Saturday, 27 September 2014

Mipits arriving

5 hours on the patch today; best was a big group of Meadow Pipits numbering around 200 on the stubble fields north of Meering, with a separate flock of c.130 Skylark taking up from another field; probably the biggest groups of both I've seen in Notts. Warbler numbers were up a bit on the patch since last visit, with at least 12 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcaps and a Whitethroat in evidence, along with a couple of Goldcrests. Three Swallows which moved through Ferry Lane Lake were my only hirundines of the day. Waders were as disappointing as ever, with one Curlew on the Silt Lagoon and one Common Sand on Ferry Lane Lake, although a group of around 150 Golden Plovers wheeled around over the Silt Lagoon and Mons for a while, but wouldn't land; that American Golden Plover will have to wait for another day.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Lots of Lesser Backs

Unfortunately tonight's patch visit was scuppered by shooters north of Mons Pool taking pots shots at overflying Greylags and sending all the birds scattering that had been present when I arrived. However, it appeared that the only waders present were 2 Curlew.

Ferry Lane Lake hosted lots of gulls - around 800 Lesser Black-backs, 3 adult Yellow-legs and a 2cy Herring. There may well have been a few more Herrings (or maybe something more interesting) amongst the young LBBGs, but the failing light was not conducive....

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Another wader dip

I had a text from Ken Lomas mid afternoon to say he'd found a juvenile Curlew Sand on Mons Pool. I got down there after work, but unfortunately there was no sign... just a couple of Ringed Plovers. So Curlew Sand joins Wood Sand and Little Stint on the list of decent waders I've missed on the patch this year...

Sunday, 21 September 2014

No coast today

I bumped into Mark Dawson at Collingham Pits this afternoon, and together we birded Mons Pool, which held single Greenshank, Green Sand and Dunlin, at least 3 Snipe, 4 eclipse drake Pintail, a Hobby and 2 Turtle Doves. The Silt Lagoon produced 4 Curlew and 33 Wigeon, with another 5 Wigeon on Ferry Lane Lake along with 60 Pochard.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

OBP at Gib

Another trip to the Lincs coast today, this time with Carl C. We headed straight for Gib for the Olive-backed Pipit; my third, but a new bird for Carl, although it took perseverance and was incredibly elusive. I had a wonder around whilst Carl was waiting for the pipit, seeing a couple of Brambling, c30 Siskin, and a Locustella - yes, probably a Gropper, but views were typically brief as it popped up in the bottom of a bush and then flicked across the road into some sea buckthorn, never to reappear...


We then made our way to Theddlethorpe, birding the dune scrub for several hours. We failed to find a Yellow-brow, or much else for that matter, having to make do with decked 3 Tree Pipits, and single Turtle Dove, Spotted Fly and Redstart, and small numbers of other migrants.

Tree Pipit

We'd decided not to head to Spurn after news broke of the Masked Shrike (sorry Carl) - I've already got one on my British List...

It's almost like Channel 5 knew...

Friday, 19 September 2014


I twitched the Bonxie at Hoveringham on the way home from work today; unfortunately I left my camera in the car, so had to make do with some camera-scoped shots...


For most of it's time it sat on the Sailing Lake, but it flew around a couple of times when I first arrived. It was an adult, and appeared to be in wing moult. A Notts tick for me - not an easy bird to catch up with.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Completing the trio

Yesterday I returned to Rimac on the Lincs coast. Despite promising-looking conditions, it again proved to be fairly quiet, with generally low numbers of the commoner passage migrants; it certainly didn't feel like there was something big hiding amongst them, but with the amount of cover at this site, there could've been anything out there. If there was, I didn't find it - the best I could find were single Spotted and Pied Flys to complete my flycatcher trio for the site. Garden Warbler, Jay and a few Bullfinches were also additions over Sunday. 

Spotted Fly
Pied Fly

I decided not to go the Theddlethorpe, instead calling in on the patch on the way home. Not much was going on there either - 2 Green Sands were the best waders. 

Sunday, 14 September 2014

RBF at Rimac

With winds forecast from the east, I had decided earlier in the week that I would head to the Lincs coast today. I've not done much birding there before, so had bought an OS map and done some scouring of Google Earth, eventually deciding that Rimac looked like a good spot, and would make a change from Donna Nook (which I think is relatively well-watched by Lincs standards). 

Arriving just after 7, the amount of scrub was more than somehow I was expecting; there was lots. I always struggle with strategy at sites like this - seaward side or landward side first? Work a small area thoroughly or cover as much ground as possible? I decided to walk down the seaward side of the dunes, but with only a narrow band of scrub viewable and quite a breeze, it was perhaps not too suprising that I didn't see very much. 

In fact, after two hours I hadn't seen much more than 2 Whitethroats and 1 Lesser Whitethroat (plus lots of Mipits and a Peregrine). Walking back up the path through the dunes, things began to pick up with 2 Turtle Doves and a male Brambling.

2 Turtle Doves

Some Goldcrests then made an appearance, with a couple of calling birds making me double back to have a closer look. And lucky they did, as I then heard a call I must confess I didn't recognise - a 'sfeet', vaguely Bullfinch-like. However, the bird that flew across didn't have a white rump, but did have a large white base to a dark tail... and there, sat in a hawthorn, was a Red-breasted Flycatcher!

First views of the RBF

I watched it over the next hour, managing some close views and decent photos (by my standard). A super little bird.

Walking up to Sea View Farm, I didn't see much more; another RBF had been found in the trees around the farm, but I didn't bother looking for it. I followed the dunes to their northern end, adding my only Blackcap of the day, but little else. So onwards to Theddlethorpe, another site I'd never been to before. What was intended to be a quick half-hour reccy turned into two more hours in the dune scrub - great looking habitat, but not much more than Lesser Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs were in evidence. However, with a day off tomorrow (thank you flexi-leave) and more easterlies forecast, I may well be heading back here very soon... 

Lots of lovely scrub

Saturday, 13 September 2014


With reports of Caspian Gulls from Spalford and Syerston recently, I wanted to get in on the action, so decided to check out Cotham Landfill. This is always a risk on a weekend when the tip isn't working, and of course, having battled down the overgrown path to get to where I view from, there were exactly 2 gulls visible. In fact, there were several hundred large gulls in the field opposite which was being ploughed, but as it's impossible to stop on this road and view them, I cut my losses and headed north...

After a look at Collingham Pits (more of which below) I visited the pig fields at Spalford. Having had a brief reccy here last week, I thought that the best way to see the gulls was to take the footpath across the old airfield where the pigs are. However, my map must be out of date as the path in fact diverted round the northern side - and all the gulls were to the south side. I couldn't work out where to see them from, so after having seen a Raven and Green Sand, I gave up here too; Spalford Pit held 50 Lesser Black-backs, but nothing more interesting.

Pig fields, minus gulls
Raven, being given grief by Jackdaws

At Mons Pool the juvenile islandica Black-wit was still present; I've realised this must be the same bird I keep seeing, possibly present since the 7th now, rather than different birds. The only other waders of note were a single Golden Plover over, calling, and 2 Curlew on the Silt Lagoon. There were more Meadow Pipits around than last visit, with 6 next to the Silt Lagoon and another 10 or so overhead, and Wigeon numbers were also up, with 30 present. I then spent some time working the hedges along Northcroft Lane, but they were quiet - deathly quiet in places - with single Chiffchaff, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, single Blackcap and Goldcrest.

Lots of geese, but no waders here...

Finally I tried Meering, where there was a Greenshank on the Eon Lagoon, plus 2 Yellow Wags and c.8 Meadow Pipits over. Again, the hedges and scrub were pretty quiet, with just 2 Chiffchaffs in evidence. However, I then checked an area at the southern end of The Fleet, where I'd seen Tree Sparrow about 5 years ago. None there today, but there were 2 Spotted Flycatchers - an adult and a juvenile, working up and down the hedge. A very useful Patchwork Challenge addition, and the first I've seen on the patch since 26 August last year. 

The Eon Lagoon with some nice marginal habitat..
Two Spotted Flys

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Yet another Black-wit!

Tonight on the patch, another Black-wit on Mons Pool. Can I have something different next time please...? No sign of yesterday's Red-crested Pochard, but there were a few more waders in the form of single Dunlin and Snipe, 2 Greenshank and 2+ Snipe. The gull roost on Ferry Lane Lake was rather small, but did hold an adult Yellow-legged Gull

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Mammal magic

Sometime my job has its perks, and today was one of those days - I spent the morning with the Nottinghamshire Dormouse Group at a woodland in north Notts, where dormice have recently been reintroduced, checking nest boxes. We found two dormice, both of which I handled; one was active, the second was torpid - 'cute' just doesn't do it justice...

On the way north, I did of course manage a quick patch visit. No notable waders, but my fist patch Red-crested Pochard of the year was on Mons Pool - bringing up 130 species for the year (and 156 points) for Patchwork Challenge. I'm currently lying in third position in the East Midlands minileague, behind Ian Cowgill at Lound and John Hopper at Hoveringham, so hopefully this will contribute to a maintenance of that position.

A rather back-lit Red-crested Pochard

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Another Black-wit

Another fairly fruitless patch visit this afternoon, taking in Mons Pool and Meering; the former held another juvenile islandica Black-wit and single Greenshank and Snipe plus a brief Hobby, whilst the latter also held a Greenshank. Not much else to report though. 


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Misty and autumnal

The patch was alive with Robins this morning; add in a 'hotspot' of Blackbirds on Northcroft Lane, 3 Jays and a few Skylarks and Meadow Pipits overhead, plus rather misty conditions, and it definitely felt rather autumnal. Which was rather exciting! But what with having an inland patch and all, there were no Barred Warblers or Wrynecks waiting to be found. And the only wader that wasn't a Lapwing was a Dunlin on Mons Pool.

This afternoon I did my WeBS count at Girton. Wildfowl numbers were unspectacular, and highlights were a Greenshank on North Pit, and 1cy Yellow-legged Gull with 120 Lesser Black-backs and 2 Herring Gulls (and adult and a 1cy). The Yellow-leg stood out, as not only was it white-headed but it had replaced all (or certainly most) of its juvenile mantle/scaps with 1st winter feathers, unlike all the other 1cy gulls present.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Weekday evenings

I hate the fact that the evenings are drawing in - it means that visits to the patch after work always have to be fairly cursory affairs, as has been the case tonight, and on Wednesday. Both visits were fairly uneventful; Wednesday produced a single Dunlin and 2 Curlew on Mons Pool, plus an adult Yellow-legged Gull, 180 Lesser Black-backs and 2 1cy Herring Gulls in the roost on Ferry Lane Lake.

Tonight saw 1 Greenshank, 3 Green Sands and 4 Snipe on Mons Pool. Having purchased Martin Garner's latest book and been reading about ageing Snipe (all set to find a Wilson's Snipe on Scilly next month), I can say that at least one of them was a 1cy - the others didn't show well enough though. Onto Ferry Lane Lake, and what was probably a second Greenshank called but didn't show, and the gull roost held c.1000 Black-headed Gulls, 300 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 2 1cy Herring Gulls, and 3 Yellow-legged Gulls - 2 adults and a nice 2cy. 

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Roosting Yellow-legs

I bumped into Carl at Mons Pool tonight; he'd beaten me to the site and had had Ruff, 2 Greenshank and 3 Green Sands; both Greenshank and one of the Green Sands reappeared for my, and I didn't bother tracking the Ruff down, instead discussing our respective pelagic experiences of the summer (Carl having been to Scilly). He also drew my attention to an entry in the log bog in the hide, for a Little Stint seen at Mons Pool on 26th August... another scarce wader record from the site that doesn't seem to have been released at the time. After Carl departed I had a look at the gull roost on Ferry Lane Lake; c.50 Lesser Black-backs, 2 juv Herring Gulls and 2 adult Yellow-legs; still no Caspian Gull!

Monday, 1 September 2014

Patch tick GWE

Having missed my patch's first Great White Egret about thre weeks ago when I was in Madeira, I was pleased to get a text from Steve Dunn today about a GWE (presumably the same one) having just been reported at Mons Pool by RBA. He got it for his Notts yearlist fairly swiftly, gripping me off with some nice pictures. Fortunately it lingered until this evening, still at Mons Pool, twice being chased by a Grey Heron before flying off at 1845, and appearing to go to roost on Heron Island. It appeared to be an adult, with the vestiges of its breeding plumes visible.

Aside from the GWE, the site hosted 1 Ruff, 1 Greenshank, 7 Curlew, 2 Common Sands and a Green Sand. However, things were not helped by some shooters on the river, taking pot shots at overflying geese (getting two) and ducks (missing three) and causing lots of disturbance. I spoke to one of them and he was actually a nice chap and we shared some common ground; but I hope they don't make this a regular thing. On the passerine front, a few Meadow Pipits flew over, as did a couple of flurries of Swallows, with groups of 50 and 70 heading S/SE. 

Weekend wanderings

Two patch visits at the weekend - the first was on Saturday with my mate Dave; I was returning the favour from June when he took me round several bird-filled sites on Merseyside by showing some equally bird-filled sites on my patch. In fact we hit it lucky at Mons; I was just talking about finding a Pied Fly or Redstart along the footpath up the western boundary when a Redstart flew across - a male. There was nothing else much though -  1 Ruff, 1 Green Sand, 2 Curlew and a Dunlin. Meering held a solitary Greenshank.

Sunday, and I had a brief, obscured, tail-end view of what was almost certainly another (or the same) Redstart on Northcroft Lane, but I couldn't relocate it. There was a good little selection of warblers in the hedgerows here, plus my first patch Goldcrests of the autumn (3). The only waders were 4 Curlew and a Green Sand