Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Thursday 31 October 2013

HERMIT THRUSH - Cornwall 30/10/13

With clear skies and hardly any wind, I was not hopeful of a successful twitch, but being the first mainland record of this species, it was worth a go. I left mine at 12.20am, and after negotiating several annoying road closures, I met Chris Glanfield in Littlehampton at 1.30am. Chris drove down picking up Ads Bowley and Geoff and we arrived at Porthgwarra bang on first light.

The first couple of hours was spent searching, finding signal and chatting to friends, but at 9am the Hermit Thrush was seen and over the next 1.5 hrs we all enjoyed lovely views of the bird preening and feeding on the ground. A really exciting twitch and my first Catharus Thrush.

After this success, we had great views of a juv. Rose Coloured Starling, juv. White-rumped Sandpiper around Penzance, and a superb Grey Phalarope at Roadford Reservoir in Devon. A brilliant day.

 Hermit Thrush at Porthgwarra - the rufous upper-tail contrasting very
nicely with the mantle etc. A well defined white eye-ring and pale
fringes to the coverts......superb!!
 juv. Rose-coloured Starling nr Penzance

Grey Phalarope in Devon

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Seaford Head & Cuckmere Haven 29/10/13

A drop in the wind today was enough to force me back out on the patch. It wasn't too bad either with the highlight probably being a good movement of Stock Doves. Most of the interest however was moving overhead where good numbers of Finches were migrating, though not counted.

Totals are:
Firecrest - 6
Goldcrest - 2
Crossbill - 32 (1 flock)
Siskin - 15
Stock Dove - 255
Blackcap - 3
Chiffchaff - 7
House Martin - 10

The Cuckmere this afternoon produced the regular Jack Snipe and 5 Firecrests around Foxhole Cottages.

 Stock Doves over the Head
 Jack Snipe in the Cuckmere
Firecrest at Foxhole

Sunday 27 October 2013

Belle Tout 27/10/13

After wasting my time seawatching this morning I decided to try for the Pallas's Warbler in Belle Tout Wood, but no joy with this although 3 Firecrest were present.

In an attempt to locate the Snow Bunting I fortunately stumbled across a superb Shorelark feeding in the short grass. Several observers had good views, though it was hard to keep balance in the strong wind.

No camera unfortunately, so I've had to borrow one. Also photos on http://beachyheadbirding.blogspot.com

Yesterday were 2 Firecrest in Harry's Bush, Seaford Head.

Shorelark by Alistair Gray

Friday 25 October 2013

Thorney & Hayling Island (Semi success) 25/10/13

The second part of the title will give anyone a good enough guess that I was unsuccessful in Sussex today. I arrived with Mick around 11.15ish overlooking Pilsey Sands, with Ian already present. After recovering from the mammoth walk, we set our a 3hr vigil with little reward. There were glimmers of hope (see bottom image) but these were soon cascaded down as soon we were all watching the SEMIPALMATED PLOVER just across the channel at Black Point. A very educational bird, but fingers crossed it returns to the better county.

Please click on below images to enlarge.

 Semipalmated Plover on Hayling Island
SemiP with Ringed Povers. 

??? with Ringed Plover - Pilsey Sands (W.Sussex)
This extremely distant Plover was spotted and at around 13.10. 

Tuesday 22 October 2013

Cuckmere Haven 22/10/13

A couple of hours down the Cuckmere this afternoon produced 2 Jack Snipe including one which showed brilliantly, and also a Ring Ouzel by Foxhole cottages.

Unfortunately I had left my camera in the car due to the promised rain that never arrived, so this photo of the Jack Snipe was taken through my phone, via my bins.

Shetland 14/10/13

A great week on Shetland with David Bradnum, Nick Croft, Jon Lethbridge and Marco (all from London area). We managed to see 100 species and find an Olive-backed Pipit. We stayed in the self-catering cottage just outside Lerwick. It was very hard work but there was always a sense of excitement as you just never know what is hiding in the ditch/bush/building etc.

After our overnight ferry from Aberdeen, we got straight on with birding. We birded many sites with little return, but successfully twitched the Wilson's Phal.
Weather - SE 4, Cloudy

Aberdeen - Lerwick
'Blue' Fulmar - 2
Sabine's Gull - 1 juv

Crossbill - 2

WILSON'S PHALAROPE - 1 moulting adult
Long-eared Owl - 1
Willow Warbler - 1

Common Redpoll - 3

Loch of Voe
Red-breasted Flycatcher - 1 1w

 Wilson's Phalarope at Sand
 Red-breasted Flycatcher at Loch of Voe
 Sums me up.......my Saturday night was booked.
Channerwick - one of my favourite sites

Shetland 15/10/13

The day was spent on Whalsay and although hard work we still saw some reasonable birds. It felt like we covered all sites on the island, including checking several geos along the way.
Weather - SE 2-3, Cloudy

Siberian Chiffchaff - 1
Yellow-browed Warbler - 1
Brambling - 1
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Woodpigeon - 1
Snow Bunting - 50
Common Redpoll - 1
Great Northern Diver - 1 off golf course

Loch of Voe, Mainland
Red-breasted Flycatcher - 1 1w

 Western Bonelli's Warbler
 Gardens home to the Bonelli's Warbler
Wind battered gol(f) club

Shetland 16/10/13

A few nice birds seen today and again lots of areas covered. Two of my favourite places were worked today, but still that rarity find eludes us. A pleasant evening was spent walking the beach between Quendale and Toab with Porpoises and Eiders in the bay with Fair Isle as a backdrop.
Weather - SE 3-4, Cloudy

Sand Lodge, Sandwick
Swallow - 1

'Northern' Bullfinch - 1 male
Willow Warbler - 1
Siberian Chiffchaff - 1

Jack Snipe - 2

Slavonian Grebe - 1

Jack Snipe - 2
Yellow-browed Warbler - 1
Harbour Porpoise - 10

Brambling - 1
Siberian Chiffchaff - 1

 Siberian Chiffchaff at Hoswick
 'Northern' Bullfinch at Hoswick
 a classic Shetland sighting of a Yellow-browed
 Harbour Porpoise and Fair Isle
working the Iris Beds in Quendale

Shetland 17/10/13

A good day with a sense of some arrival of scarcities from the east. Although hard going, it felt as if our efforts were going to be rewarded......they weren't. The west of the mainland was mainly covered until the news of a Citrine Wagtail came through.
Weather - Easterly 3, Sunny spells

Siberian Chiffchaff - 1

Garden Warbler - 1
Siberian Chiffchaff - 1

Loch Spiggie
Slavonian Grebe - 3
Whooper Swan - 10
Black-tailed Godwit - 11
Pick-footed Goose - 1

Merlin - 2


 Citrine Wagtail at Fleck
 Little Bunting at Quendale
 Geosetter - No Thick-billed Warbler here!!!
View from Quendale

Shetland 18/10/13

A day on my favourite Island.....Unst. We visited many sites and walked many stone walls for little reward. However it was a beautiful day and with stunning scenery.
Weather - SE 2-3, Sunny

Water Rail - 1
Snow Bunting - 60

Water Rail - 1
Hawfinch - 1
Snipe - 50+
Snow Bunting - 100

Yellow-browed Warbler - 1
Siberian Chiffchaff - 2
Snow Bunting - 200

Common Redpoll - 7

 Hooded Crow in Norwick
 Yellow-browed Warbler at Halligarth Plantation
 Looking back towards Norwick
No Rubythroats at the bottom of this one

Shetland 19/10/13

The first day of howling easterlies and constant rain but none the less our team found an Olive-backed Pipit, making our efforts well worth while. There had been an arrival of Crossbills as well, unfortunately all having standard shaped bills.
Weather - Easterly 5-6, Rain

Common Redpoll - 1

OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT - 1 - group find!!
Common Redpoll - 1
Crossbill - 1

Busta House
Yellow-browed Warbler - 1h

Ronas Voe
Common Redpoll - 50+
Brambling - 1
Woodpigeon - 2

Crossbill - 17

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Crossbill - 1
Merlin - 1

 Olive-backed Pipit in Vidlin Pine Plantation

Shetland 20/10/13

Not ideal conditions today, but we worked hard as there had obviously been a drop of Thrushes overnight.
Weather - SE 6-7, heavy rain.

Wester Quarff
Crossbill - 1

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 3
Brambling - 7
Common Redpoll - 5

Water Rail - 1

Siberian Chiffchaff - 4

Brambling - 5
Swallow - 1

Boddam Voe
White-rumped Sandpiper - 1 juv

 White-rumped Sandpiper at Boddam Voe -
a photo of Nick Croft's photo!!
 Sumburgh Head
 Sumburgh Head - these are the waves we had to battle against back to Aberdeen
note the windsock. 

St. Abbs Head, Borders 21/10/13

It made sense on the way home from Shetland to stop off at this very scenic Loch. The main purpose for this was to see the long staying Sardinian Warbler which eventually showed well.

Mire Loch, St. Abbs Head
SARDINIAN WARBLER - 1 adult male
Yellow-browed Warbler - 2
Pink-footed Geese - 300
Arctic Skua - 1

Sardinian Warbler at St. Abbs Head

Saturday 12 October 2013

Seaford Head and Sheepcote Valley 12/10/13

A day of twitching today. After a long day up in Luton yesterday I could not face getting up early today, but regretted it when Bob phoned me saying there had been an infestation of Ring Ouzels. I managed to see 59, but there were around 150 in Hope Gap in total over a space of 4 hours. A truly amazing experience seeing flocks moving east high up and the constant 'tacking' echoing around the gap. I thought my 19 was a good total a few weeks back.....obviously not!!

Then if things couldn't get any better the Whitcombs had found a Radde's Warbler at Sheepcote Valley. Great find guys, a superb looking bird.

Seaford Head
Ring Ouzel - 59 (150 altogether)
Redpoll - 1
Mistle Thrush - 2
Redwing - 50+

Sheepcote Valley = RADDE'S WARBLER

Radde's Warbler at Sheeptcote. -
Trust me these looked better on the camera!!

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Seaford Head 9/10/13

A fraction more activity this morning but still pretty bleak. Another Yellow-browed Warbler was found, this time on the golf course, though it soon departed north. Next few days looking windy and cold so a good time to rest up before Shetland on Monday.
Totals for the morning are:

YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER - 1 (the 3rd record this autumn)
Yellow Wagtail - 14
'alba' Wagtail - 12
Siskin - 3
Song Thrush - 15
Wheatear - 1
Whitethroat - 1
Blackcap - 85
Chiffchaff - 36
Long-tailed Tit - 5
Swallow - 50

Yellow-browed Warbler on Seaford Head

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Seaford Head 8/10/13

Very quiet this morning. The only notable migrants were the first Redwings of the autumn. Most of the Chiffchaffs in the wood had departed, and most likely the Yellow-browed joined them as there was no sign today. Totals for the morning are:
Redwing - 3
Song Thrush - 14
Reed Bunting - 3
Whinchat - 1
Yellow Wagtail - 3
Grey Wagtail - 1
Siskin - 2
'alba' Wagtail - 22
Chiffchaff - 45
Blackcap - 19
Swallow - 75

Yellow-browed Warbler - 7/10/13
 sound recording from yesterday.

Monday 7 October 2013

Seaford Head 7/10/13

A massive contrast from the weekend with very low numbers of migrants seen today. Very little in the way of migrants passing overhead as well. The saviour was another discovery of a Yellow-browed Warbler, this time in Harry's Bush, though it was a pig to see. Totals are:

YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER - 1 (different bird from Saturday that was seen at the cottages)
Brambling - 1
Song Thrush - 5
'alba' Wagtail - 15
Reed Bunting - 1
Whitethroat - 3
Blackcap - 32
Chiffchaff - 60
Swallow - 100

 Yellow-browed Warbler in Harry's Bush - click image to enlarge
Sunrise on Seaford Head