Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Danish Gull

It took less than 2 days to hear about the Black-headed Gull ( BTO take 3 months ! )

The bird was ringed as a nestling at Raehr, Hanstholm, Nordjylland, Denmark on 21st June 2010.

So even the 'ordinary birds' are interesting !

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Great White finally on the patch List

My Sunday morning amble around Gayhurst Quarry seemed quite mundane to start with as there seemed to be very little around.
 A couple of Little Grebes, 2 Little Egrets, a dozen Teal and 4 Wigeon were about as good as it got.
However I persevered and carried on around the river where 4 Grey Wagtails were seen on the faster flowing part.
 Under the motorway bridge I spotted a Signal Crayfish and on standing to look noticed there were more. It was interesting to watch their antics, as there were some quite big ones which would disappear down a hole and 2 or 3 smaller ones would rush out. Small skirmishes would take place and it was surprising how quick they would skoot through the water. I must have counted a dozen or more of the little critters - no wonder people come down here to catch them !

A walk up to Quarryhall didn't produce to much on the deck, but there was quite a bit of movement overhead with small flocks of Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and Swallows all heading South.
Looking down over Fishing Pit, a large white bird caught my eye as it pitched down onto the small river. This was surely an Egret, but looked too big to be a Little.
I had to go and check it out, so took a walk up the river. I flushed a Heron and 2 Little Egrets so thought I must have been mistaken, but then a bit further along a larger bird with a huge yellow bill got up. Yes Great White Egret ! so the rumours were true. Brill !
It flew off downstream where I guess is probably where it has been hanging out over the last few weeks, as this is perfect habitat and is out of bounds to the general public.

Another interesting find today was the corpse of a recently deceased Black-headed Gull, that was bearing a ring with the logo ' ZOOL MUSEUM DENMARK '. I'll send off the details and see what comes back. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Grafham again

For the fourth time this year I was lured back up to Grafham Water.
This time to see a couple of seabirds that had been blown inland by last weeks storms and had hung around since.
 Taking an extended lunch-break, I had expected these birds to give me the runaround, but as it turned out, they were both found within a couple of hundred yards of the visitor centre.
 The first was a cracking adult Sabines Gull, swimming just off of the dam wall and giving amazingly close views. Sometimes it would fly off but always returning to the same area.

Sabines Gull

 The second bird was this fine winter plumaged Grey Phalarope that was patrolling the dam in roughly the same area, again giving really close views.

Grey Phalarope

Cley Marshes

 Our latest RSPB trip was billed as Cley and Salthouse, but as Cley turned out so well we never did get to Salthouse.
 From the moment we left the Visitor Centre the birds seemed to keep coming.
A couple of newly arrived Pinkfeet took off from one of the pools as  we headed through the reedbeds towards the centre hides and a gang of 8 Bearded Tits flew around, while Cettis Warblers called and occasionally showed themselves near the hides.
 From the first hide Black-tailed Godwits, Curlews and Lapwings were numerous along with a couple of Ruff and a single Greenshank. A lone Little Egret hunted the reeds just outside.

Pat's Pool was absolutely heaving with birds - Black-tailed Godwits, Curlews, Ruff, Dunlin, Golden Plovers, Lapwings, 2 Little Stints, several Curlew Sandpipers and 2 Barnacle Geese walked amongst the Greylags and Canadas

 Our walk down the East Bank was accompanied by the 'pinging' of more Bearded Tits and calling Cettis Warblers. Out on the meadows, yet more Blackwits and Curlews kept the company of a dozen Egyptian Geese.
 A large bird flying over the marsh looked to be a Heron, but a glance through the bins showed it was in fact a Bittern and for a couple of minutes it put on a show for everyone to see. A Marsh Harrier quartered the area and a second Bittern was seen.
 On Arnold's Marsh a couple of Avocet remained, several Redshank, a few Shelduck and a group of Sandwich Tern loitered.

 We ate our lunch on the beach, while looking out to sea and were rewarded with sightings of several Gannets, a Red-throated Diver and 2 unidentified Skuas.

 Next stop was North Hide where again there were masses of waders, including several Curlew Sandpipers and bird of the day a Pectoral Sandpiper.
Wildfowl here included  Pintail, Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler.

 A look into the Eye Field as well as yet more Curlews and Black-tail Godwits turned up a migrant Wheatear and just offshore a couple of Red-throated Divers swam around close to a Common Seal.

 Back at the Visitor Centre, there was time for just one more treat in the shape of a Black Tern feeding over the front pool

Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Nearly Bird

Unfortunately last weeks potential Mega failed to materialise as it turned out that it had escaped from a nearby aviary. Luckily this news came out before the exact location was released to the Birding Public.Odd that it wasn't ringed though, as these birds are supposedly woreth  around £550 a pair.
Thanks to Mike Collard for the use  of his photo 
Azure Tit (yellow-breasted Variety)

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Our Secret Mission

Got a text from Paul on Wednesday, saying did I fancy a trip down to the South of the county as a potential' first for Britain' had turned up in a garden in High Wycombe, but don't tell anyone as if the news gets out the place will go ballistic.
 So a mad dash after work with Paul and Nik ensued and we arrived about twenty past six, where five other birders stood on a lawn, intently watching some bird feeders and the word was' Yes it's here'
However somehow it slipped away and we had missed it.
For the next hour until darkness we waited, but it failed to return. How close was that, missing it by probably 5 seconds.
 Our wait though was far from uneventful with a costant stream of low flying Red Kites going off to roost nearby, a couple of calling Tawny Owls and a good number of Pipistrelle Bats that were seen to be emerging from the eaves of the house.

Dissappointed we decided a return visit was necessary and first light Thursday saw us back on site.
This time we were rewarded and almost immediately the local Tit flock appeared including the very smart  AZURE TIT !!!!!  What a cracking bird it was although it didn't hang around long, dashing back into cover the minute it had grabbed a Sunflower seed. Four times in the next half hour it did this and we had to be content with this.
 Shortly after the people in the house came out and kindly invited us in to their kitchen for closer views. We gratefully accepted but in the limited time we had the bird failed to reappear.

Back at work,  a text informed me that the news had been released to the big wide world.
Now the fun will begin. Arguments have already started as to whether it is wild or an escape, whether it is pure or a hybrid. Personally I don't care. I've seen it before the circus gets going. Let them get on with it. It's a lovely bird whatever !

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Egrets Gone..

 How come I visit Gayhurst Quarry on a regular basis and have still to find anything as rare as a Great White Egret, yet twice in the last three months people driving at seventy miles an hour down the adjacent M1 motorway claim to have seen this very bird on site.
 Now of course I had to go and check out today's latest report, especially with the bird recently cropping up at nearby Linford.
 Unfortunately there was no sign when I looked around this afternoon. There was of course the usual Little Egrets, at least 4 alive and this unfortunate individual, which looked as though it may have flown into a Power Line as it had a broken lower mandible and both legs were missing despite the rest of its body being intact, aside from a bit of decay

Birdwise there wasn't too much on offer other than the numerous young Mallards, a large flock of Black-headed Gulls, a single Common Sandpiper, a flyover Buzzard and Drakey Wigeon has reappeared after going missing for a few weeks.
A look across the field on the return walk showed a male Muntjac working  it's way along the hedge towards me. Thinking this would be an ideal photo opportunity, I crouched down waiting for it get to me. What I hadn't counted on however was that the strong south westerly wind was blowing directly from me to the deer and he was off before he got anywhere near.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Great White seen in MK Waters !

Tea-time was interrupted tonight, when a text came through of a Great White Egret at Linford. This was too good to miss, so with apologies, I was off.
 Arriving at the surprisingly empty Near Hide, I opened the flaps to see giant white Heron standing on the side of the bund - Nice ! But as I lifted the bins to have a better view it decided to hop behind some vegetation to the other side of the bund. Oh well it will come out in a minute !
 Shortly after Alan Nelson (the finder), Graeme (Imperfect and Tense) Walker and his ' Lass' (sorry don't know your name) came in. They had been in Far Hide while the bird had been on the Near Hide side and had lost patience and come around, only for it to hop back while they were en-route.
After a while I decided I would take a wander around to the Far Hide in the hope of better views. As expected I had just opened the flaps, when it decided to move again. This time however into some trees at the far end of the bund, where I presume it went to roost.
 A fantastic bird for Bucks and although I had some good views they were all too brief.
Lets hope it sticks around..