Thursday, 19 November 2009

Its been awhile..

Well to say I have been busy over the past few months is a bit of an understatement: I have travelled all the way through France, Northern and Southern Spain ( taking in a few Decent birds along the way ), started training with a Pro tennis coach and moved into a seaside flat In Altea, Spain ( where I have been staying with my Uncle while my parents worked in the UK ).

But im back now in the UK for a week and a bit ( for my 15th) and can finally give this blog the attention it deserves, such as writing up the report for our travel through Spain and france and giving it a few new features and a fresh lick of paint...

So watch this space! the next post coming up involves Griffon vultures, Pied flys and those always lovely Black redstarts ( just dont expect barrel loads of birds ;).

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Other shots from Radipole, Lodmoor and Portland....

Me at Portland ( excuse the hat please ). Bloody hot day it was aswell.
Some Canada geese flying in to Lodmoor...
Some so - so shots of the ( not so wild anymore ) Hooded merganser at Radipole lake, Displaying to the Tufties with its weird bubbly call.

The Little owl was showing well at the quarry near the Obs at Portland....
Highlights of the days included: Hobbies at Lodmoor, Curlew sandpipers and Cetti warblers at Radipole and meeting a very nice birder I knew off Birdforum...

Waheeeyy, another bogey beaten!!

Its taken me ages to tick this one off but I finally managed it last wednesday, Its a lovely Whinchat!!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Late update( part 2 )!

Weather: Pretty sunny and warm, occasional dark clouds over head but luckily no rain.
Location: Middblebere to see whats around and Durlston to see if we could find the Common Rosefinch which had been see lately.
Outlook: Middlebere was a bit slow. A lovely party of Yellow wagtails seen flying overhead, they landed In a Field and started feeding next to the Cows, lovely birds. Inside the hide, there was not much on the lake. No waders, with only a few Shelducks, Swallows, Little Egrets and no Osprey today.

Durlston: We did not manage to see the Common rosefinch today as it had not been seen anyway. Although we managed to find two lovely Spotted flycatchers hawking from a top of a dead tree ( New yrlist! ). Common and Lesser whitethroats were around along with the more commoner Tits, Finches, Warblers. I tried seawatching but it was not very good with only small passings of Gannets and Scoter Sps ( most lickely Common ).

Birding today:) plus the dentist:( wish me luck on both!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

A late update (part 1)!

I confess... Ive been a lazy sod lately and have left updating this blog to the last min, so this will have to be a quick update...

Weather: A combination of down pours, Sunny patches and strong winds.
Locations: Poor Common to look for Pied flycatchers and Blashford lake in Hants for generally anything interesting...
Outlook: Poor Common was the better bit of the day as the Sun was out and the birds were showing. Green woodpeckers were in abundance and were yaffling from every part of the forest, Bluetits, Great tits, Willow warblers and Jays were scattered around along with the occasional Goldcrest and Robin.
Blashford lakes was a bit quiet, with only small counts of Lapwing, BHG, Tufted duck and Great crested grebe on the lake. Inside the woodland hide was better with lots of Bluetit, Great tit, Greenfinch and a single Siskin, Coal tit and juv Goldfinch...

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Lifers galore!!

Last wednesday I got news that a red knecked pharolope had been seen at one of my local non Dorset birding spots: keyhaven, a defo must have for me, as I had never seen a pharolope of any kind before. Not only was there a pharolope around but Cattle Egret, Curlew sandpiper and Ruff had been reported lately!!

Well naturally as a birder I have my twitching genes so I was literally twitching with anticipation and excitement at the prospect of seeing a new lifer ( Apparently this is were the term "Twitcher" derives from! ). When we arrived we followed the steady flow of Twitchers/Birders evidently heading for the pharolope, and were, upon arrival, greeted by a friendly group of birders who quickly pointed out were abouts on the water the red necked phal was...

We stayed for an hour and watched the pharolope doing its curious feeding technique on the lake, I put up my scope so my auntie could get a look at it Such a lovely bird coupled with an amazing view just = priceless. Later on on the day We also managed to see Curlew sandpipers, Ruffs, Yellow wagtails ( 4 lifers!! ) and a Cattle egret ( year tick, we followed a very nice youngish birder to it ).

We also tried Seawatching with that group of birders we met when we arrived, at the chisel beach down the road but the results were not good ( a few Com terns, Gannets ). The leader of the group who suspicously resembles Simon king, gave me a handshake and said "see you around, its nice to know there are young ones out there who appreciate nature" which was very nice :) Yets hope this great birding streak continues...

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Catching up with that Bogey bird

Nearly every birder has his bogey bird, a bird no matter if its common or rare, you just keep dipping it. Its rather frustrating when week after week it is reported, then you go looking for it to no avail. Well this week I managed ( finally!! ) to tick off one of my biggest bogey birds...
The weather was not exactly great for seawatching but I wanted to give it a try at Portland anyway, as we could explore the island for more of the day because Dad was in Lulworth, and I did not have my Tennis training in the afternoon...

Well seawatching went awfully with the only birds seen being Cormorants, which was evidently my fault as I should of checked the weather forcast before attempting it. Birding on land was better with lots of wheatears, Rock pipits, Meadow pipits, Starlings, a Kestrel and a Peregrine were scattered around. On the way to the Obs I had a bit off fun trying to take pics of the passerines around the rocks, Most of the shots I got were awful though ( taking pics of birds is so hard!!).

At the Obs I asked the wardens if anything had been seen "Not much around" was the answer, "It is rather hit and miss on Portland isnt it" I replied. "Yes it is, but the Little owl is showing well at the quarry at the the moment" he said (!). Well of we went to the quarry as fast as the weight of the tripod and scope on my shoulder would let us. We were tailing some birders in front of us because they knew the exact spot of where it perched and they were evidently going to look for it. When we arrived the beckoned us over and showed us the exact crack the Little owl was perched in. So I setted up my scope and focused it on where it was perched: "what a beautiful bird"!! I said and immediately lowered the tripod ( being 6ft 1 has it disadvantages! ) so my Auntie could get a look at its lovely brown plumage, vivid yellow eyes and hooked bill....

Well finally I managed to tick off my biggest bogey bird which had so far eluded me over my six years off birding, im really pleased, so yets see what I can tick off before the big move. :)

Sunday, 16 August 2009

not alot of birding as of late...

Not done a lot of birding lately as it is the summer holidays and friends and family have taken up most of my time. I managed to dodge the hubbub and get a brief birding trip to Arne and middlebere though......

Middlebere produced Whimbrel, Oystercatcher, Yellow legged gull ( NEW lifer! some birders in the hide pointed it out amongst loads of gulls on the flats ), Grey heron and more of the rest you have heard from my trips there before ( shelduck, L.Es etc ). For once this year the osprey was not on his fav perch but was somewhere else and not in view ( possibly fishing downstream ).

Arne common had loads of waders there such as Greenshank ( which I managed to actaully show my auntie because of my new non wobbily Tripod from London! ). Loads and loads of Curlews flying around along with the smaller Whimbrels and Oystercatchers. Non waders included Bluetits, Great tits, Great spotted woodpeckers, Stonechats, Starlings and Buzzards. ( Plus: Sika deer were everywhere!! )

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Stanpit and Keyhaven quick report

Here is a quick report: On Wednesday me and me Aunt visited Stanpit marshes and keyhaven for the day...

Stanpit marshes: Absolutely loads of waders in big numbers, such as Curlew, Whimbrel, Redshank, Dunlin, ( NEW for the YR list ) Lapwing and oystercatcher. Sandwich terns were dotted around, either flying or resting on land and The reeds held a lot of Reed warblers and Sedge warblers.

Keyhaven: Lots of Black tailed Godwits were around, along with Little ringed plovers and Oystercatchers. The Passerines included Greenfinch, Linnet, Wheatear, Stonechat and possibly more that I cant remember ;) The only Terns around were Common terns. Hirundines included Swallow and House martin, There were even more Reed and Sedge warblers than stanpit with literally millions of them everywhere!

Photos to follow if I can find some good ones....

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Seawatching - It really works!!

To tell you the truth I am not a very good seawatcher, I tend to get distracted by land birds around me. Also I am a bit unlucky at SW ( if you believe in luck ), tried it a lot of times around the Purbecks to no avail.....But this time was to be different.

It Started of as always when on the way to the Purbecks with a quick pop into Middlebere. Tide was out again ( I really should look at the tide times!). A few Shelducks and Gulls were pottering around, Hirundines hawked over head and a calling Curlew flew in. Later on I checked the dead trees for the Osprey, yes, there it was on its favourite perch(es) again! ( without the dreadful heat haze so the views were pretty good ) On the way out a couple of Greenshanks flew in.

I wanted to give seawatching a go at Durlston as Balearic shearwaters had been seen of the coast there a few times and it was closer than Portland. Walking along the coast to look for a good spot we did not see much except for some Peregrines ( a juv calling and flying pretty close to us along the cliffs), Stonechats, Kestrels, Buzzards and Corvids.

We decided to seawatch from the dolphin hide as it was nice and sheltered from the elements and I could rest my scope without the tripod on the open ledge. After about 45 mins off countless Gannets passing, I spotted a dark bird flying back and forth close to the surf showing all white underparts. "YES" my first ever Manx shearwater!! later on I got an even bigger surprise when I found another larger Shearwater showing Brownish upperparts and creamy white underparts, a probable Balearic!! ( I am not ticking it though as Manxies can vary quiet a lot ) :)

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

London and Rainham over the weekend

Been up to London for the weekend on a mainly none birding trip. but we did get to visit Rainham marshes....

All in all the weather was a little bit crap so there was not a lot around: the odd Reed warbler poked his head out of the reeds, one or two Reed buntings flew over head, the usual Little grebes, Moorhens, Coots, Grey herons and Little egrets were scattered around the reserve.

Best bird of the day was a Green sandpiper ( my second for the year ) which gave some stunning views in my scope before disappearing behind the mud flats. ( I also joined the RSPB and am now a Phoenix member for the first time! )

Friday, 24 July 2009

just a quick update

Not much to update on...... Trip down to Weymouth to visit Lodmoor and Radipole lake produced the usual Common terns, gulls, warblers and other more common passerines.
Managed to see the local breeding Marsh harriers and juvs ( apparently the first breeding pair in Dorset for 50 years! ). The shots are some poor ( really poor ) photos I took of the Harriers, enjoy ;)
EDIT: forget to say I got a new lifer in the car when we drove past some heath, two Hobbies hawked over head, How could I forget that!!?

Friday, 17 July 2009

Birding around Upton and Middlebere ( part 2 )

After an enjoyable, relaxed hour and a half birding at Upton park we set off to continue on the way to Middlebere....

I have to say the Purbecks are one of my Fav parts of the country, for some reason it always seems sunnier than where I live ( Bournemouth ). Anyway inside the hide at Middlebere ( Avocet hide ) it was unusually quiet and deviod of birders. I checked the set of dead trees the Osprey always perches on across the river with my scope, no sign yet.

Unfortunately we arrived when the tide was out, so not a lot of waders around, only a few Shelducks ( with some really cute chicks and a few juvs), Oystercatchers, Little egrets and Redshanks. After about half an hour of watching and waiting for some other birds to turn up to no avail, we heard the footsteps of some people walking down the wooden bridge towards the hide, no doubt birders and a nice bit of company.

Never caught the birders names but they were a really nice couple who happily chatted away about birds with us, as we all scanned the main river for waders and others . The Osprey did turn up on the dead tree later on but the views were not great, as there was a dreadful heat haze which made the osprey look like a big black and white blob on the horizen. Also a cracking Common sandpiper flew in on to the small streamish river directly in front of the hide giving us all lovely views, another new bird for the Yearlist :).

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Birding around Upton and Middlebere( part 1 )

Me and my Auntie had been rather neglecting one of our local spots, Upton park, For a while now. I fancied visiting Middlebere to look for Common sandpipers and the local Osprey which had been seen of late and Upton was on the way there so.....

The carpark was ( as always ) almost full up to the brim at Upton, so we had to park in the overflow carpark. The sun was starting to peek through the clouds as we set off, Warblers were singing in the trees and the distant yaffling of a Green woodpecker echoed around the grounds as we walked down the grounds past the Upton House.

I had forgotten how good this place could be! Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Great tit, Blue tit, Greenfinch, Green woodpecker, Buzzard, Willow warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap to name a few. Inside the hide ( which looks out on to the harbour ) not much was around except for some Black tailed godwits, Oystercatchers, Shelduck and BHGs.....

( post the rest Tommorow :))

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Titchfield haven ( part 2 )

We payed a small fee to get in the reserve but it was worth it....

Walking across the sea wall in the to the entrance of Titchfield Haven, a few Sandwich Terns and Common terns flew off the sea and headed towards the reserve. Inside, we took the path told to us by the Chap at the visitor centre. The first hide held a lot of birders when we entered, mostly the kind helpful ones with an interest in young birders, but sometimes you get the one who just sits in the corner and does not say "hi" when you enter the hide ( I hate that!! Although they just might be shy...?). I have had my grumble now, so on with the birding...

Explosion in a gull factory!! thats the basic picture, just throw some in some numbered islands, hides, Terns, Gulls and loads of waders. Avocets, both the Godwits, Lapwings, Common terns, Sandwich Terns and countless BHGs and Herring gulls, all in good numbers and some with chicks ( Avocets ).

We left the hide after goggling at the sheer amount of birds after about half an hour in the hope to get me some more Lifers. In the next Hide it was almost deserted except for one of the elderly wardens and some photographers. I got out my Spotter scope and mounted it on my ( Crap ) broken Tripod and scannned the flats, BHG, BHG, BHG, another Black headed gull..... and..... very dark hooded gull with bright red bill!. First Lifer of the day and my new fav gull the Medditerranean gull. Then a few mins after that the Green sandpiper decided to show its self from behind the bend of the water, allowing me to get some great views in my scope. A second Lifer in several minutes, not bad for me........

( EDIT: turns out I did not see a quail on the way back to the car, so what could it of been? )

Friday, 10 July 2009

Titchfield haven ( part 1 )

This wednesday me and my Auntie decided to go a lot further afield birding than we usually do, All the way down to Titchfield haven, in Dorsets neighbouring county Hampshire ( been doing a lot of birding around these parts lately ). I hastly scribbled down the ( complicated )
directions from Google maps, climbed in the car and off we went....

Well as you probably guessed we got lost and had to ask numerous people around Titchfield where the reserve was, most of the people didnt have a clue! after finally finding someone who actaully had an inkling where the reserve was, it turned out it was only a few miles down the road!!!

Titchfield looked promising when we entered the visitor centre, the sighting board had, Green sandpiper ( potential Lifer! ), Common sandpiper ( potential Y Lister! ) and Mediterranean gull!!

( this going to be in Two parts because Mum is nagging for the computer at the present time, i will post the second part tomorrow... )

Monday, 6 July 2009

Photos from Blashford Lakes

Here are a few Photos from last weeks Birding at Blashford lakes, Hope you enjoy em Folks :)

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Nightjar success at Ferndown common ( finally!! )

Again and again I have been trying for Nightjars this summer but so far they proved way to elusive and we failed everytime. I was nearly on the point of giving up and putting my efforts into finding much easier birds for the LF list but me, my Dad and my Auntie decided to try one last time...

We sort of arrived a bit early on the heath at Ferndown common ( around 9.15 ) so we had to wait a little bit for the Nightjars to start their distinctive churring buzz. Around 9.50 the churring started, but further up the heath. Walking at a brisk pace towards the Calls, more started up around us and i was starting to get really excited on the prospect of another Lifer!

Moths flew low over heads as we edged slowly around the gorsh bushes towards some really loud churring coming from above us. perched on a wire in the setting sun was the distinctive shape of a new lifer, Nightjar!. I have said it before and i will say it again "patience is a must have" sadly mine tends to run out after an hour ot two of waiting lol.
Walking back in steadily darkening night, I got an even better view as I accidently flushed a couple of the them, which flew low over heads. A great end to some great night birding.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Blashford lakes Yesterday

Here is a quick review of yesterdays birding at Blashford lakes ( fab place! ). First port of call was the Tern hide, Little ringed plovers and lapwings with chicks were on the shingle, Common terns rested on the wooden platforms, Greylag geese were floating around with the Tufted ducks, Canada geese, Dabchicks, BHGs and Great crested grebes.

Next up was the Ivy hide which produced nothing ( had Bittern here a few months ago ).
The woodland hide produced more with suberb views of Nuthatch, Jays, a lovely female Great spotted woodpecker and the more common Tits and finches.
The other hides didnt hold a lot, except for some Sand martins breeding and a Weird looking Wagtail ( in the process of id ing ).

Tonight i am going looking for Nightjars at Ferndown, so I will let u know how i get on :)

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Terns and Scoters @ keyhaven ( part 2 )

Sorry about not posting this second part for ages but I have been really busy lately ( what with going to Wimbledon and the like) but anyway here it is..... :)
After adding the Scoters to my very, very, slow growing Life list I was on a pretty high note for the day and didn't expect it to get any better, but boy was I wrong! Leaving the young (ish) Birder to continue his scanning, me and my auntie walked the short walk to the inland pools that usaully held a nice variety of Waders, Gulls and Terns. Suprisingly there wasn't a lot about when we got there accept for some Redshanks, Curlews, Shelducks, Oystercatchers and BHGs...
But patience nearly always pays off - so we found a nice piece of comfortable ground, hankered down and snacked on our sandwiches ( tuna & vinegar, cheese & tomato sauce sandwiches for me, don't ask. ) After awhile patience did pay off and some distant Terns flew in off the sea. Plenty of Common terns at first but then I spotted a smaller Tern flying between the larger commons, with it flying closer to the bank we were sat on, we could make out a yellow bill and set of legs confirming it as a Little tern! Number two lifer for the day! AWESOME!! ( also later on we went to the Common terns breeding site down the end of Keyhaven, the terns were flying right over our heads, like a mini slice of the Farnes ) ,
The pics are of the Terns, Black headed gulls, Pied wagtails and Keyhaven...

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Terns and scoters @ Keyhaven ( part 1 )

The day started off quietly arriving at Keyhaven, a few Redshanks and the odd oystercatcher flew along the coast, a solitary Pied wagtail walked along the shingle and Black headed gulls drifted over head...

After about 5 mins of speedy walking we reached our usual vantage point for scanning for waders and seabirds ( we once had a family of seals bobbing around out to sea here ). A massive
group of Curlews were roosting out on one of the mini islands (around 60 of em!). After chatting to a young (ish) birdwatcher ( about what was around today ), he informed us that a pair of Common scoters were drifting along the edge of the sea line... ( a potential lifer for me! ) So he kindly scanned and located them on his expensive looking scope and let me have a look, Two duck shaped splodges well out to sea..... thats a good enough view for for me! another lifer!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Martin down ( bad! ) pics

Here are a few pics from Martin down, No 1 is a really crappy pic of a Stonechat, 2, 3, 4 are orchids ( please comment if you know what they are, I am rubbish at plants! ) and the fifth is a yellowhammer.....

you cant win them all

A trip to Martin down yesterday to look for Turtle doves was rather uneventful......
Upon arrival Swifts were everywhere ( worringly I have not seen many Swallows this year )
and warblers sang from nearly every bush. Sadly none of the "purring" coo which usually gives the Turtle doves location away was heard. Walking up the hill , skylarks hovered up high and a family of stonechats were just asking to have their photo taken ( I didn't manage a good photo though!!). A little higher up we met a helpful birder who told us that he had not seen much around but had heard some T doves singing down on another path. So after saying bye to the old man we headed back to the other path and made are way down - Whitethroats, Chiffchaffs, Yellowhammers and a lonely male Pheasant were the only birds seen. Arriving where the birder had heard them ,we waited for a few minutes but after awhile it started to rain, so we headed back to the car defeated and wet through.........

We did'nt manage the Doves but never mind, I guess you cant win them all,
A few photos to follow later on ( Don't expect em to be great lol ).

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Yearlist Update

I have not had anytime for birding lately so might aswell post an update on my lists for the year.
YR list: 114 (bad I know!!) highlights are as follows, Collared Flycatcher twitched at Portland (Candidate for the best bird of the year?!) Temmincks stint found at Blashford lakes ( i thought it was a Common Sandpiper at first! then some birders identified it for me..) Osprey found at a undisclosed site ( passing through to the Highlands no doubt as its no longer there ) and a Bittern at Blashford lakes ( best view ever! it walked out into the open in front of the hide setting off a million camera shutters!! ). So not that bad I guess......

My lifelist now stands at 141 but I am hoping to get loads of lifers when i move to spain like Griffon vulture, Lesser kestrel, Black winged stilt,Roller and loads more........

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Scarlet Tiger Moth

Oh, I forgot to add this pic I got of a Scarlet tiger moth, A helpful man at the Visitor centre i.d it for me............

A great day around Radipole lake!!

Well folks here is my first post to this Blog, I will try and make it as interesting as I can....

Yesterday me and my Auntie(she is the one responsible for starting my interest in Birds and wildlife!) Did the usaul 40-45 min drive all the way down to Weymouth to try for the elusive Cettis Warbler. On the way down a few Buzzards, Sprawks(dont you just love that name..) and
Kestrels were seen hovering and gliding over the countryside.

We did stop off at Abbotsbury Swannery to try for Bearded Tits but i would rather not talk about it (guess why..) Radipole lake was a different story within a few minutes i had spotted a Sedge Warbler showing and singing well in a bush next to the reeds, a NEW lifer for me!! (by the way its a wetland habitat) Relucantly i left the Warbler to continue the search for the Cettis...

Down the path as I turned a bend I accidently flushed a Warbler, which flew over the reeds, landed and burst into song. Well the song was a dead giveaway "YES" finally a Cettis warbler!!
and It only took me Four years to see one!!....... lol