Monday, 28 December 2009

Local birding: Black-necked Grebe & Glaucous Gull - 28th Dec 2009.

Above: Black-necked Grebe, Rishton Res, Lancs, 28th Dec 2009. Scoping the Gulls whilst sat on a bench on the promenade, I glanced forward with my 'spare' eye to see the Grebe only feet out from the prom. Cursing myself for not having my DSLR with me I managed this with the Camcorder on 10x optical before the BNG swam rapidly towards the outflow end of the Res. Fingers crossed it will now adopt a regular circuit of the eastern shoreline rather than stay along the awkward south end of the reservoir.

Above: 1stw Glaucous Gull, Fishmoor Res, Lancs, 28th Dec 2009. This bird came in to roost at 16:17. Moments after this record shot, any light for digiscoping had gone completely.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

More Velvet Scoter images, Barrow Lodge Clitheroe - 22nd Dec 2009.

Some superb images of the Velvet Scoter at Barrow Lodge, Clitheroe, courtesy of Pete Morris.

Local MEGA: Velvet Scoter, Barrow Lodge, Clitheroe, SD740381 - 22nd Dec 2009

Medical advice not to drive following a very recent stomach operation simply had to be ignored when news of East Lancashire's first-ever Velvet Scoter broke mid-afternoon... and the pain was well worth it, what a bird!

To anyone who saw the Slavonian Grebe at the same site in early 2008, the Velvet gives staggering views just as close. A must-see MEGA local rarity. I'm unsure about age & indeed sex of the bird at this stage. From a photographic point of view, I just managed to get there with enough light to get something for the blog, but this bird is a dream subject in good light.

Above: The Velvet Scoter was showing as close as the nearest Mallard in centre of the photo!

According to the 'Birds of Lancashire' there have only been two genuine inland occurences, 3 probably immatures at Rivington Res on 12 Feb 1956 and a 1st winter male on the Ribble near Preston 21-25 January 1997 (per Tony Cooper). I believe the latter bird apparently made it as far upstream as Brockholes Bridge just downstream of the Tickle Trout Hotel.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Pom Skua, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset - 2nd Dec 2009.

Nice scope views of the albeit rather distant imm Pom Skua were had as it fed on a probable Common Gull at the mouth of Herons Green Bay, a cracking bird! A Red-throated diver off the Dam and a Black-necked Grebe off Nunnery Point were also seen in a couple of hours mid-late afternoon.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Black Redstart - Dog Inn, Longridge, Lancs - 15th Nov 2009.

I dipped on the adult male Black Redstart which had joined the fem/imm in the vicinity of the Dog Inn for a couple of hours during the morning. However, the f/imm performed impeccably for those present, actively flycatching from the roof's down to ground level, showing down to feet to the delight of the birders present. Two Raven flew west and an adm Peregrine flew south.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Black Redstart - Dog Inn, Longridge, Lancs - 14th Nov 2009.

Photos of the second Black Redstart to be found in Longridge in the past three days, a f/imm present on the roof of the Dog Inn, Berry Lane, 15:20-16:10 at least, by the finder, Lee Parnell.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Great Northern Diver - Hollingworth Lake, Gtr Man - 12th Nov 2009.

Can't resist inland Great Northern Divers within striking range. For much of the time this juv present for c1week fed so close to the wall/shoreline of the reservoir it was too close and feeding too actively for me to digiscope. without a DSLR to hand, I had to settle for a couple of 'digibinned' efforts in poor weather for the blog as it swam further out.

For anyone with a DSLR and quality lens, this bird is a photographic dream, showing down to c6ft at times. Great bird. I MUST get my Canon 100-400 lens repaired!!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Local birding: Whooper Swans - 5th Nov 2009.

4 adult Whooper Swans grounded on Fishmoor Res in poor weather, 12:10 at least.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Eastern Crowned Warbler, Trow Quarry, Tyne & Wear - 23rd Oct 2009.

An emergency twitch was organised late the previous evening following the shock news of an Eastern Crowned Warbler at the superb migrant trap on the north east coast that is Trow Quarry, Tyne & Wear.

I had previously visited this site on only one occasion, Sept 2008, seeing the female Subalpine Warbler, a Wryneck and common migrants including Spotted Flycatchers, Redstarts and Lesser Whitethroat. To me, Trow Quarry is one of the sites closest to the 'perfect' migrant trap I have seen.

The carload consisted of Myself, Dave Bickerton and a germ-ridden Phil Rhodes and we arrived onsite at c08:30. Following the short walk over the extensive grass strip of the Leas, the fantastic 'amphitheatre-like' Trow Quarry, and the twitch within, opened up before us.

Over the next three hours several prolonged and absolutely stunning scope views of this stonking, feature packed phyllosc were had in the Sycamores it shared with a Yellow-browed Warbler, and 2 Blackcap. Although my record shots may not convey just how good a bird this was, the Eastern Crowned Warbler was an absolute crippler, and even better 'in the flesh' than i could ever have previously fantasised!!!

Above & below: Eastern Crowned Warbler, Trow Quarry, Tyne & Wear - 23rd Oct 2009. Quite simply, the best 'old world' Warbler I have ever seen!!

Below: Yellow-browed Warbler, Trow Quarry - 23rd Oct 2009.

Above: left-right, Dave Bickerton, Phil Rhodes & Myself, Trow Quarry, Tyne & Wear - 23rd Oct 2009.

Above: Adult Med Gull, Trow Quarry.

Afterwards we travelled to South Gare for a couple of hours birding. The site was generally quiet for migrants; just 1 Chiffchaff & 1 Goldcrest seen amongst presumably migrant Robins between Paddy's Hole and the end of the Gare. We also dipped on the Lapland Bunting.

A final stop at the Shrike Bushes before having to leave resulted in a couple of brief binocular views of the palest Lesser Whitethroat I have personally ever seen. In these brief views i was instantly struck by the striking pale sandy upperparts, the head also appeared pale with the darkest area seemingly confined to the side of the head from the bill and around the eyes. Phil also managed to obtain a view to confirm the bird was pale whilst Dave manged only a flight view as it unfortunately flew into the densest area of the Shrike Bushes and didn't show itself again before we had to leave, but again the impression was of a pale warbler in flight. I was in no doubt the bird was some sort of Eastern Lesser Whitethroat and rang it out to alert local birders who will hopefully stick a mist net inside over the weekend, weather permitting!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Lancs: South Ribble Marshes - 22nd Oct 2009.

Above: Partial eclipse Drake Green-winged Teal or hybrid, Nels Hide, Marshside, Lancs - 22nd Oct 2009.

This Teal took up most of my afternoon as it was mostly elusive for long periods amongst vegetation to the far left of Nels Hide. In scope views, the head pattern looked ok for GWT with pale border to the green on the head restricted to below the eye and there are stripes on either side of the fore-flanks, but do the stripes, if fully developed where visible, look a little narrow? As it is still in partial eclipse I feel it is better to err on the side of caution until fuller plumage is attained.

Now gone 17:00, I hurried to Old Hollow Farm, where I eventually located the 2 juv Long-billed Dowitchers on the saltmarsh pools, 1 juv Curlew Sand and 1-2 Spotted Redshank amongst numbers of Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Redshank Lapwing and Golden Plover. As usual, 2 Peregrine and a Merlin were in attendance on the wider marsh.

Final stop was Hesketh Out Marsh RSPB at dusk. Single Spotted Redshank and juv Ruff being the best birds in the available light.

An update on the colour ringed Little Egret I have during visits to Hesketh Out Marsh RSPB on 12th & 20th Oct 2009.

It was the elder of a brood of 3 Little Egret ringed on 13th June 2009 at Porth Penrhyn, Bangor, and is the first report of this individual, but other birds from the 23 ringed on the same day have already made it to Northern Ireland and two birds on the Isle of Man. - Thanks to Richard Du Feu for pursuing details of this bird on my behalf and Tony Cross for details of the birds history thus far.

I also saw a Little Egret with the same colour ring combination (left: White, Right: yellow) on Crossens Outer Marsh on the 18th, which may have been this individual but was too distant to read the lettering.