Tuesday, 26 May 2009

First Lady

Did Budby Common at the weekend, had promised the girlfriend a Cuckoo. Plenty heard of them and one of the two calling males gave a couple of fleeting views. We've done better there before, but these are always skittish birds. The usual suspects were also around, loads of Tree Pipit, although surprisingly saw only one Woodlark.
Had our first Painted Lady of the year, a real faint one. Ours was ahead of a big influx that has hit the UK over the past couple of days.

Elsewhere Barn Owls are back for another season of train dodging on one of my local patches, and I'm seeing more Red-legged Partridge on my way to work (which may be bad news for any local Grey Partridge left around here).

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Reterns and what's that Stint?

Nice day ABBing at Carsington yesterday, nice to see visitors excited by the antics of the Common Terns. Whether they manage to remove the Black-headed Gulls from the newly deployed raft and get a chance to nest looks like big story for the next few weeks. Just not sure they're quite feisty enough to do it. I think the word soap opera writers use for the interest inspired by this sort of thing is jeopardy.
3 Common Sandpipers were a charming addition too. The Garden Warbler video comes from the Sheepwash end of the water.

Can beat that all though, this afternoon I checked Birdguides and there it was a report of Little Stint up at the pit. Good birds, but I've seen them before, even in Derbyshire, better stay in and get some work done in the house. A couple of hours later I check again and jeepers, there's been an upgrade, they're Temminck's Stint! - a lifer for me and probably the first in Derbyshire for many a year. Admittedly the difference is slight between the two species (and the mistake easy to make), basically Temminck's have pale legs, but they are a good deal rarer than Little Stint, both birds notable for being so flaming tiny, like unbelievably small for waders.
So Pleasley scores again, I really do like having the pit just a short walk away.

Here are a couple of strictly dodgy digiscope efforts, taken from a windswept video too shaky to dare post, glad they were still there...

Monday, 11 May 2009

Wow, Rutland Water

The plan was to scooch down to Rutland to finally bag one of the many Cattle Egrets in the country these days, by the end of a very long day we'd scored a list of 81 species and some memorable views - this despite missing out several hides and the Manton Bay area.

Big surprise was the new lagoon on the north side of Egleton Reserve, even googling after the visit I find very little online to cover quite what an interesting development it is. Being Rutland it's another big area of water with islands and scrapes that are an obvious magnet for all kinds of waders, and crowning glory of this achievement is an Osprey platform with attending bird. To give an idea of what it's already getting we saw Sanderling, Sandwich Tern and Avocet on or around that lagoon (gales over the last few days certainly helped with that). At one point the two Avocets mobbed the Osprey, which really underlines two of the big successes in British bird conservation over the last couple of decades. Who'd have imagined that even 15 years ago?

On other lagoons, three Black Terns, a pair of summer plumage Black-necked Grebes, and dozens of Hobbies hawking high and low, are all birds to make any day. Early evening a Cuckoo finally showed itself after teasing with distant calls all day long.

Shouldn't forget the reason we travelled in the first place, the Cattle Egret. Always kind of distant, invariably gorgeous, and yes it was among the cows (substituting for the elephants and rhinos of Africa).

An apparently plastic* Ruddy Shelduck hybrid raised and disappointed hopes, and yet what a richly coloured bird nonetheless.

Get thee to Rutland!Osprey nidifying...
...Hobby... flying.

Ruddy/Cape/Egyptian Goose/Shelduck thing

Cattle Egret

Plus, a bonus video, shot from a good distance...

*plastic - noun, slang: A wild bird of dubious origin, usually an escapee from an ornamental wildfowl collection.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Wood Sand

Bit of action up at the pit this week, a Wood Sandpiper spent a couple of days up on the big water. Nice attractive bird, sleeker than the common-er sandpipers, and fairly rare on passage, so a good standard noteworthy tick any year. Brought a few county birders up to our splendid little patch.
Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail, still add flavour, and the Reed Bunting vid comes from Pleasley too.

Today I spent my lunchtime in the gardens at Hardwick Hall, and do you know I saw just the bird I went there to see. Yep, over goes a Hobby while I'm tucking into my cheese sandwich. We are on a ridge so raptor passage does have potential. Had a probable, let's say possible, Honey Buzzard go over during last year's invasion but being at work I was too busy and without bins, couldn't confirm the bird for myself, and it stays probable despite one being reported 10 minutes later a couple of miles away in the right direction.

Edited to add: Another lunchtime, more birds, 2 Ravens over for short time until they could takes the harrassments froms the Jackdaws no mores! Don't get many of those in our part of the county.