Posts Tagged ‘Linnet’

With the weather prediction being okay anoth trip was organised by Chris B. So, with Chris at the wheel, four A Team birders left Newhey at 6am. Our plan was to meet up with Nigel from York at Strensall Common. At 7-30am we reached the common and set off to the area we believed was the right place. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was busy drumming away on a tree, then a call from Nigel had us heading in a completely different direction. After a trudge along a muddy path, we finally met Nigel. He had heard Woodlark singing a little while ago he told us, so we waited. After around 45 minutes with Linnet and Skylark`s seen, another Woodlark was heard and we headed in the direction. We watched and listened to it singing on top of a silver birch tree, very nice. A drive up to Wykeham Forest near Scarborough was next, Nigel also met us there and we enjoyed distant but good views of, at least 3 Goshawk and lots of Buzzard all displaying and chasing each other around, Tawny Owl also heard calling, thanks Nigel for your help. On the journey back to the main road a beautiful Yellowhammer male was seen and heard in song, its really spring now! A long drive north and west was next, to call in at Shaw Farm, Arkengarthdale. We usually manage lots of hill dwelling birds in this area, but, apart from distant views of the Black Grouse, we could not locate any others? Birding can be really hit and miss cant it. Final stop was Buttertubbs Pass to again look for hill dwelling birds and again without any luck, lots of Meadow Pipits though.We headed for Rochdale, arriving at a very late 6-30pm. Thanks Chris for driving through all that beautiful countryside, very enjoyable trip out.

Dave O.



Though we have not been known for going to difficult places to see rare birds, Three “A Team” members decided to give it a go. So when a Cretzschmar`s Bunting was found on Bardsey and a “booking system” was in place (kindly policed by Lee Evans) after sleeping under boats etc. We made the arrangements on Tuesday evening to go on Friday morning, weather and bird permitting. Wednesday & Thursday really managed to rack up the “twitchyness” (new word). An early start on Friday morning with Bob K driving, myself and Steve K aboard. We got through the mystery that is the M60 motorway around Manchester onto the M56, along the A55 coast road passing Rhyl when a check of the bird news revealed the bird was still present. Going through Caernarfon, Morfa Nefyn and some beautiful scenery with some of the small villages reminding us of Little Britain and a certain sketch! We passed Aberdaron, previously visited to see Lesser Grey Shrike and Black Headed Bunting and reached the car park at Porth Meudwy in 3 hours 10 minutes, well done Bob. Our time was 11-30am to get there, so time to have a sleep or watch some birds, Black Guillemot, Rock Pipit and a few Manx Shearwater were seen. Off we went with birders from Bedfordshire and Devon, reaching Bardsey at midday. The sun was shining and it wasn`t to windy so we hurried along to the area, passing Rob Lambert (sorry for not stopping to talk Rob) who told us he had seen the bird really well. We were greeted by the warden who told us some do`s and dont`s and all assembled near the lighthouse. We all got decent viewing positions and settled down to watch the concrete block`s that had seed on them that the bird came into. The bird had last been seen at 11am, it was now 12-10pm. After the first hour of waiting, House Martin, Swallow, Linnet, Pied Wagtail and a small flock of Chough were seen. The bird had not been seen for over two hours by now, the tension was building and we had to be off at 4pm. Now standing still and in silence is not a problem for “hardened, dedicated twitchers(nutters)”, but as the second hour passed and still no-show from the bunting with only Linnet`s for company, we all needed some help. It duly arrived in the shape of the warden`s trying to see where the bird was for us all (ta for all the help) After the third hour had drifted by (3-10pm) we all suffered from the horror`s of dipping this ultra rare species. Hardly anyone had missed seeing the bird in recent days would we be the first? At 3-30pm a bird landed on the wall and disappeared back into the grass, it looked good, then suddenly the Cretzschmar`s Bunting was feeding on the seed. It was on show for about 5 minutes and made everyone, who had waited 3 hours and 20 minutes to see it, very happy! The bird then flew past us all, calling and giving great flight features. Hand shakes all around by the “A Team”, the collection bucket was sorted and we headed back. Bob K remarked,”Am I dreaming or did we just see the bird?” I guess the long wait had made it all the more special for us, as we only saw it with 20 minutes to spare. We didn`t have any time to search this beautiful area and we were soon back at the car park for our return home. We had a good laugh about it with all our co-sufferers and saId goodbye for now. The drive home was all the more special now we had seen the bird. Bob had us all back in Milnrow by 8pm, three very happy birders!

Dave O.SAM_2325

A trip to see the wintering Ring Ouzel`s in North Wales along with the various scoters got us all rarin` to go. Then as often happens a lifer turns up for a couple of the team. So a change of plan, get to New Brighton in Cheshire to see a first winter Laughing Gull. The bird should be on the east coast of America about this time of year but was sadly of course. How it got here was discussed, but flying here seemed the most likely after some of the Atlantic gales that there have been. A grey, foggy morning greeted us as we set off from Rochdale and it did not get better en route. As we went under the Mersey Tunnel we hoped for clearer conditions on the Cheshire side, no such luck. We got to New Brighton and wandered around in cold miserable conditions and waited for the tide to turn. It’s really changed has New Brighton and we met a jolly traffic warden,now there is a rarity! We met a few of our birding friends from the York area and had a good laugh about various things,(a bigger laugh was to follow) After a couple of hours vigil the bird was found on the beach near the lighthouse. To get there you had to cross a barrage of barnacle strewn rocks, some quite slippy. The bird was seen but it kept crossing over the rocks to feed on the sandy beach, cross the rocks again, but not so lucky. Fully laden with camera, tripod & telescope, binoculars and lots of insulating clothing, I slipped on the rocks. Going down in stages would have been good on You Tube (I have looked) but not for me, sustaining cut hand and slight damage to telescope eyepiece. Bowed but not beaten, we took up position above the pontoon on the marina and got some decent pictures of the Laughing Gull, which performed admirably for the crowds. A couple of Purple Sandpipers and 2 Snow Buntings were also seen in New Brighton. We called at a few birding spots on the Wirral before ending at Burton Marsh were Stonechat and Linnet were added to our lists. The hoped for Great White Egret had flown up the coast unseen by ourselves. Good day out with 2 of our team getting a lifer and we got back home to claim a few “browny” points.

Dave O.Laughing Gull @ N Brighton (30)Laughing Gull @ N Brighton (63)Laughing Gull @ N Brighton (29)Snow Buntings @ N Brighton (8)

A family holiday spent at the Sahara Beach Hotel in Skanes, Monastir, Tunisia. It was our fifth visit to the area so I already knew where to go birding. Managed to do some birding every day, but mainly in the morning, usually around 6-15am as it became very warm around 9-30am. The area around this hotel is dominated by very large salt lagoons and lots of breeding birds, including Yellow legged Gull, Slender billed Gull, Little, Common and Gull billed Tern’s and good numbers of Collared Pratincole. Waders in the shape of Black winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed and Kentish Plover. Lots of Greater Flamingo directly behind the Monastir Airport, along with Spoonbill and Stone Curlew in small numbers. At the local dump near Sahline, up to 180 White Storks were present but the spectacle of uncountable numbers of Yellow legged Gull will stay with me for a long while! In the hotel area’s Hoopoe, Serin, Crested Lark, Bee-Eater, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Spanish Sparrow were seen in varying numbers. Around the salt lagoons various bushes and mixed habitat held up to 8 Great Grey Shrikes of the algeriencis form that allow close attention to photograph! Also in those area’ s are small numbers of Zitting Cisticola(Fan Tailed Warbler), Greenfinch, Linnet, Short Toed Lark and the abundant Rock/ Feral Dove. Smaller numbers of Collared, Laughing and Turtle Doves also.Large flocks of Spotless Starling are great to watch as they dig for food on the ground and squabble just like “our” one’s. There are lots of Swift and with a bit of luck a few Pallid Swift can be found as they chase their prey close to the ground. Small numbers of House and Sand Martins were seen, but not many Barn Swallow’s (think there is a sad decline this year in their numbers) On the journey from Enfidha Airport to our hotel a single Carrion Crow was seen flying around a small village, a bit unusual that? A single Barbary Partridge was seen one early morning in the scrub around the salt lagoons and in the evening a single Hobby was out hunting and then a flock of 5 Shelduck flew past. A few Kestrel’s and Sparrowhawk’s were seen again in small numbers. Our our return home and near the airport at Enfidha a Booted Eagle was seen hunting and great end to a very localised birding / family holiday.

With the hour less in bed catching one of our number out and another preparing for an overseas visit, a much depleted “A Team” left Rochdale at 6am with myself at the wheel. First stop, to “tick off” Mandarin, was Preston Grasshopper’s rugby club pond, good start no Mandarin`s, the theme would continue later in the day! Sizergh Castle, just in Cumbria, next stop and a waiting Hawfinch was seen sat on top of a tree. Cracking bird this one, a quick look at the feeder`s for my bogey bird in 2014,Treecreeper revealed none present. A male Scaup has been present on Middleton pond near Heysham village for a while, it was too good to miss and the bird duly obliged with excellent views, I made friends with a couple of Mute Swan’s also. We went past Morecambe F.C. and headed for Heysham harbour. A lot of fishermen and their vehicle`s were parked along the harbour wall and one in particular was parked very badly and it looked like it was going to turn nasty as a security guard tried to reason with the offending parker! About 6 Wheatear, 2 Twite and lots of Linnet`s in the area but, the real stars were masses of Meadow Pipit`s moving south, a real migration in action moment. At Leighton Moss 60 Avocet, 100 Black Tailed Godwit and the constant clamour of Black Headed Gulls reminded us about spring,then 3 Sand Martin headed past us,excellent. Along the causeway the bird of the day was firstly heard then flew out and sat on top of a reed, a male Bearded Tit, the bird was nicer than any picture I have seen,a true gem! A couple of Marsh Harriers were around then our first Swallow`s past just overhead heading north. A couple of butterflies were seen,Brimstone & Peacock and a few Chiff-Chaff in song all added to the general good feeling about the day. Over the hills to Stock`s Reservoir next with a hope of catching up with a large fish eating raptor the focus. No luck in that direction also,but a sunbathing Little Owl made up for it. A few more Sand Martin were seen over a couple of rivers as we headed towards home. We headed for the canal in Littleborough to catch up with a Mandarin,that was nearly always around, and after a good walk we had no joy. The pair of Garganey at Shaw Moss pond near Hollingworth Lake were quickly seen and we headed for home. We all saw about 8 species to add to our “year lists” and all enjoyed birding in warmer,drier conditions than we have had of late!

Dave O.