Posts Tagged ‘Tree Sparrow’


A Pine Bunting was found in Dunnington near York last week. It associated itself with a large flock of finches (Yellowhammer, Chaffinch, Brambling and Tree Sparrow) A few of our friends from the York area had really struggled to see the bird but, as the flock was being fed in a couple of area`s and with one of our team needing to see it, a trip was planned for Saturday. A 10am start with Bob K driving had us soon near to the bird’s favoured spot, or so we thought! We enjoyed all the birds in and around the fields and after Bob K had walked along a hedge lots more birds took to the air. After two and a half hours searching/waiting, Chris B found the bird in the hedge but before anyone else could get on it, the bird had flown into the field. Luckily, the original finder of the Pine Bunting was stood next to us and he quickly got all (about10 birders) onto the bird as it sat and preened in the hedge. The views were not great but most of the features were seen. Nige from York also got much better sightings of the bird just after we left (this was his 4th visit though). We also called to see a Great Grey Shrike near a disused RAF base near York, but we could not find it.
On our way towards home around 4 Red Kites were seen in the Leeds area before we reached our next stop at Fairburn Ings. We asked a couple of local birders about the whereabouts of the 2 Smew that had been reported there. Their directions were spot on and we soon saw the female and the quickly disappearing male in Village Bay, what a stunning bird to end a good, if difficult, days birding.
Dave O

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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.


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.


Our annual trip came around again and it did not disappoint. There were new birds for the year, a twitch, sunny weather and finally a loss which has become a found!  Me and Bob K left Rochdale early in dreadful weather on Friday and it looked good for, “bad weather,good birds” etc. By Hull the rain had stopped and as we reached Stonecreek the clouds were breaking up. We met up with John from Leeds, as we always do and he told us of the local bird news. The walk to Sunk Island Battery was a little uneventful, but we always do it and pay homage to the place were the Mugimaki Flycatcher was found (get a life, I hear you say) Why have they not accepted that bird yet? A colony of Tree Sparrows are now well established in the area. We did not call at Patrington Haven as the tide was out, so we pushed on to Easington. There had been a Yellow Browed Warbler and a Ring Ouzel earlier and despite searching and help from some friends from York, we drew a blank. We headed for Spurn and Chalk Bank hide, seeing a Little Tern and a Purple Sandpiper and a flock of Brent Geese along with lots of waders as the tide began to turn. There was a few people around and the news about a strange Locustella warbler was just breaking. We headed for our caravan and after a meal my phone rang, it was Mark from York with the news of a possible Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler near Chalk Bank!  We headed at great speed to the area until we saw the tide crossing the “road”. This was decision time, luckily our minds were made up for us by 4 vehicles coming in the opposite direction. Reversing in wet sand between sticks with vehicles pushing us along with the tide lapping at the doors certainly beats one or two of our exploits! The Spurn warden told us the bird would be trapped Saturday morning and its identity established. Time for the pub, now that all six of us were here, great to see you all. Met the warden and a few of the regulars in the “Crown & Anchor” and had a chat about the new arrivals etc. At 7-15am in the morning, we all headed for Chalk Bank area to see if the possible would turn into a definite. Around 8-30am and after seeing the bird in flight, the bird was captured and the expectancy could be felt, then the words,”Well that a mystery solved, it’s a Grasshopper Warbler”, at that point about 50 birders feelings went downhill rapidly!  Me and Bob wandered off and saw two Firecrests, what nice birds they are. Breakfast time for us all now. A walk to Beacon Lane pools was not to good and the sea did not reveal anything at all. A Red Breasted Flycatcher had been found in the church yard in Kilnsea and showed really well in bright sunshine, also, Firecrest, Pied Flycatcher. In the Canal Scrape a Jack Snipe was seen and a couple of Redstarts completed the days birding. Sunday was nice and sunny and we all walked to the churchyard and found Firecrest, Lesser Whitethroat (thanks Martin) and finally a Yellow Browed Warbler. Time to plan for the journey home and after our goodbye’s the Rochdale boys headed for Old Moor RSPB reserve. Upon reaching there, Bob revealed that his telescope was not in the car, were was it? Lots of people here but no sign of an American Golden Plover. Curlew Sandpiper and a few waders in amongst a lot of Golden Plover who earlier had been spooked by a Peregrine. Our last call was at Edderthorpe Flash, but nothing new was found. By this time, Bob had spoke to lots of people about his missing scope, but it was not found. We all got home by 5-30pm and all enjoyed the trip.

P.S. Bob returned to Spurn on Tuesday and guess what? He found his scope under the caravan curtains in the main room, result or what!

Dave O.


Lots of reports of unusual gulls in the Anglers/Wintersett country park area’s had us organising a trip out on Sunday. Only Steve B missing, sunning himself in the middle of the Atlantic! After a late start, well 7:30am, we left Chris B’s home and headed over the hills into Yorkshire. We reached Wintersett, and it was a little icy and quite misty so we walked over to Anglers. The Long tailed Duck showed pretty well and the mist began to break up, we had a plan to return to the area for the gull roost later in the day. Another look at Wintersett revealed two handsome drake Scaup and a few Grey Partridge. The “boatmen” had begun to arrive at Wintersett, so we left the area like the bird also did. We headed to Old Moor RSPB reserve for the reported female Smew along with a supporting cast of Brambling, Yellowhammer & Tree Sparrow. We managed to “clean up” all the target species at this very well supported reserve. Lots of people out on an unusually warm February day! Next stop was Edderthorpe flash, but,unfortunately the light was against us, so not much seen here apart from our first singing Skylark of the year, what a gem! Back at Anglers for the gull roost and a well filled bird hide saw us all get a seat and wait for the action. A Yellow-legged Gull usually appeared at 3:20pm, but it was early today and we all enjoyed great view’s of the local “bully” chasing even bigger birds around the water. This bird was a lifer for one of our number and most appreciated by all. A concerted effort was now required to find a Kumlien’s Gull that had been appearing most late afternoon’s in the roost. To a full hide, one of us found a gull with no black on its tail and a pale grey back and said, “Have a look at that gull”. The bird was watched and photographed and lots of interest shown in it and it was pronounced, by the local gull expert’s, that, that was the bird we think is a Kumlien’s, result! After so much excitement in the hide another chap came in and said, “The Caspian Gull is showing on Wintersett Reservoir”, off we went again through the mud and tangled undergrowth. There was nobody looking at the large gathering of gulls as we arrived, we said , “We will find it ourselves, we have a picture”. After about an hour and as the gulls had multiplied ten fold, all we had seen was the Yellow-legged Gull again and lots of candidates for the Caspian Gull but nothing we all agreed too was the bird! It was getting cold so we left the reservoir all agreeing that we had enjoyed the gull roost, we must do it again. We reached Rochdale by 6:30pm all of us with at least 6 year ticks in the bag. A memorable day out.
Regards,
Dave Ousey.