Thursday, 26 June 2008


Thankfully, work was over staffed today, so i was able to leave early, on leaving, Lee Fuller text offering me a lift to Portland. Picking me up 5 minutes later, the bird wasn't reported again until we were basically on the door step with better directions.

Catching a decent first view of the Eastern Subalpine Warbler, and quickly followed by a couple of shots of the bird before it came abit more elusive where it occasionally called from deep inside vegetation within the quarry in Southwell.

The Eastern Subalp decided to pop out in the open for a aplit second while Lee was having a piss haha © Ashley Howe

Leaving the bird promptly after 20:00, where the bird was left in peace with no other viewers. We headed to Radipole where just down river was the Hooded Merganser knocking around with Mallards, but all the same quite wary.

hmmm it might have been knocking around with the Mallards this evening (c20:30) but i'm willing to give this bird the benefit of the doubt :-P © Ashley Howe

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Hurst, nr Twyford

After work this evening i went up to Berkshire, with Ant. We got there in good time, and the bird hadn't been calling for the last couple of hours. On arrival the bird started calling immediately. Ant clapped eyes on it near enough straight away as it flicked up into the air, and straight back down that time i was too busy picking the scab on my arm....great!

Calling every so often, it appeared to becoming closer, with 15 yards or so, we i was buggered if i could see it, some people claim it stuck its head up briefly, while tape lurring seemed to be working fairly well. Still the bird didn't show itself.

We left pretty much at 10pm where the bird was still calling. Walking back to the car we had great views of a Barn Owl hunting near the approach road in fading darkness.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Undisclosed Site

At an undisclosed site some where in Britain, where i'm not even going to tell whose company i was in mwahaha apart from telling you, that they are two top quality guys....

At this site in the evening we had my first singing Quails, where there was probably at least 3 birds present. Also in the area were a few Stone Curlews that frequently called.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Lakenheath & Hengistbury Head

Up with the Sparrow's fart this morning, arriving at an undisclosed site for Stone Curlews in East Anglia, which we got easy....
Then off to Lakenheath RSPB, where we picked up 2 Golden Orioles singing in the plantations on our way around the reserve. A drake Garganey flew thru, Bearded Tits, Marsh Harrier. 2 Common Cranes flew by. Being the little tramps Stephen and I are, we kipped on benches which felt like 10 minute, but actually was 2 hours...god knows what passing visitors thought...

2 Common Cranes flying low over the reeds. © Ashley Howe

Then we got bored again and decided to travel South, and by mid-afternoon we were at Hengistbury Head, looking for Serins, but there were no-sign of them. However consellation was recieved o nthe way home when a Honey Buzzard flew low over the Motorway heading North.

This Stonechat showed well East of the rangers' barn where the Serins apparantly were earlier. © Ashley Howe

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Pennington Marshes & New Forest

After i enrolled at college we went down to Pennington Marshes just to see what we could see, but there was nothing of any interest.

It took abit of work to approach this Common Tern, but i got there in the end. © Ashley Howe

Home for tea, then Mr. Menzie and myself went back into the New Forest for Nightjars. Nightjars performed well but briefly at times, a Tawny Owl was in the area.

This Chaffinch posed well infront of a great sun setting in the Shatterford car park at Beaulieu Road Station. © Ashley Howe

New Forest, & Southern Kent

The morning started off well in the New Forest, for which sites i will keep as undisclosed for now. But Wood Warbler sung well, with Tree Pipit, Crossbill, Siskin, Woodlark, Tawny Owl.

Not an easy bird to photograph in the canopy, but this bird was constantly in song, and went crazy when, its song was played back to it. © Ashley Howe

Then moving to another site in the Forest, we went and got Crossbill, but there was no-sign of any Red-footed Falcons, hmmm i wonder which site this is? :-s These Crossbills with a variety of other common birds showed really well.

Male Crossbill coming down for a drink, and shoveling through a slection of cones on the deck, with Treecreeper, and House Martin also Showing well. © Ashley Howe

Back to another site, we ticked Honey Buzzard, Hobby, and several Buzzards over the woods. And after stopping at Eyeworth Pond where there was only one female Mandarin, the rest obviously off breeding. But some nice photography.

They might be as common as, but god Mallards are quality birds. © Ashley Howe

We thought we were using abit of initiative, and decided to go for the Terek Sandpiper in Kent. Once at Jury's Gap we realised there was good reason why know one had reported anything on it, simply the MoD were blowing the shit out of the place. Moving onto, Dungeness there was still nothing of any note, but there were some smart Yellow Wags knocking about.

Reducing myself to a two headed Sheep to photograph, thats poor. © Ashley Howe

At another site later in the evening we had a hunting adult Long-eared Owl, with a juvenile calling. At this site we also had Green Sandpiper, Garganey, Turtle Dove, Barn Owl & LRP. It was a late night by the time we got home!

Monday, 9 June 2008

Farlington Marshes & Burton Mill Pond

Stephen Menzie had eventually made his way from Liverpool to Southampton at around 2pm. The trip got off with a reasonable start, where we located what we think was a distant 1st summer Iceland Gull at Farlington Marshes, which would be an amazing Hampshire record even in winter! Let alone in Summer. Other than this Falrington was pretty quiet, adult Med Gulls were cracking birds at the same.

Bored, already we went to Burton Mill Pond in West Sussex, where the male Red-backed Shrike showed well. Although close at first, before i got my camera out, and Stephen managed to take a few before it flew up into bare trees and sing.

Heres one before it put abit of range between us and it. As you can see, and corker of a bird. © Stephen Menzie

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Minsmere, Northrepps, & Ely

Another early start, being picked up by Ant, at some ridiculous hour of the morning alongside Dan, meeting Paul on the way in Surrey. Arriving at Minsmere at a slightly more reasonable time. We located the bird on song on approach easily with no further sign after that.

Pissing it down with rain, myself and Dan got bored, and headed off to the hides. LRP, and Little Gulls the only thing to show for it. While we were gone, the bird decided to show itself well but briefly.

Waiting several more hours the bird continued to sing, and just one brief view was had, before we got frustrated and left.

A Bee-eater came on the pager at around midday, and Paul needed, surprised it stuck around we went regardless. On arrival the bird showed very well at range.

My fifth in Britain now, and showed very well as range, catching bees, and regurgitating pellets. © Ashley Howe

Then heading South, stopping at Ely, Cambridgeshire, we successfully twitched the Icterine Warbler which was fairly mobile, but did show well at times. The bird was heard to mimic quail, blackbird, kestrel, sparrow, and goldfinch etc.

The day finished with a hunting Long-eared Owl.

Heading south again, we didn't get home till the early hours, and I was knackered!!

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Hurst Spit

I managed to get down to Hurst mid afternoon, to find that the bird was particuarly elusive in the Maize field, and hadn't been seen for a while now. There was a few birders remaining, with the majority having ticked it earlier in the day. It wasn't long before it was located the other side and within minutes was watching the bird at fairly close range.

The could easily go missing, lowering it head and legging it into and up the next forrow without a trace. After a while i thought it was rude not to get a record shot as it continued to move further into the field.

Look at this for a shot, clearly a record, my first county tick and lifer combined in a while. (c) Ashley Howe