Posts Tagged ‘Firecrest’

Myself, Bob K and Nigel S from York, decided on a trip to the east coast. Me and Bob got to York at 8am and as we picked up Nige news of an Iberian Chiff-chaff at Kilnsea came through. We headed of through the sun drenched city of Hull on our first trip of the year to the Spurn area. In the Crown & Anchor car park a few birders had assembled, news of the bird was good as it had been caught and rung and was still in the area. We watched two Firecrest and a Fieldfare as we waited for about an hour for the bird to show. Nige managed to see the bird pretty well as we had drifted off to search around the ringing area. The bird began calling and showing in a tall tree on the caravan site but visible from the Crown & Anchor car park, the song was very nice to hear, felt like we were in Spain as the sun shone on us all! After seeing some butterflies. Brimstone, Peacock, Green Veined White and Small Tortoiseshell we headed out to Holderness Fields to see the cracking male Garganey that has been around for a few days. It was a little distant but well worth the effort, our first Swallow of the year flew past us, it must be springtime. We called in at Sammy`s Point in the hope of seeing a Wheatear, without any joy. After a search of the bushes and paddocks, that seemed very quiet we managed to see a nearly summer plumaged Golden Plover, this bird was very photogenic.

We called in at North Cave wetlands and watched a couple of Little Ringed Plover along with lots of other water birds, Ruff, Redshank, Gadwall and Great Crested Grebe. The report of a singing Sedge Warbler took us around the reserve, but the bird was not seen, sure there will be more. We did not manage to see any Red Kites in the area, but after we had dropped Nige off in York a single bird was seen from the road in Tadcaster. Good day out with brilliant weather.

Dave O.


20161009_14275820161009_142809The type of wind and weather fronts almost guaranteed a good weekend for migrant birds on the east coast. So, with 2 of the A team joining with 2 of the lads from York, who had been to Spurn the day before, we would almost certainly have a good day`s birding!
I picked up Bob K in Milnrow, in the dark, then met Mark K and Nigel S over in North Cave. The weather looked quite nice as we decided that our first stop would be in Easington, upon arrival lots of birders had assembled and were searching the trees around the church. Nice to see Sarfraz and Craggy from the Rossendale area, welcome to twitching boys! Masses of Goldcrest and Chiff-chaff were soon seen and it was apparent that a large fall of birds had taken place. Behind the White Horse pub a Pallas`s Warbler gave a good, but to brief an appearance, what a cracking little bird, Bob K really likes Pallas`s Warbler`s. We moved onto the old cemetery at Easington, where a Red Breasted Flycatcher showed really well, which was more than could be said for a Firecrest that was hard to pin down in amongst the hordes of Goldcrest in the area, but we did see it.
We headed for Church field and the Crown & Anchor area to see if the Rustic Bunting was still around, alas it was not. The path around the field had to be walked very carefully to avoid standing on the Goldcrest`s that appeared to be everywhere, again good numbers of Chiff-chaff and along with a few Redwing, Tree Sparrow made it a nice experience. Mark K told us the news that a “possible” Pallas`s Grasshopper Warbler had been seen near the potato field almost at the point. Being mugs to add another dip on that species myself and Bob K made the walk. The York boys, very wisely, birded the canal area. It was a long 1 hour walk down to the area with a few Stonechat for company. Then talk of setting up nets to catch the bird etc seemed pointless in the rough terrain. The walk back was made all the better as a few Brambling and a few thrushes were seen, along with the Rossendale boys going in the opposite direction.
Back at the car we met Martin Q who was enjoying the hectic birding at Spurn, he told us where to watch the Great Grey Shrike from, which was off Green Lane near Sammy`s Point. Myself and Bob K had never been in this area before but we soon found the shrike and enjoyed fairly close views of it as it chased the local birds around. One last try for the Pallas`s Warbler again or the Northern Bullfinch in Easington village, no joy, then news of the Olive Backed Pipit showing really well near the gas terminal. Off we went again and were soon watching this cracking little bird down to 5 metres distance. The boys took lots of photograph`s of it as it showed well all the time we were there. Sarfraz and Craggy also got to see the bird as it was a new bird for both of them, well done to both of you! Time to go home now after a really cracking day and another Good Day at Spurn!
Dave O.

Early October and its Spurn time again!  Our dear wives look forward to it just as much as we do, I think.  After all the exciting few weeks that we have had recently at Spurn, we thought that with the weather, not appearing to be very good for migrants, that it could be quiet, correct! Caravan booked at the excellent “Sandy Beaches” and with all our supplies myself, Bob K & Steve K set off at 6am with Bob at the wheel. First stop was Stone Creek to meet John Hewitt (co finder of the Mugamaki Flycatcher a few years ago) He always keeps us up to date with the passing birds from this area. His dedication to this area has to be admired and his knowledge of the quantity of birds is second to none. After a nice 30 minutes with John we usually walk up to Stone Creek Battery to see what we can find but, with the tide in, we headed to Patrington Haven to see what we could find.  In the fields on the way we saw a small party of Red legged Partridge & a single Grey Partridge. On the walk up to the Haven (of last years long staying Ivory Gull fame) we saw two Marsh Harriers hunting the area. Lots of the more common waders, ducks & geese were seen. A Yellow browed Warbler had been reported at Easington Gas Terminal so off we headed.  A few “dudes” where looking for the bird, but no joy, a few Wheatears seen and the sea was very quiet. There followed a walk in from the north to Easington Lagoons, yes its a long way, and with all the waters having been flooded by the tidal surges, no waders were seen at all. 362 Brent Geese, 5 Pink footed Geese where the highlight. We were joined by Billy from Middlesborough who told us about his recent trip to Japan, what a place that is!  We had a look around Kilnsea, Crown & Anchor and Canal Scrape (with a silent C) the birding was very slow. Then lots of Swallows were seen in the last 2 hours of daylight and a single Whinchat. At the caravan we enjoyed a hearty meal of Goulash and then headed for the club along with Martin Q, Steve & Chris B. Saturday morning and a check of the birds on the Humber with lots of the more common waders but, alas, no Curlew Sandpiper. A Firecrest was eventually seen well at Pancho`s Pond, Kilnsea then a Yellow browed Warbler near the Crown & Anchor. After breakfast we checked out the sea and the Warren area and had a walk up to the area that the sea had washed away last winter. A smart Merlin was the only bird of note apart from uncountable waders on the Humber, very spectacular. It makes the area from the old “narrows” to the point an island 2 hours before & after high tide. No vehicles are allowed beyond the Warren, so, if a rare bird is found a long walk will be required. A call from Martin Q alerted us that a Barred Warbler was showing well at the silent “C” canal scrape. At twitch speed (only to check our response time out really) we got to the hide and within 10 minutes were enjoying distant views of the Barred Warbler, nice one Martin. We then headed for the Sandy Beaches clubhouse to watch Wigan v St Helens grand final. A couple of punches from an irate Wigan player and after lots of disappointing finals the championship was heading to St Helens!  At the Crown & Anchor we entered the quiz and after loaning one of our number out to an opposing team, we enjoyed a good laugh. Steve & Mandy R from Rossendale also joined us.  After being beaten by one point we headed back to the club for a nightcap. Sunday morning started very misty and a trip to Sammy!s Point was arranged. Next to no birds were seen there, I cannot remember it so empty. After a brew & a meal we broke camp and headed for home. Despite the lack of anything rare we all had enjoyed ourselves in excellent sunny conditions and will all be back next year.

Dave O.

Our annual trip came around again and it did not disappoint. There were new birds for the year, a twitch, sunny weather and finally a loss which has become a found!  Me and Bob K left Rochdale early in dreadful weather on Friday and it looked good for, “bad weather,good birds” etc. By Hull the rain had stopped and as we reached Stonecreek the clouds were breaking up. We met up with John from Leeds, as we always do and he told us of the local bird news. The walk to Sunk Island Battery was a little uneventful, but we always do it and pay homage to the place were the Mugimaki Flycatcher was found (get a life, I hear you say) Why have they not accepted that bird yet? A colony of Tree Sparrows are now well established in the area. We did not call at Patrington Haven as the tide was out, so we pushed on to Easington. There had been a Yellow Browed Warbler and a Ring Ouzel earlier and despite searching and help from some friends from York, we drew a blank. We headed for Spurn and Chalk Bank hide, seeing a Little Tern and a Purple Sandpiper and a flock of Brent Geese along with lots of waders as the tide began to turn. There was a few people around and the news about a strange Locustella warbler was just breaking. We headed for our caravan and after a meal my phone rang, it was Mark from York with the news of a possible Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler near Chalk Bank!  We headed at great speed to the area until we saw the tide crossing the “road”. This was decision time, luckily our minds were made up for us by 4 vehicles coming in the opposite direction. Reversing in wet sand between sticks with vehicles pushing us along with the tide lapping at the doors certainly beats one or two of our exploits! The Spurn warden told us the bird would be trapped Saturday morning and its identity established. Time for the pub, now that all six of us were here, great to see you all. Met the warden and a few of the regulars in the “Crown & Anchor” and had a chat about the new arrivals etc. At 7-15am in the morning, we all headed for Chalk Bank area to see if the possible would turn into a definite. Around 8-30am and after seeing the bird in flight, the bird was captured and the expectancy could be felt, then the words,”Well that a mystery solved, it’s a Grasshopper Warbler”, at that point about 50 birders feelings went downhill rapidly!  Me and Bob wandered off and saw two Firecrests, what nice birds they are. Breakfast time for us all now. A walk to Beacon Lane pools was not to good and the sea did not reveal anything at all. A Red Breasted Flycatcher had been found in the church yard in Kilnsea and showed really well in bright sunshine, also, Firecrest, Pied Flycatcher. In the Canal Scrape a Jack Snipe was seen and a couple of Redstarts completed the days birding. Sunday was nice and sunny and we all walked to the churchyard and found Firecrest, Lesser Whitethroat (thanks Martin) and finally a Yellow Browed Warbler. Time to plan for the journey home and after our goodbye’s the Rochdale boys headed for Old Moor RSPB reserve. Upon reaching there, Bob revealed that his telescope was not in the car, were was it? Lots of people here but no sign of an American Golden Plover. Curlew Sandpiper and a few waders in amongst a lot of Golden Plover who earlier had been spooked by a Peregrine. Our last call was at Edderthorpe Flash, but nothing new was found. By this time, Bob had spoke to lots of people about his missing scope, but it was not found. We all got home by 5-30pm and all enjoyed the trip.

P.S. Bob returned to Spurn on Tuesday and guess what? He found his scope under the caravan curtains in the main room, result or what!

Dave O.

On what could probably be our last trip of 2012, apart from any major “twitches”, it was decided to visit one of our favourite places, North Wales. Our target bird was, as the title implies, the Surf Scoter, as one of the team has yet to connect with this species. Up to three Surf Scoter’s have been present in the Llandulas area, but, along with 5/6000 (I think) Common Scoter, can proove difficult to pick out! Myself, along with Chris & Steve Brown left a dark and misty Rochdale at 6-30am and as it got lighter the mist cleared and apart from a small rain flurry a nice day was in prospect. We reached a new viewing area above the quarry in Llandulas and were soon joined by other birders looking for the Surf Scoter’s, after an hour we had drawn a blank. Time to try to catch up with another species that has thwarted us this year, Purple Sandpiper. Rhos-on -Sea point has had quite a few Purple Sandpipers in the wintertime in the past, so, as it was high tide it was time to try. Lots of Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Dunlin were sheltering on the rocks upon our arrival and Steve was already taking pictures of them, then we found a single Purple Sandpiper only 4 yards away, it was a really nice bird and it give two of us a new bird for the year!

The 80 + Waxwings in the shopping area of Llandudno was our next port of call,we saw a lot sat in the tall trees in the area but none were very photogenic. We met an “old” twitching friend of ours from Wales, Ian Evans. We all had a good chat, and then after a check of Ian’s pager we learned that the Surf Scoter had been seen again at Llandulas. Off we go again, Chris got to know the way there and as we arrived there was no-one watching anything? A few other birders assembled in the hour we tried to find the bird, but with just a Velvet Scoter for our troubles, it was not located again (Bummer). It appears that you just have to be lucky to drop onto this bird from this watchpoint. At this point I told the tale of watching one just fifty yards from the rocks many year’s ago, sorry lads. Well, at Conway RSPB, a couple of Firecrest’s had been seen in the morning, perhaps we could catch up with one of these little beauties? We firstly tried the carpark and then spent a while near the pond seeing Redpoll, Dunnock, Blue & Great Tits and Goldcrest but no Firecrest. We headed back to the car, apart from Chris, who was answering a call of nature, luckily for us he heard a “crest” then saw the Firecrest. He rounded us up and we enjoyed good views of the bird, along with a few of the RSPB staff who wondered what all the fuss was about. At this point one of the North Wales birders told us that the Surf Scoter had been seen again, (Bummer X2) we thought,”Third time lucky” and of we went again. Guess what even with a few more birders we didn’t manage to see the bird. Ah well. It lives to be seen another day. The traffic on the busy A55 had ground to a halt, just as we decided to leave, due to a vehicle crash, so, we had to join the long line of traffic that was diverted off through Abergele.We managed to reach Burton Point at the bottom of Station Road and had a nice walk back towards Shotton. We managed to see about five Short-eared Owls, one having a go at a Merlin way out on the marsh. One of the owl’s came quite close and was really stunning. The count of Little Egrets going to roost had reached about 30, when we began to recall how a single Little Egret was such a rarity 25 years ago, we much be getting old? It was time for home, but as we reached Two Mills traffic lights, not far from Burton, another crash had occured and slowed our progress. We got back home at 5:30pm and all had enjoyed a good day’s birding, well apart from the Surf Scoter!


Dave O.