Monday, 27 February 2017

Bluethroat and more

Decided to head up for the long staying Bluethroat at the weekend but the first stop was a stop for a little Bunting at Great Barford where an area has been seeded for it and also helping the local finches with a good numbers of Linnets and Finches feeding on the seed along with the Little Bunting which was giving good scope views but often liked to feed on the edge so was tricky to see at times. Also around the river a flock of Siskins were in the trees and a Water Rail was heard calling from the river.

Then headed up to Willow Fen NR where there were lots of Swans out in the fields on route though seemed to be all Mute Swans. At the reserve the Bluethroat popped out every hour or so but when it did it showed really well hopefully it will stay around to grow into full plumage seems quite happy with its easy food source at the moment rightly or wrongly.

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1st winter Bluethroat

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Then walked around the reserve where there were plenty of singing Reed Buntings and Wrens and good numbers of Teal and Wigeon and a Marsh Harrier was seen hunting over the reed beds.

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Singing Reed Bunting
 Then drove back via Deeping Drove as the river can be quite productive no Swans today but had a hunting Barn Owl, a group of 5 Goosanders and to my surprise a Long-tailed Duck.

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3 of the 5 Goosanders (4 were male)
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Long-tailed Duck








Sunday, 5 February 2017

Diving up north

Last weekend decided to go and visit the Pacific Diver and see a few other interesting birds in the area first stop was Druridge Bay Country Park few birds around were a good numbers of siskin feeding in the tree tops and a Few tufted Ducks and a Lone Goldeneye on the lake before we had distance view of the Pacific Diver fishing showing off it black flank. After a little time it came a bit closer as it started fishing and caught some small fish possible Sticklebacks before it drifted out into the middle of the lake before it flew down the lake.

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Pacific Diver Fishing

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Then a stop at the feeders around the centre was productive with some decent views of the Tree Sparrows.

Then headed down to the Quay at North Shields for the Gulls but was surprised to see find so many eiders with over 20 seen.

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Male Eider in the Quay
Around on the roof were at least two Young Glaucous and a Iceland Gull which finally gave itself up after working around the fish market as a few tame Turnstones were running around almost at my feet. A good number of Great Backed Gulls of different ages were loafing around and a nice young Guillemot was seen on the walk back to the car.

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Glaucous Gull in flight

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Iceland Gull in flight

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Guillemot in the river
Final call was Skinnigrove as a eastern form of a Black Redstart had been here for serveral months was too good an chance to miss once a got there thee light was fading and the gulls were coming into roost with big numbers of Black-headed Gulls and Common Gulls offshore next to the rocks while a few Redshanks were on the beach and the Fulmars in the cliff were showing signs of getting ready for spring and a few Rock Pipits and Stonechats were within the rocks but after a little while the Redstart gave himself giving some great views to end a great day out.

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Eastern Black Redstart
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Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Winters special at Rye Mead

Decided to have a afternoon at Rye Meads started off well at the Lapwing hide with 2 Peregrine showing well but distance on a Plyon. Then sit in the hide for a bit where after a while snipe started to come out of the undergrowth with at least 7 seen while out on the field a few Fieldfares were feeding and a lone Grey Heron was hunting while on the main stream a Kingfisher did a nice flyby while on the edge of the reeds at least one Cetti's Warbler was singing and a few Tits were feeding.

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Peregrines on Plyon 

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Snipe on the ice

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Blue Tit on the reeds
Then walked up to the Draper hide where I had distance views of the Water Pipit and a Water Rail was showing well feeding along the edge.

Then headed to the Kingfisher hide where a lovely Bittern was hunting along the edge of the reeds and occasionally showing itself and catching the old fish on the reed edge it did this for about 15 minutes before suddenly flying off. After the show a Cetti's Warbler had a nice sing and showed it self which is rare for this species before I had some stunning Wrens views has it feed on the reeds.

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Hunting Bittern

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Wren feeding in the reeds

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 Then ended the day at the Gadwall hide with some nice views of a Grey Wagtail and Green Sandpiper feeding on the shore edge while slightly further out a nice flock of Shovelers and Gadwalls and a lone Common Gull.

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Feeding Grey Wagtail
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Green Sandpiper in the water
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Sunday, 22 January 2017

Frosty morning at Tyttenhanger

After a early morning station drop decided to have a walk around the lakes so started at willow farm lots of gulls out in the farm field with lots of Common Gulls and a few Blacked Headed Gulls but the highlight was a brief view of wintering Caspian Gull which was loiting at dawn with the gulls.

Then walked around the lake and with the ice big numbers of Shovelers and Gadwall's were around the 1st Island which was the only unfrozen section of the lake. In the trees a big flock of Fieldfares were mixed with Goldfinches and Linnets.

Then walked around to the main pits when i saw 3 Tree Sparrows around the natural nesting hole they used last year so looks promising for this year. Around the pits the frozen weather had made the plants look very attractive in the frosty conditions.

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Frozen Plants

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Frozen Reeds

On the main pit itself the Caspian Gull really stood out with the other gulls as it was so large even next to a group of Herring and Lesser backed Gulls. Also out on the scape were a few Lapwing and a pair of Little egrets but no sign of any Great White Egrets and at the back good numbers of Teal, Shovelers and Gadwall's.

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Gull flock with Caspian in the middle
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Then heading back past Willow Farm Lake a Goosander gave a nice flyby and agood size flock of Redwing were seen feeding in the woods.

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Goosander flyby

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Batford Springs Walk

After the new year St. Albans RSPB had its annual early morning new year walk to Batford springs which started off well with a raven seen from the car park. Then headed off to the the river where a few Goldfinches where showing well and a nice flock of Starlings were feeding in the trees. Along the river itself a few Moorhens and Mallards were feeding while a great view of a Grey Heron was seen hunting staying motionless still while in the trees above a mixed tit flock was seen with a few Goldcrest and a Nuthatch was calling nearby.

We then reached the bridge by the mill were for a few lucky people we had a nice view of a Kingfisher. We the entered the meadow were a few of our group had some nice views of a Bullfinch while out in the farmers field a big group of Redwings and a few Fieldfare where seen feeding.

The last point of call was to the mini reservoir where a few Pied Wagtails were loiting with a big group of Black-headed Gulls while on the nearby pond a pair of Little Grebes were seen. As we headed back as the sun came out a Grey Wagtail popped out briefly showing well in the sunshine.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

New year day birding

With rain forcast for most of south england decided to head for Dungeness first stop was to head for the stonechat area but due to the windy conditions brief views of the European Stonechat was had as well as a few linnets over. Then on the nearby pits a Slavonian Grebe was found in the Tufted Ducks.

Then headed to the beach for a spot of seawatching from the car 1 Caspian Gull was found in with big flock of gulls. While out at sea lots of Guillemots a single Razorbill and a few Gannets were flying out past before a few Red-throated Divers and Great Crested Grebes were seen before a Kittiwake and a Little Gull were seen distantly out on the skyline.

As the rain was getting worse decided to head for the main RSPB reserve and the shelter of the hides. First stop was the dipping pond and the Long-eared Owl showing well. 

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Long Eared Owl

Then stayed over the burrows pit for a while where had some nice views of some Goldeneye, a lone Redhead Smew and a Goosander were the highlights of the the winters ducks. Then ended the day at Scott hide where I had some great views of the Water Rail feeding some of the best views I had of this species.
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Water Rail


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Sunday, 18 December 2016

Winters birds around West Hyde

Last weekend had our local RSPB walk around the lakes of West Hyde near Rickmansworth. A productive start with 23 species seen from the cars with the highlight a nice flock of Redwings and Fieldfares. We walked to the lakes where there were a nice section of winter waterfowl with a good number of Pochard, Gadwall, Tufted Ducks, Great Crested Grebes and a few Shovelers showing well in the winter sunshine before a pair of Egyptian Geese landed.

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Lake reflecting

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One of many pochards in the water
We then walked up to the canal where we had views of a Jay in the woodland. We then walked along the canal where Grey and Pied Wagtails were showing well while a Cetti's Warbler was briefly seen and a nice Sparrowhawk flew over.

We then walked backalong the River Colne where a Chiff-chaff was found and a few Great Spotted Woodpecker called while overhead a few Red Kites and Buzzard where seen hunting while a Song Thrush was found singing away as a few Meadow Pipits flew through.

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Chiff-chaff