Posts Tagged ‘Slavonian Grebe’


With two of the “A” team needing to see the Pacific Diver that has been present at East Chevington, Northumberland for a while and with the promise of fine weather, we arranged to go. We met in Newhey at 6am, a time that our driver Steve K seemed unfamiliar with having had to miss his regular large breakfast. Myself, Bob K & Chris B made up the numbers. We made good progress using the satnav in Steve`s car, even allowing for some of its eccentricities, we reached the car park at Druridge Bay at 8-50am. We had a good look at Ladyburn pool first and could not find the diver, so we headed for its regular haunt, North pool. The weather was really nice and sunny, but not that warm. We soon found the Pacific Diver and all enjoyed its diving and preening in the sunshine, handshakes all around then. We called into one of the hides and had good views of a few Scaup and eventually saw the Slavonian Grebe, a bird that I have not seen for a few years.
After a slog over the sand dunes we found a flock of around a 100 Twite, Bob K went and got a few good pictures of them. We did a bit of sea watching and saw: – Guillemot, Razorbill, Red Breasted Merganser, Shag, Common Scoter & around ten Red Throated Divers, a few Sanderling, Ringed Plover also. After 40 minutes or so a single Skylark began singing and seven Shorelark flew onto the beach near the Twite, we really enjoyed watching them for the short time they were there. Some really nice birds at this reserve and lots of people out enjoying the weather.
We decided to go and have a look at the long staying Eastern Black Redstart at Skinningrove, Cleveland. We reached the area after a bit of my dodgy navigation (as I had been before) we got to the bird’s favoured area and apart from: – Rock Pipit, Stonechat, Robin & Wren, the bird was nowhere to be found. A few early returning Fulmar entertained us high up on the cliffs, but after 30 minutes most of us returned to the car for refreshments, apart from Bob K. After a long search of the area he had found the Eastern Black Redstart and it was now back in its normal place on the rocks, well done Bob. The bird performed very well for us all and lots of pictures were taken. On our way back to the car Chris B casually mentioned that he had not added Pine Bunting to his British list. Next stop it is then.
After a very long slog over the hills south of Whitby, which are very picturesque, also with lots of Sunday drivers, traffic problems etc our chances of seeing the Pine Bunting had gone. We did go to its daytime area at Dunnington, near York, but it was too late as all the birds had gone to roost. We headed for home after a really good days birding at around 7pm.
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.


Nice to get out and enjoy a day by the seaside birding, we thought it would turn out a bit different! Myself, Steve B and Chris B left Rochdale at 6:30am last Sunday, with me driving, to clear up a few species in North Wales, one of our favourite areas. It was fairly mild, but warm clothing was required. First stop Rhos Point, we knew the tide would be out thus lessening our chances of catching up with the Purple Sandpipers and how right we was. Next to no birds were seen here. Onto Aber Ogwen (The Spinnies) and again the estuary was devoid of a regular Greenshank and Red Breasted Merganser. The only things moving were cockle pickers. A Slavonian Grebe was eventually picked up alongside lots of Great Crested Grebe’s. The hide had lots of common woodland species and a Water Rail feeding below the feeders only 6 feet away and no cameras with us! Llanfairfechan Sewage works and Morfa Madryn next, but not before I missed the turning and locked the brakes, quite a “Sweeney esque” entrance. The Firecrest didn’t show and not much at Morfa Madryn too. Surely our luck would change and we would see the drake Surf Scoter at Llandulas, certainly with Steve B now sporting his “old” telescope as well? After looking through what appeared to be thousands of Common Scoter and not even a Velver Scoter for our efforts, we gave up. We did see Red Throated Diver, Fulmar and “dodgy” Rock Doves, onto our next call. Now these birds rarely let us down the Snow Buntings at Kinmel Bay on the outskirts of Rhyl, but the “town planners” have been messing around again making it difficult for us to enter the right area of beach. A bit of a drive around and we finally found a hidden away Asda, walked east and found about 16 Snow Buntings, the boys took a few pictures and we enjoyed the area in good sunlight. We saw a couple of Ringed Plover also. I got an interesting call from one of our Rossendale birders about a Bittern that had been found, typical I thought, as soon as I leave the area something good turns up! We might squeeze in a visit today, but not before we go and see the Lesser Scaup at Shotton Pools. We arrived, did the commando training course to be able to stand with the other birders and enjoyed this American duck as it dived and fed very happily in the company of Tufted Ducks. Unfortunately, the Greater Scaup that had been with it had gone, that would have made a great comparison picture. We set of for Rossendale, not exactly full of confidence that we would see the Bittern. Then after getting led to the area through lots of slutch, we surveyed a couple of ponds without any sightings of this skulking species. Well it did follow the pattern of the day though! Home for 5:00pm and better luck next time.

Regards,

Dave O.


A full squad of the A team, in Bob`s car, set of to see some of the more unusual species to be encountered in Wales. A quick discussion on what provisions we have. This included 4 pies, and 2 pasties (Ste K.), and Chris having stolen some chocalate money from his young one – Shame on you Chris.  We had planned the trip to coincide with the “good” weather that had been predicted, don’t listen to all you are told! Instead of a nice day we had to get through snow, blizzards and later a nice sunny day when we got back into England. Our first stop was Rhos point for Purple Sandpiper, we dont have a good record here and that didn’t change. At Tal-Y-Cafn bridge the normal Common Sandpiper wasn’t seen, but a Treecreeper was not seen by all of us. Surely our luck would change at Llanbedr-Y-Cenin with the Hawfinch`s, all we got after a 10 minute search was a blizzard heading our way along the Conway valley, a hasty retreat to the car and a reappraisal needed. We called in at Llanfairfechan as the tide began to go out all we got was blasted with cold air. Not what you would call a very successful morning!

At The Spinnies, Aber Ogwen the weather and our luck began to change. A Water Rail showed quite well for all apart from Steve B who had to hang on and wait for it to reappear and missed a Goldcrest ! We met up with an friend of ours from the Wirral (posh Liverpool) who we had not seen for a while and he pointed out a few Slavonian Grebe in the estuary and we showed him the Tundra Bean Goose. A Greenshank and Spotted Redshank were also seen at this lovely reserve. We called in at Llandulas and were rewarded withe vast amounts of Common Scoter, but, try as we may we couldn’t pick out a single Vevet Scoter with any degree of certainty. We ventured onto the Wirral and soon found a few Bewick`s Swans in the company of both of their other swan cousin`s. At Parkgate the Spoonbill and a Great White Egret both gave themselves up very easily, but not so the White Fronted Geese at Inner Marsh Farm, maybe if we would have gone to the new reserve we might have seen them. After we got over the morning the afternoon got better and around 7 – 10 year ticks were seen.Bring on spring.

Regards,

Ozzy


With the arrival of a Long Toed Stint (the bird had been all manner of birds until re-identified) in Sussex a “twitching team” was assembled Bob the Twitch couldn’t make it until nearer weekend (well done Bob) so an early blast off had to wait. As happens so often the bird was not seen again and the whole trip was cancelled! Whilst visiting a local supermarket a check of the birdnews revealed that a Sandhill Crane had been seen in Aberdeenshire. Must ring Bob the Twitch, he was expecting my call and said he would go and Andy and Mark from York also. We left at midnight picked up the York contingent and headed up the A1 went straight through to Edinburgh and swopped drivers. The journey along the A1 had been fraught with:- roadworks, speed cameras, convoys, ambulances etc, etc. We finally had to run the gauntlet through the early morning “rush-hour” traffic in Aberdeen. Reaching the general area, St Combs, had been placed into the “safe hands” of  Bob the Twitch, we did a few cart tracks,farm buildings etc, until in a state of utter desperation we had to get directions from a local lady (many thanks to her) who told us in a beautiful scotch accent to look for the “brown hut”. We found it at 8-30am with about 5 cars in attendance. Mark decided to change into his boots and by this time we had run up a field and saw the bird, a beautiful, large Sandhill Crane. The bird was watched for about 2 hours as it serenly strode about feeding in a stubble field and even had a little dance to see the local crows off. It flew out of view and we decided it was time to head south. 4 Lapland Buntings and a few thousand Pink Footed Geese were also seen. We called in at Black Dog,  just north of Aberdeen, as the weather began to get worse and did a 20 minutes seawatch adding:- 10+ Black Throated Divers, Slavonian Grebe, 2 Long Tailed Ducks, 3 Sandwich Tern and masses of Eider and Common Scoter, but not the hoped for Black Scoter! We reached Aberdeen at lunchtime then had a stop on route at Abingdon, reaching home at 9-30pm a mere 22 hours after leaving! Andy did well to sleep most of the way, Mark had to listen to my drivelings about past twitches (his ears must have been buzzing) and Bob the Twitch did really well to steer his Mazda into all the right places,well done to all!

Regards,

The Stig (Ozzy)