Sunday, July 30, 2006

Yellow-winged Darter - Aldcliffe, Lancs - 30th July 2006.

Went to Aldcliffe on the River Lune late afternoon and was fortunate to see two of the several Yellow-winged Darters present at the site, a juncus-fringed pond in a field of Maize, for the past few days. Superb insects. The breezy conditions made it rather difficult to photograph them. These are my best results.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Stilt Sandpiper - Conwy RSPB, North Wales - 12th July 2006.

Stilt Sandpiper has been one of my most wanted UK birds for years, so one in the NW of England for a change was too much of a tempter. Very poor views were had of the bird initially, as views through the visitor centre windows at Conwy RSPB hopelessly distorted the bird into an unidentifiable blur as the bird fed and roosted amongst c20 Redshank in a corner of a reserve pool. After a few hours the birds shifted position and started feeding in better light giving very satisfactory scope views from our new viewing position atop a grass mound outside the reserve centre.
Also, present were 3 Little Egrets in a Heronry across the estuary. One pair had bred this year.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Semipalmated Sandpiper - Cleveland, UK - 6th July 2006.

Following events on my local patch in July 2004, which saw me misidentify a one-day-wonder Semi-p, without doubt the biggest ornithological trauma/catastrophe in my 25 years as a serious birder, I simply had to drop everything upon the release of news of this bird at Back Saltholme Pool and drive to see it.

Great views of the bird, which allowed scope views 'down to the webs' invitably brought back extremely painful memories of the Brockholes Quarry bird (which if i am honest have never- ever gone away) compounding the fact that on that fateful day in July 2004 I know I could and should have done better!.... will someone kindly invent a time machine, please! - This psycological torture has to stop one day, surely!

Having said all that, the overwhelming emotion upon leaving the site was one of happiness that had i made the effort to see the Saltholme Semi-p, a very necessary penance.

Other birds seen at Back Saltholme Pool included, 1st summer Little Gull, LRP and 3-4 vocal Yellow Wagtail.

Afterwards a look off Hartlepool Headland produced plenty of Kittiwake, Gannet, Guillemot, 4 Eider and several Manx Shearwater on the sea, followed by a visit to a favourite site of mine, South Gare, with best birds here being 2+ Arctic Skua harrassing the good numbers of Common Terns, and lesser numbers of Sandwich Terns offshore.

Finally, a visit to a Nightjar site fortunately coincided with a ringing session, in which a 2nd calendar year male was mist-netted. The bird was aged by moult contrast between the inner and outer secondaries. What a lucky bonus to have the opportunity to study this facinating species close up. Other birds at the site included juv Long-eared Owl calling and 2 roding Woodcock.