Posts Tagged ‘Sparrowhawk’


Nearly a full squad of “A” Teamers for a trip to the seaside, with the promise of some different birds and a couple from last year, who seemed to be wintering. We left a snowy Norden around 7-30am after a few “local difficulties”, well put Chris, who took the wheel. We got through the various belts of icy fog and as we reached the coast it was cold but the sun was shining at times. Calling firstly at Knott End slipway for a nice Twite. Our second call was to see the first winter dark morph Pomarine Skua that had been blown into Cockers Dyke in the recent gales. The bird appeared to have an injured wing and was being supplied with some carrion / food by the local birders. We searched the bird filled coast and salt marsh and could not pick up the Pomarine Skua. I didn’t have my telescope with me, having hoped for some pictures of the close feeding skua, so, as I scanned the area with my binoculars, I kept being drawn to a strange shape in the distance, a clod of salt marsh surely? A birder said, ” I have the skua”, yes it was the clod, tip:-always take your scope with you! The bird eventually got to its feet to repel the attentions of 2 Carrion Crows, who looked like undertakers weighing up their next victim! The hoped for close up of this bird did not materialise, but 2 Mediterranean Gulls were seen. Lots of godwits,Curlews and a large skein of Pink Footed Geese flew over the bay, very nice. A trip along the coast towards Thurnham to see the Whooper & Bewick`s Swans was enjoyed, helped by one of the Flyde bird clubs members,many thanks. Golden & Grey Plovers feeding in roadside fields in large number were also noted. At Bradshaw Lane End & Eagland Hill the small feeding stations are usually filled with small finches, but only Tree Sparrows were seen and no evidence of any food for the birds. The Shore Lark was enjoyed at Rossall Point though it was still quite cold on this part of the coast, smart little bird this one. At Marton Mere the hoped for Iceland Gull, Firecrest, Long Eared Owl or Cetti`s Warbler were not located, a couple of Shoveller and a smart female Sparrowhawk were our reward. The trend continued as the regular Great Grey Shrike on Lytham Moss had not been seen for 2 hours prior to our arrival and was not located. A dash up to Parsonage Reservoir near Rishton to see a wintering Great Northern Diver was to be our last stop on a wintry birding day. Around 20 new species were enjoyed by all our team and a little more knowledge gained about Pomarine Skua`s that are on the ground!

Dave O.

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Just myself and Chris B for a trip to the east coast with me driving. We met in Newhey at 6am and arrived at Flamborough at 8am with the roads nice and quiet. The weather was dull at first and becoming sunny around midday. There had been some good birds during the week with easterly winds and good sea watching. It had all changed on Sunday as after an hour, apart from lots of Gannets, a solitary Arctic Skua was our seawatching total! News of a Wryneck and a Barred Warbler in Thornwick Bay (near the lighthouse) had us looking for them. The Wryneck showed really well after a while and the Barred Warbler remained hidden. Lots of more common species where around which made the birding much more pleasant, after the springtime double dip of the Crag Martin (think that really hurt me). A trip to Old Fall Flash to see a Little Stint was next, along with a close encounter with 2 Roe Deer, who just ran through a hedge at the side of me! Two Greenshank also on the flash and lots of bathing large gulls. Time to leave the area and have a look out for other raptors in Wykeham Forest just west of Scarborough. Perfect conditions for raptors, but, in the hour Hobby, Sparrowhawk and a single Buzzard was all we saw! News of a White fronted Goose at Fairburn Ings (even though a bit dodgy) was our next stop and and after a good search around only a very large flock of Greylag Geese was apparent and no White front. We lastly visited a reserve that I have only been to once in the last 20 years, Swillington Ings. It used to be known as St Aidans Flood/Flash and was a dissused open cast mining area you could always guarantee things like Iceland & Glaucous Gulls and lots of Smew. The area has really changed and is ready to be taken over by the RSPB. There are lots of footpaths around the large area with lots of people using them and with lots of effort will be transformed into a great nature reserve in time. We called in here as there was a Black Tern in the area, the only hide was visited, access along Fleet Lane. We went into the hide and 3 of the local Swillington Ings members were present, they made us feel very welcome and even gave, yes gave us each a copy of their yearly report! A Spotted Redshank was seen and the lads told us how to find the Black Tern at the other end of the reserve, we had a good laugh with them and as time was against us we went along Astley Lane to where the very large “Drag Crane” is. This will be the RSPB visitor center area as it has a large carpark. The Black Tern was found after 10 minutes of searching and was really enjoyed after missing out on a couple of birds during the day. We reached home by around 6-15pm and both enjoyed our trip seeing 4 new year birds each.

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.


We had planned to go to Hilbre Island on the Wirral, but, the winds did not look very promising, so, we decided to go to find the Blue winged Teal’s in Lincoln. A fully employed “A” team met in Newhey for a 6am departure with Bob K at the wheel. My idea of a shortcut over the tops turned into a bit of a nightmare with thick fog/mist hampering our progress. We reached the M62, which was surprisingly short of roadworks, but still shrouded in mist and upon reaching the A1 the mist cleared. As we reached Lincoln the famous cathedral was engulfed in the early morning mist, normally associated with San Francisco! We began the half mile walk to Boultham Mere, formally a gravel pit for railway ballast and the sun began to shine. A Chiff -Chaff was around and as we crossed the drain we met a couple of birders, who told us the birds were still present. A quick look in the hide revealed nothing only sunlight. At the south western end of the reserve was a seat and as we rested on it, the 3 Blue winged Teals began feeding only 25 yards away, result for us and a tick for one of our number! A really pleasant reserve in a nice city makes a pleasant change. Blue Wing Teal 22-09-13With the main target birds seen, where too now? Blacktoft Sands was the answer to see an elusive Spotted Crake. An hour later at 11-50am we sat in Singleton Hide and as we had only missed a brief appearance by 10 minutes it would show would’nt it? By 3pm the bird had beaten us and had really earned the title elusive, not much consolation for one of our number who still needs it! Lots of Ruff, Snipe, Lapwing and a couple of Green Sandpipers made up the waders present. Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel & Buzzard were the birds of prey present. Next stop,  Fairburn Ings,  for a “nailed on” species of duck whose name escapes me. As we got there a lady birder told us that,  “they” had been flushed off by a Grey Heron! Despite a 45 minute search they were not seen. Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Dunlin, Garganey were seen though. All the birds suddenly took to the air and we thought that the 5 Grey Herons were to blame for this, but Steve B, who had left the hide, had seen and photographed a Fox grabbing a Canada Goose. At least someone would have had a good meal on Sunday evening!

Dave O.


Our “annual” trip to the east coast is usually onshore high wind, rain and cold. Quite a nice change to sit on the cliffs at Flamboro` in shorts and getting a suntan! We reached the almost empty carpark at 8-30am, and after 2 an half hours sea doggin’  we saw a good list of species to add to our year lists including:- 4 Sooty Shearwaters, Balearic Shearwater, 10 Arctic Skua`s, 3 Great Skua`s, Little Gull and lots of Kittiwake`s. Large amounts of Gannets, Terns and Auks also present. One numb rear-end later, and a trip to Filey Dams LN Reserve was made. Apart from high water levels it still held 3 Ruff, Greenshank and a moulting Shelduck plus all the usual regulars, including a Sparrowhawk and a Grey Heron that “spooked” the birds, enabling us to see all the birds in flight! Where to go next? after consulting a map we realised that the raptor viewpoint at Wykeham was not that far away,we decided on there. Only Chris had been thier before and upon arrival 3 lads from Burnley told us that they had seen an Osprey and a distant Honey Buzzard, This place is really good for watching passing or local raptors as you can see many a mile. After a 10 minute wait 2 Goshawks flew above our heads and the lads said that there was a family party in the area, these birds kept flying around and gave great views. Also seen:- 2 Buzzard, Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine (it flushed the Goshawks out as it flew past) A party of 5 Crossbills and some Siskins also settled in the pine trees. What a place, we will be calling back at Wykeham. News of some waders at Lin Dyke hide, Fairburn Ings near Castleford had us getting a little nearer home. The sun was still beating down as we reached the hide enabling us to see all the relevant features on:- 3 Curlew Sandpipers, Little Stint, 3 Ringed Plover. Then from nowhere the local Peregrine flushed the waders away and as we left the hide a small party of Swift passed through the reserve. Time for home now, cracking day out!
Regards,
Oz


In a 3 hour “vigil” at Clough Bottom in which there was heavy showers, light rain and mist then, warm sunshine the following birds were seen:- 9 Greylag Geese (landed on res at 3-20pm and flew off in the direction of Burnley at 4-00pm) 1 Mallard, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 LBB Gull, 4 Wood Pigeon, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 5 Swallow, 2 Grey Wagtail, 10 Wren, 18 Dunnock, 1 Robin, 2 Song Thrush, 4 Blackbird, 14 Willow Warbler,3  Blackcap, 8 GOLDCREST – smile (finally caught up with them at Clough Bottom this year!),  3 Spotted Flycatcher, 12 Coal Tit, 24 Blue Tit, 40+ Great Tit, 1 Treecreeper, 2 Jay, 4 Magpie,6 Carrion Crow, 32 Chaffinch, 4 Goldfinch, 5 Crossbill (2 Juv`s).

Clough Bottom

Clough Bottom

Regards,
Dave Ousey.