Sunday, 18 July 2021

Elegant Tern in Wales






Had a bit of bad luck dipping on the Oriental Turtle Dove at Spurn a few weekends ago. This dip was made worse by an Elegant Tern appearing on Anglesey on the same day. I wasn't that worried about missing the Dove but a the Tern...

Last weekend we had family commitments so I was unable to make the dash to Wales but this big and beautiful Tern hung on for another weekend so yesterday Dad, Mike Weedon and I made the long drive to Cemlyn. 

With a heat wave hitting Britain, I decided we should leave as late as we dare in the day to enjoy the afternoon sun and avoid heat haze. However, the heat was pretty immense and the haze never really let up but the views were great; especially when it flew around our heads.

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Bedstraw Hawkmoth

 


Superb find in Hugh Wright's moth trap in Helpston, Cambs. 

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Black-browed Albatross at last


Black-browed Albatross is just about the dream for all birders. I remember growing up in the 1990's and seeing the photos of the Hermaness in Shetland, which had been present since the 1970's. The idea of seeing such an epic bird among our epic seabirds just seemed like a dream to me. But as a youth Shetland seemed an impossibility to get to and once this individual disappeared, this southern hemisphere species became sort after by a new generation of birders. 

But history can repeat itself and a new individual has been hanging around the North Sea since it first appeared on German island, Heligoland in 2014. It's made several visits to Britain during it's stay but all have been brief and last year I missed it by a day when it visited Bempton Cliffs for the second brief time. 

News earlier in the year of it's apparent demise at the claws of a gang of White-tailed Eagles obviously was shocking news and indeed it appeared to be true. That was until Monday, when it was sighted heading towards Bempton Cliffs! Tuesday it spent all day hanging around the area and came back into the cliffs to roost. 

A 2.45am start this morning with Dad saw us in situ by 5.30am but there was no sign. The crowd became increasingly restless until 7.30 when finally the shouts went up! For the rest of the morning we enjoyed some terrific and very special views, often at point blank range of this amazing, dream seabird. 

Frustrating to photograph, I never really got 'the' shots but the views were frankly epic and ones neither Dad or I will ever forget. 

A Black-browed Albatross in Britain, England no-less! A school boy dream realised. 







Absolute privilege to watch this bird for most of the morning. 
 

Black-browed Albatross fly by

 




We were blessed with some fantastic fly pasts, as it made several failed attempted to land among the Gannets. Unfortunately it wasn't very welcome at times in the air either, with the Herring Gulls often grabbing the Albatross' tail!

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Young Sparrowhawk on young Sparrow



Birding has been something of a challenge in the past month. Work has gone mental and not having my own car (after to hitting a Deer on the way to Mockingbird) has meant my birding focus has very much been at home or Deeping Lakes. 

With the recent Rosy Pastor influx spurring on even more frantic feeding of the locals, this young male Sparrowhawk took advantage and plucked a young House Sparrow off the lawn in our garden today. After a couple of minutes on the fence, it flew off with prey in talons. Despite all the feeding we do in our garden, this is only the second time I have known a Sparrowhawk to catch anything in our garden, after 18 months here.  

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Blue Tit family



This plucky little family of Blue Tits are nesting in the same post a Great Tit family nested in over 10 years ago. Despite the incredibly cold and wet conditions during the last month, these great tiny birds have survived and ready fledge! The parents look like they could do with the rest!
 

Turtle Dove




Turtle Doves seem to have undergone something of a resurgence in the Deepings. Unfortunately, I doubt it will be sustained once with so many guns ready in the Med. Local efforts have been strong though with supplementary feeding throughout the summer for these beautiful Doves. 

Saturday, 3 April 2021

American Herring Gull

 

I always say its unusual to get a double lifer day. Largely because it's fairly unusual for me to get any new species on my British list. Not because I'm some big lister you understand but just because I've seen enough that without some effort, it's hard to see anything new. Today, I hit a deer, saw a Mockingbird in Devon and an American Herring Gull in Cornwall. All new experiences for me! Some were better than others and the Gull is documented above!

More Yank Herring in Cornwall