Saturday 27 October 2012

North Kent

The first of another Survey for me and Mo on our Thameside Marsh, in blustery conditions it was hard going and small passerines were thin on the ground, only notables were good numbers of Fieldfare and several Siskin.

Two Merlin were the highlights, and on the river several Bonxie flew past with the odd Gannet and Kitt, great to see big numbers of Black-Tailed Godwit with probably just under a thousand birds seen.


Saturday 20 October 2012

Viz Migging

Really feels like Ive been neglecting the patch lately, and probably have, as this was my first visit in  some four weeks or so.

So a few hours session this morning was most rewarding in connecting with a YELLOWHAMMER, a very scarce bird in these parts and my first for some time.

this morning totals, all birds moving west:

  • Barking Bay: Viz Mig 07:00-10:00 c20 Skylark, c500 Starling, 12 Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer, 6 Rock Pipit, 80 Meadow Pipit, 12+ Siskin, 5 + Lesser Redpoll, 20 Redwing, c20 alba Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, 40 Blackbird, 15 Song Thrush, many Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Linnet.
    Rock Pipit - sorry another shetland pic.....

    Sunday 14 October 2012

    Pitsea Catch 13/10

    A very Successful ringing session with the NTGG yesterday with three catches processed a total of 569 birds!! including some 400 Herring (inc a belgium retrap!) and 66 GBB's with half a dozen Lesser's and 3 Yellow-legged Gull.

    With many of the birds colour ringed, including many of today's black heads it be interesting to see how far they get too.

    plenty of gulls around
    waiting for a safe/clear window
    Booooom !
    team get busy processing
    me with an adult lesser   ouch......
    paul roper goe's through feather detail on this 2w YLG
     showing pale rump
    keep your eyes peeled for YJ6T
    back you go...
     one of the adult birds caught
    mean looking bird....
    1st ad
    2nd ad
    once again the old girl needs some persuading !!

    Friday 12 October 2012

    Sick Corvids.....

    Just in case your missing my Shetland pics !! We saw this Raven in Lerwick harbour coughing up a pellet, first time Ive noticed a corvid doing this behaviour, though i suppose they all do this considering all the shit they eat !!

    hoody .

    Thursday 11 October 2012

    Last chance saloon......

    Our last full day on Shetland and on returning to Rurwick bay for hopefully better views of the AMERICAN BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT seen earlier in the week.  As we pull up Matt spots an acro warbler down in the burn, so we gather our gear and fence hop our way down to the burn.

    After half hour search myself Jono and bacon head towards the beach when Matt shouts out "Great Reed Warbler" and points at the iris bed it flew to.  We bomb it back down there and organise our mini flush, but all that come out was a wren and two rabbits!!

    We are then joined by Monkey and eventually Vince and spend the next hour crashing through every iris bed to no avail.  We then leave a very frustrated Matt bewildered on where his bird has gone!!

    Me, Monkey and bacon head down to the beach via the edge of the reed bed unaware we were flushing birds towards the beach and as we reached the last patch of iris two Blackbirds flew out along with a song thrush and a another bird sat on the iris.  I raised my bins and there was the bloody Great Reed Warbler looking all huge and bulky!!

    I then spent what seemed like forever ( 10 seconds) trying to get monkey and bacon on the bird, but this never worked and the bird had now done its second disappearing act!!

    News was then put out and more eyes arrived and the bird eventually gave itself up in the big reed bed back up towards the burn thanks to bradders and the professor!

    only heavily cropped flight shots I'm afraid

    Great reed twitch.


    monkey and vince are busy finding birds  !!!!

    A Great find by Matt Eade and a great team effort made up for the cock up earlier in the week.......:)

    Wednesday 10 October 2012


    Or Black Guillemot to me and you, these superb birds can be seen all round the coast of Shetland, Lerwick harbour is a great place to see these close up, even giving the opportunity to see them feeding underwater.


    Tuesday 9 October 2012

    Schoolboy error !

    On our second day on Shetland my crew (myself, Monkey, Jono and Matt) took a trip up to Voe.  A lovely village harbour in beautiful surroundings, and walking along the hill side up a small farm track, myself and Matt catch glimpse of a wader resembling common sand fly around the buildings and over into a sheep Carole.  Matt carry's on and I go off in search of this bird.

    Wakling through a pile of manure and into the carole, I stumble apon the bird again and fire off some picture's as its feeding on worms.  I ask myself why is this common sand feeding in here? I raise my bins and check the leg colour, they seem quite yellow to me!! mmmmm the bird then flies off and I begin to return to the car to find the guys waiting for me, "Guys why is this not a spot sand" as I show them the back of my camera.  Jono and Monkey look at me as if im talking chinese and Matt comments on that it had a strong wing bar when he saw it in flight (re:common). Oh okay then, we then drove off, headed further north before monkey spots a Otter out of the car window.  I pull over and we get out for a look but to no avail, but I do spot a distant eider flock "they could be worth checking out" but we just all got back in the car and soldiered on.

    Later that afternoon whilst dipping the Izzy shrike the pager bleeps SPOTTED SANDPIPER, Voe, mainland Shetland. SHIT, FUCKIN SHIT!!!! I turn to the boys, give them the news, we then refer back to my camera and the collins guide before reeling off all the correct ID features to our bird............oh dear......

    yellow legs, short tailed, two toned bill, strongly barred median coverts...
    need i go on !!
    even spot sand posture !!!!

    So lesson learned, check every bird, as I often tell others! (thanks Shaun)
    Will blame this one on the booze, and by the way the eider flock had a stunning drake Surf Scoter!!!!!!!! Grrrrrrrrrrrr........

    Monday 8 October 2012

    Shetland for Migrants

    Shetland is a great place to see migrants at close range and with a little bit of patience birds will often feed just feet away, unlike birds on the mainland.

    spot fly
    this wood warbler battles with a blue bottle.

    Sunday 7 October 2012

    From de East

    Shetland is renowned for birds turning up from all directions, so some eastern gems like SIBERIAN STONECHAT, was much sought after, having not seen one since the early nineties almost felt like a tick.

    Another was ISABELINE SHRIKE seen in the Toab area, took us four days to catch up with this mobile bird!! it was covering alot of ground and was seen as far as virkie willows some one mile away, but once its larder was found the bird could be enjoyed for some time.

    LITTLE BUNTING, this was seen on our first afternoons birding at sumbrah.


    And of course YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER, these were all over the place, gardens, plantations and even stone walls,