Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bird watchers flock to Suffolk to catch a glimpse of a Specific Swift

A long week-end away was planned but the destination was not settled. At 10.43 on Saturday morning we had a candidate when news broke of a Pacific Swift at Trimley Marshes, Suffolk.
Problem was our camper was still in the workshop and wouldnt be ready until at least 2.30 by which time the bird would probably be long gone anyway. 2.30 arrived and unbelievably it was still there.  We decided to go for it, but there was no way it was going to still be there early evening, surely?
A 4 hour non stop camper van drive and we were at Trimley. Then one of the longest and most tense walks/jogs to a bird I can remember doing. Every few footsteps was greeted with smiling people coming the other way, "yes still there, but you've a long way to go yet" etc.
Finally, 3 miles later I arrived exhausted at the viewing bank and there it was, flying up and down the back of the lagoons. Wow! What a bird, certainly well worth the effort.
Light wasnt good so just settled for watching the bird mostly, rather than trying to get photos.

Stayed locally overnight and news of the bird still being there the next morning had me back again for more views. Went into the hide and hoped for some close fly-bys but sadly it didnt play ball. It occasionally came over the back of the pools but spent quite a bit of time high up. Still, good bin views though.

Crashed out for a while then headed up to Minsmere for a look around early evening. 

A Red-backed Shrike was somewhere in the sluice bushes but wasnt showing. Whilst looking for this, news of a Roller at Holt, Norfolk came on the pager. Was just too knackered to drive up that evening but we were up bright and early the next morning. We were just a couple of miles away when news came through it was still there. In the short time it took us to get to the site however, it had been flushed by photographers getting too close and had cleared off. This was apparently what happened to the Surrey bird and that didnt come back. 

Roller free zone

Everybody was quite content to stay put as usual, and not go and look for it so I headed off in the direction it had flown, more in hope than expectation, however a walk though some quite dense forest eventually brought us to the other side where it backed onto woods and fields. A quick scan with the scope and there it was, perched up in the top of a tree.

It then disappeared for quite some time but eventually was re-found again back in its favourite clearing.
Now the sun was out and it was looking stunning, unfortunately it was a bit distant and hazy for long distance photos

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

West Bex Caspian Tern

A little tricky to pin down initially after being very mobile, going out of sight to the north-west and to the south-east before eventually settling into a bit of a routine. This involved mostly loafing on the beach, interspersed with trips to the Mere for some food and back again to the beach to digest the catch. 

The first couple of trips to the Mere were immediately successful resulting in very brief visits followed by long periods on the beach.
The next trip was fortunately not so successful! resulting in a fair few circuits allowing us to fill our boots with views and photos. You will be glad to know it did catch something in the end.

The bird had a brownish coloured ring on it's right leg which looked a bit small for a darvic ring and no colours used by the ringing projects match up.  Have read some interesting stuff that suggests its a metal ring thats been tarnished in the winter quarters. Thanks James.   

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tick, untick, tick again....

Got up too late to get a lift from Steve Smith but looking at Peter Moore's photos I may have turned up about the right time. Meow!!  It was still skulking in trees on arrival but it couldnt contain its hunger any longer and had to eventually come out and face the crowd. Infact by mid afternoon it was pretty active, if a bit flighty.
Lots and lots of chat about variation, hybrids with Naumann's and indeed Black-throated Thrush sent most people around in circles. With disagreement even amongst people that live in these birds normal range. At the moment everybody is hoping that Lars Svensson knows what he's talking about!

Paying its respects. Apparently there were 2 Naumann's in the graveyard.

 Best shot I could get of tail and rump

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What no Bluethroat pun!

Portlands 4th Bluethroat of the spring was found by Charlie Richards at Chesil Cove. I was in the area  myself, trying to add one of these to my self found list but eventually gave way and went and had a look. I also later stopped off at Britain's most photographed Ring Ouzels so if you follow local blogs  I am thinking you have probably seen plenty of photos of these birds already. Too bad! you are going to see some more. There will be a few species you havent seen though.

Here's one of the extra bonus birds, intermedius Lesser Black-back at Crown Estate Field

Thrush fields at Suckthumb

Continental Song Thrush

Particularly strong orange eyering and bill on this bird, also fair amount of pale edgings to feathers