Showing posts from October, 2017

Hackney Downs Park

Wasn't as good as yesterday but there was at least a bit of interest in a watch from 0645 to 0815.

On the deck, the group of gulls contained eight Lesser Black Backed Gull, 55 Herring Gull, and six Common Gull.

Small groups of Woodpigeon were still on the move with 190 counted.  Other species on the move were 15 Redwing, 20 Chaffinch, 40 Goldcrest, a single Song Thrush, and four Meadow Pipit were particularly notable.

Other bits and pieces comprised a single Goldcrest, three Mistle Thrush, a single Jay, and a Sparrowhawk.

Hackney Downs Park

It's only taken me five and a half years to contemplate birding at Hackney Downs Park.  It's just next to where I live and visit it often, primarily for more physical recreation such as Tennis and Running.  It's quintessentially a municipal park, well maintained, and a nice place to be.

Birding though?  Well this morning I was overwhelmed by a rare Archimedean (?) moment and decided to head to the park and check the skies for any signs of migratory passage.  There has indeed been plenty of activity over the last week or so of the Hawfinch and Woodpigeon variety.

So I stood along the Cricket pitch and eyed the skies, and, it was really good!  When a couple of Meadow Pipit flew through, I began cursing why I hadn't done this a lot sooner.  Three returning Common Gull were loafing around on the dewy grass.

There were small groups of Redwing and Fieldfare, Chaffinch, Starling, pulsing through with half a dozen Pied Wagtail, a couple of Greenfinch and a prying Sparrowhawk. …

Pwll-du, Gwent - Common Rock Thrush

Made it in the end.  It was cold and windy so I can't imagine how those hardy birders braved it yesterday during Storm Brian.  A lovely bird in such a beautiful part of the UK.

The Common Rock Thrush also had a juvenile Northern Wheatear for company.

Scillies - Day Seven

With a heavy heart we left the islands - but not without a final walk around Penninis Head.

Another phenomenon and brought in by the strong currents were decent numbers of Portuguese Man o'War strewn across the beach at Porthcressa.  Bizarre looking creatures but also extremely eye-catching in more ways than one.

Scillies - Day Six

This was supposed to be our scheduled departure from the Isles but ex-Hurricane Ophelia had other ideas, leaving us stranded - which was hardly disappointing.

I did venture out and my word it was blowy particularly around the un-sheltered bays.

A lot of birders were gathered around a sheltered area near the Mermaid pub where the highlight of the trip was witnessed.  The waves crashing against the sea wall was great to watch.  A Great Skua battled past fighting it's way over the swell that gave hope for something more.

Two Leach's Petrel were seen distantly riding the waves, but then one closer in was great to see, obdurately repelling the harsh winds that are so characteristic of these birds.

Scillies - Day Five

Back to St. Agnes because you just can't get enough of this island, and it also has a knack of drawing in rare American vagrants.  But not today.

A juvenile Northern Wheatear was present on the south of the island.

There were small groups of Siskin on the island.

There was at least one Little Bunting - this one was near the Cricket pitch and allowed close views.

This juvenile Black Redstart was typically active on rocks at Periglis Beach.

A Yellow-browed Warbler was seen outside of the old bird observatory.

Scillies - Day Four

We went to Bryher and what a stunning island.  The wind was up and the waves crashing against the rocky coastline made for a spectacular sight.

The boat then took us over to Tresco where we spent a couple of hours walking round the Great Pool, where we chanced across this beautiful Red Squirrel.

Scillies - Day Three

More walking and a spontaneous trip to St Agnes for the Western Orphean WarblerEASTERN ORPHEAN WARBLER (see here) that eventually showed itself after a half hour wait, appearing from a hedge close to Troy Town, and flying round and right over my head before disappearing into cover again.  I later had a brief view when it flew into trees and that was the last I saw of it.  Unfortunately, there was no opportunity to photograph the sighting.

Back at base camp, a Yellow-browed Warbler was present along the boardwalk at Lower Moors.

Scillies - Day Two

We headed over to St. Agnes today.  It was beautiful, with clear skies and warm sun.  This is my favourite island and the location of the excitement of the 'yank' fall.  Sadly I missed it all.  Timing is everything, but walking round the island is such a joy.

There was some interest at least with a nice tidy Yellow-browed Warbler that perched up on a tree briefly in front of the post-office before dashing off again on its' circuit.

Scillies - Day One

I do like flying and especially when it's real flying such as Skybus' twin props.  It was a windy morning at St Just and the flight to the Isles was touch and go but we got out on schedule.

And it started well on Scillies too with this ridiculously confiding Spotted Crake that scampered towards the boardwalk on Lower Moors before disappearing back into undergrowth.

It was dull and overcast, the excitement of the previous couple of weeks had passed, so it was a case of sweeping up the long stayers on the island that included this American Golden Plover on the beach at Porth Hellick.

I spent some time in the Stephen Sussex hide watching the feeding probable Wilson's Snipe and trying to compare it to the groups of Common Snipe on the pools at Porth Hellick.  It did feel like a different bird, very contrasty, barred flanks and much paler upper and underparts.  Something else I noticed just how well-marked the head was, resembling Jack Snipe.  Photos have shown obvious barred au…