Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Beddington Farm and Canons Farm, 17th January 2017

I undertook my first ringing session on Beddington's Hundred Acre this morning and it was certainly a good start. Magnus A and Kevin G tagged along for a look. 15 birds ringed, mainly in the first couple of rounds of the two nets, included a Moorhen, a Reed Bunting and two Redwings. A calling Siberian Chiffchaff caught our attention and showed fairly well while two Water Pipits buzzed around and a Cetti's Warbler called tantalisingly close to one of the rides.

'Siberian' Chiffchaff (form tristis)
A quick walk around Canons Farm in the evening was quiet, save for a calling Little Owl and 60 Fieldfares.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Beddington Farmlands etc, 16th January 2017

The rain banished me to the hide at Beddington where, with the landfill working, I spent the morning alone, inevitably looking through the gulls. Thousands of other gulls would have been out of view on the other side of the landfill site so I must have only looked through a small portion of the birds on site but, despite the lack of white-wingers, I managed to pick out four Caspian Gulls, two each of first-winter and second-winter plumage.

One of the first-winters was bearing a yellow ring, 'X319'; this bird originates from a colony in Germany which is mainly cachinnans (per Rich Bonser) but I wouldn't be surprised if this bird had a touch of impurity to it, as perhaps was the case in one of the second-winters. The Black Swan was still trying to find a peaceful corner of the main lake and singles of Cetti's Warbler and Water Rail were vocal.

first-winter Caspian Gull
first-winter Caspian Gull (bearing yellow German ring 'X319')
second-winter Caspian Gull
second-winter Caspian Gull

A visit to Sutton later on provided a Peregrine and a Coal Tit was singing in the garden at home.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Beddington Farmlands, 15th January 2016

A dreary day with relentless rain saw me and Josh B retreat to the hide at Beddington for the morning. I quite like an excuse to just stand around in the hide there and watch the world go by for a few hours, my itchy feet being dampened by the downpour. A Black Swan, under near-constant challenge by an adult male Mute Swan, was the least expected feature and my second record here, while two singing Cetti’s Warblers are seemingly now just part of the daily soundscape. Duck numbers had increased slightly on recent visits, the ice having receded for the time being.

Black Swan

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Belmont, 14th January 2017

While working in my 'office', I spotted a Peregrine flying roughly north from the window. This is the first record here in my 22 years of living here despite a pair breeding only one mile away.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Beddington Farmlands, 13th January 2017

A session on Hundred Acre with Peter A, Magnus A, Christian C and Jay was more about clearing net rides than birding but we still picked out a first-winter Caspian Gull and a Shelduck on Jim's Pit, as well as two Water Pipits and 17 Lapwings of note. It wasn't an ideal day to be working, with a nippy breeze and even some snow at first but we got the job done and hopefully the rewards will be reaped later!

first-winter Caspian Gull

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Beeley, 12th January 2017

After a lovely few days with Ingrid in Edinburgh, I headed home yesterday afternoon. On hearing the weather forecast, my parents insisted on booking me a hotel half way on my journey so I took up the offer on the condition that it was near Beeley, Derbyshire.

After staying over at a slightly unsettling guest house in Chesterfield, I made the short journey to Pig Lane where I was the only birder present for about an hour and wasted time, I later learned, looking in the wrong place. A couple of birders with local know-how turned up and pointed out the bird's regular, faraway hedge, which I remained fixed on. Just as I was going to pack up and carry on home, I noticed the first-winter female Dusky Thrush concealed in the thicket before it came out to feed in the open just as a few other hopefuls arrived at the scene. This success, along with fly-overs from a couple of heard-only Common Crossbills and three Mandarins, made for a very satisfying, if sodden, visit.

Dusky Thrush (distant!)

Monday, 9 January 2017

Aberfeldy and Loch of Butterstone, 9th January 2017

After a casual morning and early afternoon around Aberfeldy, we called in at Loch of Butterstone for 20 minutes on the way back to Edinburgh, hoping for the drake Smew that had been reported yesterday but having no luck in a quick few scans. 17 Goosanders and 15 Goldeneyes were nice to see, though.


Sunday, 8 January 2017

Pitlochry, 8th January 2017

The only birding done today was a pitstop at The Cuilic at Pitlochry as a slight detour en route to Ingrid's grandma's house in Aberfeldy. On this small lake, the smart but sleepy drake Ring-necked Duck bobbed around without concern.

adult ♂ Ring-necked Duck

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Edinburgh and Musselburgh, 7th January 2017

Up in Edinburgh for a few days, Ingrid and I started the day with a quick pit stop at Dalry and our hopes were realised when 35 Waxwings suddenly flew in. They were very skittish and only settled on the berries for a few seconds before flying off to some tall distant trees. With a busy agenda, we had to move on.


Next up was Musselburgh in a search for seaducks. We couldn't locate the wintering drake Surf Scoter but probably weren't quite looking in the right place. It was wonderful, though, to see Velvet and Common Scoters, good numbers Red-breasted Mergansers and Eiders, rafts of Goldeneyes, as well as a few Slavonian Grebes and Long-tailed Ducks.

adult ♂ Velvet Scoters
Slavonian Grebes
adult ♂ Long-tailed Duck

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Canons Farm, 5th January 2017

It was a spectacular day for a quick route around the farm with Linda M and Ian M today. We had nice views of the pair of Little Owls on the east side of Horse Pasture and counted 43 Skylarks and eight Yellowhammers. Back at home an overflying Linnet was a significant record.

Little Owls
♂ Yellowhammer