck pond where an Arctic Warbler had been found, it took quite a while before the bird showed, under the large willow at the back of the pond, the long supercil, obvious wingbar, thick bill and dark greenish upperparts.

A Jack Snipe and 2 Water Rail were seen at Lower Moors, with a Kingfisher flying through and the juv Purple Heron was seen in flight as it tried to go to roost in trees, but flew again probably disturbed by someone in the dump clump.

Water Rail Lower Moors St Marys Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

Kingfisher St Marys Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

The next full day, we strolled up to telegraph, where someone had seen a Olive-backed Pipit, a search had been carried out without success , but upon checking the area an Olive-backed Pipit was heard to call, with nothing seen, it may have flown over a hedge into one of the fields, but could not be located.

The Purple Heron gave better views in flight over Porthloo duck pond,were a Tree Pipit had eveyone fooled it was the OBP, 2 Raven flew over and another Kingfisher was seen, a Wryneck was seen distantly and briefly at the end of a field.

Juv Purple Heron St Marys Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

Juv Purple Heron St Marys Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

The Wryneck was seen again in the morning at Porthlow farm, several Wheatears and Rock Pipits were on Porthloo beach, with a Whimbrel, while up at Lower broome platform on the garrison, 1-2 Yellow-browed warblers put in brief showings.

Wyrneck St Marys Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

Whimbrel St Marys Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

Rock Pipit St Marys Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

A Bluethroat was showing exceptionally well at the dump clump, coming closer than it was possible to photo, the only downside was the low light in the shaded copse.

Bluethroat St Marys Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

Bluethroat St Marys Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

An adult and 1stw Med Gulls  were in Porthcressa bay, while a pod of Common Dolphins could be seen distantly off shore.

Another Wryneck was seen near Juliets garden cafe and the edge of the golf course on a rocky outcrop, but was very elusive and flighty.

Wryneck St Mrys Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

A trip over to Tresco to see the Sora Rail on the great pool, after a very long wait and a walk back to the far quay ready to get the boat back, we had to return to the hide to see the bird feeding and bathing on the edge of the reeds distantly, 16 Greenshanks were also on the pool, and while watching the bird while trying to get somme record shots, another crake or rail sp walked by it, but someone was hogging the scope and the mystery bird remained unresolved, 3 Jack Snipe showed well from the hide, 15 Redwing flew overhead, and a few Chiffchaff but not much else of note.

Record shot of Sora Rail Tresco Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

Record shot of Sora Rail Tresco Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

Migrant Hawker Tresco Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

Little Egret Tresco Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

A couple of showy Lapland Buntings were on Penninas Head amongst the rocks on the old town side, while a Snow Bunting showed ridiculously close on the main track  to the head.

Lapland Bunting St Marys Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

Lapland Bunting St Marys Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

Lapland Bunting St Marys Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

Snow Bunting St Maarys Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

Snow Bunting St Maarys Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

A Whinchat, 6 Blackcap, a Whitethroat and lots of Meadow pipits were in a sloping field at the back of old town cemetry, were the Red-breasted Flycatcher showed briefly and distantly.

Red-breasted Flycatcher St Maryys Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

Red-breasted Flycatcher St Maryys Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

Two Yellow-browed Warblers were seen in lower moors, while another 2 were seen by old town cemetry, and then the Grey-cheeked Thrush had been pinned down and was seen a few times inside the cemetry with a couple of record shots were taken before it was flushed.

Grey-cheeked Thrush Isles of Scilly Oct 2013

A Yellow-browed Warbler was seen at the Garrison calling briefly, and the boat crossing back produced more Common Dolphins, a poss Grey Phal near St Martins, a poss Great Shearwater and a Minke Whale, and that was it for another time, and as Arnie says, "I'll be back".

Common Dolphins off Scillonian Oct 2013

Two days in Norfolk 10th-11th June

Posted on June 14, 2013 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

A chance of a couple of days in Norfolk, based near Strumpshaw Fen, one of my favourite RSPB reserves, it has a wide variety of birds and wildlife, which needs to be covered daily for a week or so to get the best sightings, but we managed a few good bits and bobs while we were there.

We started early on Monday at 5.15 with the sun well up, as were the birds, a male Marsh Harrier was hunting a meadow that had highland cattle feeding in it, and in the next field, a Barn Owl, while Cetti's Warblers shouted, rather than sang their song from the willows nearby.

Male Marsh Harrier Strumpshaw Fen Norfolk 10th June 2013

Barn Owl Strumpshaw Fen Norfolk 10th June 2013

From the fen hide, at least 6 Marsh Harriers were on the wing, hunting, food passes, collecting nest material and causing pandemonium amongst the Black-headed Gulls nesting with young, at least 2 Cuckoos were calling and chasing each other across the reedbeds.

Male Marsh Harrier Strumpshaw Fen Norfolk 10th June 2013

Male Marsh Harrier Strumpshaw Fen Norfolk 10th June 2013

Due to the cloudy and coolish conditions, there was no chance of any of the specialities of the reserve, like Swallowtail Butterfly, Norfolk Hawker, Scarce chaser and a good variety of the commoner species.

A Bittern was heard booming amongst the reeds, another Barn Owl was seen hunting across the reedbeds, a Kingfisher was seen on the river, an Otter was picked out from the tower hide, giving prolonged views as it fed at the back of the mere, and a distant Hobby was seen perched up.

Otter Strumpshaw Fen Norfolk 10th June 2013

We headed for breakfast before heading towards Cley, were a male white-spotted Bluethroat was eventually seen distantly singing on a bush in the middle of the reeds from a track to the east bank, here more Marsh Harriers were seen with Avocets and 2 Bearded Tits, a Muntjack Deer was seen crossing the road in front of the car, another was seen on the way down before dusk the day before.

The sun was breaking here so we headed for Kelling Heath, were we managed to see a family of 5 Dartford Warblers amongst the Gorse, Green Tiger Beetles were common in a sandy area.

We returned to Strumpshaw for an late afternoon visit, and were rewarded with a few dragonflies that had begun to emerge due to the warm sunshine, including a few Black-tailed Skimmers, Four-spot Chasers, Azure Damselflies and a Norfolk Hawker, which was still pumping its wings to full strength.

Highland Cattle grazing the meadow 10th June 2013

Norfolk Hawker Strumpshaw Fen Norfolk 10th June 2013

Female/imm Black-tailed Skimmer Strumpshaw Fen 10th June 2013

A Stoat was seen chasing something near the path, and an Osprey flew over the car park, just as I'd put my camera away, typical.

Day two, we in the field for 6am, after packing everything up to save going back to the house we'd stayed in, again the male Marsh Harrier was hunting the same field but drifted further away, two Barn Owls again, and much the same as yesterday, but the sun was trying its best to come out this time, providing a second chance of butterflies and Dragonflies.

Male Marsh Harrier Strumpshaw Fen 11th June 2013

A food pass of a young rabbit male and female Marsh Harriers Strumpshaw Fen 11th June 2013

Barn Owl Strumpshaw Fen 11th June 2013

We worked our way round the reserve, were Large Red Damselflies were all around, as were Azure Damselflies, Banded Demoiselle were along the river, a Common Lizard was sunbathing on the boardwalk, and then we managed to get 3 Swallowtail Butterflies, feeding on flowers in a garden next to the reserve, superb creatures, and amazing to see in someones garden.

Common Lizard Strumpshaw Fen 11th June 2013

Banded Demoiselle Strumpshaw Fen Norfolk 11th June 2013

Swallowtail Butterfly Strumpshaw Fen Norfolk 11th June 2013

Swallowtail Butterfly Strumpshaw Fen Norfolk 11th June 2013

Swallowtail Butterfly Strumpshaw Fen Norfolk 11th June 2013

After hitting another of our target species we set off for Lakenheath, were the weather was playing up, one minute it was sunny, and then cloudy, not what we wanted, as we were looking for Scarce Chaser here.

Plenty of Hobbies on view with a total of 20+, with at least 8 Marsh Harriers, Cuckoo, 2 Green Woodpeckers showed well feeding on the bank next to the path, its been a long time since I used to come here for Golden Orioles, well before it was a reserve, and now it is truely impressive and huge, we only covered a small area in the time we had, but we managed to see 2 Common Cranes that breed here now, as they flew across the reserve.

Hobby Lakenheath RSPB 11th June 2013

Hobby Lakenheath RSPB 11th June 2013

Green Woodpecker Lakenheath RSPB 11th June 2013

Common Cranes Lakenheath RSPB 11th June 2013

A Mother Shipton Moth was found in the grass, 2 Scarce Chaser were seen briefly on the side of the bank and a record shot of one before it flew, a Water Vole was in one of the ditches, a young Grass Snake was found under a corrugated tin sheet, a place that needs a couple of days to really get the best of it, because of its size, will have to return, soon!

A grab shot of an imm male Scarce Chaser Lakenheath RSPB 11th June 2013

Mother Shipton Moth Lakenheath RSPB 11th June 2013

Spurn 19th May

Posted on May 22, 2013 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

A trip over to the east coast to see what was on offer, with a Collared Flycatcher the day before and the promise of east-north-east winds in the forecast who knows what will be seen.

First stop Sammy's Point, were there was no sign of the Collared fly, but a female Red-backed Shrike showed well but distant, several Yellow Wagtails, and two calling Cuckoo, one or two Whimbrel, several Dark-bellied Brent Geese and a Tree Pipit flew over calling.

Cuckoo Spurn 19th May 2013

Cuckoo Spurn 19th May 2013

Whitethroats were everywhere singing from every bush, a Lesser Whitethroat was singing down Beacon Lane, with a fem Pied Fly, Sedge Warbler and good views of a Cuckoo which was following a female along the hedges.

Sedge Warbler Spurn 19th May 2013

The road to the point was closed to traffic, so we decided to walk it, 3mls there and 3mls back, a male Whinchat and a few Wheatears were seen on the way up, another Pied Fly, this time a male, and at least 2-3 Spotted Fly, another Lesser whitethroat and a fem Whinchat, no sign of the Common Rosefinches that had been seen in the morning.

Whinchat Spurn 19th May 2013

Male Pied Flycatcher Spurn 19th May 2013

Spotted Flycatcher Spurn 19th May 2013

A couple of Little Egrets, 100+ Dark-bellied Brents, 4 Little Terns, 3 Whimbrel, a mixed flock of waders included Sanderling, Turnstone, Ringed Plover and some smart looking summer plumaged Grey Plover, Male Common Scoter on the sea, with an Eider roosting on the bank.

Dark-bellied Brent Geese Spurn 19th May 2013

Dark-bellied Brent Geese Spurn 19th May 2013

Several Roe Deer were seen and smelt, as they had just passed the road on the way up to the point, and thousands of the annoying Brown-tail caterpillars all over the bushes and road.

Walking back we got news of a Red-breasted Flycatcher down by the warren, after a short search for it we learned it had been caught by the obs and would be on show shortly.

Red-breasted Flycatcher Spurn 19th May 2013

After viewing the RBF, we walked along the canal and had Reed Warbler singing in the reedbed, more views of a Cuckoo, a Hobby flew over, more Roe Deer in the fields, no mega rareites but a good selection of birds, but Spurn was missing out on the goodies with Holy Island and Hartlepool fairing better.

Cuckoo Spurn 19th May 2013

A day on the east coast 14th Oct

Posted on October 16, 2012 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

A visit to Flambourgh Head for a change of scenery, a nice day but the wind was in the wrong direction, a pre-forecast of NE winds changed to NW, which isn't ideal, and this proved with nothing new in or staying from the day before, despite the cloud covered headland.

Upon arrival, a Tree Pipit was heard calling and seen heading inland from the lighthouse, it seems a bit late for Tree and thoughts of Olive-backed Pipit came to mind, but the call was brief and they are very similar!

Flambourgh Head lighthouse 14th Oct 2012

A flock of Tree Sparrows flew around calling with lots of Goldcrests in every bush and gully, lots of Robins,Blackbirds, Song thrushes and Redwings newly arrived, a Brambling called quite loudly from a hawthorn bush and then a Lesser Whitethroat showed well in the warm sunshine, a pale brown backed bird possibly an eastern halimodendri race, lacking an obvious mask and showed white outer tail feathers.

Lesser Whitethroat (possibly eastern race halimodendri)  Flambourgh head 14th Oct 2012

A walk along the new fall hedge and old fall plantation, only produced more of the above, with a few Fieldfares, Skylarks, a Blackcap and a Weasel bouncing along in front of us with prey, the wind too strong here and the other side of the hedge would have been better, although the sheltered side of the plantation wasn't much better, a strip of set-a-side held Redpolls, Tree Sparrows and finches feeding amongst the tall grass and a Chiffchaff in the bushes.

A look offshore after a full english a the local cafe, produced a juv Pomarine Skua busy feeding on what looked like an auk species, accompanied by Great Black-backed Gulls trying to steal it from the skua.

Plenty of Guillemots on the sea with more passing, as well as the usual Gannets, Red-throated Divers and Common Scoter flocks.

After a check of South landing were a massive clearance programme has taken place, opening up a lot of the valley up, several Bullfinch, Redwings and Goldcrests, a single Yellowhammer and a Little Owl near the whale bridge which was double checked for Tengmalms on the obscured views we were getting.

Gannet Flambourgh head 14th Oct 2012

Gannet Flambourgh head 14th Oct 2012

Gannet Flambourgh head 14th Oct 2012

We left to check out Bempton for photo opportunities of Gannets, and weren't dissapointed as a few were still flying close to the cliffs in the windy conditions, while at the feeding station, Tree Sparrows, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Brambling were seen.

Tree Sparrows Bempton 14th Oct 2012

Tree Sparrow and Greenfinch taking a drink at Bempton 14th Oct 2012

Norfolk birding 15th Oct

Posted on October 16, 2011 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Another overnight trip to the southeast coast, this time for a Rufous-tailed Robin, only the second live bird for Britain with another found dead, an effort had to be made, even though the chances of seeing it where probably less than 10%, due to very clear conditions over Norfolk, the only chance was that it needed a feed and rest before moving.

Just as we where less than 15 miles from the site the pager went off, with news of a trapped Red-flanked Bluetail at Holme NOA bird obs, which happened to be just where we where, we stopped in time to reverse and head down to the obs.

Holme Bird Observatory

Holme Bird Observatory

The release time was given as 07.45, so we rushed down to the ringing hut and we were greeted by the head ringer who said she would release the bird as soon as one of the trainee ringers arrives, a tick for both Andy and Chris.

So we waited with cameras ready as she revealed the 1stw male Bluetail complete with shiny new ring, as always an excellent bird, and so nice to see at close range, small blue feathers in the wing coverts show it be a young male.

Red-flanked Bluetail Holme NOA 15th Oct 2011 (slightly out of focus)

Red-flanked Bluetail Holme NOA 15th Oct 2011

With news coming back from Warham Greens of no sign of the robin, we stayed around the obs and witnessed some visible migration with lots of Redwings, Reed Buntings, Chaffinches, Bramblings, Siskins, Redpolls, 3 Crossbills, a Rock Pipit and 10 Bearded Tits were on the move, out on the stubble fields, Pink-footed geese in good numbers, with a few Brent Geese flying over, a typical autumnal scene in the warm sunshine in Norfolk.

A quick look on the sea revealed a few close Red-throated Divers, distant Common Scoters and Grebes passing but not much else.

As I was looking for the Red-flanked Bluetail after its release it had dived for cover by some pines, I caught a glimpse of it briefly on the ground, it flicked its tail up and went deep into a low pine tree bough, it was seen a few more times from the back track but was mostly elusive.

Several Blackcaps and a Chiffchaff, a few Goldcrests and Robins were flicking around the ringing area, but nothing scarce or rare found, we moved on after a few hours towards Wells woods, where 4 Yellow-browed Warblers had been seen.

We arrived and took the wrong track, and ended up walking some distance without any luck, we then did a loop back to the car park and found a very good area of mixed willows and birch trees, and it wasn't long before I heard the call we were looking for, a Yellow-browed Warbler at last!

Soon enough the bird came out and showed well, a must see for the autumn, other birds here included several Bullfinch, a Marsh Harrier hunting over the fields, Jays busy caching acorns, and busy feeding flocks of Goldcrests and Coal Tits.

Despite reports of a few odds and sods along the coast, like a Raddes trapped at Weybourne, a few Richard's Pipits, a poss Hume's Leaf Warbler nothing was worth the extra travel time so we called it a day to get back at a reasonable hour, but not a bad day, the main reason for travel was soon forgotten, always a long shot but nice to get some Norfolk birding time in.

Sandhill Crane 5th Oct

Posted on October 8, 2011 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

A very early start was in order for the south east bound journey to Suffolk, leaving at 03.00 in order to get to the site for dawn, to see the now settled Sandhill Crane.

A very good overnight drive by John Donnelly, saw us arrive not long after first light, we parked in the designated village hall car park, and headed down to the viewing point on the edge of farm fields, with a couple of birders already walking back, "is there any sign of it" we enquired, "oh yes, its still there, a bit distant but showing well", that'll gingandoo for me!

The sun was just rising over the back fields and a light drizzle on a stiff breeze added to not perfect viewing conditions, but there it was, the Sandhill Crane  walking sedately across the stubble fields, like one giant grey chicken, (maybe a cousin of Big Bird off Sesame Street), superb.

Adult Sandhill Crane Boyton Marsh Suffolk 5th Oct 2011

After it first arriving a few weeks ago up in Scotland, then dissappering, then being refound at Loch of Strathbeg where it stayed for a while, and then the agonising pager messages as it was tracked down the east coast from Northumberland to North Yorks, before again going missing, being seen and reported late by a couple of observers before being found on the Suffolk coast.

Sandhill Crane Boyton Marsh Suffolk 5th Oct 2011

Sandhill Crane Boyton Marsh Suffolk 5th Oct 2011

While watching the Crane, a bit of vis mig was evident, with Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, a Yellow Wagtail, Rock Pipit, Siskins and Redpolls and a single Crossbill went overhead, as did a Spoonbill picked out by the sharp eyes of Tony Small.

Several Marsh Harriers flew low over the fields and a Little Egret, while the sandhill could be heard calling several times, before the bird was spooked and flew towards us at first then going down a few fields further over, very elegant in flight with hardly any back stroke of the wings, more a jerky flap, but enough to keep it airbourne.

Everyone was checking the trees and water for Willow Emerald Damselfly, which occurs here, with no one picking any out, after a good search of the vegation myself, I focused on the large willow and picked one out, everyone then was keen to see it, so I set up my scope up and let people get on to it.

Willow Emerald Damselfly Boyton Marsh Suffolk 5th Oct 2011

After another look at the Sandhill Crane, we set off for Minsmere, with very little bird info for the Suffolk area, it was always worth a look, the journey to it however was a bit longer due to diversions, before we settled on Dunwich heath viewing point that overlooks the reserve.

From here we walked to the east hide, 4 Red-breasted Geese stood out amongst the couple of hundred Barnacle Geese, obvious escapes, also a Cape Shelduck, lots of Teal and Wigeon, a few Ruff but very little else.

More Marsh Harriers flew over the reedbeds and still good numbers of Swallows and House Martins, a Bearded Tit was seen briefly diving into the reeds, and a distant call of a Cetti's Warbler could be heard.

With a bird and a Insect tick under the belt, we set off home, well chuffed!

Lastly, it is with sadness, that I have heard of the sudden death of Alf,  who with wife Cristine have worked tirelessly as voluntary wardens at Shell Carrington Moss Nature Reserve, regular visitors to Seaforth, I and others have enjoyed their company and many a chat in the hide, condolences to Christine, keep up the good work and best wishes.

Back garden ticking 24th Feb

Posted on February 27, 2011 at 5:29 PM Comments comments (0)

Something i don't like doing is going to see a bird in some street or housing estate, but it was  necessary in order to see the Oriental "Rufous" Turtle Dove that had taken a liken to some gardens in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, so myself, Tony Small, John Donnelly and Tim Vaghuan got up and out of Merseyside well before the crack of dawn, and made the journey.

We arrived on the directions of the pager to where it had been seen the day before, but it would have been better knowing about the tree it used a roost, as it was seen at the bottom of the "Leys", the street it was visiting, and we where at the top, viewing the back of the wrong gardens, great!

After a bit of walking up and down we eventually heard it had gone into the garden it favoured number 41, but we could view it from no33, who had kindly provided a plank on two milk crates so we could view across the gardens.

It eventually showed itself in a tree before going in amongst the ivy after a few minutes in the open, but the views where sufficient, which is just as well as it was time we made our way home for Tony to get to work, job done, no photo's but glad we saw it.

East Coast Birding (9th Oct)

Posted on October 12, 2010 at 3:27 PM Comments comments (0)

Another very early start, saw us travel across country, to the white rose county of Yorkshire, and that magical migrant trap that is Spurn point, my second visit of the Autumn.

On the way down the narrow lanes towards Kilnsea, thrushes could be seen flying across fields as the daylight broke, many hundreds of Redwings and Song Thrushes filled the fields, with Robins, in every bush, always a good sign.

We checked out Beacon Lane first off, with lots of tired Siskins feeding at your feet, oblivious of peoples presence, always nice to see anything as bright as these birds at close range, lots of Goldcrests where in the hedges, a true sound of Autumn with their zee zee zree type calls, and good to see them back in good numbers after the crash of last year.

Fem/imm Siskin Spurn Point 9th Oct 2010

Male Siskin Spurn Point 9th Oct 2010

A Reed Warbler teased in dense brambles, while Locustella Warbler was seen too briefly for an ID, lots of Chiffchaffs, a single Willow Warbler, Common Redstarts, Blackcaps all filled the hedges and fields, a couple of Ring Ouzels perched up in the hawthorn hedge, while overhead Chaffinches, Greenfinch, Redpolls, Siskins and many Meadow Pipits flew over calling.

Chiffchaff Spurn Point 9th Oct 2010

Chiffchaff Spurn Point 9th Oct 2010

News of a Rustic Bunting down by cliff farm near the Crown and Anchor had us walking in that direction, still checking as we went, half way down the lane a loud zit or chik call was heard as two birds passed, one of them was the Rustic Bunting heading towards Beacon Lane.

Goldcrest Spurn Point 9th Oct 2010

Goldcrest Spurn Point 9th Oct 2010

A Great Grey Shrike appeared in the church fields, showing well on the hedge, was seen to chase Meadow Pipits in the field at times, the same field had hundreds of Redwings and Song Thrushes in, bit also a flock of 5 Ring Ouzels.

We headed up to the point, but only got as far as post 63 where another Red-breasted Flycatcher was being more elusive than the last one I saw here a couple of weeks ago, eventually it showed well in brief spells.

Siskin Spurn Point 9th Oct 2010

Back down towards the Kilnsea and a check of the fields for the Rustic, then news that a Little Bunting had been caught and was being released immenently at the Crown and Anchor car park, already gathered there, where 80+ birders eagerly waiting the birds apperance, the ringer displayed the bird to the crowd before being released, which it promptly vanished over the trees into the next field.

The crowd gathered round the Little Bunting Spurn crown and Anchor 9th Oct 2010

Little Bunting Spurn 9th Oct 2010

Little Bunting Spurn 9th Oct 2010


As darknesss was fast aproaching we checked the Beacon Lane area again, good call as birders where hurrying down as we strolled, the Rustic had been relocated, on the main path, despite all the days claims of this bird being in a field with two cows, next to the triangle, this is where we saw the bird fly to early morning.

It came back onto the path as we approached the small gathering, it was distant at first, but recognisable, hopping around before disappearing towards the back of the lane, as we waited it landed a lot closer and showed well for some of us, before it went back into cover and then flew past us all and lost to view.

the days totals as follows,

1 Great Grey Shrike                 1 Fem/imm Rustic Bunting

1 Little Bunting                         1 Red-breasted Flycatcher

5 Ring Ouzel                              1,500 Redwings

800+ Song Thrush                     70+ Chiffchaff

1 Willow Warbler                        3 Blackcap

3 Whinchat                                  6 Common Redstarts

1 Reed Warbler                           2 Wheatear

200+ Siskin                                  50+ Goldcrests

2 Roe Deer where also seen in fields, an easy place to see this mammal.

There was also this, a good bird for Spurn, an Egyptian Goose.

Egyptian Goose Spurn Point 9th Oct 2010

A trip East (28th Sept)

Posted on September 29, 2010 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

With the winds bringing some good birds to the northern isles, and an obvious fall at Spurn on Monday, myself and Chris headed east to Spurn to take in a good days birding, with nothing rare reported there, it was a relaxed journey, with a bit of hope that something else might drop in.

We arrived at first light and headed for the point, with a few stops on the way, birds were flying across the road all the way down, mostly Robins and Redstarts, Redwings, Song Thrushes and Pipits and Finches.

Robin Spurn Point 28th Sept 2010

At the Point we walked around the RNLI buildings and the Great Grey Shrike was on view on a Hawthorn bush, showing well, before dropping out of sight, a Whitethroat flew into the Buckthorn, while overhead, hundreds of Redwings flew over calling, mixed in with these where several Ring Ouzels.

Record shot of Great Grey Shrike Spurn Point 28th Sept 2010

A group of Bramblings where feeding on the short grass outside the cafe with Chaffinches, more Redstarts flicked on walls, on fences, in bushes and on roof tops, a Spot Fly chased a moth over the gardens, a group of 30+ Siskins flew over calling, also Reed Buntings and more Meadow Pipits.

Brambling Spurn Point 28th Sept 2010

Brambling Spurn Point 28th Sept 2010

On the shoreline, several Rock Pipits called noisily, and shared the feeding space with Redstarts, Wheatears and Skylarks.

A couple of Pied Flycatchers where amongst the dead Elders, with another Spotted Fly, more Ring Ouzels, chacked loudly in the Buckthorn, 3 Snow Buntings flew off the beach calling and circling the green beacon, other calls where drowned out by the sound of the sea crashing onto the beach, some might have been Tree Pipits, but with so many birds calling at once it got a bit hectic.

Pied Flycatcher Spurn point 28th Sept 2010

A Short-eared Owl flew towards the point over the Great Grey Shrike and out to sea, with another flying along the beach.

Warblers where few, but did contain many Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Garden Warblers and Lesser Whitethroats, also amongst these where Goldcrests, nice to see these little gems after the bad time they've had.

Goldcrest Spurn Point 28th Sept 2010

We headed down to post 64, where a Red-breasted Flycatcher had been seen, several Pied fly's and another Spot fly, but it took an extensive search before the RBF could be seen, a stunning little bird that showed really well on a barb wire fence, sometimes joined by other species, like Redstart, Brambling, Siskin, Chiffchaff and Robin.

Red-breasted Flycatcher Spurn Point 28th Sept 2010

Red-breasted Flycatcher with Redstart Spurn Point 28th Sept 2010

Red-breasted Flycatcher Spurn Point 28th Sept 2010

After spending an hour with this, we moved towards post 21, where 2 Shore Larks where showing well amongst the vegatation and shingle, allowing good views and photo opportunities.

Shore Lark Spurn point 28th Sept 2010

Shore Lark Spurn point 28th Sept 2010

Shore Lark Spurn point 28th Sept 2010

Another few more stops with nothing new seen other than what we'd had, we moved onto Sammy's Point, as there wasn't much light left of the day, here we saw 2 Yellow-browed Warblers, a must see bird for the autumn, they both showed well and called a few times, also here, more Ring Ouzels a Whinchat, 5 Little Egrets, but no sign of the Wryneck.

1stw Ring Ouzel Sammy's Point 28th Sept 2010

Juv Whinchat Sammy's Point 28th Sept 2010

Record shot of Yellow-browed Warbler Sammy's Point 28th Sept 2010

Common Redstart Sammy's Point 28th Sept 2010

Common Redstart Spurn Point 28th Sept 2010

A nice end to a long day, the full list as follows,

1,000+ Robin                            200+ Redstart

1,500 Redwing                         500+ Song Thrush

150+ Blackbird                         30+ Ring Ouzel

30+ Goldcrest                          30 Chiffchaff

15 Blackcap                              5 Garden Warbler

3 Lesser Whitethroat              1 Common Whitethroat

1 Whinchat                                 3 Stonechat

3 Snow Bunting                         2 Shorelark

5 Pied Flycatcher                      3 Spotted Flycatcher

1 Red-breasted Flycatcher     10 Rock Pipit

200+ Meadow Pipit                   30 Skylark

30+ Brambling                           100+ Chaffinch

200 Goldfinch                             150+ Linnet

1 Redpoll                                      1 Sparrowhawk

2 Kestrel                                        2 Short-eared Owl

1 Great Grey Shrike                     2 Yellow-browed Warbler

5 Little Egret                                 10 Wheatear

5 Gannet                                      

No surprise rarity showed up, but it was a great days birding, talking to one of the locals, yesterdays totals doubled what was still present today, awesome, lets hope it continues into October.

Was it there? (6th Sept)

Posted on September 10, 2010 at 1:56 PM Comments comments (0)

Hearing the news that the Brown Flycatcher had been seen at Buckton near Bempton, I set off with Tony Small just after 9.00 and headed east, arriving about 12.00 with the news that there had been no sign since the initial at 08.10.

The main group of birders having been there for 6hrs, had seen nothing, well apart from a Garden Warbler, 2 Redstarts, a Pied Fly and a Spot Fly!!

Apparently only the first people on site at first light had seen it flicking about under the Gorse in the extreme gale force winds, but in the poor light any sort of movement would have had people a bit jumpy.

After giving it a few hours, it was obvious it wasn't there, so we moved on, taking in the excellent views of the Gannets as they hung in the stiff wind above and below the clifftop, with some fluffy juv's still clinging precariously to their tiny ledges.

4th Cal Yr Gannet Bempton RSPB 6th Sept 2010

Ad and Juv Gannets Bempton RSPB 6th Sept 2010

Ad and 3rd Cal Yr Gannets Bempton RSPB 6th Sept 2010

4th Cal Yr Gannet Bempton RSPB 6th Sept 2010

3rd cal  Yr Gannet Bempton RSPB 6th Sept 2010

Ad Gannet Bempton RSPB 6th Sept 2010

The sights, sounds and smell of a Gannetry have to be experienced once and a while, better in the Summer with Auks, Kittiwakes and Shags for the whole mixed breeding colony.

Bempton Cliffs RSPB

Leaving for Flambourgh we had to turn back to Bempton for a reported Red-breasted Flycatcher near the car park, but after nearly an hour of surrounding the bushes, we only saw 2 Pied Fly, a Spot Fly and a Redstart, to which people were claiming to be the RBF, poor birding seems to be rife at the moment, doesn't anybody have a field guide anymore, too many people rely on other people to point out which bird they've travelled so far to see!

Pied Fly Bempton 6th Sept 2010

Spotted Fly Bempton 6th Sept 2010