Posts Tagged ‘Cetti’s Warbler’

As I watched the rain splashing against the windows at home last Sunday morning, I casually looked at the BBC Weather news. It was sunny in the Southport area, so, I decided to have a look at the 6 Cattle Egrets that have been in the Birkdale area for some time. As there were no takers to accompany me I got my birding gear into the car and off I went. Within 10 miles of leaving home the rain stopped and it was really quite nice. As I reached the bird’s usual feeding area, the sun was shining, now to find the 6 Cattle Egrets. A couple of Little Egrets fooled me at first, but as I searched around an area of allotments 10 egrets could be seen quite a distance away. As I scoped the birds the 6 Cattle Egrets were picked out along with 4 Little Egrets. They were happily feeding and some of them seemed to be in some form of breeding plumage. Such a large concentration of this species I have never seen before in Great Britain. I watched the birds for about half an hour and set of back for home and as I got to 10 miles from home it began raining again.
Myself and Bob K decided to try to see the Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers in Moore N.R. near Warrington on Wednesday. The rain was still falling at a great pace as I picked Bob up around 9-30am. We reached Moore and began to explore the wooded area, plenty of Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Green Woodpecker but no “drumming” was heard and perhaps the rain was drowning it out? As we headed back to the car to dry out a bit, the rain finally stopped, so we went back to the area we had been searching before, still no joy, but the first Chiff- Chaff of the year was heard and along with a nest building pair of Lesser Redpoll it made it all worthwhile.
One of my many favourite nature reserves was next at RSPB Burton Marsh, the normal friendly staff told us were all the birds we wanted to see were located. Avocets, Ruffs, Spotted Redshanks and then to listen/see the Cettis Warbler what a place. A Little Gull had arrived last Saturday and was still on the mere and gave good views in amongst the small Black Headed Gull colony, who seemed to like chasing their smaller cousin away. At this stage I made a little boo-boo (not my normal type) but the heads of a couple of gulls were visible and I casually said, “Are those Kittiwakes over there?” A local sage replied with a comment of, “If a single Kittiwake was on here this hide would be full, those are Common Gulls”. Whoops by me, the birds were now seen in all their glory and the sage was quite correct! We had a look up at the “Hill Fort” area that looks out over Burton Point and most of the Dee Estuary with a Great White Egret the only highlight. As we walked back to the car it began to rain again, so we headed for home. This was a bit of a nightmare with 10 miles taking one hour on the M56, but it was rush hour!
Dave O.


Getting up early has certainly paid off for me at weekends with regard to rare birds in the past so, at 7-30am, I settled down in the “small” room with brew & my mobile phone. I decided to check Rare Bird Alert and was very pleased to be sat down upon reading, “Hudsonian Godwit in Somerset”. A hastily prepared text was sent out to birding mates regarding making up a team to go and see the bird. Bob K rung and we decided to go straight away. We set of at 8-30am and via M60, M6 & M5 and 8 sets of road works (with only one being worked on) along with positive news that the bird was still present. One of our “sleepy” mates sent me a text as we passed Birmingham to say he would come along!! We reached the  A39 towards Shapwick. At this stage we thought we were getting there then a couple of missed turns and an argument with a rather large tractor caused a little distress! We arrived at Ashcott Corner RSPB car park at 12-20pm, 220 miles later, well drove Bob K. The brand new car park was almost full and there were lots of birders present, so the question was asked and a man said, “still there and asleep for the last 2 hours”. Think I would have been asleep a lot longer after(may be) having flown across the North Atlantic. A confident, hurried walk of 300 yards to Meare Heath followed and a flock of around a 100 Black tailed Godwits were seen. We were quickly directed onto the bird and there it was sleeping! It looked much darker and smaller than its companions with a deep chestnut belly which was finely barred. After seeing a Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Wood Sandpiper and a Greenshank, we watched the godwit stretch open its wings and saw the black under wings and its tri coloured upturned beak. It then flew and a small white wing bar was seen and very distinctive tail pattern. It began to feed in amongst the Black tailed Godwits and the size was apparent. The bird had a greyish head and stood shorter in the pool on grey legs. It did not feed with a “sewing machine” action, but a more slow probing action was noted. We checked out a nearby hide and heard and saw a Bittern and another Hobby, then Cetti`s Warbler, Great White Egret, Garden Warbler and a cracking Whitethroat. Bob K has been to this area before and everything he said about is true, its a cracking reserve. We managed to miss a Wood Warbler on the car park as a little rain fell. We left the reserve at 3-30pm, the Hudsonian Godwit was still present. We later found out that it was gone by 4-10pm. We managed to see 57 species with a “lifer” for us both and about 9 new birds for the year. A steady drive home with us calling at Gloucester services farm shop for Bob K to stock up on steak etc (Sue would have killed him if he would have forgotten) We reached home around 8-30pm a great trip to “Cider County”

Dave O.

The weather forecast seemed like we might be in for some rain last Sunday, but, we decided on a trip anyway. We met in Norden and with Chris B at the wheel we headed of to Sizergh Castle. Nearly a full A team arrived at a wet venue to see Hawfinch, a species we do not often miss here. We missed last time and after 20 minutes of standing under the National Trust cafe verandah in wet and cold conditions it looked like another dip. We decided to “tough it out” and were rewarded when a single Hawfinch was seen feeding along with Bullfinch and Chaffinch, quite a sight in breeding plumage. It was time to employ operation, “Find a Hide”, as we headed for the Allen and Morecambe Pool hides at Leighton Moss. Greenshank and Ruff were again our target species as we had missed out a few weeks ago and as the rain lashed against the hides it did not look good. Lots of Black Tailed Godwit, Avocet and Black Headed Gulls were present, but alas no target waders. A stop to listen for Cetti`s Warbler was also fruitless, can we blame the birds for not singing in these conditions really? We stopped at the “Blue Gate” at Leighton Moss (well it used to be blue) and heard and saw Willow Warbler and Blackcap. Real harbingers of spring these two species, Chris pointed out a couple of fungus, one called King Alfred`s Cakes quite a curious shape and all black! We carried on to the Lower hide as the rain just fell from the sky, I re-told my story about the Golden Oriole that I saw one December along this path, don’t know if I have told them that story before as they appeared to not be listening! On arrival we tried to dry out a little bit with distant views of Sand Martin,House Martin, Swallow and quite a few ducks then, someone saw 2 Otters. We were then treated to 10 minutes watching these beautiful mammals swimming, diving and generally enjoying themselves in the monsoon conditions. It’s a long time since I have seen them, we all enjoyed every minute of it. We decided to head for home the scenic route and check the area out as the rain did slightly subside. We came over the “Cross of Greet” road, always looks good for various hill dwelling birds, but unfortunately it is well gamekeepered and we know what that means. As we used the car as a hide we searched for returning migrants and were lucky to see a male and female Ring Ouzel sat close to the road, they then landed on a dry stone wall and after chasing each other up a boulder strewn valley were lost to view, excellent! We called in at Stocks Reservoir and a male Mandarin duck was found but not much else, we will be back soon when the Cuckoo comes back in few weeks though. We all got home before 3-45pm and in time to watch the Manchester derby football match. Even the excesses of the weather did not prevent us from all enjoying the day out.

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.


Dave O.

It’s that time of the year when we all start with zero birds on our year list, so, we did our annual New Year’s Day trip out to the Fylde coast. Not too much evidence of anyone having over indulged this year, after last year’s near do! Not quite a full crew left Norden at 7:30am on a day which was fairly nice after all the rain we have had to endure over the Christmas period. We began at Clifton Marsh with lots of ducks and some small birds thrushes, finch’s, then at Warton Bank, lots of swans and geese and the Great White Egret was still there, also a distant Peregrine. The Long Tailed Duck was hard to see at Fairhaven Lake, as it was diving for 25 seconds and surfacing for 3 seconds. Also Pochard and Tufted Ducks with a few Curlew and small waders on the beach. Next stop Lytham Crematorium for the Ring necked Parakeets. We saw about 3 of these beautiful birds that always make me feel like I am in a different country when I see them. A trip over Lytham Moss didn’t reveal the hoped for winter swans or much else apart from an overprotective man who moved us away from his “driveway” and we all thought he was coming out to wish us all happy new year (miserable get!) Marton Mere had Cormorant, Shoveler, Grey Heron, Goldeneye but no sign of an Iceland Gull or the sound of a Cetti’s Warbler. We decided against the long slog around to the other side for the Long eared Owl’s, due to the time and me going to watch the mighty Rochdale AFC in the afternoon. At Fleetwood we picked up Eider and a few shorebirds. Next place was Eagland Hill area. But, as there was no seed being put out in the normal places (due to the ending of a grant – more cutbacks) we quickly moved onto a new area for us near Scronkey. A Barn Owl was on show for about 10 minutes down to about 50 yards, which  sat on a post. What a bird. A large female Sparrowhawk dashed along the hedge as the photographers tried to capture the owl. Then, as we chased a Corn Bunting down a hedge, a male Hen Harrier was seen, it quickly went to ground. After about 5 minutes wait, we were all able to enjoy this magnificent bird of prey as it put all other birds up into the sky. It was on show for about 5 minutes and was really enjoyed by all our team. What a pity that our rich land owners employ people to kill these wonderful birds? With time marching on, myself and Bob K had to leave the area, what a truly memorable end to a day’s birding. We saw about 63 species on the day. Have a great bird filled New Year!New Year's Day 2013, barn owl, Rawcliffe Moss, Lancs (3) New Year's Day 2013, barn owl, Rawcliffe Moss, Lancs (2)

Dave O.

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 – 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.

What’s life with out a few ups and downs? Well, life chose to take a penalty kick to my crown jewels – only the kicker chosen was Peter Lorimer…OUCH.

So I have taken sometime out, and gone to places I have never been before. I went ‘Darn-Sarf’.

Pagham Harbour – The weather is Scorchio – Wow, what a massive reserve. Too big for me to cover in a day. I make a bee-line for the neccessary. Passing reedbeds with calling  Cettis Warblers, and many sorts of waders. Time for them later. The target, Britains 82nd Paddyfield Warbler. The last one seen was on Shetland 2008.  I only had to wait an hour to get my first glimpse. All of about a second. Enough – Lifer 348.


The bird showed briefly many times – mostly hidden though.

Elsewhere on the reserve. many Cettis’ where calling, also a Mediteranean Gull was calling – sounds like a cat. Grey Herons where busy building alongside Little Egrets in the Heronry.

Blast off too Calshot Hampshire. An even rarer bird. Britains 8th Spanish Sparrow – a stunning male at that.

Lifer 349. This bird has been present for sometime now. Associating with this sparrow where its obvious ofspring showing interbreeding had occurred with the native sparrows in the past. I’ve had good day – 2 lifers – and decided to head for home. I call into a chippy in whinchester. I orde my usuall ‘ Steak & Kidney pie, chips in a tray with Gravey. Guess how much? £5.50..WTF?? I let them know what I thought of that. Going price around Grt.Manchester – £2.65. Back in the car I download a ‘ Find a Macdonalds’ App. (here’s a tip – this is a real trouser saver when you are in unfamiliar territory.) 5 minutes later I am scoffing a ‘Big Tasty Meal’. Well earned I say. Only 3 1/2 hours to go on the road.