Sunday, 23 October 2016

A last hurrah

I headed to Gibraltar Point in Lincs yesterday with Mark Dawson, a site I don't know very well, but which Mark does. To cut 8 hours of birding down to a few words, we didn't see very much - the east dunes were very quiet, and the west dunes and Sykes Farm weren't much better. We amassed about 5 Chiffs, a Blackcap, 4 Brambling, a few Goldcrest, Robins, Siskin, Redpoll, and Fieldfares; the only birds around in any number were Redwings. And that was about it! However, it was a useful orientation exercise. 

So, when we heard about a Red-flanked Bluetail just up the coast at Chapel Six Marshes, we decided to cut our losses and go and see it. This was to be Mark's third of the autumn (all in Lincs), but my first. We soon located it in the pine plantation south of the carpark, where Alex Lees and companion had found it earlier in the afternoon. It was extremely elusive, giving us a couple of brief looks and then disappearing, and I couldn't manage a photo of it. Chapel Six looks a great little site, compact and workable.  

As I am away next weekend in Herefordshire, unless this autumn's run continues into November, that may well have been my last birding trip of the autumn. However, I've got lots of ideas for birding the Lincs coast in 2017...

Friday, 21 October 2016

The big one-five-oh

At the start of this year, I set myself the target of finally breaking the 140 species barrier on the patch, after three years of falling just short. Today, I broke the 150 species barrier; a quick pre-work visit produced a Slavonian Grebe on Ferry Lane Lake. Not just new for the year, but a first for the site too. Very nice. This bird also puts me on 189 points... 

Slav Grebe

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Birding the Lincs coast

After the twitching excesses of Friday, I headed to the Lincs coast on Saturday in the vain hope of finding something for myself, beginning at Sea View Farm (Saltfleetby) and heading south through the dunes towards Theddlethorpe. During the day I saw 3 other birders, one of whom was Pete Leonard off of South Notts Ringing Group. We joined forces, eventually relocating to Trusthorpe as a bit of a reccy to check out the churchyard there (looks good - no Bluetail though).

There were plenty of birds around - lots of Redwing, Robins and Goldcrests, 49 Siskin, 14 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Brambling, several Fieldfare, 7 Stonechat, 12 Tree Sparrows, 9 Chiffchaffs, 1 Blackcap, 13 Swallows, 1 House Martin, 86 Pink-feet and 4 White-fronts. Best were 2 Firecrests and a Pied Fly. No Dusky Warblers though - and Spurn had a whopping 8! Crazy.

Firecrest at Rimac

Friday, 14 October 2016

Sibe Friday

Siberian Accentor - two words to get the pulse racing! Thanks to flexi-leave, I booked today off in order to see the bird that was found at Easington yesterday. After taking delivery of a washing machine (which, thankfully, arrived before 8am), I arrived at Easington just after 10, and had ticked off the Accentor soon after. Like the last tick I had at Spurn (the Great Snipe), it showed ludicrously well, down to just a few metres. Very nice indeed.

However, as nice as it was, it didn't give me the same sense of fulfilment that finding my own birds increasingly gives me (not that I'm very good at finding my own, but I try...). And what's all this congratulating that goes on on Twitter? All you've done is jump in a car and drive a few hours...

So after the Accentor, I couldn't face chasing off after Dusky/Radde's/Pallas's Warblers, Shrikes etc.., so I birded the cemetery at Easington, and then Marsh Lane (having seen that the carpark at Sammy's Point was rammed). The hedgerows and fields were dripping with birds - Redwings and Song Thurshes, 4-5 Ring Ouzels, 40-50 Brambling, loads of Robins and Goldcrests, Blackcaps and Chiffs, one apiece of Redstart and Willow Warbler, and a total of 67 Euro White-fronts (37 + 12 over south, plus 18 decked). Fun. I would've birded some more, but had to leave just after 2pm, having had another quick look at the Sibe Acc

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Patching either side of Shetland

What with spending two weeks on Unst at the end of September (of which more in another post, when I get round to it), I have been rather neglecting the patch of late - my last September visit was on 15th, and my first October visit was on 6th. The good news is I didn't miss to much in the interim - in fact a Curlew Sand on the Tuesday I was back was the worst miss of the period. 

My last few September visits involved bagging the Temminck's Stint at Mons Pool on the 9th (having dipped it on the 8th), when the Osprey and GWE were still present. The following day produced two Garganey there, with nothing of great note on the 15th.

The 6th of October was a productive visit. A party of Chaffinches in the field west of Ferry Lane Lake held two Brambling, my first of the year, whilst a Rock Pipit in the new workings was also new for the year, putting me on 149 species. The latter was still present on the 8th. A Greenshank was present today (9th), whilst small numbers of Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Song Thrush and Redwing are around, along with a female Marsh Harrier

Species 150 for the patch in 2016 is now my main focus; Mark Dawson has a Water Rail on Mons Pool tonight, which I couldn't relocate up to dusk... So I know what I'll be looking for next weekend!