Friday, 22 February 2013

Norfolk birding

Great start to a long weekend break in Norfolk yesterday.  Black-bellied dipper in Thetford followed by rough-legged buzzard on the outskirts of Haddiscoe and then a visit to Stubbs Mill produced a male hen Harrier, a Merlin, 14 cranes, 1 barn owl and at least 26 marsh harrier. More to come, with photos when I get back!

Well, as promised, a few pics from the Norfolk trip. Final tally was 121 species, not too bad for a few days' birding. Highlights included the juvenile White-tailed eagle at Anmer, the rough-legged buzzards near Haddiscoe Marsh and the black-bellied dipper at Thetford. Great views of species like spotted redshank went down well too.

Black-bellied Dipper, Thetford: R Harris

Black-bellied Dipper, Thetford: R Harris

Spotted Redshank: R Harris

Black-tailed godwit: Andy Grinter
Knot: R Harris
Juv White-tailed Eagle: R Harris

Shaky vid - job to keep up with it!

Celebrating the White-tailed eagle are L-R:
Andy Grinter, John Oake and Steve Chorley
Pintail, female: R Harris

Red-crested Pochard, female: R Harris
Pair of spoonbill at Titchwell
Egyptian geese, Holkham Hall: R. Harris
Egyptian Goose: Andy Grinter
Shoveler, male: R Harris
Tree Sparrow: R Harris

Tree Sparrow: R Harris

Monday, 18 February 2013

The merlin is back!

Almost exactly a year since I last saw it, a male merlin put in an appearance this afternoon in the fields just above my house on the edge of Chard. It landed on a hedge about 200m away so I only managed a couple of record shots before it flew but it was a beauty:

Merlin, male: R. Harris

Merlin, male: R. Harris

Pied-billed Grebe, Ham Wall RSPB reserve, Somerset

Wasn't expecting one of these last weekend! What a great bird for Somerset, the last one in the region being at Blagdon Lake in 1968. A tense and nervous Saturday was spent on a pre-arranged shopping day in Taunton, the news having come out the previous evening. OMG! I even offered to buy everything on Amazon as 'it would be quicker, easier and probably cheaper' to do so, but no, the good lady wanted a day in Taunton and so the nail biting began. Very early on Sunday morning (Dave Helliar had an equally sleepless night as he couldn't get there on Saturday either), Mr H and I arrived at Ham Wall before sunrise and managed to get brief but fairly decent views as it woke up and started feeding, oh the relief. Just as well, it didn't show again for well over an hour by which time we both had frostbite. Eventually it showed again and in brilliant sunshine, great scope views but crap distance for good photos...

Pied-billed grebe: Roger Harris

Pied-billed grebe: Roger Harris

Marsh Harrier, male: Roger Harris

I had to go and thaw out after the pied-billed grebe but Dave went on to see the American Wigeon currently gracing Bowling Green Marsh in Devon, another corker:

American Wigeon, drake: Dave Helliar

American Wigeon, drake: Dave Helliar

Meanwhile Andy Grinter (who saw the PBG on the Saturday) had a great time at Blashford Lakes in Hampshire, where he once again challenged an avian friend to a staring competition...

Bittern, Blashford Lakes: Andy Grinter

Lovely shot Andy.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

River Exe Cruise

Took a very enjoyable cruise up the river Exe yesterday afternoon with Stuart Line Cruises. The weather was dull but at least the rain had stopped and we all had great views of some of the estuary's regular visitors, including slavonian grebe, spotted redshank, long-tailed duck, brent geese, red-breasted merganser, peregrine falcon, avocet and good numbers of other wader species.

Grey Heron: Roger Harris

Long-tailed Duck, female: Roger Harris

Long-tailed Duck, female: Roger Harris

Red-breasted mergansers: Roger Harris

Red-breasted Merganser, male: Roger Harris

Grey Heron: Roger Harris

Sanderling: Roger Harris

Sanderling: Roger Harris

Shag, adult: Roger Harris

Avocet: Roger Harris

Avocets feeding: Roger Harris

Great trip, thoroughly recommend it and something I'll be doing again next year.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Could it get any closer!

Yes, the snow bunting at Ferrybridge is still entertaining visitors by apparently participating in staring competitions! Andy Grinter took these shots whilst going eyeball-to-eyeball with the little critter...Andy lost by the way :-(

Snow bunting: Andy Grinter

Snow bunting: Andy Grinter

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

One year ago...

One year ago now and Pudleigh sewage works was graced with the presence of very smart yellow-browed warbler:

Could do with another one to brighten things up!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Siberian chiffchaff, Pudleigh

The tristis chiffchaff still present this afternoon, though never coming close. Smart little bird though and in case anyone is wondering it has called a few times as well, a very different 'peep' type call to the normal chiffchaff 'heweet'. Managed to get one snap of it today: