Thursday, 31 October 2013

halloween shocker!

I knew today was going to be a dip when i thought of a title for my latest post whilst on my way to bamburgh for the bonaparte's :( i just didnt know how much of a shocker it would be :( the pager went "bonaparte's gull" stag rocks :0 just before i reached the bamburgh turn off on the a1, when i arrived at stag rocks i was told the bird had just flew off towards budle bay. Budle bay was where i headed and spent a couple of hours with no luck :( i then went back to stag rocks where there was still no sign of the gull, i decided to head off to seahouses for fishcake and chips :) when i got back to the car i got the call that the gull was back but had flew off again :( double dip. I spent another 2 hours at stag rocks watching bh gulls come into feed on the shore hoping the bonaparte's would return, but no luck. Lets hope the next twitch is a little better! Lol.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

twitch on

At last something to go for this week nearby "bonaparte's gull" at bamburgh :0 with a bit luck something else will be found on the way back down :) a hen harrier or snow goose will do ;)

Friday, 25 October 2013

yellow-browed warbler

Here is some shots of the ybw at marden quarry.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

pallas's or yellow browed?

Just checked pager and noticed a ybw at marden quarry mid afternoon :0 i should of took more notice in the field as ive just checked photos on camera and i was taken shots of the ybw at around 1pm :) lol. I was just trying to get a photo instead of looking at the bird threw my bins :) idiot, most of the shots are side on and you cant get the rump or crown stripe, but one shot you can sort of see that there is no crown stripe, maybe just a hint of one. It's only right i withdraw my claim of pallas's and put it down as a ybw. Good job i got a photo for correct id and Glad i got one at st abbs! :)
Finished painting the house this morning then cracked on with picking the leafs and acorns from the driveway :( doing a bit work on the house as im putting it up for sale next week :0 any buyers ;) lol. Thought i would catch up with the pallas's warbler and siberian chiffchaff at marden quarry, a bit elusive but managed to get both birds in the end, i'll post some pallas's photos soon when i get the laptop set up again.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Most wanted bird "ticked"

At last! on tuesday morning i finally ticked Hoopoe :):):) my most wanted bird and what a cracker it was, watched it at close range for a couple of hours in the rain but that didn't put me off watching this stunning bird go about its business. Great morning had to come to an end as i had to get back to finish the painting :( here's a few shots i managed in shocking conditions.
Hoopoe at last

Look at that wing pattern, stunning :)

Sunday, 20 October 2013

1 lifer 3 year ticks :)

Today's plan was to go to St Abbs for the Radde's warbler and Pallas's warbler then come back to Prestwick carr for Great grey shrike, but twitch anything on way back down? The day didn't start well with no sign of the Radde's warbler, there was plenty to see whilst looking for the 2 warblers, 2 ring ouzel-2 yellow browed warblers-10+brambling-whitethroat-chiffs-goldcrests-blackcaps-willow warblers-woodcock-100+pink footed geese-sardinian warbler was about but i didn't see it :( Then with the tit flock a cracking Pallas's Warbler went past showing its yellow rump and striking crown stripe :0 nice! but sadly vanished before i could get the camera out :( a Siberian Stonechat was reported south of Howick burn, i managed to get the bird which was showing well and this was a lifer for me :) next was the Great grey shrike at Prestwick carr which was distant in fading light so couldn't get any photos :( it should stay for a while so there might be another chance to get some shots? my target for the year is 300, but i could do with nothing turning up for a while so i can decorate the house :0 lol. Today's 3 year ticks puts me level with my personal best 277 for the year, and its only oct 20th! i also have a winter trip to Norfolk planned where i hope to get - Hen harrier - Bewick's swan - Snow goose - Rough legged buzzard - Golden pheasant - Shore lark. Should get a few more ticks before i go though, fingers crossed.
Siberian Stonechat at howick

Ring ouzel at Loch Mire, St Abbs

Friday, 18 October 2013

Early bird

Set off for the Pallid swift at 5:30am, the bird had roosted on St Hildas church :0 and sure enough in the dark there it was clinging to the church wall! about 30 birders had turned up for first light, the bird flew off at 7:30am and done a few laps of the church before feeding further away, it did put in an appearance a few more times over the church. Also in the same area a Western bonelli's warbler showed well at times, a nice male brambling finished the morning nicely. A shame about the light first thing for photos but managed to get some record shots, looks like my early depart from the scillies paid off ;) so far? i might be pushing it to say i'll get some more ticks before the date i was due back! but you never know?
Pallid swift roosting on the church wall (a lifer for me)
just managed a few shots in the dark when it left the roost

Western bonelli's warbler also in the dark

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Back home :) with loads to go for!

Back home now after a long long day :( but first a last post from wednesday on St Agnes, made the right choice of where to go birding again as a Pallas's grasshopper warbler turned up on the Gugh!!! About 50+ birders on the island had a controlled flush, a bird flew out of the bush where the pgtips was last seen but no one could id the bird that flew out :( more birders turned up for a few more flushes but with no luck, the bird must of got away, good job i ticked the whitburn bird last year or i would of being in tears :( i was first of the gugh and into the pub for a spot of late lunch, from here i decided enough was enough and changed my flight for 8:30am on thursday morn. I woke up at 6:30am and was ready for the taxi to pick me up at 7:30am, when i was waiting for my flight the attendant announced that the flight was delayed because of fog at lands end :( bugger. They gave me the option to fly to Newquay and they would pay for a taxi to lands end so i could pick my van up, which i agreed to, a 20 min journey turned into a 2 hour one :( sick of my life i was. When i eventually arrived at lands end i had planned to go for chough/cirl bunting, i did try for chough at lizard point but there was no sign :( i couldn't be bothered to even try for the cirl's and just headed straight home arriving at 10pm, very long day! but could i of made another lucky decision? as the weather forecast on the scillies is for heavy rain on fri & sat with gale force winds ;) oh dear, the flights would most likely be cancelled and the only way off would be by boat! in gale force winds! no thanks, good luck lads left on scillies ;) lol. To top it off there is a Pallid swift at Cleveland which has gone to roost in the church tower on the headland! :0 also in area is a Western bonelli's warbler :0 the swift would be a lifer if i get it at first light, fingers crossed. Lets hope i can make one last right decision? :)
Yellow-browed warbler at St Agnes

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

There is hope

Just checked weather forecast and the next few days looks good for some yanks! that has put a smile on my face :)

Ticks needed!!!

Not much to report today :( my head is down now with the lack of birds! looking forward to getting home now, only 3 days to go :/ not that i'm counting. The thought of catching an earlier flight sounds good, if only sw winds were not the forecast for the next three days "we'll see what happens tomorrow". Anyway that's my moan out the way :) lol, birds of today were, rose coloured starling, black redstart, little egret and new for trip list skylark 107.
Black redstart showing well

could be on this soon if nothing hits the scillies tomorrow!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Black redstart and chips

Just leaving the b&b when a ring ouzel was reported on the garrison, so this was my first port of call, it didn't take long before i was onto the bird at morning point :) new for the trip list. It soon flew off over the lower broom platform not to be seen again, bit of a slow day followed with most of my time spent on peninnis head photographing lapland buntings and in the church yard waiting for the thrush, but no luck with the thrush :( next was a trip to holy vale where i had a single yellow browed warbler, then the pager went for a little bunting near by :0 no sign of the bird within an hour search of the area but i did have a Helice clouded yellow butterfly (white form) which was a first for me :). Next was the chip shop for fishcake and chips, whilst eating them near the beach a Black redstart was feeding on the beach which then flew to the rocks, i managed to get a record shot before it flew off. Trip list stands at 106 :) only 4 days birding left on the scillies, lets hope they are good ones!
Lapland bunting showing well

stonechat roosting in a tree

Ring ouzel showed for a short while

Black redstart before flying off

Helice clouded yellow

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Grey-cheeked thrush in the bag :)

At last! Grey-cheeked thrush ticked :) it only took a five hour wait and then a couple of mad dashes to get the bird which showed well in the end, although the photos are not the best! but who cares after bagging a MEGA. Must of been about 70 birders packed into the churchyard looking at the bird which flew off after 10mins of viewing, the bird showed again for the few unhappy faces that didn't get there on time. I might try again for some better shots whilst waiting for some more ticks, i only ask for 3 more lifers and 11 year ticks ;) to hit my target, and with the forecast looking spot on from tuesday it could be on! ;) Black-and-white warbler / Red eyed vireo or a Bobolink would be nice :0  even an odd sib chucked in before the yanks arrive ;) i wish :) lol. Other birds seen today were Yellow-browed warbler and new for the trip list were wood warbler and kingfisher taking the trip list to 104, also had a scilly shrew dash in front of me in the church yard.
                                         Grey-cheeked thrush doing what it does best, in thick cover.
Joe about to do some crowd surfing after getting the Grey-cheeked thrush, mind he has probably had 10!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

St Martins the place to be

Went on the early boat to St Martins today and had a walk around the island, very nice island it was to. The two new birds i added to trip list were Merlin hunting pipits over the moor at South day mark, seo and ring ouzel were in the area but i couldn't find them :( i also dipped on the turtle dove at higher town :( but managed to get a red breasted merganser in the quay :) good bird for the Scillies. Back on St Marys the Grey cheeked thrush was found again! i spent an hour looking for it before the light started to fade :( looks like a visit to Old town churchyard is on the cards for tomorrow, the bird has been in the area for 5 days now and only seen by 5 people, lets hope 6 in the morning ;) also in area a red breasted flycatcher showed well.
Red breasted flycatcher

Merlin on the chase :0

Friday, 11 October 2013

Island cycle with a few good birds chucked in

Took the bike out today for a cycle around the island, todays route took me to Holly vale-higher moors-porth hellick-borough farm-newford duck pond-telegraph-content-porthloo duck pond-lower moors. Only Firecrest added to trip list, 2 birds showed very well in Carregdhu gardens. Other birds today included Purple heron/yellow browed warbler/80+redwings/3 jack snipe/6 greenshank. Fish&chips in the mermaid tonight and a pint of the black stuff to wash it down with, just half an hour to go :) not sure what the plan will be tomorrow? maybe a trip to another island for a change?
Firecrests showed very well

Jack snipe showed very well aswell

Managed to snap this shot of the purple heron

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Island trek

Started the day on the Garrison where i had a peregrine over the star castle hotel and a blackcap in the near pines, but not much else about. Bumped into Alan, Jo and Rob on the lower broom platform where they had a yellow-browed warbler, decided to give the bike a miss today and have a trek around the island with the lads which turned out a canny day, but the legs are paying for it now :( the route we took was Garrison-lower golf course path-peninnis head-old town-carn vean-telegraph and back to Hugh town, a few miles clocked up today. Best birds seen today were - wryneck/whimbrel/snow bunting/lapland bunting and richards pipit taking my trip list to 98 :0 fish cake and chips at the chippy finished a canny day, could be a quiet few days ahead with these n-ne winds forecast :( but who knows? my target for this trip was 20 year ticks and 5 lifers, so far iv'e had 1 lifer and 8 year ticks, 8 days left to do it! could i do it :0 sib chiffchaff is the target bird for tomorrow at content, until the pager beeps for a "MEGA" then i'll be off like a shot on the bike, lol.
Wheatear giving great views

Almost stood on this snow bunting which was giving amazing views

A cracking lapland bunting

Richards pipit which was found at telegaph

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Pelagic and a rarity

Went out to sea today birding from 9:30am-2:30pm, good day with the star bird found by me :) Grey Phalarope other birds i shouted for were, Balearic-Sooty-Manx shearwaters-Med gull and Bonxie. other birds seen on trip were great northern diver, red necked grebe, yellow legged gull and 30+ common dolphins. The pager went whilst out at sea "MEGA SORA" on Tresco :0 thank the lord the skipper took us straight to the island to twitch the bird, it was a half hour walk to the site :( but i asked a local directions and he said jump in my buggy and i'll take you's there :) 5mins later i had cracking views of an adult Sora :) a lifer for me, with all other birders gone from the island on the last boat we had an extended stay as our boat was coming back to pick us up at 6pm :) cracking views of the bird made for a great day :) heads up and bring on the next lifer :) might have a long wait in these northerly winds :( but we will see? Scillies trip list stands at 93.
Sora showing well

Grey phalarope

Balearic shearwater

Sooty shearwater

Red necked grebe


Great northern diver

Grey wagtail at lower moors

My B&b in Hugh town

B&b on right Pub on left :) 5 steps

Photos below, a look around Hugh town St Marys