Showing posts from May, 2015

Titchfield Haven - Greater Yellowlegs

I was giddy with the prospect of connecting with another rare.  I had a car, and this opportunity just had to be maximised.  So I headed down to Titchfield Haven where an enigmatic wader had been in residence for, well months actually before disappearing into the ether for a while.  Until recently that is when it re-appeared allowing many to observe it from close quarters from the coast road.  The Sunday trip was extremely spontaneous, but unfortunately there was no sign from mid-afternoon despite searching all the pools from within the reserve.  A Mediterranean Gull sat with the hundreds of Black Headed Gull on the islands and there were plenty of Avocet feeding on the shallow pools.
Spot the Greaterlegs 
I couldn't give up.  The next day I headed down early.  Hackney to Titchfield in two hours.  I had to work a little harder this time by driving through the village and parking up at the north end of the reserve.  The Titchfield Canal path led to two large pools where a group of …

Suffolk - A Little Bitt of luck and a little Sandpiper...

It has been four years now since I owned a motor car, and it is taking it's toll.  Sites such as Minsmere, or Dungeness feel more out of reach now than the global outposts of Monrovia, or Dhaka.   And as such, my inner monologue now manifests itself with audible obscenities at the arrival of a rare that I am just unable to reach.  The motor car, an invention that has mobilised birders throughout the decades fattening up lists as well as bellies in motorway service stations.

So thanks to mum, I had a car for the weekend, so we raced up to Suffolk for a day-out with plans to grab two newbies.  Checking the news en route, we made headway up to Southwold parking by the harbour and then heading along the riverside to the pools where the BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER had thankfully booked a one-night stay and was showing well along the near shore-line.  It was feeding actively with a group of fine summer-plumaged Dunlin that emphasised its diminutive size,  more like Broad-Billed Stint.  Clea…


A pleasant morning which felt good for something.  There was a decent Hirundine moverment with a few Swallow and Sand Martin mixed in with plenty of  migrating Swift.

On the Marshes, there were at least three Lesser Whitethroat rattling, and a Cetti's Warbler called from the back of the rear paddocks, and at least eight singing Sedge Warbler.

On the Ressies, it was pretty quiet.  Two Common Sandpiper were on High Maynard and there were a few Common Tern around Lockwood.  The water level along the relief channel has dropped considerably with the hope of a wader, three Little Egret were present on the section between Lockwood and Banbury.  

Looking east, a Hobby drifted into view and then flew low south before dropping down low somewhere over the Maynards.  A male Kestrel also flew in.
It was great to see numbers of House Sparrow on the northside of the Lockwood.
A female Banded Demoiselle was my first of the year, a Common Blue flashed through on the breeze, and my second Painted L…


The Puffin.  Such personality.  Sitting low on a wooden bench overlooking a sheer cliff face where the cacophony of boisterous seabirds echoed through the ravine.  Kittiwake, mouths full of claggy mud extracted from a nearby pond flew low overhead onto their negligible area of rocky scree, a ledge where home would be, where broods would reach maturity, where fledglings would make their first nerve jangling flights, where the future of our seabirds endure.

Guillemot and Razorbill, in their communal huddles, co-existing is such dramatic and harsh surroundings, cliff dwellers that defy logic, gravity, and social sensibilities.  No magic, just nature.
Fulmar too, a little more savvy with their nesting choices, opting for a spacious penthouse, majestic fliers, but raucous neighbours.  Raven choosing real estate wisely too, tucked away in the cavities, early nesters with mature young.
The Puffin though is just a magical creature.  There are approximately 22,000 of these enig…

When a plan doesn't come together - Red-rumped Swallow

The Bank Holiday weekend and the few days preceding it was a bumper time for twitchy birders no doubt apologetically sloping off from family commitments to race cross-country with the aim of bagging birding gold such as Great Blue Heron, Hudsonian Godwit, and Red-Throated Pipit.  I predictably was on shift and couldn't even bear to check the bird news such was my utter incredulity of being incarcerated within the four office walls.  Willing for time to fly, I in anticipation, booked a hire car in advance for Tuesday - a day where I would start early, dash around the country, and pick up whatever was left of the rarity-fest that everyone else was enjoying.

Well not to drag this out, the short of it was that in the hope that the Red-Throated Pipit was still present on the periphery of the Peak District, I made haste up the M1.

The weather was dire, strong winds, driving rain, and nothing showing up on the rarity radar.  No sign at all.  There was however a bird I needed in Hull.  Ye…