Posts Tagged ‘Bearded Tit’


With the onset of spring and a really nice weather forecast in store, a trip to the marshy areas of Yorkshire was planned. Myself & Steve K met the York lads at North Cave and after the news that the day before`s Curlew Sandpiper had not been found, it was decided to visit Faxfleet. With Nigel S at the wheel, a new area for myself and Steve K, who was freshly returned from a trip up Scotland with tales about Ptarmigan etc. As soon as we stopped a Cettis Warbler was heard, this was to be the norm throughout the day. Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Marsh Harrier were soon seen at this little known site, but the best was yet to come with the sighting of around 8 Bearded Tits (Reedlings, Parrotbills, whatever) Great birds to watch at close quarters chasing around and calling in the reeds!

News of the sighting of a female Montagu`s Harrier at Blacktoft Sands had us making our way there. Again upon arrival Cettis Warbler seemed everywhere. We went up to Singleton Hide and after a 40 minute wait watching the Marsh Harriers, we finally managed to pick out the Montagu’s Harrier. The bird was distant and only remained on view for around 5 minutes before heading away, hope the male returns soon! A good walk around the reserve were some good pictures of the Cettis Warbler were taken (not by me though) After a bit of a “tip off” we explored Goole Fields hoping to find a “blue pipe” in the ground where a Yellow Wagtail had been seen an hour before. We could not find the pipe, but Steve K picked up a solitary Yellow Wagtail that we all managed to see flying.

A good look around North Cave N.R. was made all the more pleasing when Mark K heard a singing Lesser Whitethroat. After a search the bird performed very well in a large hedge but, it did not sing again. It is probably the first time that any of us have ever seen a Lesser Whitethroat before a Whitethroat. We ended the day with an overhead Red Kite, which is always a real pleasure to observe.

Dave O.

 


After a very unusual week at home, it was really good to know that I have a lot of friends around me to tell my troubles too. So, when Bob K asked me to go out on Sunday, I could not miss the opportunity. A nice Steve K type start time of 9am with Bob at the controls, we headed for Broomhill Flash not far from Old Moor N.R. A Barn Owl was seen then a lovely Kingfisher flashed past. A small group of Black tailed Godwit`s in brilliant plummage were also seen.

Next stop Hatfield Moor N.R. with the hoped for Hobby and various dragonflies. It was nice and sunny by now as we passed through Doncaster. We parked up and began to explore this large nature reserve. Another perched up Kingfisher was found, but not long enough for Bob to get a picture! At the veiwing platform across from where a 2nd World War plane had crash landed, we had a rest and enjoyed the sunshine. Not many birds or much really happening. In the hide a smart Yellowhammer was seen.

Next stop Blacktoft Sands RSPB reserve, we made our way around starting at the Alkborough end. Quite a few Marsh Harriers where in the air at once, always nice to watch. A couple of Bearded Tits were seen dashing about feeding their young family. The real highlight came when a lady said that there was a Peregrine Falcon in the distance coming towards us with prey in its talons. As the bird came fairly close towards us we soon realised that the bird was a Hobby! At the Goole end I expected to see lots of Avocet`s and guess what, not a one was present on the reserve. The presence of 10 Spotted Redshank, some in cracking plummage, was another highlight. Blacktoft is still one of my best northern nature reserves to visit, certainly over the warmer months. We got home at 6pm and really enjoyed the day after a very bad week at home. Thanks Bob K.


DSCF3741.JPGDSCF3742.JPGDSCF3746.JPGJust two A Team members enjoyed a good trip to our second favourite county, Yorkshire. We met in Milnrow at a reasonable time and in Steve K`s car headed for Spurn Point. Yesterday there had been some good birds,Red backed Shrike and Turtle Doves, but upon arrival it was apparent that everything had cleared out, or had they? There was low cloud/mist, a strong wind blowing in the wrong direction for any good migrants, but we had a good look around the wetlands. A number of Arctic Tern and a single Cuckoo were seen,so,after about an hour we decided to cut our losses and head for North Cave Wetlands were two Glossy Ibis had been seen. As we passed through Patrington a check of the bird news revealed a Red backed Shrike at Spurn,typical!
The weather had improved greatly with wall to wall sunshine, even Hull looked nice, although there was still not much sign of life after Hull City had gained promotion back to the Premiership! Upon arrival at North Cave Wetlands news of the two Glossy Ibis was good. We hurried along to a small crowd and saw the two birds feeding and being sent packing by the local Moorhens, what nice colourful birds Glossy Ibis are. News of a breeding pair of Mediterranean Gull`s quickly followed, so we went to a hide and after around twenty minutes searching through the large Black headed Gull colony, Steve K saw the “unmissable” head of the Mediterranean Gull, this bird was in fabulous plummage.
We headed for Blacktoft Sands Nature Reserve and headed for Singleton Hide were the single,female Montagu`s Harrier is occasionally seen from. The local Bearded Tit colony seemed to be very busy feeding young as they were very showy and dashed about the reedbeds. Up to six Marsh Harrier`s seemed to be on show most of the time but, we had no joy seeing the Montagu`s Harrier, which is still waiting for a male bird to re-appear.We then began birding the other hides,Cetti`s,Reed and Sedge Warbler all singing. A nicely marked group of Black tailed Godwit`s were seen at Ousefleet Hide and again after a lot of searching the “eagle-eyed” Steve K found the male Garganey, well done Steve. We enjoyed the day,even after the slow start at Spurn. We reached Milnrow by five thirty.
Dave O.


After the re-finding of a Wood Warbler on a local patch on Saturday, I thought my luck was in, it was to prove far from the truth! A very rare bird had been found off the Welsh coast and we had assembled a team who might have been tempted, but the bird was not seen on Saturday, so we decided to head out east. Myself, Bob K with Steve K at the wheel met in Milnrow at 6am on a fairly nice morning. As we passed Leeds the weather turned very drizzly and did not change much all day. First stop was Strensall Common near York, a new place for us to visit, but after extensive searching and 2 hours walking the birds we had hoped to see were not located, perhaps it was too late in the season? The weather did not improve as we reached Wykeham Forest near Scarborough, as the whole of the usually beautiful valley viewpoint  was obscured by mist. A good search of the nursery area was made and not a sight or sound was heard of the quickly disappearing Turtle Doves. At the viewpoint the mist cleared a little then came back again, time to leave! We headed to Bempton Cliffs, knowing we would see a few birds there. It was the first highlight of the day watching the Gannets, Kittiwakes, Puffins and lots auks battling against the wind. There seemed a lot of Puffins present, but we were told the numbers are down.The visitor centre accommodated one of our number to visit its inner sanctum, after which we quickly left. Next stop was Blacktoft Sands, to hopefully connect with a pair of Montagu`s Harriers. On arrival we were told that it had been 40 minutes since they had been seen. After being entertained by 4 hunting Marsh Harriers for 20 minutes, the male & female Montagu`s Harriers got up for about 2 minutes, albeit a little distantly but quite spell blindingly, certainly the birds of the day. A quick look at a Bearded Tit and then no joy with the Yellow Wagtails ended, what was a fairly poor day in the field. The rare bird was re-found in Wales also, which really helped. Home for teatime and it was dry back in Lancashire.

Dave O.


With the hour less in bed catching one of our number out and another preparing for an overseas visit, a much depleted “A Team” left Rochdale at 6am with myself at the wheel. First stop, to “tick off” Mandarin, was Preston Grasshopper’s rugby club pond, good start no Mandarin`s, the theme would continue later in the day! Sizergh Castle, just in Cumbria, next stop and a waiting Hawfinch was seen sat on top of a tree. Cracking bird this one, a quick look at the feeder`s for my bogey bird in 2014,Treecreeper revealed none present. A male Scaup has been present on Middleton pond near Heysham village for a while, it was too good to miss and the bird duly obliged with excellent views, I made friends with a couple of Mute Swan’s also. We went past Morecambe F.C. and headed for Heysham harbour. A lot of fishermen and their vehicle`s were parked along the harbour wall and one in particular was parked very badly and it looked like it was going to turn nasty as a security guard tried to reason with the offending parker! About 6 Wheatear, 2 Twite and lots of Linnet`s in the area but, the real stars were masses of Meadow Pipit`s moving south, a real migration in action moment. At Leighton Moss 60 Avocet, 100 Black Tailed Godwit and the constant clamour of Black Headed Gulls reminded us about spring,then 3 Sand Martin headed past us,excellent. Along the causeway the bird of the day was firstly heard then flew out and sat on top of a reed, a male Bearded Tit, the bird was nicer than any picture I have seen,a true gem! A couple of Marsh Harriers were around then our first Swallow`s past just overhead heading north. A couple of butterflies were seen,Brimstone & Peacock and a few Chiff-Chaff in song all added to the general good feeling about the day. Over the hills to Stock`s Reservoir next with a hope of catching up with a large fish eating raptor the focus. No luck in that direction also,but a sunbathing Little Owl made up for it. A few more Sand Martin were seen over a couple of rivers as we headed towards home. We headed for the canal in Littleborough to catch up with a Mandarin,that was nearly always around, and after a good walk we had no joy. The pair of Garganey at Shaw Moss pond near Hollingworth Lake were quickly seen and we headed for home. We all saw about 8 species to add to our “year lists” and all enjoyed birding in warmer,drier conditions than we have had of late!

Dave O.


Whilst searching through a few websites, about birding, I noticed that Lee Evans considers the Italian Sparrow as a full species. Quite a bit of science has been applied to this and it appears in the second edition of the Collins guide. So that when an apparent, “Italian Sparrow”, turned up in Norfolk, I thought it might be worth a trip to see it. About 500+ people had been to see the bird already, the bird was first seen about 20th August? A few calls later and we had a team, Mark from York and Steve K,  with a Friday morning departure. It was chucking it down as we crossed the Pennines and met Mark at junction 38 on the M1 at 7am. The journey down was a succession of wagons and cameras but it had stopped raining and looked promising for the day. We reached Northrepps, parked in the village and walked up Hungry Hill, an Egyptian Goose flew across a field and a farm breeding Turkeys gave the walk a festive feel. We settled down and waited for the sparrow to arrive, after an hour of House Sparrow watching the finder came out of his house with some advice, bread and seeds. This did the trick and after five minutes we were watching the “Italian Sparrow”. DSCN6591 DSCN6594 DSCN6600It was certainly different with its bulbous bill and chestnut crown and striking white cheek patches (Italian Sparrow has evolved by crossing Spanish Sparrow with House Sparrow). The sun was shinning as we headed for Salthouse beach and East Bank, Cley. Not that much happening at either place apart from Bearded Tit and distant Curlew Sandpiper. The news broke of White Winged Black Tern and Black Tern at Attenborough N.R. near Nottingham, as it had started raining we decided to head west. A call to try for Golden Pheasant at the triangle was again unsuccessful, well we did try! A long journey to Attenborough through Friday rush hour was made easier with the news that the birds were still present. We parked up and spent an hour watching these truly majestic marsh terns in action, what birds! Lots of people were present to see them and all were treated to great views. After rescuing a recently born Common Newt we decided to head for home. The M1 had other ideas, why do they choose to play with their new toys (speed restriction lights) on a Friday night? We reached junction 38 at 8pm and got home by 9pm. The debate will rage on, no doubt about the sparrow’s parentage,  but at least we managed to see it.

Dave O.


Not quite the words from the famous song, but it was that time of year again to undergo our, “nearly a day trip” to Norfolk. Only three brave souls aboard this year with Steve K driving, Chris B and myself leaving Newhey at 11-30pm. We reached our first stop, Dersingham Bog, near Sandringham around 3am with a full moon and a cloudless sky, the signs were good. We saw a Nightjar sat in the road either feeding or eating grit? and we were off to a good start. As we descended into the bog distant “churring” was heard and a Grasshopper Warbler was just warming up. A few Woodcocks were heard/seen and what sounded like deer gave the place a bit of an eerie feel to it! As we left another two Nightjars were seen in the road and as the first vestiges of light came through no sign of the Golden Pheasants on the triangle. Next stop Foulden Common, a place I saw/ heard my very first Nightingale about 25 years ago, but alas no birds were heard in our search. A nice Barn Owl was perched up for us though. At Weeting Heath a blanket of low lying mist hampered our search for Stone Curlew, Chris found a Spotted Flycatcher and then the bird we had come to see as a Stone Curlew walked out of the mist. Now onto everyone’s favorite reserve, RSPB Lakenheath Fen. It seems like a long time ago that this place was owned by Bryant & May for growing the tree’s that would be turned into matchsticks and that Golden Oriole’s were fairly easy to see. Now it has been transformed into a really cracking reserve with practically any type of marsh bird being seen. We arrived at 5-30am and already the car park held 10 cars on it. We trudged our way along the riverbank and soon heard the “dawn chorus” in full swing with Cetti’s Warbler to the fore. We reached the far end of the reserve and watched a couple of Marsh Harriers, then the news of the Red Footed Falcon male being perched up about 250 yards away, so, off we went. A pair of Mute Swan’s and 5 cygnets barred our way, but a patient walk around them did the trick! The Red Footed Falcon was indeed perched up and was admired for 15 minutes, a new bird for one of our number. We walked back along the river and watched a Common Crane gracefully feeding on the Norfolk side of the river. We agreed to have another look at the falcon, just as a Golden Oriole began to sing its very distinctive song. Two Hobbies were found sat in the same area as the falcon and a few long flights by the local Bittern’s were also enjoyed. A small group of birders were looking into the reed’s and told us that a Savi’s Warbler was singing. It sung some more then showed itself to the small gathering. What a cracking marsh bird and in the company of a sat out “reeling”, Grasshopper Warbler, nice to be able to compare the respective songs. This was another new bird for one of our team. A call in at Barnham Common for possible Woodlark had, nothing more than the following butterflies:-Small Copper, Small Heath, Green Veined White, Brimstone (pair). Time to head for the coast, reaching the “Iron Road” at Salthouse were we saw:-Egyptian Goose, Common & Sandwich Terns and a dodgy looking Ruddy Shelduck. Onto the east bank at Cley were a Wood Sandpiper showed very nicely and a couple of Bearded Tits were “pinging” and flying around. At Titchwell we saw a Red Crested Pochard and a Temminck’s Stint, fairly close to the new hide. Grey Plover, Little Tern and a few more waders were seen in very pleasant conditions. We had to leave Norfolk now as time was pressing as a call at Whisby Nature Reserve was planned to catch up with the Nightingale that could not be found in Norfolk. We reached Whisby at 7pm and walked straight into a singing Nightingale, that gave us a good rendition before heading deeper into cover. The last bird on this trip anf a fitting end to a really memorable trip.We reached Newhey at 9-30pm having seen a total of 107 species and each of us having had around 20 new species for our year lists.

Regards,

Dave O.


Another year nearly gone by and another Spurn trip,this time for a long weekend,it was to prove eventful to say the least!! Me and Bob K left Rochdale at 6:30am and headed for Stone Creek, Sunk Island area, Humberside, no easterlies blowing, so, nothing really special was expected. We managed a few common raptors but, for me, the 15 Roe Deer moving around the area were really nice. Off to Patrington Haven to see lots of waders next, but there were hardly any birds there at all. Time to check out anything interesting on a rare bird site we thought, the news was, “Pallas`s Grasshopper Warbler at Whitburn, near South Shields”, I know they are real skulkers but we had to go for it, didn’t we?. Bob took the wheel and got us towards York, then a dart up the A19 and into Marsden Quarry, Whitburn. A mere 160 miles from Spurn. Upon arrival no sightings since 2:05pm and it was 4:30pm, would we be lucky? A few birders on site showed us the area the bird had been seen in and one man said the bird is in this clump of grass, but, as hard as he tried it wouldn’t fly out. By 5:50pm as the light began to falter and we left for Spurn, did we feel like we had made a wrong call on this one, what would we have thought if the bird had be sat out like it had been earlier in the day, no, it was a real good trip and we were really due to “dip out” on a bird sometime. We got to Patrington chippy at 8:25pm and enjoyed fish and chips and by 9:00pm were sat in the club at Sandy Beaches Caravan site enjoying a few pints of bitter, with Steve and Chris Brown, Billy Jackson and Martin Quinlan who thought we might have fancied a cup of PG Tips, nice one boys! Saturday dawned and a good breakfast was had, now for some proper birding! A trip along the point was soon abandoned, with news of a Tawny Pipit near Easington Lagoons, but, as we made our way the bird flew off towards Sammy’s Point, so we had a go for it there, but, no joy. Bob K. got a few going with a possible Woodlark (Martin had heard one on Friday evening as he arrived) again to no avail, a few nice birds around here though, Yellow Wagtail, Yellowhammer, Lesser Whitethroat and a steady passage of Redwing. News of a Bearded Tit in the canal area got us all going, a Spurn tick for all, I think! As we arrived the bird was “pinging” away and when it showed, it was a cracking male bird. A Jack Snipe from the Canal Scrape hide and then 2 Short Eared Owl’s patrolling the canal area made it feel like a “mini Scillies”. A trip down the point finally revealed a really smart Yellow Browed Warbler and after a seawatch we headed back to the caravans for our evening meals and a few beers, plus an interesting debate about global warming. Sundays birding began with a trip to the point, only interesting bird was a model doing a photo shoot in rather skimpy clothes with a backdrop of the old lighthouse, very nice! The YB Warbler was still showing and a look at Chalk Bank revealed a few missing waders from our trip list. We had a look at Beacon Lane pools and used the new footpaths in the area and admired the new lagoon area, not much on the old lagoons, apart from Brent Geese and Wigeon. After we packed up ready to set off for home, the Tawny Pipit again showed itself at Easington Lagoons, got to give it another go then. Upon arrival the bird promptly flew away and none of us saw it leave, ah well a good way to end another excellent trip. 93 species seen and 4 year ticks for myself,very good trip( would have been excellent if PG Tips would have been seen on Friday)

Dave Ousey.


Wife wanted a holiday/break in England this year. So I book a 5 day break in Grt Yarmouth, Kensington Hotel (can’t fault our stay here). Weeks of planning and research to be done. When we was at Flamborough Head, we met some cool guys from Yarmouth who gave me their web-site which I was greatful for fresh information of Birds about East Anglia – http://yarevalleywildlife.synthasite.com/ Thanks got to them boys.

Ozzy produced 2 books from his library – Where to watch Birds in East Anglia – Clark, P&M (Helm). and Best birdwatching sites in Norfolk – Glenn N. (Buckingham Press). I must say that Neil Glenn’s book was a fantastic read and help. The layout is simple and truely enjoyable covering 73 sites, each with a Likely birds to see feature, Maps and directions. I wish ALL guides and Web sites follow this format. I thoroughly recommend this a Must read if you are planning a trip to Norfolk.

Anyway Thursday 9:45  Blastoff to ASDA for a Full-Monty Breakfast, then with a Joe Bonamassa Favourites CD compilation set to 11 we are finally on our way to Rutland Water. Easy Osprey to begin the list.

Osprey from the Web Cam.

Highlights for the list included – Yellowhamnmers, Corn Buntings, Whitethroat, Common Terns, Green Woodpeckers, Sedge Warblers.

Birds Enroute – Not far from the reserve we pass under a Red-Kite. Buzzards, Sparrowhawks.

Friday 18th: 5am Yarmouth beach Little Terns and  Sandwich Terns all flying past, Ringed Plover on the beach. No sighting of the cert Med. Gulls. Dumping machines (dogs) all ready on the beach, now’t much else about (no Black Redstarts too). Back to the Kensington for 8am Breakfast, then blast off south to Landguard, Suffolk. It’s my first time here, and a possible lifer – Serin. Not many birders here. I was told that if I find the Linnets, look carefully amongst them to see the bird. I found every bush held flocks of Linnet, but didn’t see the Serin. Other birds seen included – Wheatears, Whitethroats.

Little Tern

Minsmere – Highlights, Two Stone Curlews, Cettis’ Warbler, Bittern in flight, Marsh Harriers.

Saturday 19th – A shopping day in Norwich – enjoyable. Later Strumpshaw Fen, A first for me . Each morning, about 5:30 am a Savi’s Warbler can be seen/heard (A lifer, if I could get up, that is), Cuckoo’s calling, Every bush seemed to have a Cettis ready to burst your ear drums. Little Grebes and Reed Warblers  loads of Marsh Harriers again.

Sunday 20th  – Another morning in bed, I blame that strong apple juice the sell at the bar..Hic!.. Lakenheath – love the new visitors centre. A clockwise route taken. 2 Male Golden Orioles seen, Cuckoo’s calling, Bearded Tits, all seen before we got to the bird screen. From the screen we saw 3 low flying Bittern’s 2 Egyptian goose. A record number of 30 Hobbies seen for here yesterday – I saw none. Continueing in a clock-wise direction. beyond the back of the Oriole popular platation, we look over a reedy area and see 2 adult Common Cranes with a newly hatched chick.

Common Crane – Lakenheath RSPB

Other birds of note – Whopper Swan (Injured), 2 male Garganeys.

Weeting Heath – Stone Curlews – not much else.

Stone Curlew – Weeting Heath

Santon Downham, St. Helens car park – Tree Pipit, Garden warblers, Yellowhammers a plenty, but Crossbills are everywhere!!

Crossbill – Santon Downham

Monday  – Home trip – Last chance for the Savi’s Failed to get up, blame the paralysis in my legs (apple juice again). Enroute – Golden Pheasant b ythe road Nr. Swanton Morley stunning male – Dead!…. Shame.

Frampton RSPB – a first for me. I like this fairly new reserve. Black winged stilt and Black Terns have buggerd off. still got these – Curlew Sandpipers 7, Little Stint 2, Black Neck Grebe, Black tailed Godwits, Brent Geese a bazillion, Avocet, Turnstone, Common Sandpiper, more male Garganeys, Yellowhammers, Corn Buntings.

874 miles from the Thursday blast off and we return home for 5:pm – Papped out!! and overdosed on birds. All equipment put away for a few days, I hope.

Thanks to Ozzy for the invaluable books and the guys from Yare Valley for their information too.


Friday – RAIN, Saturday -RAIN, Sunday morning- RAIN. Marsh Sandpiper at Blacktoft and no rain forecast for that side of the country. Ozzy and Bob made the trip, reaching Blacktoft by 2-10pm in good weather. Lots of waders on view, Green, Common and Wood Sandpipers but our target bird was having a little “hide”. After an hour or so of listening to “dudes” talking crap and looking at their ” I Spy” bird books, we both decided on a change of hide and bingo the Marsh Sandpiper was on full show from the Ousefleet screen, cracking “shank” this bird! We could now get back to some good birding with a pasing Hobby, a singing Grasshopper Warbler a dozen or so Bearded Tits playing at the base of the reeds. Two Spoonbills doing what Spoonbills do best, sleeping. A few Marsh Harriers an eclipse Garganey tested our ID skills. We even had a very short shower to remind us about the weather back in good old Lancashire! We got to Huddersfield (were incidently I have an aunty, have I told you the story?) and it began to RAIN, this is were I came in.

Marsh Sandpiper,Blacktoft

Marsh Sandpiper, Blacktoft

Regards,
Dave Ousey.