Sunday, 20 January 2013

An odd but successful day

Today my mum gave me a lift to Staines. Unfortunately the weather was terrible it snowed the whole time I was there.
I started off with some reservoir birding. As I arrived people where already scanning the reservoir. I started off on my own and looked around the reservoir and found some Goldeneye c.10, Meadow Pipits and a pair of Reed Buntings. As I walked along the path I spotted something skulking between the long grass and in the snow. I IDed as a Fieldfare which was a Year tick and carried on but then suddenly it flow up with a second bird which I instantly found in my bins and saw a snipe like bird trying to get as much distance between me and itself I saw the very promenent creamy yellow strips on its wings and recognised it as a JACK SNIPE. I was very glad to have something good so soon when I had only just arrived. I walked on to find it again and after about half an hour I saw it again wading on the very edge of the water. I ran over to one of the other birders to show him the bird but when we came back it did not show itself until I saw it fly off over the reservoir. It was found a few times more after that again. Whilst I was locating the Jack Snipe I also saw a BLACK NECKED GREBE in its transition plumage. After my success at the reservoir I decided to head over to the moor to have a try for some Short-eared Owls which had been there for a while. It took me a while to walk to the moor because I was tired and I felt a little ill but when I arrived I sat down on a bench and had a short rest. I turned around looking about the moor to see if I could see anything. As I looked across the moor I saw a large bird perched in a tree. I raised my binoculars and lo and behold it was a SHORT-EARED OWL I could hardly believe my luck. I watched it for a while and it gave me a great performance of hunting, diving and gliding over the long grass. But by now it was time for me to go so I set off for where my mum was going to pick me up. Unfortunately she got lost and I ended waiting an hour for her to arrive by which time I had been cryogenically frozen and I'm surprised she didn't need a defibrillator to get my heart going again.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Class List

Now that I saw a Bullfinch in school I have decided to start a class list so far I have 4 species on it.
1. Bullfinch
2. Robin
3. Dunnock
4. Blackbird
I'm hoping to get species like Siskin, Red Kite and other species which I have seen in the past. If you would like to know what species I see in class look to the left of this post where you will see an ad-on saying"class list". Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Bearded Tits Hyde Park

After seeing every ones success photographing the Bearded Tits I knew that I had to go. On Sunday I passed through Hyde Park but could not stop off because we had to take my brother to the station. So today after applying for a new passport (which is a huge ordeal) I went with my parents to Hyde Park. I had planed this early because I knew the embassy was very close to where the Bearded Tits had been seen for about a month. When I arrived at the Diana Memorial where they where staying I almost instantly located the Bearded Tits and I set up my equipment as quick as I could. I photographed them for a while and by the time it was time to go it was already after 11:30.

Fem. Bearded Tits
I know there not the best pics but there not the worst either. I'll probably try and go after them again another day when its more sunny and I have more time.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Some Geese and some Cranes

As for usual I caught a ride with Brendan, Chris and Paul. This time we headed off to Suffolk and Norfolk. Our target birds for that day were Great Northern Diver, Purple Sandpiper, Snow Bunting, Taiga Bean Goose and raptors at Stubb Mill raptor roost. This was a big amount of target birds which were to get our year lists up and running. We started with the Great Northern Diver. As we pulled up into the car park next to were the Diver had been seen in Lowestof we all saw a grebe in front of the car in the water little did we know until we got out of the car that this was actually the GREAT NORTHERN DIVER. This was quickly ticked off so we got our photos and walked over to the most easterly point of the UK which is Ness Point. But before going we waited for Chris, Brendan and Pauls friend to arrive called Tony Stride. When he arrived he introduced himself and we headed straight for Ness Point. There we were hoping to connect with Purple Sandpipers and sure enough after a bit of looking we found a Purple Sandpiper amongst the Turnstones. Our next target bird was the Snow Buntings at Caister-on-Sea. Tony recommended that we should stop of at a good place to see Mediterranean Gulls (and so as I don't have to look up the spelling on Google for Mediterranean the whole time I'm going to call them Med Gulls). Tony led the way in his car to the spot were we instantly found the Med Gulls. We also saw a far off Red-throated Diver fly past. After taking some pics of the Med Gulls we headed off to Caister. There we located some SNOW BUNTINGS c. 40 of them. On the way around these places we also located more birds to add to our year lists. After the Snow Buntings we went for the big one the Taiga Bean Geese. When we were eventually allowed to cross the railway line we arrived at the reserve. We searched for a while but could not locate the Bean Geese but instead we found some Ruff and a pair of Peregrines. We also caught up with some more wildfowl. We then headed off to a neighbouring reserve to get some Marsh Tits which we did as well as some other species of tits. At this reserve someone told us were to find the Bean Geese and we headed straight over to see if we could get them. This time we we scanned over the reserve from Burnt House Lane. Soon enough we connected with the TAIGA BEAN GEESE 36 and three White-fronted Geese. We also saw a few large flocks of Pink-footed Geese fly over head. As we carried on scanning I relised I had failed to notice a huge flock of Golden Plover of at least 200 birds. But we still had more to go so we finished our day with a raptor watch at Stubb Mill. There we saw at least 30+ Marsh Harriers, three Barn Owls, 8-12 COMMON CRANES and I saw three HEN HARRIERS two Males and one Ring-tailed. All together this helped my year list a lot and I should be on 100 quite soon.

Pictures unfortunately I can't transfer my Digiscopes and my picture of the Great Northern Diver is faulty and goes green if I turn it into a JPG. But here are some pictures of a Med Gull and some Snow Buntings

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Getting started

Today I decided to give Tring another go. I left for Tring around 7:15 and arrived sometime after 8. When I looked over Marsworth Reservoir the first bird I saw was a Kingfisher.

Sun rise Marsworth Reservoir

I had decided before hand to stop off at Wilstone Reservoir first. When I got to Wilstone I immediately searched for the long staying Water Pipit. I looked along the edge seeing if I could find it but Pied Wagtails were the only birds to be seen until a Pied Wagtail flew up with a second bird, I instantely saw that the bird had a shorter tail and the plumage was brown. I followed it with my binoculars until it landed and then I walked towards it so I could ID the bird. I recognised the bird as a WATER PIPIT and carried on looking at it for a while.

Water Pipit Wilstone Digiscoped

I then took a walk around the reservoir but only saw the common winter wildfowl such as Wigeon, Pochard, Tufted Duck and Teal. My next stop was Tringford Reservoir to see a Smew. I searched for a long time for this bird but it would not show so I headed over to Startop's End Reservoir where again I saw he usual wildfowl. I then decided to give Tringford a second go. This time I met up with Lee Evans and he showed me where the SMEW was which was somewhere I hadn't been.

Smew Digiscoped

We then walked around the whole reservoir and we saw such highlights as Green Woodpecker, Siskin, and even a WAXWING. It was nice to get that on my year list on day 2 of the new year. I then headed over to College Lake where I saw wildfowl, Snipe and a Lesser Redpoll amongst the Goldfinches.

Snipe Digiscoped

Lesser Redpoll Digiscope

I ended with a day list of 38 species.