Tuesday, 31 August 2010

August Update

August Update 12th - 31st

More work in Scotland followed by a house move have left me without Internet access for the majority of the second half of the month. However between moving and work I managed to get a days birding in on the 18th with my Dad. We arrived at Druridge Bay in Northumberland at about 07.30 following news of Sykes's Warbler which had been present the previous day. After a short wait the bird showed well and despite being obviously pale above and below (paler than Booted) with a bill more reminiscent of Olivaceous than Booted (enhanced possibly due to the overall pale plumage), identification was confirmed completely when the bird began to call. We watched the bird feeding in a lone Hawthorn for about 2 hours before deciding to have a look on the sea. Small numbers of Gannet and single Great Skua moved through at distance, whilst a Red-throated Diver close into the shore was all we could manage.

Our next destination was Shibdon to see the juv Spotted Crake which had been present for the past few days. Before that we couldn't resist a little stop to see the biggest bird in the UK - the Angel of the North! I had never been to see the Angel before and couldn't believe how big it was! See below. On crossing the river we found a Black Tern fishing upstream which was an added bonus and after eventually finding Shibdon Pond the Spotted Crake showed well (see below).

Posts will be much more frequent now I have Internet access, so watch this space!

Spotted Crake - Shibdon Pond

The Angel of the North

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Salholme RSPB, Idle Valley NR and Inner Marsh Farm RSPB

Saltholme Pools RSPB

I decided to do a large circuit of the North of England today with the target being to see a few British rarities. I arrived at Saltholme RSPB at about 10.45 and shortly located the long staying juvenile Whiskered Tern sleeping on some rocks, pictured below between 2 Dunlin. After a short while the Whiskered Tern starting waking up and was soon flying around, often being chased by a Common Tern. I watched this very chunky looking marsh tern for about an hour before heading to Nottinghamshire.

Whiskered Tern, Salholme Pools RSPB
Idle Valley NR, Notts

I found the nature reserve near Lound easily and was soon parking up near the quarry. I located my target species - Bairds Sandpiper after a few minutes of searching, feeding in amongst a large Lapwing flock with a juvenile Dunlin. Unfortunately viewing conditions were poor (looking through small gaps in the hedge) and the crowd was growing, so after watching the bird for 20minutes I decided to move on. It was excellent to see the bird feeding with a Dunlin which provided a nice comparison.

Inner Marsh Farm RSPB

From Nottinghamshire to Cheshire didn't take too long and despite the fact that the Lesser Yellowlegs hadn't been seen all day, I still fancied my chances of finding the bird as it had often gone missing for long periods. From the hide I recorded 3 Ruff, 1 Little Egret, 28 Black-tailed Godwit, numerous Lapwing and juvenile Black headed Gull, but no Lesser Yellowlegs. After 2 hours of waiting in case the bird dropped in I decided to scan the "New Workings" with a couple of other birders. The hill which overlooks this scrape means that the birds are distant, however after 20 minutes we found the adult Lesser Yellowlegs feeding near a Greenshank. The perfect end to a long but enjoyable day!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Just a quick update to let you know that I am doing some consultancy work in Scotland this week and have no access to the internet. I will hopefully have some news worth reporting next week - so watch this space !