Sunday 26th February 2012

    Went back early am, for the Crossbills, but they were not coming down to the puddle in the hour or so i had there! Shame that. We then went up the coast. First stop was Salthouse, there was a flock of Snow Buntings feeding and bathing in the car park, great start. There was also a single Dunlin on one of the pools.

Snow Bunting (Top: Female, Bottom: Male)

   Second stop was Kelling to try to see the Arctic Redpoll, which had been around for quite a while. No sign, no reports on pager either. Found out it had been there first thing in the morning, but hey no worries!! Then on to Titchwell RSPB. This has always been one of my favourite reserves, but not anymore sadly. There has been a lot of work done to the place and not all good im afraid. Hopefully the work will improve the place in the long run, but for now seems dead, up to its old self. Still we saw 2 Velvet Scoters on the sea, female Hen Harrier, Bittern, 2+ Spotted Redshanks and all the usual stuff at Titchwell. So not too bad, just doesnt feel right, maybe its just me?

Spotted Redshank
Velvet Scoter (Pair)

Saturday 25th February 2012

   Decisions, decisions, do i go for the Paddyfield Warbler in Sussex or Norfolk and Suffolk. Dull overcast morning and decided to go to Suffolk. Started at Lower Hollesley Common for Crossbills. Found the puddle and not long after the Crossbills. Didnt get quite as close as i would like to, but got some photos. There were plenty of Siskins too.

Common Crossbill (Male)
Common Crossbill (Female)

   Then to Minsmere for the rest of the day. There were 17 Bewicks Swans on the road in. Half a dozen Smew, at least 2 Bitterns and another half a dozen Marsh Harriers, not a bad day.

Marsh Harrier (Immature Male)

Monday 20th February 2012

   As promised, i have just put a very brief post on here about my trip to Sri Lanka. Mainly photos. Please scroll down to Saturday 14th-Saturday 28th January to see them! Hope you like the pix? Please leave comments if you have any.

Saturday 18th February 2012

   Today saw a trip to Newport on the cards. A 1st winter male Common Yellowthroat, had been identified on Thursday evening, so here we go, first real twitch of the year! Got to the designated parking field, to be told they were not using it anymore and was told where the new car park was. Not the best of starts. But, where i parked i could see all the birders, so not as bad as i had thought. Walked up the hill to where everyone was, a chap pointed to where i could best see the bird, but there was no room for me and my camera gear. So, i walked to the other side, put down my tripod, and the bird popped up! Second lifer of the year in the bag! Easy huh? Spent the rest of the afternoon trying, very unsuccessfully, to photograph it, didnt even press the shutter! What a beaut, but a real pain too. Lets hope it stays around for a while.

Sunday 12th February 2012

    Decided to go to the New Forest today, to see the Dark-eyed Junco and the Spanish Sparrow, which had both been found before my holiday and were still there. Our luck did, luckily, hold out and continue from yesterday. As you will see from the photos below!
Spanish Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

  The Junco was only my second for the UK, after one a couple of years ago in Somerset. But, that one didnt show as well as this one! The Spanish Sparrow was my first, a lifer, for the UK. I have seen lots abroad. So, my first lifer of the year, good stuff!

Saturday 11th February 2012

  First real chance to do some birding after my Sri Lankan holiday, went out to Chew to see if there was anything new about. Before i left there were a few things around, Spotted Sandpiper, Yellow-browed Warbler and a female Garganey (odd) were the best ones. So lets have a look!!!
  Got to Herriotts pool, where a Smew had been reported on the pool itself. Saw Gareth Jones near the bridge over the channel, so had a look there first. There was the female Smew, showing really well in the channel.
Smew (Duck)

  After that, while our luck was in, went around to Stratford to look for the Yellow-browed Warbler. Took a while, but finally got it feeding in the cut reeds, odd for YB Warbler. It was working its way towards us, so i got the camera ready. It then decided to fly off, it flew in front of the hide, so we all went in, and found it in the little reedbed on the far side of the pool in front of the hide. It showed well, in good light, but anyone who knows where the bird was knows, thats a little bit too far for decent pix of a bird that small!! So, i was quite happy to get the shot below.

Yellow-browed Warbler

  Not a bad first trip out, lets see how long that luck continues though!!!

  If anyone reads this blog and wonders where my Sri Lankan pix are, here is a sort of answer. We saw approx. 250 species of bird on the 2 week trip. Very good! But, i photographed 190+ of them. Even better! So, sadly will take a while to sort them all out. I will sort out a 'Best Of', and add them asap.