Posts Tagged ‘Sand Martin’


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.

 


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.


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!

Regards,

Dave O.


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.