Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Great White Egret & Spoonbill - Leighton Moss, Carnforth - 29th August 2007

Great White Egret (and two Great Black Backed Gull)

The Resident 3 Spoonbill

Obliging Dunnock

2 Little Egret and Grey Heron

I managed to get to Leighton Moss today for a mid-morning 'Twitch'. The Main aim was the Great White Egret that has been present since c08.34 on Monday. Although a Personal target was to get the bogey birds that are the 3 Spoonbill that have eluded me every visit since My first visit of the year in about March.

Upon Arrival at Eric Morcambe Hide, there were several Birders already present with Telescopes all facing the same way, this drew my attention to a mute swan, with another white bird next to it. It was the Great White Egret. Scope View were more than acceptable, but with the busy hide and sun being nearly behind the bird, the photo's were not that amazing but along with the views, acceptable. I was just pleased to see the bird. Next I scanned with binoculars after about 5 minutes watching the bird, There they were, all 3 Spoonbill roosting together with a fantastic adult Spotted redshank running about next to them! I wonder if now on, as with other bogey birds, i will see plenty of Spoonbill? Along with a large group of Black tailed Godwit and Redshank, plus the lancashire record flock of 27 Little Egret (although only 22 were present) the Eric Morcambe complex was thoroughly enjoyable. After another 10 or so minute watch of the Egret and Flight Photo's of the Spoonbill, We moved onto the visitor centre after this and had dinner, then spend time in the car park watching a silver birch tree with a wonderful variety feeding in it - 4 Nuthatch, 4 Willow Warbler, 2 Marsh tit, and 5 Goldcrest.

A truly thrilling 3 hours spent at the reserve, with the only downer being that I did not see the pair of Curlew Sandpiper that have been present this week. If I had seen them, I would taken my Year List up to 200! I am on 199 now after today, but I hope to tick Tawny Owl in My local woods tonight!

Monday, 27 August 2007

Starr Gate - Blackpool, Lancs - 27th August 2007

A Mid-Morning Sea Watch Off the Southern most point of the Blackpool Promenade at Starr Gate Was Quite Productive.
Species seen - 2 Guillemot, Red throated Diver, 5 Manx Shearwater, 4 Wigeon, 21 Cormorant, 4 Gannet, 16 Sandwich Tern and an Arctic Tern.
Guillemot - This was the only tick of the day - Having only seen this species so far this year in Scarborough in mid-January

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Autumn migration begins in Longsands, Preston - 26th August 2007

Lesser Whitethroat
Coal Tit
A fantastic hour from 08.30-09.30 produce a migratory flock of tits and tag alongs! This flock was feeding on the silver birch and feeders in my garden.
Birds consisted of 14 Blue tit, 8 Great Tit, 4 Coal Tit (by no means common in my garden) and a Long Tailed Tit (again, irregular) This flock which I initially saw was really good, but it was not until I started trawling through the leaves of the Birch, that I found a Willow Warbler, then a second. Next to come was a fantastic Lesser Whitethroat (a Garden Tick, and a bird I struggle to see easily) the birds calmed down for a while until i checked another Willow Warbler, and noticed the round head, not too obvious Supercillium, and black legs, to make it a Chiffchaff. Finally the bird that pleased my parents more than anything was a juvenile Bullfinch (5th Site record)
A Truly fantastic Hour and one I shall remember for a long while. I' glad I have some photo's to share!
(P.S. I am still glued to my garden as I did hear a possible Spotted Flycatcher, but I won't get greedy!)

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Not so Wilson's Phalarope, Co.Durham - 18th August 2007

After a morning in the North Yorkshire Moors between Pickering and Grosmont (where I saw a pair of Short Eared Owl) we decided to head North West on the A1 towards Durham. The site that the Adult Wilson's Phalarope had been frequenting for the past week or so, was south of Durham off j60 on the A1, at Bishap Middleham, on a flooded pool next to the Sewage works called Castle Lake.
On Arrival the visibility was quite poor due to the driving drizzle, but once next to the pool we were able to scan the pools with relative ease. Unfortunatly the Phalarope had not been seen after 09.00, so we were told on arrival...
Although the bird was not there, I did still enjoy it, as there were still plenty of waders - 6 Greenshank, 6 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 3 Ruff and 3 Snipe.
On Arrival back home, I found out that whilst we were at the site, the bird was seen less than 5 miles away near Catterick Racecourse, which we past on the way home!

Friday, 17 August 2007

Autumn begins at Brockholes Quarry - 17th August 2007

Pesumed immature Little Egret

Little Egret is a traditional bird for August at the Quarry, but with such deep water and vedgetation on any islands at the moment, I would have thought that they would be reluctant to land. However this is not the case, as an Immature was found early afternoon by Robin Shenton on the former compound on the flooded scrape with 2 Grey Heron.
I managed to see the bird at 18.09-18.30, although I arrived at 17.00.
During the period of 17.00-18.09, I looked elsewhere around the site and came across a flock of 31 Linnet, although suddenly I noticed a call - 'twiite'. I picked out the bird with my binocs by the lack of white in the primaries. It was a Twite - a patch tick, and quite an exiting one at that. Annoying the birds were quite flighty and before I got chance to get a decent view of them landed, they flew south west towards the compound.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Catalonia, NE Spain - 5-15th August


Flights from Blackpool Airport with RyanAir took my family and I to Girona airport in NE Spain. we hired a car and set off to our accomadation for the next ten days in Roses (Rosas), although we actually were staying at Pau, which is a small village in between Roses and Figures.
We got a mid Morning Flight so we were able to spend the whole afternoon at our house. There were plenty of Birds about and just around the house, inc. olive groves, I picked up 25 species on the first afternoon, highlights on the first day were Serin, Cirl Bunting, Bonelli's Eagle, Short Toed Eagle, Nightingale, Pallid Swift, and Melidious Warbler and another two in the evening(these were Sandwich Tern and Black Headed Gull) to get me up to 27.

Short Toed Eagle


Again, today I pretty Much Stayed around the Villa, and picked up on Golden Oriole behind the house on the Hill, Bee-Eater, several of which we flying overhead calling, Woodchat Shrike, Sardinian Warbler, Alpine Swift overhead, and Hoopoe.

Ad Spotted Flycatcher

Sardinian Warbler(fem/imm)


Today, the Birdwatching began, with a early morning visit to one of the Two main reserves in the Rosas Area, and one of the the most important wetland areas in the Whole of Spain - Aiguamols de L'Emporda. this really was an excellent site, well compared to last year, when there was no water due to draught, I picked up some Lifers which were Target birds - Spoon Bill, 2 Night Heron, 2 Great White Egret, juv Purple Heron, and Marsh Sandpiper, also Greater Flamingo, and Kentish Plover were nice additions to the list.

(From right) Grey Heron, White Stork, Greter Flamingo, Spoonbill, Black Winged Stilt
Black Winged Stint (and Swallow)
Curlew Sandpiper(near), Little Stint

Little Egret

Kentish Plover

Great White Egret

Greater Flamingo

The Day ended with a round of Mini Golf in Rosas, with the constant harsh squark of Monk Parakeet which breed in the town.


Again on the 8th I just stayed around the house, but a mornings run through the olivegroves produced Woodlark and a flock of 100+ Serin and Cirl Bunting



Today I went to Rosas Harbour as Last year produced upto 15 Mediterannean Gull, but this year there was only a single 1st Summer moulting to 2nd Winter, also on site were Yellow Legged Gull, Black Headed Gull, Lesser Black Backed gull, and a single Meadow Pipit

Various Gulls at Rosas Harbour (Black Headed, Yellow Legged Gulls and Imm LBBG's)


Today we went on a Day trip to France. This allowed us to travel through the Pyrenees, and some French 'Steppe' highlights were Griffon Vulture, Goshawk, Black Kite, Roller, Black Redstart, and Crag Martin.

Griffon Vulture
Black Kite
Also en-route, we saw White Admiral, Scarce Swallow Tail, two Tailed Pasha, and a very Obliging Swallowtail


A large increase of Temperature to 33oC meant that more Birds of Prey were About, so Buzzard was added, and a nice goup of 3 Bonelli's Eagle were seen.

3 Bonelli's Eagle


Again, not much Birding was done but a group of 5 Spotless Starling flew over the house, and landed in a nearby Tree.


Cap De Creus was Today's Destination. We were too late or even too early in the day for Shearwaters, so that was dissapointing, but Blue Rock Thruch, Thekla Lark, Tawny Pipit, Dartford Warbler and Spectabled Warbler lifted the spitrits.

Cap De Creus - From Lighthouse Cafe

Thekla Lark

Also this Mallow Skipper showed well


Today was our Last Full day and we still had quite a few places that we could have gone to. We Decided to head for the second Aiguamolls - Estany de Vilaut. This is a much smaller reserve with only one hide.

Like last year the pool that the hide overlooks was dry, but the grazing Horses aloud me to get decent views and pictures of Cattle Egret. there we about 100 Bee Eater in front of the hide, and Crested Lark were feeding on the dry mud. Seen on the way back from the hide to the car was a Short Toed eagle on a Pylon which looked fantastic.

Cattle Egret

Short-Toed Eagle

Whilst at the Estany de Vilaut, we got a 'tip off' about a site near the village of Villajuiga. The site was part of the Cap De Creus National Park, and was a cork oak Woodland. Here I got my first ever views of a pair of Eastern Orphean Warbler, I was so overwhelmed by the warblers - target of mine for a few years, that I didn't actually take any photo's! Also on site were Spectacled, Subalpine, and a Western Bonelli's Warbler, which was another tick, and to make the third tick of the site, a Rock Thrush was seen on a hill side adjacent to the Woodland. A Possible Botted Eagle dissapeared before I was able to confirm the ID.

After this site we carried on the road towards the mountaintop monestry of San Pere de Rodes, which was amazing! Possibly the nicest site I have ever been birding to. Here there were no ticks but a very tame Woodchat Shrike aloud stunning views, and dartford warbler were obvious in the heather.

San Pere De Rodes

Woodchat Shrike

As this was not a Birdwatching Holiday, I was pleased with my final Trip List total of 106

Great Crested Grebe

Little Grebe


Night Heron

Cattle Egret

Great White Egret

Little Egret

Purple Heron

Grey Heron


White Stork

Greter Flamingo




Black Kite

Short Toed Eagle

Griffon Vulture

Hen Harrier

Marsh Harrier


Common Buzzard

Bonelli's Eagle

Common Kestrel

Lesser Kestrel

Common Pheasant

Red Legged Partridge


Common Coot

Blackwinged Stilt

Ringed Plover

Little Ringed Plover

Kentish Plover


Curlew Sandpiper


Temmink's Stint

Little Stint



Eurasian Curlew

Spotted Redshank

Marsh Sandpiper


Wood Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper

Common Sandpiper

Black Headed Gull

Mediterranean Gull

Yellow Legged Gull

Lesser Black Backed Gull

Common Gull

Sandwich Tern

Feral Pigeon


Collard Dove

Monk Parakeet

Alpine Swift

Common Swift

Pallid Swift



European Bee-Eater

Eurasian Roller


Crested Lark

Thekla LarkCrag Martin

House Martin

Red Rumped Swallow

Barn Swallow

Meadow Pipit

Tawny Pipit

White Wagtail



Black Redstart

Blue Rock Thrush

Rock Thrush


Reed Warbler

Cetti's Warbler

Fantailed Warbler

Melodious Warbler


Sardinian Warbler

Eastern Orphean Warbler

Dartford Warbler

Spectacled Warbler

Subalpine Warbler

Western Bonelli's Warbler


Willow Warbler

Spotted Flycatcher

Great Tit

Woodchat Shrike




Golden Oriole


Spottless Starling

House Sparrow

Tree Sparrow




Cirl Bunting

Friday, 3 August 2007

Twitching China Town - 3rd August 2007

Copyright - Adrian Dancy

Of all the places in Britain, I never would have thought that I would be twitching in the centre of Manchester in China Town. I mean there are like 10 trees at most, But the Presumed Eastern Olivaceous Warbler seemed to have been drawn here, possibly due to the foreign trees in an alien environment. I suppose it was like a Heligoland Trap in the centre of the City, without the Net.
This proved to be the case with there being no trap, as i got onsite for 08.30, and there was only one other birder on site, who had not seen it, but had seen a warbler briefly which could of been it.
At 9.15, several birders had come and gone, but at this time I was the only birder. suddenly a blob appeared in the tree. It was a warbler, I could tell on jizz alone. I had to go and investiget further, surely there can't be many warbler trevvelling through the centre of Manchester. and that was it, after a quick flight view and a 0.0000001 second perch, the bird had gone...was it the bird I was after...well never know.
Throughout the day several birder had come and gone but with no luck. I started talking to a birder who after about 5 minutes, I suddenly realised I knew him - Gary Jenkins, who was a Lancaster Birder. we both stayed until 1.15 and called it a day. He dropped me back in Preston.
We got talking about the bird that I saw, and I described the general jizz of the bird, i.e. the appearance and behavior. I mentioned that it was quite a large bird, bigger than a chiffchaff or Willow Warbler, and was behaving like your usual warbler woul be. He did say that does sound like it could be that, but annoyingly my view were not conclusive and I am unhappy, but confident to say, that I dipped the Manchester Ollie.

At the beginning of this post, I said "the Presumed Eastern Olivaceous Warbler'', this is because the bird yesterday was first reported as a Melodious, but after a decent view of the bird, this was definatly not yellow in any way. Mid-Afternoon came and the hippolais warbler was narrowed down to either, Syke's or Eastern Olivacious, why not Western, I have no Idea!

It was certainly a strange experience, even though I dipped it and also the pair of Black Redstarts that have bred this year.