Thursday, 31 December 2015

Success at the tip

I finally caught up with the juv Glaucous Gull at Cotham Landfill this morning, which Mark Dawson had located first thing. It sparked a mini twitch, with Graham Gamidge and Tom Shields also showing up. A smart adult (or maybe 4th W) Yellow-legged Gull was also present, but no sign of any Caspos, despite there being plenty of gulls being around. 

Juv Glauc

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Bye to Suffolk, and back to Notts

I managed one further, brief, birding trip out in Suffolk, on 27th, in a third bid for Slavonian Grebes on the Stour; I managed to locate 2 off Holbrook Creek in much calmer (albeit rather misty) conditions. Yesterday, a family walk up at North Warren/Thorpeness was largely non-birding, but a quick peer at the geese produced several White-fronts amongst the Greylags and feral Barnies.

And today, it was back to Notts. I decided to ignore the patch and have a look at Cotham Landfill in the afternoon. No Glauc again (one was seen at Kilvington yesterday, and in the Hoveringham roost tonight), but there were 2 Caspian Gulls: a bird I initially aged as an adult, but with dark on at least one tertial this was presumably a 4th winter; and a nice 3rd winter.

3rd winter Caspian Gull
3W Caspo
3W Caspo

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Boxing Day birding

This morning we had a family walk on the Stour, down to Stutton Ness and along to Stutton Mill. There were literally no birds on the river from the ness; ok, there was one apiece of Goldeneye and Great crested Grebe, but that was it. Certainly no Slavs. There was more at Stutton Mill, with loads of Shelduck, a few Brents, roosting waders, and 3 Black Swans.

Black Swans...

After lunch I went over to Alton Water, deciding to check out the dam end first in hope of a diver. There were plenty of Great Crested Grebes, and amongst them, a Red-necked Grebe. Assuming its the same bird, this hasn't been seen/reported/looked for since 9th December. Maybe no-one goes to Alton any more?? A quick check of the Wonder /Larchwood produced nothing of note (with very few wildfowl present). 

Red-necked Grebe with a Great Crest

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas Eve

Another Christmas Eve, and another hike along the Stour and Orwell. It was hard going this year, with a strong south-westerly making scoping difficult, and the Stour very choppy. However, I located a Great Northern Diver between Stutton Ness and RHS, drifting upriver; presumably one of the birds that was on the Strand yesterday, given that only 2 were reported from there today. 

Grainy phonescoped GND

I recorded a total of 1305 Brent Geese; the bulk of these, 1050, were on Shotley Marshes. No Black Brants this year, and just 11 juveniles across all thirteen hundred birds - a worryingly low proportion!

Three of eleven juv Brents

Other stuff included a total of 10 Rock Pipits, an adult Med Gull at Shotley Marina, 2 each of Marsh Harrier and Buzzard, 4 Bar-wits in Erwarton Bay, and 29 Pintail in Holbrook Creek. Wader numbers included the usual stuff, but numbers seemed a bit low, and certainly the numbers of seaduck and grebes on the Stour were well down from usual, with just a handful of Goldeneye, two small groups of Mergs (totalling 11 birds) and few Great Crested Grebes (I couldn't see any Slavs, but conditions didn't help). I guess the mild weather hasn't helped on this front.

Med Gulls, the best of all the gulls

So, a bit disappointing when compared to recent years, but still fun. 

Dusk over Felixstowe

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Most of December

So, it's been a fairly quiet month on the patch. Best has been Jack Snipe, an addition for Patchwork Challenge, at Meering; one here on 13th was bettered by two in the same spot on the 22nd. Hopefully they'll stick into the New Year, as it would be good to get them early on in 2016...

Elsewhere, a quick look at Kilvington near the start of the month produced the redhead Smew, and on the same day (the 6th), 2 Short-eared Owls were hunting over rough grassland just south of Balderton, at the eastern end of Staple Lane (where the new Southern Link Road will join the A1).

I've also finally managed a couple of weekday visit to Cotham Landfill, on 21st and 22nd. Despite very low gull numbers for this time of year (only a couple of hundred Herring and GBB Gulls), 2 adult Caspian Gulls were present on the 21st, along with 2 Lesser Black-backs. I could't locate either of these the following day, but had brief views of what was probably a 3rd W Caspo; this promptly walked out of view, and then the whole lot were flushed and didn't return. 

And now I'm back in Suffolk for Christmas. Some leisurely birding on the Orwell with David Walsh produced not two, but three Great Northern Divers - a nice start!

GND no. 1
GND no. 2 and 3