Monday, 20 October 2014

Filthy Twitching !!

Everyone has been raving about this bird so it seemed rude not to pay it a visit......

OBP doing what they do best, creeping through the leaf litter.....

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Death's-head Hawk-moth

A nice local twitch for a popular beast.

A monster of a moth !!
Also on show a hummingbird hawk-moth, a tiny thing when sat next to it's bigger cousin.

Hummingbird Hawk-moth - they look so different at rest.
Moth twitchers.....
Big thanks to Stewart for organising the viewing session at Howick and also Tom for bringing along the hummer.

Last Weeks Migrants.....

Last Thursday and Friday the weather looked promising for migrants so I maximised my time in the field.

Rain was forecast for all day Thursday and I was fired up. Unfortunately the promised rain stopped at around 10am and it remained dry from that point onwards. It seemed to be raining everywhere else north and south of here so I felt like I was stuck in a little bubble of dry weather. by 11.30am birds were certainly arriving but I watched a number of flocks of thrushes coming in off the sea only to continue inland for miles ! I guess without the rain to ground stuff you're knackered.

2 days of hard patch flogging yielded plenty of common migrants but no pallas's or shrikes for me.

Migrants consisted of....

2 woodcock  150+ redwings
100+ blackbirds
1 fieldfare
3 mistle thrushes
lots of goldcrests
5 chiffs
3 blackcaps
lots of chaffinches
3 bramblings
1 redpoll sp

SEO coming in off the sea
One of the many redwings scattered along the hawthorn hedges

Goldcrests all over....
Finally, a cracking juv little stint on the scrapes on Friday was nice bonus !

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


Yesterday I was offered a lift to see the booted warbler which is about an hour away at Torness Power Station.

I'm pleased I went. I saw the scruffiest booted warbler I've ever seen, windswept and in main moult it looked a bit scratty to say the least !

Whilst we were watching the scruffy warbler a sibe stonechat materialised from nowhere and had a little battle with the booted. The sibe was a nice looking bird and typically confiding too...... A very nice Brucie Bonus !!

Siberian stunner !

Tatty looking warbler.


The last couple of days have been dedicated mainly to spells of seawatching. With some strong easterlies/north easterlies going on there has been a good sea passage with a steady flow of gannets and auks moving.

Highlight of the last couple of days and still continuing today is a large little gull passage. I gave up trying to count these but it's fair to say there have been easily a few hundred northbound daily. Yesterday I looked out from home and counted 100+ past in 30 minutes !

Highlights are shown below...

Monday pm (2 hours approx)
9 sooties
15 manxies
6 bonxies
5 arctic skuas
6 common scoter
too many little gulls to count !

Tuesday am (1.5 hours approx)
1 sooty
10 manxies
11 bonxies
2 arctic skuas
2 velvet scoter
19 red throated divers
lots of little gulls

Tuesday pm (0.5 hour approx)
1 pom skua
3 bonxies 
2 arctics
1 skua sp possible long-tailed
4 manxies
7 common scoter
lots of little gulls
One of the sooties....

Thursday, 9 October 2014

More Migrants.....

More ringing this morning and it was clear that movement is going on, with a few blackbirds seen and dropping in from high altitude.

Fresh in at the site today were a cracking firecrest and a ring ouzel. Unfortunately the firecrest was only a brief view but I gather someone else saw it later on too. The ring ouzel was typically flighty and noisy, but both of these birds managed to avoid the nets.

Also in the site today a definite increase in blackbirds and goldcrests and at least 5 chiffs (3 ringed).

Vis was steady this morning with what seemed like constant skylark flights overhead, a good few meadow pipits and chaffinches too. I didn't log any siskins or redpolls today but a single male bullfinch and 3 bramblings dropped into the site late morning.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

No Show....

Despite a good few hours searching today there was no sign of yesterdays star bird.....

A nice bit of viz was evident this morning with reasonable numbers of chaffinches, skylarks and mipits on the move along with lower counts of 2 bramblings, 16 siskins, 3 redpolls and 9 tree sparrows.

In the ringing site quite a few goldcrests, song thrushes and robins were logged, there was also a few blackcaps, 1 garden warbler, 2 yellow-browed warblers and 2 lesser whitethroats. It actually felt like there were more birds around than yesterday but that may well have been due to the calmer weather this morning.

One of today's YBWs

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

REV !!!

I was out birding in and around the ringing site this afternoon.....

My initial highlight was watching 2 yellow-browed warblers having a bit of a ding-dong. They were very vocal and giving some nice close views at one point, but they both proved impossible to photograph being just too quick for me !

Whilst trying to get a photo of the yellow-brows I noticed a larger bird in the sycamore behind, it was completely out of focus through my camera and I assumed it was probably a garden warbler or something similar. With the camera still held up to my eye I pressed the button to focus in on the fuzzy blob and then nearly had a heart attack !!


Not at all what I was expecting. My hands went to jelly and I instinctively just pressed the button to capture the moment. With around 20 very shaky record shots secured I put the camera down and lifted my bins just be totally sure I wasn't making a horrible mistake !  

I then continued to watch the vireo for probably no more than 30 seconds before it turned, flew off through the sycamores and that was the last I saw of it.

I guess it was a good job that I pressed the button when I did......

Trying to relocate this bird late afternoon was a nightmare, a large site, very breezy weather moving all the foliage about and any remaining sunny spots were quickly diminishing as the sun got lower and lower.

Whilst failing to relocate the REV I did manage to log 2 lesser whitethroats and a woodcock (which appeared to fly in off the sea). 

I'm hopeful that the REV may re-appear in the morning and give some proper views, it is a clear night tonight tho so who knows........ fingers crossed eh.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Bird Bath Stunner !!

I glanced out of the window this afternoon (as I often do) to check out the bird bath activity.

Usually there are sparrows, starlings, blackbirds, dunnocks and the odd robin using this, so I was a little stunned to see an adult male sparrowhawk sat in it, one of those beautiful red and grey birds !! I reached for the camera but unfortunately just as I returned to the window it was off like a rocket so no pics.

I had a camera trap on the bird bath for a few days last week and I'm kicking myself that I didn't leave it out for longer now !

Also in the garden today another migrant chiffchaff, I've seen a couple on the housing estate behind our place this week too.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Migration from the Garden......

Another few days of being stuck around the house, but I have been spending a little time in our tiny garden and logging quite a few migrants.

It's amazing the amount of birds you miss from inside the house, even with the windows open for a bit of soundtrack. 30 minutes or so sat outside with a coffee each morning this week has seen some great viz action.

On Sunday we had a chiffchaff in our tiny garden before it flew off high south until I could no longer see it, obviously on a mission. Interestingly the same day the ringing groups totals comprised of roughly 35% chiffchaffs. 3 chaffinches on the garden feeders on the same day were also likely migrants, we don't normally see them in our garden.

On Monday trees sparrows were evident with 3 groups of around 70 birds in total heading south within half an hour. Also noted moving south were 30+ meadow pipits, 4 rock pipits, 1 grey wagtail and a mistle thrush. A couple of chiffs and goldcrest were also seen in the neighbours garden.

On Tuesday a further light passage of meadow pipits was noted with around 20 birds south in around 30 minutes. Also flying south were 4 skylarks and 2 rock pipits. A northbound merlin also gave a superb flyby.

This morning a group of around 18 swallows were moving slowly southwards past our place. They didn't seem too urgent about it, they were just following the shoreline and feeding along the way.

That's the great thing about the autumn, even without classic fall conditions you can still step outside and witness many common migrants coasting their way southwards.