Sunday 29 June 2014

Rose Coloured Starling, Lowestoft, Suffolk

Had a great morning out with Hawky in Suffolk then Norfolk. We started at Lowestoft for an adult Rosy Starling. It took 20 minutes or so for it to fly in, but when it did sat obligingly in a tree for a good 30 minutes, before flying off again. It was my 4th Rosy Starling but my 1st adult, and very smart it was too.

Next stop Winterton, where after getting soaked by showers, we located the female Red Backed Shrike, which provided good views, but was very mobile. The rain then came again, and that was that.

Sunday 22 June 2014

Privet Hawk Moth

What a stunner! One of two Privet Hawk Moths hiding away in the egg boxes left out around the bulb last night. First outing for my new macro lens, so work in progress.


Wednesday 18 June 2014

Death's Head Hawk Moth

A pic of the Death's Head Hawk Moth on display at at Rainham Marshes RSPB yesterday.

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Morning Glory - Short-Toed Eagle!!

Wow, what a morning! On my 3rd attempt I finally caught up with Britain's 3rd ever recorded Short-Toed Eagle, which now seems to have settled down nicely in Ashdown Forest, East Sussex. After dipping it in Hampshire last weekend and then at Ashdown Forest, yesterday evening, I was up at the crack of dawn (4.30am) for my 3rd attempt.

I met Shaun at 4.50am and we were on site by 6am, where we bumped into filthy twitchers' Jono Lethbridge and Dave Morrison (lol). After yesterday late evening's reports of it "showing well" after I had left, I expected it to be sat up nicely, roosting in a tree upon arrival. It wasn't and there had been no sign.

Forty five minutes passed then boom, someone out of view calls it, to our left. It glided low over the bracken and trees just 50 yards away, providing fantsatic views as it slowly gained height and edged further away, before settling in a dead tree for a few minutes, around 200 yards away, providing great scoped views. Quickly it was up again and slowly drifted out of view. What a cracker! (very record shots below)


We were back on the road by 7am, and I was suited and booted at my desk in work by 9am! You just can't beat a pre-work mega tick! I'll be surprised if I see a more impressive bird in Britain this year. If so it'll have to be something very special.

Wednesday 4 June 2014


Boom! I am back on the tick trail in spectacular fashion! For once luck was on my side. When a mega rare Spectacled Warber turned up on Monday up in north Norfolk. I really did not expect it to still be there the following morning. It was, and I could get the afternoon off work. I called a few people but no one could get the time off at short notice, but I had made my mind up, I was going.

I left work at 1.15pm and was parking up 120 miles later, around 3.45pm. It's a long and tiring 1.5 miles walk to the dunes at Burnham Overy, which took another 30 mins, but it was wort it. The bird showed after just 5 minutes of waiting and proceeded to show on and off for the 2 hours I was on site. Most of the time it stayed buried in thicket occasionally sitting up and no closer than c50 feet. Hence the record shots.

With less than 10 previous British records it is a cracking bird to get on my ;list and well worth the solo twitch. It was good to meet Dan Barrett up there, who ironically works about 5 miles from me, so hopefully there will be some straight from work twitches together in the future.    

Monday 2 June 2014

Norfolk in Birds

It was one of those weekends. Choices had to be made. Have a day out birding in Norfolk, where there had been a smattering of good birds in previous days, and a Black Headed Bunting, that both Lee and Shaun needed or go twitching the Ross's Gull in Devon, a bird we all needed. Then should we go Saturday or Sunday. The chosen options of Norfolk and Saturday, could not really have been much, wronger! We arrived at West Runton on the north Norfolk coast at 7.15am, to news that the bunting had been seen between 5.30 and 6.30am, but not since, and two hours later it had not showed. We decided to head off to do some birding.

First it was Beeston Bump where the only birds of any note were two Fulmar patrolling the cliff tops. With no further news of the bunting we decided to head west to Blakeney Point. The last time I done Blakeney Point, or should I sat Blakeney Point done me, (Alder Flycatcher) I had promised myself I would never do it again, and now I find myself doing it with no mega beckoning me towards it at the end. Approximately 1/4 of mile in, I checked Birdguides, and the bunting was showing again. Shaun and Lee decided to double back and go for it. Me and Hawly continued the long slog up the point. Around an hour later we were sitting, resting our weary legs, at the plantation waiting for a mega to pop out. There were no megas. In fact there were not many birds at all. The best by a long chalk was a Siberian Chiffchaff that provided pretty good views despite playing the elusive card for most of the time we were there. Other than that one each of Wheatear, Marsh Harrier and Goff old fashioned regular Chiffchaff was all we were rewarded with.

 By this time we were fully aware that the Ross's Gull was predictably showing well down in Devon, and of course news of the Short Toed Eagle, that I have just read appears have been there for at least 6 days (nooooo!) has been ID'd in Dorset, probably easily do-able on the way back from Devon. The long walk back was made a little bit easier by smart and showy Little Terns fishing along the water's edge.

 Back at the car park we meet Shaun and Lee, the bunting had not showed again, during another two hours, so they had called it a day. One last check of Birdguides told us that totally predictably the bunting was again showing. Yet again we sped over there and yet again, it had bleeped off.

 On the way home we were gripped off by photos of the eagle on-line. I had friend's over for dinner, arriving at 6.30pm, I got in at 6.27pm, jumped in the shower, and was back downstairs just as the door bell went. It was more than my life was worth to start ringing round people trying to arrange lifts etc, having been out since 4.30am leaving the Mrs to tidy up and get ready for our guests. Totally predictably when I awoke the following morning the eagle was showing well for no doubt many hundreds of very happy . Bollocks.