|Cape May Warbler on Bryher|
Sunday 26 November 2023
Sunday 19 November 2023
|Deaths Head Hawk Moth|
Tuesday 14 November 2023
On Saturday 11th, I drove back down to Sussex, intending to have most of the weekend on the coast, but news of a Canvasback in Essex put pay to that. However, the little time I did have in county was spent at Coldwaltham Brooks where there was no sight nor sound of the possible Hume's Warbler. Therefore, it was down to the Cuckmere where from Harry's Bush, I could scope the Long-billed Dowitcher and the Spotted Redshank. I managed to get fairly close to the former, whilst stumbling across a few Scandinavian Rock Pipits.
It was then an early start at Abberton Reservoir, arriving at first light and avoiding the Dartford toll in the process! Jake and Ian soon arrived too and we played it lazy, until the Canvasback was located a mere 10-minute's walk from us. We soon got onto it and enjoyed respectable views of this mega bird. Also, I saw 35 Goldeneye, two Goosander and three Cattle Egrets!
It was most appreciated that a mega was only two hours from home for a change!
|Canvasback at Abberton Res. - |
look a little to the left of the Tufted Duck near centre
Saturday 21 October 2023
After dipping in torrential rain on Wednesday, it was back to Sussex on Friday where thankfully the Long-billed Dowitcher was found from first light and performed wonderfully for the time I was watching it. This being a very long overdue species onto my county list, now standing at 330.
It wasn't just the dowitcher though, as a Hawfinch and three Corn Buntings flew over, an Osprey was fishing at the scrape and a superb Ring Ouzel was located preening atop a sycamore at Foxhole Farm. I wish I had more time as the morning was full of promise, but alas I had to head back to work.
Thursday 28 September 2023
On Saturday morning, I had just completed Alice Holt Park Run. Having got back to my car and looking at my phone, I couldn't believe that I had to drive back to the same location as a few days previous. This time for an even more spectacular American wood-warbler... a Canada Warbler! I soon left and arrived in the mid-afternoon to a huge crowd of twitchers, gusty winds and not much hope of a sighting.
After an hour, I still hadn't seen the bird, so I stuck to one spot, halfway up a tree, which allowed me to view slightly deeper into the vegetation. This worked a treat and I soon had some brief views of the uniform slaty-grey upperparts and bright yellow underparts of the Canada Warbler. I had a further two views which was shamefully good enough for me as I had to drive back as I had a half marathon the next morning. Still, a mega exciting twitch/bird and hopefully I don't have to return to SW Wales anytime soon.
Most of this week, I've been back down in Sussex but I've not seen a great deal. Two Ospreys at Arlington and the four Cattle Egrets in the Cuckmere on Tuesday, plus heaps of common migrants at Seaford Head on Wednesday. Off to Shetland Friday for some hopeful yank action, but we'll see.
For those interested:
Alice Holt Park Run 5K: 17mins 57secs 1st place
Barns Green Half Marathon: 1hr 19mins 27secs 7th Place
|Osprey at Arlington|
Thursday 21 September 2023
Saturday 26 August 2023
It was some time ago that Ashley Howe invited me along on a whistle-stop tour of Rajasthan during the post-monsoon season to seek some critically-endangered species. We used Asian Adventures who once again did a sterling job. Our main quarry was the superlative Lesser Florican, a species that will soon (in relative terms) be on the extinction list, and to see this very rare bird, one has to visit in late July or early August to correspond with its display. Another hoped for species was the Bristled Grassbird... seemingly another doomed species.
Our 7-day trip, of which only five were spent in India, was most successful, and as we had both visited this region previously, there were very few species to actually target, with myself not even hitting the double-figure mark for lifers.
9th August 2023
We departed Heathrow in the evening on a direct Virgin Atlantic service to Delhi.
10th August 2023
We arrived on time and swiftly got through immigration and found our guide and driver, Deepak and Pawan. It was a short drive to the hotel where we got dropped off, much to our dislike as we were desperate to see some birds, but just had to make do with the local Black Kites.
In the afternoon, we left and headed for Surajpur Sanctuary on the outskirts of Delhi. It was a nice surprise to see new and improved infrastructure in the road network and my grim memories of my past visit were soon dashed, all for the positive. I was actually impressed with India this time around, with less chaos for starters. Anyway, the afternoon journey was highlighted by a Shikra, White-throated Kingfisher and some Asian Green Bee-eaters.
We finally arrived at an open section of the Surajpur Sanctuary and instantly found some nice birds and the joys of foreign birding commenced. Straight away we encountered Cinnamon Bitterns, Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, Great Coucals, Black Francolins, Pied Bushchats, Red Avadavats and three species of weaver (Black-breasted, Baya and Streaked). We soon heard our main target, this being a Bristled Grassbird and soon we clapped eyes on this critically-endangered bird. After a short walk which produced some excellent dragonflies and butterflies, plus some more birds including Tricoloured Munia, a Blyth's Reed Warbler, Jacobin Cuckoo and Bengal Bush Lark, Ash and I crept up to a safe distance and admired the grassbird for 45-minutes.
All too soon our time was up and we departed the site during the midst of a minor deluge, but what a successful start to our short Indian adventure. What was even better was the food in the evening, the first of many fine curries!
|Plain Tiger - needless to say the only 'tiger' was saw|
|Indian Eagle Owl|
|Rock Bush Quail - class birds!|
|Eastern Cattle Egret|
|Rock Bush Quail - a split-second too late|
|Western Crowned Warbler|
|juv. Bonelli's Eagle|