Friday, 2 November 2012



A brill week or so on Scilly with friends and some good birding although migrant/scarce numbers seemed lower than whats normal although i have not holidayed on the islands for a fair few years so maybe things have changed ???

Baby Pink Stink

Blackpoll Warbler - a bright one !

Just love this pic!!

Fairly tame AGP

Only included this coz I found it with Mick!


Add to the above Solitary Sand, Booted Warbler, OBP, the 'Humes' calling warbler, (interesting but I remain unsure about the safety of this I.D.),Richards Pipit and the usual scarce stuff and its a pretty impressive list! Felt crap on several days but thats Scilly - you just never know! Only managed to find the R B Fly myself and lost a grey/green Phylosc so i shall have to try harder/smarter next year!!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


Just a quick update before I head off to Scilly for a week of not scoring Yanks. 3 Viz-Mig sessions on the patch have been great fun. The full totals are viewable on the TREKTELLEN site but nobody could be that sad surely!

Main highlights have included;

Med Gull - 1st W flew W on 8th.
Hobby - 1 S on 10th, a fairly late record.
Brambling - 1 S on 10th.
P F Geese - 92 W on 9th and 3 flocks totalling c160 W on 10th.
Yellowhammer - Singles S on 9th and 10th. Sadly a very scarce patch bird now, 3rd and 4th records for year I think!
Curlew - 1 W on 10th.
G S Pecker - 2 W on 10th. High together calling with 5 Jay!

Added to this are reasonable numbers of Finches (eg 56 Chaffinch S on 10th), Alba Wags,Jays, Woodies and the first winter Thrushes and 5 brief and frustratingly high duck that were probably Pintail......

Will hopefully update from Scilly if anything worth reporting/gripping! There is so much rare on the Azores that either nobody is actually looking on Scilly or it really is crap now! ;)

Friday, 28 September 2012


Ended up not working on Weds the 26th Sept - this turned out to be the first of several pieces of good fortune on a memorable day!!

Out on the patch from first light but not much moving and a grounded Dunlin was hardly the business! persevered, counting the small numbers of viz-migs until the rain set in and I headed for shelter by the main lake with IB. The rain passed quickly but nothing on or over the water so we opted for hunting down a YBW, or more realistically a few chiffs! Heading round the back of the reserve wood I suddenly picked up a  big raptor heading S - finally it had happened !! An OSPREY !! Not the best views as it went behind the woods and away but still GET IN!! 9.25am was the time if anyone cares! Patch tick heaven!

Phoned Wintersett to alert them and then basked in the relief a bit and wandered back round the bushes and woods towards the E end of the Main Lake. Sat scanning from here and chatting when at 10.10 i scanned N and picked OSPREY!! WTF !! At first just thought it was the same bird but was it really ? It headed straight through S and I again phoned Wintersett but they were more excited after just having a bloody Rough-Leg go NE!! Greedy or what!

Slightly dazed now things got really crazy when at 10.45 IB picked up another OSPREY circling lazily north of the wetlands and slowly drifting SW towards the motorway!! Was this really happening!?? More phone calls and general excitement ( interrupted by a Brambling !) were brought to a halt by the sound of the Mega-Alert going off...PG TIPS in Hartlepool ! F%$K !!

So, I'm in the motor heading N, worried about flood delays and generally preparing to dip. Surely it wont be viewable? It wont be seen again i bet! etc etc.

Arrive on site and find loads of cover and little action - i was right so decide some birding in order, quickly picking up Redstarts, Pied Fly and several Wheatear. Mega-Alert again, PG TIPS trapped Whitburn!! I am by the car and can see locals running for theirs so it must be do-able in time! Ive not had my car long so it was its first ' WACKY RACES' experience and it did well as I shot into the car park and was told to dump the car and run! This I did and a good job too as I rounded the mound and had a bins full of the beast in the hand with seconds to spare! Pretty ace view of the release with tail and rump action and a massive blast of excitement and relief!

Not my picture sadly as i did not get chance!
Really never expected to get one of these bad-boys, certainly not away from Shetland so a real bonus but felt for several late arrivals who narrowly missed out - painful!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012


Where to start! Just a great day that i happened to have of work, belted the patch early doors and FINALLY scored not 1 but probably 3 OSPREY! And then I nipped up to North-east and scored a Lifer with in-hand views of PALLAS' GROPPER!  I gona write this up properly tmw coz im having a beer to celebrate!!


Sunday, 23 September 2012


F'in Magnolia Warbler on Fair Isle !!

 I have spent 6 Weeks on there in total and seen some brilliant birds, had some fantastic experiences and even found a few good birds but for F's sake!!

 Rarest i saw was a Blyths Pipit.
 Best i saw was a BLUE Red-flanked Bluetail.
 Best i found was an OBP.

None of of these are Magnolia warbler ...........


Highlight of the weekend (at least in rarity terms) was the Nuthatch that was along the river on the 22nd, they breed just across the river on the golf course and in nearby Clarence Park but are still barely annual - this was the 1st record of the year!!

Other highlights were a 'cream-crown' Marsh Harrier that flew N at 10.05am on 23rd followed shortly by a Hobby going S.

Best of the rest were a Ringed Plover, 2 Common Terns E, 2 redpoll sp and small numbers of the regular diurnal migrants.

Weather looks brilliant for next couple of days so it must be time for me to go to work soon !!!!!ARSE!

Sunday, 16 September 2012


Another update!! Really good morning on the patch today with 5.5 hrs of migration watching being well rewarded. Similar numbers of Mipits (119) and Siskin (10), Swallow(27) etc were supplemented by some quality in the form of the following...

KNOT. 1 flew into the wetlands and landed briefly before continuing E at 7.30am.

P F Geese. 57 flew W at 10.25.

Hobby. An AD flew slowly E, feeding on the wing, at 10.15.

Green Sand. 1 flew low N at 9.27 .

This is really what local patch watching is all about, enjoyed this more than many rare birds i have twitched ib the past!!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

AGP and some patch stuff

Updates have again been lacking due to lethargy and lack of interest on the patch!

I did manage to twitch the superb moulting Ad American Golden Plover at Edderthorpe on the 13th Sept and managed a couple of record shots;-

meanwhile back at the patch, its been hard going with very little in the way of passage or even signs of migration! highlights of past few weeks are as follows .

Little Egret. 2 on 24th Aug and a single E on 3rd Sept.

Peregrine. 1 N on 26th Aug.

Pintail. 2 N on 8th Sept.

Green Sand. 1 present from 9th sept - still present 15th.

Tree Pipit. 1 SW on 15th Sept.

Wildfowl numbers are slowly building with the WEBS count on 15th Sept revealing 25 Wigeon, 32 Shoveler and small numbers of Teal. Diving duck are much reduced from recently - maybe all at Anglers CP!!

15th also produced a small but enjoyable amount of passage with 126 Mipits, 7 Siskin, 3 Grey wag and 4    'Alba' wags, 2 Swifts and a Skylark - mostly heading SW-ish in c3 hours

Friday, 24 August 2012


So here is a shortish update on the highlights of a predominantly 'couple-y' week on Majorca with my lovely 'missus' Ellen - this week was predominantly her holiday before she has to knuckle down to her work placement!!

 Firstly, and most impressively, I managed not 1 but 2 celebrity hand-shakes!!

 Prepare to be amazed at my audacity in grabbing the might mitts of not only former England and Chelski left-back MR GRAHAM LE SAUX but also Spandau Ballet crooner MR TONY HADLEE!! I know, its hard to believe but i snared the pair of grubby paws within 48 hrs of each other on the same street - it seem Pte Pollensa is a real A-lister hangout although I think Ellen was somewhat bemused by my excitement!!

I also did a bit of birding, mostly locally and due to the drought conditions, time of year and heat my total list was a rather modest 74.

 I also had the honour of finally hooking up with long term Twitter buddy MR Jonny Rankin A.K.A @jonny09jonny for a couple of belting birding sessions sandwiching an awesome afternoon/evening birthday celebration that may have medical conditions later in life......

So these were some of the highlights.

Audouins Gull. Regular and frequent on all beaches and waterfronts.
Eleonoras Falcon. Seen several times at various points in the higher ground, Boquer, Formentor etc.
Black Vulture. c10 seen at and around Cuber Res.

Balearic Warbler. seen regularly in Boquer Valley.
Tawny Pipit. 1 seen near entrance to Cuber Res.
Blue Rock Thrush. Regular in Boquer and other mountainous terrain.
Crested/Red-nobbed Coot. seen on canals at Albufera.
Purple Swamphen. as above although more numerous.

Night Heron. Only c4 on canal at Albufera, far fewer than in previous years. this was true of all herons, ducks and waders here - presumably due to drought conditions.
Red-rumped swallow. 1 Seen at Albufera.

Also, the small Salinas near Can Picafort were excellent for waders with a single visit providing 12 species including Curlew Sand, Temmincks and Little Stint, Wood Sand and Avocet. Elsewhere, Stone Curlew were numerous with c30 on the dried out main scrape at Albufera and several seen in other areas.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012


Just a quick update from todays last patch visit before i go to Majorca for the week tomorrow !

Firstly the juv Little Gull is still present and showing well between bouts of snoozing, caught it fast asleep on the north bank of the Main Lake early this morning and got some better shots....

Also had some amazing views of an adult Hobby hunting dragonflys and feeding in flight over the wetlands reedbed at 10.15 - 10.30am, easily my best ever views of the species! Had a call from IB later in the day with news of a flock of 6 Greenshank on the reserve lake - presumably a record count for Pugneys!?....

Sunday, 12 August 2012


The paucity of updates lately is directly linked to several factors..

1; The Olympics. God only knows what I will watch when its all over - been a dribbling fool for 2 weeks (if not longer......)!
 2; On the odd visit i have made to the patch i have seen pretty much nothing of real note or quality!
 3; MF, the Barnsley low-lister, keeps persuading me to go twitching.

So, the highlights of late are summarised here along with todays more productive efforts.

20th July. 3 Dunlin.
21st July. Curlew NW.

5th Aug. Goosander, 2 Snipe and a Red Kite NW(3rd of year - slowly incresing locally?).
11th Aug. 3 Snipe.

In between these scant highlights I saw my 3rd UK Stilt Sandpiper at the lovely Low Newton in Northumberland - A nice adult moulting out of summer plumage. Also had quality time with some local Hobbies and saw some good waders in the Dearne valley including Wood Sand, Blackwit and Green Sands.

12th Aug. A better day on the patch, probably due to a bit more effort and time expended!

1 juv LRP.
1 Ringed Plover NW.
3 Golden Plover SW.
11 Teal NW.
1 Shelduck E.
2 Common Gull NW.
2 Common Tern.
c120 Goldfinch.

And to top it of a stunning juvenile LITTLE GULL dropped in at c10am. Showed really well in flight from the Soap Tip hawking about in the usual fashion and still present at 12.30. Presumably one of the 2 birds seen earlier at Anglers cp. Bit of artwork to follow here....

Want a really crap record shot?.. You got it!! Actually saved wrong format on camera and so worse than normal if thats possible!!

In the words of the mighty Rolf " can ya tell what it is yet?!"
Sweet spot....

Anyhoo.. of to Majorca for a weeks R&R with Ellen on 15th so hopefully be sumat worth waffling about on my return !! Adios!!

Sunday, 15 July 2012


After moaning about the lack of action on the patch it has really picked up and plenty of effort has been richly rewarded. The 'flood field' is draining and there are large areas of mud exposed, these are being used by c200 BHG, 40-50 Lapwing, and small groups of LBBG.These were joined on the 14th by 2 Yellow-Legged Gulls, a 3rd summer bird and a near-adult type which left NE after a brief bathing stop. Seems to be plenty of these about nationally and hopefully we may see a few more in the coming weeks!!

Waders are starting to sneak through which is probably bad news really as they are presumably more failed breeders. Curlew, a new LRP, and the autumns first Redshank and Golden Plover, plus a drake Wigeon, have been seen this week along with the years first Tree Sparrow ( from the nearby breeders by the Golf Course presumably)

The undoubted highlight of the weekend was a REDSTART found on the afternoon of the 14th by SC on the Soap Tip. I was first to arrive and the bird showed really well on and off for the rest of the day to most of the regulars - a much appreciated patch tick for me also!

As can be seen from the photos the bird is a very young juvenile - would love to know exactly where this bird fledged !? First 3 photos courtesy of M Hemingway - cheers pal.

The next 3 pictures are my fault - sorry !!

This is not a juv Redstart ...........its clearly an adult!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Patch strikes back!!

Been struggling with the patch lately, really hard going. I hate this attitude and I'm sure it costs me birds but i often find myself sneaking of for other peoples birds at this time of year.

On the 19th June i nipped into Fairburn after work and had great views of the Ad Sum White Winged Black Tern. Seen a fair few of these over the years but a man who tires of these little belters needs a new hobby!

The 23rd saw me blagging a lift over to The Wirrral with MF for the Little Swift. I saw the Notts bird but with this one showing so well i felt it would be rude not too!!

30th provided a visit in tricky weather to Wykeham for a crack at HB's. No joy on that front but still very enjoyable with several reasonable views of at least 2 different Goshawk, c30 Crossbill, Turtle Dove, Tree Pipit, Hobby, Siskin and Roe Deer.

And so to the 1st July and a concerted effort at the patch. Initial signs were not great - a brood of Tufties here, GCGrebe young there, then a  Common Sand, my 1st on the patch for almost a month - returning bird maybe?... Thinks really got better at 8.34am when myself and SC had at least 1 Crossbill flush from the Drain and fly south, sounded like 2+ birds but not sure! Still, a great record of this very scarce bird (at Pugneys). Not much else for the next hour or so - due to the 5 birders on site sitting drinking coffee in the cafe. This did enable IB to tell me about the flooded rhubarb field on the river bend and i advised all about the apparent influx of Med Gulls at Old Moor . When i mooched off to have a look the fields looked aces! Gulls bathing, Lapwing all over, mud everywhere!And bugger me, as I wandered closer I picked up an Ad Sum Med Gull up in flight straight away and then a male Peregrine appeared right overhead at the same time!! Rang the team to much cursing and watched the Peg head of South whilst the Med landed on the flood - nice! It pottered about for c10 mins then headed of towards the Calder Wetlands.

Now sorry if my excitement seems a little out of proportion but this is only the 2nd patch record of both species this year so if you extrapolated that to a national context i had managed the rough equivalent of a UK  Pacific Goldie and Blyths Reed plus, say, a Yank Passerine for the Crossbill!! All in one morning ! That cant be right, must be talking tosh again!

Sunday, 10 June 2012


Before anybody gets to excited i shall come clean and admit that it was only a Kittiwake! Hardly earth shattering i know but easily the highlight of a very quiet weekend. In light of the amount of seabird shoved up the Severn Estuary perhaps not even that surprising but still a cracking June record and well received by myself and Double D on Saturday morning as it spent 10 mins on the wetlands from 7.30 before heading SE towards the Main lake never to be seen again. This is actually the 3rd record of Kittiwake for the site this year - probably a record year!

Adult Kittiwake.
The best of rest is a pretty thin list with recently fledged Common Tern and an equally new brood of 2-3 Kestrel, although i only managed this photo of Dad...
Mr Tinnunculus.

Aside from this and lots of other common stuff seeming to be getting some young of ( excellent news in light of the weather lately!) the only other notable sighting were a Buzzard E, c300 Swifts and 17 LBBG's

Monday, 4 June 2012


Sunday it proper pissed it down!! Got to patch early and it started brilliant with a Little Egret battling E then SE into a horrible cold wet breeze  at 5.45am ! Enthused i headed into the weather pretty sure there was more in store. I got really wet and cold and was away by half seven, missing a Greenshank that CP poached while visiting from Scotland!

It later transpired that 3 Little Egret flew N at 9.25, after trying to settle by pole 17. This was relayed to me by IB who only rang to ask where everyone was!! Everyone is either out earlier or in Suffolk or twitching!!

So to Monday. I was out early again on the patch and had very little to show for 3 hrs leg work - late spring is often grim inland!! So i folded and headed of to Blacktofts, quickly arriving to find a small groups of Avocet ticklers unsure which small brown bird to tick . The Marsh Warbler was sporadically singing and and once located showed quite well then really well, though  generally mobile - even managed to get a few Robin strokers onto it with my scope. Once they got used to ignoring the Sedgeys everyone was following the bird by the clicking, whistlisng song - Fantastic stuff! Mate showed me some great photos he got but aint got them yet so this is what i took.....
Most i.d. features are fairly clear on this shot....(if tape is playing behind you)

Called at Wintersett on the way home and sneaked a little year tick in the shape of a smashing adult summer Black Tern. Bit distant on the Top res but after driving round to the SW corner decent views were had.

So a decent 3 days! I did some painting and even tried some colour - sorry!!

It was SLIGHTLY like this!

Another one missing from Pugneys year list!

Saturday, 2 June 2012


Made an early start to the day and was on-site by 5.30, immediately scoring the ROLLER. I just love them and was really keen to see this bird despite having previously seen 3 in Britain, including a Yorkshire bird (at South Gare a few years back). This bird was showing really well, hunting from its favoured post and feeding on insects in the surrounding plough. Great flight views and lots for the guys with good camera gear!!

A hunting Barn Owl was a nice bonus here also.

With this 'under the belt' i decided to head north to Flamborough to try find a bit of my own stuff. this did not go so well with no sign of the 'Icky' and 4 hrs of leg work providing no real migrant just padders such as Corn Bunt, Lesser Whitethroat, Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer (i don't see many!) and Red T Diver plus lots of Auks, Kitts, Gannets etc on the sea and cliffs.My early optimism and thoughts of finding a Marsh Warbler or some such finally collapsed so i headed home, still basking in a nice turquoise glow .....

Wednesday, 30 May 2012


So, i have basically been fairly busy/lazy over the past 3 weeks. A week in Norfolk was nice without the mega happening although these were nice.


Big White Heron.

Also saw the Bee-eater and various other bits and bats without much in the way of migration.

Pugneys scored whilst i was away with 2 Marsh Harrier, Hobby,Little Gulls and the odd migrant but looks like Grasshopper Warbler is going to be missing for the first year in my knowledge which is worrying and rather sad....

Had 2 visits to the moors around Langsett and enjoyed Wood Warblers, Pied Flys, Tree Pipits, Crossbill, Spotted Fly and Cuckoo.

Trill and Shake.

A poor representation of some perceived differences in Pied Flys..........

Tues the 29th will live long in the memory as an early Mega Alert caused work to be 'delayed' so that good pal Mr Herrieven could whisk me to Hartlepool for Orphean Warbler!! 2 late spring Megas running for the  mist net minders on the headland!

Arrived about 11.30 and immediately got piss-poor scope views of some grey stuff in a sycamore, eventually pieced together reasonable views before having to leave at about 1pm. seems possible the bird may not have been overly healthy - it certainly was not present on the 30th!! - shame....

And finally to today (30th). Just walked through the door when i noticed that there was a Black Winged Stilt at Fairburn! bundled Ellen into the Quatro and 20 mins later we were enjoying good views of the bird on the back of New Flash. Probably a female the bird seemed pretty settled but sadly a bit distant for photos so poor dodgy artwork im afraid!!


Thursday, 10 May 2012


Last visit before i head for Norfolk and it started ok with 4 Common Sands and a Ringed Plover new in early doors which was promising , the next 2 hours were shit! then found a beltin 1st S Little Gull on Wetlands and also this White Wag - What sex ya think that is, i going female?

Awesome rain shot

Awesome flight shot 

Otherwise there are 2 lucky broods of 2 young Lapwing on Tommy Mads and STILL no Groppers!