Saturday, 19 July 2014

Bonaparte's Gull, Oare Marshes

A Bonaparte's Gull first reported on the 17th at Oare Marshes in Kent was still present this morning, so we took the opportunity to make the trip.
Heading down Harty Ferry Road, we spotted a familiar face and luckily enough he was already looking at the Bonaparte's Gull.
The gull was present on the East Flood, and although it kept towards the back third of the flood it gave great views through the scope.
With weather clouding over and the first spots of rain falling we headed for the hide. The rain shower didn't last long, but when the gull appeared from behind the island it gave closer views than from Harty Ferry Road.

Bonaparte's Gull

Wood Sandpipers had been present in recent days, with up to 9 birds present on the 12th. But scanning the flood didn't produce any today, but at least 7 Common Sandpipers were found.
A single Dunlin, several Ruff and Turnstone were also present and two Med Gulls dropped in onto the small mud strips.
As the tide levels changed and the Black-tailed Godwits left the estuary to relocate onto the flood, the Bonaparte's decided that was it's queue to depart. It was later found back feeding on the estuary.

A walk to the West Flood to look for Wood or Green Sandpipers was cut short when we found the hide overlooking the flood was closed and sealed off due to Flood damage.
The walk did produce nice views of Bearded Tits among the ditch side reeds.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Mega!!! Great Knot Breydon Water and Collared Pratincole at Minsmere

A Great Knot in Norfolk and a Collared Pratincole in Suffolk, both would be lifer's, so when Brian phoned shortly before midday it didn't take much convincing to join him.
The Collared Pratincole had been reported at Minsmere, so with this being on route we pulled into Minsmere car park and headed off along the main path towards the beach.
We had been told that the bird was not showing from the hide, and that viewing from the beach would give us a better chance.
Joining the small group of birders already present, we were told the general area the bird had dropped into. After a while and with no sign of the bird, we decided to try our luck from East Hide.The hide was packed, but we managed to grab a spot upstairs and with a few directions from birders the target was found.

Collared Pratincole (to the right of the single Avocet)

Not the greatest of views at first, but eventually it decided to make a few brief flights, giving us the chance to note some of the key features.
With a lifer safely in the bag, I could relax and scan the the rest of the scrape for anything of interest.
A group of  Little Gulls were seen along with Several Spotted Redshanks and a smart Med Gull dropped in while we were watching the Pratincole.

We headed further North, in the hope that the Great Knot would be showing at Breydon Water.
Pulling into the Rugby Club car park, I had visions of a long walk out to where the bird would hopefully be. But it turned out to be surprisingly shorter than I had expected, and in no time at all we had joined the group of birders scanning the distant birds.
The light wasn't great, but after some directions I managed to get on the small group of Knot and with time and plenty of scanning of the flock managed to locate the bird.
The bird was quite distant and with the light and heat haze not helping all I was picking up on was what looked like a longer bill and longer body to the other Knots around it. The feeding habits seemed more purposeful and more thoughtful than the other birds around it. whether this is the case or not I don't know but that was the impression I got.
As the light changed and the bird moved around feeding it gave much better views, although still quite distant.

The reported "probable Collared Pratincole that had dropped in at Cley, had now been re-identified as a Black-Winged, we thought about heading off towards Cley, but while on route news came through on the pager that the bird had flown high South.
So we decided to start the 120 mile drive for home.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

White-winged Black Tern, Abberton

Finally the year list ticked over again today, with a brief visit to Abberton.

A scan from the new causeway produced the goods, as the tern was quickly located hunting across the water before resting up on the vegetation at the end of the spit, allowing good if some what distant scopes views.
An added bonus was the presence of a Black Tern, along with a hawking Hobby that put the local Starlings into panic.
Five Common Sandpipers dropped in along with a couple of Little Ringed Plovers along the water's edge, and Yellow and Grey Wagtails were also noted.

Maybe this will be the prelude to a few good birds turning up in the coming weeks.
Here's hoping.