Friday, 28 November 2008

Local birding: Glaucous Gull - Whinney Hill Tip, Altham - 28th Nov 2008.

Good views were eventually had of a 1stw Glaucous Gull early-mid-pm despite the best efforts of workers on the Landfill site to flush the Gulls by firing starter pistols every ten minutes. The Glaucous came into roost at Fishmoor at 15:50.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Local birding: Glaucous Gull & Waxwings - 22nd Nov 2008.

Another extensive search for Blackburn Waxwings drew a blank as did four visits to yesterdays site on the A666 by The Bear Hotel. Whinney Hill Tip produced the goods with a 1stw Glaucous Gull probably present until 13:25 only when all birds were flushed and many departed to the west. The Glauc was reported at Fishmoor by birder unknown, per Tony Bennett, prior to 14:55, firstly on the water, then flying towards the roosting roof, with no further sign from my arrival at 15:30-16:45. It was either out of view on the roof throughout, or maybe continued west towards the coast?

Inbetween Whinney Hill & Fishmoor I paid a brief visit to Barrow, nr Whalley, and the Waxwings present for much of the week, counting 39 in trees around the rear of Nico's Restaurant.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Local birding: Waxwings & Yellow-legged Gull - 21st Nov 2008.

A search for Waxwings in the Durham Rd area of Darwen where 70+ had been present a few hours earlier drew a blank. Enroute back towards Blackburn and the Town Centre for a final try for Waxwings before heading to the Gull roost, I noticed four birds further down the road atop some tall trees by the A666 at Lower Darwen. Keeping one eye on the busy road and one eye on the birds, there was something 'not-Starling' about them and before i pulled into a Bus Stop opposite I was sure they were Waxwings.

The Waxwings eventually dropped onto some ornamental Rowans between The Bear Hotel and the nearby traffic lights at Oakdale but were unfortunately flushed back into the tall trees by the usual agressive attendant Mistle Thrush and some flushed Starlings before I could attempt any more photos. There are several ornamental Rowan-types on adj estates both sides of the traffic lights here so hopefully they will linger and perhaps increase in number. Once in Blackburn Town Centre, yet another check of Weir St. Pay and display car park drew a blank for this species. There must be some Waxwings in Blackburn Town Centre, but time was pressing so I had to jettison Pam back home and rush to Fishmoor.

Above & below: 1stw Yellow-legged Gull, Fishmoor Res, Lancs - 21st Nov 2008. This bird has replaced a tertial and inner greater coverts. A pleasing age to record.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Local birding: Brockholes Wetland LWT - Aythya hybrid - 19th Nov 2008.

An apparent female Greater Scaup x Tufted Duck hybrid on No1 Pit today.

Above: The bird shows some grey vermiculations on the scapulars and a rather peaked appearence to the headshape when roosting.

Significant white in the primaries.

Whooper Swan - Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria - 16th Nov 2008.

Twas my Wife's birthday today, so the day would be totally devoted to wherever she wanted to go. She decided on the Lake District and Bowness-on-Windermere.... a lovely drive, stroll around the shops, tea out....etc. What wasn't in the script was an adult Whooper Swan coming to bread at Bowness lakeside which frustratingly only bore a metal ring on the left leg and no darvic ring on the other. It took an eternity for the bird to finally stand out of the water enabling me to read the BTO ring: W19800D.

31/12/2008 Update: Details kindly supplied by Kane Brides. The metal ring was placed on the bird at Bowness-on-Windermere on 02/10/2005. The bird remained at Bowness-on-Windermere during 2006 & 2007 but disappeared in the spring and summer of 2008. The bird did however fly back into Bowness on 01/11/2008. I caught this bird on 03/12/2008 and added a yellow darvic ring - U7Z.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Local birding: 1stw Iceland Gull, Whinney Hill Tip, Lancs - 15th Nov 2008.

The 1stw Iceland Gull was at Whinney Hill from at least 10:30-12:00 when last seen landing atop a raised plateau, out of view. Thirty Fieldfare overflew the Tip and two Ravens were seen distantly over Gt. Hameldon.

Enroute to my parents for a meal, Pam and I called in at the JJB car park at Fishmoor at 19:05 on the offchance of seeing the Long-eared Owl I saw a few days ago. Time was short as we were running late, but within 5 seconds of turning off the car engine, the LEO drifted past and showed well as it hunted the rough grassland right by the car park under illumination from the car park lighting for a full five minutes before I had to leave. Absolute magic! - Lets hope this bird remains a feature of Fishmoor birding for much/all of the winter.

I've spent quite a bit of time walking around Blackburn Town Centre looking for Waxwings in the past few days, but to no avail......They will come.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Lincs & N. Yorks (Steppe Grey Shrike, Two-barred Crossbill and poss Canvasback - 8th Nov 2008.

A potential, and if so extremely rare, three-tick day for me started with the amazingly confiding first-winter Steppe Grey Shrike at Grainthorpe Haven, Lincolnshire, which absolutely enthralled all observers present. This was followed by the superb male Two-barred Crossbill at Garfitts Farm, North Yorkshire (with a Red Kite seen from the car enroute over A1 Jcn 47), and finally the putative drake Canvasback at Nosterfield Gravel Pits, N. Yorks. Hoping for close views of the latter it was unfortunately distant, but looked rather convincing with the exception of a pale subterminal area on the bill.

Spurn, East Yorkshire: 5th-6th Nov 2008.

An enjoyable couple of days at Spurn with Andy Bunting & Tony Disley, all of us desperate to make the most of the last-chance-saloon early November easterly migrant weather.

Woodcock are one of my favourite of the common migrants and it was great to enjoy regular sightings of birds either coming in-off or inadvertantly flushing them as we worked the area. We probaly saw 30+ Woodcock during the two days.

Above: Tony almost stood on this Woodcock as we worked the Canal Zone saltmarsh. Fortunately it remained in-situ long enough to allow me to creep up alongside Tony and get a record shot with the digital still camera before it crept through the grass and flew off. Superb!

Above: This Woodcock was located in the field just north of 'Big Hedge', looking as though it had recently arrived in-off the sea.

Above & below: Siberian Stonechat, SE side of Easington Gas Terminal - 6th Nov 2008.

Two days at Spurn with Tony disley and Andy Bunting. More images to follow in due course.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Local birding: Iceland Gull - Fishmoor Res, Lancs - 4th Nov 2008.

An Iceland Gull, considered 1stw, appeared in the roost at dusk. The videograbs above taken on 'Nightvision' at distance at c17:00. It was particularly pleasing to record this bird early in the 'winter Gull season' following the closure of Withnell Landfill Site in June.... a traumatic event which I have yet to fully come to terms with!! Adult Med Gull also roosted.

Spurn, East Yorkshire - 3rd Nov 2008.

Above: Siberian Stonechat - Easington Gas Terminal - 3rd Nov 2008.

Above: Hooded Crow. This bird was noted flying well offshore as it moved flew up the Humber viewed from the point.

Above & below: The greyest Chiffchaff noted on the day, distinctly colder on the head, mantle/scapulars and underparts than any of the several standard collybyta in the Point Dunes area. A slight wingbar also present.

Above: Black Redstart at the Point. A male Common Redstart around the buildings at the Point was my latest ever, and unfortunately succeeded in evading the camera.

Above & below: A flock of seven Snow Bunting were present briefly on the Humber beach between the Point Car Park and the Pilot Jetty.

Above & below: This Hawfinch lingering around the Warren was trapped and ringed earlier in the day.

An enjoyable day at Spurn with John Wright with nice numbers of Thrushes and Goldcrests on the Peninsula. Other noteworthy birds included a Lesser Whitethroat in the Point dunes and a Scandinavian Jackdaw.