Posts Tagged ‘Woodlark’

A long staying Bluethroat, at a very remote Lincolnshire fen, had been giving birders / photographers amazing views, so a trip was organised. We met in Newhey and with Steve B at the wheel, myself Bob K & Chris B, set off for Willow Tree Fen N.R. at 6am. The promise of a sunny day was very much in evidence as we headed down the A1. The small reserve was a little tricky to find but Chris B did a good job finding it. He made a comment, “We will have this Bluethroat all to ourselves”. Upon reaching the car park it became apparent that it was not too be. The bird showed down to 10 feet and was a real stunner, it was a bit of a skullker though. During its time in the reed cover the birds song could be heard, that was very nice. After about an hour we headed away and gave arriving birders chance to see the bird.
We headed for Rutland Water to try to catch up with the already returned Osprey`s. They did not disappoint, a pair of them sat on top of a nest platform. The water level was very high, but that was not surprising with all the rain we have had recently. We also saw Egyptian Goose, Blackcap and lots of wildfowl. I have never visited Rutland Water unless there has been a Birdfair on and it was nice to really appreciate what a good area it is to visit.
Our final stop was at Budby Common in Nottinghamshire, the northern end of Sherwood Forest. Our target species was Woodlark that are usually singing, displaying around this time. We had a very wet tramp around this area a few years ago looking for a Parrot Crossbill, without success. After about 40 minutes, we again were drawing a blank. Now something really strange happened, Bob said, “There is a man about 300 yards away with no clothes on” We all had a look at this man as he was striding out over the common, strange? A fellow birder called us over to say that he had found 2 Woodlarks, we waited for them to show, then after a few minutes a male Woodlark began calling and displaying. I managed to see a female Woodlark perched in a small tree preening. That was a really nice way to end a good days birding. We reached home by 5pm and the sun was still shining!
Dave O.


Four intrepid souls risked another 24 hour birding trip,well it was only 23 hours really! An 11pm start after a gripping European Cup Final with Bob K at the helm. We had a little rain through Lincs and as we arrived at Dersingham Bog a little “sea fret” was in the air. Down into the bog we descended using two torches for company, ta Bob K, where a Grasshopper Warbler was “reeling” away, then a Nightjar was heard and as we got nearer to the sea a few mammals eyes were caught in our torches,quite an eerie feeling that was. A good number of Woodcock were around and a few more Nightjars & Grasshopper Warblers heard made up a good hours dark birding. Our next call was at Weeting Heath were the Stone Curlew were expected, but, only Rabbits & a Barn Owl were seen! At another spot a Stone Curlew was seen,but it took a bit of effort to find one. A dashing by Hobby was then seen as it chased its breakfast without much joy. Next stop our favourite reserve RSPB Lakenheath. Since the area was taken over by the RSPB the Golden Oriole population has fallen every year, probably too much disturbance by visitors. Having said that the reserve has come on greatly with Bittern,Crane,Hobby & Marsh Harriers enjoying a breeding boom! To see 2 Bitterns flying for a good 10 minutes then another flew past us and one carried on “booming” was a spectacle to behold, no Cranes or Orioles were seen though. Lots of warblers were singing in the reedbeds as we made our way back to the car and some refreshment, it was still only 9-30am! Back to the coastal area now and a new area to visit on Kelling Heath. We met a gentleman birdwatcher, who very kindly gave us a grand tour of his “patch” and what a thrill it was for us all, with Dartford Warbler, Turtle Dove & Woodlark all successfully located. His knowledge extended to the insects & plants of the area and the general history of the site, a real chance meeting for us all. A walk along the East Bank at Cley and seeing the damage caused to the area was very sad to see, only Little Tern was seen and an almost complete lack of any waders due to the high water levels. A tour of the North Norfolk “Hills” only revealed highish numbers of Marsh Harriers, they are doing well now that they have adapted to living amongst crop areas.A call at Choseley drying barns and then down to RSPB Titchwell were a Red Crested Pochard and 2 Little Gulls were seen, lots of birds and people were present (the day after a Slender Billed Gull would drop in) We had a needed cup of tea, then headed of to Whisby near Lincoln. We reached Whisby and it took us a while to locate a singing Nightingale but when we did it was a really good rendition from the bird! No sign of the Med Gulls at the site though, it was time to head for home as we were all becoming tired. About a 100 species were seen with us all getting between 12 – 20 year ticks. Its a hard trip but always very rewarding!

Dave O.

Not quite the words from the famous song, but it was that time of year again to undergo our, “nearly a day trip” to Norfolk. Only three brave souls aboard this year with Steve K driving, Chris B and myself leaving Newhey at 11-30pm. We reached our first stop, Dersingham Bog, near Sandringham around 3am with a full moon and a cloudless sky, the signs were good. We saw a Nightjar sat in the road either feeding or eating grit? and we were off to a good start. As we descended into the bog distant “churring” was heard and a Grasshopper Warbler was just warming up. A few Woodcocks were heard/seen and what sounded like deer gave the place a bit of an eerie feel to it! As we left another two Nightjars were seen in the road and as the first vestiges of light came through no sign of the Golden Pheasants on the triangle. Next stop Foulden Common, a place I saw/ heard my very first Nightingale about 25 years ago, but alas no birds were heard in our search. A nice Barn Owl was perched up for us though. At Weeting Heath a blanket of low lying mist hampered our search for Stone Curlew, Chris found a Spotted Flycatcher and then the bird we had come to see as a Stone Curlew walked out of the mist. Now onto everyone’s favorite reserve, RSPB Lakenheath Fen. It seems like a long time ago that this place was owned by Bryant & May for growing the tree’s that would be turned into matchsticks and that Golden Oriole’s were fairly easy to see. Now it has been transformed into a really cracking reserve with practically any type of marsh bird being seen. We arrived at 5-30am and already the car park held 10 cars on it. We trudged our way along the riverbank and soon heard the “dawn chorus” in full swing with Cetti’s Warbler to the fore. We reached the far end of the reserve and watched a couple of Marsh Harriers, then the news of the Red Footed Falcon male being perched up about 250 yards away, so, off we went. A pair of Mute Swan’s and 5 cygnets barred our way, but a patient walk around them did the trick! The Red Footed Falcon was indeed perched up and was admired for 15 minutes, a new bird for one of our number. We walked back along the river and watched a Common Crane gracefully feeding on the Norfolk side of the river. We agreed to have another look at the falcon, just as a Golden Oriole began to sing its very distinctive song. Two Hobbies were found sat in the same area as the falcon and a few long flights by the local Bittern’s were also enjoyed. A small group of birders were looking into the reed’s and told us that a Savi’s Warbler was singing. It sung some more then showed itself to the small gathering. What a cracking marsh bird and in the company of a sat out “reeling”, Grasshopper Warbler, nice to be able to compare the respective songs. This was another new bird for one of our team. A call in at Barnham Common for possible Woodlark had, nothing more than the following butterflies:-Small Copper, Small Heath, Green Veined White, Brimstone (pair). Time to head for the coast, reaching the “Iron Road” at Salthouse were we saw:-Egyptian Goose, Common & Sandwich Terns and a dodgy looking Ruddy Shelduck. Onto the east bank at Cley were a Wood Sandpiper showed very nicely and a couple of Bearded Tits were “pinging” and flying around. At Titchwell we saw a Red Crested Pochard and a Temminck’s Stint, fairly close to the new hide. Grey Plover, Little Tern and a few more waders were seen in very pleasant conditions. We had to leave Norfolk now as time was pressing as a call at Whisby Nature Reserve was planned to catch up with the Nightingale that could not be found in Norfolk. We reached Whisby at 7pm and walked straight into a singing Nightingale, that gave us a good rendition before heading deeper into cover. The last bird on this trip anf a fitting end to a really memorable trip.We reached Newhey at 9-30pm having seen a total of 107 species and each of us having had around 20 new species for our year lists.


Dave O.

Another year nearly gone by and another Spurn trip,this time for a long weekend,it was to prove eventful to say the least!! Me and Bob K left Rochdale at 6:30am and headed for Stone Creek, Sunk Island area, Humberside, no easterlies blowing, so, nothing really special was expected. We managed a few common raptors but, for me, the 15 Roe Deer moving around the area were really nice. Off to Patrington Haven to see lots of waders next, but there were hardly any birds there at all. Time to check out anything interesting on a rare bird site we thought, the news was, “Pallas`s Grasshopper Warbler at Whitburn, near South Shields”, I know they are real skulkers but we had to go for it, didn’t we?. Bob took the wheel and got us towards York, then a dart up the A19 and into Marsden Quarry, Whitburn. A mere 160 miles from Spurn. Upon arrival no sightings since 2:05pm and it was 4:30pm, would we be lucky? A few birders on site showed us the area the bird had been seen in and one man said the bird is in this clump of grass, but, as hard as he tried it wouldn’t fly out. By 5:50pm as the light began to falter and we left for Spurn, did we feel like we had made a wrong call on this one, what would we have thought if the bird had be sat out like it had been earlier in the day, no, it was a real good trip and we were really due to “dip out” on a bird sometime. We got to Patrington chippy at 8:25pm and enjoyed fish and chips and by 9:00pm were sat in the club at Sandy Beaches Caravan site enjoying a few pints of bitter, with Steve and Chris Brown, Billy Jackson and Martin Quinlan who thought we might have fancied a cup of PG Tips, nice one boys! Saturday dawned and a good breakfast was had, now for some proper birding! A trip along the point was soon abandoned, with news of a Tawny Pipit near Easington Lagoons, but, as we made our way the bird flew off towards Sammy’s Point, so we had a go for it there, but, no joy. Bob K. got a few going with a possible Woodlark (Martin had heard one on Friday evening as he arrived) again to no avail, a few nice birds around here though, Yellow Wagtail, Yellowhammer, Lesser Whitethroat and a steady passage of Redwing. News of a Bearded Tit in the canal area got us all going, a Spurn tick for all, I think! As we arrived the bird was “pinging” away and when it showed, it was a cracking male bird. A Jack Snipe from the Canal Scrape hide and then 2 Short Eared Owl’s patrolling the canal area made it feel like a “mini Scillies”. A trip down the point finally revealed a really smart Yellow Browed Warbler and after a seawatch we headed back to the caravans for our evening meals and a few beers, plus an interesting debate about global warming. Sundays birding began with a trip to the point, only interesting bird was a model doing a photo shoot in rather skimpy clothes with a backdrop of the old lighthouse, very nice! The YB Warbler was still showing and a look at Chalk Bank revealed a few missing waders from our trip list. We had a look at Beacon Lane pools and used the new footpaths in the area and admired the new lagoon area, not much on the old lagoons, apart from Brent Geese and Wigeon. After we packed up ready to set off for home, the Tawny Pipit again showed itself at Easington Lagoons, got to give it another go then. Upon arrival the bird promptly flew away and none of us saw it leave, ah well a good way to end another excellent trip. 93 species seen and 4 year ticks for myself,very good trip( would have been excellent if PG Tips would have been seen on Friday)

Dave Ousey.

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.