Sunday 27th January 2013

    Decided to have a bit of a journey up into the Midlands today, meet up with some friends and hopefully get some photos of some good birds! Well, got most of it right, just the photos bit let me down!!!

    Met the 'Bumbling Bears', at Swithland Reservoir, a journey outside even their county! This was to try to photograph the Velvet Scoters, which had been showing well at times over the last month or so! NOT today though, it did show, but distantly and always straight into the sun. We did manage to see a pair of Peregrines displaying over the wood alongside the reservoir though. A few Goldeneye too (not over the wood).

   Oh well there are more birds to see yet. We then drove back to the Bears own county, Warwickshire. Draycote Water to see a drake Smew, which had showed well for them last week. NO sign of the bird at all, but it was really cold and blowing up a bit too. Sunny though..........!

   Said goodbye to the Bears and started drive towards home. Then a bit of a detour into Shropshire to see a drake Green-winged Teal, which i had seen photos of on Surfbirds. It did show, but as with the rest of the day, distantly. See below, i have even put an arrow on it, to show the bird!!!!

Green-winged Teal

    All in all, a long drive about, sunny, cold and very windy day. Two out of three decent ducks, but not the photos i would have wanted...cant have it all i suppose!

Saturday 26th January 2013

   Trip to Berkshire to try and see a Pallas's Warbler, which had been showing well for nearly 3 weeks! But had only been identified as one recently, it had been previously identified as a Yellow-browed Warbler?????????????

Pallas's Warbler
   On the way along the M4 we had 5 Red Kites. Good start!

   We got to the parking area, where there were quite a few cars, then walked along side the stream, to where the people had gathered. Within no time i had seen the bird, quite close too. 
   Now to get some photos, the bird had other ideas though, and it disappeared down stream for a while. Fortunately the bird came back, and showed over the next 2 hour, or so, period. We also had a few other birding goodies, some rather showy Goldcrests kept me busy while waiting around, and a Barn Owl flew across the fields on the other side of the lakes.
Pallas's Warbler

Pallas's Warbler


   After that we went towards Queen Mother Reservoir, 'no entry without permit', meant we had to look for the 2 Buff-bellied Pipits at their other location. Sadly with no luck, although we did have 2 Ring-necked Parakeets fly over. Onto Wraysbury for hopefully more Parakeets and Smew! We got quite a few of the Parakeets, but could not find any Smew!

Ring-necked Parakeet

Wednesday 23rd January 2013

  A return to Aust Warth after work, this time saw no Twite, but the Skylarks showed well in the snow.

Tuesday 22nd January 2013

  Aust Warth after work, to see if i could find the Twite. This time saw the Twite, they showed with some Skylarks on the track to Northwick Warth. Very breifly sadly, and they were gone again, down into the Pill. I decided to put down some seed and hope they would come to it tomorrow??

    Wait and see..............

Sunday 20th January 2013

    Planned to go to Aust Warth to see if the Owls were about. Then a pager report of 3 Twite there, made my mind up for definite. Got there, and almost straight away we found a small flock of finches flying around. They were all Linnets though. But while parked where the Linnet flock had landed, 3 more birds flew in and landed in a tree behind my car, the Twite!    

Got a few shots before they flew back out onto the Warth, and they were very mobile around the pill from then on.

   Then while chatting to some other birders, i remembered there had been some Waxwings in Thornbury. So decided to go see if they were still there. I got there to find 2 of them, in a small Apple tree in a front garden. While there one of the birds started calling more than normal, and i then realised there were more calling! Another 6 birds flew in and got chased off by the original 2. They did stay about though, feeding around the corner in a couple of berry bushes. There were some Redwings and Fieldfares there too, and a female Blackcap in the Apple tree.



Saturday 19th January 2013

  Trip to Chew today was a waste of time really, nothing to report, nothing worthwhile anyway! Except lots of Snow!!!

Thursday 17th January 2013

   A pager message and a quick drive around the corner, and i found 4 Waxwings in Yate, there were 12 reported earlier. They were on a tv aerial near Brimsham park. Went back after work, but no sign! Oh well, snow on its way tomorrow may bring some more with it??/

Sunday 13th January 2013

    Got up at first light, about 7.30am, not early really. It was freezing, with quite a strong wind blowing too, not nice! A look in Lowestoft Harbour added Great Northern Diver to the growing list. A Sanderling flew across the Harbour and out towards the sea. There was a flock of Dark-bellied Brents flying out over the Sea too, a birder there said that he had picked out a Pale-bellied amongst them, but i didnt look that hard, too bloody cold, and now there was snow falling too.....Back for breakfast.

   We drove down the coast a bit to Minsmere RSPB reserve. There had been a small flock of 6 Tundra Bean Geese, being seen in a field near to Minsmere, but not this morning. I went into the new information centre at Minsmere, very nice, and the staff were pretty helpful too. I asked if there was much to see on the reserve, they told me what was about, but it was not enough to get us to wander around, especially in the really cold weather. We drove back out for another look for the Bean Geese, still no sign, but one of the staff at Minsmere had said, he had seen some Geese near to Eastbridge. So we headed that way. We found the flock just outside the village, they were all Greylags, or were they? No, at the back of the flock was a Pink-footed Goose and a Tundra Bean Goose, sadly a bit too distant for photos again.

   After that we drove down to Southwold to look for more Geese at North Warren RSPB. There were quite a few Geese there, but as all the rest, distant. There were lots of Greylags, White-fronted Geese, some Pink-footed Geese and a Red-breasted Goose. Turns out the next day there were 6 seen!!! We then decided to get one last place in before going home, Shoeburyness, Essex. There had been a Long-tailed Duck and a juvenile Common Scoter showing really well for a while there. My dad said he saw the Long-tailed Duck, but i was concentrating on the Scoter, as you can see below. Got some fairly decent shots before i lost the light. I even used a flash on the righthand one, think it worked rather well!

Common Scoter
Common Scoter

  Then the long drive home, some nice photos in the bag. Then it snowed, and didnt it ever... as it turns out we were lucky, as they had it really bad in East Anglia over the next few days.

Saturday 12th January 2013

   Decided to have a weekend in East Anglia. Finally try to get the Black-bellied Dipper, which had been around for a while now, and whatever else we can find.

Black-bellied Dipper
   First stop was Thetford, where we met up with a friend, Adrian Riley. We drove around to the area where the Dipper has been showing. It was showing straight away, but not really close enough for photos, but within no time it was showing really well, and for the next hour or two it did for all the cameras there!
Black-bellied Dipper

   We then drove up to Titchwell RSPB reserve. This in the past has been my very favourite reserve, as there are always lots of birds there, and you can get close to them for photos....NOT anymore!!! I know that work had to be done because of the sea encroaching, but it seems that it has taken its toll. I really hope that this will change when everything settles down, and im sure the RSPB have done all they can to return it to its past glory. Lets hope that doesnt take too long..........

   Sorry about that, just had to get that out there. To be fair there were still some decent birds at Titchwell. A Barn Owl was flying over Thornham marsh, then we noticed 2 distant raptors, which turned out to be a Common Buzzard and a Red Kite, not a bad start. Sadly it was really dull and very cold by now. So we decided to drive further along the coast and make our way down to Lowestoft for the night and do Suffolk next morning. Driving through Burnham Norton we had a Barn Owl. Then onto Holkham, a quick drive down Lady Annes Drive, to see if there were any Geese close enough to photograph, produced quite a few Dark-bellied Brents, lots of Greylags, two Egyptian Geese, one Pink-footed Goose, and a couple of White-fronted Geese (distant). But, the best was a Black Brant, which i found in the flock of Brents! Not bad...

Dark-bellied Brent Goose

Black Brant
Pink-footed Goose

Egyptian Geese

Barn Owl
     We then had another Barn Owl flying around the field just East of Lady Annes Drive. I tried to get photos, but the light was too bad. Oh well onwards....just around the corner, by the allotments, we found another, this time sat right by the road! A quick look around Cley Marshes from the car park gave us nothing new. So the drive began......

    Not a bad day really.

Wednesday 9th January 2013

Glaucous Gull
   Booked myself a late shift at work today to go and photograph the Glaucous Gull at the Apex pools, Burnham-on-Sea. It showed really well, but nothing else of note.

Glaucous Gull

Then off to work.................................

Sunday 6th January 2013

   Another look around Portland, produced very little again, except a Black Redstart and 2 Purple Sandpipers. A raven feeding on a Gull carcass was a nice bonus though! Oh well better than nothing, huh! Return to Portland Harbour saw us seeing the same things again, except this time the Velvet Scoters were both there! An Eider, 3 Common Scoter, Black-necked Grebes and Slavonian Grebes were also seen.
Slavonian Grebe

   After splitting up with the Stag party, i went around to Radipole, for food and a quick look around. Lots of Med Gulls again in the car park.

Mediterranean Gull
 On the way back home, i stopped off to see a juvenile Glaucous Gull at the Apex Pools, Burnham-on-Sea today, shame about the light!!! Although it showed really well. Hope it stays until it brightens up!!!!
Glaucous Gull
Glaucous Gull

Saturday 5th January 2013

   Weekend at Portland for a mates Stag do (1st one anyway)! Drove down last night, weather was pretty bad, and stayed pretty poor all weekend, but the company was good and i did manage some photos at least.
   A wander around Portland produced very little, in cold, dull weather, even the Little Owl didnt want to put on a show! Two Velvet Scoters past the Bill were the best sightings, this meant they were not going to be in the Harbour though, or did it? We decided to go to the Harbour to see what was about. We managed to find a few bits and bobs there, but no sign of the Scoters. There were a few Black-necked Grebes there, lots of Red-breasted Mergansers, a Great Northern Diver or two, and a few Razorbills.  

Red-breasted Merganser


We checked Ferrybridge, there had been a Snow Bunting reported there for a while, no sign. But there were the biggest flocks of Med Gulls i have ever seen, according to the Obs a new record count of 816 was recorded, in the Ferrybridge/Portland Harbour area, an incredible sight!  A look at the Harbour from Sandsfoot Castle produced much the same birds. A female Eider was new though. A return to Ferrybridge saw us find the Snow Bunting on the roof of the new visitor centre there, it soon flew down and showed at very close range after that.

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