Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Another Sunday. Another trip round the Fylde - 25th January 2015

Second calendar year Pomarine Skua
adult Mediterranean Gull
4th calendar year Iceland Gull

Had a nice jaunt out on Sunday around the Fylde again to pay homage to the Pomarine Skua. After seeing photos of it flying around last week, I was hoping it had made some crazy recovery, but it seemed to be in the same condition when I saw it on Sunday, so perhaps if just a wing strain rather than a break. Also present were an adult Med Gull and a cracking flock of 120+ Twite.
I then went down to Lytham crematorium and saw a single Ring-necked Parakeet. 
I ended the day at Marton Mere looking for the Long-eared Owls, but was unsuccessful. I was repaid for my efforts by a cracking 3rd winter Iceland Gull which dropped onto the mere for less than a minute! Very lucky indeed.
The Big Garden Birdwatch also saw me see a Blackcap, so that was four yearticks in a day. Not bad!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Filley O'Fisk on the Fylde - 18th January 2015

 Great day out on Sunday with Jonnie Fisk around the Fylde. It began at Rossall Point where Jonnie got a lifer in the form of the long-staying Shore Lark. It performed remarkably well and even started feeding with Turnstone at one point!
After this we moved onto Knott End where we came across the Twite flock. These lifted form the marsh and landed on a hotel roof which was novel!
Next we went to Cocker's Dyke and joined an assembled crowd of 20 to see the juvenile Pomarine Skua which had been present for six days or so and wasn't looking in the best of shape, feeding on dead Mallard, Pigeon and Common Gull. The skua had what seemed to be a broken left wing, but as it was flying ok the day before, I wonder how this happened? It was an extremely showy bird though and therefore very educational indeed. A shame to see such a powerful predator in such a vulnerable state. As we were about to leave a wild swan flock flew over mainly consisting of 15 Whoopers, but 2 Bewick's added extra excitement. Always a pleasure to see
Finally, we headed to south Fylde and saw the end longer staying Great Grey Shrike which showed really nicely, despite the unforgiving photographic conditions!
Outside of the Fylde, we ended the day at Parsonage Reservoir where we saw the juvenile Great Northern Diver which is always a nice bird to see, especially in land and in Lancashire.
Great day.

Harlem Globetrotter - 17th January 2015

After heading up to Arctic Norway last year, I've got a bit of a thing for Arctic ducks! When a Harlequin Duck turned up in Aberdeen, I felt it was completely necessary to go and see it! I couldn't get there the first weekend and I was working during the week, so Matt Bruce, Jonnie Fisk and I drove up in the early hours of Saturday morning to go and see it. When we arrived, there was a film crew there filming Chris Packham and Martin Hughes-Games for Winterwatch, which was somewhat novel, but that's not what we were there for!
To begin with, the duck was playing a litle hard to get in a hard to view meander. It was still doing exactly what I expected it to though by playing around in a torrent like a professional kayaker. Later on, it decided to hang around with a couple of Goosander and eventually moved into the more open water. From here it sat right in the open on a rock, preening itself. When it came back into the water, it was drifted downstream by the current and much to the surprise of the assembled crowd, came and stood on the rocks about 5ft away from us! A truly remarkable encounter of a bird that, given such close views, is truly beautiful! If it happens to stay until the spring and moults into full adult male plumage, I will certainly have to have a return journey! What a brilliant twitch with two of the best birding companions a loner like me can ask for!

December in short!

I've been dormant for too long! I've been very busy over the last couple of months. December was mainly taken up with a target of 6000 Birdtrack records, which I acheived and therefore broke the 30,000 barrier for 2014. 
I ended the year in style with a trip to Pugneys for seconds of the Blyth's Pipit which showed superbly well. Pretty much as soon as we left the site, there was news of a Little Bustard flying around East Yorkshire. As soon as it was confirmed, we were well on our way and within an hour or so, we joined the assembled crowd of about 50 to see a Little bloody Bustard sat in a field eating Kale! What an insane bird and one that I really didn't expect to get on my life list anytime soon! A truly crazy bird that, at times, looked remarkably like a Hare!

In addition to this, I FINALLY joined the Caspian Club having seen a superb 2nd winter bird at Chasewater Reservoir on the NGB Gull Day in early December. This is a bird that I've put in more hours than I care to remember to look for, so it felt so good to finally see it. They say, you should never meet your heroes, but in this case, I'm so glad I did! Stunning bird!