Birdbrain Stuff

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Beach and Shoreline Search

Decided to hunt down the south coastline again before doin a bit of gift shoppin for her indoors.
Fresh in were more Swift with a couple of Swallows. These were over shadowed by a bird flitting around a beach thorny bush - Lesser Whitethroat. In turn this was put into place by a crackin male Black-eared Wheatear. Pity it was very flighty hence no photo. Stonechats ever present, couple Linnet, 1 Common Sandpiper & 12 Turnstone.

Taking a turn off into Crossbill Wood it soon became apparent the Crossbills dont know about it , unlike the Serins & Greenfinches.
I took this pic with the mobile bone to show how I can skillfully detract from the striking appearance of Mr & Mrs Audouin.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What A Finish

...to a slow start. One of those days when yer not really up for it and things avian are sluggish. The salinas just down the road had a pr of Green Sandpiper fresh in and a Marsh Harrier in the distance. Pr Marbled Duck still present alongside the other species. Then it was monotonous for a couple of hours in the Albufera itself. Few Spotted Reds & Greenshank, BW Stilts, 4 Avocet, LRPs. I realised main passerine migration will be next week so I slowly loped away from the last hide - Marsh Harrier, Blue Headed Wagtail, Swallow.

I then got the necessary uplift; Osprey! low down but obscured partly by the treeline. The exit track follows the river so I kept looking up as the bird had flown in this direction. 15 minutes later I encountered 4 reserve wardens looking rather excited. "Aigle" one said to me and pointed across the river "Osprey" I rejoindered reaching panic stricken for the camera.
The bird was perched on a rock busily eating a rather large fish it had just caught and was in range for photographs. Needless to say I shot a few off and am pleased with the results. Modern cameras  have Wifi inbuilt and can upload pictures within minutes. Mine doesn't and can't so I'll just have to wait a week to post 'em.

2 Common Tern to round the session off.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Wish You Were Here

Yellow Legged Gull

Here is a photo of 1 of 2 YLG's I saw today on the beach. The other was far more active than this which I am sure has developed Norwegian Blue Parrot syndrome.

Can Picafort South

Decided to have a slow meander down the coast in the hope of Wheatear, Black Redstart etc. A female Black Redstart obliged after 20 mins and I managed a couple acceptable pics. 1 Whinchat, 3 Stonechat, 3 Sardinian Warblers, Coot, Moorhen, House Sparrers.

A female Mallard on the sea had a cluster of mallardettes in tow. A Little Egret flew S and as I compose at this stage, 1 each Common Sandpiper & Kentish Plover are in among the shoreline rocks. Got my first visual of Crested Lark here, normally the're a first day bird.

Audouins Gulls c10, YLG 2 One flying t'other restin. 1 Cettis Warbler, ditto Greenfinch, 2 Cormorant (1 Sinensis). Another Crested Lark, 6 More Stonechat, similar Sardinians.
I never did get any Wheatear sp. but am I bovvered? Noooo because fresh in from the sea was a Tawny Pipit that gave itself up for a couple pics. Muyo Stonkorama et felicidades!
Also fresh in a pr Swallow and Yellow Wagtail.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Humdrum Day

Actually that's a euphemism for bl**din sh*t day.
Started with a nightmare bus trip to the sharp end that had to be aborted. I thought it was low season; tell that to the tourist plague that broke out.
I decided to go local in order to calm down. This worked because the cool NW'ly that has embellished the UK suppressed bird action here. A fair portion of waders have moved elsewhere and there were no raptors seen. However I got my first Stone Curlew and one of the normally half hidden Nightie Herons showed itself preening.
5 Sardine Can Warblers together was also rather unexpected.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Third Day Slog

Must admit I'm getting cheesed off with this incessant chasing around of migrants now. I missed a couple today and realised that mebbe its a good thing; save some for later so to speak.
3 Common Tern, 4 Purple Swamphen, pr Green Sandpiper, Dunlin, more LRP & Kentish, 3 Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, pr Avocet, 3 Night Heron.

It never rains it pours; Marbled Duck count now up to 8. This is the same count for YLG also. I just realised the lowest species count for a common duck here can be awarded to Wigeon!
A Great White Heron showed well enough for reasonable photos. Other ticks for here include birds we get a few of at home: 1 BHG and pr Tufted Duck!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Quieter Day

Out of necessity I slowed down to a beach saunter this morning. 8 Audouins Gull, 3 YLG, 2 Cormorant, 10 Turnstone, c14 Sardinian Warbler. 2 Sandwich Tern, 5 Linnet, 1 each White Wagtail & Meadow Pipit, 6 Stonechat.
2 each Little Egret, Coot. 3 Blackbird & Greenfinch. 1 Goldcrest a few Serin, less so Goldfinch. May have had Rock Thrush but brief views in flight so lettin it go. 1 Thekla Lark feeding  under a pine tree.  2 juvenile Tortilla er Tortoise and the brush of a Fox disappearing into the bush.

When I get back I am going to bombard blog world with many Audouins Gull pics. To me one of the worlds most striking seabirds, mmm that red bill and those green legs. Wish I had a girlfriend like that.

This place is ok, I went to the gym for a steady 6/7 min work out then spent an hour in the wellness clinic on the defibrillator.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Somewhere Sunny

Loads of Serin. Few Chaffinch. Greenfinch, Goldfinch, 1 Linnet. 4 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, Dunnock, House Sparrows. YLG. LRP, RP & Kentish Plover. At one stage a troop of c25 were whizzing around. Good numbers Teal, Shelduck, Mallard. Swifts seen first in am but by pm Swallows came thru then Sand Martins.
4 Stonechat, 2 Whinchat, 4 Zitting Cisticola (sounds like a dermatological problem).

Got a life time mega MARBLED DUCK with some photos too. Reacquainted with Red Crested Pochard around 5 prs. Similar Gadwall, Shoveler and Wigeon. c3 Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Black Kite, Hoopoe. A pr Kestrel were mobbing a crackin light phase Booted Eagle.
5 Yellow Wagtail sub sp e.g Blue Headed but not any Whites, interestingly.

10 Black winged Stilt, 2 Redshank, 1 Grey Heron, c12 Little Egret. 4 Coot, 2 Red Knobbed Coot, 2 Moorhen, Little Grebe.
LSW singing as were about all the Cettis Warblers in Spain. Chiffchaffs, 3/4 Sardinians and a green job that could have been Melodious Warbler will have to be unclaimed. At least 2 Moustached Warbler were blasting away and I may have had a couple of Great Reed grunts but by now I've had enough.

If  this pace keeps up I'm gonna need a holiday.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Soil Hill to Ogden

First Grey Partridge of the year on the top. Down the bottom pond were 2 Grey Heron, 2 Moorhen, 1 each Mallard & Teal. 6 Lapwing, 2 Curlew, 1 Blackbird in the vicinity. Also 1 each Goldcrest, Jackdaw, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Robin. c12 Meadow Pipit, similar Skylark.

Ogden: 2 gulls lbbg by the sound were mobbing a Buzzard high up. It drifted off E over Bradshaw. Curlew, Oystercatcher, Goldeneye, Grey Wagtail, Canadas, LBBG &  few small gulls.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Raggalds to Ogden Res

Bloomin hard graft this am at 0930 hrs in a stiff NW'ly blow. Raggalds has had it, despite still holding water there was just a Mallard and a Pied Wagtail seen.
Soil Hill: 1 each Curlew and Kestrel, 2 Pied Wagtail, c12 Skylark, 1 Moorhen and a few Meadow Pipit.

A couple of Curlew could be heard as I walked through the plantation at Back Lane and on the return leg here lookin for you know what I was happy to find the Little Owl pr engaged in vocal declarations of love (I think). Others here couple Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Woodpigs.

Ogden Res still has the drake Goldeneye present and a rather brown Cormorant on the buoy. This bird had no breeding patches and I was tempted, given the NW winds to think about Double Cres,,,, relax folks, I ain't goin there.
Gulls were down to c6 BHG and similar Common. Canada numbers started at 7 eventually growing to c13.


Desperate to find birds, I trekked up to GT where my effort was rewarded with my first visual of Red Grouse for the year. A Curlew was present along with a Meadow Pipit but nowt else.

Well done to DW for making the effort to find the Surf Scoter still in Filey Bay, a bird I've consigned to mythology.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Swalesmoor and Shibden

A cool grey morning at 0925 hrs with a E/NE'ly breeze suppressing most action. There were no gulls at all seen throughout the walk.
I went to the spot on Thursday where I'd seen a presumed Black Redstart but despite two separate attempts nothing was present. Of course the surrounding area of old buildings and quarries could easily swallow up such a bird.

On the bright side I got my first Linnet of the year - a singing male nr Ploughcroft. Here also were 5 Goldfinch, 2 Chaffinch 1 each Bullfinch & Greenfinch and a few House Sparrers. A couple of Skylark and a Meadow Pipit plus corvids were on the tops.

Shibden was lethargic, picking up a bit towards the end. However I did manage 2 Fieldfare my first in a while. 2 GSW drumming, 2 Green Woodpecker calling, 1 each Grey Wagtail, Bullfinch, LTT & Song Thrush plus other expected Woodland denizens.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

More Queensbury South

I ventured out tempted by the blue skies and sunshine, arriving at the area of no birds around 1440 hrs. Then lo and behold some 40 minutes later the birding god waved his wand: Grey Wagtail, Jay, GSW drumming, Green Woodpecker being green, 2 Buzzard, Song Thrush, 3 LBBG, 1 Skylark and expected woodland types singing hymns (mebbe even hers).
I went on to get a brief view of a rather special bird that I'm hoping lingers for a more positive id in the very near future. Another sleepless night to follow?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Soil Hill to Ogden

SH 1240 hrs. Stiff E'ly breeze blowin. Small waterfowl type unid on far left bottom pond. Common Snipe, Curlew, 6 Lapwing, 3 Stock Dove, 5 Skylark, c15 Meadow Pipit, c330 Starling. 1 Greenfinch, 2/3 Goldfinch.




Ogden Res held 1 drake Goldeneye, 1 LBBG, 8 Common & 3 BH gulls, 14 Canada. Woodland birds were 1 each Coal Tit, Gt Tit & Blackbird, few Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Robins, Dunnocks.


A Little Owl was perched on a wall; its calls could be heard 250 metres away. 1 Curlew overhead, c25 Woodpigs.
On the way back to Queensbury Bradshaw coughed a Song Thrush up, some more Golfinch and a couple of Greenfinch whereas Oats Royd was a non event.

Monday, March 14, 2016

North Yorks Birds

I was fortunate enough to fill the front passenger seat as DW decided to  check the Wykeham Forest Raptor Watchpoint.
3 Buzzard seen on the approaching road.
3 GOSHAWK sightings one including Goshawk and Buzzard in the same frame.
Kestrel, Siskin and good view of singing Marsh Tit. Bullfinch.




Scalby Ness was the next stop for the AMERICAN WIGEON which took some finding but thanks to a local birder we were pointed in the right direction. I couldn't believe my luck when the bird came within the outer limits of camera range.




Also here were Oystercatcher, Kittiwake, Curlew, Redshank and a multitude of Eurasian Wigeon.




3 Mediterranean Gulls (Scarborough South Bay) and other expected coastal gulls. Sparrowhawk, 1 each Cormorant & Shag. Rock Dove, RLP.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

South Queensbury

1105 hrs on a glorious Spring morning so why was it hard to find birds? A good example being not one Single gull sp. until I reached Swalesmoor.
3 each Skylark, Pied Wagtail, Green Woodpecker. 1 Jay. 2 dendrocopus woodpecker sp. unseen close together calling very weakly. 2 Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk.



2 Mistle Thrush singing as were 3 Blackbirds. Dunnocks and Robins also exercising their vocal chords, less so Chaffinch. About 5/6 of the latter plus 6/7 Goldfinch seen along with pr Stock Dove and Woodpiggies..

Swalesmoor held scores of caaawvids but only 8 gulls. 5 of these were small species and 2 out of the other three larger birds weren't identified thanks to the presence of strong sunlight in my retinas.. However I did manage a dark backed adult LBBG heading NE.

Perhaps we could purchase this as a home for orphan Peregrines?
The walk from Ploughcroft via the bridle path back to the Queensbury end proved a bit disappointing; just 3 Meadow Pipit, 1 Blackbird, couple Goldfinch seen. We usually have c12 Linnet showing themselves by this time of the year.
Upon reviewing this post I admit to feeling churlish; I should really be glad it was an enjoyable days walk.

Monday, March 07, 2016

South Yorkshire Exploration

Thrybergh Country Park approx 1025 hrs courtesy of DW. c35 Greylag Goose.



WATER RAIL a pr seen very well. 2 Herring and 4 LBB gulls plus hordes of  smaller. Muscovy Duck, 2 Pochard, few Tufted Duck, pr GC Grebe, 5 Little Grebe, pr Mute Swan, Coots, Moorhens. Also few Tree Sparrows, couple Reed Bunting, Bullfinch.



Old Moor RSPB - where do I start; perhaps a random ramble will suffice. A superb adult summer plumaged MEDITERRANEAN GULL surrounded by hordes of screaming BHGs.


3 Shelduck, c8 Wigeon, c 12 Teal, c20 Shoveler. The most prolific duck was Gadwall by far, a number Tufted Duck present and a few Pochard.



c50 Lapwing, 5 Oystercatcher, 2 Redshank, 4 Canada, 1 each Grey Heron & Little Egret. 1 f Goldeneye. Passerines were active around the feeding stations: 3 cracking YELLOWHAMMER, several Tree Sparrows & Reed Bunting. 4 Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch & Chaffinch, 1 Siskin, LTTs Gt & Blue Tits, Blackbirds. On two occasions Robins alighted on my hand. One left immediately and trotted over to the mealworm tray, t'other took a seed and spat it out in a breath. Note to self: they do possess a beak more suited for insects/worms!
The Med Gull was a lifer for Dave and well deserved too. The M'way on the way back was graced by a Buzzard.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

South to Shibden Valley

Approx 1325 hrs mainly for the exercise as birds were at a premium apart from one fortunate blip. The local fields were devoid of bird life until I got down to the junction of Corporal & Green Lane where a pr Canada Geese reside. A small party of  LBB & 1 Herring Gull were heading NE, mirroring a similar movement this morning minus the HG.
Then it got good, a pr Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk were playing above the nearby fields. This didn't last beyond 7/8 minutes and subsequently there was nothing to see. I went right down to the bottom of Simm Carr Lane and turned up Lee Lane then walked along Swalesmoor Road with nothing worth mentioning apart from a few LTT and a pounding heart.
Tip: If you ain't done Lee Lane for a while, run up and down Perseverance Rd 4/5 times for the conditioning.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Blacktoft Sands

Quiet start which evolved into an interesting afternoon with DW.


4 Mute Swan, c12 Siskin, Tree Sparrows, 2 Stonechat, Chaffinch, Redshank, 4 Oystercatcher, c25 Snipe, c55 Lapwing, c35 Golden Plover, Kestrel,  Sparrowhawk, SEO, Barn Owl 2, Marsh Harrier 5. 2 Hen Harrier 1m & 1f. c60 Greylag, 1 Cormorant, c70 Wigeon, c50 Teal, c20 Pochard,




4 Goldeneye, 6 Tufted Duck,  8 Gadwall, c16 Shoveller, c12 Shelduck, 2 Little Grebe, 3 Reed Bunting, Coots. Moorhens, few Pheasants, BHGs, 3 Skylark, Song Thrush singing.

To compliment a great session we witnessed a Chris Packham special a huge murmuration of Starling doing their shapeshifting shuffle. Also Brown Hare as we were leaving.
Yet again my thanks to DW for the journey.