Sunday, 31 August 2014

Black Tern at Cropston

Earlier this week there was a Juvenile Black Tern reported at Cropston Reservoir not to far away from where I live, so on wednesday evening with nothing else better to do I thought that it was worth a visit to see if I could get any images. On arrival there were a few Common Terns perched at the water tower, and it wasn't long before I picked up the Black Tern feeding out in the middle of the Reservoir along with hundreds of Hirundines mostly Swallow and Sand Martins.Along the dam 3 Common Sandpipers were busy chasing each other about but I did manage to get a few Images, but the Tern was always to far out to get some really good images so the record shot below though cropped  is the best I got. In the couple of hours I was there 2 Raven and 6 Little Egret and 3 female Mandarins were also noted.
Juvenile Black Tern

Common Sandpiper

Common Sandpiper
As always hope you enjoyed your visit.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Migrants on the move

On Tuesday evening, a it was nice, being quite warm and with no wind, I gave my mate Pete a call to arrange to visit our local patch at Brascote GP. On arriving and checking the front pit,we saw that the 5 juvenile Gadwall were still present, as were the 2 Little Grebe; the flock of geese seemed to have expanded, with over 200 Canada Geese and 22 Greylag in with them.We then headed for the sallows pit, but as we were walking down the path, we noticed  two or three Long-tailed tits and with them was a Phylloscopus Warbler. We waited, and after a few minutes the Phylloscopus Warbler showed well, - and .....not just one Willow Warbler, but at least five were seen  in with a tit flock, which had a minimum of 28 Long-tailed tits, Blue and Great Tit, and a Chiffchaff;  these were just the birds that we were seeing -  more must have gone through unnoticed through the willows. Carrying on to the bottom track, the only other bird of note - though being a nice one - was a Hobby a nice couple of hours birding.

Long-tailed Tit

Scruffy looking Willow Warbler
Hope you have enjoyed your visit!!!!!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Penzance Pelagic

I was thinking to myself a few weeks ago about how short my British list of Petrels is, with only Storm and Leach's seen... and also only Manx and Balearic Shearwaters....but the thing is, I didn't want to go down to Pendeen or Porthgwara, on the Cornish coast, and sit there for hours.  I'm afraid I am not a big sea watcher, so imagine my surprise when Rare Bird Alert tweeted that a company in Penzance was running pelagic trips on every Saturday in August... so, after a few phone calls to friends, we were booked on the boat for the 9th of August! At stupid o'clock last Saturday morning, Steve James, Dave Gray, John Waters and myself  headed for Penzance for our 8 hour pelagic. In the previous few days, lots of the big Shearwaters had been seen from the mainland and from pelagic trips running from the Scilly Isles.... plus the winds were in our favour, so fingers crossed, we should see a few birds! After the compulsory 'full English' in the cafe on the harbour car park,(certainly recommend it) at just after 8.00am, we were off towards Wolf Rock Lighthouse, 8 miles from of Lands End. It wasn't long before some Common Dolphins were spotted, and there were quite a few big Gulls about - Great Blacked-backed and Herring Gulls mostly.
Great Blacked-back Gull
Herring Gull
The further we got out  we saw Fulmars skimming over a quite a  big sea swell, and also lots of Gannets in all sorts on plumage from juvenile through to stunning adults - then a shout went up - Sunfish and just a few 
meters from the boat, an Ocean Sunfish just gently floated by - one of 3 we saw during the day.
The strange and wonderful Ocean Sunfish

We had been out for a while, and were approaching Wolf Rock lighthouse, which is about 8 miles out from Land's End, so it was time to start 'chumming'. Paul and Martin - the guides on the boat - started to throw an evil concoction of fish remains, oil, and cornflakes - the latter floating on the sea, so the birds had something to see, once the slick started dispersing. First of all, the smell bought in large Gulls and Fulmars, then Steve called out 'Great Shearwater!' but the bird had landed on the water which made it difficult to pick up; however, it  soon took to the air, and flew around the boat for quite a while. Shortly after, the other big Shearwater - Cory's - made an appearance, but we did notice that the Cory's didn't linger - they just seemed to fly straight through. 
Great Shearwater
Great Shearwater
Great Shearwater
Great Shearwater
Cory's Shearwater
There were quite a few European Storm-Petrel seen, and also lots of Manx Shearwater - neither came close for any images - but sadly that elusive Wilson's Storm-petrel failed to show..... but that just gives us another excuse for another pelagic voyage!!! On our way back to port, a few Harbour Porpoise were seen, and we had a grand view of St Michaels' Mount - all in all, a great day out with 2 new additions to my British list

As always, I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog!