Saturday, 5 April 2014

A Busy Day at North Duffield

North Duffield was the place to be today it seems, in the local area anyway. However, I was a good couple of miles away on a dog walk when it got going...

Got a phone call from Jono "Osprey at north Duffield, sat on a post". Argh.... I was two miles away, on foot having just been enjoying watching a vocal Willow Tit with the dogs. A very quick walk/jog back and quick race across to the reserve. No sign! It had flown off about 2 minutes before I got there and possibly gone down behind some trees.... luckily after 20 minutes of constant scanning I picked it up heading back towards us. We had it for a good 20/30 minutes flying around. Eventually I lost it in a cloud as it gained height. Jono got a decent photo of it when it was sat on the fencepost - check his blog out for it sometime soon.

After enjoying the Osprey a Little Egret flew in to the reserve and fed for a while on the floods. There was plenty of ducks about, surely a Garganey or better out there somewhere... however by this point I needed some caffeine so headed home where I had a Yellow Wagtail fly over the garden.

Not long after lunch I got a message from Elaine from the village letting me know there was in fact a Garganey out there, a drake showing well, but I had to see if I was to become a millionaire first... I wasn't, so I headed back to the hide. A short wait and the drake Garganey flew in and continued to show very well for a good half hour - I got a couple of photos on my phone (below). There was a lone breeding plumage Black-tailed Godwit on the floods that looked very smart and a Lapwing in front of the hide. [There was actually a minimum of 5 Garganey in the LDV today - probably lots more hiding in the floods too]

I left to watch a pair of Gadwall get ringed, just after I'd left a first-winter Iceland Gull flew in, bathed briefly before flying southeast and two Swallows also flew through but I didn't see those either. Things are picking up....

Garganey North Duffield Carrs (IPhone-scoped)

Garganey North Duffield Carrs (IPhone-scoped)

Garganey North Duffield Carrs (IPhone-scoped)

Garganey North Duffield Carrs (IPhone-scoped)

LapwingNorth Duffield Carrs (IPhone-scoped)

Monday, 24 March 2014

About time...

Managed to get out birding a bit this weekend, just around the North Duffield Carrs area. Didn't go further afield and was mostly on foot.

On Sunday I had 4 Peregrine Falcon sightings, possibly all different birds. The highlights were one (a male) over my garden and one over the reserve that nailed a Pigeon after a couple of attempts after I'd picked it up circling at quite a height. There was also a fair bit of Buzzard displaying going on on Sunday, watched 4 birds roller-coasting over the garden and had another 4 birds about 2 miles south of the village. Also had a pair of Kestrel displaying over the garden. Looking forward to my House Martins returning soon, in 2011 they arrived on the 23rd, so could be any day now...

There was still a single Pink-footed Goose present on the Carrs, in with some Greylags. Also had a first-winter Glaucous Gull. I seem to always get Glaucous Gull at NDC in the late winter/early spring, think that's at least one in each of the last four years. They are probably fairly frequent if you bother to look for them (which I don't).

It was nice to see/hear a number of waders coming back to breeding grounds, e.g. Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Redshank, Curlew etc... Still lots of ducks around, Pintail, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Gadwall, Mallard. They are looking quite nice now, possibly even worth looking at for 5 minutes.

Unfortunately it started dumping it down with rain and the visibility went just as dusk came so no sign of any owls or the Bittern that was reported earlier in the weekend.

Bittern at North Duffield in November 2012 (Andy Walker) Details here.

Over the previous week I'd had several flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing all flying north or east, presumably heading back over to Europe to find somewhere to breed.

I had my first singing Chiffchaff of the year last weekend (16th), three near Kirkham Priory as I enjoyed a nice walk along the river.

I'm busy sorting out my preparation for birding trips coming up this year....

In May I shall be spending two weeks in Taiwan - the main target being Fairy Pitta, those who know me know how much I love seeing members of this family! There's also 20 odd endemics to get my claws into and a ton of potential armchair-ticks due to the number of very distinctive sub-species, just a matter of time!

In November I'm going to be having a bit of a big trip to Australia, will be spending time birding in South Australia, then in Queensland. I'll be birding in some great habitat with some great people so can't wait for that, will be visiting Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns and a whole lot of forest, bush, desert, sea and jungle in between. I really cannot wait for this trip. I hope to get another Pitta on this trip, Noisy Pitta but to be honest even the Pittas may get eclipsed by some of the other birds/families... Bowerbirds, Riflebirds, Honeyeaters, Fairy-Wrens, Albatrosses and a huge list of Parrots and relatives! Should be ok I think! Warning, I may not come back...

Will try and fit some local birding news in over the next couple of weeks too.... Got a couple of good book reviews coming up too... when I can fit them in.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Spring has Sprung!

Had a garden tick today - a Red Kite flew over heading east quite high up.

I was gardening today as it was a beautiful day, 16/17oC apparently. Also in evidence were my first butterflies of the year: Small Toitoiseshell, Peacock, Comma and Brimstone - all looking very smart and fresh. Also had a few Bees and even several ladybirds! Beats looking at ducks and gulls...

Lots of birds singing/displaying today: Skylark, Lapwing and Kestrel and several nest-building: Robin, Blackbird, Tree Sparrow.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Tigers and Great Whites in the LDV?

This last week there's been a bit of movement through the local area, almost making me want to get out birding. Almost.

Jack and Ollie found two Bean Geese at Bubwith on Sunday, Ollie forced me into his car at gunpoint so I was forced to look at them. They were very distant and then flew out of view onto some arable fields. Pretty certain they were Taiga's based on several of the features we could see, however better/closer views would have been preferable. (Ollie and Chris had found Tundra Bean Geese at Castle Howard the day before and these looked very different but we were all wary of how messy the whole 'Bean Goose' issue is). There has certainly been quite a bit of Pink-footed Geese/Whooper Swan movement over the last week or so so there may well be other 'interesting' geese/swans dropping in.

Mid-week and I got an email from a local birder alerting me that he'd just seen a Great White Egret along the Pocklington Canal after a tip-off from another local who had seen the bird the day before. Presumably the bird that was knocking about the local area for some months last year. One to try and catch up with again.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Yellow-rumped Warbler

It's been a busy week at work so today was the first chance I got to get up to Durham for the Yellow-rumped Warbler that's been about for a few weeks (but only became available last Sunday). The bird appears to be a first winter male Myrtle Warbler. Will be worth another look if it can be tempted to hang around for another couple of months!

The bird was easy to find, as it was coming to a set of bird-feeders put out to stop people looking into gardens and hopefully make the bird easier to connect with, this worked very well. Unfortunately it was mainly a case of looking into the sun so I didn't get any decent shots - a couple of poor record shots below. The bird did show well though and was quite vocal and easy to pick up on call. First time I've seen one of these since I was in Costa Rica.

Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler

Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler

Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler

Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler

Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler (off my phone)

Thursday, 6 February 2014


Some landscape pictures from my Thailand trip. Full trip report here.

Doi Chiang Dao from the pools area

Doi Chiang Dao from the scrub

Wat Tamphaplong, Doi Chiang Dao

Sunrise at the base of Doi Inthanon

Sunrise at the base of Doi Inthanon

Sunrise at the base of Doi Inthanon

Sunrise onto Wat at the base of Doi Inthanon

Early morning on Doi Inthanon

Buddhist Monk on Doi Inthanon Summit

Sitrithan Waterfall, Doi Inthanon

Wachirathan Waterfall, Doi Inthanon

Doi Lang looking into Burma

Lake from Baan Maka, Kaeng Krachan

Chiang Saen Lake from a boat

Chiang Saen Lake from the Harrier Roost area

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Thailand Trip Report

I've finished my Thailand Birding Trip Report which is available below.

This was an excellent trip. I recorded 460 species with a lot of highlights! I've put a few pages of photos up already - will put some of the non-avian highlights/landscapes etc once I've sorted through those.

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Saturday, 25 January 2014

North Duffield Carrs 25.01.2014

Had my first proper trip of 2014 at North Duffield Carrs today. Was there for a bit less than 90 minutes late afternoon. Had 47 species. List in photo below (assume you know the BTO 2-letter codes and can read my scrawl)! Highlight was a large number of waders and a Peregrine giving them all a hard time!

In other news I'm busy putting together my Thailand trip report, about 3/4 of the way through and should hopefully have it sorted by next weekend. Still got some more photos to sort out too. Whilst writing my trip report I've found one species I'd missed off my list - just the small matter of a Banded Kingfisher that I'd photographed but forgotten to log!! Revised Thailand total is therefore 460 species...  

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Thailand Photos... Part 3 (the UK Megas...)

One of the highlights of my Thailand birding trip was seeing a range of passerines that would make any UK/WP birder salivate at the lips (not all necessary the best looking of birds but  high value in the rarity stakes). These included birds such as Siberian Blue Robin, Siberian Rubythroat, Pallas's Grasshopper, Lanceolated, Thick-billed, Arctic, Eastern Crowned, Pale-legged Leaf, and Two-barred Greenish Warblers, Red-flanked Bluetail, Brown Shrike, Asian Brown and Taiga Flycatchers, Blue Rock Thrush, Eyebrowed Thrush, Daurian Redstart, Siberian and Stejneger's Stonechats, and Amur and Eastern Yellow Wagtails.

Along with the above there was some more regular passerine fare such as Richard's and Olive-backed Pipits, Little Bunting, Pallas's, Yellow-browed, Hume's, Dusky, Radde's and Greenish Warblers, Common Rosefinch, Bluethroat, Hoopoe, and Wryneck etc...

By now you'll be familiar with my photography prowess and it will come as no surprise that I didn't manage decent pics of most/any of the above (often in low light), though I did get a few record shots (below in no particular order)...

Siberian Blue Robin

Siberian Blue Robin

Siberian Blue Robin

Siberian Rubythroat

Siberian Rubythroat

Red-flanked Bluetail

 Blue Rock Thrush

Daurian Redstart

Taiga Flycatcher

Asian Brown Flycatcher

Little Bunting

Eastern Yellow Wagtail

 Olive-backed Pipit

Amur Wagtail

Monday, 13 January 2014

Thailand Photos... Part 2

Here are a selection of random bird photos from my recent trip to Thailand... A few Cuckoos, Tits, Owls/Raptors, Thrushes, Flycatchers etc... nothing particular...

Still working through my list and will then get onto my trip report...

Asian Emerald Cuckoo

 Asian Emerald Cuckoo

Banded Bay Cuckoo

Banded Kingfisher

Black-crested Bulbul

Black-throated Bushtit

Blue Whistling Thrush (eugenei)

Bronzed Drongo 

Burmese Shrike

Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush

Collared Owlet

Common Green Magpie

Common Green Magpie

Crested Finchbill

Crested Serpent Eagle

Dark-sided Thrush

Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush

Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher

Large Hawk-Cuckoo

Little Green Bee-eater

Mrs Gould's Sunbird

Oriental Magpie-Robin

Oriental Pied Hornbill

Plaintive Cuckoo

Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher

Sultan Tit

White-gorgeted Flycatcher

Yellow-cheeked Tit