Saturday, 14 November 2015

Crag Martin, Chesterfield

I wouldn't put myself down as an obsessive twitcher, but when it comes to a twitchable Crag Martin I was happy to drop any plans for the weekend to have a chance of seeing it. Which I did. A long staying individual in Chesterfield was the one responsible for this. Me, Chris, Paul, Brendan and Ian, headed off this morning around 6, this meant after a traffic-free drive up the M1 we arrived around 8:30.

None of us were feeling highly optimistic about the likely hood of seeing this bird but still we gave it all the time we could, and amazingly just as our confidence had reached 0% the bird decided to make an appearance! The Crag Martin then showed reasonably well for a good half hour before heading on, on it's circuit. 

Eurasian Crag Martin

Slow-mo Crag Martin video

Even with the views we got, the bird was far too fast and the light too bad to get any good photos. So I end by saying well done to any with good shots of this bird.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Portland NGB trip

I don't really think I have the time, or you, for me to write a long blog post on my visit to Portland Bird Observatory this year, so I'll try and keep it decently 'short and sweet'.

Portland Bill

Portland Lighthouse

Pulpit Rock

Portland Lighthouse

Portland Coast

I went 2 days earlier then the others, Ben, Billy, Josie and Sorrel, so I was able to get my bearings and begin a bit of birding before the others arrived. Instantly on the first day it was visible that Portland was in the middle of a huge Crest influx, with double figures easily in almost every bush you looked at!


This made it quite clear that the week could produce some kind of leaf warbler, and possible some other kind of interesting Siberian bird. We were all quite keen to find something, so we were all in the field for most of the stay apart from if some of us were ringing, in which case that would take precedence. Generally the birding was quite good and on most walks would produce something of interest, be it Black Redstart, Short-eared Owl, Firecrest or something of that sort.


Luckily for the others, a Pallas's Warbler popped up on their first day, and obviously we were all very interested to see it, so we headed to the Pumping Station Quarry where after some brief searching Martin managed to find it. We rushed to a better viewing point and managed to grab good views of it before the sun began to set.

Pallas's Warbler

Me and Ben made the wise decision to head for the top fields straight after the Warbler so we could try and see the Owls in decent light, we were lucky and had a great views of one which swooped past us in the beautiful evening sun.

Short-eared Owl

Following that the success we managed to further see another 3 or so individuals. Throughout the week there were at least 3-5 different birds hunting each night including up to 2 Barn Owls as well, which always proved to be a very nice end to each day.

Kestrel, being mobbed by a crow

The moths throughout the week were good and the sheer number was quite impressive compared to the 3-4 I catch a day back on my patch.

Angle Shade

The week proved to be quite successful, and seeing some birds in the hand was amazing to say the least, the best of which were Pos. Siberian Chiffchaff, Continental Coal Tit, Firecrest, Redwing and even a stonking Pallas's Warbler!!!


Siberian Chiffchaff

Continental Coal Tit

Pallas's Warbler

That was definitely an immense way to finish the week and send us off back to boring old school.

Little Owl


For a more detailed blog summary I would recommend reading Ben's blog, which contains some cracking photos!