27/08/2013 Spurn, East Riding of Yorkshire ‎

Icterine Warbler: My first trip to Spurn and in the words of Scott Reid 'its the bollocks'.

First stop was Beacon Lane where we had reports of an icky Warbler and Barred Warbler, both of which I needed. I decided to go for the barred with Liam as they are really tricky to see so we left Alex to find the icky.
This turned out to be a bad decision as Liam and I walked right passed the barred leaving a group of birders behind us to see it. We were gutted but turned back to see Alex who had successfully relocated the icky.

We also had a Wryneck down the lane, I had two ticks within a few minutes of getting out the car, AWESOME.

Red Backed Shrike: Our next stop and my third tick of the day, we headed across to the warren where some guy just had a RB Shrike. We hopped out the car and after a short wait the bird made an appearance.

We also had a flyover from a Yellow Wagtail  here, but there were discussions that it may have been a Citrine Wagtail - wishful thinking.

Spotted Flyatcher:  Spurn was full of some great birds, beside the rarities the supporting cast included spot fly, pied fly and Redstart.

We spotted all of these in the same area which the RB Flycatcher had been seen, but failed to see it after a long search.

Winchat: Feeling a little deflated after dipping the RB Fly we headed down to Spurn Point to improve on our bad luck earlier that morning, as news came though that another barred was down on the point.

Again we had no sign of the bloody barred but got this nice shot.

Red-breasted Flycatcher: While looking for the barred Liam went back to the RB Shrike site to try again and then sent us a text once he found it.

My fourth tick of the trip, although it showed really well it was difficult to photograph as it stayed in the shade of a tree.
Wryneck: The highlight of the trip for me had to be the Wrynecks, after a huge fall over the weekend we had no trouble finding them.

The Beacon Lane bird was showy and we had good views until we came across this bird on the mound next to the Crown and Anchor at Kilnsea.

We were blown away by the bird as it fed on ants in the grass not bothered by anyone, it was even happily feeding as cars passed right by it.
We came across another bird a bit further down Easington Road which amazed us further as this time it was only a few feet away.
After another failed attempt to locate a barred down Beacon Lane and deciding to call it a day and head back home the Wryneck's were all over Easington Road and there where birders laying an arms length away getting some amazing shots.

Spurn migration festival here I come!

21/08/2013 The River Dee, Connah's Quay, Dock Road

Common Dolphin: What a totally awesome evening chasing after Dave the dolphin in the Dee.

I first went to Saltney Ferry Road foot bridge which stretches over the Dee and bumped in to two fellow dolphin watchers who told me its was seen back in Chester half an hour ago! So back to Chester I went!
After a quick search I released the dolphin was not in this area so headed back to Saltney Ferry Road foot bridge and was told again its now up at Connah's Quay, I had nothing to loose so bombed it up to Dock Road were large group of people had formed to watch.
When I finally caught up with the dolphin  it was happily feeding between the jetties and the rocks, but moving down river.
Myself and Richard Miller a fellow photographer followed it down river until it reached an outcrop of rocks where the dolphin began to hunt, we even saw small silver fish jumping out of the water while it chased them.

The dolphin came unbelievably close, less then 20-30 yards and showed really well in this area for about 30 minutes before it headed back up river and settled right opposite Dock Road car park, where the crowds grew larger.

I'm not too sure who named the Dolphin Dave, but I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing it well and hoping it finds it's way back to sea.

20/08/2013 Richmond Bank

Gulls: Today I took my first trip to Richmond Bank in Warrington and I was very impressed with the shear number of gulls. There were well up to 5000 large gulls on the bank.

The highlight though was spotting a three adult Yellow Legged Gulls on the bank.

19/08/2013 West Kirby Shore

Sandwich Tern: From the Marina Lake I walked up to Red Rocks where I confronted by a huge number of gulls and terns along the shore line.

As the tide went out these were joined by dozens of Ringed Plover and Dunlin.

On my walk back to the car I was also treated to a great but failed hunting attempt on the small waders from an adult peregrine falcon, a short but sweat day out - beats house work any day!

19/08/2013 West Kirby Marina Lake

Mediterranean Gull: Instead of doing the house work on my day off I decided leave the dishes and hovering behind and take a trip to the North Wirral shore for a spot of birding.
I began on West Kirby's Marina Lake were I came across this little beauty. I love a good gull so waited around for the bird to wake up and move of the pier.
After a good long wait, and with some help form the kids on the sailing club making a lot of noise close to the pier the bird woke up and took off.

The gull made a pass of the lake and after landing on the water for some close up shots it took off again and landed on top of the public toilet building just opposite the lake.

12/08/2013 Hilbre Island, West Kirby

Sandwich Tern: Once again the usual crew of Scott, Laim, myself and this time joined by Mr Alex Jones himself made our way across to Hilbre Island for a spot of sea watching.
After a very wet and windy walk across to the main island we hunkered down in the sea watch hide.

The tide was out but slowly creeping in, pushing the tern roosts further up the shore and displacing the waders and gulls.
Cormorant:  For the first few hours we mainly saw flocks of Sandwich Tern, Common Tern and a few Cormorants.

The light was good and wind OK, but could of been better and we sat with bated breath while the haze lifted and the birds moved closer with the tide.

 Fulmar: With the winds picking up slightly Liam spotted a single Fulmar soaring past the hide, this was the only Fulmar we saw all day.
Common Tern: Around mid afternoon the tern numbers picked up and we saw streams of Common Tern and Little Tern flying past towards he welsh side of the Dee.

One of the highlights of the day came from the haze as couple of Maxies emerged banking around the tops of the waves.
Arctic Skua: Out in the distance we spotted a couple of Arctic Skua chasing terns just in front of the wind turbines.

For most of the day the skua stayed far out at sea we were hoping for a Pomarine to make an appearance but we were only rewarded with Arctic Skua.
Just before we left the hide a single skua came pretty close busily chasing a tern. The tern made a dash for it and got away with its fish meal leaving the skua to bomb back over to the wind turbines.

Whimbrel: On the way off the Island we spotted a few Whimbrel feeding among the newly exposed rocks and a huge number of Ringed Plover and Dunlin.

A good day birding.

Laim Langley's blog: www.liamsbirding.blogspot.co.uk

Alex Jone's blog: www.birdingnorthwales.blogspot.co.uk

07/08/2013 Titchwell Marsh RSPB

Ruff: Our next stop on our second day in Norfolk was to the very excellent Titchwell RSPB nature reserve.

The ting with Norfolk is that the birding is ace! From the number of waders to the species it draws and Titchwell was no exception.
Lapwing: One of the first birds we saw was a female Marsh Harrier cursing over the vast reed beds. The scrapes were full of waders, Ruff, Lapwing, Black wits, Green Sands, Wood Sands, Spotted and Redshank but the highlight for me was very close views of a Little Stint.
Little Ringed Plover: (juvenile) I bagged another new tick with two female Red Crested Pochard which I believe breed at Titchwell.

This LR Plover was happily feeding right in front of the hide.
Sparrowhawk: All of a sudden all the waders lifted off the scrape as out of the corner of my eye came a female Sparrowhawk clutching what looked like a Starling.
Spoonbill: We decided to make a move and head back to the car for the long journey back up north when we stopped on the causeway looking over the scrape and spotted this elegant Spoonbill passing over.
Little Gull: We also spotted a single Little Gull sleeping on the scrape, this picture shows the difference in size between the Little Gull near the waters edge and the Black Headed Gull at the to of the picture.

We had a great trip birding and twitching around Norfolk where I bagged six new lifers which were Night Heron, Nightjar, Roller, Red Crested Pochard, Little Stint and believe it or not Common Scoter - on a brief sea watch but I'm hoping for better views one day as they were miles away. I will definitely  be back for more excellent Norfolk birding soon.

07/08/2013 Beacon Hill, Norfolk

Turtle Dove: After a rough nights sleep in the tent I was happy to get up even if it was a 5am start. We decided to follow Liam's instructions and try our luck for Dartford Warbler and Wood Lark back at Kelling Heath, but dipped on both birds. We did get a Green Woodie and several Yellowhammer though.

We then  made our way up to Beacon Hill hoping to see Montagu's Harrier and within minutes we had several Turtle Dove on the telephone wires and after a three hour wait we had no Monties but a few Marsh Harrier.

06/08/2013 Kelling Heath

Nightjar: Once we got the Roller we headed to our campsite and pitched up our tent, from here we went down to Cley Marshes.

Here we spotted Spoonbill, Curlew Sand, Wood Sand, Spot Reds a million Dunlin and a Little Stint, one word AWESOME!

We finished our first day in Norfolk up on Kelling Heath looking for Nightjar. This was the highlight of the whole trip we had at least two birds lying just a few feet away performing its prolonged churring call and wing clapping.

06/08/2013 Horsey, Norfolk

Roller: This absolutely stunning bird was  far too far way for my liking, have a look at my photos, they say it all.
But what a bird, even at this distance and through Liam's scope it was stunning. It was happily feeding in the field along side several Kestrels.

I also saw my first Dark Green Fritillary butterfly (: which is apparently the only frit you find in Norfolk.

06/08/2013 Thornton Reservoir, Leicestershire

Night Heron:  Three lads, one night and six new life ticks including Roller and Night Heron, if Carlsberg did twitching......

It was Scott, Liam and I who took the epic twitch to Norfolk with a 4.30am start.
The trip started with a stop over in Leicestershire to see the Night Heron which had been there for a few days. We were a little worried when we first arrived as we had a 45ish minute wait, while the bird stayed behind the reeds.

Eventually the heron did show really well, although at times my camera struggled with the light levels.

After twitching this we drove onward towards Norfolk.

04/08/2013 Browsholme Hall, Clitheroe

Two Barred Crossbill: A quick after-work twitch from Chorlton Water Park to Clitheroe with a cracking rspb volunteer, Tanmay.
I was offered a lift this morning, but I was unable to go due to work and I felt gutted, so  last minute once we had finished at Chrolton, we packed up and we decided to just go for it. I was told that the bird had not been showing since 7am and the guys who offered me the lift dipped on the bird, so I wasn't feeling optimistic.
As soon as Tanmay and I arrived the bird was showing incredibly well on the feeders and on the TV aerial. I was later told the bird started making an appearance from around 2.11pm, so I guess we got lucky!

As I stood waiting for the bird to reappear some body said 'how funny that you got Two Barred Crossbill before Common Crossbill'

Yeah that's right I still need Common Crossbill!