Sunday, 13 September 2015

Minsmere: Wryneck among departing migrants

An early morning search of the Whin Hill area failed to turn up any sightings of the Wryneck at first light, it did however produce good views of Redstart, Common and Lesser Whitethroat, Sparrowhawk and Marsh Harrier. We gave up after a couple of hours and made our way to the reserve car park.

Springwatch Studio

On the walk out towards the beach we saw good numbers of Bearded Tits, one flock containing 20+ birds. A scan across the scrape from the public hide added Grey Plover, Dunlin, Ruff, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwits and double figures of Spotted Redshanks.
The Barred Warbler that had been present for a couple of days failed to show while we were there, and had not been seen by anyone there, including a guy who had been there since first light! A later report of the bird being present and showing well in the morning seems dubious at best.
Although one guy was convinced he had seen it, even though it was pointed out it was a Common Whitethroat he was looking at!
A scan of the bushes South of the sluice produced a third Redstart of the morning along with Wheatear, Whinchat, Common and Lesser Whitethroats, and large flocks of Siskins and Goldfinch. Swallows were still flying around the sluice


Another stop off at Whin Hill, and the Wryneck is showing on the ground near the concrete fence posts. We had good and prolonged scope views of it feeding among the grass but it remained too distant for photos. 
A Hobby was seen circling over Island Mere along with another Marsh Harrier before heading for home.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Barred Warbler, Staines Moor

Staines Moor's first ever record of Barred warbler found by Lee Dingain on the 2nd September!
With reports that the bird was still present yesterday evening and weather reports predicting overcast conditions through the night, it was time to make the fifty mile trip early this morning.
The journey was straight forward enough, and we were parked up in Hithermoor Road in Staines Moor Village and heading off along the Colne Valley Way footpath.
After a longer walk than was anticipated, we crossed the slippery boardwalk and the first wooden bridge before heading over the concrete bridge and finally across the second wooden bridge. We joined two birders already on site and after walking round to join a third birder we were pleased to hear the bird had already been seen briefly among the Hawthorn bushes. Confirmed by a photo on the back of his camera. 
Movement within the Hawthorns got us excited briefly, but when it showed itself it was a Blackcap. Shortly afterwards another bird flies in from the left hand bush. It stays hidden only giving brief glimpses within the bush as it  moves through it. But the views are enough to be sure that it's the Barred! Suddenly it pops up and gives very good views before it flies right and lands on the edge of the next Hawthorn bush.Again it gives good if brief views before diving deeper into cover. We got a few more flight views of the bird as it made it's way along the line of bushes but it never showed in the open again.
The next couple of hours proved very frustrating, A Red Kite appeared over the Moor and a single yellow wagtail flew through but no sign of the Barred. There were plenty of birders arriving during this time to join the search, but we left without any more sightings of the bird.

Below is a map for anyone unsure of how to reach the area.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Wryneck, Wanstead Flats

News broke of a Wryneck at Wanstead Flats on Monday evening, and with another positive sighting early Tuesday morning it was time to make the short trip.
After parking up we start scanning the surrounding area without any luck. We meet up with Marco and move on to the Enclosure area.
Although there is no sign of the Wryneck, we do get views of Common Redstart, Common Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher and Pied Flycatcher while we are searching.
A call from another birder to say he's seen the Wryneck and we head back towards the "Viz Mig" area. Unfortunately the bird has disappeared by the time we reach him!
With more birders arriving we decide to split up to cover more areas. Dad heads back to our original starting spot and picks the Wryneck up low in a bush. As luck would have it, it's disappeared again before I make it to him! A very frustrating morning spent searching and failing to locate the bird.

Another early morning visit today, we bump into Nick before leaving the car park. Soon after arriving at the same spot as yesterday I spot movement in a nearby tree.
Jono indicates it's the Wryneck, so we move round to his location. It doesn't stay in the tree long and before I can get a view it flies low into the Brooms and disappears again. 
A couple of cracking looking Lesser Whitethroats and a Spotted Flycatcher break up the time spent searching.
I decide to head off to the next section of Broom and of course as soon as I did the Wryneck pops up in front of the other birders where I had been standing! Many of the birders had by now seen the bird and were heading off. Over the course of two mornings I had seen the Wryneck 3-4 times in flight and was just about to head off home disappointed when, while watching a Common Whitethroat the Wryneck pops up in the bushes right in front of me!