Tuesday, 30 September 2008

My Lesser Scaup in the latest BB rarity report!

Yesterday I got my new copy of BB(British Birds) and was pleased to see that my record of the Lesser Scaup I found at Eyebrook Reservoir last year had been accepted.
I might not be a very competent birder but at least I can now die happy that I finally found a BB rarity!
Hopefully next week when I'm on Shetland I might have the chance of finding hopefully one more BB rarity?

Lesser Scaup photos originally supplied from Matt Berriman.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Leicester City v Hartlepool United 27th September 2008.

As the rare bird sightings on the east coast had died down a bit, I decided instead to go and watch Leicester City play Hartlepool United at the Walkers stadium on the Saturday.
I must thank Rich my mate from my school days, who had a spare ticket for this match.
Although most of the match was pretty uneventful, except for Leicester scoring in the third minutes courtesy of Matt Oakley. I was quite impressed with the young Welsh player Andy King in midfield (maybe a star in the making?), and of course the two Liverpool reserves David Martin in goal, and Jack Hobbs in defence. However the man of the match was Lloyd Dyer on the left wing who was a constant threat when ever Leicester went forward.

After the match myself and Rich (Rich's wife Nicole had given him permission to stay out late!?!) checked out the Crit for a couple of beers and then we went on to Nila palace for an excellent curry.

Fudge Duck at Sence Valley FP 28th September 2008.

Due to me going to the Football the previous day, I didn't get to see the Ferruginous Duck at Sence Valley FP until the Sunday morning.
I arrived at around 9.30am and slowly walked up the Stonebridge Pool with Paul (one of Groby crew) where the bird had been previously reported.
When we got to the hide a couple of birders were looking at the bird which had just appeared in front of the hide.
As you would expect I phoned the news out about the bird and also took a few record shots of the duck.
Joined by Allen Pocock a few minutes later we watched the duck as it behaved like a proper diving duck( happy now John!) instead of the usual view you normally get of head tucked under its wings and fast asleep!
Please with the views I had, I then moved on to Swithland Reservoir to see the long staying Juvenile Red Necked Grebe feeding as usual next to the dam before nipping home for a few minutes and then straight on to work.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Great Snipe at Flamborough OMFL!! or maybe not? 13th September 2008.

Little Stint by a puddle!

Myself and Ben Croxtall, decided to check out the Yorkshire coast as the weather forecast the previous few days had looked good for a fall on the east coast.
Starting at Spurn we took a slow walk up Beacon Lane to look for migrants. Half way down the lane, we met another Birder who put us on a migrating Osprey, which was slowly drifting down the point.
Reaching the end of the lane, we scanned the fields and saw a couple of Whimbrels feeding in the long grass.
Moving on to Beacon Ponds, it was pretty quiet on the wader scrapes except for a couple of Black tailed Godwits and four 1st winter Med Gulls roosting on the shoreline.
Whilst sitting in the hide we spoke to another birder who let us know that a Great Snipe had been found at Flamborough Head. This was confirmed via my pager a couple of minutes later, and the next organised search for the bird would be around 11.00am.
As it was quiet at Spurn we made the decision to go up Flamborough to hopefully see the Great Snipe.
Although we missed the first search at 11.00am which the bird showed in flight a couple of times, we arrived in plenty of time for the next search which was at 2.00pm.
So with an hour to kill we had some dinner at the nearby cafe and then had a quite look at the Little Stint which was feeding at a nearby puddle!
By 2.00pm a reasonable crowd (this included my birding mates Dave Mack and Jez Robson) had gathered just below the Lighthouse for the next search. We then followed the local birders who had found the Snipe slowly across the set-a-side field.
On the first sweep, no bird appeared but on the second sweep the group flushed the "supposed" Great Snipe. Although the weather conditions were not great, as most of the headland was covered in sea mist what I saw of the bird in flight, it looked larger than a Common Snipe, was barrel-chest, looked longer winged and looked more like a thin Woodcock. Also the bird did not call when it was flushed from the ground, and flew more like a Jack Snipe in appearance. Slightly worrying I did not see the white wing bar on the bird, but the weather conditions didn't help here!
In conclusion it was probably the biggest anticlimax I've had this year of seeing a lifer!? (please see the end of the account).

After the Great Snipe flush myself and Ben walked up to the Old Fall hedge to check out to see if any migrants had been grounded by the weather conditions.
Walking down the hedge we saw at least four Redstarts, three Pied Flycatchers, two Spotted Flycatchers feeding along the hedge and in the famous plantation. Also we saw good numbers of Whinchats and Wheatears in the surrounding fields.
Around this time I got a phone call from Jez Robson to let me know that 2 Wrynecks were feeding in vegetation just below the Lighthouse.
Moving to the lighthouse we were soon viewing the Wrynecks as there feed on the clifftop vegetation.
Other birds in the area included a Pied Flycatcher, two fly-by Arctic Skuas and a Garden Warbler.
A few minutes later, we heard that someone had claimed a Booted Warbler in fields opposite the Old Fall hedge, so walking up the road, we joined the crowd in the nearby field.
At this point the two bird theory came into play as a Garden Warbler was claimed as the bird, then another Garden Warbler was also claimed to be the Booted Warbler, and finally another bird was also claimed to be a Booted Warbler!!!
In hindsight I wish the birders the best of luck who are going to submit this record, as me and Ben walked away from this farce none the wiser?!?
As this was the last highlight of the day as usual Flamborough came up with the goods and just showed how good this site really is.

A couple of weeks later I heard that the birder who had claimed the Great Snipe was now withdrawing the record, so it looks like I would have to wait another year to see or flush a Great Snipe!!

Bird sightings over the week

Here is a list of sightings I have seen over the last week.
5th September 2008:
1 Swift at Watermead CP South
6 Black Terns (3 Adults and 3 Juveniles), and 2 Hobbies at Cropston Reservoir.

6th September 2008:
6 Black Terns and 1 Little Egret at Cropston Rservoir.
2 Black Terns and a single Hobby at Swithland Reservoir.

7th September 2008:
4 Little Egrets at Cropston Reservoir.
5 Hobbies at Swithland Reservoir.
1 Black Tern,1 Eclipse Drake Garganey, 2 Little Egrets, 6 Knots, 15 Dunlins,1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank and 2 Ringed Plovers at Eyebrook Reservoir.

9th September 2008:
1 Female/1st winter Pied Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 3 Chiffchaffs and 2 Blackcaps at Croft Hill.

So basically over the week I saw a year tick in the form of the Pied Flycatcher at Croft, good numbers of Black Terns away from Rutland Water and an assortment of waders at Eyebrook.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Work, Work and more Work!!!

As I finally come to my last six months of nurse training, I have been snowed under with loads of work at the moment both on my placement and the theory work in the form of two assignments to be completed in the next week or so.
So the wildlife sightings will be on the back burner for the next few weeks until I go to Shetland in early October when hopefully myself and the Drunkbirders will again found some top notch BB rarities?!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

It's Autumn, Bird sightings over the last few days!!

Over the last few days, It looks like Autumn migration has finally kicked in with good numbers of Waders and Passerines reported from different sites in the county.
Here is a list of bird sightings I have seen in the last few days.

29th August 2008:
Cropston Reservoir:
4 Greenshanks, and 1 Oystercatcher.

Cossington Meadows LRWT:
1 Spotted Flycatcher by the main track, 1 Whinchat(male?) on the "Moor", 3 Crossbills flew over Hobley Pool in a north west direction at 16.45, 1+ Redstart (possibly two birds?) in the hedge between Tern Pool and Moor Pool and 1 Common Sandpiper on Plover Meadow.

30th August 2008:
Cossington Meadows LRWT:
2 Whinchats in the large field(Swan Meadow) opposite the Moor and main track, 1 Wheatear on fence posts between Plover meadow and Lower Moor.

Cropston Reservoir:
1 Little Egret and 1 Greenshank viewed from the dam end.

31st August 2008:
Swithland Reservoir:
2 Hobbies noted over the reservoir.

Cossington Meadows LRWT:
1 Whinchat still on Swan meadow large field, and two Green Sandpipers on the Upper Marsh.

Eyebrook Reservoir:
4 Little Egrets, 3 Little Ringed Plovers, 3 Dunlins, 10 Greenshanks, 1 Green Sandpiper, 3 Snipe and 1 Eclipse Drake Garganey.

Watermead CP South:
1 Black Tern and 3 Swifts.