Lesser Florican - August 2023

Total Pageviews

Sunday 23 January 2022

Another weekend of birding – 22/23 January 2022

On Saturday, I treated Dad to a day out over in the east, as well as crossing the border into Kent. It was an excellent day, with virtually every target readily accessible straight away. 

We first visited Pett Level which was very cold, but eventually, after re-positioning to the roadside pools, a distant group of geese thankfully held 15 White-fronted Geese, but more importantly, the Pink-footed Goose, a species which I still consider as a rarity in the county. 24 Ruff was also a great count and were helpfully all lined up on the roadside pool before heading back into the fields. Three Marsh Harriers were also present.

Scotney was next and although the pit was as usual quiet, a distant flock of White-fronted Geese below the turbines held at least 30 birds. A Great White Egret was also present.

Dungeness was excellent and we wasted no time in heading to the ARC pit where I was delighted to find the redhead Smewmy first in the UK for years! A few drake Goldeneye also present. Along the entrance track, Dad soon found the two Glossy Ibis and two Great White Egrets were here too. And lastly, four Cattle Egrets were in the paddocks. There hadn't been much seen on the reserve and with the prospect of wild swans a short distance away, we opted for them. 

Just west of Lydd, again Dad spotted (no idea how I missed them) a 'herd' of 36 Bewick's Swans, and further NW across Walland Marsh, another group of swans held 9 Bewick's and three Whooper Swans.

To avoid twitching all day, we parked at Oyster Creek, Rye and walked a 2-hour circuit taking in Long Pit and Castle Water. Long Pit only had a few Goldeneye and Castle Water the long-staying Black-necked Grebe, so not entirely inspiring, but it's an area I enjoy visiting which usually has more present. 

The Shore Lark eluded us at Norman's Bay but the Hooded Crow thankfully remained loyal to end a decent day out.

Glossy Ibis at Dungeness

Cattle Egret at Dungeness

Bewick's Swans at Walland Marsh

Black-necked Grebe at Rye

Smew at Dungeness

Friday 21 January 2022

Eastbourne & Lower Cuckmere – 21 Jan 2022

Yesterday evening I drove back down to Sussex to spend the weekend here. So first thing, I went down to Eastbourne seafront and was surprised to find myself alone at the Hume's site. The Hume's Leaf Warbler soon started calling, helpfully from directly above me, and continued to call and show sporadically during the half-hour I was there.

This afternoon during my lunch break, I quickly nipped to the Cuckmere gull flock and picked out two Caspian Gulls (a stunning adult and decent first-winter) and a Yellow-legged Gull

Hume's Leaf Warbler at Eastbourne

Sunday 16 January 2022

A Weekend in Sussex

What a brilliant weekend it was! 

On Saturday, I didn't feel too great but fancied re-visiting Iping Common to catch-up with my Little Bunting. It took some time to find as the flock were clearly hiding in the long grass, but when they emerged, it was easy to find and showed off for a good length of time. I even managed to encroach it and get some decent pictures. A couple of Dartford Warblers were also present, but the frosty common didn't hold too much else.

I headed north to Stanley Common and walked a long circuit, but now being grey and cold, all I could muster were two each of Brambling and Crossbill.

On Sunday, I had a race early down near Titchfield Haven (I didn't know this until I ran past the site!), finishing a 10K in 36:20. After this excellent start, I wasted no time and headed for Church Norton to hopefully see one of my favourite ducks, the Long-tailed Duck. I positioned myself away from the other birders and enjoyed a successful half-hour here. In order, three Eiders, 12 Slavonian Grebes, two Red-throated Divers, two Long-tailed Ducks, but best of all, a Red-necked Grebe! Although somewhat distant, it was great to see this scarce grebe.

Afterwards, West Dean Woods was my next port of call and from 'my' viewpoint, I enjoyed an hour of bliss as eight Hawfinches showed very well, but a Goshawk flew out of the wood, headed straight for me, and then proceeded to circle around... certainly the best view I've ever had!

Little Bunting at Iping Common

Brambling at Stanley Common


Sunday 9 January 2022

Pacific Diver... and Somerset – 9th January 2022

It has been many months since I've been on a twitch, and even more months since I've been twitching with the lads. 

Chris, Jake & Ian arrived at mine and I drove us over to Glamorgan where we very quickly found the obliging Pacific Diver. Although I'd seen one in Cornwall many years ago, it showed nothing like this stunning bird. The light was never great but the views were terrific! Many Goldeneye and a Slavonian Grebe were also present.

From here though, it slowly went downhill with no sign of the Penduline Tits, no sign of the Baikal Teal, but pleasingly, we saw the enormous flock of Cattle Egrets, with no fewer than 220 birds present in close proximity to each other! Great White Egrets were also in good supply, with 18 seen throughout the afternoon on the levels. Lastly, a Tundra Bean Goose was a treat to see at last knockings, ending a day which will hopefully bounce me back into action for the year to come.

Pacific Diver at Eglwys Nunydd Reservoir, Glamorgan

Saturday 1 January 2022

Bishop Middleham, Co. Durham – 1st January 2022

What is now slowly becoming a New Year tradition, today I walked a very long circuit around Bishop Middleham, where Sara's parents live. 

The day started well with 63 species seen up until midday, but it soon went downhill as I only recorded two more species during the afternoon, so I ended up on 65, two fewer than last year! However, highlights were as usual the superb Willow Tit, two very showy drake Goosanders, a nice flock of Pink-footed Geese and the numerous Tree Sparrows

Willow Tit... one year I'll get a decent picture


Tree Sparrow