Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A great grey day in Hartlepool, Cleveland

 A dozy Feral Pigeon
 Beach shot near Hartlepool
 Looking the other way

A Mediterranean Gull

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Sado Estuary revisited

 Checking shots of Dunlin
 Hanging out with Extremadura Tourism's very lovely Vanesa Palacios
 Watching an Osprey
 Me and Gorka Gorospe who represents the Navara region of Spain
 Birding by boat
 Giving my talk
Talking about Ring Ouzels - again!

Images curtesy of Gorka Gorospe

Friday, 26 October 2012

Short-eared surprise!

Look what popped out of our grassland at The Scrubs this morning - a beautiful Short-eared Owl!

This bird was almost trodden upon at 0740. It flapped up and glided over the hawthorns to pitch down in the vegetation. It was flushed again 30 minutes later and put on a brilliant flypast display before seemingly heading west. It was later flushed again at the western end of the grassland at 0900 making it our longest staying SEO.

We get them appearing most years although normally as flyovers. This bird was our second for the year. The first flew in from the east in April and proceeded to quarter our small grassland for 15 minutes as if it were in deepest Essex.


Sunday, 21 October 2012

Aberlady luck

I've just spent three lovely days in the Aberlady Bay area, East Lothian, Scotland at the kind invitation of Malcolm Duck at Ducks at Kilspindie. Aside from giving a talk and hanging out with Scottish Ornithology Club folks, I spent a couple days birding with local watchers and lovely fellows Darren Woodhead and Dave Allan.
 I actually can't remember where this picture was taken!
 Common Seal
 A nice coast shot
 Assorted gulls
 A Kestrel getting a hard time from a bunch of Black-headed Gulls
 Some of the c5,000 Pink-footed Geese
A nice vista
This area of Scotland was a smashing area to visit and it was only an hour's drive from Edinburgh. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Sleep duty

A male Ring Ouzel (Stephen Daly)
After a fairly busy recent schedule today was going to be a down day for me in order to regroup before picking up the baton again for a flight to Scotland tomorrow and a few days of public appearances. I woke up at 6am, as per usual, programmed by the migration season and the usually overwhelming desire to visit The Scrubs in the perennial quest for that unusual migrant.

Instead, I shut my eyes for a further snooze. A text buzzing on my phone interrupted my meeting with the dream weaver. It was from fellow Scrubber Rob Ayers who was quick to tell me that I had just missed a brief visitation from my favourite bird - the Ring Ouzel. The bird, an immature or female, was momentarily seen nervously surveying the scene from the pinnacle of some trees outside the notorious Wormwood Scrubs Prison.

There was little point me rousing from my bed. Why? Rouzels on my patch usually stay for fractions of time, as this bird did. The male that I was lucky enough to glimpse in the grassland one dull April morning this year was in view for all of 50 seconds before it too melted away. We have seen this elusive thrush every year for the past nine and as I had already seen my April bird the urge to steam over to the scene of the crime was easier to resist.

I rolled over. It was time to dream again. This time about white-gorgeted Jailbirds.

Monday, 15 October 2012

I'm a Sado person!

I just spent two fabulous days on the Sado Estuary around 30 km south of Lisbon, Portugal. I was speaking at the Obervanatura Bird Fair within the bird rich Sado Estuary. It's a massive area covering some 57,000 acres.
 An aspect of the Sado Estuary
 A House Sparrow line-up
 A movement of local White Storks
 A male Common Stonechat
 A Zitting Cisticola in the bright sunshine
 Dunlin on the mudflats
 A migrant female Common Redstart
 A Common Redshank with a Grey Plover
A cute but extremely timid little doggy
I was beautifully looked after and the warm sun shone for most of my stay. If you're thinking of visiting Portugal don't just make a beeline for the Algarve. Theres loads to see further north in the Alentajo region in which the Sado Estuary lies.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Incy wincy....

Why aren't spiders as easy to recognise as some birds?

I photographed this splendid specimen in my garden today. My money is on it being a Four Spot Orb Weaver.

Thoughts anyone?

Monday, 8 October 2012

What's The Story (in the) Morning Glory

 Sunrise at The Scrubs
 A segment of the legions of Carrion Crows that pass overhead towards the prison
 One of several Jays that traversed the Scrubs sky
A sole Starling
Vis migging on Sunday morning did not result in a huge amount of birds. Several Meadow Pipits, an unseen calling Pied/White Wagtail, assorted finches, a Grey Heron being heavily mobbed by Carrion Crows and a few Starlings were the order of the day.

I missed yesterday's pair of Stonechat and around 1,000 House Martins that temporarily swarmed the grassland.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Birding in Amsterdam

 TUB and BirdLife's Jip Louwe Kooijmans posing with the swans 
 Looking for Great White Egret
 TUB wobbly on the bike
Still wobbling!
A couple of shots of me in action in Amsterdam escorted by Jip Louwe Kooijmans.

Thanks to Rob Buiter for the images

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Drama at The Scrubs

Isn't it funny that corvids always attack and mob anything bigger than them and or with a hooked bill.