Posts

Southend Pier

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Despite the inevitable disappointment at not catching up with the white-billed diver that was present during the only period of the weekend when I wasn't there, the selection of coastal birds really did make up for it. It was quite a surprise actually that the wintering assemblage seen from the end of Southend Pier would include such a range of species. Weather conditions were ideal - light winds and decent light. Great northern diver were present with up to half a dozen seen on the still waters. A female long-tailed duck was the first surprise viewed from halfway along the pier. A few red-throated diver were seen regularly flying past, and both razorbill and guillemot were seen in small numbers. On Sunday, the consolation of a slavonian grebe , a female eider and a single drake common scoter along with plenty of Mediterranean gull of all ages and a throng of turnstone made for a spectacular sight. Really very nice stuff and definitely worth a few more visits... and yes, I

Eldernell - Owls

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Today it felt like I was window shopping for owls. First of the vegetative frontages was this extremely brazen short-eared owl , totally unfazed by the modest assemblage of birders lined on the bank of the Cambridgeshire washes at Eldernell. A fabulous site for a variety of species but particularly for wintering owls. Continuing along a hundred metres or so where two long-eared owl were not so confiding, typically tucked away in the dense scrub, one of which was relatively showy compared to some of the LEO experiences most folk have of this species. The second bird was slightly higher up in the thicket that was much more concealed. There have been reports of seven individuals present at this site. And then a hundred metres further along the track, and probably my favourite of all was this glorious tawny owl snugly tucked into a limb cavity. Incongruously, I've definitely seen more long-eared owl than tawny owl so this was a real treat. Also on site apart from thousands of wildfow

New Years Day - Waxwing

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Clear skies, light winds, the sun shining, and seven waxwing on an industrial estate in Stevenage. A blessed start to 2024.  After my hour of deference to these glorious birds, the year-list got under way at Welney WWT where many had gathered to walk off their festive excesses and spend time at this great reserve. Among the highlights were at least seven cattle egret , great egret , a first winter male scaup , tree sparrow , pintail ,  marsh harrier , and of course the thousands of wildfowl spread across the flooded landscape.

Priory CP - Ring-necked duck

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A bit gloomy out today but the returning ring-necked duck associating with tufted duck on Finger Lake was still present and seemed quite settled.

Stanstead Abbotts - Great northern diver

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A glorious day for my first great northern diver in Herts drifting lazily across Abbotts Lake at Stanstead Innings. The sunshine also produced a Cetti's warbler, at least two chiffchaff and an encouraging count of 45 common pochard.  

Abberton Reservoir - Canvasback

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The autumn that keeps on giving. There is no way I would have predicted that canvasback would be the next new bird I see in the UK. It didn't start particularly well though. Arriving at the Billet Farm watchpoint at around 10am and a large congregation of twitchy twitchers had already assembled in a kind of queuing system that would have satisfied many. I was a bit miffed as from my vantage point, I could only see a narrow band of water. No chance of seeing anything really. So I left, and headed for the causeway. It was grey, and rain had started to fall. All a bit bleak but Abberton is actually very nice and having parked at the Layer de la Haye causeway, got chatting to a couple of birders and well, it was all very convivial.  Not really knowing what to do, coffee and cake at the visitor centre beckoned. This was all very enjoyable, not much birding really, just nice views across the reservoir. The common pochard flock was out of view behind the spit distantly from the visitor c

Linford Lakes - Little crake

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Cheekily messaged the boss to say that I needed to take the morning off, and headed up to Linford Lakes to see the little crake that appeared briefly after a 45 minute wait, disappeared, then reappeared providing slightly better views then disappeared again. Unfortunately I had to head back but was great to catch up with it and a really excellent record for Bucks.