Friday, 25 November 2011

25th November Cumbria and Geese

Well Today my task was to find Keith some Rare Geese in Cumbria, a very tough task indeed. I had a tip off thanks Paul, that there were a few Geese and Swans around  the Silloth area, So i spent all day looking in every field i could with no joy, just some Greylags. So i ended up in the Solway but the high tide was closing all the roads and made getting around difficult, so thought id go to Workington sea-watching. On the way back decided to go through Silloth but as i got to Calvo i noticed a dozen Geese flying and noticed 2 were Greater Whitefronts , the others i didnt get to look at but probably Greylags. so i decide to go look for them. Eventually i found 6 European White-fronted Geese hidden in a crop field Bingo!!!! So I gave Keith a ring as it was a lifer for him. He arrived not long after and told me he had seen some Swans and Geese further down the road so after watching the Whitefronts for a few minutes we just had to check the others out.
On arriving, there were a load of what we thought would be Pinkfooted Geese, but how wrong were we they were only bloody Tundra Been Geese and not just 1 or 2 but 76!!!! probably a County Record if not a a UK record or close to it. We then noticed a dozen European White-fronted Geese too. The flock took flight and joined the Whooper Swans and hundreds of Gulls in the field across the road. Another 12 Eurasian Whitefronts flew in and eventually we Counted at least 25 Whitefronted Geese.
Whooper numbers were 21, Pinkfeet were mixed in with the Beans but only totalled about 6 and a few Greylags were present. 
A Ruff was on the flood. A couple of people came and went including Nick and Paul before the rain and dark set in. What a great finish to the day.....
So my task was complete, i need to predict my birds more oftern! Pallied Harrier next please ;-)
Tundra Bean Geese

European White-fronted Geese

Bean, Whitefront and Pinkfoot Goose (in flight)

Thursday, 24 November 2011

24th November Geese

Well i was on my way to work and had a quick stop off overlooking Bass lake from a fell road on Winlatter pass, in the dark i could just about see the lone Great White Egret on Bass lake. Onwards to Penrith where i got a phone call cancelling a job i was doing today so i continued northwards to Lochmaben to look for the mix of geese that had been around. firstly had a look at Castle loch for a mysterious American Wigeon that Stringer and photo faker Brian Henderson had been reported, he apparently pretended to photograph a ring-billed gull in DnG which people are saying were taken out of county, so seems hes tapped in the head. So Surprise surprise no sign. So then i moved onto Heck when i found the group of geese and Swans, mainly Mute swans, 3 Whooper swans, Canada's and Greylags. No sign of any Bean Geese or Whitefronts. Just as i left to have a look around 2 Whitefronts flew in but id have a better look later. I couldn't find any geese so returned to Heck where there were many more Pinkfooted Geese on Display including the adult and Juv European Whitefronted Geese. After a good while i finally picked up the 4 Tundra Bean geese so was mighty relieved, they had been here all the time although hidden in the long uncut crop. A neck collar Pinkfooted goose was noted while there, Silver PKT. I then had another quick look for American Wigeon on both Castle Loch and Kirk Loch, not sure why i'm bothering its a hoax anyway ;-) I then returned for home.
Juv White-fronted Goose

Ad European White-fronted Goose

Ad European White-fronted Goose

Tundra Bean Geese

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

23rd November Long-tailed Duck Soddy Gap

Well these blog posts are coming thick n fast. Ive had some free time as of late its the economy you no its bugged. So Ive been able to get out and about so much more often. Following form Sundays Workingtons Black Redstart it was Soddy gaps time for a little coverage. I grilled the main pond for a good while as gulls were coming and going, nothing special unfortunatly just Common, Black headed Herring and a Single Lesser black backed Gull. Goosander numbers were up to 55 and the usual suspects were present. So i moved onto the woodland pretty quiet except for a few Long-tailed tits and Redpoll. I moved onto check two tiny pools around the back of Soddy the first had nothing on it but on arriving at the second i noticed a duck that didn't fly, this could be interesting i put my scope down lifted my bins and got a nice surprise in the form of a Female Long-tailed duck, a Site tick woohoo and a good inland bird for Cumbria. Keith arrived as it was actually a lifer for him and we enjoyed this bird for a while.
Female Long-tailed Duck

Keith returned to work and i headed for Workington. I had a good look along the beach for the Black Redstarts but it was so windy there was hardly anything to see. I came back to the pier and finished the day with a Short seawatch meeting up with Keith again. A dark Arctic Skua, some Red-throated Divers, Gannets, a female Common Scoter and a group of Kittiwakes were the only things of real note.Still not a bad day.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

22nd Nov Black Red

Well started at Siddick ponds, not a great deal about except a fly through Merlin and Sparrowhawk, so moved onto Workington picking Norman up on route, where the Male Black Redstart was still showing well. A seawatch whilst waiting for the Redstart produced a dark Arctic Skua and 2 probable Little gulls, they were a long long way off. Stumpy was wandering around the Harbour.
Black Redstart

Monday, 21 November 2011

21st November A good day in cumbria

Well i had a site visit first thing then a free day so i met Keith at Bass lake to look for the Great White Egret that had been about. I had a report of two there. So when i arrived Keith had not seen much but had only been here 10 min, but it wasn't long before Keith picked the Great White Egret up on the far bank. Keith had re identified this on the Friday, id had a report of a Cattle Egret and as i couldn't get down sent Keith down, when he arrived he could see it was a Great White, now there's 2 in the county with the one at Campfield still being present.

Great White Egret
Keith also had a Diver species on the far bank so when we picked it up today it was a little closer and was a nice Black-throated Diver corker, another nice find for Keith. It did have my pulse racing for a while as i couldn't actually see the white flanks in the choppy waters but eventually ruled out Pacific Diver and white flanks eventually seen. Pics today wasn't great but you can see what they are ;-)

Juv Black-throated Diver
I then met Keith up on the Whinlatter forest view point where there were at least 50 Crossbill and the Great White Egret On the lake at distance, just double checking there weren't 2. Keith went back to work and we met up later on at Workington for a small sea watch. Not a lot happening, usual Med gull, few Gannets, Guillemots and a single Purple Sandpiper.
I then went for a walk south along the beach with the dog. i heard a familiar call that wasn't a Meadow pipit and new i had a Black Redstart on my hands, after a few seconds it showed itself on the rock and moved between rock and fence. This was an Adult Male. I then picked another bird up on the fence bingo a female type too. Keith had found 2 imm a couple weeks earlier so this makes 4 birds at the same spot. I gave Keith a shout and we were able to watch the birds till the light had gone. A great finish to a Great day.

Male Black Redstart

Male Black Redstart

Female Black Redstart

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Edinburgh trip 18th-20th

Well it was supposedly Rachel's birthday weekend so the plan was to have a couple of days in Edinburgh shopping booo ;-). So we both got Friday off but plans changed just a little.(selfish ba*tard) ;-) We headed for Edinburgh right enough, via Holy island though. First stop was for some geese just off the A69, but no sign of any but we did see an Otter in the river. So then we stopped at Dunstan just south of Holy Island where we finally found some geese. 100+ European Whitefronts and 2 Bean Geese with a load of pinks and a few Barnacles, the two ross's geese were missing though. a couple of distant record shots and it was time to get to Holy Island, time was pushing on.

European Whitefronted Goose

Tundra Bean Goose
We arrived onto Holy Island and i was quickly heading up the beach along St Cuthberts way. I managed to find the Eastern Black Redstart that had been present for a couple of days, what a stunner. Now its not a full species yet but i'm sure it will become one its so striking. Latin name P. o. phoenicuroides. 
After my fill of this stunning bird it was getting dark or at least the light had gone so it was time to head for our room in Edinburgh. I was unable to do anymore birding.

P. o. phoenicuroides Eastern Black Redstart

We made good time on the way home and was back for half eleven when i had a message from Keith telling me about a Green winged teal he and Phil had found, so i headed straight for here.
When i arrived i walked down to the edge and immediately picked up the Teal, and then a Bittern flew over. Keith and Phil joined me later and they had missed the Bittern but no matter over the next couple of hours at least 3 were seen well in flight and on the edge of the pond. 2 Whooper swan a few Water Rail and 2 Med Gull were also present.  I managed a couple of color ringed reading of Mute swans White ATK and White AYH.
Green-winged Teal


Mute Swan

Whooper Swan

I did have a couple hours at Caerlaverock but didnt see much.....

Whooper Swans

Barnacle Geese

Monday, 14 November 2011

Greater Yellowlegs 13th November

Well Last night Keith had cooked us a great meal, and it was time to decide what to do Sunday. Stay local or go East. BUT we didn't have to think about it too long. A Greater Yellowlegs had been found at Hauxley NR near Amble in Northumberland. So at half seven we were on our way heading straight for Huxley, now we weren't rushing because we didn't think it would be seen again but seen again it was an by 10am ish we were watching the Greater Yellowlegs in a very busy hide. A brilliant Grey Phalarope was also sat feeding under the legs of the Greater Yellowlegs but wow wow wow and they were showing well, down to 10 feet. I was at the back of the hide so wasn't able to get any pics as a digiscoper and was starting to panic a bit because all the DSLR boys were snapping away in-between the heads and bodies of each other me i was stuck looking at the heads and bodies. Eventually the bird disappeared around the corner and i was able to get to the front as people were leaving the hide. The 2 birds came back and i was able to get some records shots and some video here!

Greater Yellowlegs

Greater Yellowlegs and Grey Phalarope

Grey Phalarope

The light was poor and the bird more distant than it was before.
After our fill we went to Amble for Brunch and walked around the harbour watching the Eider and a Red-throated diver.
We then moved onto Prestwick Carr for the Short-eared Owl and a reported Great Grey Shrike.
After watching 5 or 6 Shorties Video Here, we were then told the Shrike was a couple of hundred yards up the track so went for a look, i set my scope up randomly on a tree and there it was MAGIC ;-). The views were distant but OK. After watching a few more Owls it was time for home..What a day we had with all target species seen.

Short-eared Owl

Great Grey Shrike