Monday, 30 August 2010

Monday 30th August 2010 - Leave your patch at your peril!

You turn your back on your local patch for 5 mins and something turns up. We decided to pop to Eyebrook Res this morning to see the Kentish Plover instead of an early visit to Westport. Unfortunately there was no sign of it this morning so we headed back home. At 09-20hrs, just after leaving Eyebrook, DK phoned to see where I was and to tell me there was a SANDWICH TERN at Westport. This was a Westport tick for me having missed two on previous occasions. We faced a 1hr45 mins journey back, but with constant updates from DK, "The Seal" and GAS we made it in time to see a tired, heavily moulting Sandwich Tern sitting on the jetty. Probably only the 8th record for Westport. First morning I've missed since 30th July at Westport and something turns up. Local patches - they have a sense of humour don't they.

CJW was so excited he forgot to look through both lenses of his bins.

Then he didn't know whether to look at it or take a photo - he blew his chances when it flew off

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Saturday 28th August - Another day in Staffordshire

After visiting Blithfield and BGP without seeing much, we ended the day at Belvide where we saw the juv Curlew Sandpiper.

Apologies for the pictures. Check out the Belvide Blog for slightly better pics.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Saturday 21st August 2010 - Staffordshire

I went out with CJW again this Saturday and we stayed local again, visiting Blithfield and BGP. There were plenty of Little Egrets on show at Blithfield

A female Common Darter showed well at BGP.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Recent trips

Just a few pictures from my recent trips. First, a distant photo of the juvenile Black-necked Grebe at Belvide on 14th August. A possible family party of ten Goosander taken on 14th August in East Staffs More pictures of the juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker that recently visited my garden.

Ruppells Vulture

Following on from my sighting of the Ruppells Vulture in Portugal in July, Phil Jones kindly produced this excellent drawing for me. Phil's work has appeared in British Birds, WMBC and ISBG reports plus numerous books, annual reports and atlases. He can be contacted on

Sunday, 8 August 2010

My Garden - 8th August 2010

Whilst walking round Westport on my 40th birthday the other day, CJW thought it was highly amusing when my wife rang me and promptly gripped me off as she described a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER on my bird table. Finally, three days later the little beauty returned to have a peck at my fat balls.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Idle Valley NR, Notts - 7th August 2010

A relatively short drive into Nottinghamshire today for my 3rd Baird's Sandpiper in Britain, but my first since 2005. Always a bit distant and so record shots again.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Inner Marsh Farm, Cheshire - 5th August 2010

A trip to celebrate my 40th anniversary with CJW and GAS. The Lesser Yellowlegs was showing far better than we expected but taking pictures of it - that was a different matter.

Clayheads on Tour - Algarve 2010 30th July

Last day and our last trip was to the Lagoa dos Salgados again. Highlights were 150+ Glossy Ibis, c20 Spoonbills plus a good selection of waders. We also saw our first Portugese birder. This is the way to do it. I have now bought two of these and Chris and myself don these everyday to walk round Westport.

Clayheads on Tour - Algarve 2010 29th July

This morning it was a return visit to Quinta do Lago. Good views this morning of Little Bittern plus Purple Gallinule and Little Egret. Also managed a little video of the Little Bittern

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Clayheads on Tour - Algarve 2010 28th July

My first visit to the infamous Pera Marshes or Lagoa dos Salgados. The pool was full and i found myself a nice boardwalk to walk along, and then a hide that i could stand on the roof to look out over the pool. There were quite a few Spoonbills and Glossy Ibis around plus two Greater Flamingoes.

Clayheads on Tour - Algarve 2010 27th July (3)

We were nearing the end of this unforgetable birding day. We stopped again and saw two Great Bustards with good views of four in flight.

We our last stop at a pool near Rolau. We estimated about 100 Cattle Egrets here, plus another 80 nearby. We also had three Short-toed Larks.

So that was the end of our day. Georg, our guide, had navigated us around the plains and the East Algarve and had produced the goods - who can complain at an immature Ruppells Vulture and three White-rumped Swifts! plus Rufous Bush-chat, Bonelli's Warbler, Calandra Lark, Booted and Short-toed Eagles, Subalpine Warbler...the list goes on. You can get in touch with Georg via his blog

Clayheads on Tour - Algarve 2010 27th July (2)

We continued from Mertola onto Castro Verde, stopping at Alcaria Ruiva where we had nine Griffon Vultures, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle and Black-eared Wheatear.

Next stop was down a dirt track to one of the Great Bustard reserves. We had distance views here of upto 8 Great Bustards. As you can see from the landscape, it was barren, bleak and extremely hot. Here Georg, our excellent guide is scanning the fields.

Here is one of my excellent videos of distant Great Bustards in a heat haze.

We moved on in search of more Great and Little Bustards, stopping at the start of the road down to Joao Serra. Here we had a large gathering of Griffin Vultures, some 38+ birds in all. Here Georg amazed us both by finding an immature Ruppells Vulture circling with 7+ Griffons. A totally unexpected bird and one that was totally unpredicted. There was also a very pale bird in the area, one whose ID has to remain a mystery, but could also have been an adult Ruppells or even a White-backed! Unfortunately, I only managed a picture of GAS watching the Ruppells Vulture.