Saturday, 28 June 2008
After the Roseate Tern we went onto the main reserve, passing some sprightly Bearded Tits, and saw the Lesser Yellowlegs, which was a bit of a let-down really. It was extremely difficult even to tell that it had yellow legs! Sadly the Spoonbills hadn't been seen, but it was still a great morning, with my 15th and Simeon's 13th lifer of the year.
Sunday, 22 June 2008
A more relaxed trip this weekend to Warnham, but still in search of one year tick- Mandarin Duck!
We started the trail at around 12:45pm. From the first hide I saw the Common Terns that are nesting for yet another year and loads of Herring Gulls. The Terns were very aggressive and attacked the Gulls whenever they came near. The usual common stuff was on the feeders providing the first real photo opportunities for a while and I was very pleased with my shot of a Dunnock. My female Mandarin popper out :-) year tick 159.
Photos not working at the moment- see diary page of freewebs.com/southeastbirding (soon moving to southeastbirding.com)
At the feeders there was a showy Nuthatch, juvenile Tits, Chaffinches and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. And at the last hide I got good views of a Great Crested Grebe (its mate was on a nest fending off Herons). A Black-headed Gull flew in and a Jay flew over.
A good day.
Nightjars Chobham Common 20th June 08
After years of letting it slip by, I finally managed to arrange a trip to see the Nightjars at Chobham Common! I didn't think I would be that successful because a friend of mine had gone there earlier in the week and only heard them, and in better weather, so I was wondering if I would even hear them let alone see them.
We arrived at around 9pm and started our walk after about 10 minutes of pointless waiting around for nothing. Within minutes I was seeing Woodcock fly over, though not roding, instead making a high pitched call. I did that silly-dance-with-tissues-and-clap-your-hands thing which I think may have worked because it was not too long before I heard a Nightjar churring! And it was not too long after that until one flew right past me- what a bird and what a great lifer! It settled nearby, though I couldn't see it, and I got to hear it churring more clearly. Meanwhile some more Woodcocks flew over and a Lapwing called. I soon heard one or two more Nightjars. The bird flew back to where it came from and I decided to take the opportunity to do the tissue and clap thing again to see if it would come any closer, but it didn't really work. It flew back again and then once again returned to its original area. A few bats were flying around and by now it was getting very dark. I walked up and down a few times and at one point I could hear a Nightjar churring literally right next to me! I couldn't see it though and when I took one more step I heard its wingbeats as it took off and the clapping of its wings! I caught a glimpse of it as it flew but didn't locate it again.
We started to make our way back slowly and heard the first bird again. As we got back in the car I heard two Tawny Owls making high ptiched noises. As I neared them, I heard them no longer and decided to go.
A very enjoyable night.
Some record shots from a couple of recent twitches (just to cramp the style of Chris' gorgeous Magnolia Warbler. To give you a rough idea of why my photos are always such poor quality, the bottom photo is the original uncropped version of the very distant shrike, taken in evening light, windy conditions and without an adaptor!
Friday, 20 June 2008
Saturday, 7 June 2008
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Chris W here reporting from Wisconsin in the USA.
Last week I attended the Wisconsin society for Ornithology's annual convention. The above Magnolia Warbler was one of the 30 some species of warblers we saw and heard.
Since the start of the year, I've been doing a big year. Currently, I'm almost halfway to my goal of 600 species for the year.
This afternoon, I spent about 3 hours biking around trying to add species to my Bigby list. I managed to add 3 species to bring my year total up to 139. My total for the afternoon was 88 species.
One of them included this Indigo Bunting:
Happy Birding! --Chris
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
On arrival at Pulborough Brooks I had a quick look at the feeders and managed to see a Nuthatch of note as well as the usual garden birds. Interesting birds started right at the begginning of the trail when my friend that I was on the phone to earlier about the Shrike pointed out a Wren's nest. He wanted to get some shots of the parents as they went in so we waited there for quite a while. In between visits by the parents, parent and juvenile Linnets and Pied Wagtails entertained us.
Soon, we started to go down the trail. Not too far down the trail I spotted a Nightingale hop out onto a fence post, I managed to get my binoculars on it for about a second before it went into a bush. I heard several Blackcaps and a possible Garden Warbler or two in this area. We heard a Nightingale sing in a nearby bush, it was very close. Eventually I managed to locate it, but could only see its breast really. It was fantastic just to hear it, though, and for so long; not to mention at such close range.
We headed off for the viewpoint to see the Spoonbill that had been reported. We watched it for 20 minutes or so. It was feeding and flew a couple of times briefly because a female Mallard with 9 ducklings didn't take a liking to it, eventually, it got fed up and flew towards the other pool in front of the hide, out of view.
We headed back to the visitor centre to get the fledging Garden Warblers that someone had seen there, but no joy. There was a Pheasant and a few Whitethroat, though.
Another quick look at the Wren and a glance at the feeders and we were off for the Shrike. My friend led us to where it was and we arrived on site not too long after we left Pulborough.
We walked over the bridge and after a quick scan of the fence posts, we picked it up, sitting on the wire! Lucky me, my friend said he had to wait 1 1/2 hours to see it before. We enjoyed fantastic views of the beautiful Red-backed Shrike for an hour. It hunted, sang and even reguritated a pellet. It was a stunning bird and a lifer for me. A great end to another great day.
Above: Red-backed Shrike