Thursday, 12 December 2013

Water Rail

A bird that is usually hidden away in a reedbed or among dense sedge and is heard by its' 'squealing' pig call. Sometimes, though the Water Rail comes into the open during its' search for food.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Parrot Crossbills at Holt, Norfolk

A flock of Parrot Crossbills have been frequenting Holt Country Park in North Norfolk for the past few weeks and I have been toying with the idea of going to see them, but with one thing and another, I just just never got around to it! That changed at the weekend with myself and my friend Chris Orders making the journey on Sunday.

On arrival at the car park there were a few cars, but no Parrot Crossbills. We went for a walk through the woodland to see if we could find the birds, but nothing. On returning to the now much fuller car park there was still no sign, but it was still early, so no time to start worrying. A car then pulled in and we recognised the driver from earlier, he had found the birds a little way off and had come back to tell everyone, very decent of him! We all piled into our cars and raced off to the new site, where the birds were found high in some pine trees where there were seen feeding and even gently feeding each other, very nice. They came a bit lower, hence the picture above and even drank from a puddle by the road and then they flew some distance. The views we had were exceptional and we left having added another 'tick' in our books.

The Parrot Crossbill comes from North and Eastern Europe and is a lot more scarce then the Common Crossbill, but pretty similar in appearance. The Parrot is slightly bigger, with a bigger head, bill and a thicker neck. The large, thick bill is roughly as deep as it is long, giving a more 'blunt' look to the tip. The call is a lot deeper and 'harder' than the Common Crossbill.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Iceland Gull at Ferry Meadows

A first-year Iceland Gull was reported at Ferry Meadows CP yesterday, apparently showing rather well through the fog. Upon my arrival, the bird had moved to the far side of Gunwade Lake, but could be seen just bobbing around on the water. I walked around the lake to see if I could get any closer, whereupon the bird decided to fly into the middle of said lake and then fly to where I had just been standing, ARRRGH! I managed to get a couple of shots of this addition to my PBC year list, a record equalling total for me of 179, which considering the lack of birding done this year, isn't too bad.

The bird then flew high and to the west, not to be seen again.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Holme Great Grey Shrike

This bird is distant for me when the sun shines and at all other times it is too dark and gloomy, hence the 'noise' in the above photograph. I will endeavour to get a better shot, until then you can see the bird in more glory at Roy's or Mike's respective blogs HERE and HERE. Enjoy.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Great Grey Shrike on a grey day

A wet, murky, miserable day and I found myself at Holme village in Cambridgeshire in order to see this Great Grey Shrike that seems to have taken up residence close to the railway line. This is one of two birds that are in very close proximity to each other, approximately a couple of miles separates the two birds, which has led to two Great Grey Shrikes being seen on the same day in the PBC area, a first (I think!). During my visit the bird was pretty active, catching beetles and at one point catching a shrew or a mouse, it was too distant to be able to tell! Hopefully, this bird will over winter, leading to better views in better weather!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Juvenile Shag at Stamford

A fairly common bird on the coast, but pretty scarce inland. This is only the second Shag that I have seen in the PBC area, adding to my year list nicely. The bird had been reported a few days previously on the Lincolnshire Bird Club website, but news only filtered through to me on Wednesday this week, but I need not have feared, as the bird was still present close to the weir at Hudd's Mill on the River Welland in Stamford.

A smaller relation to the more common (inland) Cormorant, which can be told apart from its' larger cousin by its' size and overall shape (it being a lot slimmer), uniformly pale brown plumage and it also has a thinner and more yellow bill.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Glossy Ibis at Lowdham

Whilst in the county of Nottinghamshire we thought that it would be rather rude not to visit this rather showy Glossy Ibis that has taken to frequenting a cow field by a busy main road. Many birders parking on this road added to the chaos, but the bird showed well and after finding a way across some rather smelly, muddy fields I managed to get fairly close to a bird that used to be pretty rare in this country, but is becoming an annual visitor.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Pied Wheatear in Nottinghamshire

News appeared on Birdguides late last night of a reported Pied Wheatear at a gravel pit complex fairly close to Newark in Nottinghamshire. I was tempted to go in the morning, but couldn't find any information on the site or the bird, so I decided to wait. The bird was reported first thing this morning and I was able to find some information regarding site access/details etc and after a quick phone call with Chris, decided to go and 'bag' this lifer.

On arrival, the country lane was surrounded by cars parked on the muddy verges, but a space was found and the walk was started to the birds' reported site. We didn't have long to wait before the bird made its' appearance, constantly flying and darting about, obviously feeding on the insects present in the autumn sunshine. It came fairly close, very good for scope views, but the lens on the new camera is that bit short to get overly close! Still, the above shot serves as a record shot (I seem to be saying that a lot lately!), if nothing else, revealing the tail features that mark this bird apart from the similar Black-eared Wheatear. This bird represents the 69th individual of this species to be recorded in Britain and another tick in my book.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Pied Flycatcher

This first winter Pied Flycatcher was at Gibraltar Point in Lincolnshire on Sunday when Chris and I paid a visit. There wasn't an awful lot on show, although we did find a Richard's Pipit, a fairly scarce visitor to our shores from Siberia, but a bird that was extremely camera shy, to say the least.

I am still getting to grips with the DSLR, experimenting with settings etc. There is quite a lot to get my numpty head around, but I am endeavouring to become a better photographer, which will hopefully become apparent in the future! I am still some way off though!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Great White Egret at Maxey

Another trial with the new camera. This time with a bird that has been hanging around the local area for a while now, but time constraints have meant that I have been unable to catch up with this large white heron. That changed on Monday, with the weather being awful and so, not conducive to gardening and with the bird being reported from Maxey, my local patch.

It was first seen on the Maxey Cut, in the company of a couple of Little Egrets, but then flew to the adjacent field, where it stood and preened for a while. It then took flight and went out of view.

Again, not the greatest, but a `record` shot of this addition to my PBC year list.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Leach`s Storm Petrel

Did you miss me?!

I finally managed to get out and do some birding yesterday, the first time really since June! The bird to get me out was a lifer in the shape of a Leach`s Storm Petrel at Rutland Water, a small sea bird that is fairly scarce inland, indeed, the last time one of these birds was at Rutland was back in 1989!

The bird was seen at distance just `bobbing` around on the water, but then took flight when 2-3 Black-headed Gulls decided to mob it. I am not sure if they were trying to eat the petrel, or just took a dislike to the bird, whatever their reason, it meant that the bird was seen in flight, showing its characteristic `v`- shaped white rump and pale wing-bars.

Not the greatest picture that you will ever see, but this was the first time that I have `aired` my new DSLR, but I have only got a 300mm lens at the moment, pennies are being saved for a better and longer lens!

It was good to get out again with my friend Chris Orders and also see other birders, hopefully it won't be as long before the next trip!

(Just in case you were wondering, the petrel wasn't eaten by the gulls and was still swimming around on the lake when we left!)

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Clouded Yellow

I have never seen a Clouded Yellow butterfly in this country before and so I was quite shocked and a little excited to see one of these lovely flutters at Maxey GP the other day whilst having a stroll after work.

A butterfly that is a regular migrant to our shores, with numbers each year varying form just a few to several hundred. Not sure if this is a 'Clouded Yellow Year' or not, but there have been a few sightings around the east of the U.K.

Spot the butterfly!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Wood Sandpiper

Talk of my demise seems to have been premature.

With reports of a couple of Wood Sandpipers being present at my local patch of Maxey gravel pits, I managed to grab a couple of hours on Sunday to go and see if I could get a view of a wader that I have not seen locally for at least a year.

This site is looking rather good at the moment and with my first scan of the area I managed to see the first Wood Sandpiper, huddled down in the company of a Common Sandpiper. Continuing my perusal of the site I picked up the second Woody, fairly close by and also 3 Dunlin, 8 Green Sandpipers, 3 Ringed Plovers, 1 Little-ringed Plover and another 2 Common Sandpipers.

On walking back to the van, it was good to note that there were fairly large numbers of Common Blue butterflies present.

Hopefully, I will be back again soon.