Tuesday, 29 April 2008

There's somet Arctic about the Larid - 29th April 2008

As no-one has included a picture if they have seen it of the Ross's Gull in good old Lancashire so far, I thought I may as well, as I am now proud to say I have got rid of my title as only Lancs Birder not to see the Belter...What a Bird though!

Monday, 28 April 2008

Beddington SF 24th April 08

With a lot being seen at Beddington SF lately I decided to head down there again on Thursday. I know a few of the regulars there and was looking forwards to meeting them again as well as the migrants.
www.diporglory.co.uk- the Beddington SF website said that the farm had Common Tern, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Little Gull and Little Egret the previous day. So I had high hopes. The farm had even better passage a couple of days before so who knew what would have turned up when I went.
As soon as I arrived I heard an odd sounding Blackcap and with the Garden Warbler sighting yesterday, I was suspicous. Soon Roger came walking down the track, the two of us stood there for about 10 minutes until a couple of Blackcaps flew out.
Roger and Johnny went over to look for the Garden Warbler and I joined them, it was a longer walk than I expected and even though I'm pretty regular at Beddington it was the first time I saw the '100 acre' lake. We had left our scopes in the 'hide' but managed to pick up a Greenshank even so and there were the usual pair of Shelduck flying around.
As we neared the Garden Warbler spot, Johnny picked up a Bird of Prey going over. At first he claimed it as a Buzzard but when we all got onto it we realised there was something wrong about it. I had certainly seen nothing quite like it before. It was big enough for someone to think it a Buzzard at first glance but its flight pattern was wrong, its wing shape was wrong, it was about 2/3 the size of a Buzzard and had pointed wings. I was playing with the idea of Goshawk in my head, and dismissed the idea immediately until Johnny said it did look a bit like one but we all knew there was no way of confirming the sighting, it was silhouetted all the time it was in view. I am trying to get the bird out of my head as it will just lead to more wishful thinking, but I still can't help thinking it wasn't a Buzzard and it didn't look quite right for female Sparrowhawk, come to think of it the flight pattern was a it dodgy for Sparrowhawk. Anyway, we'll never know and just have to call it a female Sparrowhawk.
After a bit more walking we reached the fence (used by the birders here as the recording boundary, you cannot count anything seen on the other side of the fence) where there was a bit of scrub and some oak trees. Chaffinches, Tits and Blackcaps were seen. One singing male came extremely close, if only I had my camera I would have got superb photos. Other than the above mentioned species, there was nothing and we waited and waited and waited until Johnny got a phone call from Kev who was in the hide saying that he'd seen a Hobby around the lake! I felt my heart sink when I heard him say in reply 'Hobby around the lake! Thanks for that Kev we'll keep a look out'. I felt my hopes of seeing the birds slowly diminish as we continued to wait for a bird which was not going to show, even though I would love to see a Garden Warbler. Eventually Johnny admitted the bird was not going to show. I had ten minutes until I had to leave.
On arriving back at the hide I heard that the Hobby was gone and even worse, a Peregrine had flown over! A few quick scans with the scope I found nothing else of interest. But then I heard a song I had only seen on birding computer programmes and DVDs, the rattling song of my first Lesser Whitethroat! Soon Kev picked it up and I got onto it, brief and partial but I saw it. A much needed lifer! They breed across the road from me but I've still never seen one. At least some good came of the day.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Donana Trip April 2008

Hi, Ben here. I returned from a fantastic holiday to southern Spain last week, and what a great week I had! I managed to tick all but one of my target species (Baillon's Crake), and have photographs of all the best birds on my Flickr site. Of twitching interest I saw a Pied Kingfisher, a Bald Ibis and the best rarity of them all: an adult male Rose-breasted Grosbeak, which was seen by three other birders. Just a shame that it was too dark to photograph as it kept to the top branches of a stone-pine. Here are five of my best shots: Greater Flamingo, Purple Heron, Purple Gallinule, Montagu's Harrier and Squacco Heron. These individuals were very confiding; all seen within a few metres of me, some from a hide, others from the car.

Monday, 21 April 2008


Hey everyone, sorry for not posting much lately.

I just wanted to make sure everybody knows about BIGBYing, or participating in a Big Green Big Year. It's simple - you count every bird that you see that didn't require use of a gas-guzzling vehicle on any part of the trip, from door to door (not sure about buses though...). Catch a train, bike to your local patch. It's much more challenging than regular ol' birding and is guilt free. You can sign up and become an official BIGBYer, or just do it on your own:


Please consider joining the group of BIGBYers. We are the next generation of birders! We can pioneer this new trend and make a difference! It's so easy -- why not?! Especially since half of us can't drive yet!!

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Calling all (UK based) Young Birders!

Calling all UK based Young Birders (18 and under, though this could be extended possibly upon request). Seeing as the Young Norfolk Birders (that is myself, Simeon Grundy, Connor Rand, and Matthew Evans) had a cracking Spring day today we decided that it would be cool to launch a game of Finders Keepers for 2008. We had in mind for this to be a team game (largely to stop Connor from jammily cashing in on our finds) - Young Norfolk Birders v. Young Birders, although any friends can be included so long as the number does not get ludicrously large (in which case multiple teams could be formed).

For those of you not initiated in the rules of the game, it involves finding as many scarce/rare birds as possible in 2008, for which points are earned. For co-finds the points are split depending on how much of a hand you had in the find. Birding does not have to be done as a team, the points are simply added. Also, as Steve and Jyothi have expressed concern that we live in Norfolk it has been decided that points will be adjusted depending on where (and when in some cases) the bird was found, eg. A Baltimore Oriole in London scores more than in Norfolk which scores more than in Shetland. For this reason we cannot invite people outside the UK (including Ireland, sorry!) as it would get rather confusing - I don't know what a Baltimore oriole is worth in the USA!

We will have our own set of modified rules, as the Punkbirder rules are somewhat out of our league, with Simeon and I deciding the points to be given with a second opinion from Connor - don't worry we will be totally fair (well, as fair as we can!). Also, we will operate on the basis of trust - all records will be accepted, trusting that people's consciences will ensure that the records are valid. Anyway, it would be a little unfair if we were to judge validity without actually knowing anything about it - it doesn't work for the county recorders and it wouldn't work for us! There will be no prizes, except the ultimate prize of satisfaction and glory!

Above all we will be playing largely for fun, not to prove that we are better than everyone else! I for one have A levels to think about, so if I find a rare it will probably be by accident, not because I went to Sumburgh Lighthouse at 5:00am every day - don't worry, it's not going to be intensely serious.

Please email me at jimmyg777@hotmail.co.uk if you are interested or if you have questions.

TX trip pictures and species list.

I got back from the TX coast last week after spending a week in the little coastal town of High Island just south of Houston.
It was a fun trip. I totaled 146 species, 122 year birds and 14 lifers!

my trip pictures can be found here:

My trip list can be found here:

and my daily trip updates can be found on my blog:

Happy Birding!