Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Images from Bardsey...

A huge thanks to Bardsey Bird Observatory who hosted their annual Young Birder's Trip last week, and which I was fortunate to attend. We had a great week on the island, and can't wait to return. A bit short of time, I haven't been able to write much about the week, but here's a selection of photos from the island...


Spotted Flycatcher

Wheatears - adult and juveniles.
Marsh Harrier - juvenile.
Grey Seals

There were plenty of Willow Warblers around, as well as smaller numbers of Chiffchaffs.

Manx Shearwaters - adult and chick, as well as a recording of the calls of some of the adults below...

Storm Petrels ringed overnight
Juvenile Herring Gull in front of the Welsh mainland

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Grayling Butterflies
Small Copper
Autumn Lady's Tresses Orchid

Personally, my highlight of the week were the daily sightings of Risso's Dolphins, including a great display at sunset on the 6th. The above video really fails to do that display justice but it was the best I could get! Please view the video in HD at 1080p.

The Milky Way over the south end. Not the best photo!

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Summer images...

Red-necked Phalarope at Branton Gravel Pits
Unexpected Green-winged Teal through the heat haze at East Chevington!
Noctilucent clouds over Druridge Pools
And some from the Farnes earlier in the summer...



Grey Seals

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Hobby saves the day... again!

We were back on the patch again this morning for a few hours birding, and Druridge Pools definitely felt quieter than our other visits recently. There were still some common wader species on the coal road pools, but other than a Garganey and 16 Black-tailed Godwits, there wasn't much going on.

Thankfully, just as we were leaving my dad spotted a Hobby flying very low and quickly over the entrance, and it looped around once before heading south.  

Moving on, Chevington and Cresswell were also quiet with a Greenshank flying over Chevington being the best we could manage. 


Thursday, 31 May 2018

Getting quieter...

Yesterday morning we once again found ourselves on Holy Island, but the exciting birding of the last few days seemed to have come to an end. We spent the morning covering all of the main parts of the island, managing just a few Chiffchaffs and a Spotted Flycatcher, but the visit was saved when we got to the Snook car park and a first-summer Hobby flew past, giving us some fantastic views.

On the way back we called in at Druridge, where the Pectoral Sandpiper was still on the coal road flashes as well an adult summer Little Gull, a drake Garganey and the two Whooper Swans.

Little Gull
Pectoral Sandpiper (phonescoped)
Whooper Swans

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Cyprus - our final day of birding...

This afternoon I've finally had the chance to edit the last of my photos from Cyprus, taken on our last day's birding of the holiday (back on the 7th of April).

We spent the day around the Aphrodite Trail and the Baths of Aphrodite at the start of the Akamas Peninsular, and we managed a great selection of birds...

Of course the first birds we got on arrival were the Eastern Olivaceous Warblers which were not hard to find around the entrance to the caravan park. An Eastern Bonelli's Warbler was also calling and singing in the gully. An Isabelline Wheatear was the first we'd seen here, and when we reached the north end a stunning first-summer male Pallid Harrier flew over.

We next started the 7.5km round walk of the Aphrodite Trail. It led out across the scrubby hillsides, reaching the top of the hills and descending down the very steep cliffs. Cyprus Wheatears were the most obvious bird throughout, and we estimated seeing 15 on the walk. Serins were also in the upland woodlands, a bird which didn't seem very easy to see at lower altitudes.

When we reached the highest point of the hills, we picked up a falcon close to us, and were really surprised to see a pale morph Eleonora's Falcon - a lifer we thought we'd be much too early to get. 3 Masked Shrikes were also up here, and I finally managed to see Cretzschmar's Bunting with 2 singing males, which was the last of my targets.

Other sightings included a first-summer Steppe Buzzard, Hoopoe and our only Meadow Pipit of the trip, while the nearby Smygies Picnic Site gave us more Cyprus Wheatears and two day-calling Cyprus Scops Owls.

First-summer male Pallid Harrier

Eastern Olivaceous Warblers

Cretzschmar's Bunting

Masked Shrike
Steppe Buzzard
Isabelline Wheatear

Cyprus Wheatears
Eleonora's Falcon - very distant at this point!

Red-rumped Swallow
Eastern Bonelli's Warbler - call and song