Sunday, 19 October 2014

Great Grey Shrike - Halstow Marsh 19/10/14

Nice start to the North Kent winter bird surveys today for me and Mo, With us picking up Short-eared Owl, Merlin, two Lapland Buntings and pick of the bunch this fine Great Grey Shrike which was feeding on crane flies on the west side of Egypt Bay.

Plenty of Bearded Reedlings, Good numbers of Stonechat and several Green sands were best of the rest, at least 4 Northern Wheatear still around and a couple of Swallow through.

 A Steady passage of Chaffinch (all west) was noted throughout today's survey to.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

More Shetland Goodies

This Little Bunting at Boddham was very mobile and was one of several on mainland during the week, Ive managed to see this species on all three of my autumn Shetland trips.

This Great Grey Shrike was a Shetland tick for me and was also very mobile.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Eastern Bonelli's Warbler and OBP

A reported western Bonelli's warbler at Scalloway last Friday sparked a late afternoon twitch for our team on mainland Shetland.  With the bird giving us the briefest of views before the light faded we were eager to connect better views of this bird in the morning, before our departure.

Saturday morning, our last few hours before our flight home, we made our way to Scalloway after a brief stop at Wester Quarff in search of a Little bunting that was showing well the previous evening. We searched the crop field to stumble across a possible candidate - only to discover flushing an OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT in the process.  BOOOOOM our persistence finally paid of with all the hours in the field.

The Bonelli's Warbler played ball a short while after, giving good views up in the canopy, although it didn't call while we were present.  A few local guys clinched the call to reveal the bird as being an EASTERN BONELLI'S!!!!  A new bird for me if eventually accepted?

This Olive-backed pipit was seen the previous day and was a great find for young Sussex birder
George Kinnard who's team included Baggers, J Hanlon and A lawson who then found a second bird! Great to see two birds together, shame my picture doesn't do it justice :-)

Monday, 13 October 2014

Its not all rare

Shetland is a Mecca for rare birds, depending on if you pick the right week!!  But its not all about rare birds here, its great to see scarce passage migrants too.  Living in East London its not everyday you see such birds as Siskin and Bramblings.

This year was a Brambling year, with flocks seen daily along with smaller numbers of Siskin.  Two years ago it was a Redpoll year.

We had both Long-Eared & Short eared owls (2 of each) the former which Monkey found poking his nose over a stone wall, and a second bird found by Rob Fray at virkie willows which showed a tad better!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Yellow-Browed Warbler - Shetland

No less than twenty five of these little gems were seen over our weeks stay, this confining individual was seen at geosetter where up to four were present.

Siberian Rubythroat - Levenwick

So news broke of the male Siberian Rubythroat the day before we were due to arrive on Mainland Shetland, this was music to our ears especially as the mid weeks Whites thrush and myrtle warbler had both departed.

Arriving at Aberdeen airport and just about to board our connecting flight to Lerwick news broke of the bird still being present.

An hour later we were dropping our luggage at Sumbrugh lighthouse (our base for the next week) and travelling the short distance to Levenwick.  The weather was grim, drizzle and a fairly brisk wind and after a couple of hours no sign of the bird despite at least 50 birders surrounding the small garden it had taken residence.

Cold and wet we decide to move on, a few hours past and all we could muster were a couple of Yellow brows.  Then news came through that the bird had been relocated just 1/4 of a mile away in another garden.

Back in Levenwick we find the crowd huddled in someones driveway where the bird had been seen. Some brief views were seen but the bird didn't really give itself up for another hour or so, showing superbly under a small sycamore.

We saw the bird daily but again all brief views, and wasn't until Tuesday that the weather really turned awful and there was no news of the bird by 11am,  We decided to past by and give it a go from the car, it was lashing it down very windy but the driveway was fairly sheltered from both sides, we parked blocking the drive still sat in the car we was amazed when the bird showed just after a couple of minutes and performed well just for the four of us.

These pics were taken in poor light and awful conditions but what a performer!!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Late Brood

Saturday's ringing session looked like to be a washout with heavy downpours and thunder & lightening on arrival at the farm, shortly after 7am the rain had stopped and we got the nets open.

First round produced my first ever Jay along with a few Goldcrest which were also the first ones of the Autumn.

47 new birds in total included several more Meadow Pipits and a couple of Blackcap.

Nice surprise was a late brood of Barn owls from one of the boxes around the farm containing five almost fully flrdged birds, which are about to leave any day now.