Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Local birding: Brockholes Quarry - Grey Plover, Garganey & Med Gull - 27th May 2008

Above: Drake Garganey & male Grey Plover - Tony Disley.

A cracking afternoon on the patch with three quality species, all stunners. Also up to 9 Ringed Plover and 2 Common Tern briefly.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mountain Hare - Scotland - May 2008

Two of three Mountain Hares which gave me my best ever views of the species during a few days in Scotland recently.

North West Tour: Red-Backed Shrike, Whiskered Tern, Temmincks Stint - 18th May 2008

A whistle stop tour of SW Lancs, the Wirral and Cheshire in the company of John Wright, Mike Ainscough & Bill Berry saw us connect with three of the four target birds with the exception of a Red-rumped Swallow at Leasowe which departed less than an hour before our expected arrival time.
Above : Red-backed Shrike - Formby Mosses, M/side - 18th May 2008. This singing male, my first ever of this species in Lancs/Merseyside, showed well on a fenceline as it gorged on Bees to a small, but very appreciative crowd. A Quail sang from an adj field on a few occasions.

Above: Whiskered Tern - Inner Marsh Farm, Wirral - 18th May 2008.
Above: Garganey - Inner Marsh Farm. One of three drakes present at this superb reserve.
Below: 1st & 2nd summer Mediterranean Gulls - Inner Marsh Farm.
Above: Temmincks Stint - Frodsham N06 Tank, Cheshire - 18th May 2008.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Local birding: Glossy Ibis - Brockholes Quarry, Lancs - 1st May 2008.

The long staying Lancashire Glossy Ibis hasn't been seen on the local patch since 07:55hrs on 2nd October 2006, but whilst it remained on the Ribble marshes Brockholes regulars have always hoped it would visit the site again one day. However, it was still a major thrill/shock to find the bird perched on a rock at the eastern end of the Main Pool at 18:30, whilst on Whimbrel roost duty. And what a stunning bird it is nowadays in 2nd summer plumage.

The Ibis remained in the vicinity of the Main Pool for forty minutes from my arrival time but was constantly mobbed by a flock of c20 Black-headed Gull whenever it attempted to land out from the 2nd passing place, causing the bird to head upriver east of the site on two occasions between 18:45-19:10 before it thankfully returned to the Main Pool on both occasions allowing Tony Disley, the only Brockholes regular who missed the bird in 2006, to successfully twitch it.
However, at 19:10, after continued bombardment by the BHG's, the bird decided enough was enough and headed purposefully upriver, at least as far as Elston New Hall Farm on the north bank and Lower Hall Farm on the south side, cSD597317. Did this enter the ELOC recording area?
Whimbrel roost count duty then took over, but the Ibis was picked up again in flight, distantly upriver, briefly at 19:50, then at 20:20 the bird overflew the 2nd passing place delighting the Whimbrel observers present all to briefly as it continued SW over the site and was watched as it disappeared into the distance downstream. This was a disappointment as we thought there was a great chance the Ibis would have roosted onsite. Alas it was not to be.
Above: Black-headed Gulls give the Ibis a hard time over the Main Pool.
Lets hope it drops in again sometime! An absolute stonker of a bird!

Little Terns - Lower Foulridge Res, Lancs - 27th April 2008.

A remarkable day in an East Lancashire context with no less than THREE Little Tern passing through the site during the course of the day.

Black Grouse - Langdon Beck, Co. Durham - 16th April 2008.

A lovely morning in the North Pennines in the company of Tim & Janet Davie and Bill Berry produced 20+ Black Grouse, inc. 4 females, in the Langdon Beck area along with two Ring Ouzel and the sight & sound of displaying Curlew, Golden Plover, snipe and Lapwing. Absolutely Magical.

Above: Hawfinch - Sizergh Castle, Cumbria - 16th April 2008. This bird fed relatively unconcerned on the verges of a busy car park. Another two birds were seen in trees on adjacent farmland.