Posts Tagged ‘Greenshank’


A nice trip to the principality to see some birds that, sadly we don’t get to see very often, which is a good enough excuse to visit Wales. We met in Norden at 6am with myself, Steve & Chris Brown with Chris driving. There was a feel of spring in the air as we gained height towards World`s End, we were hoping to get some pictures of the “lekking” Black Grouse. We first saw a distant couple of males but, as we reached a pull in around 14 male Black Grouse were all doing their posturing, displaying etc, only problem was a car was stopped right in the middle of the road! We headed along the single track road and watched from the car as another 20 male birds were displaying. Raven, Peregrine, Meadow Pipit & Stonechat also observed. As we headed back downhill around 6 more birds were seen and a few pictures taken. Great birds to watch and in a really good place.

The long drive to Anglesey was brightened up with lots of Daffodils in full bloom along the roads, very nice. We reached Holyhead Harbour and soon managed to watch a single Black Guillemot. The tide was very high and we remarked that we had never seen it that high before. We headed up to South Stack with its impressive seabird colony, Guillemot, Razorbill and Herring Gull. We were a bit early for Kittiwake and Puffin but a few Sand Martin heading north made up for that. The local Chough flock also put on a good display for us, Steve searched in vain for a Rock Pipit and we all missed a Hooded Crow that had been seen in the area.

We called in at Penrhos, but could not find a Slavonian Grebe that had been seen earlier in the day, next stop was the Spinnies or Aber Ogwen. We managed to see a Greenshank in the tidal pools along with Redshank, Teal, Shelduck and lots of Oystercatchers. We decided to head for Pennington Flash near Leigh as a Yellow Legged Gull had been “coming to bread” on the car park for the last couple of days. We even saved some bread, but no sign of the gull, a few contenders were seen out on the flash but as we had all left our scopes in the car an ID could not be clinched. Got home by 6pm after a good trip out.

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.


Just myself and Chris B for a trip to the east coast with me driving. We met in Newhey at 6am and arrived at Flamborough at 8am with the roads nice and quiet. The weather was dull at first and becoming sunny around midday. There had been some good birds during the week with easterly winds and good sea watching. It had all changed on Sunday as after an hour, apart from lots of Gannets, a solitary Arctic Skua was our seawatching total! News of a Wryneck and a Barred Warbler in Thornwick Bay (near the lighthouse) had us looking for them. The Wryneck showed really well after a while and the Barred Warbler remained hidden. Lots of more common species where around which made the birding much more pleasant, after the springtime double dip of the Crag Martin (think that really hurt me). A trip to Old Fall Flash to see a Little Stint was next, along with a close encounter with 2 Roe Deer, who just ran through a hedge at the side of me! Two Greenshank also on the flash and lots of bathing large gulls. Time to leave the area and have a look out for other raptors in Wykeham Forest just west of Scarborough. Perfect conditions for raptors, but, in the hour Hobby, Sparrowhawk and a single Buzzard was all we saw! News of a White fronted Goose at Fairburn Ings (even though a bit dodgy) was our next stop and and after a good search around only a very large flock of Greylag Geese was apparent and no White front. We lastly visited a reserve that I have only been to once in the last 20 years, Swillington Ings. It used to be known as St Aidans Flood/Flash and was a dissused open cast mining area you could always guarantee things like Iceland & Glaucous Gulls and lots of Smew. The area has really changed and is ready to be taken over by the RSPB. There are lots of footpaths around the large area with lots of people using them and with lots of effort will be transformed into a great nature reserve in time. We called in here as there was a Black Tern in the area, the only hide was visited, access along Fleet Lane. We went into the hide and 3 of the local Swillington Ings members were present, they made us feel very welcome and even gave, yes gave us each a copy of their yearly report! A Spotted Redshank was seen and the lads told us how to find the Black Tern at the other end of the reserve, we had a good laugh with them and as time was against us we went along Astley Lane to where the very large “Drag Crane” is. This will be the RSPB visitor center area as it has a large carpark. The Black Tern was found after 10 minutes of searching and was really enjoyed after missing out on a couple of birds during the day. We reached home by around 6-15pm and both enjoyed our trip seeing 4 new year birds each.

Dave O.


Myself and Steve K did a trip into deepest Yorkshire, after our plan to go into the Midlands to see a Pacific Golden Plover, had to be changed after the plover departed! We left Rochdale with Steve driving around 7am on a really nice morning. We arrived at Broomhill Flash, near Barnsley at 8-10am. A search through the wildfowl proved very interesting, then the bird we had gone to see was found, a nice Black necked Grebe. It was seen in amongst lots of Little Grebe’s who looked like they have had a good breeding season. The bird showed nicely but would not come close enough for a picture. A Great White Egret had roosted in the area, but was not seen by ourselves (it was later found at Old Moor reserve) Another new reserve was visited, Wombwell Ings, but it was a little quiet this time of year. Near the River Dearne the hoped for Lesser Whitethroat’s were not seen, but Garden Warbler showed well and 2 Barn Owls sunned themselves! The sighting of a single Swift had us thinking that the summer is drawing to an end. New’s of a Ruddy Shelduck at Edderthorpe Flash had us calling at this unspoilt area (no hides or people) with lots of birds to watch and the Ruddy Shelduck was seen. An area that we both have wanted to go to for a while was selected for our next destination, Alkborough Flats, north of Scunthorpe. You can see the area from Blacktoft Sands, its 20 miles away by road. Anyway, after problems with the motorway we carried on and reached Alkborough. In the village the reserve is well signposted having 2 entrances and around 5 hides? We missed the high tide roost but, a few birders leaving, told us we had missed very little. A Montagu’s Harrier had been seen earlier in the morning. Around 300 Avocet, quite a sight greeted us along with 10 Little Egret, 3 Yellow Wagtail and a single Little Gull was found by Steve K. A move to the “hide on stilts” should have revealed Spoonbills but alas, no. A few regular waders were seen, but everything seems a long way away, a scope is needed at this nice reserve, we will be back I am sure. At Blacktoft Sands we saw:- 27 Spotted Redshank, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Green Sandpiper, 20 Avocet, 12 Snipe, 18 Redshank, 3 Greenshank, 20 Black tailed Godwit, 1 Little ringed Plover along with around 6 Marsh Harriers. Always a great reserve to visit and listening to some of the assembled throng trying to look though various fieldguides and naming the species is enlightening. We always help a few aspiring birders with ID problems though, “We all have to start somewhere”. Time for home and a great days birding in lively sunny weather.
Dave O.


Whilst one of our number was watching the Great Spotted Cuckoo in Pembrokeshire and another doing his conservation thing the 3 remaining members of the A Team (Steve B, myself and Chris B at the wheel) headed for North Wales. Our target was the Black Grouse at the well named World’s End, we left Brooks End at 6am and arrived at our destination by 7-30am. A bit of frost about but not snowbound like last year! Three aptly named Blackcocks were soon seen at the side of the track and about 30 birds in total were seen during our short visit. Its advisable to stay in your car so not scare the birds and you should have reasonable sightings. Raven, Skylark and lots of Meadow Pipits were seen but the Great Grey Shrike was not around and a couple of fly past Siskin made up the sightings. Up to 8 Surf Scoter have been seen each day from Pensarn Beach over the last week or so, must be worth a go then? The wind was fairly strong from the west as we arrived and the tide was in and the light perfect, but if you dont get all 3 at the same time your chances of seeing them are very limited. After about an hour of watching Common Scoter and a few passing Red Throated Divers, we decided to go without any success, the wind was blowing us about that much!. A nice Snow Bunting was seen on the seawall though. We headed off to Aber Ogwen / The Spinnies, were two Chiff-Chaffs were singing away, they gave this delightfull nature reserve a spring like feel. A Water Rail feeding below the bird feeders and a distant Slavonian Grebe and two Greenshank made up the species. A little detour to see some Chough`s followed and after a bit of good bird observation by Steve B two of these captivating birds were seen. Another visit to Llandulas and again Pensarn still drew a blank with the Surf Scoters, mind you they were not reported from any other birders on Sunday. A quick look in at Haughton Green Pool near Warrington did not reveal the hoped for Black necked Grebe’s but lots of people walking their dogs and low water did not help. Home by 5-30pm, with around 8 new birds for the year.

Dave O.


We had planned to go to Hilbre Island on the Wirral, but, the winds did not look very promising, so, we decided to go to find the Blue winged Teal’s in Lincoln. A fully employed “A” team met in Newhey for a 6am departure with Bob K at the wheel. My idea of a shortcut over the tops turned into a bit of a nightmare with thick fog/mist hampering our progress. We reached the M62, which was surprisingly short of roadworks, but still shrouded in mist and upon reaching the A1 the mist cleared. As we reached Lincoln the famous cathedral was engulfed in the early morning mist, normally associated with San Francisco! We began the half mile walk to Boultham Mere, formally a gravel pit for railway ballast and the sun began to shine. A Chiff -Chaff was around and as we crossed the drain we met a couple of birders, who told us the birds were still present. A quick look in the hide revealed nothing only sunlight. At the south western end of the reserve was a seat and as we rested on it, the 3 Blue winged Teals began feeding only 25 yards away, result for us and a tick for one of our number! A really pleasant reserve in a nice city makes a pleasant change. Blue Wing Teal 22-09-13With the main target birds seen, where too now? Blacktoft Sands was the answer to see an elusive Spotted Crake. An hour later at 11-50am we sat in Singleton Hide and as we had only missed a brief appearance by 10 minutes it would show would’nt it? By 3pm the bird had beaten us and had really earned the title elusive, not much consolation for one of our number who still needs it! Lots of Ruff, Snipe, Lapwing and a couple of Green Sandpipers made up the waders present. Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel & Buzzard were the birds of prey present. Next stop,  Fairburn Ings,  for a “nailed on” species of duck whose name escapes me. As we got there a lady birder told us that,  “they” had been flushed off by a Grey Heron! Despite a 45 minute search they were not seen. Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Dunlin, Garganey were seen though. All the birds suddenly took to the air and we thought that the 5 Grey Herons were to blame for this, but Steve B, who had left the hide, had seen and photographed a Fox grabbing a Canada Goose. At least someone would have had a good meal on Sunday evening!

Dave O.


A  full “A” team enjoyed a day out, starting from Dawlish Avenue at the back of Marshside Marsh, Southport.It was very cold and the hoped for Spoonbill was not seen.At the old sand winning plant,  spring finally arrived with 3 male Wheatear seen,its been a long, cold winter,but, they brightened up the mood! At the deserted RSPB hide lots of Avocets were seen and as we searched the marsh for White Fronted Geese we found the Spoonbill.At this point a small falcon was seen chasing a Meadow Pipit,we then all watched a magnificent Merlin for about five minutes as it hunted down its prey,unforgetable! On the outer marsh lots of Pink Feet were seen then a couple of Barnacle Geese but not the White Fronts. Next stop Burrows Marsh on the Fylde as the tide was rising,  for the Water Pipits.It took a while but we had pretty good views of a couple of them and we left all very happy.At Conder Green Pools a Greenshank was seen.We made our way to Leighton Moss then home via the Trough of Bowland and managed to see lots of Red Grouse

Regards,

Dave O.


Our “annual” trip to the east coast is usually onshore high wind, rain and cold. Quite a nice change to sit on the cliffs at Flamboro` in shorts and getting a suntan! We reached the almost empty carpark at 8-30am, and after 2 an half hours sea doggin’  we saw a good list of species to add to our year lists including:- 4 Sooty Shearwaters, Balearic Shearwater, 10 Arctic Skua`s, 3 Great Skua`s, Little Gull and lots of Kittiwake`s. Large amounts of Gannets, Terns and Auks also present. One numb rear-end later, and a trip to Filey Dams LN Reserve was made. Apart from high water levels it still held 3 Ruff, Greenshank and a moulting Shelduck plus all the usual regulars, including a Sparrowhawk and a Grey Heron that “spooked” the birds, enabling us to see all the birds in flight! Where to go next? after consulting a map we realised that the raptor viewpoint at Wykeham was not that far away,we decided on there. Only Chris had been thier before and upon arrival 3 lads from Burnley told us that they had seen an Osprey and a distant Honey Buzzard, This place is really good for watching passing or local raptors as you can see many a mile. After a 10 minute wait 2 Goshawks flew above our heads and the lads said that there was a family party in the area, these birds kept flying around and gave great views. Also seen:- 2 Buzzard, Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine (it flushed the Goshawks out as it flew past) A party of 5 Crossbills and some Siskins also settled in the pine trees. What a place, we will be calling back at Wykeham. News of some waders at Lin Dyke hide, Fairburn Ings near Castleford had us getting a little nearer home. The sun was still beating down as we reached the hide enabling us to see all the relevant features on:- 3 Curlew Sandpipers, Little Stint, 3 Ringed Plover. Then from nowhere the local Peregrine flushed the waders away and as we left the hide a small party of Swift passed through the reserve. Time for home now, cracking day out!
Regards,
Oz