Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


   

The possibility of going out birding this Sunday looked very slim with rain forecast for most of the day and with illness etc, we decided to give it a miss. Whilst I sat in my night attire, watching it rain and contemplating having to watch the millionaires of Manchester & Liverpool ballet teams trying to cheat the good referees of premier, foreign football, the phone rang. It was Bob K asking if I would like to go for the Black throated Thrush at Adwick upon Dearn, Yorkshire. Certainly I would, we met at 11-45am and Chris B joined us. We followed Bob`s trusty sat nav and arrived around 1pm, nobody told us of the long muddy walk to the area the bird was frequenting. We found around 20 birders but, you guessed it no bird. It had been chased off by the local Sparrowhawk about 10 minutes prior to our arrival. Nige S from York had arrived and he told us that Adam Hutt had found the thrush (famous for finding the Rock Thrush at Spurn / Kilnsea a few years ago) this morning. After about an hour of searching and wandering around the birders all moved with a purpose, the bird had been found in a field near the village.

The same muddy trail back to the car park was followed, then lots more mud to splash through. After the 20 minute hike to the village a crowd of birders seemed to be looking at something, scopes all pointed down into a field with a green crop in it, was the thrush there? Yes it was, if a little distant, a few borrowed scope views of the bird soon confirmed the identification. After 10 minutes the flock of thrushes flew up into the tallest tree and began to preen, again distant scope views were made, time to move on we thought. Bob K had a bright idea to follow another very muddy trail to get to where the thrush had been sat, okay we did follow him and saw a couple of Siskin for our troubles, but alas no thrush. We all arrived back at Bob`s car looking like we had been playing football, steaming & muddy. The Black throated Thrush had been a new bird for Chris B, so the effort we made was well worth it. We arrived back in Rochdale by 6pm.

Dave O.

 

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The Dusky Thrush, that seems to have taken up residence in the small village of Beeley in Derbyshire, was still giving decent views in the orchard at Dukes Barn Recreation Centre, so, a trip with 2 of the “A Team” was organised. The two Steve`s B and K both needed to add this species to their lists, so a 7am start from Norden was sorted with Steve K at the wheel. We followed a much better route than I had followed last Tuesday and traffic was very light. We arrived at the Chatsworth House car park and waited to be transported by bus to the village. Myself and Steve B decided to walk even though the service was free, Steve K enjoyed the bus ride!

Upon arrival in Beeley village news that the bird was still present greeted us but it was not on show at the moment. We had a walk around until we found the right place to watch the orchard and after negotiating the adventure playground we saw around 100 birders squashed together. This was a bit of a shock to us all seeing so many birders. Steve B decided upon having a little more adventure and fell from the boardwalk and into a muddy pit. Some people will do anything to get to the front of a crowd! During our wait for the bird to arrive the ladies of the activity centre were selling bacon & sausage sandwiches to the gathering flock. Nigel and Paz from York joined us just as the Dusky Thrush flew in and gave excellent views as it fed on fallen apples and various other food. What a cracking bird to see fairly close, it was very flighty though and was soon off into the shelter of the trees. The bird repeated this performance before disappearing around midday.

We adjourned to the centre and enjoyed the catering that the ladies had worked to provide us all with, then with not much else to go and see we decided to head home. The two Steve`s both had a lifer and we had been able to sample what real hospitality is from the people of Beeley, excellent.    Dave O.

Casual twitching

Posted: October 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

The day begins with the sun already up and the wind is still blowing from the East. The alarm clock glows with the neon numbers 9:25 –  Brew time…in bed…come on it’s Sunday. A copy of Birdwatch is opened, and I begin reading the raririty round up Etc. Wife asks the dumb question “whats that bird..looks nice?” It’s a Red Breasted Flycatcher…Dear”. On day I will answer that it’s a “Greater Melon Breasted Matress Thrasher.Dear”,..One day.  I then tell her that there are a few of these on the East coast at the moment.She suggests “Why don’t we go and see them then?”. Just before 10am with the car loaded, we are off to Bempton cliffs. I mention that the other members of the A-team always set of at dawn to clean-up on the birds. Outside Beverley, and it’s in to McDonalds for breakfast – thoughts about the A-team’s members again.
We arrived at Bempton about noon. Rag everything out of the boot and calmly make a move to reception for some gen. 10 minutes later.. I have had Brambling, Yellow Browed Warbler
in my Binoculars at close range. Small warblers are everywhere.15-10-2016-16-36-23

 

A Red Breasted Flycatcher performs in front of us at very close quarters. Even Lesley can identify it as the bird in the magazine. Stonker!. A short walk to cliffs and we pass another group looking for an Arctic Warbler. A bird flies up..The cry goes up..”That’s it”..cool. Along the cliff top a small area is marked off as out-of-bounds. this is where the next Bird has been showing, about 40 minutes since it was last seen. Before I get my tripod open – it appears at our feet and slowly walks away along the path. This twitching game is easy!. I text Dave Ousey what we have seen.

We have a stress free walk for the next hour – Warblers, crests all over the place. A few Redwings and a Greyish looking Song Thrush in the crater near the car-park.

We decide to go to Flamborough. Feeling peckish, we both have lunch and a pint at the cafe – Lovely. with my bodies fuel gauge now on full. I don’t fancy a long walk. I only make it too the sea watching point. Just behind us, an odd looking Stonechat performs. A few photos.

Nothing unusual happening at sea. We head of back at sunset.
A really great day out, casually watching birds. See we don’t always have to rush to get our birds..
Cyas about – Ste K.


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Due to family commitments the date of our annual “get together” had to be brought forward a couple of weeks and with the lack of any rentable caravans in the area a change of accommodation also. A later start also with myself and Bob K going in the same car with Steve K joining us a little later. Our first stop as usual was to see our old friend John Ward from Leeds who counts the birds this time of year at Stone Creek, Sunk (Skull) Island. John has dedicated himself to this task and is quite a font of knowledge, not just birds either. He told us it was a little quiet and after a good natter we did our walk towards the battery with not much to report apart from a couple of Chiff-Chaff`s.

Next stop was the long walk down to Patrington Haven and as the tide was coming in, lots of waders began to gather. It was quite spectacular really with Knot, Black & Bar tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Curlew, Ringed Plover. Some of the birds had retained their breeding plumage and really stood out in the large flocks of waders.

We met up with Steve K and had poor views of the Yellow Browed Warbler in the Crown & Anchor car park, we had hoped we could locate the Blyth`s Reed Warbler again in Church Field! We met up with Billy J and Martin Q and went into our digs at Westmere Farm. Excellent accommodation, breakfast and friendliness and a reasonable price. We adjourned to the Crown & Anchor for our evening meal and had a few drinks and had a good catch up.

Saturday morning we had a nice walk up to Sammy`s Point and the highlight was a Pied Flycatcher that sat out for us all to photograph. Then after breakfast a spot of sea watching revealed lots of Gannets, Red Throated Divers and the usual gulls and a few terns. After a bit of a “twitch” to try to see a possible Pacific Golden Plover, that was in with the rather large flock of Golden Plover, which we could not pick up, we did Kilnsea Wetlands. Quite a few Med Gulls were present, along with a Dunlin (Curlew Sandpiper) and a Ruff (Wood Sandpiper) how did I get them wrong? Myself and Steve K had a walk across the breach (that’s right breach) and managed to watch a cracking Great Skua really close into the shore. Evening meal again at the Crown & Anchor and a few more pints to celebrate my team Rochdale`s win at Charlton in the afternoon!

Sunday activities centred on the Crown & Anchor car park and Church field ringing area, still a few Swallows and House Martins in evidence also. We did manage another glimpse of the Yellow browed Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher. Really a rather bird less weekend but we really enjoyed the company and as usual a good laugh. See you all next year??

Dave O.

 


The full “A” team assembled in Newhey (after brief introductions) and after a small discussion we decided to head for Alkborough, North Lincolnshire as the Western Purple Swamphen was still present. As two of the team still needed to see this species, we soon arrived on a beautiful Lincolnshire (8 miles north of Scunthorpe) morning. The news was good, the bird was still present, as we entered the hide the bird was showing a little distantly, but well enough and with 6 Spoonbills, Water Rail, Spotted Crake, Ruff, Marsh Harrier and lots of Avocets it certainly made me think I was on a Mediterranean reserve!! We had a walk towards the place where the River Humber splits into the River Trent and the River Ouse, always wanted to see this area, we all enjoyed that. As we left the area there were still lots of birders around the hide, enjoying all the birds present.

News of a Baird`s Sandpiper at Hatfield Moor`s N.R. reached us, so as it was another potential “lifer” for Chris B, we made plans to go. A supporting cast of a Pectoral Sandpiper and a Black Necked Grebe added a bit of “let`s get there”. We arrived at the Boston Park car park to the news that the sandpiper was still present. Now anyone who has ever visited the Hatfield Moors reserve will know that it is large, so, when the “good” birds turn up they are always a long walk, the distance to the Baird`s Sandpiper was no exception. After 30 minutes slog over track and raised peat bog, we saw birders in the distance. As we arrived the sandpiper was showing well down to 25 yards allowing for some reasonable pictures being taken (not by me though) as it was another lifer for Chris, the handshakes passed around. The Pectoral Sandpiper was pointed out to us and good views of it at around 30 yards distance were had. A juvenile Peregrine Falcon then put all the birds on that part of the moor to flight, except the Baird`s (perhaps it has never seen one before?) We met a couple of birding friends and had a good natter on the long walk back to the carpark. We called in at the Boston Park pool to try and find the Black Necked Grebe that had been present a few days. There were a lot of Little Grebes and a couple of Great Crested Grebe, but no sighting of the bird. Then I picked it up and as I tried to get the others onto it, it dived and was not seen again after much searching. That was a real mystery! Bob K had us all home by 4-30pm, another good day out birding, well done to all.

Dave O.


After lasts weeks trip to dip the Dalmatian Pelican I did not think that I would be going back again so soon. With the bird seemingly settling down again in West Cornwall, it do no harm to have another go would it? A little persuasion was not needed from Mark K, so we met in Milnrow at 3am on Sunday morning, with Mark K, Nige S, Bob K and myself making up the team. As usual lots of roadworks hampered our progress through the night, but as dawn broke we had made good time. About 25 miles from Restronguet Point near Truro, we got the news that the pelican was still present, a few extra mph was gained and after negotiating, pushbikes, farm machinery etc we reached the creek. After a few quick scans of the area the bird was picked up by Nige S, it was sat on top of a buoy and looked quite comfortable. We drove a little bit closer to the bird and managed to get some nice pictures. The local people in this part of England are really friendly and as we chatted and showed them pictures, the bird stretched its wings and dropped into the water and began swimming about, eventually out of site, what a bird it is and well worth the effort to see it. Bob K managed to wade in the creek as the tide went out, whilst Nige showed me a very strange looking jellyfish. Ready to move on. Time will tell if the great men of the B.O.U will accept the pelican onto the British List.

A Hudsonian Whimbrel has been around Perranuthnoe, near Penzance for a while, so we gave it a go. A lovely place with a few Whimbrel, but not the American version, that we would have liked to see. Mark K ended up on the rocky beach trying to photograph a likely candidate and staggered us by beating us back to the path after being 50 feet below us, how did he do that? A few Buzzard and a couple of Raven kept us entertained also stunning views of St Michael’s Mount on a lovely sunny day.

Final stop was Porthgwarra for a spot of sea watching. It’s about 24 years since I have been there, but the bird watching was almost just as good as last time. In the 1 ½ hours we were there we saw: – 400+ Manx Shearwater, 6 Balearic Shearwater, 200+ Gannets, 5 Fulmar, 1 Sandwich Tern, all heading west. I was lucky enough to pick up the fin of a Minke Whale as it swam past, a very enjoyable sea watch in great conditions. It was commented on about how many birds we would have seen at Flamborough Head!

We had all enjoyed ourselves so much that we had not looked at the time, so, we had to forgo calling for the Cirl Bunting in Devon. The journey home was long but with us all sharing the driving was manageable. When the first sign for Manchester was seen the rain began to pour down, we reached Milnrow by 11pm having travelled in excess of 800 miles. Great trip with some cracking birds seen.

Dave O.


 

I don’t often chase after birds that might not get accepted by the great bird gods, but, I had a lapse and thought about the Dalmatian Pelican in Cornwall. I saw a message from Dave W, from Huddersfield, on RBA asking for a lift or offering transport to see the bird. Steve K has always wanted to do a “silly night trip to Cornwall”, this could be a chance? Along with Bruce from Stretford we all piled into Bruce`s car at around 4am and set off for Restronguet Creek, just south of Truro. We arrived around 10-30am and searched this beautiful part of England for the pelican, without any luck. We met a few locals who told us all about the bird and one kind lady showed us a picture she had taken! It became apparent that the pelican was not in the area. At 2pm a local birder told us that the bird had flown off around 2-30pm on Saturday and a few minutes later a message came on RBA news repeating the same. We all said we would not have made the journey if we had known this earlier. A few Whimbrel on the creek didn’t really soften the blow for the journey home. But the news of a Western Purple Swamphen at Minsmere, Suffolk had us all thinking. Good company and a good day out in nice sunny conditions was had by us all. A new bird for the “dip list” then. We reached home by 10pm.

Monday morning dawned and a tired “dipper” woke up to find that the Western Purple Swamphen at Minsmere had been elevated to a mega!! Mark K in York was contacted and a team was put together with young Ellis from York our third member. A 4am meet at Fairburn near Castleford was arranged with myself at the wheel. The journey down was fairly uneventful with scattered rain and mist in patches. The oil on the road kept me on my toes as we slid our way towards Minsmere, the news on the Swamphen was positive, this added a couple of mph, and we reached the premier reserve at around 8-45am. A damp spell welcomed us as hurried to the south hide area, about 30 birders were watching something, and it was the Western Purple Swamphen. The bird kept close to the reed fringes, disappearing for short spells, but showed really well at around 100 yards distance. We all watched, what is potentially a first for the United Kingdom, for about an hour and enjoyed watching the birds feeding habits. Along with a squealing Water Rail we all enjoyed the moment and exchanged handshakes as is the norm, when you get a lifer. In other parts of the reserve we saw: – Stone Curlew, Green Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank and lots of other types of waders. After catching up with a few old birding friends at Minsmere we had a drive up onto Dunwich Heath and saw about 3 Dartford Warbler`s, what smart little birds they are. They carried food to their nestlings and must have had a good breeding season as it is likely to be their second brood at this time of year?  The journey home was made a bit more interesting by the driver of a Post Office articulated vehicle trying to push me off the road. The A14 by this time was full of waggons and was a bit of a nightmare to be honest, upon reaching the A1 we stopped for a nice coffee, then pressed onto to Fairburn. At 5pm I dropped the lads off and got onto the M62 which looking more like a car park, finally reaching home around 6-30pm. The journey home always seems easier when you see the bird though, excellent trip out. Need a rest now, but what`s this, a trip to Cornwall again next Sunday to try for the pelican, well go on then!

Dave O.



As I am always a sucker to go and see White Winged Black Terns anywhere, it followed that when one toured Yorkshire and settled at Rother Valley C.P that we would go. Myself at the wheel and Steve`s B & K left a drizzly Rochdale at 8am and soon found the country park around 9-15am. The last time we were there was to miss a Red Rumped Swallow, but on this time we connected after about 15 minutes. The bird paraded around the large lake with a few of the local Common Terns and at times came fairly close allowing the photographers to obtain some good shots. We met a few of the lads from York and had a good laugh about our Scotland trip the week before. News filtered through that the tern was showing well at the nature reserve lake, so, we all dashed up there. The bird had gone back to the main lake as we arrived, typical! It did return and gave really good views.
Our next stop was Ledsham Bank N.R. to find Marbled White butterfly`s that where on the wing and to look for any orchids growing in this micro climate area. Ledsham Bank is quite close to Fairbairn Ings N.R. The beautiful, natural meadow was full of wild flowers and lots of insects. The Marbled Whites were soon seen and upwards of 20 individuals counted. Meadow Brown, Small Skipper and small White were also seen. Around 4 types of orchid, my favourite, Twayblade, was found. We had a good walk around this fascinating area until Steve B heard a Buzzard call, we looked up and watched a Hobby chasing the Buzzard for about five minutes, what a duel and right above our heads!
At Lin Dyke area, Fairbairn Ings N.R. we soon found the Spoonbill and our master Garganey finder Steve K, got us onto three of them, well done Steve. Most of the ducks are now well into eclipse plumage as our “summer” quiet period will be ending soon with the waders starting to return. We had enjoyed the short day out and reached home by 4pm. Thanks for the company Steve & Steve.
Dave O.


 

The news that a Great Knot had been found at Titchwell, Norfolk, did`nt have any of us dashing about to see it, as we all had seen the Teeside bird (or great dot as it was called) But after a conversation with one of our York birdwatching friends, I thought it might be nice to acompany him as he planned to go on his own. When Bob K said he would also come with us, we made plans.

We arranged to meet at Fairburn,Yorkshire, around 2am with Mark K at the controls. A Barn Owl was soon seen on the journey down, we decided to call in at Dersingham Bog to see Golden Pheasant or Nightjar etc. As it was coming light and we had just missed a major fall of rain we had no joy with any birds. We arrived at Titchwell around 5am and the wind was blowing birds towards the east. We made our way to the beach and searched through a few small flocks of waders for the Great Knot without any joy. We went into the main hide and looked at every wader that landed, then after about an hour the news came that the bird was on the beach! The hide emptied very quickly and at “route march” pace we all headed down the beach, we could see about 20 birders watching the group of birds that contained the Great Knot. As we got to within 80 yards all the waders took to the sky and split off into 2 flocks, 1 heading east and 1 back to the main hide. Surely they would come back? After an hours wait with lots of flocks of Knot flying and landing in the same spot as before and with no news either way we decided to go and do some birding.

We saw Red Crested Pochard, Little Gull, Grey Plover at Titchwell. Then went to see the Egyptian Geese along the North Norfolk coast, after a few misses we finaly found a pair with young at Cley, there was still no news about the Great Knot, so we headed for Kelling Heath. We struggled to find the car park on the heath and as we found it a “barrage” of shotguns started out and did not stop in the hour we were there. Of course we had no joy at all trying to find any of our target species. We did manage to see a deer species with 2 fawn`s though, Bob K took some nice pictures.

A bit deflated by it all Mark K revealed that the Caspian Tern`s where still present at Gibraltar Point, Skegness, Lincolnshire. He also told us that he needed it for his British List, perhaps we could rescue the day with a visit? After a quick fill up at Kings Lynn we headed off. We passed through a busy Skegness full of holiday makers enjoying the sunshine that appeared. The news upon reaching Gibraltar Point was that both birds had flown off, oh no not again. We made our way to the hide and bingo one of the terns had just flown in. We enjoyed the large tern for about an hour, when it flew off again. Mark K had managed a British species to add to his list, well done. We had no luck with the Turtle Doves on the reserve. The reserve looks nice with its new visitor centre having just opened. We decided it was time for home, thanks Mark for inviting us along. We reached home by 8pm.

Dave O.

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Had a day out with the boys across the border from York, we had planned to go to Spurn, but after a bit of thinking, headed for Teeside. There had been a lot of good birds in Teeside the day before, but, as sometimes happens they “clear out” overnight. I met the lads in York after missing a couple of turnings, we piled into Nige`s car and off we went. We firstly reached Haverton Hole and news of the Great Reed Warbler was not good,it had gone. Next stop was Seaton Common, quite a few birders hoping to see both Blue & Grey Headed Yellow Wagtails. After around 40 minutes we saw 2 Yellow Wagtails one of which was the Blue Headed, distant but nice, also Five Spoonbills flying over were a real bonus.
News of a possible Moltoni`s or Western Subalpine Warbler up on Holy Island (Lindisfarne) was then passed around and as it would be a lifer for one of the team, we decided to give it a go. We stopped just north of Hartlepool at Cribdon Dene and spent a nice 30 minutes with the breeding colony of Little Terns, excellent and sunny conditions. We arrived at Holy Island as the tide had gone out revealing the causeway. News was good on the Subalpine Warbler that had now been named as a Western. We paused as a female Bluethroat was found, with a male not a long way from it. We hurried along and had good views of the warbler almost continuously on show. The bird chased insects around the bushes all the time we were there as it must have been very hungry after its long journey.
Time was pressing on with a four and 1/2 hour journey to get back home, but surely enough time to see a Dotterel? The lads had already seen that species before this year, but after two ascent`s of Pendle Hill, failing to connect on both occasions I just had to try. I reached the area and around 12 other birders were searching for the Dotterel. It took about 20 minutes to find it as it must have been partially hidden in a dip in a sheep field!
I arrived home around 8-30pm having really enjoyed a good days birding with the lads from York, thanks lads!
Dave O.