Friday, 29 April 2011
It wasn't long before I relocated a drake Garganey first seen by Bill Aspin first thing on No1 showing amazingly well (shame I was looking right into the light). Also present was a drake Greater Scaup at the back of No1
Monday, 25 April 2011
It wasn't long before I got my first views of the little lark in flight. It then landed on a gravel track which allowed very pleasing views of this stunning bird. Although, to a non-birder perhaps, it might come across as a plain brown bird, it is a lovely warm peachy/sandy brown overall with a pale belly. The rather conical bill and rather large eye give the bird a lovely face. All of which contribute to one of my favourite species. This is my second Short-toed Lark, with my first being on the Great Orme in 2006, when I also had my first Woodchat Shrike and Black Scoter...not a bad day!
Sunday, 24 April 2011
I made my way around the back of the reserve staying clear of the visitor centre to check the pools whilst they were still quiet. 12 LRP, 4 Ringed plover, 2 Redshank and a Common Sandpiper were all present on the island of no2
No! This is not a mass twitch!
There were guided walks throughout the whole day which seemed popular. I would estimate that there were at least 2000 people there today which, for a Brockholes regular from the pre-LWT days, was rather surreal.
I wanted to find something impressive for the wardens to show the crowds so I was scanning almost constantly. At 14.30 (6 hours after arriving) I spotted a distant Osprey flying north in the Ribble Valley, but sadly I was the only observer so couldn't show the masses!
I'm guessing the crowds will disperse, so it won't be quite so hectic in future visits, but as far as I can tell, this will only be a good thing for the site!
Saturday, 23 April 2011
We set off from Leeming Bar and just after we went through Bedale I noticed a bird on a telegraph wire down a farm track. My heart started going immediately as it was very enolgated with a long tail, slim body and long curved bill. It screamed Bee-eater! Not being in 'bird mode' I had left my Binoculars in the car so had to do my best to confirm it with the naked eye. Sadly this could not be done, so I nervously lost the bird to view and had to get off at the next station. 25 minutes later, I was on the return journey and looking at the telegraph wire. The bird had moved but I did see a bird above the sycamore which was the size of a thrush and was circling with a 'flap flap flap glide' flight. This had to be the same bird!
I finally got back to Leeming Bar and by 13.00, I was in the car with binoculars and found the farm track. Getting out of the car, I couldn't see anything but within 5 minutes, I heard (personally) the most reminiscently mediterranean of all calls. A lovely 'purring' Bee-eater! It was very high up and I could just see a circling black dot very high up. I lost it to view without seeing what direction it went, but the call was enough to fully confirm my first Bee-eater in Britain!
Description - Bee-eater Merops apiaster
Jizz (perched) - elongated 'thrush sized' bird with slim body, long tail and a medium lengthed down-curved bill. (Bird generally in silhouette, but pale throat/chin observed with naked eye from moving train)
Jizz in flight - slow circling bird with a 'flap flap flap glide' flight. Bird had relatively broad pointed wings appeared rather dusky underneath. Long fanned tail with longer central tail feathers (pointed), giving a generally slim appearance contrasting with broader wings. (Pale throat also evident in flight views)
Call - classic Bee-eater call with 3 energetic 'purring' calls heard overhead whilst circling high up.
Photo above - [NOT TAKEN IN BRITAIN!!] Bee-eater seen in Nort-east Spain, August 2008
A truly fantastic find and one species I really dreamed about seeing in 2011 at the start of the year. It's a great shame I wasn't able to get a record shot (mainly to help my case when I come to submit it!) but it shouldn't mask the joy a truly superb bird to see from a train!
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Meeting up with Bill Aspin who also managed to twitch the bird just in time, he said it did exactly what him and the other regulars had predicted, which was to drop in with the northernly migrating Lesser Black-backs.
A long overdue site first and a nice find by Pete Bainbridge and Robin Shenton. A nostalgic morning for myself too with the cycle and meeting up with regulars whom I haven't seen for sometime...it's good to be back where I belong!
Sunday, 10 April 2011
Saturday, 9 April 2011
Willow Warbler Female Linnet 2cy Wren Adult male Blackcap 13 Species - 9 Willow Warbler, 5 Bullfinch, 3 Wren, 3 Linnet, 3 Great Tit, 2 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Blue Tit, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Long-tailed tit, 1 Lesser Redpoll. Very bright ChiffchaffI was caught out by the above Chiffchaff as in the hand it initially was a classic Willow Warbler as it was very bright with an extensive Supercillium and with dark legs. It was not until we measured the wing at 56mm that we suddenly questioned it and double-checked the imarginations in the primaries to discover that the 6th Primary was imarginated (visible in the above picture) showing that it was in fact a Chiffchaff, albeit bright! Other birds heard/seen on site included 2 singing Grasshopper Warbler which equaled my earliest date (Equalling 09/04/2006's bird at the Heswall Alpine Swift twitch) as well as a steady 'chorus' of Lesser Redpoll over.
We had a second attempt this evening to try for the Linnet roost, but they were very scattered and we only managed to catch 2, as well as 5 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Song Thrush.