Monday, 20 May 2019

Broad-bill and Red-spots...

With such a quiet spring, we were pretty looking forward to Saturday and the promising weather charts. There's really only one place we go when the conditions look like they did - Holy Island.

We arrived on the island for around 7am, and started at Chare Ends. It was immediately apparent that the fall of common migrants we'd hoped for had not taken place, and in fact, we didn't see a single migrant for our first hour and a half on the island!

Things picked up when we got word of a Bluethroat at the Excavations. We were nearby so headed straight there. When we reached the area, the bird had gone to ground, but after a bit of searching, the male Red-spotted Bluethroat reappeared and showed nicely if briefly.

We continued on and made our way towards the Lough, picking up a Cuckoo and Spotted Flycatcher on the way. On reaching the bushes, a smart male Pied Flycatcher was sat on the fence along with a Redstart. Two showy Lesser Whitethroats were in the bushes by the hide.

The Crooked and Straight Lonnens provided a further Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and a couple of male Whinchats. It felt like there was more to be found so (unusually for us) we decided to stay on the island over the high tide and this proved to be a good decision!

Next, we decided to head to Snipe Point where another male Red-spotted Bluethroat had been found. This bird proved much more cooperative, giving superb views as it sang from a dead log on the beach and nearby dunes.

Just after we left this bird, we saw a message from RA about a Broad-billed Sandpiper he'd found on the north shore near the Snook. This is a bit of bogey bird for me having missed them at Druridge, Teesside and North Yorkshire so I got there as quickly as possible.

Having survived the 800 metre run across the sand, we arrived just in time to look through the finder's scope at the Broad-billed Sandpiper before all the waders started to move around with the incoming tide, and the Sandpiper disappeared. Over the next two and a half hours, it was looking unlikely that we would get any better views, but out of nowhere it appeared right in front of the three of us still scanning. We were treated to excellent and prolonged views down to just 15 metres at times  (it was so close we could identify it by the naked eye!!) before it took off and flew north, and it is yet to be seen again. A stunning end to an excellent day!

Broad-billed Sandpiper - video should be viewed in HD at 1080p

Red-spotted Bluethroat - stunning male at Snipe Point

Red-spotted Bluethroat - the other male at the Excavations. Notice the white streaking behind its left eye and much more intense orange breast band compared to the Excavations bird. 
Pied Flycatcher
Lesser Whitethroat
Whinchat - male.
Just a quick note, my A-levels are rapidly approaching so my blog updates may be a bit sparse over the next month or so. I do have plenty of photos from this spring to go through over the summer, which will appear on here at some point. These include more from Fuerteventura, Black-necked Grebes and butterflies from Yorkshire...

Saturday, 11 May 2019


Last night I finally found my first Garganey of the year with a drake at Druridge Pools. The Cattle Egret was still present along with 25 Black-tailed Godwits and a Whimbrel. At Hemscott Hill, two Yellow Wagtails and 5 Wheatear were in the field to the north.

I also managed to get a short sound recording of the Garganey calling...

Monday, 6 May 2019

Cattle Egret...

After years of hoping, Druridge finally produced a Cattle Egret this morning. Some nice, if distant, views were had as it fed among the cattle to the north of the pools...

Video should be viewed in HD at 1080p

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Dwarf Bittern

Taken at Barranco de Rio Cabras, Fuerteventura on 20th February - after dipping it on our first two visits we were very pleased to get in on our third!

Monday, 15 April 2019

Berthelot's Pipits

Taken at Los Molinos and near Vega de Rio Palmas, Fuerteventura on 20th and 22nd of February

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Common stuff...

A few photos of common birds from the patch recently...

Willow Warbler
Black-headed Gull
Bar-tailed Godwit

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Fuerteventura: Trumpeter Finches

We had some fantastic views of a pair of Trumpeter Finches at Los Molinos Reservoir during our Fuerteventura holiday. The male was particularly showy as it sang from the rocks...

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Patch catch-up...

In between increasing amounts of schoolwork and editing photos from Fuerteventura, we have managed a few visits to the patch. Back at the beginning of March it was extremely quiet, except for a drake Green-winged Teal at Druridge Pools.

Last weekend things were slowly starting to pick up with a first-winter Glaucous Gull north through Druridge Pools being the highlight. An Egyptian Goose was also near Linton Pond.

Today, we headed out hoping to get some hirundines in the deteriorating weather conditions and East Chevington we were a bit surprised not to find any. However, at Druridge Bay Country Park there were at least 60 Sand Martin.

Another 10 Sand Martin were at Druridge Pools and we walked along the coal road to find the adult Bewick's Swan still among 62 Whoopers. As we watched the swan, we picked up a Great White Egret flying towards us from the west and it appeared to land on the shore of the main pool. We rushed back to the hide and at first there was no sign, but my dad picked it up in the SW corner. Unfortunately the views were pretty poor but it was nice to finally find one for ourselves!

A Velvet Scoter and Sandwich Tern were offshore.

Bewick's Swan
Great White Egret
Green-winged Teal

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Fuerteventura: Pallid Swifts

In order to get my Fuerteventura photos onto my blog a bit quicker, I'm going to post a number of species posts about individual species from the last few days of our holiday in February.

Here's the first set, featuring photos of a showy group of 15+ Pallid Swifts over Las Parcelas, near Los Molinos Reservoir...

Pallid Swifts