East coast classic

Took the missus to work this morning and continued on to Filey for about 9AM after seeing Bob for the regular pork. Worked Arndale twice in a couple of showers 30+ goldcrests made me wonder, but nothing else lurking. Headed to tops scrub and flushed a woodcock and a jack snipe from the fields (car park). As I was chatting to the ringers a LEO flew ovehead and crashed into the netting area (but not the nets). Also the lads seemed pleased with a fall of bullfinch, I think they managed to net 11. I worked the top scrub and had another woodcock in off and lots more crests. Worked Chruch Ravine but still no sibes. Went back to the Naze and got 3 Grey Phals (thanks to bloke who beckoned me over furiously), just missed little auk by about 5 minutes.

Went to Bempton, got the Subalp, showing well. Also flushed another woodcock. With that UTB went on to old fall with John and picked up the red breasted flicker straight off. After a while we got the Pallas’s and that showed well in the afternoon sunlight. I got onto a Yellow Browed which I tried and failed to string into Hume’s and then the Pallas’s or another showed well again. 3 waxwings and 2 black redstarts with John and chap called Trevor on the way back to the car rounded off the day perfectly.

 
     
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Stuck in a Rut

I have spent a few days tracking a red deer rut with approximately four stags although only two seem to be real contenders. Plenty of photo opportunites, and I have been trying to get the feel of Autumn into the pictures. If we get another decent day I will try another location where the habitat is different – probably Bradgate Park, where there is plenty of bracken.
 
 
     
 
       

Grass Snake

I had been tipped off about some grass snakes so made the trip to Top Hill Low nature reserve. Fro some reason its not my favourite place depsite being a cracking reserve. After almost giving up I found this basking snake on some hay … just before a red footed falcon flew over, top spot by Dave Mansell.
 
     
 
     
 
And a couple of the falcon
 
  
 
 

Cornish Madness

For some reason everything came together for my first ever big twitch. The news of an unidentified American flycatcher combined with a couple of free day and a partner in crime of one James Spencer made the trip feasible, nay even sensible! Read his trip report here

 

We set off earlyish hedging our bets in case new was negative of this Nearctic vagrant, and we were just south of Brum when the first positive news came out. Bingo we were on! The journey down took about 7 hours, and by the end we were ready stretch our legs and nail the flycatcher. After a tense walk down the flycatcher duly obliged almost immediately showing distantly in a small bush. Then we noticed a couple of guys getting close to the bird putting up some nets, and the flycatcher moved quite close to where we were standing as the nets were erected enabling my fire a few record shots. Superb.

 

          

 

The bird then flew straight in to the night, which enabled the ringers to swiftly and expertly capture the bird and hopefully secure its identity. Overhead a snow bunting is chased by a merlin on what is turning into a memorable day out. Finally news breaks and the bird is confirmed as Britain’s first ALDER FLYCATCHER, and for once we were there. All credit to the expert ringers.

 

  

 

We then moved on to Porthgwarra for a quick seawatch and it was not long before James picked up a Balearic, my second lifer of the trip and an annoying bogey removed. Not much else and we failed to connect with the 30 or so Grey Phals in the area. We then headded to a hostel and a curry house in Torquay chuffed with our efforts.

The next day we cruised around Devon nailing the local specialities and getting rid of some of James’ dudey ticks; Cettis, Cirls and Dartfords. We managed a clean sweep and I was even able to get some shots of a Dartford Warbler as it sat up to check us out.

 

  

 

A superb trip and a really good laugh we made it back in time for me to hook up with some friends at the Leeds ‘OktoberFest’. Bring on the next one!