Saturday 30th June 2012

   A return visit to Whitecross Green Wood, on the borders of Bucks and Oxfordshire, to look for Black Hairstreaks. We did manage to see at least 4 this time, although not as good as Glapthorne Cow Pastures in N'hants, especially for photos.
  Two Red Kites were the only birding highlights, always nice to see.

Monday 25th June 2012

   The Sun's out, one day of Summer at last.

   Odd Down was my after work stop again, just hoping the Small Blues were not all finished. Good news too, they were still flying. I had at least half a dozen, sorry, 6, for my younger readers! If i have any? They were really easy if you spend time looking.
Small Blue

   Then a walk along the River Avon, from the Lock Keeper pub in Keynsham. Scarce Chaser being my prey. Had quite a decent walk, but no sign. Lots of Banded Demoiselles and a couple of White-legged Damselflies. Not much birdlife either, Kingfisher and Yellowhammer were the best.

Banded Demoiselle (Female)
White-legged Damselfly (Female)

White-legged Damselfly (Male)

Sunday 24th June 2012

   A Little Swift in New Brighton, the Wirral yesterday had me up early hoping for news. Sadly, there had been no news of it going to roost last night, and no sign this morning. Oh well, Black Hairstreaks then, not too bad a swap i suppose. As we got close to where we were heading, the news that the Little Swift had been seen again came out on the pager. What to do? Finally found Whitecross Green Wood, after deciding we were too close to turn back, and had a wander around. But, no sign of any Hairstreaks. We did have some Large Skippers, which were the first of the year for me. A couple of Red Kites were seen around the area. There was a WillowChiff there, which couldnt decide which it wanted to be. Not quite as good as the Iberian Chiffchaff at Porlock though!
   Couldnt resist any longer, New Brighton here we come!
   Got there in pretty good time, got to the car park on the seafront, but no birders apart from 2 which walked away from there, just as we arrived. Didnt see where they went though. Then as i was about to leave the car park to try to find everyone, a birder walked passed the car. I asked and he told me where to go. Thank you whoever you were, i would not have found it otherwise. Drove up the hill to a green lead roofed Church. Birders, and the bird great stuff. Fourth UK lifer of the year for me.

Little Swift

Saturday 23rd June 2012

Privet Hawk-moth
  An afternoon trip to Chew was cut short, as it wasnt very good!!!!! Also because the sun was out, time to look for the Small Blues, which i had only recently heard about in Odd Down. Got there, but no sign of any, were they all over or was it not quite warm enough. It was quite windy still. Bugger!!! Slight consolation was finding this Privet Hawk-moth in the grass there.

Monday 18th June 2012

   The short journey over the Avonmouth bridge to Portbury Wharf this evening. To look for the young Little Owls.
Common Chiffchaff
   I saw an adult on the usaul barn, but no youngsters, maybe next time. Had a good wander and had a very brave singing Chiffchaff from the first hide.

Barn Owl
Onto the second hide, not much showing too well, until a Barn Owl flew over the hide and landed on a post. Camera up, too late it flew off again, but i did manage a couple of flight shots, which were just not quite right. But, not too bad i suppose. Oh well another reason to go back soon. If the rain ever stops long enough.

Sunday 17th June 2012

    The Somerset Levels. No cyclists were hurt on this trip and i didnt have to pay for a new windscreen! So that was good.

    First stop, Ham Walls RSPB. Bitterns were still booming from all directions, this place has to now be the best place in UK for Bitterns surely? From the first viewing platform we had, a Peregrine carrying prey. as it flew over the wood at the back, it put up 3 Hobbies. There were also probably 2 Cuckoos calling there. A female Marsh Harrier was seen and 2 sightings, probably different birds, of Great White Egret were had. Then i spotted a Bittern in the reedbed fairly close in, the cameras started snapping, except mine! I was waiting for flight shots. The bird took off and flew around a bit for me, my luck had finally changed, maybe!

   Over to Meare Heath next. On the drained lagoon there was another Great White Egret, but it flew off not long after we arrived. A Kingfisher flew acros the lagoon. We walked along to the Noahs hide track, where the Egret watch caravan is situated. They have a 24 hour watch going on, until the youngsters have fledged. For those of you who dont know, a pair of great White Egrets have bred there this year, the first ever for Britain. Spent about an hour in Meare Heath hide, bit dull apart from a close Bittern, which flew off before anyone else could see it. Then quiet until just as we decided to leave. I then picked up a flying Marsh Harrier, then another and another 3 in total all together. Could be the whole of the levels breeding colony, flew by!!! Then a Barn Owl, a Bittern, another 2 Bitterns, another Barn Owl and last but not least another Bittern. All in the space of ten minutes. Brilliant.

Great White Egret

Monday 11th June 2012

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Juvenile)
   A nice juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker, was being lead into the garden by its father this week. Had to try to get some shots.

Sunday 10th June 2012

    Rain, rain and more rain. What a cracking Summer, huh!

    A trip to Porlock to see if the Iberian Chiffchaff would show itself in the rain. Got to the place where it had been, it was still raining! But, the bird was still there. There was a pair of Common Chiffchaffs feeding youngster in the nest near the pull-in, and the Iberian Chiffchaff would sing to the female, then chase the male off. But, as in the photos i had already seen, he did come and sing from a Holly tree by the pull-in. Lovely, really different song.

Iberian Chiffchaff

Saturday 9th June 2012

   A quick visit to Severn Beach last night saw a very strong wind, and some Seabirds. So this morning i tried the same. There were quite a few European Storm-petrels around, 4 Arctic Skuas flew high over our heads and up over the bridge. A friend said he thought he had an odd looking Kittiwake out on the river, we all began to look, then the shout went up 'Sabines Gull'. A smart looking Summer plumaged adult bird, which sadly didnt really come in close enough for photos. But, what a cracking bird.

European Storm-petrel (the usual view)

European Storm-petrel

Saturday 9th June 2012

   Seawatching at Severn Beach this morning. There were quite a few (up to 30 recorded) Storm-petrels flying about in the wind. A Fulmar and Peregrine were also seen, but the star bird was a Summer plumaged Sabines Gull. Sadly it didnt come close enough for photos.


Tuesday 5th June 2012

Add caption
   Another day off work thanks to her Majesty. Decided today would be Strumpshaw Fen day, Norfolk Hawker and Swallowtails, hopefully. The sun was out again, so a good chance. First stop the garden at the end of the lane for Swallowtails. Sure enough there were up to 4 flying around, along with some Peacocks, Green-veined White and a couple of Orange-tips.

   To the visitor centre next to find out what was about. Was disappointed to be told the Hawkers had not been seen. Oh well, lets look anyway. Sadly they were right, too windy and not really sunny enough. Although talking to a local, they had been seen a couple of days ago. Wrong day again! On the plus side we did have a few hairy Dragonflies, Four-spotted Chasers and some Common Blue & Azure Damselflies. On the bird front there were 2-3 Crossbills in some for trees near the visitor centre, NOT there on the way back when i had my camera though. At least one Marsh Harrier and a Marsh Tit were also seen.
   We started the long journey home, but via a couple of stop offs. A site for Stone-curlews turned up at least 3 birds, probably 4. 2 Grey & 2 Red-legged Partridges there too.
   Last planned stop was Lakenheath Fen RSPB, hoping for Golden Orioles. A chat to a volunteer warden there, and we were driving to the 'Disabled' parking place. As my Dad had said he didnt want to walk too far. We got out and walked about 50 yards to the wood where the Orioles were. The usual 'We heard one about 15 minutes ago' phrase was heard. We waited around for a while, but nothing, so i went a bit further along the edge of the wood and one sang quietly, then a bit louder. Everyone moved along to where i was, it sang a few more times, but NO sign. While we were there we had a Hobby, a Bittern booming, a couple of Marsh Harriers, a Sparrowhawk and at least 3 Cuckoos. One of which landed in a tree right in front of us.

   Then the drive home, not a bad extended weekend. Thanks your Majesty. Wish we had more of them. Shame about the weather though.

Monday 4th June 2012

   Thanks to the Queen had chance to have a couple more days in Norfolk.
   Much brighter today, but still a fairly strong wind. Try Cley Marshes.
   Not a lot happening here either. Highlights though were a male Whinchat, fairly close to one of the hides, 2 Spoonbills (asleep all the time we were there), and lots of hirundines and Swifts.

Avocet (Immature)

Avocet (Adult)

   The Marsh Harriers, seemed to be showing well from the East end of the reserve, so went there. As usual they all disappeared. Typical!!! After leaving the reserve we had a drive around, but didnt see too much. Went to the Three Swallows pub in Cley village, but nothing really caught the eye, but as we drove out of the village a Barn Owl was quartering the field opposite. It was a reall pale bird, i managed about 5 shots, as it turned and dived into the grass. It came up with a Vole or something similar and flew off over the church. Typical, again!!!

Barn Owl

Sunday 3rd June 2012

   Early start for me this morning, to get to Blacktoft Sands RSPB, before the Marsh Warbler gets disturbed. Pouring with rain, but hey try anyway. Gate was locked!!!!!! Doesn't open until 9am. Oh well, had a drive around, but very little happening in this weather. Breakfast it is then.
   After breakfast, back to Blacktoft. The weather slowly improved, but still windy. The Marsh Warbler was singing fairly regularly and showing every now and then. Quite a few sightings of Marsh Harrier, Avocets and Tree Sparrows were had over the next couple of hours. But, sadly the Marsh Warbler never sat close enough, or in the open enough to get any shots of it. Also we had 2 flyover Yellow Wagtails.

Tree Sparrow (Adult)
Tree Sparrow (Immature)



   Decided to travel down to Norfolk for the next couple of days.
   Titchwell RSPB was the first stop, hides would be handy to keep out of the rain!!! Walking towards the hide i noticed a Bittern over the reedbed and a Marsh Harrier, even in the crap weather. Then a large white bird flew across the freshmarsh, Little Egret i thought at first, but as i got a decent look, it turned out to be a Spoonbill It landed on a spit of land on the freshmarsh, near some Little Gulls (there were 21 in total). In the hide, one of the wardens picked up the Bittern again, i told him i had seen it earlier. He then told me it was the first sighting on the reserve for 3 weeks! 2 Common Terns and 3 Sandwich Terns were on the freshmarsh briefly. Then someone picked out the Temmincks Stint, which had been seen the day before, sadly much too distant for the camera. Some Bearded Tits and at least 1 Little Ringed Plovers were seen on the walk back, along with a flyby drake Red-crested Pochard.

Saturday 2nd June 2012

   An unusually long staying Roller saw me drive to Aldborough in East Yorkshire today. It showed fairly well, but just too distant for really decent photos. Other birds seen in the area included 2 Grey Partridges, 3 Red-legged Partridges and a Yellowhammer.


  Later that afternoon i drove to Blacktoft Sands RSPB, as there had been a Marsh Warbler singing there (there was also a report of a Savis Warbler, a few days before). Sadly in increasingly windy weather neither of the birds showed at all. On the reserve we had 4 Marsh Harriers,  a few Avocets and some Tree Sparrows.
  Stayed up overnight, so i could go back in the morning.