Saturday 29 September 2012

Shetland Birding Trip 29/09/12 to 06/10/12

Just back from another great week on Shetland. Although the week only produced 2 life ticks, the quality of birds was good, with many speciers only seen for the 2nd time.

On this occassion I ventured north with Paul Hawkins, Jonathan Lethbridge, Vince Haley Frame, Steve Bacon and Mat Eade.

The 2 UK life ticks were Pechora Pipit, which was very hard work, taking hours in poor conditions and eventually only seen after an organised flush, and Siberian Stonechat, which by contrast showed very well (pic below). Here are just some of the many pics from the trip:

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll - what a cracker - again on Unst where my only previous one had been seen 2 years earlier

Spotted Sandpiper   

Spotted Flycatcher 

Isaballine Shrike - only my 2nd ever! This bird realy gave us the run around until we eventually caught up with it on our 4th attempt! 

Couldn't resist another pic!

Black Guillimot

Common Eider 

American Golden Plover - poor pic, but never really got great views of this bird

European Golden Plover - Leucistic type 

Hooded Crow - common with their waistcoats on

Starling - as common as you can get - but very smart

Siberian Stonechat - tick!

And another 

Little Bunting 

Pied Flycatcher

A really poor shot of my 2nd ever American Buff Bellied Pipit

Yellow Browed Warbler - saw lots and as always very smart

Other birds of note seen during the trip were, Surf Scoter, Red Breasted Flycatcher, Barred Warbler, Wood Warbler and the best find of the crew; Great Reed Warbler, found by Mat on our last day! The trip may not have delivered us a mega eastern or yankee Thrush, but many good birds were seen and we all had a good crack along the way.   

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Shetland here I come!

On Saturday (29th) I am off to Shetland with a few of the lads for a week's birding. Last time I went (2 years ago) we had it off big time. I recorded 6 ticks: Lancy, Swainson's Thrush, Sykes Warbler, Buff Bellied Pipit, Horny Redpoll and Black Headed Bunting, all of which were backed up by a cracking supporting cast of scarcities. It was particularly good to have a good mix of eastern and western birds - something I am hopeful we'll get again this year, given the current easterly gales blowing in and the western front that is on its way from next weekend.

So what would I like to see? Well I like to see all sorts of stuff like Sib Thrush, Oven Bird, Killdeer and PG Tips, I could go on for ever, but I am not greedy. I would love to see (and ideally find!) a couple of megas, birds that you may only have the opportunity to see once a decade or even once a life time, but there are still plenty of other birds (mostly from the east) that I would love to get on my list i.e. Pechora Pipit, Red Throated Pipit, Arctic Warbler and of course my bogey bird, Icky Warbler. A couple of those, perhaps with a yankee or far eatern thrush would make it yet another Shetland trip to remember.

This will be my 3rd trip and as yet I have never failed to get a tick. So watch this space for daily evening updates from Sat 29th. Surely this time we wont be so lucky to get 2 megas ticked (Sykes Warbler and Swainson's Thrush), on the day we arrive, in fact afternoon between 3pm and 6pm, before we had even taken the luggage out of the hire car! Fingers crossed. Watch this space!       

Sunday 16 September 2012

Short Billed Dowitcher, Lodmoor RSPB, Dorset

My second mega in a week, this time the now long staying and 2nd for Britain, Short billed Dowitcher, at Lodmoor RSPB, Dorset. Shaun (of ValleyBirding fame) and I headed south at 6am arriving on site about 8.45am. The bird was showing well upon arrival, in poor light, but providing good scope views for 20 minutes, when  it flew to cover. Poor record shots below. With a 3rd for Britain turning up on Scilly this week, I guess birders will be giving Dowitcher sps a little more attention in the future!

Monday 10 September 2012

Rihanna at the Paralympic closing ceremony

We were lucky to get tickets to the wonderful closing ceremony of the london 2012 Paralympic Games. Here is my first installment of pics; firstly of Rihanna!

Baillon's Crake - again!

Would you believe it, after spening 13 hours trying to catch up with the extremely elusive Baillon's Crake at Rainham Marshes RSPB, I popped back late morning today, and saw it within 10 minutes of arriving. I was very lucky as it had not been seen all morning and when someone called it I put my scope up and was right on it. I managed to get 2 or 3 others to connect via my scope before it slinked off again out of view. It wasn't seen again in the next 2 hours I spent in the hide. About 80% of the people in the hide did not see it! I know how they felt!   

Sunday 9 September 2012

Baillon's Crake - Rainham Marshes RSPB

After 13 hours over 3 sessions, including initially missing the bird by about 10 seconds  at dawn yesterday morning, I eventually caught up with the mega rare Baillon's Crake at Rainham Marshes RSPB this afternoon. Phew. It also ended a 4 dip run! I am now back on the tick trail! Not great photos but who cares. ... I saw last.......yipee!!

A packed Shooting Butts hide!  

Sunday 2 September 2012

Wenlock and Maderville Trail - London 2012 Olympics

As you probably know Wenlock and Manderville are the mascots for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. There are 84 statues of the mascots around central London, each one themed to represent the area where it is. You can download a free map showing 5 trails to show you where they are here:

On out trip out on Friday we managed 2 of the trails seeing around 20 statues. The kids loved it and are pestering us to go back ASAP to see the rest! I think the statues will be in place for at least 2 years. We rounded off the day by seeing We Will Rock You, at the Dominion Theatre, which was fantastic!