Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Honey Buzzard

Nice few hours spent at Wykeham Forest raptor viewpoint in Yorkshire yesterday with the highlight being these views of a Honey Buzzard overhead. Lots of Goshawks too...

Honey Buzzard

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Icterine Warbler

A nice bonus on our week's break in the area...

Icterine Warbler - Filey, 29th July 2019

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Pacific Golden Plover on Holy Island...

When news emerged on Sunday evening about a probable Pacific Golden Plover on Holy Island we were keen to give it a go yesterday as it would be a lifer for both of us. We knew it probably wouldn't be an easy twitch, and in the end this proved to be correct!

We arrived just after the causeway cleared at around 09:30, and had a quick scan of Chare Ends where there wasn't a bird to be seen. Walking down the Crooked Lonnen we were only to see a large flock of Golden Plovers flying out of the fields and towards the shore. However, by the time we reached the rocks the birds had disappeared.

We continued to struggle to find any Golden Plovers through the rest of the morning and afternoon, and made the decision to stay in the island over high tide when the birds may congregate more. This also meant we were stuck on the island until 10pm!

After getting a snack in the village early evening, we decided to walk back down the Crooked Lonnen again as this we had seen a few Golden Plovers hidden among the rocks earlier on. This proved to be a good decision as we reached the end of the track to find a flock of 500+ sat on the shore.

We set up our scopes and quite quickly my dad got onto an interesting looking bird. It was smaller and longer-legged looking than the surrounding Eurasians, and over about half an hour we were able to get good views through the scopes, building up the various plumage and structural features to confirm the ID. I also took lots of video of the bird, revealing the crucial grey underwing coverts which helped to separate the moulting adult Pacific Golden Plover from the surrounding Eurasian Golden Plovers. Some of my best videograbs can be found below...

Other birds on the island included 3 Whimbrels and 2 Mediterranean Gulls.

Pacific Golden Plover with Eurasian Golden Plovers

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Sooty Tern!

This morning I was pretty relaxed when I got up, even when reports of a Sooty Tern moving north in Yorkshire started to emerge. I felt that even if it did make it to Northumberland then it wouldn't be until later in the day. However, the speed of the reports coming in from different locations perhaps suggested that the bird was moving faster than I expected.

Soon the report I was waiting for came through - it had been seen at Whitburn. I got straight into the car and set off to Newbiggin. The drive felt a lot longer than usual and I seemed to get stuck behind slow moving traffic for the whole journey, but thankfully I reached the small crowd at Church Point at around 10:50.

I had just enough time to set up my scope and have a couple of scans before, out of nowhere, the SOOTY TERN was flying in front of us at incredibly close range. The views were stunning and the bird unmistakable with its head pattern, bill and colouration being very striking.

By the time I had reached for my camera the bird was more distant so the photo below is pretty rubbish, with much better being taken by others when the bird was at its closest (these can be seen on Twitter). However, this was one of those moments when photos were an afterthought and I just enjoyed such an awesome view of a much wanted lifer!

Monday, 8 July 2019

Canary Islands Stonechats

Canary Islands Stonechats - taken at Barranco de Rio Cabras, Fuerteventura - 20th February 2019