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Anser Rare Breeding Birds Day Out, 12 July 2008

Male Ruff at Titchwell RSPB MJM

We left at 0500 from Whitminster, thanks to everyone for meeting here for a quick getaway. A very smooth hassle free run and a ten minute coffee stop and we were watching three Stone Curlew without the heathaze. A few Green Woopecker and Coal Tits were also noted. Fifteen minutes later at RSPB Lakenenheath we were walking out to the far watchpoint. Bearded Tits were very much on show, lots of bright juveniles gave us repeated views and a male dropped into a nest site five times while we watched. A Kingfisher was noted and best of all a food pass from the female Marsh Harrier to one of three juveniles was a joy to watch. The male was seen to begin with but had gone off hunting. Whilst this was going on a male Golden Oriole was singing and we got closer to it. I picked it up in the closest trees and got a scope on it but it did not stay in one place for me to get anyone else onto it. It sang for a prolonged period very close to us and gave views to three more of the group eventually moving deeper into the wood. A Cuckoo was singing and showing but a pair of magnificent Cranes stole the show with a close low level flypast. We gave it a further hour but the orioles sang but did not show.

An hour later and we arrived at Great Ryburgh Raptor Watchpoint, at least four Hobby, 2 Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk, a Marsh Harrier, 2 Buzzards and Yellowhammers were seen. We moved to Swanton Nover RP as rain had arrived to be told that two Honey Buzzard were on the wing before the rain and we arrived on site. It was still pleasing to see lots of Yellowhammer and Linnet plus Whitethroat. Again we waited but the sun would not shine over the wood so we gave up and went toward the N coast stopping to scan and succesfully find a female Montagu’s Harrier en-route with Marsh Harriers for comparison. At Titchwell RSPB the scrapes gave us 10 Ruff, 100+ Avocet, 3 Marsh Harriers, 3 Dunlin, 6+ Little Gulls, 40 Black-tailed Godwit and other common wetland species. The beach and sea was also good, 5 Eider, 2 Common Scoter, 40 feeding Little Terns, 20 Common Terns, 2 Manx Shearwater, Gannet, Sandwich Tern, Curlew, 12 Sanderling, Ringed Plover as well as flocks of Oystercatcher. About 85 species were seen during the day. Another hassle free run home and we were back at Whitminster by 9.30pm. Thank you to everyone who attended this successful day and for the emails and feedback post trip, it was also very enjoyable for us.

Avocet at Titchwell RSPB MJM

The birds were great but Jeremy Squire’s highlight was seeing the Union of South Africa steam past RSPB Lakenheath. Click on the link to see details of this loco.

Filed under: Trip Reports


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1-31 July 2008 sightings and blog

31 July 2008 The return of a Spotted Redshank was one WWT highlights for me today but the Gulls with McGill event in the evening was also noteworthy. 23 of us used the Safari rig as a mobile hide to search through the gulls. Although low numbers were recorded we did manage seven species which included a second summer and two adult non-breeding Mediterranean and 10-12 Yellow legged Gull. In addition three handsome Grey Plover and two Bar-tailed Godwit joined the gulls and two Ringed Plover and 3 Dunlin were also seen.

Wood Sandpiper juvenile MJM

30 July 2008 I had a look at Saul Warth again today where the same set of waders were present, I logged the juvenile Wood Sandpiper again, 5 Green Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 14 Dunlin (plus 50 on the estuary) a juvenile Little ringed Plover, 2 adult Ruff (male and female) and a flock of 37+ Black-tailed Godwit and 60 Redshank. At work at WWT my highlight was 3 Greenshank on the Top New Piece where I am currently cutting back vegetation to open of the Wigeon lawns for the winter.

29 July 2008 Check the link below for the extra birds seen today, a large Green Sandpiper count and 12 Yellow-legged Gull were the highlights.

probable Caspian Gull near Middle Point. MJM

27-28 July 2008 I saw a juvenile Wood Sandpiper with a juvenile Little-ringed Plover, 10 Green Sandpipers, a Greenshank and 20 Dunlin at Saul Warth this evening. A full list of sightings from work at WWT on the link. The Mediterranean Gulls were nice. I did not add the probable Caspian Gull that I have seen  two days running (image above) to the list as I have not had the chance to study it in too much detail as both times I have seen it I was running a WWT safari, heat haze is an added problem. I also forgot to add the Yellow Wagtail I saw over the Top Hut.

26 July 2008 A Red Kite over SE at 1110 adding another species to my garden list.

25 July 2008 A few passage waders noted locally today.

Barn Swallow MJM

24 July 2008 Another addition to my garden list was a Brown Hawker this afternoon. A quick 20 minute wander around my local ponds and 5 Emperor, 5 Black-tailed Skimmer, Ruddy and Common Darter and Kingfisher all seen. I caught a Swallow in the Holden Tower this morning and released it. A party of three Wigeon were among the large number of fledged and young waterbirds in the 100 Acre.

23 July 2008 I saw the Whinchats again plus a Scarce Chaser in the 100 Acre. The first Migrant Hawker was out over the 100 Acre.

22 July 2008 A full list of what I saw today can be seen on the WWT site. Just click the link. In addition I forgot to add 4 Whinchat in the 100 Acre and 4 Brown Hawker too.

White-legged Damselfly near Tewkesbury Gloucestershire MJM

21 July 2008 A visit to the Mythe on the R Severn for a family picnic where I logged 10 White-legged Damselfy, 2 Southern Hawker, a male Emperor, 20 Brown Hawker, Blue-tailed and Common Blue Damselfly, 2 Banded Demoiselle, 2 male Black-tailed Skimmer, 2 male and a female Scarce Chaser, 1 Common Darter and 1 unid drag sp.

19-20 July 2008 Two days of International Cricket for me and my partner Harriet at Headingley, Leeds, W Yorkshire for the 2nd test, England against SA. Anyone watching Sky or Five coverage would have been able to see me on TV as I was sat on the front row and even dropped a catch at one point (spill the ale or take a clean catch? It was during the Kids Kwik Cricket during the lunch interval). Two SA centurions took the game away from the home side but it was a good couple of days with Sunday being very interesting. Plenty of Swift over the ground. Thanks to Sarah and Jason for a great weekend.

Today at the Test.. Ben, Jason Battye and MJM with a mime presenting Ben with a Birtday Cake.

18 July 2008 An Emperor over the garden and Small Copper on the flowers were new additions to the garden list.

17 July 2008 Nothing to report.

16 July 2008 I spent the morning moving sedges to the new ditch near South Lake and the afternoon at Coombe Hill GWT and Ashleworth Ham GWT with Mike Smart, Dave Paynter, Jackie Birch, Les Brown and Jeremy Squire. We had a good walk around to look at management issues and habitat which resulted in a useful learning session for all. The high density of breeding Redstart at this lowland site is highly commendable and shows what is possible from wetland habitats. I think I may begin calling the Severn Redstarts ‘Wetstarts’, Little Egrets, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper and a number of Bullfinch were noted, very nice to see a healthy population of the latter. We also noted 1 Four-spot Chaser, 2 Southern Hawker, 20 Common Darter and a few Blue-tailed Damselfy.

15 July 2008 See WWT site for details.

14 July 2008 I did not do the rounds at WWT but a full list of what was about is on the WWT site. I spent the day translocating emergent wetland vegetation from the pool in the SE corner of the Tack Piece. This will inprove viewing and provide some mud and open edges hopefully attracting crakes/rails into the open. At least two Reed Bunting were in song here.

Oystercatcher, South Lake; make the most of them as they will all dissapear over the nest few weeks and not return until February.

Reed Warbler MJMcGill

13 July 2008 A couple of Landrover safari’s and a search of the Top New Piece provided some interest. The dropping levels had 2 adult Little ringed Plover, 19 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Redshank, 1 Green Sandpiper and a Common Sandpiper. Three Yellow-legged Gull,all adults were on the estuary.

12 July 2008 A full day spent in East Anglia, a trip report will appear on the relevant section.

9-11 July 2008 Rather dull reading as the showers have driven water levels up at WWT moving waders on and keeping me indoors during lunchtimes. Yesterday (10th) I spent a bit of time near Middle Point and saw 6 Common Sandpiper (plus one on the Dumbles scrape) 11 Dunlin and heard a Whimbrel.

8 July 2008 Best bird was a magnificent adult breeding plumaged Mediterranean Gull on South Lake when I had a quick look this morning. A Peregrine flew over the Rushy where I was working this afternoon.

7 July 2008 All of my and JSL’s sightings are on the WWT Slimbridge wildlife sightings page.

First summer Mediterranean Gull, WWT Slimbridge, South Lake MJM

1st summer Med Gull

6 July 2008 Another week at work and a good solid introduction to the return migration through the county yet the insects keep us firmly in the summer. At least two male and two female Scarce Chaser were by the 100 Acre viewing platform, my favourite the Broad-bodied Chaser was also represented with two males and a female (first I have seen on the reserve this year). 2 Four-spot Chaser, 20 Ruddy Darter and 10 Common Darter and 1 Black-tailed Skimmer were also here. A quick survey of part of the 100 Acre not visited this summer and c2000 Blue-tailed Damselfly and 200 Common Blue Damselfly, a few Azure were present. An Emperor was hunting the sea wall with more seen along the foreshore.

Scarce Chaser, WWT 100 Acre MJM

The birds were also very good, we compiled a good count of 24 Common Sandpiper (mostly along the foreshore), the Wood Sandpiper is still on site and new waders included an increase in Black-tailed Godwits to 35, an adult male and female Ruff in breeding plumage (also seen y’day), 7 Dunlin on the estuary with a Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel and more. A first summer Mediterranean Gull was on South Lake.

5 July 2008 I have not been out today as yet but Paul Taylor kindly reports seeing 1+ Scarce Chaser near the 100 Acre viewing platform this morning.

4 July 2008 No birding!

Wood Sandpiper at WWT Slimbridge, Holden Tower MJMcGill

Wood Sandpiper by Martin McGill

3 July 2008 The Wood Sandpiper was still at the Holden Tower, further arrivals of migrants around the WWT reserve was encouraging…3 Little-ringed Plover and a Dunlin were on the Top New Piece, 20 Green Sandpipers, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, 9 Yellow-legged Gulls, a Stonechat, 70 Sand Martin, 7 Little Egret were among the highlights. I did an evening Landrover safari where a 1st summer Mediterranean Gull flew past Middle Point, we finished at 1010 and the Jackdaw/Rook roost in the grounds was amazing as 1000,s of birds were involved. JSL saw three of the Scarce Chasers today.

2 July 2008 A Little ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin were on TNP at WWT. Rich and I darvic ringed 4 Black-headed Gull on South Lake, 8 were flying and six gave us the slip. More chicks have hatched and eggs are yet to hatch. Terry Grant found a Wood Sandpiper on the pool on the Dumbles this afternoon.

1 July 2008 I found 8 male Scarce Chasers around the 100 Acre with most on territories and showing mating markings. This is great news as it is a new species for the reserve. Best to look for feeding insects from the viewing platform or Green Lane ditch/gateways. Three pairs of Common Tern are nesting in the 100 Acre.

Painted Lady, South Lake WWT Slimbridge MJMcGill

Painted Lady by Martin McGill

Scarce Chaser, near the100 Acre viewing platform, WWT MJMcGill

Rich Hearn and I ringing Black-headed Gull pulli on South Lake

Filed under: Birdwatching Diary


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