Posts Tagged ‘Osprey’

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 arrival of post breeding birds back into the country is always an exciting time for us birders, so when an American White Winged Scoter was seen in Aberdeenshire it was time to gather the troops. With my friends from over the border in Yorkshire being “up for it” and no real response from the regular A Teamers a trip was arranged for Saturday night. We met in York and with Darren W, Nigel S and organiser in chief Mark K set off north. With the A1 being subject to-night closures a trip up the A19 was planned then across country to Edinburgh. We passed over the Forth Bridge and marvelled at the new bridge being built along side the old one. We pressed on through Aberdeen and soon found our way to the Blackdog area, then apart from a couple of wrong turnings (yes I know blame me) we headed down to the golf clubhouse at Murcar. It was just 4-30am as we all donned our waterproof`s, gloves and wooly hats (well it is July) and headed out to the dunes overlooking the sea. The four of us found what has been the regular watching area, which is raised with a good view over the sea. The weather and conditions were perfect, flat calm sea, next to no wind and overcast skies. We all began to search through the 500 or so scoter flock and all noticed a bird with very large white patches on both wings, this must be our American White Winged Scoter?  The bird was given a good-looking at and we saw:that its bill was pinkish towards the last third, it had brown flanks, it had white facial patches around and behind its eyes, the white wings showed at rest and were much more obvious as the bird dived or preened. It tended to always be in the company of Velvet Scoters against which it appeared slightly larger. We enjoyed the bird for over an hour and also saw:- Eider, Red Throated Divers (are you sure Mark) and lots of passing terns. We had all got a new British species, it was well worth the effort.

We went up to the Ythan Estuary (Newburgh) to see the breeding plumaged King Eider, but guess what? it could not be found. The seals made up for it though and lots of terns, 200+ what a cracking estuary this is, so undisturbed. We tried to locate the American Wigeon also, but without any joy. At Blackdog another search through the massive Eider flock was fruitless.

Setting off south to Loch of Lowes, near Dunkeld at around 9am, we called in for petrol in Aberdeen. What fun that was, we could not find a petrol station, until one finally gave itself up! The drive over the A & B roads was a little unusual to say the least but, we made it. We made our way to the main hide/center and found out it was £4-00 each to get in, what happened next?? (answers on a postcard) We sought out another viewing opportunity and after all agreeing that a stain on a distant tree was an Osprey, Nigel S got his scope and found the real Osprey, well we were tired.

A call into Musselburgh, near Edinburgh, along the sea wall did not reveal the hoped for Surf Scoter, but an unusual amount off moulting Red Breasted Merganser`s were watched with still more Eiders in various stages of moult.

Of we went again down the A1 on a beautiful day enjoying this picturesque road on a fairly quiet day for traffic. We were heading for the River Wansbeck (of Red Necked Stint fame) to try to catch up with a Bonaparte`s Gull. We got to Ashington and had to pass through a caravan site and walk down to the beach and estuary.We had a good look for the bird but could not find it. We decided to head for home after a very long day`s birding. We had all seen a new bird for Britain but had been unlucky with the supporting cast. We headed for home, which I reached at 8-00pm. What a brilliant day out with great company.
Dave O.

Myself, Chris B, Bob K met at my home for our annual trip to Bolton Abbey Woods, Bob was at the helm. Leaving at 6am and reaching the woods by 7am on a beautiful, sunny morning. The birds all appeared to be singing, but our ears (mainly Chris ) soon located the Redstarts and we saw them fairly well, truly, colourful gems of the woods are Redstarts. A distant Cuckoo was also heard.We descended to river level and the smell of the various plants that grow down there was truly powerful, mainly Ransoms and Bluebells. Chris showed us a number of unusual plants also, Honeydew, Lords & Ladies. Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiff-chaff were all singing at once then, the bird we have not heard here for a few year`s, Wood Warbler. Great to hear it singing, but locating it was a different matter. The amount of Pied Flycatchers in the area, seems to have increased, I wonder if the custodians of this area have used the “Cork in nestbox” idea to stop Blue Tits using the boxes and waiting till the Pied Flycatchers return before “uncorking” ? A walk up to the shelter revealed Mandarin, Marsh Tit and a further Wood Warbler. Chris found a Woodcock really close to the path and Bob found a pair of Spotted Flycatchers in a similar area, nice to see. The area was begining to get busy with runners, noisy cyclers, walkers and the usual yapping dogs, time to leave!

The long drive over to Foulshaw Moss from the Skipton area was helped by the sightings of a few Swifts chasing each other around in the little village areas. It was warm as we arrived at Foulshaw, Bob & Chris saw an Adder and we all enjoyed Green Hairstreak and Four Spotted Chaser Dragonflies. A distant female Osprey, Tree Pipits, Buzzards all added up to a really nice hour at this new(ish) reserve.

We called into Leighton Moss to see if we could find Reed Warbler, no problem as we walked along the causeway. Up to three Marsh Harrier were also observed. We called in at the Morecambe & Allen hides and were shocked to see the area completely flooded. The Black headed Gulls at the Allen hide were all flying about with no sign of any of their nests remaining also no Avocets present, a problem with a breached culvert?

News of a Little Gull being present at Stocks Reservoir had us heading in that direction over some lovely countryside. We reached Stocks and a kind lady helped us with our parking arrangements, cant say anymore! At the first hide a search for the Little Gull was stopped in its tracks as a Black Tern was found (by us?) We watched it twisting & turning as it caught its prey items, one of the birds that people have difficulty getting me away from. The local birders arrived and so did the Little Gull spending most of its time with the Black Tern chasing insects, never seen that before.Think thats why we enjoy birding as much as we do because you never know what will happen next. We had all had a truly good days birding and arrived home by 5-15pm.

P.S. We had originally decided to go for an Alpine Accenor at Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire, but as it was not seen, I think we all made a good call!!

Dave O.



As we usually follow a regular set of trip`s in spring, it`s always nice when the Bolton Abbey trip come`s along, it reminds us that its migration time. The early start from Rossendale at 5-30am, with me at the helm, Bob K & Chris B for company, is always good and it was to be again. Walking down into the valley at Bolton Abbey woods on a clear but cold morning the bird song seemed all around us and the smell from the plants was quite invigorating! A few Pied flycatchers were heard and then seen, then Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Chiff-Chaff, Willow Warblers and finally up to 4 Redstart`s with 2 males having a right good old go at one another. A freshly cleared area revealed Red legged Partridge`s and a female Pied Flycatcher. No sign of Mandarin,Goosander, Common Sandpiper or Kingfisher on the river, that was unusual. The lack of any Wood Warbler song for the second year in succession was a worry, wonder why? We called in at the Barden area, that had always looked good for Ring Ouzel, as we always comment in passing, so as we stopped to look, 2 female Ouzels and then 2 males were seen along with 2 Ravens, 2 Wheatear and a single, showy, calling Cuckoo. We watched all the activity at this point and really soaked it up, until, right on cue, a man on a motorbike stopped to ask us what we were looking at and all the birds disappeared, so did we! A call at Hellifield Flash was soon done with nothing to report. At Foulshaw Moss (on the Barrow Road) the returning Osprey`s are well wardened and will, hopefully raise some young. A Raven`s nest was bursting with activity as 3 young and two parents were on/in it, quite a sight. A few Tree Pipits were parachuting around and singing. Cracking little reserve, a couple of Swift were also noted. Next stop Leighton Moss lower hide to see the Pied Billed Grebe. Along the causeway Reed & Sedge Warblers were heard just as the rain that has followed us around began to fall. A full hide was further swelled by our arrival and the grebe was seen, sat 20 yards in front of us slightly obscured by vegetation, smart little bird! For a change a Marsh Harrier was not seen. A female Bufflehead near Warrington was going to be our next stop until a plastic ring was found on its leg, so that was abandoned! A Wood Sandpiper had been seen at Alston Wetlands, Longridge. Upon arrival a birder said he could not find the Wood Sandpiper and cursed his luck, having missed the Pied Billed Grebe at Leighton Moss twice already. We told him we had seen it 40 minutes earlier and he was off like a scalded cat! Well we did not find it either but 2 Ruff in breeding plumage made up for that. We searched the area for anything else, but as the rain intensified we decided to head for home, early start early finish. Reaching Rossendale by 4pm. Good day out.

Dave O.

An almost full compliment of A-Teamers(communication/time zone problems?)left Rochdale at the later time of 7am for a day out in North Lancashire.First stop Conder Green with myself driving in my “new” car. The hoped for Spotted Redshank that is always reported could not be found anywhere. Lots of Common Sandpiper’s and Redshank’s though, with the air full of hirundines. Nice place to visit but lots of hiding places for waders during low tide. A call in at Aldcliffe Marsh was a little disapointing as the bushes etc obscured any decent viewing of the pools. At Foulshaw Moss the weather really improved and hope of seeing White Faced Darters on the pools also.Great long distance scope views of 2 young Osprey flapping their wings whilst an adult was seen flying around. A hunting Hobby was seen, but the hoped for darter’s were not seen despite much searching. On the Leighton Moss, Allen and Morecambe pools, a Ruff was seen in a really untidy plummage along with Redshanks and Black tailed Godwits, but again the hoped for Spotted Redshank was not located. Time for some butterflies up on Arnside Knott. As I searched for my first Treecreeper of the year(still not seen one), Steve B said, “I know a place were the butterflies will be”. So after a trek through the undergrowth we managed to find a single Northern Brown Argus and about 10 Scotch Argus, really nice to see these species in a quiet area. Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Grayling were also seen with other more common species! Heading towards home we made our way over the “Cross of Greet” road hoping for Ring Ouzel, but the Tour de France passed through last week and probably scared them all away! Great event though. Time was against us but, a dash up Croasdale(only 40 minutes Steve) and after Bob and Chris had seen a Ring Ouzel fly out, myself and Steve B had to slog our way to a gully to see another or the same Ring Ouzel,sorry for blocking you view Steve! It made it all worth it and great countryside to be in. We reached home around 6-30pm.

Dave O.

After a damp trip up Pendle Hill to see the Dotterel the day before, I hoped for a dryer day for our usual trip to Bolton Abbey Woods. Myself, Chris B and Bob K aboard in Chris’s car left my house for Bolton Abbey and a few other places! The weather throughout the day remained kind to us apart from a couple of showers. A male Redstart sang at the top of a tree for us, then a few Mandarin Ducks sat in a tree started the day off well. Birdsong was all around us with the regular warbler’s very prominent. Then a Pied Flycatcher was heard and then seen well, quickly followed by a very showy Garden Warbler. We searched in vain for any Wood Warbler’s, looks like they are not returning here for a second year or are we too early? A nice bird to find was a female Hen Harrier as we headed over the hill’s, I thought the gamekeeper’s had shot all these beautiful birds? At Hellifield Flash the hoped for Wood Sandpiper was not seen and in fact, not a single wader species, so, when a whole host of wader (along with the Wood Sandpiper)sightings were seen by others later in the day it made me wonder if we were at the right place or is the pool “tidal”. Moving on, we managed to glimpse an Osprey and a few Tree Pipits were giving us a good singing at and parachuting, they really enjoy themselves. A lone Cuckoo was being pursued by a host of Meadow Pipits after calling for 5 minutes or so, a real springtime song. From our lookout on Crag Foot a Great White Egret and a Spoonbill were seen in the distance, then Bob K picked a male Garganey up in flight,well done Bob! A walk to the Morecambe & Allen pools for more distant views of the Spoonbill and then a Whitethroat was seen. Along the public causeway Sedge & Reed Warblers were seen and heard along with a pair of Marsh Harriers along with a few Swift & Sand Martins. A reported Wood Warbler had been heard/seen at Crook’O Lune earlier in the day but we could not find it,but it was a really nice place to stop at on our way home. We all enjoyed the day’s birding and got around 10 new birds for the year list. We all got home in time to gain some “browny” points!


Dave O.

At work on Thursday whilst outside on a lovely morning I noticed lots of birds in the air,usually means a raptor on the wing is it going to be a  Sparrowhawk or Kestrel, no, not this time, then it came into view just over our works building an OSPREY. To say I was dumbstruck was an understatement, the bird continued to be harrassed but remained on view for about a minute in.It then gained height and headed east.Well that certainly brightened up my day at work!