Monday, July 29, 2013

Wood Sandpiper

Went to Frampton Marsh in Lincolnshire on Saturday in hope of connecting with the recently reported Baird's Sandpiper. Though the bird was gone it was not a wasted journey. The birding here was fantastic, particularly the waders; represented by 18 species, that I recorded. Bird of the day was the best look at Wood Sandpiper I have ever had. Other birds of interest were Merlin, Little Egret and Marsh Harrier. Photos were taken through my scope with Iphone.

Waders: Oystercatcher, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Redshank, Turnstone, Spotted Redshank.

Common Sandpiper

Sunday, July 21, 2013

White-rumped Sandpiper

White-rumped Sandpiper (2nd from left in foreground) with Dunlin
Getting one out of two target birds can't be anything to grumble about. My first was a 2 1/2 hour vigil at Ham Wall RSPB for Little Bittern. My second attempt for this bird produced a nice view of a reed bed, and that's about it. I arrived at 07:40 am (2 1/2 hour drive) to find out that the bird was seen at 07:35 am. Both male and female had been showing since about 05:00am. This was my last attempt for this year. Food flights (parents feeding young) were just about over as the young are fully grown. I will just have to wait until next year. Birds of interest here included: Great White Egret, Little Egret, Cetti's Warbler and Marsh Harrier.

Next was a 1 1/2 hour drive south to Lodmoor RSPB in Dorset to connect with a very cool long distant migrant. White-rumped Sandpiper breed on the Canadian and Alaskan tundra and winter in southern South America. Though they head through central North America during spring migration, there southbound journey is normally taken down the east coast, but some individuals, like the one here, go a little off course; much to the delight of British birders.

This is my first British White-rumped Sandpiper, my lifer being seen in Texas in 2005. Thanks to the RBA, Birdguides and the two young birders who noticed this individual mixed in with a group of Dunlin

My final stop (as I was so close) was Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre and Portland Bill Lighthouse. Here I did a little sea-watch but the light was really bad and decided to head on home. Species seen were Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Northern Gannet, Guillemot, Cormorant and Kestrel. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Ruff trip to Norfolk...

On Sunday morning at 05:00am I picked up one of my oldest and dearest friends from Ash. Mike Avenell and his wife Julia were here from Australia on holiday. Though they had a very packed agenda, we did manage a days birding; and where better to go than Norfolk! 

Mike enjoying close views of Ruff, Spotted Redshank and Little Gull at Titchwell Marsh RSPB
The 3 1/2 hour drive gave us a great opportunity to catch up and put us at Titchwell Marsh RSPB at 08:30 am. Norfolk birding has never let me down and today was no exception. 

Ruff (digi-scope with my Iphone)
We tallied up over 80 species for the day, 13 life birds for Mike. Mike has spent over 23 years living in Australia plus many other years travelling throughout the world. So, it was great for us to finally spend a day in good old England; savoring our resident and migrant birds. 

Mike at the famous Cley Marshes in Norfolk
Top birds today were Hobby, one hawking above Cley Marshes; catching a House Martin, literally, above our heads! Marsh Harriers quartering above the reed beds was a wonderful sight as was the occasional glimpse of Bearded Tits, busily foraging in front of us. Waders included Spotted Redshank, Knot, Avocet, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Little Ringed Plover were present, to name a few, as were 8 Spoonbill! Bird of the day for me, however, was one of my favourite gulls: Little Gull.

Little Gull
The whole day was brilliant and what made it extra special was the fact that I shared it with one of my most closest friends: Micky Avenell.