Monday 31 December 2012
Anyway, it's only taken me all year to see one, but this morning it took me all of five minutes to find a Woodcock in my local woods. Makes you really wonder why I hadn't bothered to look until now.
So, that makes 161 for the year and a fairly 'average' self-found year for me when compared to the last few. It certainly felt a lot harder than that though this year! What with the gull roosts now gone, and Rookery being 'reclaimed' some easy things suddenly became quite hard or impossible. Still
It makes for a more interesting challenge going forward. On to 2013!
Best of luck folks!
Thursday 27 December 2012
That Bashford is very close behind mind you. I'll have to watch him next year and perhaps bring in some sabotage...
Merry Christmas everyone!
Thursday 20 December 2012
Here's hoping for one of these that I find and we can all see...
(actually digiscoped at Rainham a few years back - not MVCP 2012 I'm afraid)
Monday 17 December 2012
Thursday 6 December 2012
Sunday 2 December 2012
Bearded Tits pinged to life on the icy edge - Marvellous!
Add the fly-over Waxwing just after dawn yesterday at Boughton End and I'm one off my target of 160. And I've still got an 'easy' one in the bag left to find...
|There be Beardies in them there reeds|
Friday 30 November 2012
RIB: ''Darren! Have you got the other bird on here?!''
DOM (about 20 yards away, watching a female aythya swimming away from him): ''Hang on a sec', I think I've got a Scaup.''
RIB (with 'scope at the ready): ''OK, you can have this one then!''
DOM (now looking through RIB's 'scope, although it was actually SCB's 'scope, but that's another story): ''Excellent stuff!''
RIB: ''Ha! Steve will be pleased...I'll text him.''
It went something like that anyway...
R had found a huuuuge flock of five last weekend, so didn't 'need' Scaup, but he seemed pretty chuffed nevertheless, at what is a pretty scarce bird at Blunham.
High fives all round, and with a couple of Goldeneye found a few minutes earlier, takes my tally to 132.
Thanks again R,
130 for the year now, 120 of which on foot.
Saturday 24 November 2012
First added Bearded Tit to the SFYL 2012 on when surprisingly saw a male in flight and heard another while looking for warblers in April, then found again with more birds in October. Now guaranteeing that I have used up all my Bearded Tit-finding-luck in one SFYL year, found another yesterday in one of the private pits (clue 1953).
Monday 19 November 2012
Friday 16 November 2012
Thursday 8 November 2012
After lunch, spent until after dusk looking for Woodcock and Short-eared Owl at a couple of sites near Potton...to no avail...yet.
Wednesday 7 November 2012
Following last week's Rock Pipit, which the 'two wise men' have told me I can have, this takes my total to 127. I refuse to tick the Pink-foot I saw with RIB though - there is no way I could have scored that with bins alone.
Not much to go for now - a total of 130 would be 'respectable' without transport (notwithstanding Blain's Cabs and Bashford's Taxis). My mind is now already wandering to 2013. I missed a lot of the start of this year, so target 2013 is 140 and to kidnap SCB during April and May.
Monday 5 November 2012
Sunday 4 November 2012
Saturday 3 November 2012
Friday 2 November 2012
Monday 29 October 2012
Wednesday 24 October 2012
Sunday 21 October 2012
Merlin - the thinking man's Peregrine.
That takes me to 125 SFYL.
Monday 15 October 2012
So if you want to see Woodlark in Bedfordshire, stand by the gate on the new heath at The Lodge between 07:13-08:33 on 14 October.
Saturday 13 October 2012
Fenceposts... good for chats and good for putting your tea on while vismigging.
Monday 8 October 2012
Saturday 6 October 2012
Friday 5 October 2012
"I had just completed my first scan through the gull roost at Stewartby Lake when I happened across the same "little grebe" just beyond the middle of this large lake as I reported for Wednesday evening. It was 6.25 and this time I looked at it properly! The clue on Wednesday was, of course, that it was alone toward the centre of the lake whereas Dabchicks here generally hug the fringes. It was clearly blackish grey and smoky white with an erect neck and slopy dark crown descending below the eye - classic BLACK-NECKED GREBE! Unsurprisingly, it was too distant and too gloomy to attempt a thro' the 'scope shot of the BNG at Stewartby Lake.
Tuesday 2 October 2012
September has allowed me to pick off a couple. Not had a lot of self-found waders this year so a Greenshank in Quest Pit on the 9th September was welcome and also added Egyptian Goose with a number of sightings of the flock at East Hyde both on family drive pasts and while parked up to clear the scrape out as part of support to my sons DofE award volunteering experience. For any other prospective tickers of these Gypos, make sure you are not looking for them specifically as you drive down the B653 and watch out they are not in Herts. A female Stonechat at Pegsdon on 29th Sept completed the month (and the list of the chalk hill migrants that I was aiming for this year), anything left now is difficult.
So what are my low hanging fruits to pluck in the last few months of the year...?
I could not justify any of my Goosander this year for the SFYL so that has got to be one, also Med Gull, Brambling, Short-eared Owl and Kittiwake are dangling out there somewhere. That leaves me with two from Bittern, Tree Sparrow or Lesser 'pecker to make 140. Any other hits when visiting the wet stuff will be a bonus. SO Target set... brownie points in the bank... and a new flask for vis mig mornings... now where is my SFYL rarity ?
Thursday 27 September 2012
Wednesday 26 September 2012
Black-necked Grebe - always possible at Radders and H-O CP, P F and W F Gooses at Radwell - almost annual. Whooper too would not seem unlikely. Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl around Thurleigh - maybe a Marsh Harrier but running out of time - likewise Osprey. Waders - might get a Little Stint, Ruff, Curlew Sand or Black-tailed Godwit on a lunchtime trip to Broom - but that isn't going well having missed out on finding the Pec (SCB and I went to GLE at lunch in the rain, just before Martin found it). Woodcock - no problem in the winter woods. Med Gull - might get one if I can find some gulls to look through. Rock and Water Pipit are possible if I crank up the visits to Willington and Broom - wandering the edges of the lakes. Waxwing, Woodlark, Ring Ouzel, Brambling - all possible if I do a bit of Viz migging (which I don't generally!) and assuming we get an influx. Stonechat - unlucky not to find one but not always that easy.
Plenty to look for and winter is about the best time for my sites - I'd swap all the above for an American Wigeon at Radwell mind you...
Tuesday 25 September 2012
- Water Rail
- Ring Ouzel
- Marsh Harrier
- Hen Harrier
- Jack Snipe
- Short-eared Owl
- Yellow-legged Gull (time running out!)
- Rock Pipit
Thursday 13 September 2012
P-yuu-eeet!..........p-yuu-eeet!........p-yuu-eeet! (with perhaps a German umlaut over the 'u' to be precise). Sounding exactly like Volker Arnold's recording here.
Very, very pleased with that one. But serendipitous indeed.
On foot: 107
Tuesday 4 September 2012
I'm hoping I can give Roger, Matt and Martin a run for their money, but I don't much fancy my chances as the autumn progresses...
Saturday 1 September 2012
Maintaining the quality of record shots on this blog... here it is,
Remember kids, it's not the site, it's the coverage...
Friday 31 August 2012
Monday 27 August 2012
Sunday 26 August 2012
That takes me to 116 - 97 of which were on foot within a three mile radius of Potton.
Saturday 25 August 2012
Wednesday 22 August 2012
First was a Tree Pipit calling overhead as we reached the summit, followed by another. The first perched as you can see clearly from this photo.
Near the trig point, a male Redstart flew in front of us. Also two Wheatears and a Red Kite.
Tuesday 21 August 2012
Sunday 12 August 2012
Before running through possible species left (for another post), I thought I'd muse on the different policies of those of us contributing to this challenge. Feel free to contribute if I've made incorrect assumptions on your birding habits! I think, to stand a chance, you either need to go birding all the time, or consider what you need to do to find the species you wouldn't normally find in a year.
SCB - very active - lots of free time before and after work (no kids) and very active. No site really out of the question for him but lives near to Broom. Also undertaking some decent ornithology and thinking about birding that contributes to the county - like looking for breeding Firecrests. Did I mention he was very active?
RIB - less time but keen on regularly hitting some hotspots at the weekend early in the morning and with the opportunity to hit the Ivel Valley sites at lunchtime from work. Also a serial surveyor - particularly WeBS, which is a useful policy for finding wildfowl. Has been encouraged to look at gulls this year.
MJP - active birder but more so outside of summer, living next to some fine habitat and frequents one or two of the top county sites. Also an active year lister so uses that as a driver to get out and about - in doing so, finds good birds. Expect some serious late season action when the pollen disappears...
AG - Like RIB above - aware of the importance of making the most of birding time - good access to the hills and and make useful dents in the passage migrant list by doing so. Tactical birder (claiming you need to be living in Luton, where water is rationed) will hit some of the wetter sites when others least expect it and find a fair crop of wildfowl and waders. One to keep an eye on.
MB - Policy of no car, preferring bike and foot and mainly around Broom. WeBS surveyor and often very active at key times - at one of the best sites to find your own birds (if you beat the others to them). Impressive total so far considering no discernible carbon footprint.
RH - Also a local patch worker, sticking mainly to the home area - wanders for long periods of time, notebook at the ready, collecting valuable self found birds though handy local knowledge built up over time of the 10km square he lives in.
DOM - A late entry but joining in the fun of the game showing us what is possible solely on foot and mainly wandering around unpromising farmland, far away from any water - rarely finding any waterfowl but generating fabulous records for the county (and Birdtracking them all).
Wednesday 8 August 2012
Monday 6 August 2012
Saturday 4 August 2012
Friday 3 August 2012
Tuesday 24 July 2012
Saturday 14 July 2012
My only real autumnal find of the year so far was a group of nine Shelduck flying south over Luton early-ish morning on 6th July between rain showers, presumably a movement from the north of England to the moulting grounds. Not one for the SFYL though which would have benefited more from a couple of Curlews but the flight of Shelduck is more bizarre, more interesting and certainly more memorable.
Tuesday 26 June 2012
While ‘bioblitzing’ at MVCP on Saturday I bumped in to a pretty scruffy drake Red-crested Pochard. He was a real crowd pleaser for all those present on my bird walk late afternoon with everyone keeping tabs on where he went. Otherwise fairly quiet during the day, with other highlights mostly being breeding stuff – confirmed Common Terns, Lesser Black-backs, and the only breeding Black-headed Gulls in the county this year. Also found a female Pochard with four ducklings on my way out of the site, which was nice.
What next I wonder?
Monday 18 June 2012
Wednesday 6 June 2012
Well bloomin’ heck! I was only showing Darren the vismig potential of the Boughton End picnic site when I glanced over at Broggy. And there it was flapping down the lake – a big cinnamon brown bird with blackish wing-tips.
“There’s a heron flying over Broggy – sh!t! It’s a Purple Heron!!”
Even at the distance we were viewing from (and only using bins) we could easily see it was orange. Luckily it was flying below the horizon as if had gone in to the clouds we would probably have been none the wiser.
It flew down the lake to the southern end, before starting to circle. Unfortunately, it was drifting away from us and was getting harder and harder to see against the trees in the background. We both eventually lost it and phoned a few people in case it dropped in to anywhere local.
Totally unexpected and totally awesome. That is never a bird I expected to get on my SFYL this year!
Saturday 2 June 2012
Wednesday 30 May 2012
Monday 28 May 2012
My bird was at the top of the hill just outside Wrestlingworth, about 200 meters from the crossroads heading towards Guilden Morden. Also Corn Bunting here, and a reeling Gropper just below the water tower at Cockayne Hatley. A great evenings birding.
Sunday 27 May 2012
After seeing a pair of Spot Fly at Broom Moat House (which I didn't count), I finally found another pair at the southern end of Old Warden. A far more satisfying tick in a place I have found them many years ago before.
However, still no luck with Gropper, Nightingale and Turtle Dove. Also the search for calling Quail is now on- all pedal assisted of course......................
Monday 21 May 2012
Better SFYL Ticks achieved as a result of this early rising have been Turtle Dove (flyover), Hobby and latest a Black Tern at Broom this Sunday though missed out on the Greenshank that SCB grabbed.
Also seen plenty of Wheatear around this year and was pleased to capture this digiscope image on a tree guard near Gypsy Lane West pit on 13th May.
Thursday 10 May 2012
Wednesday 9 May 2012
Monday 7 May 2012
Thursday 3 May 2012
Right then, that's me off abroad for the next four days. Very best of luck to my fellow listers...honest.
Wednesday 2 May 2012
Tuesday 1 May 2012
Monday 30 April 2012
The shot of Matt above is him all ready for the in coming storm. Fireman Sam to the rescue!
Wednesday 25 April 2012
Here's a shot of some Arctics and a bigger one. Nice aren't they.
Now then, House Martins...