Posts Tagged ‘Redstart’


The east coast in migration time is very difficult to beat and with a nice forecast, myself and Bob K headed once more for the Spurn/ Kilnsea area. Upon arrival quite a few birders seemed to be leaving the Church Field ringing area, the reason, a Blyth`s Reed Warbler had been trapped, rung and released minutes before! It`s the same area as the Pallas`s Grasshopper Warbler had been controlled in last week, so we thought our chances of seeing the Blyth`s Reed Warbler would be slim. We joined around 20 fellow birders and waited for the bird to show itself, but apart from various movements in the rushes, we left not having seen the warbler. A fairly quiet, but nice hour’s sea watch didn’t reveal much out of the ordinary, especially after yesterday`s epic, so we again returned to the Kew area. What happened next was a bit unusual. On the Crown & Anchor car park a birder said, “I heard the Blyth`s Reed Warbler a few minutes ago and it has just shown”. The bird then flew out of cover and showed fairly well to the 15 or so of us that saw it, the bird then headed back towards Church Field. Around 5 minutes later, as the throngs arrived, the bird was reported in the new observatory garden, this seemed strange, it was to turn out that this bird was indeed a Reed Warbler and not the Blyth`s Reed Warbler. The Kilnsea Wetlands were next with a cracking Wood Sandpiper and a Little Stint to watch, also a Marsh Harrier passed over. A Yellow Browed Warbler was seen near the Canal Scrape and along with a showy Jack Snipe completed a nice hour of migrants.

Next news was of a Wryneck at Sammy`s Point, we had to give it a go didn`t we? On arrival the bird was not showing, but a couple of Redstart and Wheatear were nice to see. We walked the horse paddocks and a bird flew across and landed near the base of a tree, could it be the Wryneck? Five birders surrounded the tree and saw some movement, which turned out to be a beautifully marked Grasshopper Warbler. How nice to observe this real skulking bird so close up, the bird carried on feeding oblivious of our presence and we ended the day at Spurn on a high.

Many thanks must go to Mark R and the Greater Manchester crew who helped us locate the Jack Snipe. I wonder who was their driver and what time did they get home?

Dave O.

Photo`s by Robert G Kenworthy


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.

After last weeks 71 species and a hand full of “year ticks” we found ourselves going to Spurn again! The reason, a certain Masked Shrike that had been found on Saturday morning, the third recorded in Britain. We waited for news before “going over the hill” into Yorkshire and around 7am the bird had been found so, the 2 Steve’s and myself were ready to go by 8am. Steve K kindly drove and by 10-15am we were drawing into the temporary car park in the Well Field to park and after passing at least 3 decent crowds of birders all watching something. Then, a dash to look into a field behind the Blue Bell cafe and the juvenile Masked Shrike was seen, a little distantly, so the 2 Steve’s had a lifer in the bag. I had seen the Fife bird a few year’s ago, what a journey into Scotland that was to see this small shrike species. Cracking bird to watch catching various insect prey and with 5 Redstart’s for company it was really special. A Lesser Whitethroat in the same bush as the shrike was also a real smart bird. After a good look at the shrike we had a go for a Barred Warbler, a species that we have not had a lot of joy with lately. After meeting lots of our birding friends from past & present we got to a line of bushes near the “Crown & Anchor”. After a good wait the bird failed to put in an appearance, we thought we would try again later. A Red breasted Flycatcher was showing well in the pub car park and so was the landlady, time to go. The canal area was next where an Olive backed Pipit had been seen, albeit rather fleetingly, as it was a lifer for Steve B. We waited for a while then went and saw a well hidden Jack Snipe, always easy to see when you know were they are! A small crowd was assembling near where the pipit had been last seen, so off we went again. One of the Spurn regulars was going to walk the area and attempt to flush this well known “skulker”. After about 20 yards walking / flushing, a small pipit flew out and landed in a small bush for around 2 seconds, just allowing time to I.D. it (yes, I know what you are going to say) it then had another brief fly and promptly disappeared into the deep grass. We had a small seawatch and managed a Sooty Shearwater, much more success along the eastern coast in other places just made us have a look. Now for another go for the Barred Warbler, within 5 minutes the bird was performing admirably for around 10 minutes, cracking close up views. A juvenile Hen Harrier female was then picked up, as it hunted low over the mud in search of some food, lovely to watch. A few Wheatear, Whinchat, Pied and Spotted Flycatcher along with some common warblers were seen around the canal area. The place was full of migrant birds. Finally a juvenile Peregrine was plucking a small bird only 15 yards from the roadside, not at all bothered about us watching it! There can be few places in England better than Spurn to see lots of migrating birds in autumn. The crowds were well-behaved and a vote of thanks to all the Spurn organisers in making the day again, memorable. We reached Rochdale and home by 5-30pm another great day out! We managed about 57 species, 2 lifers for Steve B and 1 for Steve K and at least 5 year ticks each.

Dave O.

With a counter attraction on the Wirral of Cattle Egret, Red necked Phalarope & Pectoral Sandpiper, we put it to the vote and went to Spurn on the east coast. We thought there was more potential of something “rare” turning up and we were not disappointed. A full “A” team was assembled at a dark Newhey and Bob K kindly packed us all into his car. As the mists of the motorway began to clear it became a nice, warm day as we arrived in the Spurn area. Around 6 Whinchat were seen near Kilnsea Wetlands along with 2 Little Stints. At the seawatching hide, which was almost deserted as a Honey Buzzard was in the Easington area, we managed to see a few Arctic Skua’s a single Sooty Shearwater and a Great Skua and a steady flow of more common seabirds e.g. Sandwich Tern, Common Scoter & Gannets. A trip to the Crown & Anchor carpark had us soon watching a very bright Yellow browed Warbler and a bird, which for me, was my bird of the day, a Wood Warbler, very well marked and not seen very much on autumn passage. We then walked the Canal triangle to see if we could get on the Corncrake that had been seen earlier, without any joy. The churchyard and Beacon Lane where visited without any new birds and then as lots more birders returned from the Easington area, we decided to try for the Honey Buzzard ourselves. A good look around revealed mainly Kestrel’s and Wheatears, so back to Spurn. A showy Wryneck on “Sunny Beaches” caravan park was seen next, what a lovely bird and fairly close. Then a smart Great Grey Shrike was seen from the road in the canal triangle, it was seen chasing and catching bees and was great entertainment. A trip to Sammy’s Point allowed us to watch an energetic Red breasted Flycatcher for a couple of minutes, then a tantalising glimpse of a large raptor, that promptly disappeared! A Redstart & more Whinchat’s and one of our lads had 5 Curlew Sandpipers on the falling tide, they had gone when we left Sammy’s, we also missed a Barred Warbler, you can’t see all the birds. A call at the Canal Scrape and at Kilnsea Wetlands was our last birding of the day. A bird filled trip that will be remembered as, “one of those days at Spurn”. We reached home around 5-45pm with news of a Great White Egret on one of our local reservoirs in Rossendale ummm should I go?

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.

A nice early start for only two “A teamers”, holidays etc. Me and Chris got to Bolton Abbey/Stridd Wood by 7-15am and heard a Redstart singing and there, sat out in the sunshine,  it was, great start to the day! Down at river level a Common Sandpiper,Goosander and a male Mandarin Duck were seen. Along the undulating path Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap were belting out their songs. Then Chris heard a Pied Flycatcher singing and a male showed itself very well. There appears to have been a clear out of lots of low lying bushes etc, could this be one reason why we did not hear or see Wood Warbler. A trip up a new valley to us,  called Barbondale, revealed distant singing Tree Pipit and Redstart, the mist at this site did not help though! At Leighton Moss lots of the more common warblers singing in the marshes, special time of the year hearing all those sounds again. We saw fine Spotted Redshank in its summer plumage at the wader hides.Final stop was Stocks Reservoir and two Cuckoo in fine voice but, not the reported Wood Warbler. Nice day out.


Dave O.

Getting back to “normal” birding after our latest east coast dash was nice and taken at a more sedate pace! It was our annual trip to the beautiful woods at Bolton Abbey,with Chris B driving ,we left Rochdale at 6-00am. Arriving before the screaming kids, barking dogs & owners get there is always one of our favourite jaunts. Parking is always at a premium as the nice people who run the show try to drive you onto their expensive car parks, but we thwarted them again (Well..we are from Lancashire) and enjoyed lots of good migrant birds! Dipper and Mandarin were seen first on the river on a cold but sunny spring morning. Redstart and a very showy and noisy Wood Warbler got the cameras clicking, then a couple of male Pied Flycatchers chased each other around as if claiming territories? A lovely hour was passed as the birds sang their hearts out to win the female’s present. As we climbed out of the valley a Tree Pipit was seen and more Redstarts. At Barden Moor no sign/sound of the hoped for Cuckoo but Common Sandpipers dashed around on the reservoir. We then headed for a new site to ourselves, Hellifield Flash, we found an immaculately plumaged pair of Garganey and lots of waders including Little Ringed Plover, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Lapwing and Curlew but not  the Wood Sandpiper that had been seen earlier(where was it hiding?) We met one of the local birders, who had arrived on his “Dawes” pushbike, he told us about a few birds in the area. At this point Steve B left us to fulfill a prior arrangement.We headed of to Stocks Reservoir and upon arrival met Margaret Breaks and she filled us in on the birds we might see. Garden Warbler and Grasshopper Warbler were added to our days tally of migrant birds. The Cuckoo that was heard in the area was not “loud” enough for my hearing but “young Chris” and Bob managed to pick it up as it got further away from the reservoir. To round off a fine days birding we did the walk up Croasdale and managed to see a Ring Ouzel, 2 Buzzard, Meadow Pipit, Stonechat and a few crows,what’s happened to the birds of prey in the area have they all been shot or poisoned?. A really nice Green Hairstreak butterfly alighted on the path in front of us and allowed a couple of pics to be taken we then headed for home. Eight year ticks were added by most of our team.

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About this time of year. The bird world hits a bit of a lul. So a bit of local bird watching is called for. Ozzy visited Holden Wood, Ogden and Calf Hey Reservoirs this afternoon and saw the following species:- GC Grebe, Little Egret (feeding at the far western end of Ogden Reservoir for over 2 hours) Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mallard, Buzzard, Kestrel (watched 4 birds hunting together) Lapwing, Common Sandpiper, B H Gull, LBB Gull, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Redstart (juvenile in small bushes at western end of Holden Wood Reservoir, firstly at 3pm and again at 5pm) Stonechat, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Willow Warbler, Blue Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting.

Some great birds for our area. We don’t get many records of Little Egret – great bird. Always glad of any sightings of Redstart too.