Thursday, 28 August 2014

A good day

Wasn't expecting the rain whe I went in early this morning but it did seem to drop in a few birds. The carpark area has been alive with blackcaps recently and there were 20-30 there this morning. Later on, 4 whinchats appeared in the field beyond the gates.

Chris and I were working in the beach area but jammed in on a pied fly with a feeding flock at the start on the main path. Plenty of swallows still moving and 11 eider on the sea was all we had for the rest of the morning.

Just as we were heading back, Dave radioed to say a great white egret had been seen on the reedbed pool. Were were close by but the bird wasn't showing. We dropped our tools off at the office and headed into the reedbed for a closer look. The access was very wet (after the rain) and there were lots of nettles and brambles but we did confirm the bird was still there.
It was fairly mobile during the rest of the day and showed really well this evening.

Waders seemed to be on the move again with 5 green sands, 3 juv curlew sands, juv little stint and 78+ ruff this evening.

Surprise sighting of the day was of 4 red deer (1 calf) in the back roads near Docking!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

First Fall

Well it wasn't a big one (said the actress to the bishop) but it was definitely worth getting up early.
The decision had been either seawatching or thrashing Thornham Point for migrants. Well with the wind dropping and a sprinkling of migrants on the coast, Thornham Point was the destination.

Simon and I met in the carpark and headed for the Point. There  were a few martins and a couple of swifts on the way out and despite the NE wind it was rather warm.

Almost as soon as we got the the Point bushes a bird was flycatching near the tower, a rather nice pied fly (160). The flycatcher was pretty mobile moving between the bushes and the tideline sueda until eventually it disappeared.

7 spoonbills dropped onto the saltmarsh, 3 wigeon and a female peregrine flew by but other than that it seemed quiet.

We checked the rest of the bushes and headed to the other dunes. Almost straight away we flushed a wheatear and a few meadow pipits. Further around the dunes was a whinchat and another wheatear but sadly no wryneck.

Back at the bushes a juv spotted fly had appeared but it was time for work :-(

A walk out to the East Bank this afternoon produced a 2nd pied fly and there was another one at the north end of Gypsy Lane this evening.

It wasn't heaving with migrants but it was a nice way to kick off the autumn season. Lets hope its a sign...

Think the carpark will need checking on the morning :-)

Saturday, 2 August 2014

What are the chances of that...

After spending the morning birding on the reserve last Sunday, I bumped into Mark Golley and Graham Etherington who were visiting in search of the long tailed skua.

We got talking about birds (as you do) and in particular the colour ringed godwits that were about when I mentioned that I had managed to read a ring combination on a spotted redshank that had been close to the path.
Mark was very interested to know the combination as he had also read one last year. I didn't have the record in my notebook but I passed it on to him later in the day.

Mark emailed on Monday and amazingly it turned out to be the SAME bird! Mark had seen it on July 1st 2013 and my sighting was on July 12 this year.
Turns out the bird was ringed as an adult on July 2nd 2008 in Castricum in Holland.

Although we know that birds pass though the same sites every year, it is always great to get the proof

Monday, 28 July 2014

What a day!

For once I actually got a day where a large chunk of it was spent outside.
First up was an early morning WeBS count. Nothing special but it was nice to be counting waders. 16 spotshank, 70+ dunlin, green, common and wood sands and 12 spoonbill.

I hadn't been back in the office when Dave radioed to say there was a spotted crake showing well from Island Hide. A dash down the path and a wait of 20mins the bird showed well. A cracking adult out in the open. A couple of water rails in the area was nice for comparison.

Middle part of the day was spent on the inevitable paperwork until the 'other' Dave called in to say a skua with a long tail had been seen on the beach. Before I had really had chance to get my bins ready he was radioing again to say it was over the fresh marsh.
Its been a long time since I have run down the path but I legged it until I could see the saltmarsh to see the bird very distantly. A futher dash to Island Hide and the bird flew straight towards the path almost going over our heads onto the lagoons before heading towards the sea. Such a stunning bird with its massive tail and graceful flight. My 1st ever adult and what a bird.

Back out for more after work. The skua was spending all of its time with a group of 16 Arctics and it was great to watch the different flight and jizz of the bird.
Rounded of the day with a flyover turtle dove and more of the crake.

One of those 'red letter' days

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Looking awesome

Following the skua debacle from yesterday, I decided to get in to the reserve early this morning. Partly to look for the skua but also to beat the crowds.
Unsurprisingly the carpark was empty at 5 so I had the reserve to myself. Stopped off in Island Hide to shelter from a shower and had a nice colour ringed blackwit  which was close enough to read, a surprise juv water rail feeding along the reed edge and a juv med gull.
Counted the waders ftom the main path and headed to the beach. Managed to get half drowned by another shower before looking at the sea. Loads of terns moving but only a single fulmar of note.

Headed back to Parrinder Hide to look through the waders. Wader levels are peachy at the moment and decent numbers are already on the move. Dunlin numbers are building nicely with the odd curlew sand and little stint in recent days. Blackwit and avocets have been touching 300 each most days and there are loads of ruff about now.
The undoubted stars of the place at the moment are the incredibly showy wood sands. This morning, one of them was feeding within 5m of Parrinder Hide. Much of the time it was too close to phobescope but I did manage a couple of shots.

A walk around Choseley produced a good number of yellowhammer and skylark singing, a family of grey partridge and a couple of marsh harrier. Lots of butterflies and 6-spot burnet moths about too

Monday, 21 July 2014


I have to say that I am really impressed with the results I have been getting recently. I know they are not as good as digiscoping and nowhere near the quality of a DSLR but for use on social media or the occasional blog I am very pleased

After finding it tricky at first I seem to have got the hang of it. No use of any adapters just held up against the eyepiece.
As with any photography it has its limitations. The subject needs to be pretty close and the light needs to be good to get a decent shot but you can get good enough images if that rare happens to drop in. Who doesn't carry a mobile these days anyway...

These shots are all from the last few days at Titchwell. The garganey was only 8-10m from the path.
The Temminck's stint takes my yearlist to 156

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Perfect Timing

After an interesting day ringing at Holme yesterday I offered to go back this morning and help Sophie and Gary with whatever they needed (twitch control, extracting birds etc).
By the time I arrived, Sophie had already caught a few birds including the subalpine warbler from yesterday.
Rain was close by so I helped close down all the nets before having a closer look to see if we could ID it to race. An internet search for pics and a few tweets later and it was looking like a western.

I did manage to get a few quick shots in the ringing room but the light wasn't great!

A great end to the weekend :-)