Posts Tagged ‘Spoonbill’


The full “A” team assembled in Newhey (after brief introductions) and after a small discussion we decided to head for Alkborough, North Lincolnshire as the Western Purple Swamphen was still present. As two of the team still needed to see this species, we soon arrived on a beautiful Lincolnshire (8 miles north of Scunthorpe) morning. The news was good, the bird was still present, as we entered the hide the bird was showing a little distantly, but well enough and with 6 Spoonbills, Water Rail, Spotted Crake, Ruff, Marsh Harrier and lots of Avocets it certainly made me think I was on a Mediterranean reserve!! We had a walk towards the place where the River Humber splits into the River Trent and the River Ouse, always wanted to see this area, we all enjoyed that. As we left the area there were still lots of birders around the hide, enjoying all the birds present.

News of a Baird`s Sandpiper at Hatfield Moor`s N.R. reached us, so as it was another potential “lifer” for Chris B, we made plans to go. A supporting cast of a Pectoral Sandpiper and a Black Necked Grebe added a bit of “let`s get there”. We arrived at the Boston Park car park to the news that the sandpiper was still present. Now anyone who has ever visited the Hatfield Moors reserve will know that it is large, so, when the “good” birds turn up they are always a long walk, the distance to the Baird`s Sandpiper was no exception. After 30 minutes slog over track and raised peat bog, we saw birders in the distance. As we arrived the sandpiper was showing well down to 25 yards allowing for some reasonable pictures being taken (not by me though) as it was another lifer for Chris, the handshakes passed around. The Pectoral Sandpiper was pointed out to us and good views of it at around 30 yards distance were had. A juvenile Peregrine Falcon then put all the birds on that part of the moor to flight, except the Baird`s (perhaps it has never seen one before?) We met a couple of birding friends and had a good natter on the long walk back to the carpark. We called in at the Boston Park pool to try and find the Black Necked Grebe that had been present a few days. There were a lot of Little Grebes and a couple of Great Crested Grebe, but no sighting of the bird. Then I picked it up and as I tried to get the others onto it, it dived and was not seen again after much searching. That was a real mystery! Bob K had us all home by 4-30pm, another good day out birding, well done to all.

Dave O.

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As I am always a sucker to go and see White Winged Black Terns anywhere, it followed that when one toured Yorkshire and settled at Rother Valley C.P that we would go. Myself at the wheel and Steve`s B & K left a drizzly Rochdale at 8am and soon found the country park around 9-15am. The last time we were there was to miss a Red Rumped Swallow, but on this time we connected after about 15 minutes. The bird paraded around the large lake with a few of the local Common Terns and at times came fairly close allowing the photographers to obtain some good shots. We met a few of the lads from York and had a good laugh about our Scotland trip the week before. News filtered through that the tern was showing well at the nature reserve lake, so, we all dashed up there. The bird had gone back to the main lake as we arrived, typical! It did return and gave really good views.
Our next stop was Ledsham Bank N.R. to find Marbled White butterfly`s that where on the wing and to look for any orchids growing in this micro climate area. Ledsham Bank is quite close to Fairbairn Ings N.R. The beautiful, natural meadow was full of wild flowers and lots of insects. The Marbled Whites were soon seen and upwards of 20 individuals counted. Meadow Brown, Small Skipper and small White were also seen. Around 4 types of orchid, my favourite, Twayblade, was found. We had a good walk around this fascinating area until Steve B heard a Buzzard call, we looked up and watched a Hobby chasing the Buzzard for about five minutes, what a duel and right above our heads!
At Lin Dyke area, Fairbairn Ings N.R. we soon found the Spoonbill and our master Garganey finder Steve K, got us onto three of them, well done Steve. Most of the ducks are now well into eclipse plumage as our “summer” quiet period will be ending soon with the waders starting to return. We had enjoyed the short day out and reached home by 4pm. Thanks for the company Steve & Steve.
Dave O.


We did our annual trip into Norfolk a little bit later than usual this year, but we still saw around 100 bird species. I left home at 10-30pm Friday and got home at 10-35pm Saturday night, a full 24 hours job, it was well worth it. My turn to drive and with nearly a full “A Team,” we left Newhey around 11-15pm. On the way a diversion on the A1 around Clumber Forest saw us see a couple of Barn Owl`s really close to the road, good start. We arrived at our first stop at Dersingham Bog around 2-10am and waited for Martin Q to join us from Rutland. The night was fairly still as we all descended into the bog at 2-30am and as we passed John Denver`s seat, a Nightjar and a Woodcock were heard. On the boardwalks another Nightjar was seen in our torchlight as we stumbled around, it was a male, what a splendid bird. More Woodcock along with a Grasshopper Warbler at the side of the path and then as the first vestiges of dawn appeared a singing Stonechat was heard, it had us stumped for a while did that bird! As we got back on the boardwalk a Nightjar was churring as it sat on top of a tree in full view of us all. We were all then listening to a Tawny Owl, when a Nightjar flew past us and we were treated to an amazing display by the bird as it hunted about 30yards from us for 5 minutes, great! The Golden Pheasant did not put in an appearance, though that is not unusual at the triangle. We headed off towards the Brecks and as we arrived the wind had gained in strength rendering a search for a special species quite useless. Next stop Lakenheath and at 5am as we arrived, around a dozen cars were already present. A male Little Bittern had been present for a while calling / singing trying to attract a female. After the long walk down the river, passing the wood that used to have the Golden Orioles in it, we reached the reed bed were the Little Bittern was still calling / singing. What an unusual sound, its likened to a distant barking dog. A Hobby passed over and a couple of Marsh Harriers were seen. Bearded Tit and Bittern were also seen. What a great reserve this place is. Back up towards the coast we headed for Kelling Heath, now after last year`s resounding success, surely we could not see all target species again, or could we? No, was the answer, it was sunny but very windy so no Woodlark or Turtle Dove anywhere. Now we all like to ask people if they have seen anything of interest and as luck had it, a couple told us where to look for some Dartford Warbler`s. We struggled, but we all managed to see these great little birds, eventually. A Spoonbill had been seen from the Iron Road at Salthouse, but it had gone when we got there and so had the car park that was buried under many ton`s of shingle as a result of the winter storms. We watched the sea and got a few passing terns and we would have all fallen asleep if had been allowed to! Along the East Bank at Cley some amazing plumaged Black Tailed Godwit`s were seen along with the regular breeding birds on Arnold`s Marsh. We called in at Chosely Drying Barn`s but still no Turtle Dove`s. At Titchwell we soon located 10 or so Red Crested Pochard, on a “new” lagoon to us all, but the Garganey that were present tested our skill`s. We saw what we thought was a moulting Garganey and this was later confirmed by photograph, well done Steve B. Then 2 Spoonbill flew over the lagoon, great birds to watch in flight! We said goodbye to Martin Q at Titchwell, it was nice to see him again and enjoy his birding skills. We headed towards home calling at Whisby nature reserve just west of Lincoln. It was a little late in the season for Nightingale but after about an hour one bird burst into song, got to be the nicest British songbird. We headed of home all very tired but a really good day was had with between 10 and 22 year ticks having been seen between us.
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.


Our yearly trip to Norfolk is usually memorable for the species we see,but in this case, the ones we missed! Not connecting with:- Nightjar, Nightingale, Turtle Dove (2 of us did), Montagu`s Harrier, Woodlark, Golden Pheasant, Crane, Hobby, in other words the reason we make this pilgrimage. The trip got of to the worst possible start with yours truly oversleeping and being 45 minutes late for the usual midnight start, sorry lads! With Chris’s car packed to the hilt we headed off and reached Dersingham Bog just before first light. Garden Warblers, Blackcap, Grasshopper Warblers, Goldcrests but no sounds from the Nightjars. Onto search for the Golden Pheasants, only to find an unpleasant “fellow” birder who decided to have a go at me for walking the triangle on my own and ignoring two other birders as they did the same! On Roydon Common we think that all the birds had slept in, it was that quiet. My search for the once common Yellowhammer has reached epic proportions amongst our group, well it was finally seen at Choseley Drying Barns, one monkey off the shoulder then. A few Lesser Whitethroats kept us entertained as we headed away to search for any Montagu’s Harriers or the elusive Turtle Doves, no joy there then. Titchwell was also devoid of many birds on the sea and in the reserve, just a male Garganey, Cetti`s Warbler’s, Spoonbills and a single Marsh Harrier. The drive to Lakenheath seemed to lighten the group in anticipation of some good birds. We walked around the reserve and heard the Golden Oriole singing and Bittern booming but with no Hobbys, Cranes or Turtle Doves we all felt it was just “one of those days”.

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A confiding Cuckoo was photographed by all the group and then the news from Ste K. that the Roller was still present near Aldborough, near Hull, Yorkshire, so, with this species being a “lifer” for one of our number, we decided to head north and cut our losses. In Aldborough we parked the car and were told that the bird was “only 100 yards up the road” after a 5 minute march we found a small group admiring this very colourful bird. It was sat in a ploughed field catching small prey items, it then flew to its favourite perch, a white post and showed itself to all, what a bird, only my second one in Britain.

We headed for home and reached Rochdale by 8-00pm. Some of us managed 15 year “ticks” and some only 5. We have had so many good trips to Norfolk, so, perhaps we had to have a poor one!

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


Friday – RAIN, Saturday -RAIN, Sunday morning- RAIN. Marsh Sandpiper at Blacktoft and no rain forecast for that side of the country. Ozzy and Bob made the trip, reaching Blacktoft by 2-10pm in good weather. Lots of waders on view, Green, Common and Wood Sandpipers but our target bird was having a little “hide”. After an hour or so of listening to “dudes” talking crap and looking at their ” I Spy” bird books, we both decided on a change of hide and bingo the Marsh Sandpiper was on full show from the Ousefleet screen, cracking “shank” this bird! We could now get back to some good birding with a pasing Hobby, a singing Grasshopper Warbler a dozen or so Bearded Tits playing at the base of the reeds. Two Spoonbills doing what Spoonbills do best, sleeping. A few Marsh Harriers an eclipse Garganey tested our ID skills. We even had a very short shower to remind us about the weather back in good old Lancashire! We got to Huddersfield (were incidently I have an aunty, have I told you the story?) and it began to RAIN, this is were I came in.

Marsh Sandpiper,Blacktoft

Marsh Sandpiper, Blacktoft

Regards,
Dave Ousey.


While holidaying in Portugal (Algarve Over-Hyped IMO), I checked whats been happening, birdwise back home. A mega bird had been miss-identified, trapped, ringed,correctly identified, and released, and unusally stayed put in the area of Hartlepool. I counted down the days before I got home and a chance to go for it. The bird, from Turkey – (our usuall Holiday destination) was first thought to be a Red Flanked Blue tail, Rare enough on it’s own, was trapped then during processing was re identified as a White Throated Robin. Ultra Rare..2 only previously seen….Stand Bye your bunkers, inform NASA to prepare launch! This was on the Sunday…Time ticks by even more slowly when you are abroad….

I touch down Thursday afternoon. Bird still being reported..that gives my confidence of seeing it. And because I like sex..I somehow have agreed to do lots of jobs for her on the Friday, (she doesn’t forget), Asdas, Town, Cooking her a Favourite meal Etc….Still Confident.?? why not?…It’s going nowhere. All day friday, Reuters informs me that the bird is ‘Showing it’s head off’, most of the day as it confidently feeds on the bowling greens. Against Ozzy’s advice ‘ Hand over all your money, tell her you love her Etc, and blast off to see it now!!’ I wait till the Saturday morning.

Saturday, 6am Blast off. 2hours later, I am parked up a few yards away from where the bird was so confidingly ‘showing it’s head off’ – only last night. ‘Gentleman stake out your places by the Bowling green.’ A crowd about the size of a Rochdale home match with Hartlepool, waited, and waited. Some impatient birders carrying the only just released, must have birding equipment, the brand new, still shinny, Swarovski Stainless Steel Spotting Stepladder (SSSSS2011), Put them to good use up against the garden wall. A scene reminiscent of a medievil castle being scaled. ..the still shinny SSSSS2011 folds away, flat and fits neatly into your van without you noticing it. Neat! If you have a small car (Tight Northerners), the SSSSS2011 comes with a small hanky to tie on the end of the ladder. This neat device also doubles as a Sun-hat, so typically  worn by Northerners on the Bridlington Beach in August. Cool!

SSSS2011 put to good use.

SSSS2011 put to good use.

Scalling the walls

Scalling the walls

By 11 am, and no sign of the Robin…’ Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells…..Robin flew away’. I decide to call in at one of my favourite reserves Saltholme RSPB. Less than 20 minutes away. The waether turns from nice sunshine to rain. Still I clock Three Spoonbills for the list. But nowt much else. Too wet for Wykeham forrest, so home. Just out side of the reserve, it’s sunny again. Somewhere near Knaresborough, Reuters informs me that a Great White Egret has just landed at Fairburn Ings RSPB reserve. Nice timing. I am their in half an hour, and the bird took some finding, but we got it with some help.

Back home, nearly 12 hours after blast off – Daves advice bites at my bum.. Of course Ozzy and Bob had the bird while I was away…


Its our most looked forward to trip of the year, our annual trip to Norfolk. The trip itself was spoilt a bit by the strong winds that were blowing, and not all coming from me!(Ozzy!) We began at Salthouse Heath were a couple of Nightjars were heard and then seen, but the first of many disapointments was in the shape of no Nightingales not being heard on the heath at all (this was the first time ever that we have failed to hear them here). At Salthouse we picked up Egyptian Goose then the bit I really like the East Bank at Cley a couple of Bearded Tits, Spoonbill, Sandwich, Common and Little Terns were seen. The Glaven valley had a cracking Barn Owl. A trip to the Monty`s place was a wash out, we also didn’t connect with the Quails at Choosely Barns also. Hoping for better things at Titchwell we had really close veiws of a Bittern that kept flying over the footpath and giving us all prolonged sightings. Time to head for the Brecks and one of the best reserve`s in Norfolk, Lakenheath or Hockwold Washes? No sign of the Golden Oriole`s, missed the Cranes by seconds but a couple of Hobbies and lots of Marsh Harriers kept us entertained, we had not seen Turtle Dove anywhere and didn’t manage to see them here, also even with a good tip off from a reliable friend. Our last port of call was to see the Stone Curlew at a secret location (so we didn’t have to spend any of our precious money – Tight Northerners and that) we were successful, but didn’t connect with any Wood Larks. One highspot on the way home was of a Red Kite, in the Yorkshire area. A long day, but not one of our better trips! Ozzy managed to 93 species, which included 12 year ticks, that puts him on 173 species for 2011.