Posts Tagged ‘Egyptian Goose’

A long staying Bluethroat, at a very remote Lincolnshire fen, had been giving birders / photographers amazing views, so a trip was organised. We met in Newhey and with Steve B at the wheel, myself Bob K & Chris B, set off for Willow Tree Fen N.R. at 6am. The promise of a sunny day was very much in evidence as we headed down the A1. The small reserve was a little tricky to find but Chris B did a good job finding it. He made a comment, “We will have this Bluethroat all to ourselves”. Upon reaching the car park it became apparent that it was not too be. The bird showed down to 10 feet and was a real stunner, it was a bit of a skullker though. During its time in the reed cover the birds song could be heard, that was very nice. After about an hour we headed away and gave arriving birders chance to see the bird.
We headed for Rutland Water to try to catch up with the already returned Osprey`s. They did not disappoint, a pair of them sat on top of a nest platform. The water level was very high, but that was not surprising with all the rain we have had recently. We also saw Egyptian Goose, Blackcap and lots of wildfowl. I have never visited Rutland Water unless there has been a Birdfair on and it was nice to really appreciate what a good area it is to visit.
Our final stop was at Budby Common in Nottinghamshire, the northern end of Sherwood Forest. Our target species was Woodlark that are usually singing, displaying around this time. We had a very wet tramp around this area a few years ago looking for a Parrot Crossbill, without success. After about 40 minutes, we again were drawing a blank. Now something really strange happened, Bob said, “There is a man about 300 yards away with no clothes on” We all had a look at this man as he was striding out over the common, strange? A fellow birder called us over to say that he had found 2 Woodlarks, we waited for them to show, then after a few minutes a male Woodlark began calling and displaying. I managed to see a female Woodlark perched in a small tree preening. That was a really nice way to end a good days birding. We reached home by 5pm and the sun was still shining!
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.


A  quiet weekend doing household chores had been carefully planned, after the birding excesses of recent times. A good “lie in” on Sunday morning until 9am and then even before I had chance to check out the bird news a phone call from Mark K, who was birding near Sutton Bank,Thirsk. His pager broadcast the news of a male Citril Finch near Holkham Pines in Norfolk, PANIC ! Only a second for Britain. Quickly asking for time off from my understanding wife and ringing a couple of the “A Team” members, who could not get away, I arranged to meet the York team in Fairburn village with Nige, Paz and Mark K making up the team. We headed off to Norfolk with Nige at the helm at around 10-15am and after a few negative messages on the pager, the bird seemed to settle into a routine and was showing well as we parked on Lady Ann`s Drive at Holkham around 1-20pm. What followed was a 1 1/2 mile slog (like the walk to the Pacific Swift, though not as far) through the pines with lots of smiling birders heading in the opposite direction, all saying “It`s still there”. By the time we reached the sand dunes my legs were seizing up and I felt like a “boil in the bag” (ta Mark) after donning my big coat in good, sunny conditions! As we reached the birds chosen feeding area, the birders had it almost surrounded, with some high on the dunes and some within 25 yards of the bird.The bird was pointed out to me and our panic was over, what a cracking bird! Scope views were even better once you could get into the “scrum”. We all admired the second for Britain (the first had been on Fair Isle a few years ago) for a good 50 minutes and the bird suddenly flew back into the pine tree area calling as it went. Time for a social with fellow birders from near & far, all part of the scene. The bird came back about 30 minutes after we left and it was nice to see Lee Evans heading (running) towards the bird as we had a much more sedate walk back to the car, now we could smile at birders still arriving! A few Egyptian Geese were seen, along with a “real” Barnacle Goose at Holkham. We called in at Chosely Drying Barns to see the distant Dotterels that had gathered there and counted up to 12 or 20 depending on were you were stood! Our last stop was Titchwell RSPB Reserve, always a good place to stop at and we saw Little Stint, 3 Barnacle Geese (dark bellied form) but missed Scaup & Red Crested Pochard. Marsh Harriers doing a food pass and a booming Bittern made up for that though. Time for home after a cracking day out and all of us seeing a “new” bird, what could be better! Thanks to Nige for driving and the good company of the York lads. Reached my home by 10pm.

Dave O.Citril Finch 21

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.

Its our most looked forward to trip of the year, our annual trip to Norfolk. The trip itself was spoilt a bit by the strong winds that were blowing, and not all coming from me!(Ozzy!) We began at Salthouse Heath were a couple of Nightjars were heard and then seen, but the first of many disapointments was in the shape of no Nightingales not being heard on the heath at all (this was the first time ever that we have failed to hear them here). At Salthouse we picked up Egyptian Goose then the bit I really like the East Bank at Cley a couple of Bearded Tits, Spoonbill, Sandwich, Common and Little Terns were seen. The Glaven valley had a cracking Barn Owl. A trip to the Monty`s place was a wash out, we also didn’t connect with the Quails at Choosely Barns also. Hoping for better things at Titchwell we had really close veiws of a Bittern that kept flying over the footpath and giving us all prolonged sightings. Time to head for the Brecks and one of the best reserve`s in Norfolk, Lakenheath or Hockwold Washes? No sign of the Golden Oriole`s, missed the Cranes by seconds but a couple of Hobbies and lots of Marsh Harriers kept us entertained, we had not seen Turtle Dove anywhere and didn’t manage to see them here, also even with a good tip off from a reliable friend. Our last port of call was to see the Stone Curlew at a secret location (so we didn’t have to spend any of our precious money – Tight Northerners and that) we were successful, but didn’t connect with any Wood Larks. One highspot on the way home was of a Red Kite, in the Yorkshire area. A long day, but not one of our better trips! Ozzy managed to 93 species, which included 12 year ticks, that puts him on 173 species for 2011.