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Essex Birding

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Old Tuesday 1st April 2014, 08:18   #3351
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Thanks both. Went to Abberton last night bit didn't end up looking for a view of hide bay. Not much from LB causeway but had a great male merlin perched up at the south end of LDLH causeway. Female stonechat on a hedge at the corner of Layer Rd and Layer Breton Hill and about 30 goldeneye between the CWs but not a lot else as it got dark.

Also had a female ring ouzel in Kelvedon this morning, in the long grass/scrub north of the railway between the Church Road footbridge and the station warehouse. Heard calling then seen in flight when chased off SW by two blackbirds - nice bird for a Tuesday morning. Might still be around, will look later and tomorrow morning.
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Old Tuesday 1st April 2014, 13:50   #3352
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Does anyone remember the American Wigeon which was reported at Abberton a couple of weeks back (I think!). Just wondering whether anything came of it in the end?
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Old Tuesday 1st April 2014, 18:02   #3353
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Linfordbirder (Steve) reported it. Don't know anything other than that, I've been to Abberton a few times recently and only seen Eurasian Wigeon
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Old Tuesday 1st April 2014, 21:49   #3354
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Thanks Tom.
Seem to remember it being reported as a possible, but can't remember where now! Perhaps Linfordbirder can confirm.
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Old Wednesday 2nd April 2014, 15:29   #3355
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neil78 View Post
Does anyone remember the American Wigeon which was reported at Abberton a couple of weeks back (I think!). Just wondering whether anything came of it in the end?
I'm personally convinced it was an American Wigeon, and I had one confirmed that I picked one out of a flock of several hundred wigeon on the Moray Firth last November. No one else picked it up at Abberton tho and a couple of locals were informed. Didn't manage to get a conclusive photo unfortunately.

Interestingly one was reported in Cambridgeshire the following day.
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Old Wednesday 2nd April 2014, 21:45   #3356
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OK, just wondering how it went from a possible with no more news to a 'definite' and picking one out of a flock when you know one is already there is a bit different though! Does that mean you did get some (not so good) photo's?
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Old Wednesday 2nd April 2014, 21:48   #3357
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I don't think Steve ever reported it as a definate,just that he thought it was an AW
Surely picking up an American Wigeon from a flock,whether it is known to be there or not shows that the individual concerned can id the species if seen again??
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Old Thursday 3rd April 2014, 09:35   #3358
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OK, just wondering how it went from a possible with no more news to a 'definite' and picking one out of a flock when you know one is already there is a bit different though! Does that mean you did get some (not so good) photo's?
Didn't know it had!

The flank colouration was not consistent enough to rule out hybridization IMO hence the report was 'possible' and details were sent to others who would be better able to confirm before further reporting.

I did get some photos but they were out of focus.
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Old Thursday 3rd April 2014, 10:57   #3359
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A Winter Summary

With three months of the year gone and spring in the air, it might be timely to reflect on the winterís birds in Essex. There was evidence that the milder weather had a strong impact on winter visitors. Hereís a quick round-up. (Information gleaned largely from EBwS and personal knowledge. I havenít done much to consult other information sources, such as SOG website or Holland Haven website, so there will be omissions in this summary.)

Perhaps the most notable absent bird was Waxwing. In the previous two years, they seemed to pop up in shopping centres and gardens all over Essex. This year, the only report was of a brief visit of six to Colchester at the very start of the year. Great Grey Shrike had also put in appearances in previous years, but not this year. Reports of Crossbill (Common, Parrot or Two-barred) were also negative. No Long-eared Owls were reported (though there may well be roosts which understandably werenít reported). There was only one report of Lapland Bunting (fly-over at Wigboro Farm at the end of Jan) and one (perhaps two) reports of Shore Lark (Bradwell and near Dovercourt).

As for Anatidae (Ducks, Geese and Swans), there were notable absences of Whooper Swans, Bean Geese, and Pink-footed Geese. The only apparently rare geese around were two highly suspect Red-breasted Geese at the Naze (in the dodgy company of Greylags and even an Emperor Goose!) and the Snow Goose at Vange (in similar suspect company) - all untickable and destined for Category E. Rarer Teal Ė Green-winged or Blue-winged Ė were also absent.

If there were absences in some families, other families turned out in numbers. It was a good winter for the three species of Diver and all the Grebes (especially in the north of the county). Birders in the south had good opportunities to see Iceland Gull (though this never ended up on the EBwS sightings database?), Spoonbill and Short-eared Owl (though this also appeared to be in smaller numbers across the county this winter).

Of course, the second winter period might be very different and provide a second chance to catch up with those species absent in the first period. Now, bring on the Spring migration in full.

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Old Thursday 3rd April 2014, 11:26   #3360
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With three months of the year gone and spring in the air, it might be timely to reflect on the winterís birds in Essex. ....
Excellent reflection Stewart and thanks for doing the research to this. Winter thrush numbers were also notably low in past frequented areas on my patch, although they were better represented in nearby larger woodland sites.

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.... Birders in the south had good opportunities to see Iceland Gull (though this never ended up on the EBwS sightings database?),.....
Surprised by this ... Is this because the report was not entered through the EBwS website. I'm pretty sure I reported it via the Essex Yahoo group which I understood to be linked to the EBwS site. I did hear of changes or issues with that linkage - Perhaps someone can clarify? I was with one of the rarities committee on one observation of the Iceland and reporting was discussed and (I understood) to be undertaken.

Best Regards,

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Old Thursday 3rd April 2014, 13:35   #3361
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Didn't know it had!

I did get some photos but they were out of focus.
Apparently it was / is on your Bubo list so had been assumed that it had been confirmed somehow. Anyway, I'll stop going on about it now!

Why not post your photo's on here, or in the ID section, even if you think they're not very good someone might be able to see something which could nail it?
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Old Thursday 3rd April 2014, 13:37   #3362
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Yes, a nice summary Stewart.

I suspect you’re right in the mild weather having an impact, not just here, but on the near continent as well meaning no cold weather influxes.

In south Essex, other than over-wintering Spoonbill, Rough-legged Buzzard and Scaup, plus the (re-)appearance of Glossy Ibis and Great White Egret it has been pretty quiet. Only two white-winged gulls, 1 Snow Bunting, 1 White-fronted Goose, no other wildfowl to speak of and the scarce grebes have been very, well, scarce!

Early April last year we were all in Gunners watching Long-tailed Duck, flocks of scoter, scarce divers and grebes. Amazing the difference a year makes, but that’s what keeps it interesting, and mustn’t grumble as spring is here and there’ll be something good to go and look at before long. Maybe a nice Lesser Kestrel somewhere...
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Old Thursday 3rd April 2014, 13:42   #3363
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Surprised by this ... Is this because the report was not entered through the EBwS website. I'm pretty sure I reported it via the Essex Yahoo group which I understood to be linked to the EBwS site. I did hear of changes or issues with that linkage - Perhaps someone can clarify? I was with one of the rarities committee on one observation of the Iceland and reporting was discussed and (I understood) to be undertaken.

Best Regards,

Steve
If you submit a sighting through the EBwS site an email gets generated automatically to the Essexbirders Yahoo! group. It's never been the other way around, so if an email is sent to the group essentially the same information comes through, but it will never end up on a 'searchable' databse.

Don't know about others, but it seems that there are fewer direct emails on the Yahoo! group as more people (me included!) no longer post directly to there as their sightings come directly from EBwS.

If you enter your sightings onto EBwS these are picked up by the county recorders at the end of the year and so there's also the added bonus of not having to send in records manually (descriptions excepted of course..).
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Old Thursday 3rd April 2014, 16:16   #3364
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Apparently it was / is on your Bubo list so had been assumed that it had been confirmed somehow.
It is! and tho your assumption was wrong, you are absolutely right in that my BUBO list is MY BUBO list!

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... Anyway, I'll stop going on about it now!
Thanks

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... Why not post your photo's on here, or in the ID section, even if you think they're not very good someone might be able to see something which could nail it?
Noted
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Old Thursday 3rd April 2014, 16:45   #3365
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If you submit a sighting through the EBwS site an email gets generated automatically to the Essexbirders Yahoo! group. It's never been the other way around, so if an email is sent to the group essentially the same information comes through, but it will never end up on a 'searchable' databse.

Don't know about others, but it seems that there are fewer direct emails on the Yahoo! group as more people (me included!) no longer post directly to there as their sightings come directly from EBwS.

If you enter your sightings onto EBwS these are picked up by the county recorders at the end of the year and so there's also the added bonus of not having to send in records manually (descriptions excepted of course..).
Thanks for the explanation and clarity. That's unfortunate as it would appear a whole lot easier to send an email from the field than log on to the EBwS website and follow the input template to log a record.

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...Don't know about others, but it seems that there are fewer direct emails on the Yahoo! group as more people (me included!) no longer post directly to there as their sightings come directly from EBwS ...
I agree - probably not a good thing overall, but it's probably important to make reporting as easy as possible especially from the field. Twitter seems to be a popular communication tool and is something I and others seem to be using more frequently.

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...If you enter your sightings onto EBwS these are picked up by the county recorders at the end of the year and so there's also the added bonus of not having to send in records manually (descriptions excepted of course..).
I believe the same is true of the BTO Birdtrack app (and website) which also appears a popular recording tool. I like the Excel compatible bulk data upload facilities which you can coordinate with your own recording system and it offers nice searchable reporting history options for year/site comparisons.

ps .... ironically I went to enter a record on the EBwS site last week for Linford Wood (an EWT location) and as the site was not among the drop down lists I couldn't enter it other than finding the OS grid reference! I didn't have time for that - so the record was not entered. But if anyone needs Ring-necked parrot for their list - they're there!
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Old Thursday 3rd April 2014, 17:19   #3366
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Yes, a nice summary Stewart.

... In south Essex, other than over-wintering Spoonbill, Rough-legged Buzzard and Scaup, plus the (re-)appearance of Glossy Ibis and Great White Egret it has been pretty quiet. Only two white-winged gulls, 1 Snow Bunting, 1 White-fronted Goose, no other wildfowl to speak of and the scarce grebes have been very, well, scarce!
... You may have overlooked a white-winger in that there were 2 different Iceland gulls, a 1st and 2nd winter; and I recall Steve Arlow seeing a Glauc. I believe he saw a Sabines off Shoeburyness too. I and others saw a LTDuck (fem) on the Thames 12/10 perhaps too early for winter? and 2 drake goosander over the Thames on 8/3. 2 common scoter have been about in the last week or so, but not seen by anyone on the north (Thames) bank as far as I am aware.

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Amazing the difference a year makes, but thatís what keeps it interesting, and mustnít grumble as spring is here and thereíll be something good to go and look at before long. Maybe a nice Lesser Kestrel somewhere...
It seems by many accounts a less than eventful winter apart from Dunlop (wellington) shares - but good to be out in a layer or so less than usual. Lesser Kestrel - yes please!
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Old Friday 4th April 2014, 12:54   #3367
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There will be gaps in the Essex database, I for one don't put sightings on there. If its a good enough bird I'll do an Yahoo Group email to alert birders, such as with the Glauc, but I can't be asked inputting details on the Essex Website, especially as most of it goes on the SOG website already.

In summary I would agree that the mild winter has resulted in lower numbers and diversity of winter species to Essex, noticeable in the Southend area.

Lets hope there's a 'spring' in the step of the Spring.
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Old Friday 4th April 2014, 22:29   #3368
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For the record (no pun intended), any record posted on the Essex birders yahoo group that doesn't originate from the EBwS website does get picked up (by me) and put on a spreadsheet. This is then fed into the annual records to be analysed for the Essex Bird Report.

The problem is that if the record is of a rare bird, a description has to be provided to the EBwS to be considered for inclusion as an Essex record. It is interesting to note that in the 2011 EBR, which I collected this evening, there is an appeal for information on birds seen in Essex in 2011 such as Crane, Dusky Warbler, Long-tailed Skua and Richard's Pipit. Unless the information is received it cannot be included in the Essex list.

I suppose that observers think that someone else will put in a description. I found a Red-necked Phalarope at Vange Marsh last June and I see that it's a Red List species. If I don't put in a description and no-one else does, it won't count on the records.

If anyone sees a rare bird and not sure if a description is required by the EBwS, ask me and I'll let you know. At least our records will become more complete.

Yours boringly,
Terry :-)
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Old Saturday 5th April 2014, 02:53   #3369
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Missed the phalarope mate,your doing well fella lol,nice bird.
For what it's worth,I never really find anything out the ordinary,the odd significant record but I just use the Essex yahoo site,rightly or wrongly as that's what I always used.
Anything of any significance I would use birdguides reporting as well but only if I was 100% sure of the record
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Old Saturday 5th April 2014, 17:35   #3370
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Missed the phalarope mate,your doing well fella lol,nice bird.
Thanks Bob, the phalarope was a real slice of luck. I was almost frightened to put the news out in case I was wrong!

best wishes
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Old Saturday 5th April 2014, 18:04   #3371
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First two black terns of the year earlier this afternoon, just east of LDLH causeway at Abberton before heading off high, further back onto the res. Picked them up again distantly after a while. Couple of common terns also... but still failing to pick up much in the way of passerine migration. Or hirundines.
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Old Saturday 5th April 2014, 19:27   #3372
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Thanks Bob, the phalarope was a real slice of luck. I was almost frightened to put the news out in case I was wrong!

best wishes
Terry
Believe me,most birders have probably thought that at times such is the sometimes competitive nature of this "hobby"
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Old Saturday 5th April 2014, 22:11   #3373
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Anything of any significance I would use birdguides reporting as well but only if I was 100% sure of the record
There can be a problem with using "Birdguides" as your reporting process. There are a lot of excellent records on "Birdguides" but the process can also pick up records, which cannot be attributed to any observer. Also some of the records can be second or even third hand. When records are assessed, there is a risk that, unless the obsevation can be properly attributed, it will probably be excluded. Furthermore if a description is required, the observer will be far better placed to provide one immediately after the record is made, rather than 12 - 18 months later.

The procedures which I would recommend are:
1) Advise any significant, confidential obsevations to the county recorder by private e-mail. If further info. is required, he will let you know.
2) Input selected, non-confidential, records which may interest other birders on the EBwS website.
3) Keep a log of your records and input them to the recorder annualy.

Dave

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Old Sunday 6th April 2014, 13:39   #3374
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Was pretty chuffed with finding 2 Black Terns at Abberton yesterday. I watched them for a minute or two from the centre as they were diving right over by the far bank before I made the decision, at that distant I wasn't sure if the light was playing tricks. Eventually they came close enough and I got other people on to them.
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Old Sunday 6th April 2014, 19:12   #3375
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Starting a new thread with some issues I have found recently
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