Saturday 29th September 2012

    The draw of my 'bogey' bird, Arctic Warbler, in the far North-East, along with some other bits and bobs on the way, was too much. early morning saw me driving North. Decided to stop at Spurn, East Yorkshire, as there had been a lot of migrants around, including a lifer for my Dad, Red-breasted Flycatcher.
   First stop was the Rose & Crown Inn car park and Kilnsea churchyard (right next door). It was nice and sunny, but really windy in the car park, but luckily the churchyard was protected by some large trees. The Red-breasted Flycatcher showed briefly a couple of times, but not well, missed by my Dad though! There were a couple of other birds in the churchyard, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, also a Lesser Whitethroat. There were also a couple of each, of Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers, also a few Red Admirals and Speckled Woods.
   We decided to go to look for the Greenish Warbler, which was being seen near the Riverside Hotel, only a couple of hundred yards down the road. Very windy still, but eventually the bird showed well, if briefly.

Greenish Warbler
   We returned to the churchyard, to try and get better views of the Flycatcher. We eventually did, as it showed well and fairly close. Lifer for Dad! While searching the area, i found a Yellow-browed Warbler there. Sadly, it only showed briefly then disappeared back into the trees, it did call a few times though, just taking the Mickey!!!!
    As there was no chance of getting to Holy Island today, we drove to Scarborough for the night.

Saturday 22nd September 2012

    Choices, choices today, the weather forecast said today was best day, tomorrow was gonna be very wet!!! So do we give the Dowitcher another go, long drive to other side of London for the Baillons Crake, or last but not least, do we go to Steart for the White-rumped Sandpiper???????

    Baillons, not really been showing too well and its the longest drive! The Sandpiper is a 25 minute walk, which my Dad was not really up for, so the Dowitcher it is!

    Got to Lodmoor and walked along to the spot where it had been on the 8th. This time it was showing straight away, same distance as last time though, shame. But, at least the light was good today. Tried a few shots, with 2 convertors on, still rubbish though!!! After about 3 hours, walking up & down a 30 yard stretch of mud, the bird decided to go somewhere different. It headed across the water towards the sedges where it had hidden last time. Oh dear, its gonna go back in there to sleep again, or so i thought. Luckily i was wrong and it carried on walking. Ending up in a small fairly close pool, to the left of where we had been. Much better photo opportunities, it wandered around this pool for 1/2 an hour. Then it walked along the mud towards the watching people. I found an area where i could view the bird and photograph it. The bird kept going along the mud and stopped to have a preen and wash right in front of me. WOW!!!!!! As you can see below, i took full advantage of its generosity.

Short-billed Dowitcher (Juvenile)

   There were quite a few Med Gulls there again, a flyover Yellow Wagtail and a nice Marsh Harrier, and at the end of my stay a Whimbrel flew in calling. Even my first Clouded Yellow of the year flew past. But, they were all outshone by the Dowitcher im glad to say!!!!!

   Choices, choices, for once i got the right one....
Hope you agree?

Sunday 16th September 2012

Hobby (Juvenile)
   Chew today. Water level still really high, although Herons Green pool has lowered dramatically. Lots of Ducks, Great Crested Grebes and Coot about.. A lone 
Black-tailed Godwit on HG pool, was slightly out of 
the ordinary. There were 2 juvenile Hobby's showing really well at Stratford hide, again though, shame 
about the light!!! Sorry moaning as usual.

Hobby (Juvenile)

Grass Snake
Grass Snake
  We then had a quick drive along the South shore of Blagdon lake. There were reports of a Black-necked Grebe there. We didnt see it. We drove a bit further on, and i noticed a snake in the road. It was a Grass Snake, about 3 foot long, but something was not quite right? Its scales along its back were not aligned properly and were stood up. It must have been run over. I was photographing it when its mouth filled with blood, sadly on the way back along the road, we found it had died. Shame for such a nice looking animal, even if you dont like snakes too much!
   Just after that we saw a friend of mine and 
a group of birders, they were watching the 
Black-necked Grebe, which was showing quite well, nice bird.

Saturday 15th September 2012

   A return visit to Greylake RSPB today, to see if the Spotted Crake would show again. As luck would have it, it did, but nowhere near as well as on Thursday. Not a lot else happening there!

   We decided to go to Catcott to see if there were any Hobby's about. There were 4 all flying around together, sadly they never really came close enough for photos. I did manage some distant ones, in really poor light. Not even good enough for the blog though!

   Next stop Westhay, hoping for Brown Hawker etc....only Migrant Hawker and Common Darters im afraid! While we were there, i did hear and then see a Redpoll, but not close enough to get it down to species. Then a Tawny Owl called, only mid-afternoon, bit early?

Thursday 13th September 2012

Spotted Crake (August 2009)

   After work i decided to go to Greylake RSPB, Somerset, to see the Spotted Crake, which had been showing there. There had been one in exactly the same place in August 2009. I had photographed that one, so was hoping to get lucky again.

Spotted Crake (Today)
As you can see i got very lucky!!!
Spotted Crake (Today)

Sunday 9th September 2012

   Visit to Chew, produced some half decent birds for a change. There were 8 Sandwich Terns, not a common sight at Chew, they were roosting with Black-headed Gulls on the wall at Herons Green bay. They flew off not long after we arrived though. Only to be refound in the middle of the lake, a bit later, with at least 10 Common Terns. While watching them an adult Hobby flew over hunting Dragonflies.

Saturday 8th September 2012

   Had to wait 4 days to be able to get to Lodmoor, to see my 4th lifer of the year! A Short-billed Dowitcher had arrived there on 4th, but was first identified as Long-billed, it was reidentified from photos! Drove down, being told via text and pager messages, the bird was showing. When we arrived i was told it had flown behind the sedges and out of sight. Oh dear...........
Jersey Tiger
   We waited about 3 hours, no sign, people were getting glimpses of it, only when it lifted its head from its sleep! Luckily there were at least 6 Sandwich Terns, 12+ Med Gulls and some flyover Yellow Wagtails to keep us occupied while waiting!
   We decided to go onto Portland to look for the Monarch, and then come back, hopefully when it wakes up!
   Walking back to the car, a friend said they had the bird in their scope, and let me have a look. Tucked into the sedges asleep was the Dowitcher, a lifer, but not really satisfactory views, but a lifer none the less! As i walked away thanking the friend who had shown me the bird, a large Tiger type moth flew past me. Scarlet Tiger i thought, no its orange NOT red!!!! Jersey Tiger, a moth lifer! I told a few people and got them to pass on the news, as this is quite a rare moth, although getting more common, in the South of the country these days.

   So, onto Easton, Portland. We got to the place where the Monarch had been seen. It was still there, along with quite a few Red Admirals, Large Whites, a Painted Lady (my first of the year) and 2 Silver Y moths. All of this on one Buddleia bush. Someone had told me there was also a Convolvolous Hawkmoth at the Obs. Luckily, we bumped into Martin Cade, the Warden, who said it had flown off, when the sun hit the part of the wall it had been resting on! Shame......

   Then back to Lodmoor, this time we saw the Dowitcher feeding, but still distant and in fading light and always, it seemed, in the shade! I di manage a couple of really poor shots. But, i will not trouble you with them, not worth it, im afraid.
But, if its stays maybe next time i will get something worth showing........... 'til then, i hope you like the Monarch and Moth?

Sunday 2nd September 2012

Great Diving Beetle
   Late afternoon visit to Chew, was a bit of a waste of time really, too dull, too crappy!

   Best thing seen was a Great Diving Beetle, walking along the roadside at Herriotts bridge.

Friday 31st August 2012

Red-veined Darter (Teneral Male)
   Return visit to the Red-veined Darters. Must have been 100+ today along with various other Dragonflies & Damselflies. Still no adults though. They are still emerging, as i found some really immature (teneral) ones today.