Sunday, 29 November 2015

The GND remains

Saturday, and I had a first look of the winter at Cotham Landfill. No tipping was taking place, which is always a killer; as a result, there were only a couple of hundred large gulls present, all GBBGs and Herrings; certainly no Glauc (which roosted again at Hoveringham, as it had the previous two nights), or any Caspos. A bit frustrating - a mid-week visit will need to be scheduled somehow... I spent the rest of Saturday, before a later afternoon hockey match, at Hawton Works Grassland. No SEO's, but a Woodcock, several Snipe, and 13 Grey Partridge

Today was spent on the patch; the highlight was the juv Great Northern Diver which dropped into Mons Pool from the East; it then cruised the channel to the south of the heronry island, but was typically elusive. This is doubtlessly last Friday/Saturday's bird, which has then gone undetected at the site until today! Unfortunately I failed to get picture today, despite it being nice and close at one point. Other stuff included a drake Pintail also on Mons Pool, but little else of note, at Collingham or Meering. 

Friday, 27 November 2015

The Marston Greenlands

Somehow, I have never seen a Greenland White-fronted Goose - until today, that is. I had the afternoon off work, so went home via Marston in Lincolnshire to catch up with the three birds that have been hanging out there with the Greylags. They showed nicely through the hedge, before flying a short distance south and appearing to drop into the scrape at the sewage works. Very nice too.

I then had a quick look at Kilvignton, where I couldn't find much, including the Smew that has been present the last couple of days. 

Saturday, 21 November 2015

GND on the patch

Having not visited the patch at all last weekend, I was looking forward to spending plenty of time down there this weekend - and even more so when Roger Bennett tweeted a picture of a Great Northern Diver on Ferry Lane Lake on Friday afternoon. A first for Collingham!

I got down there slightly later than planned (I blame my fourth jagerbomb last night...). When I arrived, I couldn't see the bird, and then found Roger and Mark Dawson also looking; Mark had seen it, but it had gone missing. We eventually tracked it down, but it was extremely elusive, hugging the shore and only surfacing for short periods. 

I then headed off, whilst Mark stayed a bit longer - seeing the diver take flight, head north, and drop into Mons Pool, where he found a group of 11 Whooper Swans (which I went to see later after a visit to Meering - 7 adults and 4 juvs). Other birds at Collingham included 5 Goosander, 6 Pintail, and a Peregrine on the pylons. A Green Sand was the only bird of note at Meering (no swans at all on Meering Fields or Smithy Marsh). I also popped up to Girton - plenty of wildfowl, but nothing of particular note. 

The GND puts me on 138 species for the patch in 2015... Just two more to reach my target! Tawny Owl will be one (I hope), but what else..?


I spent last weekend on the East Yorkshire coast just north of Bridlington, at Reighton with a load of mates. Had the trip been a month or so earlier I probably would have got in trouble for being out birding all the time, but as it was, I had a couple of quick looks at the sea off Reighton Gap, and that was it; best were 3 Great Northern Divers

On the Sunday, a House Martin was feeding along the cliffs in poor weather. It being a late bird (and me being an optimist), I racked my brain for features of 'eastern' House Martin (lagopodum). All I could remember was that the shape of the rump patch was one, but this bird definitely conformed to a regular House Martin - there are some pointers on Birding Frontiers

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Playing it cool

For some reason, I didn't go and seethe Crag Martin at Flamborough a couple of years ago, so have been feeling decidedly twitchy with one just an hour from home, in Chesterfield; I couldn't go on Sunday (news broke when I was out for lunch with my parents), and hadn't really entertained the idea that it would be located again yesterday (and had travelled to work on the bus).

So today, I planned a (necessary) site visit to Silverhill, allowing me to bag the Crag Martin soon after it was first seen this morning. The bird showed well for a period, hawking around the crooked spire, but it was a rapid thing and difficult to follow - hats off to those who have got considerably better pics than I managed. 

The locals were a bit bemused

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Gulls and patching

Earlier in the week I had another two attempts for the Azorean YLG in the roost at Kilvington, neither successful; it could, in fact, have roosted on either day, but as birds roost on both main pits, it's impossible to check both, especially as birds are still coming in at dusk. 

My birding this weekend was very limited as my parents were up to visit; the highlight on a quick look at Collingham yesterday (Saturday) was 10 Curlew on Ferry Lane Lake, whilst this afternoon (having decided not to go to Chesterfield to dip Crag Martin), I spent two hours at Collingham up to dusk, as my effort for Patchwork Challenge 'patch day'; I clocked up 51 species, but missed several that I would have expected to see with a bit more time - I reckon another 10 or so could've been added without too much effort, starting with Great Tit!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

No atlantis tonight

I knocked off work a bit early today in order to go look for the Azorean YLG at Kilvington, seen again yesterday. There were a handful of big gulls on the West Lake when I arrived, including an adult YLG, but not the bird in question. There were more big gulls on the East Lake, where I stayed until it was almost dark (the light was pretty bad even by 4.15pm due to the murky conditions). 

More and more gulls dropped in, and there must've been getting on for 800 Lesser Black-backs and Herrings as I left, with birds still dropping in. No atlantis, but a couple more YLGs, and a couple of LBBGs and HGs with neat hoods restricted to their heads. Returning to my car, I was a bit perplexed to see c.400 more big gulls on the West Lake, but by now it was way too dark to check them, so the target gull could have been present...

Aside from gulls, a Short-eared Owl appeared at dusk over the rough grassland west of the disused railway line (a Notts yeartick for me), a redhead Goosander was on the East Lake, and there were 4 Red-crested Pochard (2m, 2f) on West Lake.