Thursday, 12 December 2013

Velvet Scoter

News of a cracking male Velvet Scoter showing well at Eyebrook lured me over there yesterday morning (may aswell put my new lros membership to good use!) and wasn't disappointed, it wasn't a county tick as I'd seen the Swithland birds last winter but it was much more aesthetically pleasing this time. The bird showed unbelievably well, close to the fishing lodge - even being obscured by marginal vegetation at times.


Tuesday, 1 October 2013

No need for suicide afterall...

The mild disappointment at not seeing a Yellow-browed Warbler on the east coast over the weekend was quickly wiped away this week with the arrival of one in a garden in Oakham yesterday, which was awfully decent of it.

I went for a look this morning and after a bit of a wait it called for a couple of minutes before showing itself very briefly in a hawthorn until a Blackbird flushed it.

Although views weren't spectacular I went away happy and decided to have a yomp around Burrough Hill to see if I could find my own....

Predictably I didn't, several small warblers were present on site but all turned out to be Chiffchaffs, lacking the enormous eye-stripe that I was looking for.

The weather is looking more favourable over the next couple of days for an influx of scarce and rare so hopefully something else good will turn up soon!

Sunday, 29 September 2013


As alluded to in my previous post I've just returned from a short trip up to Spurn point.
Travelling up on Thursday evening meant we could get a early start on Friday morning and we weren't to be disappointed with Spurn's first Firecrest of the autumn trapped just as we arrived - although it was in-the-hand it was a good start to see one so close!

The undoubted bird of the trip for me was my first Red-breasted Flycatcher - found the previous day around post 52 it was kind enough to linger throughout Friday and provided good views

Whilst the point wasn't absolutely dripping with migrants with a bit of effort decent birds could be winkled out and over the two days we saw;

Whinchat (several)
Wheatear (several)
Lesser Whitethroat
Brambling (x2)
Another Firecrest
Redwing (about a dozen)
Spotted Flycatcher - plus another unidentified Flycatcher at the Southern Tip of the point
Brent Geese
Pink-footed Geese

Plus a nice selection of waders on the flats, 3 Skuas (possibly Arctics) and a couple of distant Divers moving offshore along with excellent views of Common Scoter (my normal views of Scoter are of distant specks!).

You will not help but notice that Yellow-browed Warbler was not on the list! I do believe we were the only two birders on the east coast not to have seen one but I'm really not too fussed - ones bound to turn up in Leics & Rutland soon......else I may well take my own life.



We also stopped off at Blacktoft Sands Rspb on the way back yesterday to hopefully score on the Pectoral Sandpiper that had been present for a few days. And score we did which was nice as views were excellent compared to the distant speck that was the county-ticked Pec at Rutland earlier this month! On the subject of distant speck-like county ticks, Buff-breasted Sandpiper was also added in similar circumstances!

Well I never...

A blog post!

Hello all!
It was my birthday over the weekend and as a special birthday treat the hooded birder and his hooded girlfriend went to Spurn for a couple of days which coincided nicely with some easterlies and a humungous movement of Yellow-browed Warblers - things were looking good(ish) from the outset.


Before I tell you all about Spurn I'd better catch up with stuff that pre-dates the Spurn trip - as you're probably aware this is the first post in months and If I don't catch up now I never will!


Cast your minds back a few months to the glorious summer we had.... the Hooded Birder couldn't help but notice that there was lots of stuff flying around that wasn't birds - namely Butterflies and Dragonflies. The Hooded Birder quickly realised his I.D skills in relation to these taxa were not up to scratch so that became the focus of the summer. It was also realised that the Hooded Birder knows nothing about moths either. But that can wait until next year....

Small Tortoiseshell


Red Admiral


Meadow Brown

Common Blue

And again

Chalkhill Blue - Bloody Oaks Quarry Lrwt

Chalkhill Blue - Bloody Oaks Quarry Lrwt

poor shot of a Silver-studded Blue - Arne Rspb

Small Copper - Burrough-on-the-Hill
Grizzled Skipper  - Ketton Quarry Lrwt
Dingy Skipper - Ketton Quarry Lrwt

Lulworth Skipper - Lulworth Cove

Lulworth Skipper (+beastie) - Lulworth Cove

Green Hairstreak - Dovedale

Marbled White - Lulworth Cove

Terrible shot of a Grayling - Arne Rspb

Silver-washed Fritillary (it landed on my foot!) - Fermyn Woods.
(Thanks Mr Llama)

White Admiral - Fermyn Woods
Broad-bodied Chaser - Pickwell

Broad-bodied Chaser - Pickwell

Broad-bodied Chaser - Pickwell

Broad-bodied Chaser - Pickwell

Four-spotted Chaser - Rutland Water

Migrant Hawker - Studland Heath

Southern Hawker - Studland Heath

Keeled Skimmer - Arne Rspb

Banded Demoiselle - Knettishall Heath
If I've made any I.D gaffes let me know...otherwise brace yourself for a summary of my recent trip to Spurn!

Edit: Sticking with the things-that-aren't-birds theme, I also finally county-ticked Adder earlier this year at Ketton, and very nice it was too.


Thursday, 1 August 2013

Night Heron!

The confirmation of a Night Heron at Thornton Reservoir yesterday has aroused the Hooded Birder from his blogging slumber, as this was the first county record within my life-time I was quite eager to see it. And so I did earlier this evening. It was good.

 Now if you please, a selection of dodgy record shots have been carefully arranged for your viewing pleasure:

I also life-ticked the Pacific Golden Plover at Rutland the other week via a generous lend of the Llamas telescope. Very nice indeed.

At this rate expect another blog post sometime around Christmas.


Friday, 19 April 2013


It didn't take a genius to work out that the freezing temperatures a couple of weeks ago were holding up all the migrants and it furthermore didn't take a genius to predict that there would be a literal horde of migrants storming their way North once the cold weather cleared but its been jolly well received all the same!
Over the course of the week I've picked up my first Common Terns, Willow Warblers, Sedge Warblers, Blackcaps, Wheatear, White Wagtails and Yellow Wagtails of the year on the reserve, along with scarcer migrants such as Sandwich Tern, Med Gull,  Bar-tailed Godwit and a gorgeous Blue-headed Wagtail thingy at the dam on Tuesday evening. The wagtail passage has been particularly impressive this week, I've never seen anything like it!
Other goodies that have passed through without me seeing them have included Redstart, Grey Plover, Avocet and a Ring-billed Gull yesterday evening whilst the first Whitethroat was heard yesterday morning I believe. Wintering birds such as the Great Northern Diver and Long-tailed Duck were both reported during the week too which has made for an excellent mixed bag of birding to be had at Rutland.

Now be prepared for some dodgy shots of migrants!

Two Barwits....honest

cracking bird

as was this.

Edit: Just got back from a jolly up to Charley Mill where such goodies as Redstart, Ring Ouzel and Pied Flycatcher had been reported over the last few days. I saw none of the above but did manage to tally 16 Wheatear with Dave Gray before the heavens opened. 3 Golden Plover were also spotted resting in one of the fields before flying strongly northeast inbetween showers. Unfortunately no shots of the Wheatear as they were truly miles away but the Plovers were closer...

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

#3 Birds!

Third and final installment. The way things have been going lately expect another blog post sometime around August. I'll look forward to it ;).

Despite feeling like I've not done much birding this year I've seen a fair bit I suppose, I've only been on two birding related trips (north Norfolk coast and Thetford Forest) but working at Rutland Water really does help with sneaking in an hours birding before/after/during work everyday. The feeding table under the caravan window has also kept me entertained on many cold mornings before work, its nice being able to bird without going outside!
Anyway, no photos were taken on a recent trip to the Thetford Forest so I won't mention that any further but a trip to Snettisham and Titchwell in mid-february was more successful photography-wise so....

Siskin at Titchwell

Brambling in the same place

House Sparrow - actually taken the next day at Ouse Washes

Song Thrush

Dodgy effort at the Long-tailed Duck

Spotted Redshank

No winter Titchwell trip is complete without a shot of a Sanderling bounding along the edge of the surf

After much deliberation we decided this Diver to be a Black Throated - any thoughts or comments would be much appreciated.
Other good birds seen but not papped on the day included Bittern and ringtail Hen Harrier
The yard list has crept up towards 100 (94ish at the minute) with a recent addition being the Great Northern Diver that was spied miles off towards the valve tower in the North Arm on Saturday afternoon. Good bird that. Whooper Swan was also a welcome addition after missing the last flock to fly up the North Arm. Here's a few other decent birds (and a couple already mentioned!) that have found themselves on the end of a phone-scoping in recent weeks at work;
Drake Smew from AWBC

Confused Black-necked and Slavonian Grebes in the North Arm (also both on the yard-list :D )

Intrepid Hide-robin on Lagoon 3

Great Northern Diver off the dam

Scaup with Pochard and Tufted Duck accomplices on Lagoon 1

Rails on the Egleton Meadows - showing very well at the minute - up to 6 birds.

Afforementioned Whoopers from the workyard
I've not been at home much this year but a welcome and overdue addition to the garden list a few weeks back was Lesser Redpoll, no doubt enticed into the garden by the shiny new niger feeder that the Hooded Birder purchased a couple of weeks prior. A few Siskin sightings have also helped spice things up after a general lack of them in the garden over recent winters.
And finally, Owls.
Seems like ages since I've written anything or uploaded any images of owls but I can break that run today! One thing I can report on is the evident abundance of owls in the area surrounding Rutland Water , Barn Owls are clearly doing well in the area, I'm always seeing them! Normally when I've not got my camera with me but about ten days ago I chanced upon a lovely shot of a Barn Owl in the falling light. Having to shoot through my less-than-clean windscreen was a challenge but I'm quite pleased with the overall result;
Little Owls have unfortunately not been as easy to find in the area surrounding Rutland Water but I headed out to a site near Lutterworth today and happily found a pair of Owls on their favoured haystack literally gagging to be my new header image!
This image and the next three aren't the best I'll ever take but I'd never managed shots of pellet regurgitation before. Behold...

A keen eye can just make out the pellet falling infront of the bale. click for bigger as always.