Saturday 29 May 2010

White Tailed Plover Twitch

With Friday booked off work the breaking news on Thursday of a White Tailed Plover on Merseyside had me making plans for for trip north west. Dick was keen so we agreed to wait on positive news Friday morning and hit the road. With a female Blue Winged Teal in Cambs too I was hoping it would be my second two (life) tick day of 2010.

Positive news arrived bright and early Friday and we were on the road, heading north by 8.30am. We decided it was too risky to stop for the teal first so instead headed to Crosby Marine Park. Positive messages continued throughout the long journey that the bird was showing distantly through the fence onto the Seaforth Nature Reserve.

Mega ticked, we left about an hour later, slightly disappointed by the whole experience. The Friday afternoon traffic was building up and it took 3.5 hours to get to Paxton Pits to hopefully get better views of the teal than we did the plover. Unfortunately, it was not to be as it decided to depart about an hour or so before we got there.

Let's hope the next mega decides to turn up somewhere slightly more accessible, Fort Knox for example!

Thursday 20 May 2010

Cracking Corncrakes in Cambs

"I'm sure it's just there, in front of us. Why can't I see it? Arrgghh!"

Last night myself, Hawky, Bradders Jnr, dirty year lister Jono Lethbridge and Paul Whiteman headed up the A1 to the not so secret site in Cambridgeshire for Corncrake. Within minutes of arriving on site we had one bird calling at what seemed no more than yards in front of us. Despite extensive scanning (see above) of the field in front of us, and the repeated calling of bird, and other birds calling more distantly behind us, no birds could be located.

Venturing from the car park we located numerous other calling birds including one, that we staked out that sounded as it is was just yards away. If you have never heard a Corncrake call it is amazing how loud they are, the ground almost shook each time this individual called. Quietly we waited and waited until our perseverance paid off and we were treated to a good flight view from long grass in front of us to an adjacent field. Life tick (#368) and high fives all round. We had hoped to hear one, we ended up with seven, but seeing one was special and lucky!

We made the brief detour to the RSPB Ouse Washes in the pitch black, dead of night for singing Spotted Crake. At least one individual was heard, possibly two, from the car as a pair of Tawny Owls called behind us with brief flight views had of one.

Tuesday 18 May 2010

Woodchat Shrike adds to a good spring scarcity haul, but where's the megas?

Tonight I made the short trip to Canvey with Monkey Jnr; Jamie and Shaun after work for my first adult Woodchat Shrike. Good views were had early evening as the temperature rapidly plumetted to that expected in early March rather than mid May. Surely there's got to be a late spring mega soon? Watch this space.

Sunday 16 May 2010

Racking up the brownie points

It's the middle of May and I haven't been out birding for 2 weekends in a row. It's all gone a bit pear shaped really. One thing and another has led to me doing wall to wall family outings and finally getting those jobs done that I had been putting off till a rainy day.

On a positive note, I've not missed any megas that I need, unless of course you count the dodgy yank at Lands End, and I have added a serious amount of BPs to my previously long time empty BP account. I'm looking forward to cashing them in ASAP!

Thursday 6 May 2010

Scotland - Blow family holiday April 2010

Mrs and Jnr Monkeys

I think it might have been snowing recently?

A Ptarmigan free zone!

Plenty of these though, up top.

Found a great Scotsbill site - saw 10+ on each of the 3 times I visited - email me for details.

Black Grouse backside from the side of the road

Gruinard Island - not an eagle in sight

Challonry Point on the Black Isle - we never tire seeing Bottle Nosed Dolphins 30 feet from the beach

The only Hoodie I want to meet

A distant Osprey digiscoped at Loch Garton

At last - Findhorn Valley - broke my eagle duck - if you get what I mean with 1 Golden Eagle

Monkey is back in Business

Red Rumped Swallow - Gunners Park, Shoeburyness, Essex

I'm back. My blog is back in "monkey" business! Here are a few pictures from my recent escapades. Some are poor, in fact most are just record shots as you will see, although I am quite pleased with this one.

"Can you see what it is yet?"

Purple Herons - Dunguness, Kent - taken at distance in very cold and windy conditions (see for (much) better pictures.

Ok, fair enough, these Hoopoe pictures are scrapping the bottom of a very deep barrel quality wise but I am suprised even record shots were managed in very windy conditions.

Iberian Chiffchaff - Walderslade, Kent. Digiscoped pictures of the showy and vocal bird.

Ah, it's good to be back!
Pics from my family holiday to Speyside to follow.

Tuesday 4 May 2010

Club Med

Another photo-less update as I'm still laptop-less following the burglary.

Had a great day out in Kent/Essex with Bradders Jnr. yesterday. We started at Lenham Heath (nr Ashford), with a rather flighty but smart Hoopoe. Good views were enjoyed until it flew passe us and out of sight along the Eurostar railway line. Next stop was Majorca, sorry, Dunguness, where we were lucky immediately connect with both the Purple Herons on site. Good views were had in very windy and cold conditions.

Heading home, the pager bleeped to inform us that there was a Red Rumped Swallow at Gunners Park in Shoeburyness. Being just 20 mins from the A13 turn off it have been rude not to take in yet another Mediterranean speciality. To say the swallow was showing well does not do it justice. Great views, down to 30 feet were had as it fed over the small pond in front of us. We moved to the far bank and sat on the bank. The bird was completely unfazed zipping passed us and almost into us, at ridiculously close quarters, literally down to 3 feet above our heads!

It was a fantastic birding experience, seeing a rare and smart bird like that, that I will probably never forget.

Alas not photos just yet from me, so I refer you to Bradders Jnr's blog., for some cracking photos, particularly of that amazing swallow.

Iberian Chiffy - Kent

Added another good year tick to the list last week with the showy Iberian Chiffchaff in Kent. Photos to follow when I replace my stolen lap top.