Sunday, 28 April 2013

Landguard Subalpine Warbler

A great days birding with Chris to Suffolk started with a trip to Landguard Nature Reserve were a Eastern Subalpine Warbler was taking refuge. It took us under two hours to drive to the reserve through both sun and rain. Luckily when we did arrive the rain had stopped and only left a large cloud over our heads. On our drive to the car park we passed a large flock of birders and we were sure this is where the warbler was. We parked the car and walked over to the place were we waited for a few seconds when the EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER came out of the bushes and showed it self for a few seconds and then flew off.

Subalpine Warbler in flight

At this Chris and I decided to walk around the reserve and wait for someone else to refind it because we still wanted to see Ring Ouzel and Redstart. On our walk around we walked past one person who told us that he had just seen it and so we scraped our mission and waited for the bird to come out. Sure enough it showed again and did so for a while. The bird was spectacular and came to close for half of the photographers who were having to run away from it.

Eastern Subalpine Warbler

After I took a few photos which could have been better we headed off around the reserve where we connected with; two Ringed Plovers, a few Wheatear, Turnstone and a flock of Linnets. Then it was off to the Rose-coloured Starling in Orford. We managed to see the ROSE-COLOURED STARLING after a short wait and then a second time a little later but it wasn't showing quite as well as Warler.

A terrible picture of the Rose-coloured Starling when comparing it to some pictures of the bird.

It was getting a bit late and we decided to stop off for one last bird on the way back home. When the arrived on the reserve we were unsure of the exact directions to take so we went round the way we thought would be right. When we got to the first view over the lake we stopped and immediately saw what looked like a RING-NECKED DUCK. We were unsure again so we headed over to a more open viewing place were we confirmed it.

Female Ring-necked Duck

All in all a very successful day.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

All over staines

Today as the title says I went with my older brother Samuel to Staines. We started off the day by being dropped off next to Staines Moor where I was hoping to see Cuckoo and my brother Grasshopper Warbler. We arrived at the moor a little later than everyone else who had probably been there since the sun rose. It was a nice sunny day so no extraordinary amounts of clothes were needed so instead it was just with some gloves and a hat. When we got onto the moor we were met by a small group of birders who were hoping to hear or even see the Grasshopper Warbler but the had not seen or heard anything so we decided to not waste our time waiting for nothing and we made a small walk around the moor after looking from the board walk for some Cuckoo. On the way around Samuel found a HOBBY which was the first of the year for me and also him. At one point it made a nice flight and landed on a mud heap and showed well for photos. The bird was amazing and did not even budge after my camera almost fell on the floor (talk about bad field craft).


After photographing it for a bit my brother found a Cuckoo which then started calling which made me alert and I look round to see my brother pointing towards a tree where I had my first ever CUCKOO.

Cuckoo first ever view

This bird had escaped me to many times and now I had eventually got one I felt as if Christmas had come early (but of course the bird wouldn't have been there if it was Christmas). Now I had got my target bird so I was a little more relaxed. We walked around for a bit longer and then headed back to the board walk were I saw 2 male Cuckoos flying one chasing the other this went on for a while and so I fetched my brother but as soon as he arrived they had gone. We stayed there waiting for them to come out again an sure enough they showed well one coming into a decently close tree.


Find the Cuckoo

Then it was lunch time and straight after off to Staines Reservoir. On the walk we encountered many warblers including 3 LESSER WHITETHROATS first for the year. On the reservoir we saw in total 5 ARCTIC TERNS all showing well for scope views but through a camera you could barely see them.

Arctic Tern

Good comparison of size between Arctic Tern and Black-headed Gull

My brother also located a Black-tailed Godwit and just before leaving a Black-necked Grebe.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Stocker's Lake Red-crested Pochard

Just like everyone else I was attracted by the sun to go out side. There was no way for me to go twitch anything so I made a local trip to Stocker's Lake with my brother Samuel. We were hoping for something of what had been seen either the Pied Flycatcher, Wood Warbler or the Grasshopper Warbler. Unfortunately none were to be seen probably do to the large amounts of people. Luckily there was one thing though which was the 3 Red-crested Pochards which all showed well for me to take some pictures.

Red-crested Pochard

Sunday, 7 April 2013

New Forest new species (Goshawk and Green-winged Teal)

Yesterday me and my brother both went with Chris and Paul to the New Forest our target specie was Goshawk. An hours drive took us down to a well known Goshawk raptor watch point. There we waited for a good half an hour luckily this time in the sun before we got our first glimpse of a very distant GOSHAWK. This was a great start and we had got our target bird quite quickly. But these views were not satisfactory so we stayed a little longer to see if we would get a few more. Sure enough a few minutes later we were on another this time a little closer but still distant Goshawk. After this they all began to start showing themselves and we had up to about 5+ birds! One pair came close enough for record shots which I was very happy to get seeing as how rare views like that were.

Red Kite


Before Leaving we made a little trip around the woods were we got Marsh Tit, Nuthatch, Bullfinch and Stonechat. Now it was off to the Green-winged Teal another lifer for me. It took us a short half an hour drive to get to Pennington Marshes where we headed straight over to the Fishtail Lagoon where it had last been seen. There we connected with Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Snipe, Redshank, Spotted Redshank (a year tick) and a few Teal. It took my brother only a few minutes before he had found us the GREEN-WINGED TEAL which was showing well for scope views but only was allowing record shots.

Green-winged Teal


Spoonbill and a pair of Ruff were a nice way to end the day.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Staines Reservoir Long-tailed Duck

Well Germany was successful so a trip to Staines couldn't hurt. And it didn't I got my first ever LONG-TAILED DUCK, a Black-necked Grebe and a Little Ringed Plover. All in all a successful day.


Just before catching the boat home we made a little stop at Calais. The sun was setting and was perfect for photography. And to think its snowing outside at the moment.


Black-headed Gull in sunset

Black Woodys at last

Our last day in Germany and me and my brother where getting desperate for some Black Woodpecker. We had organized which woulds to go to, to download the call of the Woodpecker and to wake up at 5. This all went according to plan except for the waking up bit which I found very difficult but my brother suprisingly easy. I made myself breakfast whilst my brother was waiting impatiently to go and around 6-6:10 we were off. We downloaded every call we could and went straight to the woods when the sun was just rising. After being a few feet into the woods we played the call just for us to learn it and a few seconds later we a BLACK WOODPECKER fly over our heads. That was just to easy!!! After lots of blasphemous language we carried on playing the call every now and then and trying to see one land on one of the trees. We did this through the whole woods until after nine.

Back to Germany

For Easter my parents decided to go to Germany and of course I, my brother and Sister all came along to. This was my second great birding opportunity after last time when we (me and my brother) had seen Red-backed Shrike, Black Stork, Middle-spotted Woodpecker and many other good species. We were ready to see as good stuff as we had last time but unfortunately the first two days were disappointing and we saw little to nothing. On our third day Saturday it was time to head off to a reserve where we had a bigger chance to get some decent species instead of the occasional Black Redstart (which are very common on the continent). We started of the trip on a good foot which was a nice showing male Wheatear my first for the year but we had no time to lose and headed on quickly. On the way we connected with at least 4 Black Redstarts. The cycle path which we took to get to the reserve lead through many woods and fields so my brother decided to get his binoculars out just in case of seeing any birds. This proved to be useful when we managed to get a female Crossbill in one of the mixed woods. As we came closer to the reserve we heard a Willow Tit. When we did eventually arrive at the reserve all that was to be found were winter wildfowl, 2 Chiffchaff and a very probable Willow Tit. After getting over the disappointment of the lake where we had seen Wood Sandpiper and Osprey last time we headed over to the woods hoping for at least a Crested Tit. Unfortunately we didn’t get that but instead we managed to connect with Marsh Tits, Treecreepers, Nuthatches and Goldcrests. This again was a little disappointing but when we found the exit to the woods after an adventures excursion through the woods I had my first glimpse of a GREY-HEADED WOODPECKER while my brother was socialising with the locals. The good stuff was eventually coming. Outside of the woods my brother heard a Grey-headed Woodpecker which confirmed my sighting and he tried tracking it down with me but unfortunately we were fruitless and just as we were about to leave my brother saw some grey blob in a bush he instantly called out “Great Grey Shrike” to mostly get my attention and confirmed it a few seconds later. I had wanted to see a GREAT GREY SHRIKE this year very badly and this one was showing on top of a tree very well. It performed well for scope views but pictures were out of the question other than record shots.

Great Grey Shrike

We tried going a little closer to the shrike but it was very shy and flew off. We than saw something fly into a tree at a close distance to us. We looked at it through our binoculars and saw it was a Grey-headed Woodpecker Samuels first and my second for the day. This one showed good for record shots and scope views but left soon after with us in pursuit.

Grey-headed Woodpecker

That was the last we saw of it but we still saw other birds on the edge of the woodland such as 2 Bullfinches and Marsh Tits.

Marsh Tit in flight

We thought we would head back to get our bikes and were stopped in our tracks when we heard some cranes we looked all around us but they were nowhere to be found and I suspected that they were behind the clouds but then I glimpsed up above our heads and there they were at the time I thought an approximate of 50 Cranes but on later inspection we counted 73

Common Cranes

This was now time to go and we headed back to get our bikes which were by the hide. We met someone in the hide and thought we would stay for a little longer with him and see if we could find anything else. Low and behold after a small chat we had a male Hen Harrier fly right in front of us at eye level which would have been a spectacular photo if my camera had been on the right setting. After beating myself up me and my brother stayed a little longer to see if anymore cranes would come and perhaps stop off at the reserve which had the perfect habitat for them. No more came so we went and agreed it had been a very successful day.