Monday, 25 February 2008

Mealy still a species 111

Although I seem to recall frequent stories that Mealy Redpoll is to be lumped again with Lesser, according to my latest BOU British birds list it is still a tick so today's elusive individual on Waters' Edge must take me up to 111 for the year. This bird was with 4-5 Lessers and looked stocky and very grey on the upperparts with a very worn greater covert bar but well streaked whitish underparts and a pretty thick streak on the undertail coverts; although I saw it about five times during the morning it was brilliant at disappearing and always seemed to appear where I was looking into the light; I took a few record pics against the light and looking up so they are not great but as it took off it revealed a bit of its rump pattern;

I have recorded Mealy Redpoll in five of the 15 years from 1993-2007 with the last 1 or 2 birds occurring in Feb-March 2006 when a fine Arctic Redpoll was also present--here's hoping!

Monday, 18 February 2008

110 up

a day dominated by fog did not seem likely to produce any new birds for the year but the hard frost had frozen many of the local pits and forced the wildfowl onto the Humber; a large flock of Wigeon and Gadwall drifting west with the tide held two pairs of Pintail and three rather odd looking white birds which on closer examination turned out to be swimming Avocets; not an unexpected tick in recent years with the high numbers now on the Humber but an odd sight in mid February 110

Sunday, 17 February 2008

on a roll BUT

another year list addition today in the form of a fine Short-eared Owl but a worrying trend is developing; the last three additions were all found by other birders which is not a good sign regarding my bird finding ability---thanks today to Andy alle alle the Evening Telegraph literary correspondent, for finding and texting the owl to me within seconds; no decent photos of today's bird so I have included a shot of a bird over the old tip on Feb 27th 2005 in a snow storm! Lots of goodies hanging on around the patch today, drake Smew, 2 Long-tailed Ducks, Red-throated Diver, 2 Marsh Harriers, 3+ Bitterns, 2 obliging Foxes (see Pewit) and a cacophany of Water Rails on a very chilly late evening vigil
the list reaches 109

Saturday, 16 February 2008

two white bird tick day

they could have been Gyr Falcon and Ivory Gull but this is Barton; a long photo session in the Far Ings hide produced a lot of Shoveler action plus the drake Smew, a Bittern and a passing Little Egret which even landed for about 20 minutes; although common enough on the Lincs coast they are still scarce enough on the patch to make this a good year tick; the first Barton record was not until 2000 and I had only seen the species in four of the years up to 2008; the second overdue encounter was with the adult Mediterranean Gull which has been making infrequent visits to the foreshore by the sailing pit. So 108 for the year.

Above the Little Egret at Far Ings this am and the drake Smew

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

first Feb tick

not exactly an unexpected or a difficult species to get but a sign of early spring the first Oystercatchers of the year appeared today on the shore by Chowder Ness; this site is now a manged retreat and has silted up fast producing the first patch Buff-breasted Sandpiper in July 2006; while it was being developed from the original set-aside fields the site produced a plethora of gulls including the first patch Caspians, up to 25 Meds, Yellow-legs and a possible Baltic Gull in the summer of 2006 as well as attracting breeding Red-veined Darters, the first patch record

So 106 for the year but no sign of any scarce grebes or geese

above is the first patch Caspian Gull photographed on Chowder Ness July 9th 2006

Saturday, 9 February 2008

sailing pit

predictably there have been no year list additions in the first nine days of February; the Smew has returned but without any Shags;

shown here is the sailing pit the largest of the clay pits and with most deep water; it has attracted a few divers and grebes over the years but it used to be quiet in the winter with sailing finishing in September until spring; now though windsurfing and sailing continue all year round and so disturbance is a major factor---the Red-throated Diver spends a lot of time on here but often flies off when chased by windsurfers; likewise the two Long-tailed Ducks do a lot of flying around when activity levels are high;

also shown here is the White-winged Black Tern which spent a lot of time during its stay on sailing pit in May 2005

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Feb 3rd

in spite of a search of all the local sheep and cattle fields there was no sign of any Cattle Egrets or the itinerant Glossy Ibis; an extended walk across a lrge area of stubble fields (only there due to the threat of industrial development) revealed a total lack of rare buntings and pipits but I managed to flush two Jack Snipe and found a new pair of Stonechat.

Our Smew seems to have moved across the Humber to Welton Water where there are also apparently two Shags; Shag is a mega rare bird on the patch recorded in only three years out of 15 , 1994, 1996 and 2002-------------the photo is the 2002 juv found first at New Holland where the photo was taken on October 24th it eventually flew west up to the patch--maybe the Smew will bring a Shag back with it?

Friday, 1 February 2008

County tick

OK so its not on the patch, may well have flown over it while I was away doing the kites, but as I only get an average of two new county birds per year this one is worthy of a quick mention; a glossy Glossy Ibis at Mogg's Eye (also worth mentioning just for the location) with a colour ring on the left tib and metal right tib looks as if it was ringed in the Coto but we are awaiting details---I was on site at 07:15hrs and had it in flight by 07:35----it is the first ever twitchable Glossy Ibis in Lincs with the most recent previous records being in 1975 (fly-by) and 1976

It was never very close when feeding but flew right over my head at first light