Posts Tagged ‘Spotted Redshank’


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As I watched the rain splashing against the windows at home last Sunday morning, I casually looked at the BBC Weather news. It was sunny in the Southport area, so, I decided to have a look at the 6 Cattle Egrets that have been in the Birkdale area for some time. As there were no takers to accompany me I got my birding gear into the car and off I went. Within 10 miles of leaving home the rain stopped and it was really quite nice. As I reached the bird’s usual feeding area, the sun was shining, now to find the 6 Cattle Egrets. A couple of Little Egrets fooled me at first, but as I searched around an area of allotments 10 egrets could be seen quite a distance away. As I scoped the birds the 6 Cattle Egrets were picked out along with 4 Little Egrets. They were happily feeding and some of them seemed to be in some form of breeding plumage. Such a large concentration of this species I have never seen before in Great Britain. I watched the birds for about half an hour and set of back for home and as I got to 10 miles from home it began raining again.
Myself and Bob K decided to try to see the Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers in Moore N.R. near Warrington on Wednesday. The rain was still falling at a great pace as I picked Bob up around 9-30am. We reached Moore and began to explore the wooded area, plenty of Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Green Woodpecker but no “drumming” was heard and perhaps the rain was drowning it out? As we headed back to the car to dry out a bit, the rain finally stopped, so we went back to the area we had been searching before, still no joy, but the first Chiff- Chaff of the year was heard and along with a nest building pair of Lesser Redpoll it made it all worthwhile.
One of my many favourite nature reserves was next at RSPB Burton Marsh, the normal friendly staff told us were all the birds we wanted to see were located. Avocets, Ruffs, Spotted Redshanks and then to listen/see the Cettis Warbler what a place. A Little Gull had arrived last Saturday and was still on the mere and gave good views in amongst the small Black Headed Gull colony, who seemed to like chasing their smaller cousin away. At this stage I made a little boo-boo (not my normal type) but the heads of a couple of gulls were visible and I casually said, “Are those Kittiwakes over there?” A local sage replied with a comment of, “If a single Kittiwake was on here this hide would be full, those are Common Gulls”. Whoops by me, the birds were now seen in all their glory and the sage was quite correct! We had a look up at the “Hill Fort” area that looks out over Burton Point and most of the Dee Estuary with a Great White Egret the only highlight. As we walked back to the car it began to rain again, so we headed for home. This was a bit of a nightmare with 10 miles taking one hour on the M56, but it was rush hour!
Dave O.


 

The long staying Red Breasted Goose that has been in the Pilling area in Lancashire has been admired by visitors from far & wide, but not by any of the A Team. One of our members has already been twice without any luck. So it seemed right that as the bird has been in the same field for the last three days that we make an effort to see it. News from Steve K on Saturday said the bird was visible from his car, no problem then. Dave O in different “twitch mobile” along with Steve B and Chris B left Rochdale at 7am, surely what can go wrong?

We reached the Pilling area and saw a flock of Twite feeding in a favoured weedy field and perching on the wire fences, nice start to the day. We took up our position on Backsands Lane and watched the great spectacle of all the geese(mainly Pink Footed) leaving the overnight roost, some passed right over us and a few landed in the same field that the Red Breasted Goose has recently favoured. After 1.5 hours of this the target bird was not seen, we decided to check out other fields also without much luck. We had a look up towards the Eagland Hill area for Chris B to see the Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer & Corn Bunting. Next stop over to Cockerham to watch the Whooper and Bewick Swans, then Conder Green to again miss out on the Spotted Redshank, well the tide was out.

A decision to go back to the Eagland Hill area looked like being a good one as, on arrival, we were told that the Red Breasted Goose had been seen around 9-30am, it was now 10-30am and no news of the birds appearance had been given to any of the news services. Thanks for that Mr Finder! We were invited into a man’s garden to watch the large flock of geese that were feeding on beet. He told us that he had been watching it there earlier in the morning, there was no sign of the bird so, we headed off to Knott End. The Black Redstart near the slipway apartments was much more obliging, we enjoyed watching that. Back to Eagland Hill to watch the huge flocks of geese coming and going and with a passing Peregrine and a perched up female Merlin to entertain us, we must not grumble. Kevin Hughes and his entourage also made the day an enjoyable one. We called in at Fishmoor Reservoir, Blackburn and had pretty good views of the juvenile Glaucous Gull as the sun began to go down. (The Red Breasted Goose was not seen again up to today 7/2/2017)

Dave O.


 

I don’t often chase after birds that might not get accepted by the great bird gods, but, I had a lapse and thought about the Dalmatian Pelican in Cornwall. I saw a message from Dave W, from Huddersfield, on RBA asking for a lift or offering transport to see the bird. Steve K has always wanted to do a “silly night trip to Cornwall”, this could be a chance? Along with Bruce from Stretford we all piled into Bruce`s car at around 4am and set off for Restronguet Creek, just south of Truro. We arrived around 10-30am and searched this beautiful part of England for the pelican, without any luck. We met a few locals who told us all about the bird and one kind lady showed us a picture she had taken! It became apparent that the pelican was not in the area. At 2pm a local birder told us that the bird had flown off around 2-30pm on Saturday and a few minutes later a message came on RBA news repeating the same. We all said we would not have made the journey if we had known this earlier. A few Whimbrel on the creek didn’t really soften the blow for the journey home. But the news of a Western Purple Swamphen at Minsmere, Suffolk had us all thinking. Good company and a good day out in nice sunny conditions was had by us all. A new bird for the “dip list” then. We reached home by 10pm.

Monday morning dawned and a tired “dipper” woke up to find that the Western Purple Swamphen at Minsmere had been elevated to a mega!! Mark K in York was contacted and a team was put together with young Ellis from York our third member. A 4am meet at Fairburn near Castleford was arranged with myself at the wheel. The journey down was fairly uneventful with scattered rain and mist in patches. The oil on the road kept me on my toes as we slid our way towards Minsmere, the news on the Swamphen was positive, this added a couple of mph, and we reached the premier reserve at around 8-45am. A damp spell welcomed us as hurried to the south hide area, about 30 birders were watching something, and it was the Western Purple Swamphen. The bird kept close to the reed fringes, disappearing for short spells, but showed really well at around 100 yards distance. We all watched, what is potentially a first for the United Kingdom, for about an hour and enjoyed watching the birds feeding habits. Along with a squealing Water Rail we all enjoyed the moment and exchanged handshakes as is the norm, when you get a lifer. In other parts of the reserve we saw: – Stone Curlew, Green Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank and lots of other types of waders. After catching up with a few old birding friends at Minsmere we had a drive up onto Dunwich Heath and saw about 3 Dartford Warbler`s, what smart little birds they are. They carried food to their nestlings and must have had a good breeding season as it is likely to be their second brood at this time of year?  The journey home was made a bit more interesting by the driver of a Post Office articulated vehicle trying to push me off the road. The A14 by this time was full of waggons and was a bit of a nightmare to be honest, upon reaching the A1 we stopped for a nice coffee, then pressed onto to Fairburn. At 5pm I dropped the lads off and got onto the M62 which looking more like a car park, finally reaching home around 6-30pm. The journey home always seems easier when you see the bird though, excellent trip out. Need a rest now, but what`s this, a trip to Cornwall again next Sunday to try for the pelican, well go on then!

Dave O.


After our “summer break” it was time to get back to a bit of serious birding, so a long staying Black Stork in the Sunk Island area on the way to Spurn seemed a good target to try to see. Nearly a full team, with just Steve K crying off late / early. Myself driving and a 6-15am departure from Newhey on a nice morning. We reached the area the bird had been last seen in with the news that it had flown towards the River Humber about 50 minutes prior to our arrival. Not good news for one of our members, as it was a lifer for him. A look around Stone Creek and a walk along the banking looking over the salt marsh followed. A feverish amount of waving was beckoning me to join up with our team, who had located the bird, briefly in flight and then promptly disappearing into one of the many gully`s in the area! A lifer for Chris B was duly celebrated. They all saw the bird except me and what followed was an hour`s wait in glorious sunshine. A small group assembled half a mile inland from us and after an hour`s wait, had decided to walk towards the area that the Black Stork had gone into (at no point did they attempt to flush the bird) The Black Stork walked gently out of the gully and afforded the camera men some close up pictures. We also enjoyed the bird, which after a couple of minutes took to the air and circled up and gave really good views. It was joined by 2 Buzzards, 2 Marsh Harriers, Peregrine & a Kestrel all in the air at once, quite a sight! We carried on to Kilnsea Wetlands and saw a Little Stint & 2 Spotted Redshanks. A juvenile Red Backed Shrike near the small caravan site was watched as it chased around the corner field. Both Spotted & Pied Flycatcher`s were seen near Kew gardens(no not that one) Along with a decent fall of Whinchat`s, about 7 were seen. We called at Sammy`s Point and watched a “belting” Kingfisher (in joke) and the lads took some pictures, no sign of much else though. Met a fellow birder from Leeds who told us about going to look at Welwick salt marsh. After a bit of off-roading we reached what may well be a good area during the winter months, just a Marsh Harrier & a Kestrel on this occasion. Time was pressing on so home beckoned. It was good to be out at the start of the migration period in, what is for me one of the best places to bird watch in. We got back in Rochdale at 6pm and all enjoyed the day.
Dave O.


The birding scene has been fairly quiet this winter (lets hope for a biggy soon) so, we decided to try to see some of the birds that where in our county. Again almost a full A Team left Rochdale at 6am and with rain in the air, we headed north. I drove in my “new” Nissan Quashqai (think that’s how you spell it) its really comfortable and as 3 of the team are now pensioners we need to look after ourselves! We first called at Sizergh Castle, which was stolen from Lancashire in 1974, to see Hawfinch, the rain was still falling but even after a good search no Hawfinch were seen, we don’t often fail here? Well off to Leighton Moss and the weather improved rapidly. The ex warden on the reserve, John Wilson was present and he told us he had not seen the White Fronted Geese that we had come to see, yet. A few Avocet were present though, no Ruff or Spotted Redshank were seen either. At this point I must offer my sincere apologies to Bob K for not giving him credit for having seen a couple of Yellowhammers on the feeders going down to the Allen Hide, single observer sightings are always looked upon sceptically and Bob K did also see the same species at Astley Moss a few weeks ago, it all worked out right in the end. As we searched the fields at Leighton Moss for the geese a small flock flew towards us, what luck, they were the White Fronted Geese. They were watched for a good while and really enjoyed. We walked to the public hide and watched a couple of Marsh Harriers hunting, always a good sight. A call in at Warton Crag revealed Raven & Peregrine Falcon and lots of Jackdaws! At Conder Green the tide was in which allowed us to easily find the resident Spotted Redshank still in winter plumage. At Cockerham we searched for the large flocks of Pink Footed Geese, but found them landing near Pilling Lane Ends along with lots of waders and resting on the salt marsh. Singles of Red Breasted Merganser & Brent Goose were also seen at Pilling, cracking place with the tide coming in. At Bradshaw Lane / Eagland Hill feeding Stations lots of Tree Sparrows, Corn Buntings and Yellowhammers were seen, knew we would see them eventually Bob K! We had a little look around for a Barn Owl in the area, but no joy. A Black Redstart has been in the Newton Le Willows area for a couple of weeks, so we decided to give it a go as it was on the way home. After finding the right area we searched for 20 minutes but had no luck. We all had a good day and all saw a minimum 9 species to add to our year lists. Spring is on its way boys.

Dave O.


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.


Myself and Steve K did a trip into deepest Yorkshire, after our plan to go into the Midlands to see a Pacific Golden Plover, had to be changed after the plover departed! We left Rochdale with Steve driving around 7am on a really nice morning. We arrived at Broomhill Flash, near Barnsley at 8-10am. A search through the wildfowl proved very interesting, then the bird we had gone to see was found, a nice Black necked Grebe. It was seen in amongst lots of Little Grebe’s who looked like they have had a good breeding season. The bird showed nicely but would not come close enough for a picture. A Great White Egret had roosted in the area, but was not seen by ourselves (it was later found at Old Moor reserve) Another new reserve was visited, Wombwell Ings, but it was a little quiet this time of year. Near the River Dearne the hoped for Lesser Whitethroat’s were not seen, but Garden Warbler showed well and 2 Barn Owls sunned themselves! The sighting of a single Swift had us thinking that the summer is drawing to an end. New’s of a Ruddy Shelduck at Edderthorpe Flash had us calling at this unspoilt area (no hides or people) with lots of birds to watch and the Ruddy Shelduck was seen. An area that we both have wanted to go to for a while was selected for our next destination, Alkborough Flats, north of Scunthorpe. You can see the area from Blacktoft Sands, its 20 miles away by road. Anyway, after problems with the motorway we carried on and reached Alkborough. In the village the reserve is well signposted having 2 entrances and around 5 hides? We missed the high tide roost but, a few birders leaving, told us we had missed very little. A Montagu’s Harrier had been seen earlier in the morning. Around 300 Avocet, quite a sight greeted us along with 10 Little Egret, 3 Yellow Wagtail and a single Little Gull was found by Steve K. A move to the “hide on stilts” should have revealed Spoonbills but alas, no. A few regular waders were seen, but everything seems a long way away, a scope is needed at this nice reserve, we will be back I am sure. At Blacktoft Sands we saw:- 27 Spotted Redshank, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Green Sandpiper, 20 Avocet, 12 Snipe, 18 Redshank, 3 Greenshank, 20 Black tailed Godwit, 1 Little ringed Plover along with around 6 Marsh Harriers. Always a great reserve to visit and listening to some of the assembled throng trying to look though various fieldguides and naming the species is enlightening. We always help a few aspiring birders with ID problems though, “We all have to start somewhere”. Time for home and a great days birding in lively sunny weather.
Dave O.


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.


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.

Regards,

Dave O.