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
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
(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!