Sunday, 20 November 2011

It's an age thing!

And I don't mean getting laughed at by 20 year old lasses when you try unsuccessfully to chat them up, this is far worse.  Well it has far worse consequences anyway.

What am I on about?  Not concentrating enough.  Specifically not concentrating enough when reading the pager/twitter feed.  After an initial urge to go to K*nt had subsided it seems I'd kind of glazed over when checking Birdnet's excellent Twitter feed (shameless plug) and read Northumberland as K*nt, or more likely not even read it at all and just flicked past it.

So after I'd been blissfully unaware of the presence of an eastern Black Red on Holy Island for 2 days I set off rather belatedly.  It would have been rude not to cos as it happens (nice bit of Jimmy there) I was staying in Newcastle Friday night for work so someone else effectively paid for most of my fuel costs.

So about the bird then, well what a fuckin stunner, as most people do I love Chats they surely have the best shapes around.  As I got there quite late everyone else had fecked off and left the bird in peace which meant I got pornstar views of it as it fed on insects around my feet that I'd disturbed walking along through the rocks.

There was no chance of any pics of it as the light was too poor but I'm constantly amazed at how good video comes out in low light conditions.  Here's a couple of short sequences.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

It's fuckin Baltic!!!!

Well at least I was after spending 2 and a bit hours looking at the Gull at Bempton this aft, dunno what it is yet though.  And to be honest probably never will as it hasn't got a ring on it's leg.  My pics aren't the best so I'll probably go back tomorrow and try for better ones once I've thawed out a bit.

Whatever this bird is it's certainly distinctive enough being in full juv though worn plumage and very small, it's not much bigger than a Common Gull and has very long wings which actually mask how small it is when it's flying round.

Here's a couple of shots of them from Cyprus (albeit in March so 4 months later) to compare

I've probably already seen a Baltic Gull in Yorkshire.  I was in Beacon Ponds hide in July 2004 with John Grist when we found a third cal yr bird which seemed to tick all the right boxes but unfortunately it flew off south before we'd worked out the exact state of moult.  Then again that bird didn't have a ring either so we would still be none the wiser.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Here's another shot of the Arctic Poll from last week, this one showing the undertail better, it's a digibinned shot so not much better quality wise than the vid grabs.  But shows another feature to shut up the anonymous poster/wind up merchant.

Went back down to Spurn on Wednesday but despite conditions looking really good I didn't see too much.  The Pied Wheatear and the Poll were both seen briefly early morning then not seen again all day despite much searching, strange thing is one birder jammed in on both but others weren't so lucky..........he claims to have corroborating observers!

Had a bit of work to away from home on Thurs/Fri so didn't get out.  Then most of Sat was taken up with a committee meeting at Spurn.  I managed to miss the Richards Pipit and, well everything else apart from a flock of White Fronts and Barnacles in with the Brents.

Sun involved a stupidly early morning start for a trip up to Hauxley for the Greater Legs.  Got that one wapped off pretty quickly plus the Grey Phal.  It just shows how daft this chasing rare birds thing is really, ask most birders which they'd rather see and they'd say Greater Legs but look at them together in this pic and honestly the Phal kicks the Legs arse it's so much more stunning.  Then again if they both move south into Yorks I know which one I'll be going for!!!

Phal outshining septic

Thanks to Rob Capewell for the pic.  Believe it or not it's a phonescoped pic, and it was shite light so pretty impressive.

After the Phal Legs combo we went to the best the north east has to offer, first port of call was Marden Quarry in Whitley bay for the Lesser Scaup which duly flew in after we'd been thewre about 15 mins and wouldn't come to the 2 slices of bread I threw in.  I was too tight to try enticing it with any more.  They must not feed the young uns much up there cos The KingPrawn was eyeing up my Warburtons so we fucked off sharpish.

A few White Fronts and a brief catch up with a mate of mine and we decided to hit Marsden Quarry where we found a Swift......Bollocks!
I was only saying to one of the Spurn lads the other day if I ever find a late autumn Swifty thing I'm walking away cos they are nails to ID.  I should have listened to myself cos we didn't walk away.  Instead we wasted all afternoon trying to sort it out.  The trouble was it looked brown and although I's normally say the blunt winged feature is a load of bollocks we all thought it was, it didn't have a big pale throat though, hmmm.  Anyway with the foggy conditions we failed miserably to clinch it either way.  Here's a couple of vid grabs of Jacks.

You can see it looks brown even against 
the sky in this pic!
Does this look blunt to you?

So anyway after failing to sort out the Swift and having a large Pipit fly past which had probably come in off we decided on a mad dash to another of the great scenic spots of the north east we headed south for the Semi P.  Unfortunately we'd left it too late and missed it, all we could manage were a couple of Shorties and a load of Seals.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Firstly I have to start this post by telling you how sorry I am (seem to be doing a lot of apologising lately!) That I misled you by suggesting that I was ahead of Tim Isherwood.  I'm not.  In fact until the Wheatear Tim was one ahead of me, so we're now level, my mistake.  You can stop sulking now Tim.

I went back for seconds of the Izzy on Sat and had a bit of a seawatch to try out my new toy, a Kowa 883.  I'm very impressed with the 30x wide.   But more on that later when it's cold and there's no birds to write about.

Sunday I had to make a mad dash over to Wintersett for the Penduline Tit.  Feckin thing had fecked off tho.  It's the first one since 92 in the county, with the exception of one that flew south at Spurn over 2 birders heeds a couple of years ago which was never submitted.

Anyway  I had to dash back down Spurn today for the Pied Wheatear, the 3rd I've seen there now, seems like it's a good week for Wheatears maybe we'll finally get another Desert.  You simply won't believe me if I tell you the last at Spurn was in 1962, I said you wouldn't believe it!

With this in mind I walked the cliff top along the caravan park and back down Beacon lane without seeing any rare Wheatears which is why I'm going to talk about finches!  I was going to check the Crown car park for Hume's Warblers as there were a couple reported on the pager but I didn't get that far.  I flushed this Arctic Redpoll from some nettles along the lane and didn't get any further before dark.  Still nice though.

Looks like Carl White has taken it outside

Brief snatch of it's masseeve pale rump

Fancy a line?

With a Lesser 

As you can see the light was shit but I managed to get these grabs off some of the video I took.

Friday, 4 November 2011

The colour of long worn underwear!

Finally!  Finally there's a good bird in Yorks.  Finally I've got a Yorkshire tick, my first since spring 2010 and FINALLY I've gripped back Izzy Wheatear and pulled one clear of Tim Isherwood.

After my mate Gristi found an Izzy Wheatear near Sammies point in 1990 that I couldn't get a lift for It's been a massive ommision on my Yorks list. There was the Filey bird in 2006 that wasn't gettable and a couple of near misses from the Whitby area but I really was starting to think I'd not get this one back.

Fortunately Yorkshire's version of Geri Bagswell allegedly found a Wheatear nr the Narrows earlier, that's right a Wheatear, just a Wheatear.  Apparently the date didn't make him even the least bit suspicious about it, and he didn't give it a second glance.  The people that he mentioned it to did though and this is what they saw.  Well actually they didn't cos it wasn't in Pauls hand when they saw it!

I saw the bird in the field for the requisite 2 seconds and ruled out Chaffinch and Wren then punched the air and yelled get fuckin in!!!  I then watched it for 10-15 minutes until it wandered into one of Paul's spring traps.  After being rung it was released in the same place and it continued actively feeding.

It's a very clear night up here tonight but the bird had no fat on it so hopefully it will stay for the Saturday crowds, they don't often though so It'll be a case of squeeky bum time for those travelling up tomorrow.