Saturday, 7 June 2014

Update: April, May, and a tiny bit of June.

It has, yet again, been a long time since my last blog post update! May was manic and I simply did not get around to posting in April. My last update was the Great Spotted Cuckoo, which now seems almost an age away! Plenty of time for birding with work and personal time, but here are some of the personal highlights for me in the past few months.

The end of March allowed me to finally catch up with the female King Eider in Lothian; I’d never had a chance to see a female King Eider before so this was a bit of an education for me. The end of March saw a Baikal Teal in Cambridgeshire, I think these are absolutely stunning birds and so I went with my friend from Warwickshire to have a peek, we then went onto Norfolk where we had superb views of Stone-Curlew, by far my best in the UK. In April I jetted off to Bulgaria where I had an amazing time birding, loads of new birds for me and upon return I headed straight for Flamborough Head where at dawn I managed to catch up with the Crag Martin before its departure (and never to be seen again), later in the same day I also saw my first Tawny Pipit which was more than a nice bonus. Day’s later I was attempting to twitch the welsh Franklin’s Gull on further news, no news meant a day at Ham Wall RSPB where I had super views of at least 2 Great White Egrets. A few days later I had my first ever Hoopoe in Norfolk at Thornham, a long awaited bird that I had previously dipped no less than 7 times. A week or so later and another failed attempt for the Franklin’s Gull, however at least 7 Dotterel eased the pain, however the Collared Pratincole in Devon totally wiped away the pain. After work the following day I managed to catch up with 2 Dotterel at North Gare, and the very next day I managed to see the cracking male Collared Flycatcher after work, with a supporting cast of Western Subalpine Warbler a few bushes along. April ended with a quick dodge in to see a Wryneck on Holy Island on the 30th.

(Collared Pratincole - Devon - Andrew Kinghorn)

May was certainly far from quiet, a really busy time at work but I still managed to fit in some quality birds. A Woodchat Shrike just up the road from Cresswell Pond NWT on the 6th May was a superb surprise after just returning from a few days birding in Morocco. However a much more appealing bird for me was the cracking adult Lesser Yellowlegs a few days later at Beadnell, the wader theme continued after this when I managed to see the Pectoral Sandpiper nearby at Hoppen Kiln Flash. The weekend saw me seeing a Shorelark on South Gare, then I took my friend to see the Hoopoe in Beverly and that showed superbly well, I just wished I had brought my camera! A mere 8 days later and I had stunning views of a Spotted Sandpiper at Potteric Carr YWT in South Yorkshire, it showed superbly well and allowed me to finally have quality close quarter views of this smart American shorebird. Two Red-backed Shrikes in East Yorkshire was the beginning of what was a seemingly endless steam of quality birds, with Icterine Warbler at Hummersea the following day and superb views of a Great White Egret on Cowpen Marsh. The next day I had superb views of a male Little Bittern at Elton Reservoir in Manchester and later on in the day a Broad-billed Sandpiper at Nosterfield NR in North Yorkshire. Days later I had cracking views of the female Black-headed Bunting in West Runton in Norfolk which took my life list to 399. On the Friday after work I jammed in on 2 European Bee-Eaters at South Gare and then an Icterine Warbler on Hartlepool Headland on the evening. The month was drawn to a close with Ross’s Gull at Bowling Green Marsh in Devon, this cracking little 1st summer bird marked my 400th in the UK! What a pleasure to see. A short drive to SE Wales (Gwent) and I was at Newport Wetlands where I enjoyed listening to and watching the singing Savi’s Warbler, a subtle but handsome bird.

(Spotted Sandpiper - Potteric Carr - Andrew Kinghorn)

June went off with a bang; Short-toed Eagle at dawn on the 1st is the undoubted highlight of my year so far. Then Buff-breasted Sandpiper and Spectacled Warbler the next day made the day almost surreal. Work was rained off on the 4th and on the way home a handy Great Reed Warbler turned up 10 mins away from my location, a look at this beauty before heading back to the office was a must. The latter species was a one I had missed several opportunities with this year and thought my hopes for another year were up, I guess this just goes to show that you never can really know in this hobby.

 (Short-toed Eagle crowd at dawn)

(Short-toed Eagle as the light imporved)

A simply superb couple of months! 

Monday, 17 March 2014

Long time, no post!

Hi everyone,

It has been ages since I last blogged, this is just a quick blog post of what I hope to be many to get back into a habit of blogging more regularly. So much has happened in birding since the last time I have blogged, 2014 has already been absolutely fantastic with Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Herring Gull, and Great Spotted Cuckoo being the clear highlights so far. Here are my attempts to do the Great Spotted Cuckoo justice.

(Great Spotted Cuckoo - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

(Great Spotted Cuckoo - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

On Saturday I was invited our by Jack Bucknall to Dumfries and Galloway, unsurprisingly we dipped the Hoopoe but we were successful in connecting with the presumed returning Red-breasted Goose there. There are two birds currently about in the area, a yellow ringed bird and an unringed bird. We were tipped of by Mike Youdale that the Barnacle Geese often move to Loanningfoot, sure enough the birds were present here and we drove down the famers track at West Preston Farm, after about 40 minutes the bird was finally picked up and after a short time we were able to confirm it was also the unringed bird. Superb! I absolutely love Red-breasted Geese.

 (Red-breasted Goose - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

 (Red-breasted Goose - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

(Red-breasted Goose - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

I will be back blogging again very soon, I hope!

Monday, 30 September 2013

Sylvia curruca blythi?

Just some pics of the bird that may by sylvia curruca blythi? Some discussion currently on going on Twitter...

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Past weeks birding...

The past weeks birding has predominantly been full of only twitching highlights, Teesside is currently dreadful, Lambton Pond is dreadful, the coast is dreadful, seawatching is dreadful, this just sin't the September I envisioned really!

Monday was an excellent day, I headed on down to Cheshire to catch up with the Leach's Petrels off Leasowe in Cheshire. This is a species that really had avoided my eyes up until Monday, I was fortunate enough to see around 8, of which myself and Zac Hinchcliffe jammed in on all. An excellent morning and was great to share the experience with Zac, a similarly aged birder I have known for around 5 years now. On the way back I called into Bishop Middleham and jammed in on the Pectoral Sandpiper someone had found, of course it wasn't there during the many hours or searching I put in over the past year. But that's birding!

 A Cheshire Lesser...

A Leach's I was actually able to photograph!

Nothing much happened until Friday when I finally had a good bird at Lambton Pond and also managed to see the American Golden Plover at St Mary's Island in Northumberland. The AGP showed well, the banter was excellent (as is always the case in Northumbs) and I rounded the day of nicely with a Pink-foot at Lambton Pond! In between this I ventured down to Teesside in what may have been the most quiet few hours on the Marshes I have ever experienced, exceedingly poor for the time of year. What is going on?!?!

Lambton Pond Pink.. 

 St Mary's Island American Golden Plover showed well..

Yesterday was spent dipping the Brown Shrike in Hampshire, but lets not dwell on that! A rather long trek later saw myself and team looking at 3 juvenile Blue-winged Teals. Which were "kind of" nice, certainly better than the worst bird I have ever seen to date, that being the eclipse drake of Saltholme RSPB back in 2011. As always a whole load of nonsense on BirdForum on various threads in regards to the origin of the Teals. Why is it so unusual for a presumed family part of Blue-winged Teals to reach Britain then end up on the east coast? I don't get the difficulty, its hardly as though they are the rarest set of wildfowl to reach our shores.

What Blue-winged Teals looks like..

2 of the 3 Blue-winged Teals, my camera could not fake taking a pic of the 3rd bird. 

Speaking of wildfowl...isn't it about time that they accepted that Baikal Teal from Flam? Not that I want to start a debate of course, not in my nature at all. Also some easterly winds are on the way, good news!