Monday, 2 December 2019

Brian's 300th year tick at 3 ticks for me.

It was a long time coming but we were both with Brian to congratulate him on ticking he's first 300 year ticks today.
The bird was a Siberian Stonechat that we went to Hollesley Marshes to find. We drive down by the prison & park in the reserve car park,it's a wet muddy walk that takes us 20 minutes or so before we spot the target bird flitting about in the reeds not far away from us & we get great views as was fitting for a milestone bird.
It's off to Waxham for the Red-breasted Flycatcher but on arrival we meet a fellow birder who tells us the bird had not been seen at all today & he & fellow birders had been searching for a few hours without any sign. we decide not to waste any time looking as we had already dipped on the way at Winterton  where we thought it would be rude not to have a look for the  Eagle Owl as we are so close we didn't find it but had to have a look.
On to Buckenham now after a tip off as where to look for the Taiga Bean Geese.
The car is parked by the railway crossing & we find the Taiga Geese a long way away just after we cross the crossing, 3 Geese are seen in the far corner of the field along the railway line.
A two tick day turns into three when on the way home in the Brecks we finally get to see a male Golden Pheasant after we had looked a few times before & failed to see any.
So a really good day getting 3 year ticks for both Jimmy & I & a big day for Brian with his 300 up.
The 300th Bird
The Siberian Stonechat

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Glossy Ibis at Thornham.

After a horrible drive that took us nearly 3 hours with road closures & rain, we arrive at Thornham in Norfolk  in search of the Ibis reported yesterday.
It only takes us 5 minutes after we leave the car park before we find the target bird for a year tick for all three of us.
The Glossy Ibis is feeding not to far away but it is a a shame that the weather is nasty & the light is bad but it's another good year tick.
We head off towards Holkham in search of the flock of Pink footed Geese in the hope that the Lesser-white fronted Goose was still with them.
On the way we stop off for another look at the Rough-legged Buzzard that we saw last week.
We pull up to find Graham & Geoff already have the Buzzard in view so no work needed as we scope the bird in a distant tree.
The next 3 hours are spent searching for the White-front. A large flock of Pink foot are seen & followed by us but although we saw them land we can't get near enough to scope them.
A Black-throated Diver is reported in the channel by the car park at Wells so it's off to have a look, but when we get there we find it's a Red-throated diver but still nice to see up close.
So a funny sort of day with all of us just getting the one year tick leaving Brian one short of the 300 year ticks that will be the first for him.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Little Bittern & only 20 minutes from home.

What a really lucky tick. A text from Brian around 2 o'clock See's us picking him up & flying up the A10 to Amwell  for the Little Bittern that had been reported a couple of times on bird news.
We arrive without hitting any traffic & head for the view point, only 2 birders here but they point us in the right direction.It's a longer walk then we anticipated but not to long & we are soon standing with a small group & put onto the Bittern the other side of the river sitting in a tree above a large concrete block.
We get a great view as it sat in the tree,but we soon realise how lucky we have been when after 5 minutes the bird drops down from the tree & then flies up & away out of view not to return for the next hour that we stayed looking for it.
The only down side of the trip was really bad traffic coming away from Amwell & then only a mile from home in Buckhurst hill it takes us over an hour to reach my house because the traffic lights had gone on the blink.
But a small price to pay for another really good year tick. Year total now up to ( 276 ).
The Amwell Little  Bittern
The Little Bittern

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Isabelline Wheatear. at Cley.

We have a limited time to visit Cley in Norfolk today,with Brian needing to be home by lunch time.
So we arrive at Arnold's marsh around first light in search of the Isabelline Wheatear.
Only a few birders about on a really cold windy morning,it takes us a good hour of searching before the target bird shows.
At first it is seen sitting on a fence post but not for long as it flies off to sit on the ridge over looking the sea.
Great scope views as it sits out in good light,then it's off again & does the same pattern over the next hour that we watch it.
As we found the Wheatear fairly quickly we have enough time to head to Wells to get really great flight views of a Rough - legged Buzzard, we don't need this for a tick but always worth giving up some time to watch these fabulous birds.
So a short visit but a really enjoyable one.
Isabelline Wheatear

Rough - legged Buzzard

Monday, 11 November 2019

Eastern yellow Wagtail ( lifer ) pending

A late mid morning decision to head up to Walberswick in Suffolk after news comes through that the Eastern yellow Wagtail had been ID'd from sound recordings & had been seen today.
We make really good time & arrive around 1 o'clock, we park in the free car park & set off on the 2 mile walk along the beach till we find a group of birders,the Wagtail had flown off but the group think it will return as that seems to be it's pattern.
After an hour the bird did indeed return along with a group of Snow Buntings & 2 or 3 Western yellow Wagtail. The bird showed really well & we had no trouble in picking out the Eastern Yellow Wagtail to give us all a good lifer tick.
So a good decision to make the trip even if it didn't feel like it as we trudged along the beach but we got well rewarded for our effort.
Eastern yellow Wagtail

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Hit & miss 3 year ticks in Yorkshire

It takes us over 4 hours before we pull up just along the road past the car park of the Crown & Anchor pub in Kilnsea East Yorkshire.
We join a small group of birders who inform us that a Pallas's Warbler was showing very well.
Pallas's Warbler Kilnsea
Jimmy & I missed out a few weeks ago when Brian was the only one to see the Pallas's at Thornham Point Titchwell,this time all 3 of us get some cracking views of one, it's a good year tick & a good start to the day.
News comes that a Lapland Bunting has been seen along the foreshore. we set off to find it & do just that when we hear & then get good flight views of the Bunting as it mingles with a flock of Yellow Hammers & Reed Buntings & a Twite.
Next we head on to Spurn to look for the Bluethroat that has been about for a week or so.
We are told it has not been seen today but give it a try anyway.
It was not a long walk just past the sea watch hide,we spend an hour looking but it's not to be today but we do get to see a single Snow Bunting that shows just a few feet away.
On the walk back to the car a Woodcock flies up for a nice view.
Jimmy informs us that a Hume's leaf Warbler has been seen 5 minutes away.
A small crowd was present on arrival at Peter's Lane Easington & we have a real bonus year tick as the Hume's puts on a grand display for us. While here a Merlin hunts right over our heads for another good showing.
Hume's leaf Warbler Easington
Snow Bunting at Spurn
Snow Bunting at Spurn

Monday, 21 October 2019

Couple of ticks in Kent

This morning we head off to Kent looking for a few year ticks. First up it's Stodmarsh NNR. We look out of the Reedbed hide & find the place full of Teal & Greylag Geese but there's no sign of any Bean Geese that we were hoping to add to the year list.
A Water Rail kept us entertained for half an hour before we see a group of Geese flying over the hide & two off them are the target Bean Geese, they fly out of sight so we think they have flown a long way off so we  hop in the car to head off to Dungeness, as we drive up the exit road the Geese are seen on the field, so it's out of the car to get a good view of the two Bean Geese amongst all the Greylags. A few photos taken before it's on to Dunge.

A Sabine's Gull is the target bird here & on arrival we are told that the bird was showing well from the second hide along the beach.
A small group were looking but we are told that the bird had not been seen for some time,so we set about scanning all the Gulls flying around the patch but it's not looking good.
A few birders headed off & the mood was not good when out of the blue Brian calls out to Jimmy to confirm that he had found it & we are all on another year tick.
We put it out on the pager so those that had left could get back to see the bird as we knew one of them needed it for a lifer.
With nothing reported that we need the boys decide to head off to Cuckmere Haven which is 50 miles away as they need a Grey Phalarope for a year tick.
Not far off Eastbourne the place is packed with day trippers & the fields are all waterlogged.
After a walk off maybe a mile we find a small pool of water & the Phalarope is showing really well & only 20 yards away so good photos taken.
So with the boys getting 3 year ticks & myself getting 2 it's a milestone for all of us as we all pass our highest ever year totals Brian 290, Jimmy 272 & myself 268 so well pleased with that with another couple of months to go it looks good for a nice year total.

 Grey Phalarope, Cuckmere Haven
The Stodmarsh Tunra Bean Goose
Sabine's Gull at Dungeness
Again the Sabine's Gull