Monday, 25 May 2015

Red-backed Shrike, Fairlop. 25/5/15

Any land locked patchworker will tell you that on the top of their want list, will be to find a stunning male red-backed shrike!   Alan Bell done that today!  Proving very elusive at first (well for 6 hours at least!) the bird finally gave itself up for all to enjoy.

Well done Alan, he has been watching this patch since the late 70's and has a number of quality finds to his name including a lifer back in the day for me, in the shape of a Hume's Warbler.

Today's Stunner!




House Martin 24/5/15

Whilst not seeing a broad-billed sand in suffolk,  Myself and Shaun had great fun taking some House matin shots,  These birds were busy collecting nesting material in Dunwich car-park.













Red-necked phalarope and Bittern were also seen at Minsmere and plenty of Dartfords on the heath.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Ringing 23/5/15


Fairly quiet ringing session this morning numbers wise, as expected for the time of year but a nice selection of species none the less.  With twenty new birds rung, including both Green & Goldfinch and Great spot and Pied wagtail alongside Chiffchaff & Blackcap the highlights.



















Thursday, 21 May 2015

Herons & Egrets

Spent yesterday afternoon ringing Grey Heron and Little Egrets, from a local colony, always great fun with these prehistoric looking creatures!

Despite being Shat & Regurgitated on, can really never get enough of these little fellows.














Keep a look out for these colour ringed birds please.





Grey Herons are never to happy being plucked from there nest.




My list of regurgitated items in the face is coming on nicely now, with goldfish to add onto last years crayfish!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Mayesbrook Raptor Fest!

Rainham was absolutely dead all weekend!  Despite me adding two ticks (Sanderling alongside 3 Dunlin on Saturday) and a single Jay (not common here) along the seawall (migrant?) on Sunday, it was really terrible considering we were entering the third week of may!  What has happened to our wader passage this year????



Anyway, Sunday was a bit of a raptor fest in the south east, with many reports of Red Kite and Buzzard moving.  I decided to venture to Mayesbrook Park, which is just a few minutes walk from home.  In less than twenty minutes I managed to pick up a very high Red kite heading north, patch tick and long overdue, as only been watching the park for 28 years!  Two Buzzards an hour apart were probably only 2nd & 3rd records.









Crows always the good giveaway!


Friday, 15 May 2015

Banding on Vacation

I was very lucky to team up with Andrew and the gang at the Wekiva Basin Bird Banding group whilst on my holidays last month, see here: www.wekivaband.blogspot.co.uk

A very nice site located next to Lake Lotus (just north west Orlando) and just a 45 minute drive from where we were based.

Both Sunday morning sessions were fairly quiet in ringing standards, but I was very fortunate to band several Grey Catbirds, and process some other retrap species.




Carolina Wren


Grey Catbird




Common yellowthroat



female Cardinal

Several of the nets rides were out of action due to the breeding Barred Owls that were busy looking for food for their two new youngsters!





Adult Barred Owl






Managed to get a few life ticks here too, the highlight being a Blue-headed Vireo.

A big Thank you to Andrew and the gang for letting me tag along.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Thursley Common 10/5/15

So, the plan was to head down to Hampshire to go see the greater yellowlegs, that seems to have taken up residence (very on and off) at Tichfield.

I suggested to Monkey that we have a stroll around Thursley Common, and wait for news. This was a great plan, as it wasn't long before we were enjoying fantastic views of all the surrey heathland specialities, Woodlark, Stonechat and Tree Pipit all in full song.

Even managed to find three and a half pairs of Dartford Warblers.  This site was wiped out of this species several years ago due to a couple of harsh winters.





Redstarts were singing everywhere and even managed to find a pair nest building.






Nightingale was a species I have not seen here before and we had at least two singing males.  Red Kite flew over, still a fairly scarce bird here I believe?  Several Hobbies appeared once it warmed up.




A great mornings birding, and with negative news on the legs we headed home for some well earned browny points.