Sunday 30 July 2017

Turnstone and Ringos

I'm back! It was SO good to get out on patch for some birding after a few days away doing a Three Peaks Challenge (see previous 2 posts). Fortunately I didn't miss anything really good whilst away; it's obviously still a bit early for most of the rare stuff but there's always a chance. I paid BHM and the Axe estuary a couple of visits today and the notable birds were:

1 Turnstone
1 Green Sandpiper
1 Med Gull (adult)
3 Whimbrel
6 Ringed Plover (5 adult, 1 juvenile)
23+ Dunlin

A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was the target with a few about lately in this unsettled weather but it was not to be.

Light was poor for photos and the camera gear got wet but at least a couple of birds came fairly close today:


Ringed Plover

Expect more regular posting from me from now on!

Wednesday 26 July 2017

Ben Nevis photo update

If you don't know what I'm doing in various other parts of the UK then please read my last post HERE.

We had some stunning scenery and weather upon arrival at Corpach near Fort William on Monday evening:

Part of the group at the top of Ben Nevis

Thursday 20 July 2017

Three Peaks Challenge & Mental Health

For bird updates please keep an eye on my Twitter feed to the right hand side of this page.


Here's a quick plug for a charity event I am taking part in next week; a small group of us are climbing 3 peaks to raise money for Young Minds Trust. Mental health issues suffered by young (and less young) people is something that everyone should know more about. I suspect many of my readers may have suffered personally or perhaps you've lost friends or family due to mental health issues. I have lost both.

I can write with a high degree of certainty that you will know someone, perhaps even someone very close to you, without realising the sort of battle that they go through each day. This could be a friend. This could even be a family member and yet you may never know, or at least not until things end.

Please have a look at the Young Minds Trust website for information on the great work they do.

We will be travelling on Monday 24th, climbing Ben Nevis on 25th, climbing Scafell Pike on 26th, climbing Snowdon and travelling back on Thursday 27th. Hopefully there'll be some birds to see during the walks; I will have a camera with me but not a 'wildlife' lens. With Black Hole Marsh looking so good there's a chance I may miss something good on patch but given that I'm away for such an important cause I can't be too annoyed by this.

If signal is good enough I'll do some mobile blogging with updates and pics from the walks.

We have a JustGiving page HERE. At the time of writing we are 97% of the way towards our target for the donations received via the site. I have also set up a text number to make it even easier to donate. Simply text KLAW98 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 to our page (you can change the value of the donation i.e. £1, £3, £10 etc). It would be great if we could exceed our target and raise as much money as possible to help other people.

JustGiving sends your donation straight to Young Minds and it is a quick and safe way to donate. Please be generous if you are able. Many thanks.

Monday 10 July 2017

LRP, Greenshank, Whimbrel - BHM update

Very busy week for me so here's a quick list of what I saw at Black Hole Marsh on the 8th:

1 Greenshank
1 Whimbrel
1 Little Ringed Plover
1 Hobby which lingered in the area
11+ Common Sandpiper
2 Dunlin
5 Black-tailed Godwit
3+ Med Gull

And on the 9th:

4 Dunlin
5 Black-tailed Godwit
11+ Common Sandpiper
1 Med Gull

The water level is up again on BHM so there's likely to be fewer birds there for a while until it's dropped.

Saturday 8 July 2017

Med Gulls (lots), Waders and some pics

The Twitter feed on the right hand side of this page (might have to scroll down a little) gives a regular update as to what I'm seeing as it is much quicker and more convenient than blogging; I'll summarise here as well though.

Thursday morning at Black Hole Marsh yielded 14+ Common Sands but no new species. I had a look over the estuary from Tower Hide and was surprised to see a group of 8 Med Gulls together, comprising of 4 adults and 4 juveniles. They were very distant so I took the below record shot before hurrying to the other side of the estuary; I'll post some better pics when I have time to process them but heat haze was a problem all morning.

All 8 took off and flew high together, out of sight. Mid-afternoon yielded 2 juvs on the estuary which soon joined a 1st Summer on BHM and there were still 3 present in the evening. I probably missed some others during the day but this is the most I've seen here in 1 day and definitely the first time I've squeezed 8 into a single pic. The evening visit to BHM also gave 1 Green Sand, 4 Black-tailed Godwits and a Hobby.

One of the juv Meds came fairly close to Island Hide at one point. The heat meant getting a sharp shot was very tricky but these are stunning birds even if some of the detail was lost:

The Green Sand stayed distant but I'm quite pleased with how well this pic held up when cropped heavily:

Little Egret posing in the last few moments of warm sunshine

Friday 7th:
I was about to leave to head to BHM when Ian Mc texted with news of an LRP which is only the second one of 'Autumn' so far. I saw this distantly before heading home to carry on with some work.
Another visit in the afternoon produced 5 Blackwits and the Hobby again but little else of interest. A 3rd visit from 20:15 to 21:15 was only slightly more rewarding with the LRP and Green Sand showing again but distantly.

Thursday 6 July 2017

More Med Gulls and Waders

A morning visit to Black Hole Marsh showed just 6+ Common Sandpipers and neither of the Greens which arrived the previous evening. The summer plumage Black-tailed Godwit which I had early on Sunday morning was still present but remains on its own.

As seems to be a regular occurrence at the moment, the evening check of the marshes yielded some better/more birds. I arrived a bit after 19:00 and more gulls kept dropping in at BHM. It was amusing at the time because there were a couple of other people in the hide so I said it would be worth scanning through the incoming gulls in case there was a Med Gull in with them. A few seconds later I looked at the group that had just landed and there was a smart adult summer Med Gull in with the Black-headed Gulls. Another 2 Meds soon followed too; this was the first time I'd seen 3 on BHM at the same time as most just fly by us here.

Other birds of note was a single Green Sand and 11+ Common Sands just on BHM, so there are likely a few more in the valley.

Wednesday 5 July 2017

More Sandpipers

An evening visit to BHM on the 4th yielded just 6+ Common Sands initially at 19:30. I waited until Sunset to see if anything else would drop in and this proved worthwhile as I heard 2 Green Sands calling overhead before they dropped onto BHM shortly before 21:00. It was a bit dark (and birds were distant) for pics at this point so forgive the ropey images:

Common Sand at the back plus 2 Green Sands

2 Green Sands
Common Sand
Juv Black-headed Gull (1 of at least 4 present recently)

Black-headed Gull

Black Hole Marsh looked absolutely stunning on Sunday evening so here's a panorama shot taken on my phone:

Saturday 1 July 2017

Pics, gulls and more waders

Four trips to Black Hole Marsh today had varying levels of success. My totals of notable species for the day included 7 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper (presumably the one I had arrive last night), 1 Dunlin & 1 Little Ringed Plover which Ian Mc found late afternoon. I expect we'll have a few more soon.

Here's a few pics of yesterdays Med Gulls and Common Sandpipers.

I haven't forgotten about the Kestrels mentioned in the last post but that will have to wait a little longer!