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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Starling Roost at Maxey

Pre-roost Flight.
In excess of 20,000 Starlings roost regularly in the reed beds at the northern end of the most Westerly pit at Maxey.
A superb local spectacle

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Caribbean Islands

Please click on 'Caribbean Islands' in the Gallery section to see additional bird images

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Visit to the Isles of Scilly

Red-flanked Bluetail Twitch
A long way to go for a Song Thrush
Olive backed Pipit
Grey-cheeked Thrush
Common Snipe
Common Snipe
With a certain amount of trepidation I set out for my first ever trip to the Isles of Scilly; a seven hour train journey from Peterborough to Penzance. A Sociable plover and Grey cheeked Thrush had been reported for most of the preceding week. Will they still be there to initiate my visit to this Mecca of Birding locations?
After an overnight stay in Penzance and a quick nervous check to confirm that the Plover and Thrush were still in residence I embarked on a noisy helicopter crossing to Saint Mary’s. The Plover being in walking distance from my hotel in Hugh Town was first on the list to visit. I started out at a gentle pace which then accelerated through various stages until I was almost running the last few yards up Telegraph Road and there it was, the subject of my worries for the past week, a poorly looking, and hardly moving pinky buff-grey dot at the back of a grassy field. I forced myself to watch and study the poor specimen for thirty minutes or so to convince myself all the concern was worthwhile. The next day the Plover had disappeared. Had it recovered or succumbed to the forces of nature.
The next day a ferry to the island of St Angus was arranged to connect with the Grey-cheeked Thrush, the Olive-backed Pipit and the Blyth’s Reed Warbler. The viewing of these species and no doubt many others can be at times quite difficult because of the existence of very tall hedges and restricted viewing spaces. However in most cases some excellent monitoring and crowd organization by volunteers allowed most people time to witness the birds.
As we were leaving St Agnus a report came through of a Bobolink being seen. After ascertaining that the report was of a flyover we boarded the ferry. On arrival back at St Mary’s we came across numerous people who were due to return to St Agnus on a specially introduced ferry to see the Bobolink. Although we informed them that the bird had not stayed, they were not deterred and left for St Agnus which had apparently been renamed this season as God’s Island because it appeared to attract more good birds than the other islands. On arriving back at St Agnus a report came in of a Red- flanked Bluetail on St Mary’s; the island they had just left. This coupled with the knowledge that the Bobolink had not stayed warranted a quick return to St Mary’s for the Red- flanked Bluetail twitch . Oh the vagaries of birding, especially on Scilly.
Being a first timer on The Scilly Isles you are labeled as a Silly (Scilly) Virgin. However I was not made to feel in any way excluded. Most people were prepared to offer advice and exchange information on the whereabouts of reported species. In fact at times it appeared obligatory it stop whenever you met another person or group to pass on recent experiences. Although, by all accounts, the number of people visiting Scilly is down on past years I still felt that the Islands had been taken over by birders. Almost every corner turned presented a different population of birders. To be part of this family all with a common interest for an extended period of time was an unexpected but welcomed experience.
Apart from this constant verbal communication, information of new (birding) arrivals was impossible to miss. Telephones (some providers could not receive a constant signal on the Islands), pagers and the local walkie-talkie system ensured full coverage. Quick access to twitch sites is well catered for by the ability to put on special ferries and, on St Mary’s, an efficient cheap taxis service.
The normal place of entertainment in the evenings on St. Mary’s is the Scillonian club where food and drink is available and the daily birding log takes place. The atmosphere at this place is special being a continuance of the feeling of togetherness with a common cause which I felt during my meanderings around the islands. On one particular night an unreal atmosphere occurred. Not only was the normal bird log taking place but in the background, at either end of a not overlarge bar area, were two TV screens showing different Campion League football matches. One would think this would be chaotic enough but you then add two television crews filming an episode of ‘Three Men in a Boat’ with Griff Rhys Jones and Rory McGrath you get a completely bizarre occasion. To have been part of this evening was very special and, for me, emphasized the atmosphere on the Scilly Isles.
The week was completed with the addition of a Barred Warbler, Firecrest and Wilson’s Snipe before the long train Journey Home giving a total of five lifers and ninety species.
Would I go again? Most probably if only to experience again the friendly and extended family atmosphere. However next time I would consult a clairvoyant first to find out which would be the best week to go! The week after I returned a Snowy Owl visited the Islands

Monday, November 10, 2008

Steppe Grey Shrike

Steppe Grey Shrike at Gainthorpe Haven, Lincs.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Great Northern Diver

Juvenile Great Northern Diver at Grafham Water, Cambs. on 6th November 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Green Heron


First Winter Green Heron at West Hythe, Kent

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Carrion Crow

Also at Ferry Meadows, Peterborough were two Jays and four Snipe

Monday, October 06, 2008

Pelargic Cruise

Gannet Herring Gull. The highlight of the Pelargic Cruise into the North Sea off Flamborough Head were Four Great Skuas and close views of a flying Velvet Scoter

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Long-tailed Tit

Long-tailed Tits at Ferry Meadows on 19 Sept 08


Numerous Chiffchaff present at Ferry Meadows on 19 Sept 08

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Osprey at Eldernell Pits

Record Shot of Osprey at Eldernell Pit. Also Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Hobby and Water Rail

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit on Nene low wash



Ten Wheatear , one Whinchat and three Grey Wagtails on Nene low wash on Sat 23 August

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Record shot of Spoonbill from Peake Hide , Ferry Meadows on 5th August 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

All Change

Mute Swans at Woodwalton Fen, Peterborough

Monday, July 07, 2008

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Little Owl in Norfolk

A Little Owl watching over its Chick which had just been blown into a patch of Brambles by a sudden gust of wind

Nene Washes

Eldernell Washes produced two calling Corncrakes, one 200 yards West of the car park and the other 300 yards before Lord's Holt.
Low Washes showed a few drumming Snipe and the Black-tailed Godwits above

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Spotted Flycatcher at Elton

A single( I believe)Spotted Flycatcher in the church yard of Elton Church. favouring the Yew trees and Gravestones at the rear of the church