Thursday, 31 October 2013

HERMIT THRUSH - Porthgwarra 30/10/13

With a good number of American passerines turning up on Shetland, Scilly and the western isles surely it wasn't long until one was found on the mainland? On 29th one did in the form of a hermit thrush at Porthgwarra in Cornwall and at 10:00 that night 4 of us made the long drive south. We got their for dawn and at about 08:30 we had lost all hope and gone of looking for Choughs and it wasn't long until I located a distant Chough Jumping around the rocks at the headland. We maid our way along the cliffs when Marks pager went of saying the Hermit thrush had been refound!! We ran back down to the car park and it wasn't long until we were watching it in a small wood and what a great little bird it was.

(Hermit Thrush - Lisle Gwynn)

(Hermit Thrush - Lisle Gwynn)

(Hermit Thrush - Lisle Gwynn)

On the way back Steve kindly stopped in Marazion so I could tick Rose-coloured Starling, we got it straight away It wasn't this bad as I was expecting, it was also opposite a McDonald's which made it even better! 

(Rose-coloured Starling - Marazion)

Sunday, 27 October 2013

A dusky weekend

On Saturday I was ment to go to my patch RSPB Saltholme which I haven't been to for over 2 months but that plan had gone out the window when a dusky warbler was refound from the week befor at Hartlepool. I got to the Old Cemtetary scrub and waited a hour before the bird started tacking, it tacked away for about 5 minutes but I only had 4 different flight views in the time I was their. The next day I was back at Hartlepool again for a Glossy Ibis which gave good views. Glossy Ibis was still a much wanted bird in Cleveland and Durham when I started birding but since 2011 it has been anual and is not a BB rarity any more.

Monday, 21 October 2013

More rarities...

On the 17th the mega alert went of once again saying HAMPSHIRE - SEMILPALMATED PLOVER, HAYLING ISLAND but it flew of high north east so that problem had gone for now. Unfortunately it was re found the next day and stayed for about 3 hours so on Saturday Andrew Kinghorn picked me up at 05:30 and we maid the long trek down to Hayling Island. We got their for 10:50 and just as we got to the car park we saw a decent sized flock of ringed plovers fly over us and at the same time Andrew announced that the plover was still their so we ran down to the point to be told by Liam Langley that the Semi-p had flown of about 5 minutes before we arrived and just to top it of the Pallid Swift was re found at Hartlepool. In the previous two days the Plover was not seen again that day after it had flown of so our chances of seeing the bird had gone from low to extremely low, but all was not lost when someone announced that the Semipalmated Plover had been re found further around the island! We ran back to the car and followed everybody else to the sight and and their it was! A grotty 1st winter Semipalmated Plover, although it was absolutely dreadful it was a very interesting bird, it was clearly smaller than the surrounding ringed plovers with a Short stubby bill, pale upper wing coverts and on high magnification I could also see the pale wedge at the base of the lower mandible.

(Semipalmated Plover - Sam Viles)

(Semipalmated Plover - Harry Murphy)

I got back for about 18:45 and my extremely kind grandad took me to Hartlepool to see the Pallid Swift at roost on St Hilda's Church, when I got their it was pitch black and I could tell it was a Swift but that was all so I went back the next day and had brilliant views of it  in good light so I was able to see the Scaly underparts, contrasting primaries, large white throat patch and dark mask around the eye. A good week with Isabelline Shrike, Siberian Stonechat, Cleveland's first Bonelli's Warbler, 4th Pallid Swift and Britain's 4th Semipalmated Plover.

(Pallid Swift - Martyn Sidwell)

(Pallid Swift - Martyn Sidwell)

Siberian Stonechat and Isabelline Shrike

On the 16th October the plan was to wait for news of either the Arctic Redpoll at South Gare or the Siberian Stonechat at Scalby in North Yorkshire. I woke up quite late and news came out saying the stonechat was still their so I got the next bus to Scarborough and walked from their. I arrived at the site and was told the the stonechat might of flown across the vally so my hopes had dropped slightly but it wasn't long until it was relocated and it gave fantastic views fly catching over our heads. After missing the one in Cleveland by half an hour a few years back it was great to catch up with this recently split species. After that some Yorkshire birders gave me a lift to Flamborough with some fantastic med gulls at Holbeck on the way. The main bird was the Isabelline (Daurian) Shrike and we had reasonably good views of it in the back gardens near the light house. We dipped the two Olive-backed Pipits but that wasn't a problem...the problem was that a Pallid Swift had just been found at Hartlepool Headland and I wouldn't get their before dark. I got home at about 20:00 so long after light but the swift had gone to roost on the church and it was present the next day until 10:30 when it wasn't seen again so I missed this real rarity for the county... or did I?...

(Isabelline Shrike - Harry Murphy)

(Siberian Stonechat - Martin Garner)

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Western Bonelli's Warbler - A first for Cleveland and Co. Durham

On the 14th October photos of a Phylloscopus Warbler at Hartlepool Headland were put on the Teesmouth Bird Club website and identified as a Bonelli's Warbler. The next day birders were their for dawn the bird was still present, it was heard calling so it was fully identified as a Western Bonelli's Warbler a first for Cleveland and Durham! About seven hours later I finished school and I got their for 15:45 the Bonelli's showed almost strait away and gave good views on and off all evening, this was also my 300th British bird.

(Western Bonelli's Warbler - Martyn Sidwell)

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Slowly approaching 300...

The Saturday after the Great Snipe was not so great with the long drive down to Hampshire for a Brown Shrike but unfortunately it was nowhere to be seen but their was some compensation on the way back with 3 Female type Blue-winged Teals which were lifers for me. During the week the winds turned east and brought shed loads of Yellow-browed Warblers to the east coast so I went down to South Gare on the Wednesday and connected with 3 of these little beauties. Saturday 28th September was a great day with 3 lifers, the first was a cracking male Sardinian Warbler at St Abbs Head just over the boarder. Although it was very elusive it did give some great views at times showing the black head, white throat and a silver ring on its left leg. The odd thing about this bird is that a male Sardinian Warbler was ringed on the 30th June this year in almost exactly the same place this bird was found on the 25th September but their was no further news. So is it a different bird? unlikely, but were has it been for the last 3 months? their where also 2 Yellow-browed Warblers calling in the area and some Redwings and Redpolls flying overhead.

(Sardinian Warbler - Steven Fryer)

(Sardinian Warbler - Jack Bucknall)

(Blue-winged Teals - Harry Murphy) 

The next stop was Whitburn Coastal park to look for a Blyths reed warbler that had been seen on and off for a couple of days, although we didn't see the blyths reed we still saw 3 Richards Pipits together in the field opposite the entrance to the coastal park. This was a real bogey bird for me so to see 3 on the deck at once was a great sight, for the majority of the time we were there the pipits were quite distant but one gave fairly close views allowing me to see the large wagtail like shape, pale lores and bold head pattern. I also got the chance to see a Yellow brow in the hand witch was a real treat.

(Yellow-browed Warbler - Harry Murphy)

The last lifer of the day was a fantastic Barred Warbler at Hartlepool which gave brilliant views in the front gardens of Cliff Terrace another treat after dipping about 10 Barred Warblers in the last 2 years. This now puts me on 298 thanks to George Randall and Chris Bell for the car lifts.

(Barred Warbler - Hartlepool Headland)

(Barred Warbler - Harry Murphy)