Sunday 30 May 2021

Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Spurn. A Day late again!

Having left home at 4am, we were approaching Kilnsea when news came through on the pager that a Purple Heron had just flown over the "Triangle". As I was reading the news out the bird flew directly overhead and seemed to land behind us at Kilnsea Wetlands. Shortly after parking the car, the Purple Heron was again seen in flight, pursued by a Grey Heron. 

We didn't know at the time but this was to be the highlight of our time spent at Spurn. We walked along the beach and headed towards Middle Camp. But after two hours of searching, it was clear the target bird had moved on overnight!

The walkout to Middle Camp

Disappointed we decided to head up to Bempton Cliffs, which was our original destination when leaving home this morning. 

Bempton Cliffs

Arriving at midday we quickly added Tree Sparrow to the year list. The hedges bordering the overflow car parks were alive with them.

We were hoping to see Puffins and looking over the platform we found two resting on the nearest cliff ledge, with several more loafing on the sea below. A Barn Owl made a brief appearance, hunting along the edge of the top field. 

The cliffs and sea were alive with thousands of Gannets, Razorbills, Guillemots, Fulmars, and kittiwakes.

Although we dipped the Eastern Subalpine Warbler we still had a cracking day. 

The four-hour return journey home was broken up by a detour to Rutland Water where we enjoyed views of a pair of Osprey feeding a chick.



Tuesday 11 May 2021

Dipping a Tawny Pipit!

Setting off this morning we were hoping to connect with the Tawny Pipit at Cogden. Stopping on route at Longham Lakes we found the Whiskered Tern resting on a buoy in the middle of the south lake. It soon took to the air and made several circuits of the lake but always remained distant during our visit.

Whiskered Tern

At Cogden we parked up in the National Trust car park and walked the shingle beach. A small group of birders were already doing the same. Although two birders thought they had seen a fleeting glimpse of the Pipit, we failed to find it and after two hours of searching decided to head towards Portland, stopping on the way at Ferrybridge where several Little terns were present for another addition to the year list.


At Portland, we heard news of a Chough being present, and after walking towards the "Hut Fields" we found the Chough busily feeding on the cliff edge.

Chough feeding area


On the walk along the seafront, we encountered several Rock Pipits, which entertained us by displaying in the sky and then parachuting back down among the rocks. 

Rock Pipit

Scanning the sea from Portland Bill we saw numerous Guillemots and Razorbills resting on the sea and several were also seen on Pulpit Rock. A single Shag was also seen flying through adding to the day's total and the year list.

A report of a Roseate Tern present among the Common Terns at Lodmoor persuaded us to make a brief stop before heading for home, but we failed to find it and it was later reported in the bay at Greenhill.

The Tawny Pipit will have to go on my dipped list having failed to find it, and the fact it wasn't reported all day may mean it had moved on the previous evening. 

Although we dipped the tawny Pipit it was good to be at the coast again and I managed to add six additions to my year list while enjoying some fantastic scenery.

Tuesday 4 May 2021

Woodchat Shrike, Rochford

On the journey home from Frampton yesterday, news filtered through of an adult Woodchat Shrike present at Rochford in Essex. Having only seen one before in this country, a juvenile at Chipping Sodbury in 2017, I was very keen to see an adult bird, and the fact it was in my home County strengthened my feelings. Unfortunately, the diversion from where we were would have added at least two more hours onto our journey, so we decided to wait and hope it stayed overnight.

Fortunately, it was quickly found this morning and we were soon heading along the M25 and A127 towards Rochford. We Parked in Mill Lane and from here it was a short walk along the public footpath to a small gathering of birders standing along the far edge of the field. 

The shrike was spotted before we had joined them, the wind became stronger and the shrike would shelter lower down among the branches, occasionally reappearing in the more open areas only to disappear again.

Woodchat Shrike

Time was limited, but Wallasea was only 5 miles away and we had time for a brief visit. We were hoping to get views of Corn Bunting and luckily we found one sitting up singing in a bush very close to the entrance track.

A brief trip this morning to add a much-welcomed addition to my Essex list and two to my year list.

Sunday 2 May 2021

Dotterel at Frampton Marsh, Lincolnshire

A visit to Frampton Marsh this morning was well overdue. It's been almost ten months since my last visit to what is my favourite reserve in England. We left early and arrived at the old car park around 7am. The water pools on the wet grasslands were mirror-like to look at. We were hoping a Dotterrel had stayed overnight and we headed off along the sea bank towards the cross-bank in search of it, stopping on the way when a Wood Sandpiper was found. The Dotterel was found soon afterward feeding among a small flock of Golden Plover. If you continue along the grassland trail it takes you back to the car park. We did this and located two Yellow Wagtails in the next field for another addition to my year list.

Dotterel Field with Marsh Farm Barn in the distance

Looking back across the reserve from the sea bank

Dotterel with Golden Plover


As we left the car park this morning we had views of a sleeping Jack Snipe, and when we returned we found it out in the open feeding close to the path.

Jack Snipe

Wood Sandpiper

A walk along the Wash Trail was productive when a Spoonbill was spotted to give Brian another year tick, but I failed to locate any Spotted Redshank among the numerous Dunlin, Ruff, Ringed Plovers, Black and Bar-tailed Godwits. 

It was good to be back at Frampton, with friendly welcoming staff, and during the visit, I managed to add five new additions to my year list before we left for home.