Monday, 1 December 2008

Waxwings - Preston(Victoria Street) - 1st December 2008

Numbers increased to 74 by Mid-Day on the first of the month. A fabulous addition to the Cities Bird Life.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Waxwings - Preston(Victoria Street) - 30th November 2008

Statue of Sir Tom Finney with Icycles hanging off it!

For the third consecutive Day i was awoken to the sight of a pale grey frosting on every surface, and the air just screamed Waxwings. I knew that there were suprisingly decent numbers in Preston so we checked Stocks Road in Ashton first which drew a blank. Next stop was Victoria Street near to the Uni where even from a distance, the camouflaged Lenses of the assembled Cameramen/Birders ironically stuck out like a sore thumb. Present on Arrival were estimated c45 Waxwings...what a wonderful sight! I hope to visit here more often during the working week during my free periods at college


Saturday, 8 November 2008

North East Region - 8th November 2008

Black Grouse - Langdon Beck

We stayed in the centre of Newcastle on the evening of the 7th and headed back to Preston on the morning of the 8th stoping off at various sites to observe landmarks that the North East certainly isn't lacking! (the Bridges in Newcastle, the Opera house in Newcastle, Angle of the North, St James Park, Stadium of Light, Riverside, Transporter Bridge in Middlesborough, the Train Statue in Darlington as well as Teesdale High Force to name but a few!)

The Morning began with a spot of Sea watching with several decent birds turning up past Seaham south of Sunderland. Phalarops sp >S(presumed Grey Phalarope due to long wing progection and dark grey rather than almost black wings as on red necked...could not confirm however) 2 Black throated diver (lifer) >N, juv Gannet >N, fem Common Scoter >S, (and a rock pipit as my 'sea watching companion') but apart from that the sea watching was a little dull after about an hour so we moved on
Our next birding site was Langdon Beck near Barnard Castle but heading through Darlington a single Waxwing flew over the road next to the railway statue. At Langdon Beck, the Black Grouse were showing rather well until I got out of the car and all 24 of the males flew to a distant field on the hillsides. I did not locate any females just like last time.
On the trip home, I made a few sightings that proved quite pleasing and interesting. A female Kestrel was mobbing a male Merlin near Kirby Stephen, at Least 1000 Jackdaw flew over Kirby Stephen at Dusk making quite a racket and a large movement of Fieldfare over the moors as night fell.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

East Yorkshire(and the future 1st for Britain) - 12th October 2008

A somewhat frustrating trip was a result of a planned visit to the East Coast. We were hoping to have a really exciting day with target birds as follows: Spurn - Red Backed Shrike, Shore Lark, Yellow browed Warbler. Swine Moor - Pectoral Sandpiper. Tophill Low NR - Red Footed Falcon(subsequently identified as Amur Falcon Falco amurensis which if accepted will be a 1st for Britain), Slavonian Grebe, Red Crested Pochard.

On Arrival at Spurn, we stopped at the Crown and Anchor in search of any unlikely new arrivals in the recent South Westerlies, the best we could get here was at the church, with Redwing, Goldcrest in the bushes and a group of 140+ Tree Sparrow flying over.
At the observatory it was clear almost everything decent had cleared out in the recent clear nights; all that was left was a Jack snipe and Shore Lark. We only had 2 and a half hours on Spurn so we decided to walk to Chalk bank for the Shore Lark, not knowing just how far this was. On Arrival we had already used an hour of our time so we weren't particularly pleased to hear that it hadnt been seen since early morning. As we had walked all that way we thought it was necessary to have a check of the birds on the incoming tide and in amongst the commoner waders (Bar Tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Turnstone, Curlew, Knot, Redshank(as well as several Dark Bellied Brent Geese)) I managed to spot a presumed 1stw Avocet with 11 Oystercatcher. I am not entirely sure, but i think this is a scarce bird at spurn even though they breed at Blacktoft Sands.
Walking back from Chalk bank, I picked up 2 Great Crested Grebe flying south on the sea, 2 Little Egrets on the Humber and several Stonechat. No sign of the Jack Snipe at Canal Scrape sadly
2cy male Amur Falcon - Falco amurensis

Next Stop was suppost to be Swine Moor, but with increasingly dissapearing light and the fact we needed to be leaving by 5.00pm, we headed straight to Tophill Low to the NE of Beverley. On arrival in the Car Park we heard that the Falcon had just been seen flying over the Car Park(this was at 16.00) which was a promising sign, so we headed to the O reservoir which is where they assumed it was joy! 45 minutes of scanning at the res proved fruitless with the only compensation being a distant Slavonian Grebe on the res itself. we wandered back to the car stopping off at various hides on the way just in the hope of catching a glimpse. It was now 5.00 and we had to leave..I wasn't happy! On the drive out of the reserve we passed the entrance path to O res and saw two birders looking very happy. we stopped and asked them, 'Is it showing?', and this was followed by 'yeh, its perched, theres several birders round the corner looking at it now!' I suddenly turned into Usain Bolt! sprinting to O res with camera, scope and binocs. It was there! I couldnt beleive it - a fabulous 1st Summer Male perched with more than enough light to get all the distinguishing features. Shame that Cameras dont have the same light capabilities as humans...hence the picture quality ;)
On the evening of the 18th Octover, I was informed that the bird I saw has been reidentified as an Amur Falcon. I was filled with mixed emotions as 1. I had never heard of this species before. 2. I was aware it was a 1st for britain and 3. I was a little disapointed that I was not able to tick red foot :)
[Please Note] I will omit this tick in due course if the bird is not accepted...

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Rossall Point - 4th October 2008

Montage of 2 Juvenille Little Gulls at Rossall Point

A sea watch at Rossall Point is somewhat of a rarity for me, as I am quite loyal to Starr Gate. With 29mph SSW winds, I was hoping for my first Leach's Petrel. Unfortunately the birding was very dissapointing:
Rossall Point: 2 juvenille Little Gull, 3 Kittiwake, 2 Common Scoter, 3 Sandwich Tern, 15 Sanderling, c150 Turnstone, 5 Cormorant, Pied Wagtail

Fleetwood Marine Lakes: 320+ Turnstone, 73 Sanderling, 11 Redshank, 2 Cormorant

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Brockholes Wetlands LWT - 20th September 2008

with recent days producing a great number of migrating Honey Buzzards throughout the country, I thought I would make an effort at Brockholes as I would assume migrating Birds of Prey would use a major river valley such as the Ribble for direction. Before I had time to react, I received a text from Bill Aspin saying that John Wright had seen a Juv fly >SW...damn! maybe there would be more.

I went down and because of the last few days producing a juv Hobby on the back pits of the site near Boilton Woods, I headed in that direction. There were several assembled observers and we soon picked up the Hobby. This was by far the best experience I have had with a Hobby and I even managed to hear an Alarm Call as it was flushed by a fisherman. This is a nice late record and a promising bird...

Also on Site was 2 Snipe and overhead there were 7 Curlew and 3 Golden Plover >west, the latter being increasingly hard to see down at the quarry.

No Honey Buzzard but theres still time...

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Black Necked Grebe, Condor Green - 14th September 2008

Juv Black Necked Grebe and moulting adult Little Grebe - Condor Pool
Southern Hawker - Longsands, Preston

A nice addition to my Fylde list(now standing at 187) was a juvenille Black Necked Grebe at Condor Pool in North Fylde on the afternoon of 14th September. Also seen at my house was a Migrant Hawker, which was a nice late suprise.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Beacon Fell - Mountain Boarding photoshoot

A couple of friends of mine are looking to get sponsered by a mountain boarding team, and asked me to take a few photo's of them on beacon fell. They have already been asked to go and have a test run at a mountain boarding club in chester for a sponsership...

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Local Patching: Brockholes Quarry LWT 29th and 30th August 2008

Ecl male Drake(foreground) and juv Garganey
Juv Garganey
Ecl Drake Garganey
Juv Garganey
Juv Garganey with Ecl Drake in Foreground
Juv Garganey with Ecl Drake in Foreground

Two visits in two days to Brockholes is somewhat of a Rarity for me at the moment. A text from Bill Aspin saying Bill Gregory had an Ecl Drake Garganey on Main pool during the day prompted an evening visit on the 29th. within about 5 minutes I was on to the Teal group present and swiftly had the Drake. After another few minutes watching the Drake feed I noticed a teal with very boldly fringed tertials and and contrastingly 'black and white' head roosting. It began to feed and proved to be a Juv. Another 10 minuted passed and I again noticed an unusual teal roosting...another Juv Garganey. A great result for myself as i've never found British Garganey before to my recolection. Also onsite before I left was a 1st summer Hobby which flew over Main pool heading west.

On the 30th I made a morning visit to the site as the evening before the light was awful and my photographic efforts frankly laughable! unfortunately I was only left with the two Garganey as one of the juvs must have left overnight. I watched the two remaining birds with Allen Holmes and Mike Ainscough.

A nice way to get back into a hobby which has quite frankly flown away over the summer! (excuse the punn...)