Snow Petrel - Antarctic Ocean 2016

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Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Mallorca - Day 1 - 28th April 2014

A flying visit to Mallorca with Marc Read to hopefully connect with four new birds for my world list. It actually ended up being five new birds, these being Balearic Warbler, Black Vulture, Moustached Warbler, Marbled Duck and Eleonora's Falcon.
We stayed in the NE area, mainly visiting the Boquer Valley, Col de Femenia, Port de Pollenca and the fantastic S'albufera nature reserve. All very easy to do, with the trip costing pretty much bang on £100, including the car hire. Very much a stress free trip which all went according to plan. The trip list was 93 plus 7 heard, so lets say 100.
On the first day we arrived at the Boquer Valley at around 10am, leaving at some point during the afternoon where we decided to go in search of the Black Vulture up the Col de Femenia. The beach south of Port des Pollenca was chosen as our base to get frame filling photos of the Audouin's Gulls, where we finally reached the S'albufera reserve which finished off our day. We slept in the car park, with Marc in the car, and myself just outside on the verge.

Boquer Valley
BALEARIC WARBLER - 2 (after hours of thrashing about, I finally found a male so we spent lots of time photographing this bird, when out of nowhere another individual joined the party)
Booted Eagle - 2
Roller - 1
Bee-Eater - 24 flew north with other groups heard, but not seen
Crag Martin - 10

Col de Femenia
BLACK VULTURE - 7
Wryneck - 1 heard

Port de Pollenca/S'albuferata
Audouin's Gull - 3
Kentish Plover - 4
Zitting Cisticola - many
Whinchat - 1 male

S'albufera
MOUSTACHED WARBLER - 1
Little Bittern - 2
Night Heron - 10
Purple Swamphen - 2
Stone Curlew - 1


 male Balearic Warbler at the Boquer Valley
 Black Vulture over Cuber Reservoir

 Audouin's Gull at Port de Pollenca
 Yellow Wagtail (form iberiae)
Kentish Plover at Port de Pollenca

Mallorca - Day 2 - 29th April 2014

After a good nights kip on the car park verge, we soon entered the S'albufera nature reserve and birded up until midday where bird activity had slowed down.
A quick trip to the very scenic Cap des Formentor was had before finally re-locating ourselves on the western side of the S'albufera reserve (Cami des Polls) where we enjoyed cracking views of Black-winged Stilts, as well as a whole host of other wetland species. A fantastic end to this very short, but highly successful trip.
The night was spent on the comfy floor in the airport!

S'albufera - dawn til midday
Moustached Warbler - 1
Great Reed Warbler - 5
Spotted Redshank - 1
Osprey - 1
Pallid Swift - 2
Red-knobbed Coot - 2 (incl. 1 with neck collar)
MARBLED DUCK - 2
Night Heron - 10
Bee-eater - 10
ELEONORA'S FALCON - 1 pale morph
Serin - 5

Cap des Formentor
Cory's Shearwater - 15 - surprisingly good views were had at this very high location as birds were fishing beneath us.
Hoopoe - 1 (our only one of the trip)
Red-legged Partridge - 2

Cami des Polls - S'albufera 
Squacco Heron - 15
Cuckoo - 1 rufous individual
Spotted Redshank - 1 s/p
Eleonora's Falcon - 3 pale morphs catching insects on the wing
Stone Curlew - 1
Purple Heron - 2


 Black-winged Stilts at S'albufera
 Squacco Heron at S'albufera
 Purple Heron at S'albufera
 pale morph Eleonora's Falcon over S'albufera
 Zitting Cisticola at S'albufera - plenty of these zitting about
 Sardinian Warbler at S'albufera
Serin at S'albufera


Sunday, 27 April 2014

Steyning Sewage Works 27/4/14

After a long day to Moscow and back, I was quite looking forward to getting home and chilling out. That was until I reached the bottom of the A23 when the news of a Red-rumped Swallow appeared at Steyning. Being perfectly placed for a diversion I was on site within 15 minutes, the only problem being I seemed to be on my own and with no optics etc.

Soon though, Christian and others arrived and the bird was soon spotted, and eventually showed very well, at times just metres above our heads. The only downside was the rump wasn't as bright as my uniform!! Many thanks to those who let me use their binoculars, much appreciated.



Red-rumped Swallow - not bad for an iPhone 4!!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Splash Point & Rye Harbour 26/4/14

A somewhat slow start to the seawatch this morning until 8am when out of nowhere over 2000 Terns surged through in just 25 minutes, among other species in this time period. A memorable experience for all concerned. Good number of other species kept us busy during the time spent there. Most birds showed well for a change, especially the Skuas.

When I thought my day was complete, a Kentish Plover was found at Rye Harbour, so I dashed over there and had very distant, but satisfactory views.

Splash Point 05.45-11.00:

Pomarine Skua - 2 (plus 1 probable)
Arctic Skua - 12 including some very close inshore
Great Skua - 21 including some very close inshore
Black Tern - 10
Little Tern - 4+
Arctic Tern - 300 (certainly more than this)
Commic Tern - 2000
Sandwich Tern - 57
Eider - 4 west
Whimbrel - 61
Bar-tailed Godwit - 396
Dunlin - 28
Ringed Plover - 2
Curlew - 6
Red-throated Diver - 16
Black-throated Diver - 4+
Little Gull - 2
Mediterranean Gull - 2
Brent Geese - 117
Common Scoter - 158 (vastly under counted)

Rye Harbour:

KENTISH PLOVER - 1 on flat beach
Little Stint - 1
Little Tern - 5

 Great Skua

dark phase Arctic Skuas passing east
Arctic Terns

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Cuckmere Haven 24/4/14

An afternoon walk in the Cuckmere was slightly better than anticipated. Highlight was a male Whinchat near Foxhole, an Avocet was on the scrape, 2 Greenshank and a Whimbrel were on the meanders and the Spoonbill was seen in flight over the A259.

 Whinchat

 Greenshank and Whimbrel
distant Avocet on the scrape

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Splash Point & Lidsey 23/4/14

I was on standby this morning so I couldn't venture too far. So Splash Point it was where there was a steady passage of birds, best being 3 Poms, two with stonking tails. Once I knew I was safe I twitched the Crane down at Lidsey which showed nicely, and a Gropper on my return home. Can't beat watching good birds whilst getting paid.

Splash Point - 6.00-8.30:

Pomarine Skua - 3
Arctic Skua - 3
Great Skua - 16
Common Scoter - 238
Brent Geese - 34
Little Tern - 2
Commic Tern - 24
Sandwich Tern - 60
Bar-tailed Godwit - 8
Gannet - 22
Whimbrel - 20
Pintail - 1
Black-throated Diver - 1
Red-throated Diver - 1

Lidsey
Common Crane - 1
Glossy Ibis - 1

Splash Point - 12.30-5.00:

Great Skua - 5
Arctic Skua - 5
Whimbrel - 21
Bar-tailed Godwit - 60
Little Gull - 2
Mediterranean Gull - 2

Crane at Lidsey - phone-scoped shot





Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Splash Point & Seaford Head 22/4/14

As the wind was SW this morning, I decided to stay in bed only to be disturbed by Bob's text stating that the passage was good past Splash. I was soon down there and although the passage had eased somewhat, there was still a trickle of Skuas going by, best of all being 2 Poms. I didn't stay too long as I wanted to get up on the Head after the rain had stopped.
Seaford Head was semi-productive afterwards with a small arrival of migrants.
An evening seawatch was very good with 29 Skuas, mostly all very close in.

Seaford Head:

Redstart - 4 females
Wheatear - 6
Lesser Whitethroat - 10 (many singing males present, but surely can't all be resident birds?)
Willow Warbler - 8

Splash Point - 16.05-19.20

Arctic Skua - 18
Great Skua - 11
Commic Tern - 529 - at last!!!
Black-throated Diver - 4
Bar-tailed Godwit - 20
Red-breasted Merganser - 7
Common Scoter - 40
Brent Geese - 19
Sandwich Tern - 10


 one of a small influx of Lesser Whitethroats today
Wheatears



Monday, 21 April 2014

Splash Point 21/4/14

Annoyingly I have misplaced my notepad so totals may be a little inaccurate. Highlight for us this morning was a Shore Lark flying in off, as did a Short-eared Owl. Good passage in the first hour but then slowed down quite significantly. An afternoon dip down to Pagham was then in order for a Subalpine Warbler. At least it made a change then looking out at sea.

Totals between 5.30-1.15 are:

Shore Lark - 1 flew in off, circled and called a couple of times, before continuing north over the town.
Black-throated Diver - 6
Red-throated Diver - 11
Diver sp. - 4
Velvet Scoter - 6
Common Scoter - 500+
Pintail - 1
Red-breasted Merganser - 2
Arctic Skua - 9
Great Skua - 4
Commic Tern - ca. 40
Common Tern - 6
Little Gull - 17 (maybe more)
Sandwich Tern - 70
Turnstone - 1
Sanderling - 5
Whimbrel - 30+
Bar-tailed Godwit - ca. 80
Curlew - 14
Mediterranean Gull - 40
Short-eared Owl - 1 in off
Gannet - 60+

There may be other things, but without the notepad I can't quite remember.

Only birds of note down at Pagham were 2 Cuckoos.

 Little Gull east past Splash Point
Short-eared Owl in off


Sunday, 20 April 2014

Splash Point 20/4/14

A rather disappointing seawatch between 2.30-7.30pm produced the following:

Arctic Skua - 5
Great Skua - 1
Little Gull - 27
Whimbrel - 26
Bar-tailed Godwit - 68
Gannet - 14
Red-breasted Merganser - 6
Sandwich Tern - 47
Commic Tern - 58
Mediterranean Gull - 2
Black-throated Diver 1 s/p
Common Scoter - 5
Brent Geese - 5


Also an awesome looking sky this afternoon. 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Splash Point & Seaford Head 17/4/14

A much better seawatch this morning, but only up until 8.30am when passage slowed down and the temperature seemed to drop. Yet another good passage of Little Gulls and another pair of Garganey being the highlights, as was our first Little Tern.
Seaford Head was also semi-productive with a stonking Ring Ouzel that showed well near the wood.

Totals between 6am-9.00am:

Little Gull - 129
Brent Geese - 563 (incl. 1 leucistic bird)
Common Scoter - 656
Velvet Scoter - 12 (groups of 5,4&3)
Common Tern - 4
Little Tern - 1
Sandwich Tern - 86
Arctic Skua - 4
Garganey - 2 (1 drk)
Whimbrel - 2
Gannet - 21
Red-throated Diver - 7
Mediterranean Gull - 3

Seaford Head:

Ring Ouzel - 1 male showed well by Harry's Bush
Hobby - 2 together flew north
Willow Warbler - 2
Sand Martin - 2
Spoonbill - 1 still in Cuckmere


Ring Ouzel on Seaford Head

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Splash Point 16/4/14

Two sessions today, both equally slow but enough interesting species were seen to make it just worth while. The late session saw a large number of Little Gulls moving east, especially late on where  flocks of 20 were watched. But by far the highlight for me were the 2 Garganey that passed in the morning.

Totals from 05.30-09.15:

Garganey - 2 (1 drk)
Arctic Skua - 2
Commic Tern - 4
Arctic Tern - 4
Sandwich Tern - 23
Sanderling - 7
Red-breasted Merganser - 5
Shoveler - 34
Black-throated Diver - 3 (all s/p)
Red-throated Diver - 10
Auk sp. - 9
Greylag Geese - 5
Brent Geese - 7
Whimbrel - 26
Gannet - 6
Teal - 2
Common Scoter - 148
Gadwall - 2
Pintail - 3
Little Gull - 4
Avocet - 1
Mediterranean Gull - 2

And totals between 15.15-19.15:

Little Gull - 162
Arctic Skua - 2
Commic Tern - 58
Sandwich Tern - 42
Diver sp. - 6
Gannet - 2

A small amount of time was spent on the Head between periods but nothing exciting seen.

Whitethroat on Seaford Head

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Splash Point - 10 year anniversary 15/4/14

The anniversary actually relates to my first ever Pomarine Skua on this date 10 years ago at Splash Point, so after work today I phoned and then met Bob down there at 4pm, leaving at 6.30ish in the hope of an early Pom. This wasn't to be, but a couple of very good highlights were seen, and was well worth a random visit.

Totals are:

Red-necked Grebe - 1 offshore for 5 minutes before being lost as it drifted east
Black-throated Diver - 1 offshore just in front of the Grebe
Common Tern - 9
Arctic Tern - 1
Great Skua - 1
Red-throated Diver - 3
Whimbrel - 5
Bar-tailed Godwit - 32
Tufted Duck - 1
Common Scoter - 5
Sandwich Tern - 8

Monday, 14 April 2014

Old Lodge 14/4/14

After work I had a quick walk around Old Lodge. It was very pleasant, with plenty of summer migrants in song, but no Cuckoo for me. Earlier on in Fuerteventura there was nothing to see surprisingly, maybe I'll have to get off the plane next time!!

Anyway totals for Old Lodge are:

Redstart - 3
Tree Pipit - 1
Woodlark - 2
Swallow - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 4


 Tree Pipit
Woodlark


Saturday, 12 April 2014

Seaford Head 12/4/14

A complete contrast this morning from yesterday. Very few grounded migrants, nothing flying over and very little moving out at sea except from a close in Black-throated Diver. On the Head however, a Corn Bunting was by far the highlight, being my first one there of the year.

Totals include:

Corn Bunting - 1
Whitethroat - 3
Lesser Whitethroat - 3
Willow Warbler - 3
Spoonbill - 1 still on west side of the Cuckmere

Corn Bunting on Seaford Head


male Wheatears in the Cuckmere from yesterday



Friday, 11 April 2014

Seaford Head & Ouse Valley 11/4/14

A very productive morning on the Head today. An increase in yesterdays totals, as well as a steep increase in sylvia Warblers. The northerly wind was also encouraging a couple of migrants to get going overhead. The Wheatears were interesting this morning, two flocks consisting of 7 and 12, were present for around 5 minutes, before completely moving off again. Always nice to watch migration in action.

Anyway, totals for this morning are:

Redstart - 2 males
Whitethroat - 1 - first of the year
Lesser Whitethroat - 2 - first of the year
Willow Warbler - 40 including a possible acredula individual (see below)
Blackcap - 23
Chiffchaff - 15
Wheatear - 23 - by far my highest ever spring count
White Wagtail - 1 male
Swallow - 10
Meadow Pipit - 45
Spoonbill - 1 on west side of Cuckmere

An afternoon walk down the Cuckmere produced yet another 10 Wheatears including some cracking males.

This evening at Rodmell the Little Ringed Plover showed nicely, and on Lewes Brooks the Glossy Ibis showed distantly.


 I'm not really up on these pale type birds, but comparing the above two images with the lower image (P. trochilus), there does seem to be a significant difference, with the top bird showing much greyer upperparts and whiter underparts, whereas the lower bird shows the typical colouration of a trochilus. It also stood out like a sore thumb!!
(possible acredula Willow Warbler - Seaford Head)
 Willow Warbler in Harry's Bush
 male Redstart by Harry's Bush
 female Blackcap in Harry's Bush
Spoonbill on the west side today