Saturday, 28 November 2015

Far Ings NNR 27-11-15

Well I finally woke up around 8.00 and met down stairs with a coffee thanks Mandy just what the doctor ordered,my final half day here and we set off for Far Ings where a Long-eared Owl had been reported to be near the ford so we headed straight there and had a good look around the Hawthorne bushes but nothing that we could see,shortly after my old rival Graham Catley arrived and we had a chat and he said he was there all the previous afternoon until dark and not seen it,so we left and made our way to Ness Hide still aching from the two previous days we didn't feel up to much walking,so we just sat and watched for a hour or so with a couple of other guys in the hide one mentioned the Owl and that he went straight for it and also didn't see it and my previous experience with Long-eared Owls,they are a lazy bird and don't move around much which made me cast doubts on it !!!
We carried on watching and Mandy calls out Water Rail just coming out on to the cause way from the right and popped straight back in and then came back out in full view,a small skein of Pink-footed geese flew over head also a Little Egret passed over the same bird we seen previously in western approach field where the still lone Canada Goose stood.
A big Thank you to Chris and Mandy for having me and a great few days and
friends that I did manage to catch up with,it was great to see you guys again
and those who I didn't get to catch up with next time !!!

Cleethorpes 26-11-15

With wanting to do as much as I could while visiting I asked Mandy if she would like a day at Cleethorpes to try and find Snow Buntings,so it was up about 6.00 ready to catch the Train arriving at Cleethorpes just after 9.00,we thought with it being a week day it would be a bit quieter which it was apart from the dog walkers who insist walking along the waters edge letting their dogs run through the birds which is really annoying.
We picked up large numbers of Knot,Dunlin,Oystercatcher and a single Sanderling as we walked down towards the leisure centre.
Here we picked out a couple of Common Redshank and Curlew but a bit quieter than usual maybe due to the tide going out,so we made our way for the traditional Macky D's breakfast but not before stopping off at the boating lake to try and photograph the female Goldeneye which was a bit flighty,we managed a couple of shots before she flew down towards the other end of the lake so we made our way for breakfast and coffee.
That set us up for a few hours and we returned back to the boating lake to photograph more waterfowl including Pochard,Tufted duck and the resident Barnacle Geese after a while we made our way out on to the salt marsh,lots of Linnet and Skylark present but could not hear any Twite but my main focus was on finding the Snow Buntings,we walked along the not so big dunes where they are usually found but nothing we reached a makeshift bench and sat down for a while,with the weather forecast being spot on I had to take my jumper off due to being so warm,when make received a message that a Minke Whale had been washed up on the beach so with a quick scan I soon picked it up and was just starting to make our way out to it,when I suddenly heard the distinct calls of Snow Buntings which flew straight over our heads 18 in total,I continued to watch them fly to see where they would come down but they got straight back up and carried on towards Buck beck,so we decided on walking down to them but could we relocate them no chance maybe we walked past them and started to walk back up the marsh but still no sign,so we decided on having a sit down with a bite to eat and drink,with time passing and we needed to think about getting back to the station to catch the train back we started walking picking up Brent,Pink-footed Goose,Shelduck and Little Egret for the day list,we reached the leisure centre again and a flock of Knot had gathered so we tried for a few photo's but I wasn't impressed by mine but Mandy managed a couple,Again a real enjoyable day was had,on our journey home I decided that my visit would have to be cut short and return tomorrow due to very high winds forecast for Saturday,so decided to arrange a few drink with my old friend Mark that night and that the morning would be spent at a very leisurely pace and no alarms to be set,on arriving back we learned that the whale was actually a Fin whale not Minke !!!

Friday, 27 November 2015

A return visit to Barton upon Humber 24 - 27/11/15

With a week off work I had arranged a few days to go and visit friends and do some birding on my old local patch in North Linc's,arriving on the afternoon of the 24th after a 3 hour journey on my trusted stead Mandy had prepared a lovely casserole which was well welcomed and washed down with a glass of wine or two,then plans was made for the following day to be at Far Ings NNR early so with alarms set for 7.00 it was time for a well needed sleep.
With my alarm being hit on snooze a few times I herd Mandy shout me and after a coffee or two to wake up,we set off and arrived at Barton Reedbed at about 8.30 with Mandy having a few worries about going in on her own in the past we made our way through to the Monolyth,not much in the way of bird life apart from plenty of Wood pigeons,we carried on our way and stopped at Beardy corner and stopped there for 5 minutes or so 2 Water Rails was hear calling close by but no sign of the Bearded Tits that had been showing on and off in previous couple of weeks.
We then made our way up on to the Humber bank and to the Cement works foreshore,where we picked up on a couple of Bullfinch,Redwing and a couple of Great-black backed-Gulls and 5 Common Redshank,we stopped and had a Coffee before making our way up to Chowder Ness checking along the bank in case the recent Snow Bunting and Twite was still about but no luck with them,on arriving at Chowder immediately I could hear the distinct ping of Bearded Tits,and we quickly worked out that they was in the small reedbed close to the footpath,so we hurried ourselves along to them just before they flew in to the next reedbed wich was even smaller and worked out even better for us,now the only problem we had to deal with was the sun directly in our faces so I move up along a bit more to try and get a better angle and waited and sure enough they was coming right to the front on the ground and the reed tops,this really put a smile on our faces as we took photo's and just watched them 7 in total was counted before they flew off in to the Sea aster and then they went quiet,but wow what a brilliant experience to have with them.
While Mandy poured the coffee I had a scan around to see what was milling about on the mud where I picked out a few Curlew and more Common Redshank along with a lone Shelduck,but with a Short-eared Owl being reported on Chowder and the New pits we waited a while just in case but no Joy,we continued down along the back of the new pits just in case the SEO was down there but no but we did pick up some Wigeon for the day list and 2 Lesser Redpoll,this brought us round at Ness farm so what was more obvious than go and look in Ness hide knowing full well the circus clowns would be in there,so we decided to go and look anyway for 30 minutes has we both don't really like it but wanted to pick up on Bittern and after 10 minutes of waiting sure enough it flew in shortly followed by the Kingfisher hasI heard it and said to Mandy wind up the gattling guns and sure enough off went the cameras (why I will never know crap perches and back ground is messy so why they bother is behond me ).
We did pick up Lapwing,Fieldfare and Gadwall also for the list.We left and went looking for the lone Bean Goose that was reported to me that was said to be in western approach field,we arrived there to only find a lone Canada goose Mandy and myself both thought the same surely not !!!
We left in laughter and made our way back to Ness farm and continued to Hotel hide but a bit quiet today as the work party was cutting down the willows behind us out of the East marsh channel but I did get to meet Simon the new head warden of Far Ings.
We then made our way back to Ness hide seeing that the circus clowns had gone and we chatted about what they had been photographing and what the photos would look like nothing I would want to show off really anyway,we left Ness hide and made our way back to new pits to see if the Shorty would show for us but within the hour we waited it didn't and the cold started to set in and light starting to fade by this time,we decided to call it a day and made our way back home to do a Bird list for the Bird study group and tot up how many species we had seen a total of 60 species for the day so not a bad day at all which was finished off with a couple of pint of my favourite drink Lincoln Gold in the Sloop with Mandy and Andy which we had a few laughs and a bit of birding chat.
What a great day and some photos of the Bearded Tits below

Monday, 23 November 2015

Whitacre Heath NR and Coleshill GP 23/11/15

My original plan was to head for Draycote Water today to try and photograph the Great-northern Diver,but with reports of Short-eared and Barn Owls from previous days well they are higher up in my favourite birds,so my first day of my weeks holiday off work seen me heading off for Whitacre Heath and have a hour in the hide.
A flock of Siskin flew from the elder trees as I approached the hide but no Redpoll around seemed strange as this use to be a great place to photograph them,but plenty of Great,Blue,Coal,Willow and Long-tailed tits around with the odd Nuthatch coming in and a brief visit of a female Great-spotted Woodpecker.
Chaffinches kept coming down to feed but brought no Brambling in with them,I stayed until about 1pm and then made a move.

I thought It would be a good time to make my way to nearby Coleshill GP
and wait for the Owls to show which was not very long with the first Short-eared appearing about 1.35 this afternoon,followed shortly by a Barn Owl after around a hour a small group of birders started to gather in various areas,Water Rail,Grey Wagtail,Kingfisher,Common Buzzard and Sparrowhawk was added to the list,I had watched a Sparrowhawk mob the Short-eared Owl earlier on.
All in all a productive afternoon

Monday, 9 November 2015

Draycote Water 8/11/15

Well not been out for a while and agreed to go and help good friend Mark with his WEBS count at Draycote Water.
So after the 2 minute silence at 11 we stocked up on snacks and a drink and started our 5 mile walk clock wise around the reservoir,on reaching Hensborough bank we had a stop and Mark started to count the ducks and picked out 2 pair of Red crested Pochards,we carried on along to Saddle bank and Rainbow corner and Mark started to count again whilst I was intending to find the Greater Scaup whilst we was doing this a couple of birders asked what we had seen and wished us luck with finding the Scaup but within a couple of minutes of them leaving,I managed to pick it out with it's head tucked in sleeping managing a couple of shots and comparing it to the female Tufted ducks around we decided that was the bird.
We continued round to the start of Barn Bank picking out 3 Little Egret,2 female Pintail and 5 Goosander,we carried on around counting the various wildfowl and reaching the car park just in time as the rain started again,It was nice to see a decent number of Tree Sparrows.