Monday, December 31, 2012

Glossy Ibis

River Avon - Hampshire
A 150 mile round trip (3 1/2 hours) to Ringwood, Hampshire this morning equated into my last lifer for 2012: Glossy Ibis! The weather was grim to say the least with high winds, rain and a distant view; however, it was worth the effort...birds of note also included Little Egret, Snipe and Black-tailed Godwit. 

Rare Bird Alert

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Great Egret

Great Egret
Today's excursion to Dungeness RSPB was a success with two sightings of our target bird: Great Egret. We spotted the first individual on the reserve itself and the second just past the ARC pit. 

We totalled 50 birds in and around the reserve; of note being: Smew (drake), Goldeneye, Marsh Harrier, Merlin, Fieldfare, Kittiwake, Red-legged Partridge and Little Egret. We spent some time around the gull roosts and fishing boats on the point for the reported Glaucous Gull but didn't connect.

Red-legged Partridge


Thursday, December 27, 2012


Waited for about 1 1/2 hours in the rain this morning for the reported Waxwing's at North Camp train station in Farnborough, Surrey. The rain did let up slightly giving me a chance to get some horrible record shots of this beautiful and exotic looking bird.

At about 11:00 am two groups of Waxwing, totaling 27 individuals settled on the tops of some Alder trees before gorging on the abundant berries along by the station. They seemed very flighty and nervous and 2 'photographers' immediately approached them, spooking them back into the Alder trees. Soon after two Mistle Thrush came through, their rattling calls scattering the birds in all directions. It began to rain and I left. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Scaup (left) with Tufted Duck

This individual was found on the stock pond next to Papercourt Lake in Send. A new species for my local patch. Scaup:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Grey Phalarope

Twitched the Grey Phalarope reported on RBA. This bird was found by Rob Dazley at the Dunstable Water Treatment Works. Directions given by the RBA were spot on and on arrival I was greeted by a member of the Bedfordshire Bird Club, who took my name and directed me to the view point.

Grey Phalarope
I soon found a small group of friendly birders enjoying this busy though distant wader. Thanks John Tomlin and Don Green for the warm welcome. A better photo of this bird can be seen at Bedsbirds Images Blog

Bedfordshire Bird Club.

Friday, December 14, 2012

American Buff-bellied Pipit

A strange, rainy, dreary and generally dull Friday turned into a very worthwhile twitch! Checking the RBA on my phone, I noticed the American Buff-bellied Pipit had been seen at 12:00 at the Queen Mother Reservoir in Berkshire. As I was off at 12:30 and only an hour away decided to give it a go; coercing my friend and work colleague, Raf, into coming with me.

Top bloke: RAF...wet, cold, injured leg and still smiling!
After weaving our way through the traffic and rain we came to a stand still on the M25 then the M4 finally arriving about 13:40. After paying our dues at the gate to Mr. Lee Evans and getting the gen on where the bird was, we made our way along the reservoir.

We looked a right pair; Raf with his umbrella and limp from a leg injury and me in my works fluorescent jacket! Never the less, we got the bird! My first American Buff-bellied Pipit!

Checking the RBA

A big thanks to RBA and all involved. Kudos to the people who found, identified and reported this bird. Special thanks to Raf for your company; your a top bloke!

Terrible video but there you go :) 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll

Today, my wife Lori and I had a 300 mile round trip out to Suffolk from our home In Woking. We departed at 06:10am and arrived at RSPB Minsmere just after 09:30am. Weather remained good all day with only a few spots of rain; though the wind stayed with us for the duration of our visit. 

We started our day by checking the bushes near the north hide for a reported Penduline Tit, which from what we heard, was probably a misidentified bird. We did, however, get nice looks at Blackbird and Fieldfare feeding on berries. 

Though wind was not on our side, we did get a brief glimpse of Bearded Tits; pinging their way around the reed bed near the north wall. There was a good selection of dabblers to scan through at the east hide; represented by Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall and Shoveler. Dispersed throughout were Lapwing and the occasional Dunlin. A family group of 7 Bewick's Swan were showing well. (2 adults and 5 juveniles). After checking the fields for geese we headed back toward the visitor center; retracing our steps,instead of cutting through the reed beds. Our last stop was at Bittern hide where we got a flyby BITTERN! Other species of note include Marsh Harrier, Marsh Tit and Siskin. 

I have recently signed up to Rare Bird Alert and my first experience has been fantastic. Checking the alert I noticed that the Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll was still present at Aldeburgh: a twenty minute drive south of where we were. Twenty two minutes later we were looking at our first Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll! 

There were about 20 people already at the site with more arriving. This was day 2 for this rare northern breeder. It has possibly never been in contact with humans and it happily fed on seeds on the beach, literally feet away from the group.

Had a great day....

Weekly round-up by Rare Bird Alert including an article about the redpoll

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hampshire Goodies

Red-breasted Goose with Brent Goose
Though the weather seemed bad Saturday night, Sunday morning brought sunshine and clear skies. This prompted me to have a go at not one, but three target birds in Hampshire. First up was the Red-breasted Goose at Farlington Marshes just outside Portsmouth. A short walk and scan with two other birders from Kent produced distant but good views of this rare goose. In these pictures it looks very obviously different to the Brent Geese but it soon blends in with them once its back is turned and feeding. 

Next on the agenda was a short drive down to Southsea where after a little poking around I found three Purple Sandpiper mixed in with some Turnstone; huddled out at sea on a green buoy. This was just up past Southsea Castle

My final Hampshire pit-stop was at Walpole Park in Gosport for 'Waldo', an overwintering Ring-billed Gull. This gull has overwintered at this spot for about seven years now. Not sure if there is much information on where this bird goes in the summer as it is not ringed. On arrival there was torrential rain for about ten minutes. Luckily, this cleared, and as you can see below; I had lots of fun with my old but trusty point and shoot Panasonic. I have had this camera for about four years now and am still having so much fun with it. Panasonic Lumix DMC-8.

Ring-billed Gull with two Black-headed Gull

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pulborough Brooks - 11th November 2012

Greenfinch - note the ring on the left leg

An enjoyable day at Pulborough today with wonderful sunshine. I totaled 53 species at the reserve but dipped out on the elusive Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. I put 1 1/2 hours in on my first vigil and 1 hour 15 minutes on the second. Five minutes after I had left the first time, the bird was spotted for about 30 seconds then heard about 20 minutes before I returned for the second sitting:) That's birding.....


Noteworthy species include Peregrine, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Little Egret, Bullfinch, Goldcrest, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin and Raven. Though I spent a lot of time waiting for my little nemesis friend I did have lots of fun with my point and shoot:)


Blue Tit


Great Tit