Posts Tagged ‘Black Redstart’

med-gulls-etc-at-scarboro-2A good day out with Mark K and Nige S from York and apart from an early communications problem, a memorable one. We met in York at 8am and headed off towards Wykeham Lakes with Nige S driving. The possibility of seeing Egyptian Geese at Wykeham spurred us on as we traversed a bumpy, muddy track to a good viewing area. The weather was cold, but at least it was dry. We checked out the old gravel pits, now used by gentlemen yachters, without seeing the geese. At Hackness Nige saw a Kingfisher as it dashed upstream, we did see a couple of Dipper on the river and on a pool nearby a small flock of Mandarin Ducks were admired. We called at Forge Valley, Troutsdale feeding area were lots of birds were seen: – Marsh Tit, Treecreeper, Nuthatch and various other species were seen, very nice place to stop in at in the car. A move along the valley below the Wykeham raptor watch point revealed a Crossbill and after 30 minutes or so a flock of Wood Pigeons burst out of a wooded area. Was a bird of prey around? Then Mark K saw two Goshawks take to the air, within a few seconds they were seen flying around, one quickly disappeared but the larger female was on show for around a minute, what a stunning bird to be seen so close (150 metres?) Good job we didn’t leave the area chaps!
Next stop was the area below the castle in Scarborough to try to find a wintering Black Redstart. After around 10 minutes Mark K (who had his eye in today) found the Black Redstart as it showed itself dashing from on rock to another then hiding again. Nice bird! The tide was out in Scarborough Harbour but it didn’t stop us watching the wintering Black Necked Grebe and Great Northern Diver as they fished in between the boats. A few Purple Sandpipers were also seen as we walked around the harbour wall. In an area known as Holbeck in Scarborough we decided to have our lunch (or at least share it) with the Mediterranean Gulls that winter there? They did not let us down, I managed to sit on a bench and get them to come to around 2 metres away and they seemed to enjoy my Ham & French Mustard sandwiches. A few pictures were taken. News of an Arctic Redpoll having been relocated in Hagg Wood in Dunnington was now our next target species.
A pleasant ride back to Dunnington (I might be paying poll tax for the area if I visit again) with not much news about the birds whereabouts except that it had been seen in the south east corner of the wood. We trudged around in ankle deep mud and winding paths without any joy, until we saw a couple who had just watched a flock of about 30 Redpoll, we could not find them and went back to the car after having met a couple of York birders going in. After 10 minutes Mark got a call that they were watching the Arctic Redpoll. We all dashed back to a completely different spot, but guess what? The small flock had flown again, another half an hour searching without any luck and we abandoned the search. Really enjoyed the day out though lads. Got home by 6-30pm.
Dave O.



The long staying Red Breasted Goose that has been in the Pilling area in Lancashire has been admired by visitors from far & wide, but not by any of the A Team. One of our members has already been twice without any luck. So it seemed right that as the bird has been in the same field for the last three days that we make an effort to see it. News from Steve K on Saturday said the bird was visible from his car, no problem then. Dave O in different “twitch mobile” along with Steve B and Chris B left Rochdale at 7am, surely what can go wrong?

We reached the Pilling area and saw a flock of Twite feeding in a favoured weedy field and perching on the wire fences, nice start to the day. We took up our position on Backsands Lane and watched the great spectacle of all the geese(mainly Pink Footed) leaving the overnight roost, some passed right over us and a few landed in the same field that the Red Breasted Goose has recently favoured. After 1.5 hours of this the target bird was not seen, we decided to check out other fields also without much luck. We had a look up towards the Eagland Hill area for Chris B to see the Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer & Corn Bunting. Next stop over to Cockerham to watch the Whooper and Bewick Swans, then Conder Green to again miss out on the Spotted Redshank, well the tide was out.

A decision to go back to the Eagland Hill area looked like being a good one as, on arrival, we were told that the Red Breasted Goose had been seen around 9-30am, it was now 10-30am and no news of the birds appearance had been given to any of the news services. Thanks for that Mr Finder! We were invited into a man’s garden to watch the large flock of geese that were feeding on beet. He told us that he had been watching it there earlier in the morning, there was no sign of the bird so, we headed off to Knott End. The Black Redstart near the slipway apartments was much more obliging, we enjoyed watching that. Back to Eagland Hill to watch the huge flocks of geese coming and going and with a passing Peregrine and a perched up female Merlin to entertain us, we must not grumble. Kevin Hughes and his entourage also made the day an enjoyable one. We called in at Fishmoor Reservoir, Blackburn and had pretty good views of the juvenile Glaucous Gull as the sun began to go down. (The Red Breasted Goose was not seen again up to today 7/2/2017)

Dave O.

After last week`s full on encounters, thoughts of a nice leisurely bit of birding sprung to mind for the coming weekend. Then Spurn, true to form, produced more eastern bird specialities such as Isabelline Wheatear, two Siberian Stonechats 1-Maura and 1 possible Stejneger`s. With three of the A Team needing the wheatear as a British tick, a trip was planned.

We met in Newhey at 7am and four birders set off for Easington and Spurn Point with myself driving. No news of the wheatear or the Siberian Stonechat greeted our arrival. Despite a search it looked like the lads would be disappointed. As the day brightened up news of the Siberian Stonechat (possible Stejneger`s) at the point filtered through. Now it`s a 6 mile round trip walk to the end of Spurn Point and not for the feint hearted, but with the bird showing all the right features and also being a potential split, 2 of us gave it a go. After around an hour and a quarter we reached the “Green beacon” at the very end of Spurn Point, not many birds had been seen on the way down except a Hooded Crow.

News of the bird was good and that it was moving around a fair bit and not coming much closer than 50 yards distance. We met Martin Q, Mark K & Nigel S there also and we had a good natter until the bird showed quite well. We all had a good stumble about in the dense plant matter and I had my customary fall and filled my hands with thorns, which are still being extracted as I write this piece! After following the bird around for about an hour the lads had enough pictures of it and noted many of the features of this very different sub species. We watched various ships sailing past and were amazed at how big and how close to the point that they sail. The journey back was a little more leisurely but very enjoyable. We all met at the warren where a Black Redstart was showing very well. We called in at Sammy`s Point but there was not many birds about except 2 Ring Ouzel. We headed for home with tired legs waiting to be rubbed down with some Deep Heat. Who said that Blakeney Point was a hard walk?

Dave O.

The birding scene has been fairly quiet this winter (lets hope for a biggy soon) so, we decided to try to see some of the birds that where in our county. Again almost a full A Team left Rochdale at 6am and with rain in the air, we headed north. I drove in my “new” Nissan Quashqai (think that’s how you spell it) its really comfortable and as 3 of the team are now pensioners we need to look after ourselves! We first called at Sizergh Castle, which was stolen from Lancashire in 1974, to see Hawfinch, the rain was still falling but even after a good search no Hawfinch were seen, we don’t often fail here? Well off to Leighton Moss and the weather improved rapidly. The ex warden on the reserve, John Wilson was present and he told us he had not seen the White Fronted Geese that we had come to see, yet. A few Avocet were present though, no Ruff or Spotted Redshank were seen either. At this point I must offer my sincere apologies to Bob K for not giving him credit for having seen a couple of Yellowhammers on the feeders going down to the Allen Hide, single observer sightings are always looked upon sceptically and Bob K did also see the same species at Astley Moss a few weeks ago, it all worked out right in the end. As we searched the fields at Leighton Moss for the geese a small flock flew towards us, what luck, they were the White Fronted Geese. They were watched for a good while and really enjoyed. We walked to the public hide and watched a couple of Marsh Harriers hunting, always a good sight. A call in at Warton Crag revealed Raven & Peregrine Falcon and lots of Jackdaws! At Conder Green the tide was in which allowed us to easily find the resident Spotted Redshank still in winter plumage. At Cockerham we searched for the large flocks of Pink Footed Geese, but found them landing near Pilling Lane Ends along with lots of waders and resting on the salt marsh. Singles of Red Breasted Merganser & Brent Goose were also seen at Pilling, cracking place with the tide coming in. At Bradshaw Lane / Eagland Hill feeding Stations lots of Tree Sparrows, Corn Buntings and Yellowhammers were seen, knew we would see them eventually Bob K! We had a little look around for a Barn Owl in the area, but no joy. A Black Redstart has been in the Newton Le Willows area for a couple of weeks, so we decided to give it a go as it was on the way home. After finding the right area we searched for 20 minutes but had no luck. We all had a good day and all saw a minimum 9 species to add to our year lists. Spring is on its way boys.

Dave O.

My local patch is Cowm & Spring Mill Reservoirs, Whitworth, Lancashire. Most visits are fairly predictable with ducks, crows and a host of smaller birds to watch, this weekend has been very different! Saturday morning, an early walk around Cowm was as normal as ever, when I remembered what a fellow Rossendale birder told me about seeing 2 adult Stonechats at the picnic area. It was such a nice morning that I took a detour to see if I could locate them. After about 15 minutes, 2 adults and 3 juvenile birds were located, but,what was that other bird that was with them? A rusty red tail and a washy grey body and upright appearance, it was only a Black Redstart! A new bird for me in Rossendale and only half a mile from my house. The bird showed really well and sat in the sunshine with the family of Stonechats.
On the Sunday morning a return visit was planned and along with 2 other Rossendale birders a search of the area was made and no sign of the Black Redsart. The Stonechats had moved farther up the valley, perhaps the bird had carried on? Also seen were:- 2 Buzzards, 2 Raven, Goldcrest. We decided to have a look at Spring Mill Reservoir and upon arrival 6 Cormorant & 30 Black headed Gulls seemed to be the the only birds in the area, how wrong! I picked up a Hobby chasing hirundines and then had a go at a Jackdaw across the other side of the valley over Healey and Lobden. We watched the bird swooping around for over 10 minutes, what a sight and on my local patch! The Hobby then had a go at a Kestrel, only to be joined by a Peregrine Falcon that made the Hobby gain height and disappear in the direction of Watergrove. What an amazing 10 minutes of raptor watching! We carried on around the reservoir to the back, very wet side and picked up a couple of Stonechats. Then as we nearly got all the way around the reservoir, more birds were seen sat on the fence, as we watched them we realised we had found 3 Whinchats mixed in with another four Stonechats. The birds were in the same place that we found a Whinchat in spring, must be a stopping off place on migration. What a couple of day’s of local birding makes you realise what you can find if you put the time in!!

Dave Ousey.