Saturday, 29 September 2012

Workington Sea watch

3 hours on the pier produced 
1 Juv Arctic Skua
4 Med Gulls 3 Adults and 1 2nd Winter
4 Manxies
21 Common Scoter
50+ Red-throated divers
8 Gannets
2 Kittiwake
1 Wheatear
1 Rock Pipit.
Surprisingly quiet really. Maybe Tomorrow.


Friday, 28 September 2012

Solway back to normal with a bump.

Back on dry land in Cumbria. Here's the list from the Solway today..

3 Pale Bellied Brent Geese from (Drumburgh) rare in these parts.
1 Juv Curlew Sand (port Carlisle)
1 2nd Winter Med Gull (Bowness Railings)
1 or 2 Spotted Redshank (port Carlisle)
1 Ruff
400 Golden Plover
65 Bar-tailed godwit
11 Black-tailed Godwit
60 Knot
Few Dunlin
1 Peregrine.
I couldnt relocate Darrens 2nd American Golden Plover or the Reported Long-billed er Godwit, i mean Dowither from Yesterday.
2nd winter Med Gull

Spotted Redshank

Superb Holy land..

Well at last an amazing day in the field birding..Keith and i headed to Holy Island and was due to come off before the tide at 11-45, but it was so good here we decided to stop on and find our own stuff covering the whole of the west side. On the way we spotted a Tawny Owl that flew across the road in front of us.We then started proper birding by checking the sycamores in the village at Holy island but this was thwarted when i got a call off Darren and Colin who was also on the island as well to say the Arctic Warbler had been found again by the hotel so we rushed here as this was a lifer and an amazing record. We got there withing minutes and straight away had brilliant views.. it was impossible for digiscoping as the bird never stopped so i was very lucky to even get these.. Wow what a great bird and amazing start to the day.

Next we checked the areas around the village including the Vicars garden where there were plenty of common migrants, Redstarts, Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Lesser Whitethroats. Colin was wandering along the beach when he shouted Darren n I he had only found a bloody Wryneck. Great find Col!!!! It disappeared onto the beach before Keith could get to us so we headed to the beach where we found it giving us stunning views, best Ive ever had and another lifer for Keith. I was pleased with these shots ;-)

 So next it was onwards to see the Arctic Warbler again. Then onto the straight lonning, here again all the common migrants, Reed Warbler, Song Thrush, Redwing, Wheatear, Whinchat and a nice Short-eared Owl.
We did a circular back to the car and to the cafe for something to eat.

After lunch we had another fill of the Arctic Warbler and more common migrants, there were literally hundreds about and it was great to grill each and every one of em...
We then headed for the Snook and had a really good search around, Darren had seen the Great Grey Shrike but we couldnt relocate it. More migrants and eventually our find of the day an amazing Richards Pipit. I flushed a large pipit from behind Snook House but it didn't call, it was fairly dark with well marked wings, it had to be a Richards Pipit but i wanted to see it properly. We flushed it out the long grass a few more times each time getting to see it better and better until it finally landed on the path where i could see its head.. Bingo definite Richards Pipit, it flew before i could get a pic and we lost it after this.
We had a last look around spotting Osprey, 700 Pink-footed Geese and 50+ Barnacle Geese.
A Really amazing amazing day.Time for home...

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

East again

Well Yesterday it was my Birthday, 21 again. So i went out in the pouring rain with the dog to Maryport to find myself a birthday rare, but its Cumbria so i failed again. Half a dozen Wheatear was it really.

 So today Keith an i headed East again for the anticipated big fall of Migrants. We did get the fall but only Common Stuff, Redstarts, Pied Flycatchers, nice Bramblings, our first Redwings of the autumn and a few other odds n sods. The best bird today however was this first winter Red-breasted Flycatcher. (shame about the branch) It poured it down all day so it was hard work birding and we both got wet through and the camera hardly came out the bag but for this.

A Yellow Wagtail was the last bird i saw as it flew over. Still best day of the last few trips out due to the amount of birds we got to look through.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Bad Bad Weekend

Not even sure why im bothering to blog this weekend..
Went to Cheshire.. Missed Everything. 2 Colour ringed Little Stint, 13 Spotted Redshank.
Northumberland today couldnt find a Yellow Browed Warbler. Sea watch from St Marys Island, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Juv Long-tailed Skua , 1 Arctic Skua and a Merlin.

Back in Cumbria American Golden Plover..

So even though the birds in my list look good, my problem is i never got to see the birds i went out for......

Friday, 21 September 2012

Failed ratch around the Solway

I want to find something good, with all these american waders around there has to be more than just an AGP up here. Trouble is theres no good wader habitat ANYWHERE. This is what i managed today.
Started at Port Carlisle, Still 300+ Golden Plover but still not viewable as they roost behind a sandbank.
In the Harbour,1 Ruff and adult winter Spotted Redshank, 10 Black tailed Godwit, 17 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Drake Scaup. 80-100 Knot circled the harbour before disappearing.
Opposite north plain entrance small flock of Dunlin with a few Ringed plover and a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper.
On the Roadside scrape there were plenty of Common Snipe and a single Greenshank. A Northern Wheatear was in the grass
South of Anthorn in a flooded field looked good 7 Ruff 50+ Teal and 70 Golden plover. lots of lapwing.
At Abbeytown 1 Ruff with Gulls and Lapwing.
Flood north of Allonby, 30 Teal and 6 Wigeon..
Generally a good movement of Pink-footed geese, Meadow Pipits and Swallows, Sandmartins and House Martins.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

American Golden Plover

Well id missed the American Golden Plover last night so by 7-45 i was on site at Port where Keith had already beat me to the spot. He had seen the bird earlier but had lost it over the sand bank but a quick scan i picked the bird up pretty quickly...phew.... A nice malting Adult. It wasn't easy and never came above the sandbank only to fly around. It eventually took off with the group of European Goldies..
I did manage to get a couple of really bad shots through.

Checked a few spots on the way home and did a quick seawatch from Workington. Just a few Med Gulls and Red throated Divers.


Keith n i had an early start heading for Lothian and John Muir Country Park to try get Keith a lifer. 2 Buff Breasted Sandpipers had been here a couple of days and as it was keith's bogey bird we had to put in some effort to put it right. We Got to site but didn't no where the birds were and there were no birders so we had to go in blind. We had a walk around the dunes when pretty quickly we picked the birds up in the long grass. Lucky really as we could only see the heads and could have very easily have missed em. Eyes like hawks us ;-).

After our fill we were going to try find the Semi p that had been on the river close by, we finally saw plenty of birders but no Semi P unfortunatly. The Dunlin and Ringed Plover showed really nicely though.
 So we decide to try again after lunch.
We had lunch at Barns Ness beach where we did a bit of a seawatch, and what a seawatch it turned out to be. There were hundreds of Gannets and Gulls feeding of shore, this had attracted quite a few Skuas. Upto 5 Arctic Skuas passed and a close Pom skua but the best was and Adult and Juvenile Long-tailed Skua chasing the kittiwakes for food. We had such a good seawatch we decided to give the Semi p another go but again failed, it wasn't seen by anyone today. A juvenile Curlew Sandpiper showed well though.

Curlew Sandpiper (left) Dunlin (right)

 We finished off at Kinnel Lagoon, good numbers of waders but nothing out the ordinary. Darren found and American Golden Plover at Port back in Cumbria so we headed back for this but the dark beat us.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Majorca September 2012 6th -13th

Well the plane landed just after 12 so by the time we got away from the airport it must have been 1 oclock. So I decided we should head through the mountains towards Soller and cover Cuber res. On the way we stopped off at various watch points to see a Booted Eagle (1) and Griffon Vultures (9) with the odd Firecrest, Serin and loads of Sardinian Warblers calling as we drove through the woody areas. Raven seemed everywhere. Just remember click on the pictures to see full size.
It was quite late in the day once we reached Cubar so I didn't expect much due to the heat and tourist but a good afternoon anyway with Whinchat, Stonechat, Kingfisher, Sardinian Warbler more Firecrest, Raven, Griffon Vulture, Northern Wheatear, Goldfinch, Pied and Spotted fly.  
The best birds here though were a Black Vulture which flew low over our heads, a pair of singing Blue Rock Thrush and the best bird for me so far were 2 cracking Short toed lark, I had only ever flushed them from fields in Norfolk so it was great to get a better look at them. We headed for our home for the week to check into our hotel at Lago Park, Playa de muro.
Black Vulture
Day 2
Very excited to try a new site at s' Albufera marsh the Depuradora. A Great few ponds which form part of the sewage works aka Depuradora. The birds here were great. Good views of Nightingales, Cetti's Warblers, Zitters, Great Reed Warbler, Yellow Wagtails, Reed Warblers, Marsh Harriers, plenty of House Martin, Swallow and Sand Martin. Wood Sandpipers, Green Sandpipers and Common Sandpipers. Hoopoe were everywhere, as were Collard Doves and Woodpigeons. Eventually I managed to spot a juv Woodchat shrike and the best bird so far a lifer in the form of actually seeing a Moustache Warbler... BINGO! 2 Marble Duck put in a brief appearance for us.

Purple Swamphen
Spotted Flycatcher

Next it was site seeing around the aucanada peninsular or that way anyway, not many birds except a couple of Audouins Gulls and Yellow-legged Gulls and a Shag looking very hot.

At some fancy La Victoria Church more Firecrest a few Common Crossbills and we could hear Red-legged Partridge.
We moved onto the main reserve at s'Albufera, talking to an English couple who said they had seen nothing and it was pretty rubbish...they must have high hopes because I saw a shed load of stuff the highlights being Kentish Plover, Wood sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Little Stint (3) Night Heron (5), Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Kingfisher, Red nobbled Coot, Garganey, Stone Curlew (50+) and eventually a Glossy Ibis.
Little Stint

Kentish Plover


Little Egret

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Squacco Heron
We finished up back at Depuradora in the dark where I got my first view of the fabulously tiny Scop's Owl sat on a fence in the headlights, this was my second lifer of the day Wooohoo a stunning tiny Owl. 2 Barn Owl were also sat on fence posts on the road back, its amazing how close you can get to owls here in Majorca, there not bothered by cars at all. 
We finished back at Playa de Muro for dinner and a few celebratory drinks.

Day 3
This was picked to be the best day I recon, heading down to Salobra de Campos but not before I got up early to cover the local patch behind the hotel a good area I found a couple of years back when stopping here. Today however it was a bit disappointing with just a few birds an Adult Woodchat Shrike being the pick of a few birds. Hay ho don't matter were off down south for loads a birds..
On the trip down Red kite, Hoopoe, and Common Kestrels.

We reached  Salobra de Campos lagoons WOW WOW WOW, why had I not visited this place before, this place had got to be on par with Donana, except Donana the birds are much closer, no matter, the waders were incredible. 300 Kentish Plover,  I had stopped counting at that, 210 Avocet, over 200 Greater Flamingos, love Flamingos, loads of Spotted Redshanks, Black winged Stilts, Dunlin, Little stint, Knot, Grey Plover and Common Redshank, not forgetting good numbers of Red Kite, Marsh Harriers and at least 3 Osprey one with a green ring and transmitter, ill ask Roy when I get home for the info of that one. Well thanks to Roy for getting back to me so quickly, this bird is infact a local bird rung and fitted with a transmitter by the local team in the local area.
Also here good numbers of Yellow Wagtail including a Flava wagtail.
Greater Flamingo

Osprey you can just see transmitter below it.

Flava Wagtail
Iberian Wagtail?
Ok a great start but could this day get any better, coarse it could we left the lagoons and headed for Cap Des Ses Salines and 1km SW of Ses Salines I spotted what looked like a raptor tussling with something so I turned around and what happened next will stay with me forever, a Kestrel tussling with a Bee eater, not just 1 but 40 at least, calling and circling over head showing amazingly well and then eventually landing but briefly. We watched this for a good 45 min before we felt we had better get to out next place before running out of time.

So we arrived at Cap Des Ses Salines where I did a sea watch just for half an hour to pick up 5 Cory's Shearwaters, a couple more Audouins and a Yellow Legged Gull.

Returning to the car a slush puppy better off and refreshed I could hear another or the same flock of Bee eaters probably heading out to sea on there journey South. On the drive back a dark morph Booted Eagle or was it a Black Kite? (couldn't stop the car to check) finished our day off well. Had to be the best day of the trip so far.

Day 4
Started early at Depuradora, nothing new to add except the smell today was ripe.  So we got to Son Real for opening time 10 oclock, far too late ridiculous really it was really hot by now. Still didn't ruin the day, Good views of Wryneck in fact 3 or 4 Wryneck, 2 Mamora's Warbler or should i say Balearic Warbler as they are now known, semi singing, down at the beach Kentish Plovers showed well as did the Thekla Larks, what a great song, then Superb views of a Juv Woodchat Shrike but then you beauty my second Target species and 3rd lifer of the tip only a bloody Tawny Pipit right under my nose whilst taking a picture of the Shrike.. Amazing truly Amazing, I Love Spain. The rest of the day was spent sight seeing..can it get any better than this...


Thekla Lark

Kentish Plover

Tawny Pipit

Woodchat Shrike

Well the day wasn't over and the night at Depuradora didn't produce any Owls but it did produce great views of a Nightjar again like the Owls it sat on the fence in the headlights of the car for a moment, then flew around the car catching insects attracted by the car lights... Amazing finish to the day.
I need a new target species. Elenoras at Formentor hopefully..

Day 5
So we did manage to get to Formentor Lighthouse today but not before getting 2 Crag Martins at Talaia De Albercutx. Then at Formentor Lighthouse at least 6 Elenoras Falcon all in dark morph but great to watch as they acrobatically tussled in the air. Not a lot else though this time. No Shearwaters.

The crowds were massing by now so we made a sharp exit and headed for the cooler quieter mountains around Cuber, not seeing a great deal to be honest. A couple of Giffon Vulture and a 1m Viperine Snake at the damn before Cuber.

Cuber too was quiet with just a few Common Redstarts, Pied fly, Firecrest 2 Blackcap, Northern Wheatear and a Tawny Pipit to show for it.

Northern Wheatear
On the way home via Santa Maria Del Cami we came across a group of raptors, 2 Booted Eagle dark and light phase, 3 Peregrine and 2 Red Kite.. What a display these put on for us.
We returned to Depuradora which came up trumps again, 6 Marble Duck a cracking juvenile Montagu's Harrier and just as we were leaving a juv/1st winter Golden Oriol shot out a bush. There were plenty of Swallows, house and Sandmartins passing through but still no Swifts or Red Rumped Swallows, bugger.

Marbled Duck
Hoopoe have been everywhere and are always hard to photograph and these were shot into the sun but I love Hoopoes and so far we have seen loads and loads. 3 in the field I took these from.
Another day quickly ended..

Day 6
This was a day where no birding was supposed to be done so no bins and no scope we headed for the Caves at Encampanet  so we got there did the usual touristy thing then sat on the balcony for dinner and drinks, whilst wait for it.....listening to the bird song, who needs optics. Amazingly I could hear Bee eaters, probably passing over at height, I could also pick up Firecrest, Crossbill, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Wren whilst all the time being accompanied by 3 or 4 Humming birds Hawk moths.

Humming Bird Hawk Moth
In the afternoon we headed for Arta Mountains and back on track birding, my first Cirl Buntings of the trip were great. Also here 2 Pale phase Booted Eagles a Peregrine and a  couple of Blue Rock Thrush. That was it of real note here.
Back at Depuradora where I found the Scops Owl again and saw the usual waders wagtails and warblers so nothing new to really add. Plenty of Hoopoe activity was great though. Back to the hotel early for a change well 6 o'clock early. Last proper day tomorrow.

Day 7
Started early at  Depuradora where a nice trip tick in the form of a Bluethroat. A dark phase Booted Eagle was the only other thing here of note.

Bluethroat honest top left
The rest of the day was sight seeing until the evening when I dropped Rachel off and headed for s'Albufera main reserve, I spent a good few hours here seeing a Temminick Stint, couple of Little Stint, Garganey again and a Marsh Harrier that took 2 Teal and dropped them into the reeds, I cant believe they were dead and so I recon they just hid in the reeds? Good numbers of the usual stuff including 100 Stone Curlew. A hybrid Spanish x House Sparrow sat on the reeds breifly.

Juv Night Heron

Cattle Egret

Red Knobbled Coot

Adult Night Heron

Adult Night Heron

Spanish x House Sparrow
Spanish x House Sparrow

Black Winged Stilt

Spotted Fly

Green Sandpiper

Fan-tailed Warbler
I moved onto Depuradora again for the evening, the Bluethroat showed again and a juv Scops Owl was calling. 50+ Starling was a better number than the 1 I had earlier in the week. A Water Rail finally gave itself up and 2 Woodchat Shrike showed pretty well. A Tree Sparrow was a bit of a surprise. Otherwise the birds were pretty much what I had already seen. Still a great place and always come up trumps.

Black-tailed Skimmer

Purple Swamphen

Cattle Egret

Stone Curlew

Purple Swamphen

Day 8
Today was hometime boooooo... but i did get an hours birding in at the sewage works at s'Albafura again Wood Sandpiper, LRP, Black Winged Stilts were the main birds.

Black Winged Stilt

Wood Sandpiper

Little Ringed Plover

Strange looking Small Copper

So its been a great week with 122 Species recorded but time to go... for another year at least...

Full Species list below

Common ShelduckTadorna tadorna
GadwallAnas strepera
Common TealAnas crecca
MallardAnas platyrhynchos
GarganeyAnas querquedula
Northern ShovelerAnas clypeata
Marbled DuckMarmaronetta angustirostris
Red-crested PochardNetta rufina
Common PochardAythya ferina
Tufted DuckAythya fuligula
Red-legged PartridgeAlectoris rufa
Black-necked GrebePodiceps nigricollis
Cory's ShearwaterCalonectris diomedea
Great CormorantPhalacrocorax carbo
European ShagPhalacrocorax aristotelis
Black-crowned Night HeronNycticorax nycticorax
Squacco HeronArdeola ralloides
Cattle EgretBubulcus ibis
Little EgretEgretta garzetta
Grey HeronArdea cinerea
Glossy IbisPlegadis falcinellus
Greater FlamingoPhoenicopterus roseus
Black KiteMilvus migrans
Red KiteMilvus milvus
Eurasian Griffon VultureGyps fulvus
Eurasian Black VultureAegypius monachus
Western Marsh HarrierCircus aeruginosus
Montagu's HarrierCircus pygargus
Eurasian SparrowhawkAccipiter nisus
Booted EagleHieraaetus pennatus
OspreyPandion haliaetus
Common KestrelFalco tinnunculus
Eleonora's FalconFalco eleonorae
PeregrineFalco peregrinus
Water RailRallus aquaticus
Common MoorhenGallinula chloropus
Purple Swamp-HenPorphyrio porphyrio
Eurasian CootFulica atra
Red-Knobbed CootFulica cristata
Black-winged StiltHimantopus himantopus
Pied AvocetRecurvirostra avosetta
Stone-CurlewBurhinus oedicnemus
Little Ringed PloverCharadrius dubius
Common Ringed PloverCharadrius hiaticula
Kentish PloverCharadrius alexandrinus
Grey PloverPluvialis squatarola
Northern LapwingVanellus vanellus
Red KnotCalidris canutus
SanderlingCalidris alba
Little StintCalidris minuta
Temminck's StintCalidris temminckii
DunlinCalidris alpina
RuffPhilomachus pugnax
Common SnipeGallinago gallinago
Eurasian CurlewNumenius arquata
Spotted RedshankTringa erythropus
Common RedshankTringa totanus
Common GreenshankTringa nebularia
Green SandpiperTringa ochropus
Wood SandpiperTringa glareola
Common SandpiperActitis hypoleucos
Ruddy TurnstoneArenaria interpres
Black-headed GullLarus ridibundus
Audouin's GullLarus audouinii
Yellow-legged GullLarus michahellis
Common WoodpigeonColumba palumbus
Eurasian Collared DoveStreptopelia decaocto
European Turtle DoveStreptopelia turtur
Barn OwlTyto alba
European Scops OwlOtus scops
European NightjarCaprimulgus europaeus
Common KingfisherAlcedo atthis
European Bee-eaterMerops apiaster
Eurasian HoopoeUpupa epops
Eurasian WryneckJynx torquilla
Greater Short-toed LarkCalandrella brachydactyla
Thekla LarkGalerida theklae
Eurasian SkylarkAlauda arvensis
Sand MartinRiparia riparia
Eurasian Crag MartinPtyonoprogne rupestris
Barn SwallowHirundo rustica
Common House MartinDelichon urbicum
Tawny PipitAnthus campestris
Yellow WagtailMotacilla flava
White WagtailMotacilla alba
Winter WrenTroglodytes troglodytes
Common NightingaleLuscinia megarhynchos
BluethroatLuscinia svecica
Common RedstartPhoenicurus phoenicurus
WhinchatSaxicola rubetra
Common StonechatSaxicola torquatus
Northern WheatearOenanthe oenanthe
Blue Rock ThrushMonticola solitarius
Common BlackbirdTurdus merula
Cetti's WarblerCettia cetti
Zitting CisticolaCisticola juncidis
Moustached WarblerAcrocephalus melanopogon
European Reed WarblerAcrocephalus scirpaceus
Great Reed WarblerAcrocephalus arundinaceus
Marmora's WarblerSylvia sarda
Sardinian WarblerSylvia melanocephala
BlackcapSylvia atricapilla
Common ChiffchaffPhylloscopus collybita
Willow WarblerPhylloscopus trochilus
FirecrestRegulus ignicapilla
Spotted FlycatcherMuscicapa striata
Pied FlycatcherFicedula hypoleuca
Blue TitParus caeruleus
Great TitParus major
Eurasian Golden OrioleOriolus oriolus
Woodchat ShrikeLanius senator
Common RavenCorvus corax
Common StarlingSturnus vulgaris
House SparrowPasser domesticus
Eurasian Tree SparrowPasser montanus
Common ChaffinchFringilla coelebs
European SerinSerinus serinus
European GreenfinchCarduelis chloris
European GoldfinchCarduelis carduelis
Common LinnetCarduelis cannabina
Common CrossbillLoxia curvirostra
Cirl BuntingEmberiza cirlus