Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Targeting Turtles

I spent an enjoyable couple of hours on the patch tonight with Craig Brookes, Rob Werran and Nick Shimwell. Our main quarry was Turtle Dove - a British tick for one of the three! After an uneventful look at Mons Pool (where the water levels are low, and there is plenty of exposed mud, but no passage waders again...), we headed round to Meering Marsh where we had a (silent) Cuckoo, Hobby (snatching a Linnet off the wires) and Turtle Dove - so a successful evening. 

Monday, 25 May 2015

Lady Yay

It's been hard going on the patch of late; I finally added Garden Warbler (they always seem a bit late into Collingham), but waders have been in very short supply - just a few Dunlin, Ringo's and the odd Common Sand; no Sanderling or anything else of note (although I did at least add the latter for my Notts yearlist with one at Holme Pierrepont). However, the Turtle Doves are back, which is (of course) very nice, with at least 3 territories across Collingham and Besthorpe.

So I thought I'd treat myself to a third try for the Lady Amherst's Pheasant down in Bedfordshire today... I arrived just before 6am, with the bird calling loudly from the main woodland area. It then moved off, and it became apparent it had moved across to the lower wood. So I settled in for the wait; it called frequently at first, and then more intermittently. It was difficult staying focussed on the small patch of grass visible on the ridge between the two woods, which I was expecting it to walk across, especially when having to look through chainlink fencing. And then, at bang on midday, it wandered across - Lady A in the bag! And it only took me 20 hours in the field, plus another 9 hours driving. 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Turtle Doves

I went out looking for Turtle Doves tonight, and was rewarded with a pair at a traditional location on my patch - unfortunately the second bird flew off just before I took the picture below! Anyway, great that they're back.

Elsewhere tonight, Mons Pool held just 2 Ringed Plovers. Where's my Sanderling?

Monday, 11 May 2015


Mons Pool held 7 Ringed Plovers and a Dunlin this morning - the latter also present last night with a single Ringed Plover. The best bird of the weekend, however, was a Spotted Flycatcher briefly along Northcroft Lane on Sunday - my first ever spring patch bird. There have been plenty of Swifts around of late too, with 300+ on Saturday and c.100 on Sunday. 

This afternoon, I went looking for Grizzled Skippers. Numbers were slightly disappointing, despite the warmth; however, the rather breezy conditions probably didn't help. Nevertheless, I found 4 at Staunton Quarry, 2 on the ramp at the southern end of the Cotham Sustrans route, and 1 at Cotham Station - but there I couldn't find any on the disused railway line between Cotham and Kilvington Lakes.

Thursday, 7 May 2015


Today was the first of my annual visits to Sherwood NNR to survey Redstarts - a highlight of my birding year, although perhaps a little late this time round... It was a fine morning, and in the end I logged at least 11 apparently occupied territories. Five Tree Pipits was a rather low total, but I was pleased with three Spotted Flycatchers. Other highlights included 2 Cuckoos and a pair of Mandarins. Several Siskin buzzed overhead, but no Crossbills. 

After work, a quick look at Mons Pool failed to deliver anything of note, so I bombed down to Kilvington in search of a Sanderling seen there this morning. After a long search, I decided that it had gone; single Greenshank and Dunlin were, however, present, along with 22 Yellow Wagtails (all flavissima...), at least 150 Swallows, and at least 80 Swifts that dropped in after a shower passed through. Three young Oystercatchers were also nice to see. 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

There they are

Whilst there were no notable waders at Mons Pool on Monday, a decent little party was found on Tuesday morning. Fortunately, I was out and about in my car, allowing me to swing by the site for my lunch break, bagging the 3 Turnstones, plus 6 Dunlin and at least 6 Ringed Plovers

Monday, 4 May 2015

Where are the waders

The only migrant wader at Mons Pool first thing this morning was a Common Sandpiper. In addition, 8 small wader sp flew north, rather distantly; all I could tell about them was that they didn't have black bellies. I suspect Ringed Plovers, but I'll never know. A calling Cuckoo was again present, but the Turtle Dove was silent.

Later in the morning, a nice walk at Kirton Wood to look at the bluebells and early purple orchids paid dividends with a Raven kronking over - a county yeartick, and a bird I'd been wondering where I was going to see!

Sunday, 3 May 2015


I could resist no longer, so went a-twitching this morning with John Ellis and Graham Gamidge, down to Somerset for the Hudsonian Godwit at Meare Heath. It showed well, although was asleep for much of the time we were there. Best was when it flew around with the Black-wit flock, as it was doing when we first arrived, when it showed off its underwing. Very nice too.

The supporting cast was pretty good too - a couple of Bitterns, Great White Egret, a pair of Garganey, 2+ Hobby, Water Rail, Cetti's Warbler, Marsh Harrier, Kingfisher, a couple of Ruff and 2 Whimbrel

Saturday, 2 May 2015

A few more migrants

Although I wasn't able to get to Meering on thursday to see the Whinchat, I did call into Holme Pierrepont en route to Grantham, hoping for some waders; whilst there were a few Dunlin and Ringed Plovers, best was in fact the 1st summer Little Gull on the A52 Pit. This had been seen the day before but I hadn't really considered that it would still be around, so a pleasant surprise.

Little Gull (left)

This morning at Collingham, there were loads of warblers around the site, but I still can't find a Garden Warbler there. It was also very nice to hear a Turtle Dove purring, albeit briefly, from the Northcroft Lane area, and a Cuckoo  calling away too. But no waders on Mons Pool!