Monday, 30 May 2011

I am sure that you are wondering why I have been quiet recently. Well that is beacuse I am writing this from Gunnison in central Colorado!! It is 7pm on Sunday afternoon and we have just finished birding.
Weather has been better that expected, high 70's for most of the time with clear blue skies although today was very windy. Seen some spectacular scenery already and we haven't got into the Rockies proper yet.
Birds have been good, 104 spp in 3 days. Highlights of chestnut sided warbler (in the hand!), mountain bluebird (fairly widespread), broad tailed hummingbirds, great horned owl. Missing waders and wildfowl on the list and struggling to ID large hawks and sparrows.

May update again if get the chance to get on the net

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Another intersting May day.

Started off with an early lagoon count but most of the waders had gone including the yesterdays phalarope. Highlights were a male merlin flushed our of the eastern dunes and 17+ avocet chicks on the fresh marsh. At about 10am, a visitor came in to report 3 Temminck's stints - could they have been the birds that had been seen last on Thursday, or new ones in - who knows!

Just after midday, I popped into the visitor centre to see if there was anything in the sightings book. I looked over the shoulder of the birder who was writing in GULL-BILLED TERN over at fresh marsh at 11:45. I am sure that if I hadn't have been there he wouldn't have said anything. The 2nd one that I have missed in the last year.

A few bittern sightings prompted us to go out onto the reserve to see if there was any breeding activity. After an hour, a birder stopped and said that the gull-billed tern was still on the fresh marsh! Not knowing that it was there at all, I radioed the office and rushed down to find the bird sitting on one of the islands! A UK, Norfolk and Titchwell tick. As a rain storm approached, the bird got a bit more mobile but did give close flight views from the Island Hide. I spent the rest of the afternoon on the lagoons before heading off to the fields to feed. The Temminck's right in front of the Island Hide gave all an added bonus.

Is the brown tinge to the tertials a sign of immaturity? I can't find any reference to it in my books.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Given the distinct lack of wader migration in the last few days, it was a bit of a surprise when Rob came into the staffroom at lunchtime to say that a red-necked phalarope had been reported on the fresh marsh. 5 mins later we were watching this peachy male feeding along the edges of the islands. It was a bit distant and the light was poor but you get the idea. The female whinchat was the 1st for me on the reserve this year.
Checked the records in regard to the pintail brood and it looks like it could be the first confirmed breeding record since 2000 at Cley!

Ringed my brood of 6 (our of 7) great tits in the garden this evening. All doing well and looking well cute.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Cracking male grey-headed wagtail and a few white wags on the fresh marsh this evening but all of the dunlin and most of the godwits have now moved on.

This is probably the first (need to check the records tomorrow) confirmed breeding record of pintail for the reserve. Pretty jammy to get it as the grey headed wag dropped onto the edge of the fresh marsh and I noticed her moving along the edge with 5 duckings. It has been a good week for new breeding species as I had a coal tit carrying food in Willow Wood last week which again is the only confirmed breeding record I can find.

Avocet chicks all over the place now and can melt even the hardest of hearts - they are so cute!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The weekend has been spent on the reserve for our Wings Over Titchwell weekend. A weekend full of mid-May migrants and a few rares....or that is what we hoped. In the end, it turned out to be a little disappointing.
With a change in wind direction on Friday, most of the waders cleared out. The Temminck's and littles moved off and we struggled to get many passage waders. A nice group of ca200 dunlin arrived mid-morning on Saturday along with a small group of blackwits but they failed to drag anything else in with them. Over the weekend we managed to see 113 spp (123 in 2010). Highlights were a singing male wood warbler around the picnic area for the whole of Saturday (only my 3rd record) and a red kite west this afternoon.

With May being the best time for wader migration it seems crazy that we only got dunlin, ringed plover, blackwit, common sand and greenshank and didn't even get a ruff! The garganey that have been showing well for the last month decided to not show and it took until 2pm on Saturday to get collared dove and 4pm for grey heron!
Having said all that, it was great to be out on the reserve for an extended period and talk to loads of people.

Ringed my brood of 3 blackbirds this evening...cute!

Monday, 9 May 2011

An interesting couple of days.

With the forecasted rain not arriving on Sunday morning I decided not to rush out and opened up my nests for a few hours. Didn't catch much but did get the first wren for the garden. After lunch we decided to head to the reserve and go up to Thornham Point to look for migrants. As we arrived, 2 Temminck's stints came on the pager but we left them for the way back. As we headed along the dunes there were loads of swallows moving west but no red rumps in the ones I checked. As we got to the Point there was a spotted fly sat on top of the bushes - maybe there would be something better. An hour or so later the Point had only produced 3 willow warbler, 2 whitethroat and a chiff (which is actually quite good) so we headed back. On the walk back I checked the pager to find that there was a male collared fly at Holme. I must admit to not instantly running back to the car, instead checking the lagoons for the stints. Both birds were feeding at the back of the lagoon giving crappy views.
By the time we got to Holme it wasn't the mayhem that I was expecting. As we arrived the bird was showing high in some poplars and although good views were possible, they were only from below. The bird then went elusive and it was probably 30 mins before if was seen again. After more views from below, I managed to move my position and get the bird sat back on showing all the necessary features. A cracking little bird and a great find by David R.

A quick look on the reserve this afternoon produced 3 Temminck's stints and as I was watching them, a 4th bird flew in and joined them!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

With some decent light this evening I decided to test out my 'improved' digiscoping arrangements. I am trying a homemade adapter that fits over the lens to reduce the amount of shake that is caused by holding the camera. For the first attempt they are not too bad but I am still not happy about things not totally sharp. I always knew that I would need to sharpen stuff up with Photoshop but it is very hit and miss getting the original sharp - anyone out there got any tips?

Despite the wind (which did begin to drop) there were a few birds about. 3 whimbrel, 3 greenshank and a spotshank dropped in while I was out and there was a good roost of barwits and knot, mostly in summer plumage. 7 common sands was an increase on earlier in the day and I had my first swift.
After the large decline last year, avocets seem to have recovered with 54 nests on the fresh marsh.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Decided on a 'spur of the moment' visit to Kelling Heath yesterday morning. It was really a bit too windy as all the passerines were keeping very low. Having said that, I did end up with a decent list by the end of a couple of hours. The highlight was 2 brief waxwings in the trees near the railway crossing before flying off calling towards Holt. I also had turtle dove, singing garden warbler in the carpark, singing redpoll by the railway crossing, 2 stonechat and a green tiger beetle.
In all, a nice looking site and I will probably go back if the wind ever drops again!