Friday, October 30, 2009

A nice surprise at Woolston this afternoon when Michael Miles rang to say he had just trapped a Firecrest on No. 3 bed. Even better still, it was I who got to ring and process it - a first-winter male. A really stunning bird, just a shame the light was so bad and the breeze was catching under the back feathers.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

East coast dippin'

Last Monday was spent on the east coast at Bempton RSBP dipping the Tarsiger (Red-flanked Bluetail is such a pointless mouthful of a name). The best we could muster in 7 hours of bush-watching was a Chiffchaff, a Goldcrest and 3 or 4 Brambling. The 1cy Red-backed Shrike showed distantly and in strong winds at the north end of the reserve and a Kestrel was hovering over the cliffs.......

Also plenty of these:

And a fair few of these:

Hmm, blotchy underparts. Was I supposed to report them to the pagers?

Friday, October 09, 2009


With the east coast looking like it could be good on 15th/16th September and with a few days free, Chris Bridge and myself headed across to Spurn in the hope of finding something good.
First stop was the Crown & Anchor where a crowd was waiting for a Red-breasted Flycatcher to show. We nipped next door to the churchyard were we found the bird, a smart 1cy, and watched it at close range with just 4 other people for company. Soon, though, the hordes from the pub car park arrived and it was time for us to leave.

Next up was the hide at Canal scrape. After a short wait, the Snow Bunting flew in and showed reasonably well around the edge of the scrape (clearly not well enough for decent photos, though!). A sharp contrast to the usual watching mobile birds on a beach, being sand blasted and losing feeling in your fingers, this bird gave the opportunity to study it in 'some detail'. A couple of Yellow Wagtails were buzzing around towards the back of the scrape.

Arriving at the Warren, we sorted out a room for the night and, with nothing better to do, hung around to see what was passing through. After a short while, one of the ringers brought back a single bird from one of the nets. Expecting it to be a Robin or a Greenfinch, we followed the into the ringing hut.
Much to our delight, out of the bag popped this little gem:

More pics here.

A bit of sea watching produced a Sooty Shearwater and a handful of Arctic Skuas.

A trip down to the point in the evening added Lesser Whitethroat and Reed Warbler, with large numbers of Song Thrush and Reed Bunting also in the area. Sadly, no sign of the Red-backed Shrike that was there.

Wednesday early morning was spent around the Warren. Large numbers of terns (several 1000) passed over, moving out of the Humber, but it was otherwise generally quiet. The Yellow-browed Warbler showed for a nanosecond as it was blown from one bush to another. I got a ringing tick in the form of.... a House Sparrow! A species that is non-existent at all the sites I am currently ringing at.

Down a the point, we finally caught up with the juv Red-backed Shrike, even if it was extremely mobile and elusive.

Up at canal scrape, there was no sign of the Snow Bunting, though a Whinchat did pose for photos along the fence.

A walk up to Beacon Pools was quite uninspiring with just a handful of the usual waders (Dunlin, Grey Plover, Sanderling) seen.
This cow was one of several showing well close to the path......

A Lesser Whitethroat was in the caravan park on our way back down Beacon Lane.

Final stop was back in the Crown & Anchor car park where there were some dragonflies and a Pied Fly.

We went the long way home, arriving at Hornsea Mere only to be greeted by the news that the juv Red-necked Phalarope had flown off and had disappeared somewhere about 15 minutes previously. Not a problem, we'd just have to spent a bit of time refinding it... that was until a bloke from the sailing club told us he was going to be locking the gates in 20 mins and we'd have to leave. Twenty minutes of searching were fruitless, though there was a single Little Gull and about 50 Pied Wagtails...

Monday, October 05, 2009

From RTVV Medi ambient

That's me that is. Talking about Storm Petrels on Valencian television. Thankfully, I'm being spoken over in Spanish, which is good since a) it largely hides my nasal tones, and b) it covers up the nonsense I was talking at the time! Erm, unless you speak Spanish, in which case you can probably work out what I was saying by listening to what the presenter says...
For those with more time than sense, the episode is online HERE - the piece on petrels starts from 18 minutes in.