Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Marazion Marsh

I was dropped off at Marazion Marsh RSPB at 10 this morning where I stayed for 6 hours.
The reserve is 70% reeds designed to attract the first breeding Bitterns to Cornwall. I was mainly using my ears around the reserve as there was nothing on the water.
I heard and saw 7 Sedge Warblers and 5 Reed Warblers around the reserve along with 1 Cetti's Warbler - Lifer.

I listened to the Cetti's song on a free CD that came with a paper, last night, so that it was fresh in my head.
After only being in the reserve 10 minutes I heard the explosive call in the south east reeds where I spent a further 3 hours watching and waiting. The Cetti's was singing every five minutes or so in roughly the same area and eventually I saw it burst out of the reeds and into the bottom of a clump of trees next to a small stream.

I couldn't see anything from the Kingfisher Hide as it was too overgrown. The rest of the time I spent chasing shadows on the edge of the reed bed, but still I enjoyed it.

On the sea from the car park overlooking St.Michael's Mount, there were 4 Basking Sharks very close to a man in a boat!
I will upload photos when I get home.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Crammy In Cornwall

I am writing this post on holiday in Cornwall where I have been for the last few days. On the way down we stopped on the edge of a wood for a break. I heard the familiar sound of a Green Woodpecker yaffling in the trees overhead.
Eventually I spotted it crawling up the side of a tree where it fed its young which were hanging out of a hole, I'd never seen a Green Woodpecker nest before this.

We are staying at Porthallow on the south Cornwall coast at the top of a valley. I had an hour long wonder along the cliffs yesterday but I couldn't see anything on the sea.
Two Common Buzzards flew over as did four Ravens which cronked as they moved inland from the sea.
The only sea bird I have seen is a Fulmar which flew along the cliff tops.

Plenty of Swifts are flying around the house and I'm sure the humid weather will result in a thunder storm, hopefully when I have my camera handy.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Plessay Atlas

I went to Plessay Woods this morning with Lindsay McDougall to do another Atlas square.
We tried to do a circular route from the quarry to just past Stannington Railway Bridge, coming back to the car park via the feeding station.

Next to the river there were two Juv Great Spotted Woodpeckers, flitting from tree to tree along with a Juv Nuthatch.

Plenty of Chiffchaff and Song thrushes were around as well as a Male Blackcap and another Juv G S Woodpecker. In total we counted 20+ Wren around the woods in different areas.

There was nothing on the river apart from 4 Mallards and a Jay, which flew over.
When we got to the feeding station there was a family party of Coal Tits and of Treecreeper with four of each.The feeders were empty so we only stayed five minutes as nothing else was about.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

WH Barn owl

I went to West Hartford for an hour last night hoping that the rain had started to fill up the pools again, but it hadn't.
Only two Pied Wagtails were on the mud. As I was scanning the mud/pool I noticed a something white near the Farm buildings and saw that it was a Barn Owl hunting over the road.
It disappeared around the other side of the buildings but soon reappeared and continued hunting over the marsh area the whole time I has there.
Apart from the Owl there wasn't much else to get excited about, 12 Swifts were hawking overhead and 3 Stock Doves flew over.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Cormorant Count

I went to Blyth Harbour last night with Steve H to do a Cormorant count.
Apart from the 36 Cormorants in the Harbour there wasn’t much else. 6 GBB Gulls 3 Sandwich Terns was it. 2 Gannets were off shore past the piers.

At Arcot Pond the Pochard still had all her young, as did the Mute Swans.
1 Stock Dove flew over and 4 teal were at the back of the pond.3 Whitethroat, 2 Grasshopper Warbler and 1 Lesser Whitethroat were all reeling away in the background near Beacon Lane.
2 Common Terns were on the dead wood in the middle of the pond also.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

In Focus

I went to In Focus at Hauxley N.R today to get a new pair of binoculars, ones that could actually pick out detail unlike my old pair.

I tried out a few different pairs outside, which were in my price range. I was looking for the usual things, good long and short distance, not to heavy and comfortable to hold.
Almost straight away I found the right pair, Opticron 8 x 42.
They were slightly lighter than the others I tested as well as having a wider field of vision, (if that’s the right term?)

I tested my new bins around the reserve but there wasn’t much around apart from the usual flocks of geese in the fields and on the water, saying that I didn’t look the whole way around the reserve.

We stopped at East Chevington, where 30+ Common Tern and 15+ Sandwich Tern were sitting on the rocks and mud. A couple of Redshank were in the low water along with 7 Little Gulls.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Blyth Atlas and more

I went out with Lindsay McDougall yesterday to do a Webs count and Atlas for the Blyth Estuary and Blyth Area.
We started at the Kitty Brewster end of the estuary were 2 Common Terns and a hand full of Gull were all that was around.
From the Sleekburn end a family party of five Pied Wagtail were on the grass opposite the factories.
Despite it being low tide there was a lack of waders with only 1 Ringed Plover on the mud, a huge change from the 222 there the other week.

On the Bates Filtration Pools there were Reed Bunting, Linnet, Skylark and Meadow Pipit on the waste land surrounding the pools and 3 LBB Gulls on the main pool also 10 Mallards circled the overhead.

We did the Atlas square around Ridley Park were we relied on sounds rather than sight.
A couple of Kittiwakes and GBB Gulls were all that there was in the harbour.

Next we went to Newsham Pond, a site which could be easily overlooked if you didn’t know it was there. Although the pond is mainly for fishing, Mute Swan. Moorhen with young and Mallard were still on the water.
Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Whitethroat were singing in the trees surrounding the pond, not bad for being in the middle of a housing estate.

We moved on quickly from Laverock Hall Pond, as it was too overgrown to see anything surrounding the pond so we went to Seghill N.R instead.

The reeds were to overgrown to see the water from the hide so we listened for Reed Warbler from the other side of the pond.
Three Reed Warbler were singing in the reeds along with 2 Sedge. 2 Bullfinch were around the back of the pond and a Cormorant landed on the water after circling for a while, probably trying to find the water.
At Arcot Pond nothing new was seen from the night before apart from a female Pochard with four young swimming across the pond.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Yesterday Evening

Went out yesterday evening up the coast with Steve H. We stopped at Snab Point first where a few Auks were on the water.
A female Merganser flew past, as did a Fulmar and a Common Sandpiper was calling from the rocks below.
2 Puffin, 6 Guillemot and 3 Razorbill – Lifer, were on the water in close groups.
There wasn’t much of a breeze so no Shearwaters or Skuas were going past.

The pool from the Oddie Hide at Druridge Pools was dry so we checked the main pool instead, not much there either.

From the pull in at Cresswell Pond there were Singing Reed Warbler, Linnet and Whitethroat.
The long staying male Goosander was on the far bank and a pair of Gadwall with 6 young came out of the reeds briefly.

On the way back we stopped at Arcot Pond were 10 Canada Geese flew over.
The Mute Swan pair were on the near shore with their 6 Cygnets and two separate Mallard broods totalled 17 young.Also Sedge Warbler and 3 Grasshopper Warblers were in the field right of the pond and a Stock Dove flew over.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Saltholme and St.Mary's

We decided to go to Saltholme yesterday but on the way stopped at St.Mary’s as the Marsh Warbler was still in The Gut.
There weren’t as many birders around and many of them were looking in the wrong place.
The Warbler called from the middle of the willows but didn’t show so we headed off to Saltholme.
I had not been to the new centre and pools surrounding it at Saltholme before so over two hours we had a good walk around and look from the hides.
The two things that I was most impressed by were that people were constantly maintaining the site by cutting the grass so that you could see from the hides instead of having to reach out and pull the grass out yourself. Also it is free to enter the site and it only costs to park a car!

From the Saltholme Pools hide there were 70+ Canada Geese most of which had goslings. Greylags were also amongst the Canada flock and on the water.
There presence seemed to scare everything else away so only a hand full of wildfowl, mostly Tufted and Pochard, were on the water along with a pair of Great Crested Grebe and Little grebe. A few Common Tern were fishing in front of the hide.

From the Paddy’s Pool hide the majority of the island was taken up by nesting Common Terns with a few BH Gulls and their chicks.

On the way to the Wildlife Watch point a yellow Wagtail flew overhead.
From the watch point/ hide there was another Yellow Wagtail showing well on the waderless scrapes along with a Stock Dove.
On the way out I searched most of the Pylons but they were all raptor less.

It was then a choice between Dorman’s Pool or another stab at the Marsh Warbler, I chose the Marsh Warbler not realising that the Great White Egret was showing well on Dorman’s.
I still don’t understand this thing about if a bird is at a site for over two weeks it stops getting reported.

I went to the north end of The Gut near to where I had been before, when after five minutes a Whitethroat flush the Marsh Warbler- Lifer, and it began to sing near the edge of the Willows.
I saw it drop further down into the willows before it flew onto the top for all of five seconds before disappearing back into the middle of the willows.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Warbler Twitch

I went out for an hour this afternoon with Steve H when news of a Marsh Warbler at St.Mary’s came through.
We went straight to The Gut where there were plenty of other birders, none of which had seen or heard anything. The wind has quite strong so any birdcall or song would have travelled well.
We wondered around the track through The Gut but there was no sign. Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Kestrel and Skylark were around and that’s as good as it got.There was no sign of the Iceland Gull on the south Promenade either.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Past Week

Even though I have had more time on my hands this week I haven’t done as much birding as I would have liked, other things have got in the way.

On Wednesday I walked to Plessey Woods via West Hartford. I have been to West Hartford three times this week and there has been very little.
6 oystercatchers yesterday were the only waders that have been there during my visits.
There wasn’t much out of the ordinary at Plessey either.
No sign of Dipper or Grey Wagtail on the river.
The feeding station was quiet and I didn’t see a single Red Squirrel. I did get good views of three different Jays, which seem to be doing well at Plessey.

I went to East Chevington this afternoon and incredibly I managed to open one of the metal boxes without scaring off the group of Terns and Gulls, which were on the water in front.
There was a mixed 30+ group of Common, Arctic and Sandwich Terns. The earlier Little Tern had flown off and there were no Roseates amongst the group.

10 BH Gull, Herring Gull, GBB Gull and 8 Little Gulls were along side the terns.
I had never seen a group of Little Gulls before and at first I overlooked them thinking they were Terns then I realised that their name makes sense.
Steve H told me tonight that he had a message that there had been a White Stork at Arcot Pond briefly this afternoon in the treetops.