Thursday, 11 February 2016

Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwit, a comparison

Two fairly common birds on the north Norfolk coast at this time of year are the Bar-tailed Godwit (photos above) and the Black-tailed Godwit (photos below). Superficially similar, in the fact that they both have long legs, long bills and are brown/grey, but are easily told apart, especially when seen together. The 'Barwit' is a smaller, more chunky looking bird, with shorter legs, an upturned bill and a distinct supercilium in its' winter plumage. The 'Blackwit' is a larger bird with an unfathomably long, straight bill, longer legs and a shorter, less distinct supercilium.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Rough-legged Buzzard in Norfolk

My friend, Chris Orders and I spent the day in North Norfolk yesterday, just generally 'birding'. More of this trip will follow, but I think that we will both agree that the bird of the trip was this juvenile Rough-legged Buzzard and that is primarily because of the way that we saw it.

We had viewed the area south of Choseley Drying Barns where two juvenile Rough-legged's have been seen for most of the winter, but we were unlucky in that we didn't see either. So, having thought that we had 'dipped' on these birds we continued on our way to Titchwell and then headed for home via Wolferton to see if we could get our eyes on the Golden Pheasant. Upon leaving Hunstanton, the traffic was at a standstill, so we turned around and made our way back to Choseley to go the country way home. Just before entering the village of Bircham this large raptor was seen by both of us being mobbed by a Crow, we both thought 'Buzzard', but when the bird banked we both saw the white tail, immediately changing our cries to ' Rough-legged'! Neither of us were 100%, however, so I managed to get a few ropey shots as the bird flew in front of the car and away. Arriving home I sent off a couple of emails to confirm I.D. and both Josh Jones and Mike Weedon positively identified the bird as a juvenile Rough-legged Buzzard. Nice.

Thanks to Mike for editing my less than impressive photos!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Goldeneye at Ferry Meadows CP

This first-winter male Goldeneye has been frequenting Gunwade lake at Ferry Meadows CP for the past week or so, hanging out with a flock of Tufted Ducks. Told from the female bird by the white loral spot (the white patch between the bill and eye) as the female has an all brown head. A much more dull bird than a full adult male, but he still has the piercing golden eye from which the bird gets its' name.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Serins at Fen Drayton RSPB, Cambridgeshire

A dodgy photo (with more to follow) of one of the two Serins that have been frequenting Fen Drayton RSPB reserve in Cambridgeshire for the past couple of weeks, although the news only became common knowledge this Monday for whatever reason.

Another day, another 'lifer', that's two in less than a week! These small finches are pretty common in Europe and they do turn up in the UK every year, although a freezing cold January is not the usual time to find one, let alone two. They gave myself and Chris Orders the run around this morning, even leading us to leave the site thinking that they had gone, only to be called back by a kindly chap who had taken Chris's number. We were treated to okay views, with the two birds quite happily feeding extremely closely to the guided busway, but they were constantly obscured in some way. They flew after approximately ten minutes and after another view through a hawthorn bush and another flight view, we left, this time for good.