Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Waders in north east spain

In march had a few days in Spain mainly bird watching a few highlights of the waders mainly from Delta del Llobregat and Aiguamolls de l'Empordà.

Below a few of my favorite birds from Aiguamolls de l'Empordà

spain0053a
Spotted Crake at Aiguamolls de l'Empordà one of a least two birds
spain0061

spain0071

spain0083

spain0088


spain0100
Black-winged Stilts at Aiguamolls de l'Empordà
spain0110



spain0406


spain0147a
Yellow Wagtail Iberian form at Aiguamolls de l'Empordà
spain0114
White Stork at Aiguamolls de l'Empordà
Below a few of my favorite birds from Delta del Llobregat 


spain0420
Purple Swamphen in flight

spain0706
Pair of Audouin's Gulls
spain0010
Common Waxbill (not a native but a looker)
spain0037
Greater Flamingo flock 19 in total
spain0427
Cormorant close up 

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Blows down

A nice early morning walk with the RSPB on Sunday at Blows down we first walked by the paddocks with lots of singing birds in the spring blossom and lots of Blackbirds in the paddocks. Alongside the paddock had good views of a singing Blackcap and a Song Thrush. Then walked along the bottom where we had a view of a Female Wheatear feeding in the grass and a few singing Blackcaps and Chiff-chaffs and 2 Linnets seen feeding in the field grass.

We then walked up the hills were quite a few Skylarks were in song and a few Meadow Pipits were flying over. Walking up to the chalk pits with a good view of Dunstable and Warblers in full song with a Willow Warbler been heard in the distance.

After a friendly account with a few of the local cows we walked to the golf course and back were we saw a few Yellowhammers and a few Butterflies out on the wing.

We then headed back across the hills where a group of Buzzards were soaring in the thermals when a Ring Ouzel flew across the path and landed in a nearby tree allowing everyone to get a good view of this migrant before we ended the walk with a nice view of a singing Meadow Pipit


Thursday, 6 April 2017

Early spring around Stockers Lake

Had a nice walk around stockers lake  which started well with a brief peregrine along the River Colne and walking to the causeway plenty of Wrens, Chiif-chaffs and Blackcaps singing.

stockers0001
Early morning spring blossom

stockers0008
Singing Blackcap

stockers0023
Singing Wren

stockers0011


Then from the causeway lot of activity with lot of singing birds with Grey herons and Little Egrets passing by overhead and a brief view of the pair of Oystercatchers and the Cetti's warbler was singing which I finally to see and quite a few Waterfowl still out on the water with Shovlers, Red-crested Pochard and displaying Grebes around .

stockers0103a
Grey heron in flight

stockers0109
Little Egret in flight

ajsteele-grebe-02-04-17-stockers
Great crested grebe

stockers0066
and landing

stockers0095a
Cetti's Warbler.
Then had a quick walk around Springwell lake where i head a Reed Warbler and 3 Goldeneye were still around before a walk on the farmland at West Hyde where I had a good but brief view of a Tree Pipit doing its display to end a good morning.

stockers0115
Goldeneye pair

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Through the winter at the Watercress beds

Near my work the small but nice nature reserve of the watercress beds was quite produtive over the winter period with a healthy flock of Finches mainly Siskin which are heading north now but only had 1 Redpoll over the winter period this year.

ajsteele-siskin-24-02-17-watercress
Posing MaleSiskin

earlydec0116
Redpoll in the alder

earlydec0108

Also this year will the cutting of willow trees near our central pond the usually wintering water rail has been alot easily to see.

railetc0065
Feeding Waterail

railetc0062

As the winter turns to early spring the wrens start to get more vocally and I had a few sightings of the Little egret and a first for me with a pair of Grey Wagtails seen in the stream rather than just fly over.

willowfenetc0120
Singing Wren

parkwatercressmar0019
Grey wagtail along the stream

parkwatercressmar0027

And finally one of the Stock Doves near the new feeder area where I had had 3 Sparrowhawks fly over in February calling.

parkwatercressmar0032
Stock Dove in the grass




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.

willowfenetc0035
1st winter Bluethroat

willowfenetc0051


willowfenetc0062


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.

willowfenetc0008
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.

willowfenetc0078
3 of the 5 Goosanders (4 were male)
willowfenetc0107
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.

northern0081a
Pacific Diver Fishing

northern0083a


northern0085

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.

northern0167
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.

northern0192a
Glaucous Gull in flight

northern0197

northern0176
Iceland Gull in flight

northern0179


northern0217
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.

northern0329
Eastern Black Redstart
northern0285