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

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Local Patch Photography

I have to admit, I love snow, and it has been snowing very heavily this last week! So I took a trip down to my local patch, Richmond Park. It was an opportunity to get some year ticks (Pintail, Shoveler) and also get a photography session in as the birds explored this winter wonderland.
The first bird I saw was a beautiful Green Woodpecker, one of my favourite birds. It was digging around in the snow looking for seed, insects or what ever it could find.

I found 1 Pintail which showed very well. I caught it when it had just landed (which was very bad) and started waddling around on the ice...

Other wildfowl included these female Shelduck below which were taking advantage of the free and easy-to-get-to drink..

You can't get a much better Robin pose than this (its definitly going on next years Christmas cards!)

Ok, its not a bird but I couldn't resist sticking this shot on of a young Red Deer in the snow

As always, you can see more on my blog on my blog:
Happy Birding!

Monday, 2 February 2009

Snowy Owl Day

I just joined the young birders blog yesterday. My name is Tucker Lutter and I live in Iowa, USA. I have been birding for a number of years now and am fifteen. The other day my mom and I went out to look for a Snowy Owl that was being reported near the Owego Wetlands which is not far from where I live. I decided to check a wildlife area on the way down for birds since it was on the way and worth checking. When we got there my mom spotted a large white bird fly up to the top of a grain bin. I looked where she was talking about with my binoculars and saw an adult Snowy Owl perched on the bin. The Snowy Owl that we were going to look for was a juvenile so they were different birds, a great surprise! I called up a couple area birders and they rushed down to see it. On the way there I saw a Northern Shrike as well as a couple mammals such as Mink (weasel) and Red Fox.
After I spent some time photographing and watching the first owl it was time to find the second. We pulled up to the spot where the second owl was seen and found it fairly quickly perched on a post. I got a picture before it flew out into the middle of a field. Seeing two Snowy Owls in one day around here is not easy to do. Finding one can even prove to be a challenge. Most years only one (or even no) Snowy Owls are seen. So far this winter we've had three in the area.After I was done watching the Snowy Owl we (more like I, my mom isn't really a birder) decided to look for a flock of forty Common Redpolls at the wetland area nearby. I had already seen the flock a few days earlier but I wanted to see it again to see if there were any Hoary Redpolls in with them. We found the flock but they flew off after a minute of watching them. Redpolls have to be one of the hardest kinds of birds to observe if they are not sitting still on a feeder. They move around from place to place (they usually stayed in one location for a few minutes and then they moved to another one usually far away) and even when they are feeding the are constantly moving.
The regular birds to the wetland are are also interesting. It doesn't take Snowy Owls or Common Redpolls to make it an interesting day. There are many birds there most of the time such as Short-eared Owl (pictured), Rough-legged Hawk, Merlin, etc. It is a great place to visit almost anytime.
The second Snowy Owl has been around for over a week and has allowed many people to come and view it. The first one however has moved on. The redpolls are still around but are sometimes hard to find. One-hundred of them were seen this morning by several birders. It has been an amazing week for birds in the area.
Good birding!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Year List - not so good...

So, January is over. I have done plenty of birding, but not at particularly decent places. I have visited Denver Sluice and Whin Common only, but have still managed Lesser-Spotted Woodpecker, Goshawk, Woodcock and Waxwing, as well as some nice but not so scarce stuff like Marsh Tit - which I often find quite hard. My yearlist currently stands at 81, but no doubt it will shoot up soon. I am aiming for 140 by the end of February.