Sunday 28th September 2014

    Right then, lets try again......

    Back to Kilnsea, and the Masked Shrike had moved again, but again only one more field. It was in the field nearest to Beacon Lane, and was showing fairly well again, but still not close. The light was really good, no everything except the bird was right. After a while, the crowds thinned out, and i was able to get into the field, along the hedge, along with a few other photographers. Still the bird stayed at a distance.....

    So, we did the same as yesterday and visited the Canal Scrape hide, the same culprits were on view again, Common & Jack Snipe, the Wheatear put in a brief appearance, and not mush else.

   I decided to put in a few more hours at the Shrike.......come on i need some luck now.

   Sadly, it didn't work out as well as i hoped, but i managed some half decent stuff, on what was the 4th are the best, of a bunch of, not quite good enough shots!!! Oh well, good weekend anyway.....not everyday you see a 3rd for Britain is it?

Masked Shrike (1st Winter)

Saturday 27th September 2014

   So, after waiting all week, i finally drove to Spurn, East Yorkshire, or to be a bit more exact....Kilnsea. A Masked Shrike had been there since last Saturday, and with working all week, this was my first chance to get there. This was only the 3rd record for the UK, and as one was in Scotland.....too far, and the other was on Scilly.....after i had left, this was a new UK bird for me, and so worth the risk.....hopefully! There was a brilliant fall of birds last weekend, and most had stayed for a few days, but now were gradually disappearing, some, like the Olive-backed Pipit, i would have liked to have stayed, but the Shrike was the main one......

  My luck was in, as the bird was still there. It had been in that same field all week too.

   Sadly though, it was always on the FAR side of the field, while i was there. We waited for probably 3 hours, and it was still along the far fence line. So, i decided to go look elsewhere and come back later.

   We went to the Obs, but when we were told that there was NO car access anymore to the point, we decided to turn around and go to the Canal Scrape hide instead. There was a fairly late Wheatear showing well there, a Common Snipe & a Jack Snipe showed well, although never in the open enough for really good photos...

   So, back to the Shrike, fingers crossed it will come closer this time....Well good start, a lot less people at the viewing place, may help. After another frustrating hour or so, the bird moved along the fence, and then flew to the nearer this it?????? NO! It disappeared....

  People starting to give up from the viewing area, then one chap & his girlfriend went, and i was there on my own. A couple more people turned sign, then the girlfriend came back to tell us, the bird was in the field, on the other side of the road. So, is it going to be closer....yes, but still hard work to photograph through the hedge....but at least i got a couple of shots at last.....

Masked Shrike (1st Winter)
   Not really as good as i would have liked, but got another day tomorrow, so fingers crossed again..

Sunday 21st September 2014

   Another dull, cloudy day, never good for again it was Chew. May get some better Osprey & Hobby shots.

   So we stopped at Herons Green again, to see the Osprey sat in the dead tree again....driving along Moreton lane there was a car parked in the road, as this is only wide enough for one car, this wasn't good.....then i noticed the driver, he was stood in the middle of the field with his camera, trying to photograph the Osprey.....not sure if he managed it, or just flushed it, because it was now flying around the point. The man packed up his stuff, before moving off....oh well thats those photos out of the question then!!!! I drove to the Moreton point car park, and as i stopped the Osprey came around again, and i managed to get some flight shots...

Osprey (Juvenile)
Osprey (Juvenile)
Osprey (Juvenile)
    After such a good start, the rest of the day was a bit of a let down, to be honest! Until while sat in Stratford hide, someone mentioned that there was a Black-necked Grebe at Moreton....

    So, that was the next stop, or so i thought, driving along Moreton lane i could see a large bird sat in the dead tree again, but it didn't look as big as the wasn't, it was a large juvenile female Peregrine....very nice too.

Peregrine (Juvenile)
    Then onto the hide, and there was the Black-necked Grebe, probably a juvenile, shame it was just too distant for photos. But, it definitely improved the day...

Saturday 20th September 2014

    Chew Valley Lake today, bit dull, but got some half decent birds.

Hobby (Adult)
    We stopped at Herons Green, to look for the Hobby, which had been around. Luckily, it was still there, sat on top of the same tree, as on Thursday. But, this time i managed to get a shot....would have loved to get closer, but........

Osprey (Juvenile)

    I drove a bit further down Moreton lane, when i realised there was a rather large bird sat in the dead tree at Moreton onto the car park near the point, parked the car, and got out with the camera, to get some shots of a juvenile Osprey.

   So, two decent raptors already, always a good day.....

Lesser Horseshoe Bat
      Onto the hide..........i counted 28 hibernating Peacock butterflies, brilliant.....but, best of all was the juvenile Lesser Horseshoe Bat roosting there. I had only seen them here once before, as this is not a full time roost, i feel i can mention it here, if it was a permanent roost site........well it wouldn't be here would it!!!!

Lesser Horseshoe Bat

Hobby (Juvenile)
    So, onto Stratford hide....from there we continued the raptor count, with Sparrowhawk, Buzzard & a juvenile Female Peregrine........and then a juvenile Hobby too.....

    So despite the weather, not a bad day at all.

Thursday 18th September 2014

   Dads Birthday, & the parents Wedding Anniversary today, so they went out. I said i would pick them up, and we could go out for a meal.

   That ended up with a visit to Chew.

   Stood at Herons Green Bay i noticed a Hobby flying around the Southern end, and while watching it, 5 small waders flew by. I managed to see there were Ringed Plover there, but they went by too quick. Luckily for me they flew around the bay, and came back and landed right in front of us....amazing. 3 Ringed Plover & 2 Curlew Sandpipers all juveniles on

Curlew Sandpiper (Juvenile)
Curlew Sandpiper (Juvenile)

Ringed Plover (Juvenile)

   If you are wondering, we did go for a meal on the way back too.............

Wednesday 17th September 2014

   As the sun was out, i thought a quick visit, after work to Sand Point, was a good idea, especially as the long-staying 1st Winter Red-backed Shrike was still around.

   I did see it fairly briefly, but it flew off, when i moved from behind a small Hawthorn, and i didn't ever find it again...did manage 2 shots, both exactly the here is just one of them. Not brilliant i know, but the best i could manage.

Red-backed Shrike

Monday 15th September 2014

Black-tailed Godwit
   An after work visit to Slimbridge WWT today.

   A fairly decent assortment of Waders were seen.......including Black-tailed Godwits, Green Sandpipers, Ruff etc. Mainly juvenile birds on their first southbound journey.

   While there, there was a small flock of Goldfinches flying about feeding on Thistle heads, and then coming down to drink. But, overtime i moved the camera to photograph them, they were off, except this juvenile bird below.


Ruff & Reeve

Common Cranes
   Last stop in one of the hides, brought in 2 Common Cranes, which flew in from somewhere near the 100-acre......

   Lets hope they stick around, and return to try and breed again next year.

Common Cranes

Sunday 14th September 2014

    Today, was not quite as bright and sunny, but still not too bad. Actually it did brighten up later!!!

   The morning was spent looking for the Caspian Gulls again, but again there was no sign, even though one had been reported earlier. Best i could manage was the yellow-legged Gull again, but the only shots of anything i got were Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls...

Herring Gull (Adult Winter)
Herring Gull (2nd Winter)

Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd Winter)

   A drive to Winterton Dunes this afternoon, took a lot longer than i remember, and was a bit of a waste of time. There was a report of an Olive-backed Pipit there, but it was never seen again, as far as i know. I had a fair old walk about (for someone with a dodgy knee anyway), but the only thing i saw of any note, was a Grayling butterfly, and even that was really you can see below, also NOT the most photogenic of locations either......

    Reminded me of an old Monty Python sketch....

    Whats Brown and sounds like a bell?


    A return to Cromer, to see if the incoming tide would produce the Caspian Gulls! No sign again, but at least i did manage some photos of the Yellow-legged Gull this time....

Yellow-legged Gull (Adult Winter)
Yellow-legged Gull (Adult Winter)

Yellow-legged Gull (Adult Winter)

Yellow-legged Gull (Adult Winter)

   All in all, not what i was hoping for, especially from Norfolk, but still a decent weekend.

Saturday 13th September 2014

   Something different this weekend....a trip to Norfolk.

   First stop was at a site for Stone Curlews, which had been recommended to me, sadly i have also been told to keep it a bit sorry, i can't really say where it is! Im sure some of you already know anyway....!!! We had about 16 birds there, including adults & juveniles.

Stone Curlew 
Stone Curlew
   Nothing really happening on the pager, or even people reporting stuff.....but at least the sun was out.

   So the rest of the day was spent at Titchwell RSPB. I was hoping to photograph Curlew Sandpipers, and other waders. sadly, i only saw one Curlew Sandpiper, and it was miles away.....

   But, as i said the light was really good, so i took some wader photos anyway....common stuff really i know, but in this light they still look cool, i hope you agree?

Black-tailed Godwit
Spotted Redshank
   Sadly, Titchwell is not what it used to be! It was probably the best in the UK, in my opinion anyway, and hopefully, after all the work that has been done, to protect the reserve, it will return to its best days soon..........look forward to that day.

   We then spent the last hour or so, looking for Caspian Gulls at Cromer Beach. Sadly, i couldn't find them. Lots of Gulls were there, the only stand out one though, was a Winter plumaged Yellow-legged Gull. Try again tomorrow.....

Sunday 7th September 2014

    Another Wryneck reported locally today, this time at Brean Down.

    They always deserve a we did.

    I took a little time, but eventually it showed fairly well, but not for the waiting cameras sadly. While we were there a Black Redstart was reported from the top of the slope, but never seen again, and same can be said for a probable Long-eared Owl, which was accidentally flushed, from the scrub on the side of the track up to the top!!! Shame that didn't stick around

Saturday 6th September 2014

   A visit to Portland & Weymouth today, hoping for some migrants. We got to see some, but very few photographable sadly.....

    We were watching the Obs quarry, waiting to see a Nightingale, which had been seen there earlier, when a shout of Osprey went up. We all looked up and there it was, quite high up, but an obvious Osprey, very nice. A Redstart landed in some Blackthorn near the quarry, but then quickly disappeared too. Another shout of Osprey, this time further away, the other side of the Obs. Two in a day, not bad.....

   Then Joe Stockwell, the Obs assistant warden, walked across to the quarry, carrying a ringing bag. He opened it, to reveal a Grasshopper Warbler, which he had just ringed. It flew straight to the other side of the quarry, never to be seen again.....

   There was a fair bit of movement in the quarry, which was catching people was mainly Whitethroats.

   Eventually the Nightingale showed a couple of times, very briefly though. Then it disappeared again too. A fly over Yellow Wagtail, was the only other thing of note really.

    A fairly quick visit to Lodmoor RSPB, produced 2 juvenile Spoonbills from the shelter.

   Usual excuses I'm afraid....including the light was all wrong, and from the completely wrong direction...

Sunday 31st August 2014

   A Wryneck reported at New Passage near Severn Beach today. So theres where to go. The bird didn't show for a while after i got there, but eventually showed very close in the trees along the seafront. Sadly straight into the sun, as you will see, on the right here.

   After another bit of a disappearing act, due to quite a few  regular passes by a Sparrowhawk, it began to show well, on the lawn of one of the gardens, along the seawall. Always just too far away for really good photos though. But, still a nice bird to get locally.



    Always love seeing these birds, the camouflaged plumage has amazing patterns, at one stage it stops on a branch in the garden, and virtually disappeared......below.