Monday, 23 August 2010

Shit how many people in Britain have found Sharp tailed sand?  Well one of my oldest birding mates just found his second in 3 years tonight!  That's pretty impressive, surely he must be in a club of one.
It was a mad dash from Spurn to Patrington Haven reallignment site dodging various farm machinery that seems to be littering the queens highway at every turn lately, should queen have a capitol Q, you know out of respect?  When we got there John had lost it as a dog walker on the top of the bank flushed the waders up.  After an agonising 20 minutes or so it reappeared.  I say agonising because I kind of hoped it had fucked off, having been lucky enough to see Johns last one I didn't really want this to hang around for all the other top boys to grip back but the bastard did!
The bird showed for about an hour or so before flying off as the tide started to drop but it was never close.

It is in that pic honest I've put a mark in to help all you birdforum regulars find it!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Went to the Birdfair on Friday with Gareth and Towel.  Had a good walk round and saw loads of people I don't catch up with very often, had a good butchers through all the big scopes with a view to buying one later in the year and pissed myself at Towel getting all starstruck over his hero Johnny Kingdom.

he was so exited after meeting Johnny he spent 
mucho $ on a Gitzo pod!

The only thing I bought was the new advanced ID guide by Nils van Duivendijk it's brilliant what a superb concept, it's like having Killian Mullarny's memory in your glove box!  I knew this was coming out as Jim was involved in helping Nils get it published in Britain (the Dutch version has been out for about a thousand years) so was eagerly awaiting it, lets hope iot comes in useful on Foula this year.

Those of you who haven't been to the Birdfair it's class there's about 8 marquees to look round before lunch and a few pints in the bar then another 8 to look round afterwards.  The highlight is usually the hot women on the tourism stands from various countries.  This year however I reckon top spot was taken by either the barmaid in the beer tent or the Cameron Diaz lookalike on the Subbuteo books stand, with an honourable mention to the peach from Andalucia birding.  Roll on next year.
Been a few birds about on the mere in the last week or so, saw the White winged Black again but it didn't come close enough for any pics, this Arctic did though.....just!

A few Waders about too but nothing outstanding.  A flock of 12 Red crested Pochards is pretty disgusting, I'm just thankful I didn't visit the western end where there's a Ruddy Shelduck!  Mind I'm doing a load of counts on the Humber at the moment so it's surely only a matter of time before I stumble across one of them, there's at leat 1500 Shelduck on every count.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Spurn must be one of if not the best site for Booted Warblers in the country, I've seen half a dozen there so surely we must have a chance of Sykes's? It's probably not sound logic to be honest so I went to Druridge on Monday to see the one there.
It's a bird I've read up on many times but have never been able to put it into practice (apart from one bird seen in Oman) so I've struggled to get the features nailed. I was therefore really surprised to see this bird and find it so obvious, obviously there may be a slight element of it already having been named but I approach every rare bird I see by trying to find reasons why it isn't one, I couldn't with this it really was distinctive when seen well.
I watched it for about 3 hours (it wasn't showing for all that time but I did get prolonged scope views as it fed in rose tangles a couple of times) before getting the camera out.

As you can see the results aren't the best so it's a good job I'd drawn it, I'm not putting that up here though!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

What a crackin weekend, got to Spurn on Fri night and managed a couple of hours seawatching. It was a bit steady considering the strong north westerly wind but I suppose it is a bit early yet, saw 3 Sooty's, about 25 Manx and a few Arctic Skuas.
Sat and the wind had gone round to a promising north easter and almost immediately it was obvious it was having an effect with a few Pied Fly's and lots of Willow Warblers, I didn't chase any of the stuff but managed to see the Red backed Shrike, a Wood Warbler and a Black Tern. There were Icky and Wryneck around too.
A quiet night in the pub meant an early rise so I ventured south, 15 minutes after getting to Chalk bank I had to turn round and race back to the Warren where Mike Pilsworth had found Spurns 2nd Citrine Wag. Mike used to find stuff all the time but since becoming on of the Wardens at Blacktoft where he's found hardly owt we've been tellin him he's a spent force, looks like he's back tho after this and last weeks Semi P!
After havin my fill of the Wag I returned south and saw an Icky at the point and a few common migrants.
News came through mid morning of a juv White winged Black at Hornsea so late afternoon I went up to see it, and it's a little corker giving stupid close views. Despite the camera being fooked I managed a couple of shots I'm happy with, which is no mean feat when the feckin thing locks up after every third or fourth shot and I have to turn it off and on again before continuing!

Looks like a trip to Northumberland might be on the cards tomorrow, I've only seen Sykes's Warbler in Oman and they're probably a future split in waiting anyway so it will be educational to see the one up at Druridge bay if it's still there in the morning

Thursday, 12 August 2010

I've added a link to Martin Garners site Birding Frontiers, I'm sure this will develop into a proper site about birds and we'll all learn from it unlike most of the ones in the list! Although if he sees more than me in Shetland this autumn I'm taking it off!!!

Had a butchers at Hornsea tonight, the water level is stupidly low and a few waders are using the edges 2 Greenshank, 2 Redshank, a Ruff a Dunlin and an LRP plus a few Little Gulls, I didn't look for the Ruddy Shelduck or Red crested Pochard cos they're both a bit shit!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

How long is it since I last posted! The reason, I haven't been birding since mid June, well not for pleasure anyway. I've been mega busy with land based and offshore surveys mainly in Scotland but also been to the south coast too.

We were on a boat off Sussex when news came on the pager about 3 Lammergeier that had flown out to sea from France, we looked at the sky a bit more than we had been up to that point but if they came over us it was too cloudy to see, the fact they weren't picked up anywhere else suggests they turned round. Why don't we get any rares on the boats I go in when the spawny twats on the Dogger bank ones are turning tackle up nearly every trip!

Was off the Western Isles a couple of times in the last month and saw a hundred or so Stormies each time so hoping for Wilson's next month. But the real highlight of this trip is the number of Basking Sharks, we've seen over a hundred each time, some are so close the boat almost hits them before they move and if the light is right you can see right into their mouths, fantastic things.

Last week we were on Orkney and had a few goes at the Bearded Seal, still no luck, I reckon I must have been to that pier in Finstown about a dozen times now and dipped, I'm not even that bothered it's John who keeps going on about it! We also dipped on the Alpine Swift twice but scored Great Yellow Bee which is apparently rare as fuck and something else John keeps banging on about.

Had a bit of luck with the Drags too seen Downy Emerald on a couple of occasions and a superb drake White faced Darter all at Loch Garten. One of the Emerlads was stuck in the water with clots of mud on it's wings and couldn't get out so I rescued it with a stick and put it on some veg to dry out so got amazing views of it. Eventually it flew off so I got a nice warm glow from having done a good deed!!!!

The camera looks like it's going nowhere they are still refusing to do anything about it. I'm not happy!

Saw my first good bird locally for ages yesterday when Ade found a Dotterel in a field at West Carlton.