Saturday, 29 December 2007

Cornwall 28th - 29th December

The weather wasn't very good on the Friday so stayed in with the family and suffered a pool tournament with the cousins. Which I am glad to show off that I won ;¬) woop woop!!

Anyway, the weather was still bad with strong winds on Saturday and gradually got better the further East we travelled. Stopping at Dawlish on the way home - allowed me to jam in ona juvenile Surf Scoter reasonably close inshore before it decided to fly East. 3 Slavonian Grebes were nearby, but no sign of any Velvet Scoter.

A series of shots as the juv Surf Scoter flew East past me, the bottom picture showing abit of facial markings. (c) Ashley Howe

St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly - 27th December

I met up with Ant, who travelled in the early hours from Southampton to meet me in Penzance. We caught the earliest Chopper over, and straight to the ISBG hide where it wasn't long before we located the Wilson's Snipe amongst about 15 Common Snipe scattered about the pool. A Siberian Chiff-chaff was showing well at times.

The Wilson's Snipe obscurred by reeds at the back of the pool opposite the ISBG hide, occasionally waking up to preem. but didn't show particuarly well. And a group of 3 Snipe in tall grasses (bottom). (c) Ashley Howe

After that we toured the island, as we were scheduled for the last flight back of the day. A Firecrest and a Black Redstart were probably the best things we could find, amongst the other bits and bobs which were probably common to the islands. The Chopper was delayed so ended up flying back in the dark.

Nothing much else on the island except a showy Black Redstart, 2 drake Pintail on a pool somewhere and a Song Thrush singing outside a residents house.

St. Just, Drift & Hayle - 26th December

By Boxing Day reports of a Yellow-browed Warbler in the Cot Valley and turnt into a Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler, a bird which has eluded me on numerous occasions over the year, but final nailed the beauty. But the photographs not doing it justice. It should fairly well in a pine tree for about 30 minutes before disappearing in a different part of the garden.

The Hume's Yellow-browed/Leaf Warbler at the top of one of several Pine Trees, flittering between branches (c) Ashley Howe

Before heading back up to Newquay (where I was staying) We stopped between Drift Reservoir and Sancreed at Treganhoe Farm, walking only half way down the track i had already pick out 3 Cattle Egrets at some distance, being the dirty little ticker I am, I just turnt around and got back in the car.

Now heading East some more, we stopped at the Hayle Estuary adding Green-winged Teal, the drake was quite some way and way - like all the birds seen today. So just another mediocre average shot.

Green-winged Teal - that one there smack bang in the middle! Amongst Wigeon and Teal in the main channel (c) Ashley Howe

Cornwall 22nd - 25th December

The start of the holiday over christmas in Cornwall didn't have the best of starts, with basically nothing of interest seen in considerably dull weather. Heres a few shots all the same:

Visiting a couple of local beaches with the family; Carrion Crow eating a dead fish, Jackdaw coming to fish and chips and a Pied Wagtail in a nearby stream (c) Ashley Howe

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Southwick, West Wittering & Gosport

Fairly early start, to get to Southwick Canal at first light, not a brilliant start with no sign of the Little Auk, which had taken up residence the last 3 or 4 days. While searching along the canal, a 1st winter Glaucous Gull flew East. And a Kingfisher fished the canal.

Glaucous Gull at long range from opposite the Power Station and in poor early morning light, before flying East (c) Ashley Howe

Assuming the Auk had gone now, we headed back West, stopping in West Wittering for the Red-breasted Goose which was picked out at over a miles range on the beach, amongst thousands of Brent.

Still heading West, my Dad and I popped into Gosport to see the Red-necked Grebe which showed well, unfortunately the light was pretty poor and photos wern't brilliant. A Peregrine flew overhead and a Red-breasted Merganser was on the bit of water.

Red-necked Grebe on Little Anglesey Lake, near Alvestoke, showing well and size comparison with Black-headed Gull and Little Egret in flight in the same area (c) Ashley Howe

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Shepton Bellinger, nr Andover

Arriving at roughly 10:25, after a much needed lay-in. We parked up just North of the village, watching the immature White-tailed Eagle circling over the woodland on top of the hill, then shortly after drifting South at range. By c10:30 it had disappeared.

Silhouettes of the immature White-tailed Eagle at range from Shepton Bellinger (c) Ashley Howe

While waiting for another appearance, about a dozen Buzzards in the immediate area were on show, several Kestrels and Sparrowhawk, and at least one peregrine. A 'ringtail' Hen Harrier flew high over head. There was no further sign of the Eagle before I left at midday.

'Ringtail' Hen Harrier passing over head at about 11am (c) Ashley Howe