Thursday 12 August 2021

Just a catch up

 Well it's been a while since I last posted anything - but that doesn't mean I've not been out and about - although probably not as much as i would have liked!...... 

Going back to when lockdown ended on March 29th 2021, John Hague, Dave Gray and I decided to go down to Exmouth in Devon to have a look at the Northern Mockingbird which had been frequenting people's gardens for quite some time. As soon as we got there, other birders directed us to where the bird was perched in what was apparently it's favourite tree, so it was quite an easy twitch to start us off!


Northern Mockingbird images

After we had had our fill of the Mockingbird, we continued on to Dawlish Countryside Park, as we'd been told Cirl Bunting was quite easy to see - and the information was correct! We had really great views of a handful of the birds

Cirl Bunting

We continued on again - this time to Aylesbeare Common RSPB Reserve, which is good for Dartford Warbler; after an hour or so, we found our quarry - but sadly, no images.

9th April was my next bird of note, when an adult Kittiwake was found at Groby Pool - about 3 miles from where I live.  It wasn't hard to find, as it was the only gull on the pool! - but a really good find, and nice bird to see.

Kittiwake Images

Still in April, (20th) and once again Dave, John and I decided to do another outing - but this time for a mammal in the shape of an Arctic Walrus, which, after visiting Ireland, had taken up residence on the slipway of the RNLI Lifeboat Station at Tenby in Wales. All I can say is what a magnificent animal! Since we've seen it, it has ventured as far south as France and Spain, but, as I write this blog, it has travelled back north again via the Scilly Isles, and is currently back in Ireland. Hopefully, the walrus - which has been nicknamed 'Wally'  - is heading in the right direction and will soon be back in the Arctic where he belongs.   Good luck, Wally!!!

Images of 'Wally' the Walrus

It was good to also see Purple Sandpiper and Turnstone on the slipway with 'Wally'; we also noted five Whimbrel flying over, a few Manx Shearwater and three Sandwich Tern along with one or two Guillemot and a couple of Rock Pipits.

We finished our day out at Seven Sister Falls for Dipper (again, no images)

Rock Pipit images

June was a fantastic month for me as I managed to get three new British ticks!

It all started on 6th June, when John Waters and I travelled to Ham Wall RSPB Reserve where a long-staying River Warbler had taken up residence. Once again, we had superb views of this bird - which never stopped singing - but sadly,  all of my images of it are on my phone -  and since I'm something of a technophobe, I haven't got a clue how to get them onto my laptop!!

The following afternoon, again, with John Waters and also Chris Hubbard, we travelled north to Blyth for a Red-necked Stint; it was distant, as it was feeding on the other side of the estuary - but we were advised by a local birder to bide our time, as it would fly to our side of the estuary as the tide came in. Thank goodness for local knowledge, as eventually, we had brilliant views but once again, the images are on my phone.......

My third tick on 30th June came in the shape of a Black-browed Albatross which was visiting the Gannet colony at Bempton Cliffs RSPB Reserve. 
I left in the morning at 'stupid o'clock', arriving at an almost-full car park around 4.30ish, after a 2.5 hour drive. I bumped into my mate Chris Hubbard at the viewing area, and together we waited for a couple of hours, before someone shouted those immortal words....'there it is!!!'  We had decent views, but it was always a long way off, and my images certainly don't do it justice. Some observers have been lucky to see the bird at a really close range..... Although  I've been lucky enough to see hundreds of these birds in and around The Beagle Channel, off the coast of Argentina,  it's still a thrill to see one flying around our coastline here in Britain.

Not very good images of Black-browed Albatross (but I hope you get the gist...)

Gannet image (especially for my wife, as it's one of her favourites)

And so to July.....  My good mate John Hague had yet to see Elegant Tern, as he missed the Pagham Harbour bird which I got to see, so 11th July I accompanied him to Cemlyn Bay, on the north-west coast of Anglesey, where one of these birds had taken up residence in amongst some Sandwich Terns.
It was probably a good hour before we finally had sight of the Elegant Tern, but there were so many other birds to enjoy that the time soon passed.  In the bay we saw a handful of Black Guillemot, Arctic, Common and Sandwich Tern going back and forth to the colony as they brought in food for their young; we also had a Peregrine disrupt the Tern colony and it had a go at two of the birds -  but left empty-taloned.  All in all, a great day out!

Elegant Tern

Elegant Tern

Arctic Tern feeding juvenile

Common Tern

Roseate Tern

Arctic Tern

Hopefully we can all still continue to enjoy the outdoors whilst staying safe as we move forward into this new 'normal' 

Stay safe please everyone, and as always, thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the post