Saturday, 31 May 2014

From the Emirates to an Eagle - 31st May 2014

The Emirates Stadium
From the Emirates Stadium to a...

Short-toed Eagle
hugely rare bird, the one and only... Short-toed Eagle.

Short-toed Eagle
The Short-toed Eagle comes from Eastern and Southern Europe.

If you think this is a lot of people, I can guarantee there will be many tomorrow. Special Shoutouts to Peter Moore for a live update service as we had a tense drive home from the Emirates and also to Paul Morton for finding the bird because without him nobody would be here.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Dip at Durlston - 29th May 2014

Common Whitethroat
We set out to Durlston at the early hour of 07:00 to try and see yet another Bee-eater and yet again we missed one. On the way back to the car, a Common Whitethroat was perched on a bush.                                                                                

Lesser Whitethroat
The Lesser Whitethroat is different to the Common Whitethroat because of its greyer head and grey legs. Luckily, I managed to photograph this secretive bird.

We were welcomed home by a Siskin on the feeders.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Smashing Swineham, Painful Portland - 27th May 2014

Grey Heron
We decided to go to Swineham for part of our day to see what was there. It had a variety of birds that you don't see every day. This Grey Heron was the first decent bird out today. 

Male Reed Bunting
There must be a nest around here because both parents were either gathering nest material or food. 

Female Reed Bunting
As soon as the male went walk-abouts, the female started to become more active. You can tell this is a female because the colour is not as bold and bright, this is because the female is normally sitting on the nest and needs to be camouflaged. 

Common Buzzard
There were four mobile Bee-eaters up at Portland so we decided to go and try and see them. As we were coming back from the Observatory, an emergency stop was necessary for this very close Buzzard.

Herring Gull
When we were searching for the Bee-eaters at Cheyne Wears this Herring Gull was perched close to the car park. Unfortunately, we didn't see the Bee-eaters at all. So apart from a Buzzard and Herring Gull, Portland was pretty bad.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Off to Portland - 26th May 2014

Common Blue
Portland Bill's fields were the home for the Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) today. It is a small blue butterfly which has very detailed markings on the underwing. When the wings are opened up, a lovely sky blue colour is exposed. Unfortunately, this butterfly refused to expose that colour when stationary on a blade of grass. On this picture, you can just see the blue on the edge on the wing behind. We attempted to see the Rosefinch which was reported at Southwell Gardens. Didn't see it though! There was also a Serin that felt the need to be very elusive. Despite a dip, a fun day out.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Nightjar Take Two - 25th May 2014

Red-legged Partridge
Now, where to start with this bird. The amount of diesel used and the amount of money spent looking for this pesky bird has been phenomenal. Now it just turns up on Soldiers Road right in front of our eyes.

No wind, 21:00pm, prime Nightjar time but the Nightjars had other ideas. Frequent churring but not at all frequent sightings. At least the sunset was good.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Hartland Moor - 23rd May 2014

Green Woodpecker
A quick drive along Soldiers Road was rewarded with views of this Green Woodpecker. 

Nightjar time. We started to walk around Hartland Moor and watched a beautiful sunset fade away into the night sky. 21:15 is when we saw the Nightjars. One circular circuit of the heath was all they could provide for their audience.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

A Trip to Lodmoor - 17th May 2014

Song Thrush
Due to a car park ticket dispenser malfunction, we weren't entering a Curlew Sandpiper spotting zone, AKA Lodmoor, any time soon. So what better way to pass the time than a bit of R&R otherwise known as photography. A juvenile Song Thrush started hopping around the car park as a long frustrating phone call to the the car park operator was taking place.

Little Egret
We traipsed round to the Viewing Shelter to find that the Curlew Sandpiper had disappeared, never to be seen again. But, a Little Egret was fishing in the shallow water in front of us.

Arctic Tern

But the pick of the bunch was this Arctic Tern. This looks similar to the Common Tern but there are two distinguishing features. For starters, the bill has no black tip and the Arctic Tern's tail is longer.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Sparrows Galore - 11th May 2014

Adult male feeding a juvenile House Sparrow
Juvenile House Sparrow
At the moment, there are lots of House Sparrows in the garden including juveniles. In the picture above, the distinctive yellow line around the bill is called the gape. You can tell this is a juvenile House Sparrow as opposed to the vaguely similar juvenile Chaffinch because there is no white in the wing.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Where are the birds? - 10th May 2014

Church Ope Cove was home to an electrifying sea today.

Grey Seal
A Grey Seal was passing along the Portland Coast. 

Wall Lizard
A nifty spot from Jacob's brother resulted in a snap of this Wall Lizard.

Great Black-backed Gull
As we walked along the cliff with strong winds blowing in every direction, a Great Black-backed Gull was flying slowly into the wind over the sea.

Little Tern
Finally, something decent: a Little Tern was bombing around Ferrybridge where there was a little group of summer-plumaged Dunlins and winter-plumaged Sanderlings. 

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Some of Purbeck's Finest - 3rd May 2014

Common Whitethroat
Durlston was the starting point of this Purbeck tour, where a ringing session was in full action. Well, I say in full action but there wasn't much action. After seeing a lonely Blackbird we gave up and went on our traditional Durlston walk where Common Whitethroats were out and about.

Great Black-backed Gull
The walk led to the Observation Point where a Great Black-backed Gull was perched perfectly on a ledge squawking its head off. You can tell that it is a Great Black-backed Gull as opposed to a Lesser Black-backed Gull because Greats have pink legs and Lessers have yellow legs.

Willow Warbler
After about an hour sitting at home, Dad felt the need to go and breathe even more fresh air, a walk at the farm would suit his need. 20 minutes in to his walk Dad spotted a Willow Warbler. The phone rang, nobody could be bothered to pick it up so the message went: "could somebody pick up the phone." I rushed to phone and picked it up. Dad said there was a Willow Warbler settled in a tree.

Challow Hill, Yellowhammer city. Nightingale was the main target but at the moment it seems pretty elusive and secretive. I don't think the Nightingale has been seen for the past week now.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Eastern Subalpine Warbler - 1st May 2014

The Subalpine Warbler, very similar to its cousin the Dartford Warbler, was stirring up trouble at Portland. We turned up and didn't have the ideal birders start. It just didn't want to show itself. People were only having short one second glimpses, too close to get bins on it. We chased the bird around just about every bush in the area. Patience pays off though. After much perseverance and running by us, the bird finally settled in a photography friendly bush.