Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Cabopino, Malaga Province.

The first SPANISH LIFE of 2019.

Jayne and I headed off to the coast at Fuengirola where I was collecting my 400mm Canon lens which had been in for repair at DINASA in the town, I got there and was very pleased to see it was all ready and fully functional and at a good price.
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After getting it we went down to Cabopino just 20KM or so along the coast where a Snow Bunting (Escribano Nival / Plectrophenax nivalis) had been hanging around for a week or so but several birders had been the day before and had reported it as gone. 
I however decided to go anyway and was very pleased I did as just a few minutes after arriving the Bunting was in the bag and I had had some good views before it disappeared for while.
It reappeared several times but was very wary and flighty which is a good thing looking at how many feral cats there were in the area giving the spot a fairly constant stink of cat pee, nice.
I eventually decided I had to leave the bird so I walked back around to Jayne and we spent the rest of the day shopping.





Monday, 14 January 2019

Sierra de Loja and Huétor Fields, Granada Province.

A nice days birding with Juliet and David.

Juliet and David.
I left the house earlyish and as I was going out I flushed the roosting male Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) from under the porch and then went down on to the fields where I wanted to check to see where the Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) were hiding, I soon found about 15 birds on the fields on the far side of the Arroyo Vilano along with White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula).
Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Cabra pyreaica).
I meet Juliet and David Hird at the service area on the A92, we quickly headed off up the Sierra and soon found the first of several Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) in the lowest of all the quarries and just up above this area in the pines we had Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and the first of loads of the bueatiful blue flowered Broad-leaved Iris (lirio de invierno / Juno / Iris planifolia).
Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas).
We drove up over the mountain and took the eastern track out to the Hawthorn patch adding big numbers of Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) on the way as well as Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).
Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis).
In the Hawthorn patch things were very quite as 99% of the fruit had been stripped but we did manage to see a couple of female Ring Ouzels ( Mirlo Capiblanco / Turdus torquatus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), several more Blackbirds and Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus).
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) on a rock pile.
We decided to head back to the main split in the track and take a left up passed Charca Negro seeing or in my case hearing but not seeing a couple of Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) by the luxury goat hotel and then out to the far Hawthorns picking up the only Rock Buntings (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) of the day on the way round.
Alpine Accentor (Acentor Alpino / Prunella collaris).
In the main area we had a walk up through the trees and then David and Juliet continued on down into the last dip whilst I bought the car round. They had good views of an immature male Ring Ouzel and as I parked I had a calling Fieldfare (Zorzal Real / Turdus pilaris) disappear up the gully not to be seen again and a small group of 10 or so Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) which flew up as Juliet and David came down the slope towards me. In the same area we had a single female Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Cabra pyreaica) and several Rabbits (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus).
Alpine Accentor (Acentor Alpino / Prunella collaris).
We searched the trees but did not find anything new so started to make our way down the hill seening a couple of Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) on the Charca down below us, a Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) butterfly and further down we bumped into Barbara and Jerry Laycock on their way up and they said they had had several Alpine Accentors (Acentor Alpino / Prunella collaris) close to the road on the lower crags so we headed off to try and see them. As we drove down we saw a Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) on a rock pile and heard a Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis) at the top of the crags before we made a stop lower down.
Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea).
As we scanned the roadside and the crags I picked up a group of Accentors way up above us right at the foot of main cliffs so David and I slogged our way up there but it was so worth it as we had great views of at least 11 birds.
Water Pipit (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta).
We continued on down and called in at the old quarry but things were quiet and we only boosted the list with Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina).
Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica).
After some lunch at the service area we drove up to Huétor Tajar and out on to the Fields there and soon picked up the Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) on the fields near the Arroyo again as well as a single Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), several Common Starling (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) and Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata).
Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica).
We moved just up the arroyo a short way and drove the eastern track were we had a great last half an hour seeing at least 3x Bluethroats (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica), 2x Jack Snipe (Agachadiza Chica / Lymnocriptes minimus), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), 2x Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), 1x Reed Bunting (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), Water Pipit (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica).
By now it was 16:30 ish so we returned to Huétor and I said goodbye to Juliet and David after a really nice days birding and returned home via the supermarket.
Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica).
Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica).

Saturday, 12 January 2019

RAM, Carchuna and Charca Suarez, Granada Province.

First proper days birding of the year with good mate Juan.

Ophrys fusca / foresteri.
I drove up to Granada and met Juan Pérez Contreras and we went down to Peñón de Jolúcar in his car seeing just a single Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis). We parked up and the walked to the beach for a quick look as we were there slightly early and started the day list off with House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris).
Purple / Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio).
Once we had finished we walked up to the watch point where we did the RAM seawatch. On the way up we had Fleshy-leaved Thymelaea (Thymelaea hirsuta), Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima), Yellow Sea Aster (Asteriscus maritimus), Bermuda Buttercup (Oxalis pes-caprae), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum) and Field marigold (Calendula arvensis).
Purple / Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio).
We set up on the top of the cliff and started the count with Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus), Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), a single Razorbill (Alca Común / Alca torda), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) and on the landward side of the area Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus). During the watch we were joined by two local agents for the environmental agency, Veronica and her boss.
Purple / Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio).
We finished the count and dropped down off the hill where we found several spikes of Ophrys fusca / foresteri and at the bottom of the hill a patch of Climbing Groundsel (Senecio Angulatus).
Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus).
Our next stop was at the beaches of Carchuna where we were looking at the area's that Juan and Veronica wanted to get protected for breeding waders, on the way we saw Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula).
Spotted Crake (Polluela Pintoja / Porzana porzana).
Once we got there and whilst the others talked things through and took messurments I picked up Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba), Kentish (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) and Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) as well as Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis).
Red-knobbed Coots (Focha cornuda / Fulca cristata).
We dropped Veronica and her boss off at Torrenueva where they collected the van and followed us down to Charca where we had about an hour and a half around the hides. We made our way to the hide looking over Laguna Blanca and very quickly picked out Purple / Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and just on the other side of the reeds a cracking wintering Spotted Crake (Polluela Pintoja / Porzana porzana).
White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
Back in the hide we added White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Common Waxbill (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild), Red Avadavat (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava) and Juan also had a Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) and a Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago) which I missed.
Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo).
We moved around to the main hide and boosted the wildfowl list with Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Eurasian Wigeon (Sibón Europeo / Anas penelope), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Red-knobbed Coot (Focha cornuda / Fulca cristata), along with Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis).
Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) female.
We moved to the bittern hide but we did not see much and only added Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) female.
We left the reserve at 13.00 and we headed back towards Granada seeing Common Starling (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) on the way.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Huétor Fields, Granada Province.

Back home at last and out on the Patch briefly.

As soon as we got back to Spain Jayne unfortunately went straight down with a nasty dose of the Flu and was staying bed so I went down to get some shopping from Mercadona in Huétor. On the way down and back I crossed the fields and started my year list off with Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Golden Plover (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaria), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Song (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos) and Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus).
Whilst I was down there I bumped into Jenny and John from Salar and they told me that they had seen a Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) at the nearby Balsa de Rigedor so I went down after doing the shopping but could not find it. Jenny and John showed up and they had not found it either. On the pool there were a good number of Northern Shovelers (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla).

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Albrighton, Shropshire, UK.

Walking Harry and later catching up with another old friend.

I took Harry out for another walk around the lanes near the village and on the way round I saw Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Long-tailed (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Goldcrest (Reyezuelo Sencillo / Regulus regulus), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis), Herring Gull (Gaviota Argéntea Europea / Larus argentatus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Rook (Graja /  Corvus frugilegus), 2x Golden Plover (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaria), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) as well as a couple of Grey Squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) and out on one of the winter cereal fields 3x European Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus).
On my way back to Martins I called in at a house where I thought a friend I used to do some birding with lived and I was pleased to find he did but was out doing some hands on conservation work down at Donnington pool the local nature reserve.
I dropped Harry off and then had a walk down to the Pool where I soon found Paul and spent a while dragging him away from his work catching up. 

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Seven Springs, Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, UK.

A walk on the Chase with Julia, Jayne, Martin and of course Harry.

We left the car park and before we had gone far I met two birders on their way back to the car park so I stopped and had a chat and found out where the Great Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Norteño / Lanius excubitor) had been seen. Whilst chatting the one guy said you don't remember me do you and after a few seconds the penny dropped and I recognised him as Garry Palmer a birder I had not seen for probably 15 years or more. We continued to chat but after a while I pushed on and caught up with the others just befoore the spot for the Shrike. The others carried on whilst I looked for the bird and after a while picked it up on the top of a spike of Silver Birch which had be left after the woodland had been cleared. I met up with the others and we made our way back towards the car where we had a nice picknic. 
Other species I saw whilst walking included Lesser Redpoll (Pardillo Sizerín / Carduelis flammea), Siskin (Lúgano / Carduelis spinus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Long-tailed (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos).
as we drove back to Albrighton I added Herring (Gaviota Argéntea Europea / Larus argentatus) and Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus).

Monday, 31 December 2018

Belvide Res, Staffordshire, UK.

A few hours birding with John in the Midlands.

I said bye to Sharon and John and I headed for Belvide Res to try and see the winter plumage Red-necked Grebe (Somormujo Cuellirrojo / Podiceps grisegena). 
Red-necked Grebe (Somormujo Cuellirrojo / Podiceps grisegena).
We arrived and went through the wood to the first hide and soon found Canada (Barnacla Canadiense /Branta canadensis) and Greylag Geese (Ansar Común / Anser anser), Mute Swan (Cisne Vulgar / Cygnus olor), Tufted Duck (Porrón Monudo / Aythya fuligula), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Goldeneye (Porrón Osculado /Bucephala clangula) and Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus).
We could not see the main target from the hide so we walked to the corner of the Dam where it had been seen most of the time but we did not see it there so we scanned around with Johns scope and eventually I picked it up against the far reed bed so we went back to the hide and had views from there before carrying on around the shore to the next two hides.  
Getting better views of the Red-necked Grebe as well as Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera),
Eurasian Wigeon (Sibón Europeo / Anas penelope), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Herring Gull (Gaviota Argéntea Europea / Larus argentatus), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo) and Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos).
From the second hide at the feeders we had good views of Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Marsh (Carbonero Palustre / Parus palustris), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis), Reed Bunting (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Pheasant (Faisán Vulgar / Phaisanus colchicus), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and Tree Sparrows (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus).
On the walk back we added Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula). 
We returned to the first hide and scanned the reeds and open water again adding Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and back at the car park just as we were leaving the site we had 3 Bullfinches (Camachuelo Común / Pyrrhula pyrrhula).
John then dropped me back in to Albrighton after a brilliant few days birding.

Happy New Year.


Sunday, 30 December 2018

The Broads, Norfolk.

A second days birding with Sharon and John and a visit to see some more Friends.

Waxwing (Ampelis Europeo / Bombycilla garrulus).
After a very good nights sleep and an even better breakfast at the The Waverley Hotel, out in the street whilst I was waiting for Shron and John I started the day list off with Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii), Herring (Gaviota Argéntea Europea / Larus argentatus) and Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Common Starling (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris) and Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia).
Once we were all down we headed back towards Norwich and down to Buckenham Marshes, on the way we saw Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus).
Waxwing (Ampelis Europeo / Bombycilla garrulus).
We parked at the Buckenham railway station and cross the track and walked out on to the flood plain of the River Yare, on the track we saw the first of many Pheasants (Faisán Vulgar / Phaisanus colchicus) and Collared Doves (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and on both sides of the track on the banks of the ditches there were big numbers of quite tame Eurasian Wigeon (Sibón Europeo / Anas penelope) and several more distant Canada Geese (Barnacla Canadiense /Branta canadensis). Further across the field there were good numbers of Jackdaws and a scattering of Rooks (Graja /  Corvus frugilegus) and below the trees where the Rooks were there was a very smart Chinesse Water Deer (Hydropotes inermis) feeding and on the opposite side of the track more Water Deer and a single Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi).
As we reached the river Sharon call John and myself back as she had got a Red Kite (Milano Real / Milvus milvus) up in a distant tree and as we watched this we had a very pale Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax) in amongst loads of Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus).
As we walked along the sea wall we had a calling Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), john and Sharon dropped down on to the lower track where the saw the Cetti's and up on the top I picked up a small group of probable feral Barnical Geese (Barnacla Cariblanca / Branta leucopsis), several Pink-footed Geese (Ánsar Piquicorto / Anser brachyrhynchus), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca). 
Waxwing (Ampelis Europeo / Bombycilla garrulus).
Further along the bank we had a female Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus), a couple more Ruff and a female Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
The news came in whilst we were out on the Marsh of 5 Waxwings (Ampelis Europeo / Bombycilla garrulus) in Long Stratton about 20 miles away, so we walked back towards the car adding Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Egyptian Geese (Ganso del Nilo / Alopochen aegyptiaca).
Once we were back at the car we set the phone to get us to the police station in Long Stratton and made our way there seeing a Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius).
Judy, Pam, Mike, John and Sharon, John had wandered off to the right.
A soon as we were on site we could see a couple of the Waxwings over the road looking at the Rowan tree on the edge of the police station but they were wary due to the long lens none birder Photographers who were stood just a few meter from the tree, far too close. The Waxwings did make a couple of trips to the tree but did not settle as soon as the shutters were rattling and flashes going of they were off so we we decided to go and have a coffee and then head off to West Somerton to see some friends. Before we left we found the first House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) of the weekend and the first Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis) of the day.
We arrived at Rivers End and went straight into Judy and Mikes place for lunch where we met up with Pam and John how had come over as well. After a very hearty soup, cake and a beer we all went out for a walk along the River Thurne passing Martham Broad and on to some further marshes where we watched an area for Common Crane (Grulla Común / Grus grus). 
The sun dropping below the sky line.
On the way out I saw Bearded Tit (Reedling) (Bigotudo / Panurus biarmicus), Reed Bunting (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus), Goldeneye (Porrón Osculado /Bucephala clangula), Greylag Geese, Egyptian Geese, Mute Swan (Cisne Vulgar / Cygnus olor), good numbers of Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) which were coming into roost, at least 3 Cetti's Warblers, Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo) and just on dusk we heard several Common Cranes calling from behind some trees but we did not see any of them but we were treated to a nice sun set.
We returned to Judy and Mikes where we had a cuppa before starting the long drive back to John and Sharon's. We were hoping to eat at a place where John and Sharon had stopped before but it was shut so we ended up in a famous Chicken outlet which was my first and last experience of this fast food. The end of the second brilliant days birding, thanks again Sharon and John.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

North Norfolk Coast and Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

A fabulous days birding with great friends Sharon and John.

Sharon and John picked me up yesterday from Albrighton and I stayed the night so that we could head out early for a couple of days birding in Norfolk. The alarm went off at 03:30 and we were on our way an hour or so later all set with some toast for a stop on the way and sandwiches and coffee to keep us going during the day.
The drive over was quiet until the light was just starting to come up and we spotted a superb hunting Barn Owl (Lechuza Común / Tyto alba) along the roadside so we stopped on a supermarket car park and watched it for a while as it gave us close good views. We also heard and saw Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis), Pheasant (Faisán Vulgar / Phaisanus colchicus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone).
We drove towards Hunstanton and did a quick loop around the Woolferton Triangle but only saw a single Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi) on the roadside. 
We reached Hunstanton and went out to the cliff edge seeing Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Herring Gull (Gaviota Argéntea Europea / Larus argentatus) on the grass on the way and scanned the exposed rock below. Due to the low tide we picked up several wader species including Eurasian Curlew (Zaoaito Real / Numenius arquata), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Pied Oystercatcher (Ostrero Euroasiatico / Haematopus ostralegus) as well as several Dark-bellied Brent Geese (Barnacla Carinegra / Branta bernicla), a flyby Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo) and then the bird I wanted the Fulmar (Fulmar Boreal / Fulmarus glacialis) a species I had not seen for 15 years or so. As we walked back to the car a pair of Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) flew over the roof tops where there were a few more Carrion Crows and several Common Starlings (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris). 
On the way to our next stop at Titchwell we picked up a Common Gull (Gaviota Cana /Larus canus) on the golf course, a good flock of Pink-footed Geese (Ánsar Piquicorto / Anser brachyrhynchus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and a flock of Fieldfare (Zorzal Real / Turdus pilaris).
We parked up and Sharon got the toast and coffee out and whilst we warmed up with a drink and toast we picked up large numbers of Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) as several flocks moved inland off the Marshes. In the surrounding trees a Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) could be heard ticking, Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) were flying overhead and there were a couple of Redwings (Zorzal Alirrojo / Turdus illacus) in some Hawthorns near the loo block.
Near the visitor centre we checked the feeding station adding Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and a calling Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica).
We walked out on to the marshes on the track towards the sea and we decided to walk straight out to the beach to see what was on the shoreline before people disturbed everything. On the way we saw Reed Bunting (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), 6+ Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) and on the fresh water part of the marsh Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Eurasian Wigeon (Sibón Europeo / Anas penelope), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), more Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Greylag Geese (Ansar Común / Anser anser), a flying male Goosander (Serreta Grande / Mergus merganser), Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), a Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), a single Black-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa) in one of the ditches on the salt marsh area, Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and just as we got to the end of the track Sharon picked up a Merlin (Esmerejón / Falco columbarius) which John and I eventually saw in a distant bush.
It was a tad breezy up on the beach so we found a place to tuck our selves in behind the dunes and scanned the beach and the further out to sea, on the beach we found good numbers of Bar-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colipinta / Limosa lapponica), Grey Plover (Chorlito Gris / Pluviali squatarola), a couple of Red Knot ( Correlimos Gordo / Calidris canutus), a single Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres), Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba) and 4 female Common Eider (Eider Común / Somateria mollissima). Out to sea a Black-throated Diver (Colimbo Ártico / Gavia arctica) and several Red-throated (Colimbo Chico / Gavia stellata) were mixed in with at least 6 Long-tailed Ducks (Pato Havelda / Clangula hyemalis), Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Red-breasted Merganser (Serreta Mediana / Mergus serrator), several Goldeneye (Porrón Osculado /Bucephala clangula) with some nice males in the flock, 100 or so Northern Pintail (Ánade Rabudo / Anas acuta) in a flock on the sea and further along the beach a group of Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus).
As we walked back towards the visitors centre we called in at the new hide which over the years has had a few detrimental comments but I was pleasantly by the look of it but as we were only in there very briefly I cannot comment on the functionality of it. Anyway whilst we were in the right hand hide we picked up Golden Plover (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaria), Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta),Tufted Duck (Porrón Monudo / Aythya fuligula), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) and from just out side a couple of Egyptian Geese (Ganso del Nilo / Alopochen aegyptiaca).
We reached the track off to the left which went through the reeds to a large screened pool but only managed to add Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) on the way out to it and a calling Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) on the way to the centre. We had a look in the shop and I bought a replacement Crumb guard for my bins and then returned to the car where the rolls and coffee were soon out and being consumed. In the trees behind us we finished the Titchwell visit with a Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and several Long-tails (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus).
Our next stop was at Holkham Park on the Lady Anns Road section near the beach but not before seeing a Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) on the way there.
Once we had parked we scanned the flooded fields on either side as we walked towards the pines and what I think is a far more unsightly structure than the hide at Titchwell the Lookout. On the fields there were huge numbers of wildfowl including Eurasian Wigeon and Teal, Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata) and Greylag, Pink-footed, Dark-bellied Brent Geese and more Egyptian Geese (Ganso del Nilo / Alopochen aegyptiaca).
We walked through the woods and crowds of weekend country folk all dressed in the very smart waxed Jackets and hunter wellies and specking so posh I would have needed a translator to make contact. We reached the beach and had all managed to avoid standing the copious amounts of dog shit and turned right along the track down towards a fenced off area which had been erected to protect the birds from the people and photographers. On the way Sharon and John had a Short-eared Owl (Buho Campestre / Asio flammeus) but I was just ahead of them and missed it. 
When we reached the fenced area John went right the way around the ropes whilst Sharon and I went along the near edge and had good views of a flock of around 25 or so stunning Snow Buntings (Escribano Nival / Plectrophenax nivalis) which were very flighty but gave us all some great views.
We walked back along the dune side of the area still looking for the Short-eared Owl and the missing Shore Larks (Alondra Cornuda / Eremophila alpestris). As we walked the Owl came up and showed well for us and disappeared off down the dunes. We continued on and I checked the one side of the salt marsh and John and Sharon checked the other and as usual Sharon picked up several small birds off in the distance and when John checked them out he found 20+ very very smart Shore Larks which showed nicely for us. Very pleased with the birds here we headed back to the car adding Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) on the way and as we again had a coffee the first of a few Mute Swan (Cisne Vulgar / Cygnus olor).
We drove further along the coast to Stifkey Fen where we parked and walked out to the sea wall, on the way we had 2 male and a female Bullfinches (Camachuelo Común / Pyrrhula pyrrhula) in the willows. The fen was quiet but in the surrounding fields we had 3 Stock Doves (Paloma Zurita / Columba oenas) and back by the car 3 Red-legged Partridges (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa).
As it was getting late in the day we went back to the other side of Stifkey and dropped down on to the marshes there to see what came in for the roost. During the last hour of light we had several Marsh Harriers another Short-eared Owl, a Great Black-backed Gull (Gavión Atlántico / Larus marinus) and right in the last bit of light a female Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus).
Our digs for the night were 1.5 hours away down in Great Yarmouth so we set off, checked in and the wandered the winter seafront looking for something to eat. A great days birding Thanks Sharon and John.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Albrighton and the Wrekin, Shropshire, UK.

The day of the Challenge !!!!!!!

I had a quick walk into the village seeing Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common Starling (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris) and Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus).
Image may contain: 2 people, including Jayne Richardson, people smiling, people standing
Jayne and myself at the summit.
Once I was back at the house Julia, Barb, Jayne, Martin and I headed over to the foot of the Wrekin (a hill in Shropshire) just on the out skrts of Telford.
Just under a year ago Jayne was in hospital just starting her fight with Cancer when Jim her brother went up the Wrekin and posted a photograph at the summit. Jayne made a comment about wishing she could have been there as well so Jim challenged her to get herself well enough to go up there on our next visit.
So I was very proud of her today when we reached the rather foggy summit and even better she made it look quite easy. Well done Jayne XXXX
On the way up and down I picked up Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Rook (Graja /  Corvus frugilegus), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Marsh (Carbonero Palustre / Parus palustris), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Treecreeper (Agateador Norteño / Certhia familiaris), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Redwing (Zorzal Alirrojo / Turdus illacus) and Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax). 

Image may contain: Jim Silcock and Jayne Richardson, people smiling, people standing and outdoor
Jim and Jayne at the summit.






Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Albrighton, Shropshire, UK.

Walking Harry.

Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Starling (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Long-tailed (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs canariensis) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica).