Monday, 2 November 2009

Scilly 2009

I had a great half term week on Scilly with 7 lifers (Marsh Warbler, Richard's Pipit, Citrine Wagtail, Pallas's Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Rosy Starling and Bluethroat) +Manx Shearwater, Great Skua, Snow Bunting, Merlin and Serin as year ticks.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

American Avocet and White-faced Ibis

While on a trip with a local birding club to some area wetlands I saw an American Avocet (top) and seven White-faced Ibis (bottom). It was below freezing and had snowed just before we saw them which is very unusual!

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

I found this beautiful and fairly rare to Iowa bird just ten minutes from my home. People came from a couple hours away to see it-Tucker L

Monday, 19 October 2009

New Kid on the Block

Hi everyone, my name's Cain Scrimgeour and the latest addition to the Young Birder Blog. I'm 18 years old, and from Whitley Bay. I've been birding properly for 6 years now, although I always had a passion for the outdoors, wildlife with birds being my main interest. I've been lucky to have been blessed with the outdoor, nature loving, wild gene which a hand full of us share in these modern times.

I've just started a BA(hons) Wildlife and Media degree at the University of Cumbria's Newton Rigg Campus in Penrith, so the normal patch area of Holywell Pond in SE Northumberland has been left for the mean time, although I do stop in now and again, but it has been replaced well, with nothing yet, I'm yet to find a site in Cumbria with which I'm happy to call my patch, although my Birding and other adventures will continue.

I'm at the beginning of an adventure and will be pleased to share it through this blog.

Check out my blog.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Much birding!

I recently spent 2 weeks birding with Connor and James in Poland. It was a brilliant experience and we clocked up 155 species! Highlights were Black and Middle-Spotted Woodpecker, White and Black Storks, loads of Common Cranes, Red-Backed Shrikes, Golden Orioles, and 16 species of Warbler including River, Savi's, Icterine, Marsh, Barred, Great Reed, and Aquatic!

Read a full report of it on my diary:

This last week I have spent volunteering at Titchwell RSPB (Norfolk). It was hard work and an insight to what actually goes on behind the scenes (lots!). I also had time for some birding and had some decent species: self-found Black Tern and Common Crane, as well as up to 10 Spoonbill, 12 Little Ringed Plover, 9 Curlew Sanpiper and a Little Stint. Plenty of Greenshank, Spotted Redshank and Whimbrel passing through as well. On the sea there wasn't much, a few Arctic Skua and a Great Skua, along with the usual sea duck and Gannet, and the odd Fulmar.

Finally, yesterday morning, I ringed the young Spotted Flycatchers from the nest in our garden. There were 4 in total, and I ringed 3 (my trainer ringed the other). Below are a couple of pictures of the ringed birds:

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Norfolk 4th and 5th July 2009

I had a great weekend in Norfolk, starting with a CASPIAN TERN, a lifer, at Welney WWT that I, along with many others, twitched. Also there were Avocets, male Ruffs, Turtle Doves, Yellow Wagtails and Whooper Swans amongst many others. I met James Grundy in real life for the first time and we had a nice chat.

The next day I had 2 Golden Orioles, a British tick, at Lakenheath Fen RSPB along with 2 or 3 Bitterns and several Bearded Tits. I narrowly missed Common Crane. After this site, we moved on to Weeting Heath NWT where there was a single Stone-curlew, a lifer. We didn't have time for the secret Montagu's Harrier site but are returning in a couple of weeks for another stab at the Cranes and to see the Montagu's Harrier.

New birds for year list competition:
Golden Oriole

New total: 202


Sunday, 28 June 2009

Hobby on the Local Patch

I feel I need to update this blog a bit as no one has posted for weeks! I was lucky enough, the other day to find a beautiful Hobby on my local patch... Bushy Park. At first I thought it was a Kestrel, but after taking a shot, I had bagged myself another year tick!

Monday, 8 June 2009

New Forest 6th June 2009

I had a brilliant day last Saturday in the New Forest with my good friend Phil Wallace with 3 British ticks and 2 lifers. The two lifers were LOONNGG overdue and quite embarressing so I'll get them over with- Crossbill and Tree Pipit! Honey Buzzard is pretty tarty for Britain too so it was nice to get that.

Other birds seen were several Redstarts, including families with juveniles, a Wood Warbler, 2 Ravens, a Peregrine, a Little Egret, a very showy and stunning Firecrest, a Goshawk and a few Common Buzzard.

On the way home we popped into Pulborough Brooks RSPB for Nightingale and Marsh Tit. We heard a Nightingale singing at very close range but failed to see it. We were also successful with Marsh Tit, getting it on the feeders outside of the visitor centre. Marsh Tit was a year tick for me.

A very enjoyable day, especially considering I hadn't been expecting much.


Thursday, 21 May 2009

Cerulean Warbler and friends

The past week has been hectic as I have been finishing up school and taking tests and on top of that, the computer has been acting up. Finally I got hold of my dad's laptop to give a quick update.This past weekend I was lucky enough to hear my lifer Cerulean Warbler (307) in Nebraska on a boyscout camping trip. I think there was more than one but it was hard to tell. They are scarce in our area but used to be more common in years gone by. The scout ranch has had these warblers nest there before but they have been hard to find recently. Last year they were not seen or heard. I hope that they stick around this year to nest. To see what a Cerulean Warbler looks like go here:
Warblers have been moving through and I have had Black-throated Green-Warbler and Blackpoll Warblers show up in the yard recently. Besides that I have not gotten out much, so hopefully I will get out some in the next few days.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Hudsonian Godwits

Back in April I got to see my lifer Hudsonian Godwits. They were seen about 15 minutes from my house so my dad and I headed out to find my no. 1 nemesis life bird. When we got to the lake I had trouble finding them in the low light but with some effort I was able to find them feeding on the far shore. They all took off and I counted at least six in the group before they were all gone. The Hudsonian Godwit was life bird 306 and Iowa bird 263 for me. Now I have to find my nemesis Marbled Godwit!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Black-winged Pratincole, Stomarsh NNR

Enough said, or not said as the case may be!

Crescent-chested Warbler!!

Hey guys, Chris here. 
I couldn't believe it when someone reported a Crescent-chested Warbler!! The location was literally up the road from where I'm staying here in Portal, Arizona.  I ran up to the spot the next morning, and nailed the bird!  This is an ABA code 4 bird with fewer than 10 records in the USA. One of those records was a breeding record so maybe this bird is expanding it's range. 
Anyway, it was a waay awesome bird to see. 

I'm here in Portal, Arizona as a bird guide until Sept, so I have plenty of time to nail everything here in the Chiricahua mountains. 

My year list is at 360 now (sorry guys, the USA just plain has more species).
Life list is up to 538.  

I'll update y'all from time to time. 
Anyway, have to run, have some clients this evening. 

Happy Birding! --Chris

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Red-rumped Swallow

Just a quick post on my sighting today of an adult RED-RUMPED SWALLOW near my local patch at Bockhill this morning. If you don't believe me (I know there are still those of you who WON'T) check The bird was seen by several others too, although I found it on my own with no prior knowledge of the bird being there.



Friday, 17 April 2009

Patch joys

I had a great time at my local patch today, with four Beddington SF ticks (three of which were British year ticks). My year list is now on 166 (or 167?) for Britain, 100 for Beddington SF and my Beddington SF list is 118 now!

First of all, highlights that were not ticks of any kind were: the immature Iceland Gull showing well on+off, 20+ Yellow Wagtails, 1 male Peregrine, 1 singing Lesser Whitethroat and a Green Sandpiper.

The Beddington ticks were: 8 Little Gulls north, 5, 1 and 7 Whimbrel north west plus 1 on the enclosed lagoons, 2 Arctic Terns through and a male Ring Ouzel in flight (all apart from Little Gull were British year ticks).

Probably my best day there ever.
Above: 2 different crops of the best Arctic Tern photo. I believe this is the first flight shot of one at the farm.


I was just chilling out in the garden yesterday, avoiding doing revision for just a little bit longer, when I noticed how many birds were singing. It was a really nice afternoon and a male Blackbird had made a favourite perch on top of one of our apple trees. It was singing so I got my scope out and digiscoped a few shots of it. I was really concentrating on the bird, noticing how it drew its wings out slightly when belting out its tune as if to propel the sound even further. I caught the bird ducking its head a couple of times in this video, but couldn't figure out why. I think it may have seen another male within its terrotory. It was really rewarding to get some nice shots of the bird and to get a video which picked up the birds song quite well, instead of thinking "oh, it's just a Blackbird". My point is, the bird doesn't have to be rare to be enjoyed. Take your time to appreciate all of nature...

Thursday, 16 April 2009


Hey there,

Many of you were young birders once or involved in young birders
events, so we thought you may be willing to help us spread the word
about a new opportunity for young birders. The Cornell Lab of
Ornithology is hosting its first Young Birders’ Event this year from
August 6-9, 2009. We’re looking for ten keen young birders to join us
in Ithaca for a long weekend of birding, workshops and networking

The Young Birder’s Event will feature:
· two days of field trips
· presentations by Cornell Lab of Ornithology staff including
professors, researchers, and students who will share various
ways to incorporate birds into a career
· eBird and field notes workshop
· specimen preparation workshop
· sound recording workshop
· tour of CLO including the Macaulay Library and Museum of
· dinner with CLO Directors and Staff

The application and more info attached, deadline 10 May 2009.

Please spread the word to high school-aged young birders who you think
would be interested. The Lab is picking up most of the tab this year,
so tuition is $100 plus travel expenses for the young birders. We’re
doing all our “advertising” via email, word of mouth and Facebook, so
we can really use your help making sure all the high school-aged
birders you know hear about it. Feel free to contact me with


Jessie Barry
Assistant Curator of Audio
Macaulay Library
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
tel. 607.254.2498

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


Spring is well and truly here now. A few nice birds are starting to arrive on our shores and the yearlist is being bumped up with every visit I make to the coast. A recent trip saw me at Hunstanton (Norfolk) where I could see a male Common Redstart and 2 Black Redstarts in the same scope view on a garden wall, whilst on the Golf Course next to me there was a stunning Blue Headed Wagtail (my first) along with 15 Yellow Wagtails, 3 White Wagtails, 7 Pied Wagtails and over 250 Meadow Pipits!
It all happened so quickly!
I also saw quite a few Warblers. 8 species were counted; Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow, Sedge, Cetti's, Grasshopper, Common Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Coto Donana April 4th-11th 2009

Hey all, Ben here.
I just got back from Spain... well, I returned at about 1 am on Sunday morning, but still... it's taken me a while to edit all the photos, all 874 of them! Still, the Coto Donana did not fail to disappoint at all! This year's best moments were close views of Collared Pratincoles, Great White Egrets and Bee Eaters; a Red-knobbed Coot in a lake margin right next to the road; displaying Black-necked Grebes; a Booted Eagle no more than three metres above me in a tree plucking a Hoopoe; a Little Bittern out in the open; and finally, large numbers of Temminck's Stints in a small pool!
On the special birds side, I must say that there was a WILSON'S PHALAROPE in Donana when I was present. A young Swiss birder was busy scanning the Brazo del Este marshes for it, but as far as I know he had no success; neither did we. :( . Actually, to be perfectly honest, I didn't actually try looking for it... ehehe, I had no scope, there was lots of vegetation and anyway, I was busy watching several Purple Gallinules dashing about!
Here are some of my favourite photos from the trip:


Cattle Egret

Collared Pratincole

Great White Egret
Little Bittern

Red-knobbed Coot

Temminck's Stint

Pin-tailed Sandgrouse

Whiskered Tern

White Stork

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

A Swallow in the Garden

I was casually going about my business in the garden- by that I mean eating a sarny ;) when I suddenly hear that unmistakable 'chitter chatter' call above my head... yep, my first Swallow of the year!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Early Migrants in New York

After weeks of being stuck inside, I was determined to get out today. So I biked 5 miles to the nearest state park and tried my luck with migrants.

There were several birders there already, who quickly let me know there was an early Northern Parula on site. It was a remarkable third species of wood-warbler at the site, following the very common Yellow-rumpeds and less common Pines. Other small birds were also present, including Golden-crowned Kinglets, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and an Eastern Phoebe. The first swallows of the year, Trees and Barns, were coursing over the big lake. Most of the ducks had left, except for a pair of Common Merganser and some coots. The only returning heron that day was a Black-crowned Night-Heron. A group of about 17 vocal Rusty Blackbirds and two Red-wingeds wasn't new to my BIGBY list, but was very nice to see and hear.

My only other BIGBY birds today were singing Carolina Wren and Brown-headed Cowbird, which I picked up while biking to and from the park. My BIGBY year list stands at 55.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Peregrines are Back

Hey all, Ben here,
My posts are going to become less and less frequent now I'm spending most weekends doing other things (girlfriends have to take priority over pastimes, you know - not that that's a bad thing!). I will post as soon I return from the Coto Donana to tell you of this year's escapades, but for now I have little to say. As I have already said, birdwatching opportunities have been thin on the ground lately, but I did manage a short trip to Bockhill last Saturday to check for early migrants. Alas, no Swallows, Blackcaps or early Whitethroats, but I did hear and see several Chiffchaffs and witness the return of our local peregrines. An escaped hybrid falcon known locally as 'The Thing' prevented them from breeding successfully last year, but maybe this year...?

I hope you all have a good Easter Holiday, and good luck with the birdwatching for the rest of you!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers at last!

Hi. I finally caught up with Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers this winter, after being advised on a secret location I looked for them after school yesterday (17th March 09). Before too long I found a male and a female, which both showed well. I got some photos but they're not great. I am pleased with the photo of the female displaying though.


Sunday, 8 March 2009


I always thought that woodcocks travelled by night; they do when they migrate, as far as I know. Well, would you believe it? This is the second time I've seen a woodcock migrating by day! This bird today came zooming in off the sea and flew straight past me as I was walking along the sea wall!

Apart from the curiosity of the bird's day-time travel, I was just ecstatic to see one AND photograph it! This is my first semi-decent photo of one of my favourite birds, so I'm more than pleased!

Mealy Redpoll

Mealy Redpoll, Sevenoaks WR, 8th March 2009, excuse the crap record shot.


Saturday, 7 March 2009

Birding by Bike in New York

Today was the warmest day of the year yet (64 F, 18 C), so naturally it seemed like a good day to be out. Indeed, the early singers were making themselves heard: Mourning Dove, American Robin, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird and House Finch mainly.

Within 5 miles of biking I had added several new birds to my Bigby 2009 list (see the details of a Big Green Big Year here: including Red-bellied Woodpecker and Common Grackle. Then I arrived at the local state park, which is often THE place to be in early spring migration. True, it was only early March, but there are more attractions there than just migrants.

The first I place I was eager to check was the small pond. Just several weeks ago, a moribund Thick-billed Murre had shown up at that little wooded puddle and could be swimming among Mallards, Hooded Merganser, Green-winged Teal and an American Black Duck. Naturally the auk wasn't there, but all the ducks except some Mallards and the black duck had left. Fortunately, a few hundred yards south was a much larger lake. Way out was one of the missing suspects (Hooded Merganser) along with Ring-necked Ducks, American Coots, and a surprise pair of Common Merganser. Generally, Mergus merganser is the rarest of the trio in the area, but this winter they have been showing strongly.

Moving on to the woodland, I was disappointed not to kick up any Fox Sparrows (reliable there), but was also puzzled to hardly see any sparrows at all. Consolation: a group of 5 Rusty Blackbirds! A very localized winterer, mostly due to a ridiculous population decline of more than 90%. Also in a very small square of woods I found singles of Red-bellied, Downy, and Hairy Woodpeckers and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, as well as 3 flyover Great Black-backed Gull (which are very rare flyovers just 5 miles north!).

I was very content at that point, but had a triple surprize on the way out. Back at the smaller pond what I thought was a piece of trash, began swimming around and dabbling. Not one of styrofoam cups, but rather a drake Northern Shoveler. Still no Green-winged Teal, or were there? Two small ducks on the other side... teal? No, a pair of Wood Ducks! A very nice bonus! Then just as I was about to give a third small duck came into view. That one had a white verticle stripe on its side. Finally!

All in all, I increased by Bigby waterfowl collection exponentially (last year I only had Mallard and Canada Goose!) and nailed some tricky visitants. I think with a bit more effort than last year, and some springtime visits, perhaps I can break my pathetic record of 94 for the year. I don't really like the year listing aspect as much when greenhouse gases are emitted just to chase easy birds every year. This sits better on my conscious. :)

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Displaying Goshawk Thursley Common

A good day was had at Thursley Common on Sunday with a couple of friends. We enjoyed good, though distant views of a displaying male Goshawk and good views of a Woodlark. This brings my year list up to 132. No Dartfords or Stonechats... the snow must have killed some birds off then... :-(. David.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Margate Wader Festival

Hey all, Ben here,
I went birdwatching at Foreness Point and Palm Bay yesterday, partly to boost my year list a little, but mainly to try and take some nice photos in the sunlight which had come out of the blue in the early morning. I'm very pleased with the results; with much patience I was able to get ever so close to the birds I was photographing without disturbing them! Best of all were the Purple Sandpipers; oddly enough, they were the waders that let me approach the closest!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Hayling Island- !!!Glaucous Gull!!!

I think I've spelt the birds name right in the title?! Anyway... today, David and me went down to Hayling Island to attend a walk around the oysterbeds there. We started at Langstone Harbour, quickly logging birds such as Med Gull, Brent Geese, Oystercatcher, Blackwit and Barwit, Knot, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Shelduck, Red breasted Merg, Curlew and Turnstone.
Then it was on to the oysterbeds where we added 16 Black necked Grebe to our ever growing list.
Bird of the day was an amzing 2nd winter Glaucous Gull that gave amazing views up to 2-3 metres!
Merganser.... yummy!
You have to admit, its a beautiful bird!
You don't get Redshank numbers like this at the wetland centre!
Hope everyone had a good weekend and Valentines day!
Billy D