Sunday, 23 February 2014

Mystery Bird Quiz Week 14


Last weeks Mystery Bird was a very showy Nuthatch which I saw in Forge Valley.
Well done to Rob Stokes, Mark Lewis, Toby Carter, Mark Lucas, Findlay Wilde, Paul Hawkins, Rob and Paul for all getting the right answer. Unlucky to the people who guessed wrong but many thanks for having a go.

Here is this weeks new Mystery Bird.

I will reveal the answer next Saturday.
You are allowed as many guesses as you like plus thanks for having a go.

A Fantastic Few Days in Norfolk!

On Friday 21st of February we went to Norfolk for the weekend to hopefully see some amazing wildlife.

Day 1
On the way to Blakeney, Norfolk (the place where we were staying) we decided to stop of at Sculthorpe Moor to look for Bramblings. When we arrived we asked in the visitor centre to see if there was many around and they said "Yes"! So we decided to have a quick walk around the reserve looking for these fantastic birds. On the way we spotted a group of Egyptian Geese in a field! Although they were quite far away, they were still fantastic to see. As we were walking through the wood we spotted some feeders just ahead of us so we decided to watch them for a while and within a few mins we were enjoying great views of a stunning Brambling! We watched this amazing little bird for a while before it flew back through the wood. We also saw lots of Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Blackbird, Greenfinch and Goldfinch plus we saw a very showy Wren.

Egyptian Geese

Day 2
Today we decided to get up early and then go to Cley. When we first arrived I noticed lots of birds flying around in a field near the car park. Most of them were Meadow Pipit and Skylark but then we saw 2 cracking Stonechats land on a fence. We went over to get a better view and they allowed us to get really close to them. A few feet away at one point! It was really nice to get really close to these fantastic birds. After that great surprise we had a walk along the beach were we only managed to see a Turnstone.
After that we went over to RSPB Titchwell for the rest of the day. At Titchwell we got many great views of all kinds of birds such as Bar Tailed Godwit, Redshank, Sanderling, Turnstone, Pintail, Brent Geese, Marsh Harrier, Avocet and we also saw some distant Vlevet Scoter offshore with about 2,000 Common Scoter! We got great views of the Velvet Scoter through the scope. We had a very enjoyable time walking around Titchwell, it is a place I would definitely visit again.
Ringed Bar Tailed Godwit

Brent Goose


Day 3
Today we once again got up early to go to Cley again but sadly today we didn't see as much as we saw yesterday. We saw Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Marsh Harrier and Little Egret. The Little Egret showed quite well sitting in the middle of a small pool which we could get fairly close to.

Little Egret
Sadly this was our last day in Norfolk so we had to go back to check out of the hotel quite early. On the way back we decided to have a look in Edgefield for the Parrot Crossbills. We parked in the car park and then walked across the road to the area of where they had been sighted. We saw a lot of birders at the other end of the heath so we walked over there, on the way we saw a few Common Crossbills in the pine trees. When we reached the big group of birders we asked some people if they had seen them and they replied "yes they have been flying around the area for a while but we cant see them at the moment". While we were waiting there was a nice male Common Crossbill keeping us entertained at the top of one of the pine trees. After about 5mins of waiting we noticed a group of birds land on a dead tree in the middle of the heath. We got our bins on them and realised that it was the Parrot Crossbills! They are quite a bit different than Common Crossbill as they have a chunkier bill and they are also slightly bigger than common. We were really pleased to have seen and got good views of these brilliant birds. They stayed at the top of the dead tree for a good ten mins before flying around and landing in some pine trees were we got even better views!

Parrot Crossbills
After an amazing few days in Norfolk sadly we had to leave but its a place I will be definitely visiting again.  
Bird of the trip for me: Parrot Crossbills!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Wow... What a days birding!

Today our plan was to revisit the stunning Yellow Rumped Warbler in Durham, Shincliffe and then on the way back head of to RSPB Saltholme.

As we arrived at Whitwell Acres (the place where the Yellow Rumped Warbler was showing) we saw lots of the birders looking through their scopes and binoculars into the bushes so we picked up the pace. As we reached the huge group of birders we saw a bird fly out of the bushes and land on top of a roof. People then said that this was it so I quickly grabbed my camera to take a few shots, after I had took a few I then decided to spend the rest of the time watching this beautiful bird. It showed on the roof for a good few mins before flying round the back of the house. The Yellow Rumped Warbler eventually flew back to the bushes it was previously in and for about 5mins it showed very well sitting at the top of a tree just above the bushes.

Yellow Rumped Warbler
Afterwards we decided to head of to RSPB Saltholme for an hour or two. First we stopped of at Saltholme east to look for the 2 Long Tailed Ducks, we managed to pick up the birds on the far side of the lake, although very far away they were still great to see.When we arrived in the carpark we first decided to take a look in the Phil Stead Hide. On the lake outside the hide there was Little Egret, Shoveler, Mute Swan, Coot and Shelduck. We asked a man to see if there had been any Redpolls on the feeders outside the hide he said "yes I saw a few on them about 10mins ago". We decided to move over to where the feeders were and within about 5mins we were enjoying amazing views of 2 Lesser Redpolls! Both of them kept on coming onto the feeders very regularly and staying for quite a long time at some points. We found them very entertaining as they kept pushing all the other birds of the feeders.

Lesser Redpolls

Little Egret
After we decided to have a quick walk to the Saltholme Pools Hide before going back home. Around the hide there was Lapwing, Curlew, Canada Geese, Wigeon, Shoveler and Shelduck. We stayed in the hide for a while trying to pick up anything different but we couldn't so decided to go home after an awesome days birding!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Mystery Bird Quiz Week 13

Red Breasted Mergansers
Last weeks Mystery Bird was 2 Red Breasted Mergansers which I saw at Spurn. A very well done to Rob Stokes, Mark Lewis, Rob and Mark Lucas for getting the correct answer. Unlucky to the people who guessed the wrong answer but many thanks for having a go.
Here is this weeks new Mystery Bird.
Either leave your answer in the comments or DM me on twitter and I will reveal the answer next Saturday. Good Luck

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Yellow Rumped Warbler!

Today I woke up and waited for news on the stunning Yellow Rumped Warbler in Durham. News eventually came through saying that the bird was still showing well at Shincliffe down Whitwell Acres so we decided to go visit this awesome bird.

We parked up the car and walked down the road to a big group of birders with scopes, binoculars and cameras. When we reached the big group of birders we asked a man if it was here and he said "no, I think it hasn't been seen for a good 30mins". After we stood and watched in one particular area for a while but sadly no luck. There was tons of birds around, most of them were Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Blue Tit but there was an odd one or two Bullfinch about to. After about 30mins of standing in one particular spot we decided to walk up the road a little further to see if we could see much else.

The whole area was teaming with Goldfinch pretty much everywhere you looked you could see one! Up the road we didn't see much else apart from a few Coal Tit, Great Tit and Tree Sparrows. We looked down the road to see some people about half way up looking into some trees so we decided to walk over to see what they were looking at but sadly it wasn't the Yellow Rumped Warbler. After about 2 hours of looking we almost decided to give up hope. We had one last walk up the road to look for the Yellow Rumped Warbler.

Near the top of the road I saw a flock of Goldfinch fly up into the tops of some trees. I walked over to start scanning through. After I had scanned most of the flock I noticed something a little different in the middle of the tree. I got my camera on it and I was speechless... it was the Yellow Rumped Warbler!!! I had re-found the Yellow Rumped Warbler! I couldn't believe it! I shouted out I have got it! soon a few of the closer birders rushed over but sadly as they arrived it flew of. Although it flew of quite quickly I was extremely pleased to have seen it and got really good views of it. It is a very nice looking bird I really enjoyed watching it.

Yellow Rumped Warbler
Soon pretty much all of the birders moved to this end of the street. Quite a few of them were saying to me well done and stuff like that. I was really happy. Soon the Goldfinch flock came back and someone managed to pick it out right at the back of the tree! Someone then informed us that there was 3 Waxwings just round the corner so we moved on to find 3 cracking Waxwings sitting at the top of a tree! Occasionally they dropped down to feed on a small berry tree just beside the huge amount of birders.

After all the excitement sadly we had to go home but before we went we got one more glimpse of the Yellow Rumped Warbler! I am really glad we got the chance to go and see the Yellow Rumped warbler! (I could have stayed all day!)

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Mystery Bird Quiz Week 12

Barnacle Geese
Last weeks Mystery Bird was a Barnacle Goose were I saw about 20+ of them at RSPB Saltholme.
A very well done to Rob Stokes, Mark Lucas, Stuart Mundy, Mark Lewis and Rob for all getting the correct answer. Unlucky to the people who guessed wrong but thanks very much for having a go.
Here is this weeks new Mystery bird.
I will reveal the answer next Saturday.
You are aloud as many guesses as you like.
Good luck

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Garden Watch

I had just arrived home from my brothers football tournament so I just decided I would go up to my bedroom and watch the garden feeders for a bit.

My feeders are always usually being used by all the Goldfinch. I counted up to 8 on them at one point. Feeding on the floor below my feeders there was 5 Blackbirds, 4 Chaffinch, a Greenfinch and a cracking little Dunnock. After probably about 10mins of watching the feeders I spotted something a little different land on my bird table, I quickly grabbed my binoculars and then I focused on the bird table. I then shouted Blackcap!!! I couldn't believe it. This one was a stunning female, last year on my feeders I had a male. I was really pleased to have one back visiting my garden.


Blackcap and Goldfinch
The Blackcap came back quite a few times to feed along with Goldfinch, Chaffinch, House Sparrow and Collard Doves. After she flew of up into our apple tree but after about 2mins she came back down to feed of the bird table. Just a few seconds later another bird dropped down just beside her, I then picked up the binoculars, looked through them, and then realized it was another one!!! I just really couldn't believe it. This one was another female, after that they then both kept on coming down to feed together. A little while later they both flew of up into one of the trees. I was extremely pleased to now have 2 feeding in the garden!

Both of the Blackcaps
other birds in the garden included:
a Wren (first one in the garden for ages)
10 Blackbird
5 Chaffinch
2 House Sparrow
3 Collard Dove
Wood Pigeon
2 Dunnocks
15 Goldfinch
Blue Tit
Great Tit


Saturday, 1 February 2014

Mystery Bird Quiz Week 11

Red Necked Phalarope
last weeks Mystery Bird was a fantastic little Red Necked Phalarope which I saw at RSPB Fairburn Ings. A very well done to Rob Stokes, Mark Lucas, Mark Lewis, Jonny and Rob. Unlucky to those who guessed the wrong answer but thanks very much for trying.
Here is this weeks new Mystery Bird.
You are aloud as many guesses as you like.
I will reveal the answer next Saturday.
Good Luck