Saturday, 30 October 2010

Vis-migging from the Mammoth again!

Over the last few days I have continued to do some vis-migging from the mammoth viewpoint at Watermead CP. The highlights have included a Soar valley tick in the form of a Rock Pipit noted flying over the viewpoint on the 27th, with good numbers of Starlings(1411 birds) and two late Swallows seen on the same day.
Today highlights from the mammoth with John Hague in tow included an impressive movement of Wood Pigeons (727 birds) down the valley in the first hour and more Starlings (795 birds) over the two hour watch.
Full details of the watches are here:

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

What the FooK!! part 2

Taken from Euro spotters and Surfbirdspotters tonight:

"just two new species have occurred in Britain and 

EASTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (at Pelistry, St Mary's, Scilly - KEV et al)

SCANDINAVIAN ARCTIC REDPOLL (a first-winter on Shetland)

Can you tell what the FooK are the above birds? As I thought there were just a YELLOW WAGTAIL!? and an ARCTIC REDPOLL!?!

Fooking bird spotters!!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

What the FooK!!

Taken from Birdspotters forum: A great quote about an unidentified seabird!!!

An intriguing report, which might be summed up as "Bird sp, almost certainly rare".

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Vis migging this week: Fieldfares Galore!!

On Wednesday and Thursday this week I was once again on the Mammoth viewpoint for a bit of vis-migging.
The outstanding highlight of these two days was the passage of Fieldfares down the Soar Valley. On the Wednesday 2291 Fieldfares passed down the valley between 9.00am and 11.45am, and then the next day another 1760 birds passed through between 8.30am and 11.30am.
Other highlights on the two days included a skein of 120 Pink-footed Geese flying over Leicester on the Wednesday and a notable movement of Finch species through the valley on the Thursday which included at least three Bramblings!
The full account of what was seen over the two days is logged at the trektellen website here:
and here:

Monday, 18 October 2010

This week I've mostly been... Vis-migging,counting,counting and seeing a few things

Ring Ouzel at Bardon Hill
Brambling at Wanlip North
Well with a week off from work I have been down the local patch on most days, Vis-migging from the mammoth, a trip to seaside to find migrants (Gib Point NNR) and finding a few local "Scarces".
10th October:
Highlights of the day included a good passage of Redwings (835 birds) and Skylarks (108 birds) over the mammoth in the morning and seeing a Little Egret in the afternoon on the wildfowl count at Watermead CP North/Birstall.
Full Details are here:

11th October:
A trip to Gibraltar Point NNR today, was actually a little bit poor really. On the migrants front I saw quite a few common migrants but the only birds of note I found were a couple of Ring Ouzels in the east dunes!
12th October:
A little bit quieter over the mammoth today, but I did have a Soar Valley year tick in the form of a migrating Brambling! The only other noteworthy sightings I had included three Goldeneyes flying North and a Swallow and Pintails in the other direction.
Full details are here:

13th October:
A change of scenery today due to the Watermead South car park gates being locked!
 I ended up at Deans Lane,Beacon Hill for some Vis-migging with Allen Pocock,Andy Forryan and Andy Howes.
The highlight of the morning was a close-by fly over Hawfinch at 09.55am.
Full details are here:

15th October:
Today I checked out a few more sites today which included Burrough Hill CP for a late morning Vis-migging session and the Charnwood reservoirs.
Looking around Burrough Hill CP for migrants it was pretty quite, so I decided to vis mig from the trig point from 10.30am as I had noted good numbers of Redwings and Skylarks migrating overhead.
Then at around 11.30am I noticed a Bunting flying south low over the escarpment and calling. This is when panic kicked in as I knew that call straight way as I had heard it all last week whilst on Shetland. The bird was a Lapland Bunting!! As the Lap Bunting flew in front of me the features I could see included the dark mark around the ear coverts on the face and the spotting on the breast. I watched the bird until I lost it from view over the far ridge heading in a southerly direction towards Whatborough Hill.
Then realisation and self doubt kicked in, a single observer seeing a rare bird for Leicestershire for only a couple of minutes as it flew south it will be hard to convince the rarities committee, oh bugger another description to write!?
I phoned Andy Mackay about the bird to put it out on the twitter feed, as I was 99% convinced the bird was a Lap Bunting?
After the previous minutes of panic and brief notes of what I had seen, I regained my composure and watched until 1.00pm.
Full details of the Vis-mig is here:
In the afternoon I checked out a few sites as previously said above and found a female Red-crested Pochard,Pintail and a showy Water Rail at Swithland Res South section.

16th October:
Back down the Soar Valley and the sightings I saw today included another Brambling(see the photo above) with the Linnet flock at Wanlip North Lakes,and a Green Sandpiper on the nearby fields.
Then following a phone chat with Ben Croxtall I drove over to Bardon Hill, as Andy Forryan had found at least three Ring Ouzels on the mound.
Scaling the heights of Bardon Hill it took me just over an hour to find the Ouzels as usual there skulking buggers at the best of times!
View from the track above the mound, I noted that in fact there were four Ring Ouzels on the mound which included two males, a female and a juvenile/1st winter type. As I knew that these were good birds to see in the autumn I phoned and texted a few people of the sighting.

17th October:
Due to me watching the Tigers playing the Scarlets in the afternoon for a little rugby match with Colin Green, I spent the morning doing a circuit of  the Soar Valley and Charnwood Reservoirs.
Sightings included the long staying Red-crested Pochard, an eclipse male Garganey, 3 Mandarin ducks and two Green Sandpipers at Swithland Res South section.
The only other highlight of the morning was a singing Cetti's Warbler at a new site in the Soar Valley!

So I'm finally up to date on the blogging front and back to work today for the late shift. My time off work has been great and over the next couple of weeks will be putting in plans for next year's Shetland Trip!!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Shetland Highlights: Some snaps

Here is a few photos I took last week on Shetland:
Sumburgh Head from the Pool of Virkie, Marsh Warbler at Levenwick and a Siskin at Sumburgh Quarry.

More shots of the Lancy!

Here is a couple of more shots of the Lancy and the Twitch!

Caption Comp: Tw*tt at a Bus Stop!?!

Taken from the world famous Bus Shelter on Unst, here is the new caption competition!
Comments are welcome:

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Lancy OMFL!!!

Well on our final full day in Shetland we started by doing a bit of vis-migging in the garden of Melstadr and then the phone rang to let us know that the Lanceolated Warbler was still at Skaw on Unst. So the wacky races began as it was a lifer for all of the drunkbirders! After catching two ferries to Unst via Yell we were on site by early afternoon. Initial the bird didn't show but after a couple of minutes and me changing my shoes the bird showed fantastical well as it crept along the field edge like a mouse!!
As the bird disappeared back into the long grass, it was high fives all round with the other birders and then a steady drive back to Lerwick for the ferry in the evening.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The Swainson's Thrush at Levenwick Quarry?!

Taken from Euro twitch and Surfbirds tonight: I THINK SOMETHING IS MISSING MR LGREGOS!!?!

It has been SHETLAND which has been making all of the headlines in the past 
week and with up to 160 observers scouring every nook and cranny of 
suitable habitat in search of rarities, an impressive haul has been unearthed. 
The star of the show still remains that snowball of a first-winter 
remains at Esha Ness and a presumed SYKES'S BOOTED WARBLER is still being 
fleetingly glimpsed at Channerwick. The Out Skerries continue to host both a 
BLACK-HEADED BUNTING and a CITRINE WAGTAIL, with the two juvenile 
BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS still by the lighthouse at Esha Ness machair and at least 
two LITTLE BUNTINGS remaining on Unst. Elsewhere, a scattering of 
Yellow-browed Warblers, Barred Warblers, Lapland Buntings and Common Rosefinches.

So what's this then?....
Thank you Mr Drunkbirder aka John Hague for the photo!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Shetland Highlights: Milky Tea and Swainson's Thrush!!

The Swainson's Thrush Twitch
Well sorry for any updates recently but the house in Shetland does not have any WiFi!! So basically what we have seen has included some Yellow-browed Warblers,a Marsh Warbler,good number of Autumn migrants like Bramblings, Siskins and Redstarts. However the highlight of the trip so far was us finding a Swainson’s Thrush at Levenwick Quarry!!!