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