Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Shrike Week

19th Oct.

No sign of the Pallas's warbler this morning and quite a change in the amount of birds compared to yesterday although I found a wheatear near the beach huts plus a marsh harrier was good to see.


News of a great grey shrike at Shuart prompted me to go and have a look in the afternoon. It was not long before it could be seen in the fields to the east and it finally approached close enough to get some photos.


Returning to Seasalter, 2 sanderling were new for this winter and there were big numbers of swallows tracking west with c.100 resting on wires. However, hearing Marc Heath had seen the Dartford warblers at Shuart again I abandoned SS and went back to Shuart finally seeing them after about an hour's wait.  It was also nice to see c.12 grey partridges fly out of the next field, put up by the crop sprayer. 

 The Outfall at Seasalter

A distant Shot of Sanderling at SS

24th Oct.

Another visit to SS adding sparrowhawk to the month list plus 3 gadwall out on the sea. Swallows and a few house martins were still hanging about plus all the SS regulars.

Sun. 25th 

A merlin and a flock of 22 jackdaws were a surprise plus a very high common buzzard. As the tide started to recede 2 bar-tailed godwits came in quite close enabling a few photos.

 All Photos are of the Bar-tailed Godwits

I went to SBBOT hoping to see the SEOs and finally managed a poor photo.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

This Weekend

17th Oct

I just took a walk around the plots finding 2 redwings, a long-tailed tit, 1 swallow, 1 goldcrest plus a few chaffinches and reed buntings etc., seemed rather quiet, didn't stay long!

Brian Watmough reported a great grey shrike in bushes opposite the Sportsman PH at 11.00. It appears he was the only person to see it to my knowledge.

18th Oct

Driving down to the Sportsman I needed headlights, it was so dark, why bring the camera?  I was hoping to meet Geoff and saw his car so he must be around but walking up onto the wall he was nowhere in sight. Then I heard someone call my name several times, sounded like Geoff but I couldn't tell from what direction he was calling but finally I saw him appear from the chalet track. Clearly it looked important, but why not phone. However, yomping up to him he told me off a Pallas's warbler in the bush which I saw straight away but no camera with me, left it in the car. Another yomp back to the car for the camera plus a few phone calls to put the news out, Geoff's phone was charging up at home!  

Below are some poor shots taken in the dark damp conditions and at high ISOs.  Note that this bird does not appear to have any rings. Someone took a photo of it, or another, showing it to have a ring, and shown to Ray O'Reilly - two birds?

Plenty of other birds seen this morning inc. redpoll, siskin, brambling, grey wagtail, redwing, fieldfare, swallows, chiffchaff, goldcrests, long-tailed tits, blackcap, snipe, goldfinches, gannets and teal etc..

Sunday, 11 October 2015

This Weeks Highlights

5th Oct
First day back after holidays and nothing to excite at Seasalter just 3 goldcrests, 38 chaffinches, 1 swallow and the only photo was of a magpie landing on a post. I always find it difficult to get anywhere near close to these birds but I liked the spread wings of this individual.

A bit drizzly this morning but quite mild and the tide was out which was going to help with the wader list. Both godwits species were out on the mud, 26 black-tails and 72 bar-tails accompanied by c.750 dunlin and several grey plovers plus c.500 goldies just off the YC .....still no knot! From the outfall were 6 brents and 7 wigeon plus all the usual gulls and egrets and on the plots 2 cetti's, 1 blackcap, 2 stonechats, 1 green woodpecker and 3 skylarks.

An uneventful visit to Grove.

A trip to Swalecliffe to see the yellow-browed warbler proved fruitful with a supporting cast of grey wagtail, c.20 chiffs and blackcap etc.
Returned to Seasalter finding the plots virtually empty but found 3 greenfinches which seem to be becoming more frequent now.  At the Sportsman, I counted 205 in front of the chalets plus c.10 mipits, 1 chiff and 5 skylarks and as I was leaving a flock of 158 bar-tails, counted from my photograph! Also 1 common darter and a small white on the plots.

Meadow Pipits Plentiful
A beautiful morning finding 27 egrets, 8 g.c.grebes, c.1000 starling, 4 stonechats, c.40 goldfinches, 2 cetti's, 1 snipe and 19 teal and later when the tide had come up 1 juv. gannet.




The brent numbers had picked up considerably, c.3-4000 after another visit in the afternoon. During the morning there were flocks of c.100 coming in all the time during a seawatch.  Inland was quiet but a couple of redpolls made their presence known thanks to Geoff's ears plus a pheasant was new for the month. Coffee break on the bench was the most productive with red throated diver, grey wagtail, pomarine skua, gannet and 6 scoters! Back over the road a kingfisher kindly put in an appearance which finished of the morning. Another visit pm produced a wheatear near the YC plus a big flock of black-tailed godwits, lapwings and golden plover giving me a total of 60 sp.  Brents numbers had increased, maybe 4000 but after going through half of them I could not find any juveniles!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Majorca Revisited

Just back from a week in Puerto Pollensa, Majorca, its been a little over twenty years since I last visited and definitely a few changes to see.  It must have the best roads in the EU now, we took a c.40 km drive into the mountains one morning, the whole road surface renewed and not one pothole. It may have been because of the 'Majorcan Ironman' cycling race the previous week with still plenty of riders about causing havoc with the traffic on the many bends and hairpins, there must be many accidents. The rest of the roads we saw were all new, plenty of signs, so you don't get lost and nice to see no litter, a definite improvement.

Our first day was warm and fine but the wind was beginning to increase, the following four days were cloudy with very strong winds and rain, one night causing a lot of damage and flooding in parts. 

 Damage to the pool area after overnight storm

Plenty of rain!

However, between showers and wind I made a few trips up into the Boquer Valley finding redstarts, pied and spotted flycatchers virtually everyday also the odd firecrest, many sightings of blue rock thrush, a flock of c.50 crag martins, a daily booted eagle, Sardinians, one Balearic warbler, raven plus greenfinches, great tits, a couple of whitethroats plus a 'rare' lesser whitethroat which was seen by two other birders.

 Entrance to the Boquer Valley

The Boquer Valley, the one thing that has not changed.

Spotted Flycatchers

One of the c.50 Crag Martins

 Crag Martin

Booted Eagle

One morning we visited the Albufera Marsh meeting Dungeness birder, Tony Greenland. A short walk around produced 7 stone-curlews, lots of duck, egrets, several greenshanks, 4 ospreys plus a couple of red-knobbed coots etc..

 La Albufera

 The Main Channel

Red-knobbed Coot

The next morning we drove to Cala Millor in the pouring rain, a place we loved years ago, now looked almost rebuilt and unrecognizable. Although a seafront cafe we used to visit was still there plus some Audouin's Gulls on the beach.

Audouin's Gulls

Midway into the week the other half became ill with the tummy bug along with the rest of the hotel, I managed to avoid the extremes of it and managed to wander up to the Boquer Valley most days whilst recovery took place!  The last, but one day we managed to have a trip up to the Cuba Reservoir and saw a couple of black vultures but no luck with the Griffons (Bonelli's have been introduced also I was told, somewhere). 


Black Vulture

Our last day was spent around the seafront doing the touristy thing plus a visit to the town's little 'reserve' called La Gola, on the seafront. Not much more than an acre in size but I recorded kingfisher, wood warbler and a fan-tailed warbler.

 La Gola reserve

Fan-tailed Warbler (Zitting Cisticola)

The seafront was full of cafes etc. and full of  oldies in retirement, seemed an expensive area and house prices were a lot higher than the UK so it will not be a place for me!

 The Harbour Was Full of Boats

A quiet moment!