Friday, 27 October 2017

Half Term Birding- October 2017

Jayne and I have been away for a few days, visiting Pitlochry in Scotland, Musselburgh Lagoons near Edinburgh, Stag Rocks at Bamburgh, East Chevington Nature Reserve and St Mary's Island in Northumberland.

Our first stop this week was Pitlochry in Scotland, where we enjoyed 3 days. Whilst there we managed to catch up with some beautiful Red Squirrels on the Blair Atholl estate. We also visited the Scottish Wildlife Trust's Loch of Lowes reserve, where we saw many Goldeneye, Mallard, a couple of Mute Swans and many different woodland birds (Great, Blue and Coal Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Chaffinch). European Beavers are now resident here. We didn't see them on this visit, but there was evidence of their activity, with many half-felled trees.

After Pitlochry, we drove down to Northumberland via The Kelpies in Grangemouth and Musselburgh Lagoons near Edinburgh, where we found a Spotted Redshank (year tick).

Our first site in Northumberland was Budle Bay where we saw Shelduck, Redshank, Curlew, Mallard, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Wigeon, Teal, Black-headed, Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls.

Next stop was Stag Rocks at Bamburgh, where we had great views of Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Redshank, , Oystercatchers, Turnstones and Purple Sandpipers.

Purple Sandpiper

Yesterday's visits started with East Chevington NR. We visited this site to see a Shorelark (year tick) that had been reported on the beach at Chibburn Mouth. We got lucky, and found the bird after just 10 minutes (my first since 2003!!). Also present were c. 100 Twite.


Our last stop was St Mary's Island in Whitley Bay. The tide was out, as were the day trippers, so the birds were far and few between, but we did see 4 Ringed Plover, Lapwing (100+), Golden Plover (c.100), Turnstone, Redshank, Curlew, Black-headed and Herring Gull.


Year List update:
192: Spotted Redshank
193: Shorelark

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Linacre Ringing - 15th October 2017

It wasn't a great morning weather wise today, but we (Sorby Breck Ringing Group) managed to get out to Linacre for a few hours ringing.

It was quiet from the outset, but we still managed to ring 35 birds of 8 species, as follows: Dunnock 2/0, Robin 1/0, Goldcrest 15/1, Long-tailed Tit 1/2, Coal Tit 1/0, Blue Tit 5/1, Great Tit 4/1, Nuthatch 0/1.

Long-tailed Tit

Other birds seen/heard during the morning included Tawny Owl (heard on arrival), Jay, Redwing (c.30 over), Grey Heron (1 heard) and Mistle Thrush (1 over). A flyby Red Admiral butterfly was also seen briefly.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Linacre WeBS - 8th October 2017

I was out ringing this am, so this month's WeBS count took place in the afternoon (1pm to 3pm). Like last week's walk, it was quite quiet, but I did see my first Black-headed Gulls on the winter, with 17 present on the bottom reservoir. Another good record was an adult Little Grebe (my first Linacre record since 18th February 2017), that was fishing on the middle reservoir. Other birds recorded this month were: Mallard (52), Tufted Duck (27), Moorhen (12; 6 juveniles and 6 adults), Coot ( 2 adults) and Mandarin Duck (18).

Tufted Duck

Birds heard in the woodlands were: Jay, Robin, Long-tailed Tit and Great-spotted Woodpecker.

The sun was out when I arrived, and it was 15 degrees, so I checked the ivy bushes where I found a tatty looking Red Admiral butterfly feeding along with dozens of Common Wasps. 2 Fly Agaric fungi were also seen.

Red Admiral and Common Wasp

Fly Agaric

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Year List Update - 7th October 2017

I haven't update  my 2017 "Year List" since August.  There haven't been too many additions since then, but I have added Short-eared Owl (1 spotted in the Peak District in August, at a potential breeding site), Ring-necked Parakeet (dozens seen in Vondel Park, Amsterdam in August) and Grey Phalarope ( at Worsborough Reservoir near Barnsley on 7th October, my first since 2008).

Ring-necked Parakeet

Grey Phalarope

Today, Jayne and I had a few hours at RSPB Frampton Marsh in Lincolnshire and managed to spot a few new species, namely Little Stint (4+), Curlew Sandpiper (2), Pintail (5) and Dark-bellied Brent Goose (200+).  Other birds present were: Black-tailed Godwit (100+), Ruff (1 seen), Dunlin (20+), Redshank (10+), Golden Plover (20+), Little Egret (10+), Grey Heron (1), Teal (100s), Wigeon (100), Shelduck (5), Shoveler (4), Black-headed and Herring Gull, Mute Swan (5), Whooper Swan (1), Canada Goose (100+), House Martin (1), Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon (1 large female eating something on the ground from East Hide), Tree and House Sparrow, Starling (30+), Magpie, Linnet and Goldfinch.

Year List update:
185 – Short-eared Owl
186 – Ring-necked Parakeet
187 – Grey Phalarope
188 – Little Stint
189 – Curlew Sandpiper
190 – Pintail
191 – Brent Goose (Dark-bellied)

Monday, 2 October 2017

Linacre Sightings - 1st October 2017

I'm afraid to say that I haven't been for a walk around Linacre since 1st September, so, with a few spare hours and some nice weather yesterday afternoon, Jayne and I had a quick walk around all three reservoirs.

The woods themselves were quite quiet, with just a few tits, a singing Robin, a few Blackbirds and a couple of Grey Squirrels for company. Out on the water there were a few wildfowl about, namely: Mallard (50), Mandarin Duck (47), Great-crested Grebe (3; 1 adult and 2 stripy- headed juveniles), Tufted Duck (23), Moorhen (10; 7 adults and 3 well grown juveniles), Cormorant (2) and 1 Grey Wagtail. Surprisingly, there weren't any Coots at all, very unusual!!

Great-crested Grebe (juvenile)

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Coal Aston Ringing- 30th September 2017

I was out yesterday morning with 3 other members of Sorby Breck Ringing Group at our farm site in Coal Aston. We had 3 hours on site and caught 23 birds of 7 species, including a re trap Blue Tit (details to follow).

Totals were: Blue Tit 10/1, Great Tit 4/0, Coal Tit 3/0, Wren 1/0, Dunnock 1/0 and Robin 2/0.

After the ringing session we put up a Barn Owl box on a tree on the farm. Barn Owls have been seen in the area, so hopefully we might see some interest later in the year. If not, I'm sure the local squirrels will love it!!

Barn Owl box