23rd of June 2017 - Frampton Marsh Trip

Another day out with my two birding buddies Steve and Gary started off catching up with the now famous breeding Bee Eaters at East Leake Quarry in Nottinghamshire. The day started in traditional English summertime with torrential rain! Arriving at the RSPB car park before 7:00am it was a little time before any showed, once they did we enjoyed watching three of these superb multi-coloured birds. Sadly they were too far away for photographs. I have noticed on social media that there are some superb shots of these birds, however I do wonder if some of the people taking them have indeed stayed within the viewing areas?

We hope to return to see the young once they have hatched and feeding for themselves?

After our nice year ticks, it was off to RSPB Frampton Marsh in search of more ticks?

Frampton always delivers with a final count of 72 species with the following highlights.

Distant views of Red-necked Phalarope and Pectoral Sandpiper, followed by Avocet, Corn Bunting, Curlew Sandpiper, Grasshopper Warbler, Greenshank, Hobby, Kestrel, Knot, Little Stint, Marsh Harrier, Redshank, Ruff, Snipe, Spotted Redshank, Spoonbill, Whooper Swan and Wood Sandpiper.

Grasshopper Warbler
Corn Bunting
Little Egret
 Ten year ticks in one day made my day, if the Turtle Doves seen the day before had showed I would have been even more happier!
8th - 11th of June 2017 - Lundy Island

Four days on the magical  Island that is Lundy. A great  lump of granite situated in the Bristol Channel just off the coast of North Devon. The island is three miles long and half a mile wide.

The word Lundy is Norse for Puffin which breed here every year and this year the numbers have increased.

This trip was organised by the charity MARINElife who I volunteer for as both a Cetacean and Bird Surveyor and Wildlife Officer. Also along were our partners which made for a brilliant group of likeminded people and my fiancĂ©e really enjoyed it too.

As we left Ilfracombe aboard MS Oldeburg the ship that takes day trippers over we had everyone scanning the sea for cetaceans, we managed Harbour Porpoise and Common Dolphin along with high numbers of Gannet, Manx Shearwater, Guillemot and Razorbill.

Common Dolphin from a previous trip
Sunday morning we were all up before 5:00am to see the sunrise over the mainland, a truly beautiful sight. It was not long before everyone made it up to Jenny's Cove to see the Puffins. Here also were nesting Kittiwake, Fulmar, Guillemot and Razorbill. Six Common Dolphin were spotted out at sea and a single Harbour Porpoise.

The four days were over before we knew it, however with lots of time to explore, we covered the whole Island and visited parts not seen in the many times I have been there! Here are few images of Lundy.

2nd - 4th of June 2017

Another weekend away in Yorkshire with my birding buddies Steve and Gary began with a visit to Alvecote before heading north to Bridlington. Social media had reported that a Corncrake was here, so it was a great thrill to hear the bird which was deep within the long grass! Sadly we did not see the bird however we and a few others heard it clearly.

Off we went to Yorkshire with mixed emotions should we have stayed with a hope of seeing the Corncrake or were we satisfied at just hearing it?

Bempton Cliffs
 We arrived at Flamborough Head and a total of 65 bird species were noted. Fulmar, Gannet, Barnacle Goose, Guillemot, Kittiwake, Puffin, Razorbill, Red Kite, Sedge Warbler, Shag and Turnstone were all viewed. Grey Seals were observed in the cove with a total of 8 individuals recorded. We stayed again at the same B&B where our host made us feel very welcome.



Day two was spent at RSPB Bempton Cliffs were all the usual birds made an appearance. What I was not expecting was a Barn Owl at 10:35 in the morning! Also good to see Tree Sparrows. We ended the afternoon at Thornwick Pools which sadly did not produce anything of note. We did however stopped to chat with local birding legend Brett who is a well known character.



Day three was one of the best days birding that both myself and my two buddies have experienced. We boarded the Bridlington Bell ship for an RSPB trip out to Bempton Cliffs. What a superb 3 hours, the ship had knowledgeable RSPB volunteers on board sharing their local knowledge with everyone.

Bridlington Bell
I have been on many ships doing survey work, however I have never been so close to chalk cliffs and being surrounded by thousands of rafting sea birds. I highly recommend this trip that is organised by the RSPB.

Another superb weekend with the lads and we look forward to our next birding trips whether they be day trips or weekend ones?
May 2017 - Birding Overview

On the first of May I enjoyed another days birding in North Devon, this time starting at Fremington Pill, with a low tide, the mudflats we exposed giving the birds plenty of opportunities to feed.

A few Curlew were the first seen and with them were eight Whimbrel. Shelduck, Mallard and Little Egret also made an appearance. A single Greenshank made it's way along the waters edge and was in the company of many Redshank. Above the inlet the sound of Jackdaws could be heard as they crossed over on route to the fields behind the inlet.

Next stop was Northam Burrows to see what had dropped in on the recent high tide? Over a hundred Ring Plover were moving through the area as were Dunlin, again well over a hundred individuals. As with many people who come here a picnic was enjoyed as we started to catch sight of Linnet, Pied and White Wagtail, plus Wheatear travelling up and down the beach area. Swallow numbers are increasing as more and more arrive for the summer. One of the best things to hear and see here are the resident Skylarks, singing and flying higher and higher. Other notables were Whimbrel, Little Egret, Black Tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Cormorant and Herring Gull.

Our last stop for the day was Woolacombe Bay for fish and chips and to watch the surfers, of course while here I continued to look out for possible notable birds. A Common Sandpiper (my first sighting here) Stonechat, Lesser Whitethroat and plenty of Goldfinch were passing through.

After returning home, the garden has since provided additional ticks for this year with the star bird being a Wheatear passing over. A group of four Swifts made a rapid pass, along with three Swallows, two House Martins, ten House Sparrow and single Buzzard, Green Woodpecker, Song Thrush and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

The second weekend, I met up with my two birding buddies at Brandon Marsh for a mornings birding, sixty three species were listed with the notables being, Blackcap, Buzzard, Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Common Tern, Cuckoo, Goosander, Great Crested Grebe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, House Martin, Jay, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Lapwing, Linnet, Little Egret, Little Ring Plover, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Reed Warbler, Ringed Plover, Sand Martin, Sedge Warbler, Song Thrush, Swallow, Swift, Treecreeper, Water Rail, Whitethroat, Wigeon and Willow Warbler.

Following a good morning we travelled the short distance to Napton resevior in a quest for Bearded Tit, year ticks for my two buddies.

Upon arriving at the reed bed where I have seen these birds on a regular basis, three birds came our right in front of us. As I turned for my camera I realised that it was still in the car!

After some time here, we moved on to Napton on the hill in search of Flycatchers. Sadly none were seen, however we stopped off to enjoy the panoramic views from the high vantage points. As it was such a bright sunny afternoon we managed to make out known buildings in the distance, these included ones in Nuneaton, Coventry, Southam and Leamington Spa.

The next weekend I travelled to Liverpool for a survey for MARINElife. Meeting up with a fellow surveyor, we boarded the Stena Line Ferry to Belfast. Sailing through the night meant we were given a cabin each and this made sure we were ready for the eight hour survey as the ship returned to Liverpool the following day.

Birds of note were, Black Guillemot, Common and Sandwich Tern, Fulmar, Gannet, Guillemot, Kittiwake, Manx Shearwater, Razorbill and Shag. Sadly no cetaceans were seen, however three Grey Seals made an appearance on three different locations.

The last birding trip was to two of my favourite locations, first was Eyebrook reservoir. Here a total of 37 bird species were seen, the notables were Osprey, Yellowhammer, Red Kite, Little Egret and my first Little Owl this year. After a picnic breakfast we left and made our way the Rutland Water.

Red Kite
As we arrived we bumped in to Tim the now retired reserve manager who was very much still involved in this years "Birdfair".

Taking in the many hides throughout the day gave up the following birds of note. Arctic Tern, Cetti's Warbler, Cuckoo, Egyptian Goose, Garden Warbler, Hobby, Little Egret, Pochard, Red Kite, Red-Legged Partridge, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Sand Martin, Spotted Flycatcher and Yellow Legged Gull.

Whilst walking towards one hide the sight of two Nightingales collecting insects for their young was the highlight by far!