Thursday, 29 September 2016

Everything turning out rosie

Hoorah no more work!

Hoorah off to Shetland!

First a brief stop for a tick for Mr Howard of a Brunnich's Guillemot at Anstruther Port, which was just as well as it's disappeared (presumed dead) today.  A brief visit to Fife Ness, on the back of the hundreds of mipits flying over as we watched an ill auk.  Sadly not a lot happening there as the weather got increasingly Shetland-like. 

Arriving in Shetland in the dark after a fairly quite crossing we're off to Quarff and a Hoopoe on the way.  By the time we left Quarff we were nearly at double figures for Yellow-broweds.

I, yes me, numpty me, found a Little bunting in the sunken garden at Scalloway.  OK DB helped, and luckily it finally popped up for its shots so I might not have to do the report.

Local gen helped with the Rose-coloured Starling up the road a bit, and when we got a bit more comfortable with the boisterous juvenile, we managed to get the confidence to move closer.


Tuesday, 30 August 2016

After long unproductive stint on the patch...

O(a)r(e) don't stint on the stints

What is happening with Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper? Hundreds are being noted up and down the country where usually only tens are counted.  I would love to think that is because these arctic waders are doing well and everything is rosy in the world, but sadly that wont be the case.  Some weird weather systems that we can't appreciate or register even in our daily digest of all things weather related in this country, had brought these annuals in hefty volumes.

My previous with both species had been one or two (or in the case of Curlew Sands 4-5 at Rainham), distant specks round the feet of their leggy cousins. Today I took the offer of a lift from James H to  have an afternoon down at Oare.  Kent has the best light for any wader watching in the Thames estuary–it's always to the south–and Oare has the best set up for close encounters.

OK I had gone on the off-chance of the Baird's being firmed up following a "probable" sighting late morning, but the chance of seeing dozens of Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper was enough to unloose the shackles of a lacklustre patch.

Hundreds of Golden Plover, good numbers of Little Ringed Plover of all ages, Godwits (always godwits here), Spotted Redshank, scores of Redshank (I don't think I've ever seen a flock, and by that I mean scores of birds, as large), tens of Ruff, Lapwing, Snipe, Ringed Plover, Greenshank, Dunlin, Knot–a veritable wader banquette and the main stars over 30 of each of Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper. While the Curlew Sands kept their distance the Stints occasionally came really close, but being the size of a sparrow, they could have come a lot closer to make photography easier.  Some of the images that have been on the internet have been stunning, the scope views were just draw dropping.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Back home

Every month I go and visit the little old lady in Stapleford who is my mother.  She makes me try and do chores, I manage to wriggle out of them by falling asleep. I also manage to slip out of the house for a few hours down to an agricultural reservoir under construction just under a mile from the house.  It has to be said this is a wonderful little patch and every time there is something of interest.  Last night I refound the Pyramid Orchid (now plural) and well over 50 Bee Orchids–looking rather shabby and well past their best. Today, well!


First up a Marbled White, my first here ever (and for the local), and then as I wondered slowly through the grass with my eyes to the floor, I chanced to look up.  A large raptor was moving west over the water meadows just to the south of the village and just to the north of me  I presumed a buzzard, but it didn't appear so as I had in my bins. Dark and long fingered I could get no structure on the upper or lower wings, Slightly greyer head and some two or three tones going on the back and wings.  So probably Marsh Harrier I concluded seeing as Fowlmere is a few miles to the west and Marsh Harriers are not unusual there, but I had some doubt.  Something reminded me of the Black Kite I had up the Roding last year.  Both would a first for me in the area.  I changed lenses and rattled off a few sadly distant images.  However on looking at them later I noted a slightly forked tail. Certainly wasn't a Red Kite, as we had one fly over the house later which would have been a house tick for my mum had she not seen one last time I was back (she did add Hobby though!).

So a Black Kite?  No reports on RBA though... The consensus coming from later tweets: not enough fingers, ah well. Done by a Marsh Harrier again. Yay patch tick!

Cue horribleness...

Funny last time I had to put a report in on a raptor in London (2 Honey Buzzards over Beckton) I had to do the same for 2 Honey Buzzard over Stapleford (on my mum's house list), still have to do the BK for last year, and might need to stick this one in for Cambridgeshire!

Things were quiet on the reservoir, a few Tufties and a single Little Ringed Plover–I presume they bred, but I didn't try too hard to find the proof. Today was about chasing butterfly and that was good: Brown Argus, Ringlet, Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Laarge and Small Skipper, Large White and Green-veined White