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 ) :)