Thursday, 23 February 2017

Siberian Chiffchaff

Found this cracking SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF at Sherborne Sewage Works during the weekend giving amazing close up views. Heard & seen giving classic "tristis" calls and some subsong. Also present include 15+ Colybita Chiffchaff, 2 Firecrest, 15 Goldcrest, Bullfinch, 8 Siskin, Sparrowhawk, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and 30+ Pied Wagtail.

Took a trip to Chew Valley Lakes to look at the large Gull flocks present and saw this putative Heuglin's type Lesser Black Backed Gull. Thoughts on this bird may be a hybrid Herring X Lsr Black backed Gull rather than Heuglin's but it shows some very interesting features. No sign of any Ring-billed Gulls, but 150+ Lesser Black backed Gull, 150+ Common Gull, 11 Scaup and 2 Black-necked Grebe other birds of note.

Short leggs, light slate grey mantle& wings, heavily streaked head, neck & flanks

Obvious white tail with 2 distinct markings, slate grey wings and dark streaked head giving hooded appearance

Heuglin's type Gull

Large white tail, dark primaries & pale grey mantle

The heavily streaked head, neck & flanks very distinct here.

Moult on Right Wing 

Monday, 13 February 2017

Caspian Gull on the Thames

Struck lucky with this very smart 1st winter Caspian Gull at Thames Barrier Park yesterday morning. Also several Argentatus type Herring Gulls and 1 Yellow-legged Gull. Also found this cracking Continental Cormorant "sinensis" further upriver by the O2 along with large gull flock. A great weekends Gulling on the Thames!!

Caspian Gull!!

Argentatus Herring Gull (left bird)

Scandinavian Herring Gull

Sinensis Cormorant

2nd year Yellow-legged Gull

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Weekend Gulling in London

Up birding around London for the weekend and started today off very well with some nice gulls at Thames Barrier Park. No sign of any Caspian Gulls but found a 3rd cy Yellow-legged Gull, two 2nd cy Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Argentatus type Herring Gull and 6+ Common Gull. Spent the rest of the day exploring more of Central London, hoping for chance of finding a Caspian Gull tomorrow.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Patch Birding

Great few days on patch with highlight of flyover CATTLE EGRET this afternoon seen briefly flying low over some nearby fields, then dropping down into fields near River Char with no Cattle!! Relocated the bird shortly afterwards flying off over woodland/fields heading towards Hogchester Farm right over my patch again!! 1st site record for the patch!!
Cattle Egret-Charmouth
Good numbers of wintering "Colybita" Chiffchaff on patch over the past few days numbering from 5-15+ birds at times. Today's estimate count of 15+ present int he willows/reedbed by the stream/lakes giving some good view. No joy yet in finding a Siberian Chiffchaff. One pale greyish Chiffchaff showing some characteristics for "Abietinus" type Chiffchaff photographed below.

Colder & greyer plumaged, possible "Abietinus" type Chiffchaff- Giving a peep-dunnock like call

Grey Wagtail

Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit
Reed Bunting. Winter plumaged male-Trapped & Ringed on site. One of 5+ birds frequenting the reedbed.

Other sightings of note on patch at the weekend include 2 Grey Wagtail, 1 Meadow Pipit, 3+ Reed Bunting, 16+ BullfinchCetti's Warbler (singing male), 2 Water Rail, 3 Moorhen, 1 Coot, 1 Little Grebe, 3 Green Woodpecker, 10 Siskin, 30+ Lesser Redpoll, 2 Firecrest, 5 Treecreeper and 2 Raven. Lots of the usual Tits, Finches, Thrushes across the patch with a notable increase in Goldfinch & Chaffinch numbers 40+ now frequenting feeders.
Looking forward to the spring migration to see what migrants will pass through on patch!!................

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Firecrest, Purp Sands and showy Rails

Great days birding in Dorset. 13 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Turnstone & 1 male Black Redstart this morning on the Cobb at Lyme Regis. 

On route back to Sherborne, stopped off at Dorchester where had brief but nice views of the 1st winter Rose-coloured Starling on Maria Rd & 8 Windsor Rd visiting garden feeders. After several attempts to see this bird, the Rosy Starling proved very elusive and wary in heavy rain moving between several gardens with Starling flock. Last seen on rooftop on House 8 Windsor Road before dropping down to another garden out of view.

A short visit to the Sewage works at Dorchester was very productive with 2 "Tristis"  Siberian Chiffchaff and 12+ Colybita Chiffchaff, 2 Water Rail (including very showy bird), 2 Reed Bunting, 4 Grey Wagtail and 15 Meadow Pipits at the Sewage Works.

Back on patch afterwards carrying out the Big Garden Birdwatch produced 3 Firecrest on patch giving outstanding close up views in the willow scrub.  Garden Birdwatch total 29 species seen including Firecrest, Bullfinch, Fieldfare, Redwing, Green Woodpecker, Grt sp Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Marsh Tit, Treecreeper, Collared Dove, Chiffchaff, Lsr Redpoll and Greenfinch been most noteworthy species of the count.

Firecrest giving amazing views

Firecrest-One of three on patch today

Purple Sandpiper

Purple Sandpiper

Purple Sandpiper-Lyme Regis

Turnstone-Lyme Regis

Water Rail- Dorchester Sewage Works

Water Rail

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Devon Birding 28th Jan 2017

Day trip in South Devon started off nicely with my 2nd sighting of the DESERT WHEATEAR on Leas Foot Beach, Thurlestone showing well down to a few feet. A stunning bird full of character. Also present on the beach included 1 Black Redstart, 5 Rock Pipit and a "Scandinavian" type Rock Pipit feeding on insects on the washed up seaweed.

Onwards to Broad Sands and Torbay  produced 12 Cirl Buntings giving excellent views near the Beach Huts/Car Park, several Reed Buntings, Chaffinch and Greenfinch in the hedgerows.
Seawatch off the headland produced 5 Velvet Scoter, 1 Red-necked Grebe, 1 Slavonian Grebe and 150+ Great Crested Grebe.

Quick look off Man Sands produced the 1st year male Surf Scoter with the large Common Scoter flock. Little else of note apart from 2 Kittiwake and 1 Fulmar offshore.

On route back to Dorset we stopped off near Stover Country Park where we located several Waxwings in a housing estate near British Ceramic Tile Factory. The flock flew to the A38 and joined more Waxwings feeding on Rosehips on the Central Reservation of the Dual Carriageway. We watched 15 Waxwing giving great views for an hour before calling into Stover Park where we had Crossbill and 2 Marsh Tit.

Superb birds, superb locations and bonus of 15 Waxwings to finish off a fantastic day trip through Devon.

Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear

Cirl Bunting

Female Cirl Bunting

Reed Bunting