Monday, 30 May 2011

Wet Whit Monday

A typical Bank Holiday today, with rain right from the start.
We made the usual trip up to Notts to see mother-in-law and luckily enough the weather eased enough in the afternoon for me to take my usual look around Attenborough Nature Reserve.

 Lots of birds had young, including Mute Swans, Greylags, Canadas, Mallards, Coots and Moorhens.
A pair of Shelduck were seen along with half a dozen Red-crested Pochard, a fair sized flock of Gadwall and the usual Egyptian Geese.
Egyptian Goose
 The wet weather had brought down lots of Swifts and these were hunting low over the water in amongst the locally breeding Sand Martins, Swallows and Common Terns, but surprisingly no House Martins.
 Out on the spit a couple of Little-ringed Plovers and four Dunlin were seen.

 Around the Centre the feeding station pulled in lots of birds including the young of Chaffinch, Greenfinch, a single Bullfinch and several Tree Sparrows.
Chaffinches and Tree Sparrow

male Chaffinch
 When there was a sunny interlude between the showers, it seemed every Warbler on site decided to make itself known and Blackcap,  Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden, Sedge, Reed, Cettis and a very showy Grasshopper Warbler could be heard.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Balearic Birding

Just back from our two week holiday in Porto Pollenca, Mallorca.
A very warm April had pushed Bird Migration  straight through this year, so not too many birds had lingered on the island.
None the less I had a very enjoyable fortnight and although my total of species seen was well down on previous years, some quality birds were encountered and I found seven new birds for my Mallorca list including four lifers.
 Star birds for me were Marbled Duck, Little Bittern, Roller, Griffon and Black Vultures, Spotless Starling, Melodious  and Wood Warbler, Golden Oriole, Bee-eaters and Thekla Lark.
 Of course there were the reliable goodies like Audoins Gull, Black-winged Stilts, Purple Gallinules, Red Knobbed Coots, Kentish Plovers Hoopoes, Blue Rock Thrush, Balearic Warbler, Woodchat Shrikes, Serins, Sardinian, Fan-tailed and Great Reed Warblers, Cirl Buntings, Booted Eagle and Eleanora's Falcons.
 Lots of birds that are difficult to see back home are a good deal more obliging over here, including Corn Buntings, Nightingales, Cettis Warblers, Yellow-legged Gulls, Cattle Egrets, Night  and Purple Herons.

female Sardinian Warbler

Audouins Gull
Little Egret
male Serin
male Black-winged Stilt

Night Heron(click to enlarge)

Great White Egret (click to enlarge)

Insects were very plentiful. Several species of butterfly were encountered including, Swallowtail, Clouded Yellows, a species that looks very similar to the Wall Brown, Brimstones, Red Admirals, Large Heaths, Small Coppers, some Blues and good numbers of Painted Ladies (perhaps we are in for another invasion year). Humming Bird Hawkmoths were everywhere, so maybe we'll get a good showing of these too.

Clouded Yellow

This construction in the corner of our balcony had me intrigued all of our stay. I never saw anything go near it.

Mammals encountered were, Rabbits, a Hare, a Pine Marten that we narrowly avoided running over on our way back to the airport and this roadkill that too me looks remarkably like a Wildcat.

Ther are masses of Frogs on the island, easy to hear, but less so to see. Not sure of the I.D. of this one, but certainly smaller than and more pointy nosed than ours back home.

Lots of Lizards about too, including one that must have been at least 8 inches long.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The Turtle that Purrs

Having already seen a Rufous Turtle Dove this year it would have been a bit lapse of me not to see a European Turtle Dove. So as I was working in Wootton today I stopped at Stewartby Lake this morning.
 Sure enough before I had even parked the car I could see the bird I was looking for.

 I managed to park almost underneath it and take a few photos while it sat there quite contented uttering it's quite distinct 'purring' call.

Monday, 2 May 2011

May holiday Mayhem

This long Bank holiday weekend has coincided with one of the most bird-productive times as I can remember in North Bucks.
 In amongst my work, Bird surveys, family business, I have been able to get out, unfortunately not finding too much exciting of my own, but hanging on to other peoples coattails to see some exciting stuff.
 Before work on Friday morning I had five minutes to spare so looked in at Willen South and was lucky enough to coincide with the brief visit of at least 10 Arctic Terns. On some of them the tail streamers had to be seen to believed.
 Friday afternoon I popped into Willen  North to find 3 Dunlin on the Bund. Unfortunately Rob H had found them an hour previous.
 Saturday morning after work it was Linford where Si had a male Garganey drop in. I bagged this as well as  a Hobby and a Common Sandpiper.
 The afternoon saw me at Rookery Pit in Beds as described in the previous post, dipping the Purple Heron.
Sunday morning I checked Gayhurst Quarry without too much success, singles of Common and Green Sandpiper and 3 Oystercatchers being the highlights. It was while there that a text came through of a couple of Bar-tailed Godwits at Linford, so I duly moved on to there. These were located without too much trouble along with a couple of Green Sandpipers, 4 Oystercatchers, a Little-ringed Plover and my first Cuckoo of the year.
 A major disappointment however was hearing that while I was in the hide, Rob H had seen an Osprey fly right over the reserve and I had completely missed it.
 Next it was back up to Willen to see the smart Greenshank that had been located by.. you guessed it Rob H.
 Monday morning I carried out my Lathbury Tetrad Survey. A couple of Yellow Wagtails and a possible Little Gull flying over being the best bits.
 Another Text message had me rushing up to Manor Farm, where Si and Rob had this time come up with a Wood Sandpiper. This was a smart bird but along with a Little-ringed Plover and a Lapwing these were the only birds I had time to look at, as another text came through. This time 2 Whimbrels at Willen - Guess who?!! Rob again !
 These birds were well and truly seen along with the remaining Greenshank from yesterday, before I  nipped back home for breakfast, wondering what the next call would be. Amazingly nothing else turned up.
 What a weekend !