Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Meanwhile back in Bedford ......

A rather windswept Grey Wagtail. Bedford River 24 May

This local pair of Wagtails usually brighten up the walk into town. A singing Cettis warbler at Priory Country Park had given brief views earlier.

Common Tern Bedford River 24 May

Black Stork Northants 15 May

A week-end spent in Bedford to entertain visitors took an unexpected turn with news of the BLACK STORK at Weedon In Northants.
Having had a leisurely dinner the bird had been present for some time before we stumbled across the news, so a quick change of afternoon plans - and suitable apologies to our understanding guests - and we were on our way. A phone call taken as we were within minutes of the site told us the bird was still showing - but just to prove how fickle life can be, we pulled up to find the bird had flown. Over an hour spent on site hoping it would be relocated proved to be wishfull thinking - though the local Buzzards tried hard to keep us entertained, and a fly through Grey Heron almost caused some excitement !!!
News that the Stork was still present the following morning meant a return journey - with the bird again flying before we arrived. As Black stork records are non-existant in Beds, Very Scarce in Northants, and Scarce even in Norfolk, the wait hoping it would be relocated gave a chance to catch up with friends from various counties in the waiting crowd - and fortunately we were to enjoy excelent views of the Stork after it was indeed relocated. In a scene remeniscent of a Whacky Races cartoon people began running to their cars and a rolling convoy headed back to the A45. After several wrong turns, u-turns and more than a little confusion we arrived at the new location - only to be met with tales of the bird flying off again !!! Fortunately these were premature as it was still in the field - but well hidden ! Excelent flight views were had and by following a footpath from the village we were able to enjoy prolonged views of the Stoprk on the ground and stunning views as it flew almost over our heads. The dilema of do I reach for the camera at this point, or just enjoy views that I may never get again fell in favour of soaking up the views - hence the rather distant and grainy shots posted of the bird on the ground. Nice in the scope but really too far for the camera.

Enjoying the views

A curious local wondering what alll the fuss was about !

Crowd Control !

The guilty culprit !

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Collared Flycatcher - Holme 8th May. A Norfolk mega on the home patch

It has always been a dangerous thing to let David stray out of sight, but it was my good fortune that he found Holme's second COLLARED FLYCATCHER with me standing within shouting distance - and that the bird stayed and showed well to an ever increasing crowd throughout the afternoon and evening.

Having volunteered to cover the Observatory for the morning, a Spotted Flycatcher was a welcome early sighting, but there was otherwise little obvious sign of mass migration. A report of a Wood Warbler along the approach track was confirmed by David relocating it, but it remained elusive. Abandoning the Obs for half an hour to join him failed to produce any views of the bird, so, with Sophie back to man the Obs, a fresh attempt to get better views was in order.

True to form ,within what seemed like only a few minutes,again David relocated the bird - and only my second Norfolk Wood Warbler gave excelent views to the small group around us. A nice follow on to the Wood Warbler that had also given superb views at Holme during last Autumns bird bonanza !

Wood Warblers are scarce migrants in norfolk these days, so a good day so far - which was about to get a lot better ! David had crossed back to the main track from our viewing position by the river, in order to get a different viewing angle into the tree, and I had just had time to send a couple of texts with news of the Wood Warblers relocation when I heard David shout ''COLLARED FLYCATCHER'' - and within seconds I was on the move past birders arriving along the river path in the hope of seeing the Wood Warbler !!

The rest as they say is history, only NORFOLK'S 4th COLLARED FLYCATCHER, and a very long wait over for many of the arriving birders

David Roche with Sophie Barker from the Observatory - a good day for all as Sophie did see the bird and was able to takeover £100 in donations from birders using the NOA Redwell Marsh car Park

A small section of the crowd !

photos of the Collared Flycatcher kindly supplied by Dave Holman

A Green Hairstreak butterfly photographed at the Obs

Friday, 20 May 2011

Norfolk round-up

For the camera,it has not been the most productive of times,but spring in Norfolk has provided good views of the usual suspects -and a few nice surprises.
A HOODED CROW passed me on a quiet sea-watch on 18 April before flying out of sight towards Thornham.Scanning through the large number of Crows still present on Holme Marsh half an hour later, I was able to relocate what I presumed to be the same bird - unless the 2 bird theory applies and it had looped back onto the Marsh without being seen by those viewing from Thornham Bank - This gave me time to alert David and Connor on the bank, and they were able to watch it fly, again in the direction of Thornham when it lifted off the Marsh. A norfolk and a Holme tick and a consolation prize for missing the recent WHITE TAILED EAGLE that had passed through Holme.
Finding 9 Shorelarks by the Golf course on 9th April comfortably beat any previuos numbers I had seen at Holme. A singing Nightingale on 21 April gave brief flight views, and it was possible to enjoy singing Cettis warbler and Calling Cuckoo from the same spot! Other Holme highlights included 2 Bean geese, White Fronted Goose and Pale bellied Brents, Spoonbill, Short Eared owl, Redstarts and Grasshopper warblers -including 1 that posed beatifully for several minutes safe in the knowledge that I did not have my camera with me ! Redwell Marsh again offered outstanding views of Wood Sandpipers - with a supporting cast that included a summer plumaged Spotted Redshank and some very striking Ruff.
A group of 16 Dotterels at Chosely were particularly striking as most were female birds, little Owls showed around Ringstead, and Ringstead Dowsn offered Ring Ouzels, with a supporting cast of Yellowhammer and Corn bunting.
Elsewhere a Dartford Warbler, Goshawk, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Montagues Harrier all made an appearance.

17th April. 1 of 2 Mediterranean Gulls putting in a regular appearance at Holme

Peregrine King's Lynn Docks 19 April

Male Lesser Spotted woodpecker April

1st March. An unusually obliging Long eared owl that spent much of the day roosting out on an exposed perch by a roadside hedge in Thornham

Thornham Long Eared Owl 1st March

Thursday, 19 May 2011

A selection from snettisham

A selection from Snettisham that has offered up no real surprises but all the expected Migrants in the form of Redstart, Ring Ouzels, good numbers of weatears, Grasshopper warblers in full song and the uual range of warblers. A Short Eared Owl over Ken hill marsh on 8th May was an unexpected bonus, and a Red Kite over the Bungalow at Snettisham and then over the Coastal Park on 20th April was a nice garden tick

Redstart 16 April

Stonechat 8 April. Colour rings showed it to be a bird ringed in the nest last year near Weeting

Willow Warbler 19 April

Weatear 13 April

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Moths a new adventure

A new venture - lured by the ability to run a trap in our Bedford Jungle as well as on the coast.

Eyed Hawkmoth Above
Elephant Hawkmoth below

Small Elephant Hawkmoth

Poplar Hawk Moth

lime Hawk Moth - Bedford

with the exception of the woodmouse at the end of the post all other trapped and photographed at Snettisham


Green Carpet

Lobster Moth

Frosted Green

Woodmouse feeding and lit up by the light of the trap !!

Putnoe street waxwings.

Waxwings 8 April.

A very pleasant surprise in the large Oak trees opposite our front garden. 19 present flycatching and present for well over half an hour. The same trees had held very vocal tawny owls over the christmas period.Another of those nice surprises that Bedfordshire manages to turn up from time to time.Having seen Waxwings in norfolk a number of times this winter these were the only ones I managed to see in Beds and they came to find me !!!!! A local Arctic Redpoll present a month before, that showed well enough for the telescope but not for the camera, was another county surprise.

Bittern Priory Country Park

The long staying Bittern at priory Country Park Bedford

Bedford Catch up

Bittern Priory Country Park Bedford 19 January - a site tick and a bird that showed well over a period of several weeks

Pair of Mandarins Bedford river 26 december

Sparrowhawk in the Garden 28 November

Goldcrest 15 January.

Not an unusual garden visitor in itself but present for several weeks around the fat balls

Male and female Blackcap. both birds present together for at least 1 day.

Garden Robin

Barnacle Goose Bedford River 24 November.

1 from the large Feral flock at usually found at Willington