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!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Snook & The Rather Great Snipe

The weekend begun with the checking of the waders at Seaton Snook, the tide wasn't really favourable and so not many wader at all. But I had some absolutely superb views of Dunlin and Ringed Plover, gave me a chance to try out my latest purchase; a Canon SX50 bridge camera, absolutely superb results for only £300.

First of all a slow approach...

Then some mega views and photo opportunities...

Only a single and rather solitary Ringed Plover, but sadly not a Semipalmated Plover!

Sunday saw a near enough to first light trip down to Spurn to see the Great Snipe. On arrival I was shocked to be told it was still present, a check of my phone also revealed that Oli Metcalf had already kindly alerted me to its remained presence 30 mins previously. The bird showed rather well, allowing for pics and video to be taken, I haven't had a chance to upload the video yet but that is something I'll get around to later on and will post it here on the blog. was rather showy. This photo wasn't that sharp which was frustrating, but I was more interested in watching and enjoying the bird. The next day I went to go look for Leach's Petrel on the Cheshire coast, more on that to follow.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Weeks Activities...

From now on please could all regular readers bear in mind that all the pics that appear on this blog are mine unless otherwise specified, just saves me having to add text all the time under each picture. Call me lazy if you want!

A busy weeks birding, Friday and Saturday were spent mainly in the Obs watching the passage. Personal highlights included Black Tern, Pomarine Skua, Velvet Scoter, Balearic Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, and a juv Long-tailed Skua. It was also brilliant to watch the first Brents of the year passing the Obs.

Sauturday was superb, I managed to catch up with the trapped and ringed Common Rosefinch, I then headed on down to Teesside for the wader spectacle at Seaton Snook. I also called into see the Wryneck at at Headland, and also managed to connect with 3 Little Stints and several Curlew Sandpipers over both Saturday and Sunday.

Sunday saw me up in Northumberland mid afternoon to see the White-rumped Sandpiper again, it was pretty close this time and I had absolutely fantastic views of these stunning birds. I even managed some half decent pics, which can be seen below. A call into the Snook on the evening produced nothing but a single Curlew Sandpiper.

Lambton Pond remains generally quiet, I am also beginning to doubt I am going to get the hoped for Pectoral Sandpiper this year. But you really don't know, it may happen just yet.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Remainder of August...

After the TBC in Lancashire I had a bit of a gull week, with Caspian Gull in South Tyneside and the Bonaparte’s Gull in the same field just days later. This year I went to the BirdFair, I was mightily impressed with it this year and will no doubt go back down net year, if finance allows! The good thing about the BirdFair is I was able to connect with at least one of the juvenile Two-barred Crossbills at Broomhead Reservoir, I had what was almost certainly the male but it was a distant bins view only. A night time visit to Old Moor RSPB gave me views of my second Night Heron of the year, this made up for a particularly memorable BirdFair this year.

(Caspian Gull - copyright Andrew Kinghorn) 

The weather took a turn for the best and I was able to finally connect with a Booted Warbler, a flog of the Headland and a brief seawatch had yielded nothing that morning, so it was great to catch up with this bird. It showed surprisingly well, I’ve always liked Booted, Skyes’s and Eastern Olly. I managed to add Black Tern to my Durham year list, I was getting a little concerned about it! Then all the fun started, I had my first Greenish Warbler of the year in Marsden Quarry, then went onto Whitburn Coastal Park to see the juvenile Red-backed Shrike and then went onto find a Greenish (oops I mean Arctic Warbler), more on that later (perhaps). Not one of my finest moments in birding, just goes to show the danger of complacency! Later on in the afternoon I headed down to catch up with the Wryneck at Seaton Carew, a check of Lambton Pond didn’t reveal the hoped for yank wader sadly. I went to Whitburn every day last week and managed to see a second and third Greenish Warbler at Whitburn Coastal Park on the 28th, and a Barred Warbler the next day.

(Greenish Warbler - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

With September dawning it was time for yank waders, and I took young Harry over to see the Stilt Sandpiper in Cheshire. He got my sympathy vote…and I got to see it as well of course! The next day I was watching a White-rumped Sandpiper at East Chevington NWT, purely with the thought that it isn’t going to turn up on the estuary, but there is time yet. Finally yesterday evening was a dash down to Castle Lake DBC to connect with a fine eclipse drake Ring-necked Duck.

 (Stilt Sandpiper - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

(Stilt Sandpiper - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

(Ring-necked Duck - copyright Andrew Kinghorn)

A brilliant August and fantastic start to September!