Colins blog

Thursday, 24 June 2010

internet connection at last

Well I havnt died its just that we have recently moved into a house and it has been a nightmare getting connected to the internet at the moment I cannot upload photos as the conection is to slow ,so appologies for the lack of pictures.
Have quite a lot to report on recent birding tripsbut I would like to accompany with some of the pictures (record shots mainly) of what I have been seeing.
Among some of the recent birds I have ticked are
Turtle Dove
Temminck's stint
Pied Flycatcher
Stone Curlew
Bearded tit
lots of Marsh Harrier

Myself and Alan were at Lakenheath gazing into the poplar trees looking for a very loud Golden Oriel but we did not get to see it, whilst we were watching Bitterns were being very active behind us, flying low level and close, it was amazing.

Biggest news is the house move,I thought my moving days were over but my company were asked to take over the management of a quite succesfull pet shop that had fallen on hard times, So Jo is caretaker manager until we find a permanent person and I am to oversee the running of the shop whilst still running Natural World (one of the biggest pet stores in the country by the way lol) However this gorgeous farm house in the middle of nowhere comes with the Job (a dream for both Jo and I) so leaving my house in the charge of number 3 and number 4 son we are gradually moving our stuff over. I have started a new garden list which is as follows
Willow warbler
Chiff chaff
Yellow hammer
Tawny Owl (I need to get a closer view of this one)
Garden Warbler (possible)
Swallow (nesting in one of our stables)
song thrush
Mistle thrush

and this is in one week whilst eating breakfast in the conservatory - I am so lucky
However stress has took its toll with all the house moving and job change for poor old Jo as she was taken to hospital on Saturday with pleurasy, she seems to be doing better now. At the new shop we intend to set up a pets corner so we are in the process of learning all about emu's ,alpacka's, pigs, chickens, lambs etc etc, so as I approach 50 when I thought my days were winding down all of a sudden they are thrown into a hurricane and once again a new project looms

Monday, 10 May 2010

Nags Head,Symonds Yat and Highnam

Been looking forward to this one for some time.Alan and I had a trip down to Herefordshire. With the Sat Nav plugged in and an Ordnance Survey map resting on Alans lap who would of thought we could go wrong ..... Ill say no more.
First stop was cannop pond to try and get the Manderin, considering the pond is over a mile long we dropped on lucky as low and behold right in front of our eyes was not one but 5 Manderin


We then went on to the Nags Head nature reserve. We had a long trek, not knowing the best places but on our trek we came across Blackcap,Whitethroat,siskin,Chifchaff,GSw, and Garden Warbler

This is a picture of a GSW on the feeder at highnem

We also heard a wood warbler, I really wanted to get a pic of this one after last weeks fiasco but we stood listening to it for about 30 minutes but it would not show. It was soon forgot though as we stood and watched a pair of pied flycatchers, what a beautiful bird, shame i could not get any pictures.

Next it was Symonds Yat with some great views of a perergrine but the target bird was Goshawk but unfortunately no luck on this, we did however see a Saker Falcon, Nobody knows where it came from but it has been flying at Symonds for a few days now, no jesses or ring, so who knows.

We then went to highnem woods lots of birds but we did not see or hear our target bird, the Nightingale

Friday, 30 April 2010

wood warbler at the pool (now confirmed as a Willow )

I decided to go upto seeswood on Monday as it is prety quiet up there at the moment with the fishermen having a one month break. I wanted to get a decent picture of a Great Crested Grebe after seeing some fantastic shots that were took by Kevin. The Grebe was well off but I managed to get a couple of shots , not as good as Kevs but the best I have managed of this bird. For some reason I just cannot get it right with these. After reading another blog which pointed me in the direction of micro focusing adjustment on the canon50D, i did the neccersary work and low and behold my focusing was out, anyways I put it right - I think


I had a bird count of 30 species which is the best I have had from up the pool but I did not get the Ring Ouzel which was showing on Sunday. I had got settled in a bit of a bush where I was watching Willow Warbler and 2 male reed buntings when I noticed a movement in the top of a nearby bush. I thought it was a Willow Warbler but somehow it was a bit different. It wasnt moving as much as the willow warblers and it had some quite distinctive yellow patches with a bright white chest, a quick look in my book told me to look for a dark mark behind the eye a bit like a hook and if so I had a wood warbler, I managed to get a few record shots and I sent them off to John H who later replied and said he thought it was a wood warbler but would get it confirmed. He later confirmed it - so Thanks John and here are a few of the record shots I got

Cannot believe the ammount of interest this has caused, I thought the bird was a little different from the willows I had been watching so I tried to get the id confirmed - which it was but then after everyone has saw it has been id as a willow warbler - new mission now , to get a wood warbler up the pool lol

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Hooded Crow, Choughs 'n' Ravens

Well What a week,I had a 10 hour journey upto a scotish town called Hopeman which is very close to Inverness.We were only there for a couple of days on a visit to see my sister and her family and WOW what a place, so quiet and tranquil, cant wait to get back up there. Chris her husband is a rock climber and hopefully we are going to share a cottage for a few days in the west of Scotland, where I can go spotting and Chris can go Climbing.Whilst I was up there we did a bit of sight seeing and I had 2 hours birding with my little nephew Reece. He did take a picture of a thrush but I think I have deleted it by mistake so if you are reading this Reece, Sorry we will get another next time I come up. Birds I seen included Eider, Crossbill, Red Grouse, Curlew, Shellduck along with the usual waders

A couple of pictures from our trip



On Sunday I joined the mini bus with Nuneaton bird club and we were off to Great Orme North Wales, another long slog but well worth it. The sea was very calm and a lot of seabirds on the surface, just as we were getting to a viewing point an almighty sound sent all the birds out off the coast,seconds later a group of jet skiers came roaring across the bay, we cant really moan as the sea is for all to enjoy.However I werent so keen on them when Alan and I saw two skis deliberatly chasing cormorants.Initial birds were Cormorant, Shag,Gannet, Guillamot, Razor bill. On the rocks we saw Kittywake, Herring gull, GBB Gull and Fulmar but best of the lot was a hooded crow that flew over the bay.


Alan,Nick,Richard and I slogged our way upto the mid carpark where the rest of the group were waiting by the mini bus. As we got our snap out Alan told the rest of the group about Ring Ouzel that had been spotted at the top, so off they trogged up a very steep hill soon to be followed by us as soon as we had eaten. 5 minutes later a birder came to us and told us that we were in the best position to spot Ring Ouzel, Chough, and Wheatear and fair enough within 20 minutes or so we ticked all these birds along with Raven Meadow Pipit loads of jackdaw. I missed the sandwich tern and a perergrine but never mind plenty of time for me to get these.
A couple of record shots of the day




Monday, 12 April 2010

Draycote and Brandon

I picked Alan up on Sunday and decided that we would stay local and visit Brandon and Draycote. We wanted to catch some of the recent migrants and Alan was trying to teach me different bird song. Well I think I have mastered Chiff Chaff, Willow Warbler , Great Tit but wow what a mountain this is going to be.
We started off at Draycote and notched up 38 species including the Great Northern Diver, Black Cap, Willow Warbler and we were lucky enough to see a kestrel quite close

We also heard a green woodpecker (i think i will remember that one) and ChiffChaff but they remained elusive. Not many photo opportunities as most of the birds were too far but I did get a nice shot of a cormorant and a coot



As it approach dinner time Draycote was resembling Nuneaton Market on a Saturday and we were constantly looking over our shoulders to dodge the hordes of bikes that were charging round the reservoir. Time to head for Brandon.
Now then, trying to impress Alan and show that I didnt need a Sat Nav to get there, and I could find a quicker way round the backroads, the 5 miles or so that is the distance bhetween the 2 venues soon became 10 miles and we were close to setting the sat nav when we saw a sign - phewwww.
Although the birds were quiet we managed to increase a species total to 53 so not a bad tally for the day. When Alan showed me the iris colour of the little Ringed plover it convinced me that I needed a scope - so today I have been and invested in one - more back ache me thinks on these long treks we seem to get involved in.


some of the birds seen
great tit,blue tit, long tailed tit, yellow wagtail,pied wagtail,Redshank, Oyster Catcher, Little ringed plover,Golden Eye,Great Northern Diver,Black Cap,Willow Warbler,Chiff Chaff,Buzzard,Song thrush,lapwing,teal,tufted Duck,Mallard,Shovelar,Kestrel,Great Spotted Woodpecker,Gadwall,rook,c.crow

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Gibralta Point

I had a quick visit to Gibralta Point on Sunday and as I walked round There were one or two birds singing that I hadnt heard before, well I probably have but not noticed. One was a warbler which I thout was a Chiff Chaff which was later confirmed by John H as one of the eastern race thanks John


he was flitting about but I just couldnt get a shot without something in front of him.
I went onto the sand spit and there were lots of knot, dunlin, sanderling, curlew I sat there for about an hour just watching the waders. There were lots of skylarks about and I managed to snap one in flight


also there were a group of shellduck that took up


a couple of other pictures from the day




Friday, 26 March 2010

Great Yarmouth and Fritton

Sunday 21st March I was with Nuneaton Bird Club on a trip to Breydon Water. Masses and masses of birds but I needed a scope to take full advantage. It is great with the club as all the members are happy to show birds through there scopes. I always learn a bit more each time I go. On Breydon water we saw all the usual gulls along with Oyster Catcher,Redshank,Golden plover,pintail, wigeon and the beautiful grey plover. We moved on to Yarmouth beach where we spotted the gorgeous mediteranian gull, as we looked out to Scroby Sands Cormorants and Gannets were to be seen. I was looking at something else when a Black throated Diver flew through.
We then moved on to Fritton on the hunt for a rough legged buzzard.As we looked over this non descript field we saw 3 Short ear owls, a couple of Marsh harriers,buzzard, egyption geese, kestrel,sparrow hawk and a chinese water deer. It wasnt long before someone shouted out ring tail, this bird settled on a post when the scopes settled on it and it was obvious that it was a light headed buzzard of some description. We were all waiting to see whether this buzzard had a ring tail to prove it was a rough legged.2 hours later the bird still did not move, we came away amongst much discusion and whether it was a new tick for a lot of those there.Luckily a couple of other birders were there and about 30 minutes into a journey coming home somebody had a text saying R.L.B. confirmed. What an end to a great day. Loads of birds but unfortunatly no pictures - they were to far off