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Old Monday 12th August 2019, 18:42   #126
JWN Andrewes
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Quote:
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It wouldn't have been a Lunar Yellow Underwing.
Thanks for the heads up, that's good to know. I was relying on someone else's ID at the time, and was going to (am going to) sort through the bulk of the morning's photos (the shots in pots) later when I have time. Perhaps she was suggesting it as a similar looking species to the boys as she guided them towards an ID and I overheard and misunderstood; still a little overwhelmed by moths if I'm honest, and not yet getting into the habit of double checking things like range and flight times when I seek an ID. I'll get there in the end, but in the mean time I do appreciate being corrected when I goof!

Cheers
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Old Monday 12th August 2019, 20:49   #127
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It could be possible but very unlikely. Attached Biodiversity Action Plan. There is a square in the northwest to my surprise. It would be a very good moth on a different scale to the others. Lots of excitement and learning ahead.

All the best

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Old Friday 16th August 2019, 12:53   #128
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Envious of the little bustard. Well done.
A brief catch up of our recent activities. We spent last week in the west Highlands with a decidedly mixed bag of weather but some good wildlife sightings. On our way over we all climbed Meall Cuaich and saw a very nice juvenile dotterel - haven't seen one in this plumage for far too long. Other notables were spotted flycatcher and a red grouse whose days may have been numbered. A circuit via Lochailort, Acharacle and Strontian was a mixed success - yet again the black duck eluded us (it really is the wrong time to look) with just an array of hybrids to show for it. However we saw a nice black-throated diver, a super purple hairstreak, black guillemots but the star of the day (and week) came when we parked up at Sallachan...
I wound down the window, looked out and within 5 seconds the reported northern bottlenose whale breached! It did so 3 more times before some spyhopping and then cruising up and down quite close inshore. It did some more spyhopping later before we headed off to Corran ferry. I suspect recent reports of the black duck refer to hybrids as Daniel and I responded to a report on 9th and again only saw hybrids.
Later in the week a boat trip on Loch Shiel (recommended) gave stunning views of a pair of white-tailed eagles and their chick (which made one of its first flights as we watched).
Back home, on Sunday Daniel made a trip up to Westhaven nr. Carnoustie. Lots of little gulls, two Med gulls (adult and juvenile) but the highlight was at least 5 adult and 2 juvenile roseate terns.

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Old Saturday 17th August 2019, 10:55   #129
JWN Andrewes
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Envious of the little bustard.
As am I of the Whale, what a spot!
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Old Saturday 17th August 2019, 11:04   #130
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August 15th

Ok, road trip as promised. The beats of our family life leave me with a few days in the middle of August each year at a loose end with just the boys. A couple of years ago we used this time to do a run up to East Scotland. Last year we visited relatives in Suffolk. This year it was a toss up as to whether to hang a trip around the Hogganfield Teal or the Pagham Heron. The Heron won out as it gave us a chance to drop in on Farnboro John, as well as there being a wider variety of year ticks to chase.

So, half seven arrival at Pagham, a short walk out to the allotted field, and a tense wait. My tendency in these situations is to be fairly restless, keeping on the move, checking and rechecking potential spots where a bird might be lurking. We turned up the two Cattle Egrets that have been hanging around and a fly-over Green Sandpiper, but missed a Spotted Flycatcher that another couple of birders had seen; dang, wouldíve been a handy year tick. As it turned out, on this occasion staking out rather than stalking was the way to go, as those birders hanging around one of the fields struck lucky when the bird slunk out of an unseen rife, took flight and alighted right in front of them! Unfortunately, the next birder round the corner spooked it, and we turned up too late. Ok then, stake out it is. Within a couple of minutes we had it, Squacco Heron, on top of a low bush over by the rife. It soon dropped out of sight, but it was in the bag now, pressure off, so we settled down to wait again. Even now though I couldnít stop myself from wandering, and while seeking out a public footpath that looked like it might offer views into the channel the bird seemed to drop down to, the bird showed again. This time though Arch had stayed behind at the field and was able to phone me when it slunk back out into view. It spent all its time in the far corner of the field, stalking through the long grass, probably catching grasshoppers, of which there were many, stridulating away (there was even a female Kestrel running around on the ground after them).

The rest of the morning was spent exploring a little around the area but we didnít find a huge amount. A migrant Redstart, another Green Sandpiper (on the Ferry Pool along with three Common Sands and a couple of Spotshanks) and possibly our final Swift of the year.

Next stop Thursley, where we started off with a check of The Moat for dragonflies & Grass Snakes. Plenty of the former (Black-tailed Skimmers, Brown Hawkers and legions of blue damsels), none of the latter. The boys kept looking for snakes (we never did find any) while I cooked up a hot dog lunch in the back of the car, and then we headed out onto the heath. It was really quiet, bird wise, a few Stonechats, just the one Dartford (a juvvie, also a year tick) but no Woodlarks. A few dragons though, with Black Darter a tick for the boys. We bumped into a woman out surveying for Sand lizards who put us onto a likely area to look, but no luck. We did se hordes of Bee Wolves, including one dragging a honey bee down underground.

After Thursley we headed over to Johnís, transferred to his car, and he took out over to Staines where year ticking Ring-necked Parakeet was pretty much a formality. The day ended with a fine Bolognese cooked up by Maz, a couple of beers and the usual round of catching up, stories from the olden days and setting the world to rights.
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Old Saturday 17th August 2019, 11:10   #131
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You and the boys are always welcome and that's a nice set of photos!

Cheers

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Old Saturday 17th August 2019, 12:54   #132
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Cheers John. Forgot to mention, before turning in the boys got o watch John's foxes being fed. A very exciting set-piece final to the day.

And here are a few more Squacco pics....
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Old Saturday 17th August 2019, 13:21   #133
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August 16th

The following day was to be spent in the New Forest, trying to mop up some year ticks. Tried a couple of spots for Woodlark, but no joy. I donít know, but they strike me as a species that probably wanders a bit after young fledge, so perhaps looking for them where youíve seen them before in spring may not be the best strategy. No sign of Firecrest where we went looking either, although we were treated to very close views of a Treecreeper feeding on some beautifully textured bark, and we should have a shot at migrant or wintering birds later in the year. The best of the morning, before the weather came and pulled the rug out from under us, was a family party of four Spotted Flycatchers at Acres Down, very welcome, excellent prolonged views as they fed along the woodland edge.

The drive home was pretty dire, blighted by awful weather and heavy traffic. Have to see what's on offer mid August next year, and in the mean time the Blue-winged Teal continues his stay up in Clyde, maybe worth a look if I get then chance in the next few weeks. The Squacco, on the other hand, is now into its second blank day; looks like we timed that just right, I am mighty glad it didn't bail a day earlier!
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Old Saturday 17th August 2019, 14:01   #134
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Cheers John. Forgot to mention, before turning in the boys got o watch John's foxes being fed. A very exciting set-piece final to the day.

And here are a few more Squacco pics....
I was so proud of them: the foxes who put on a command performance as well as the boys, who were quiet and still and didn't alarm them at all.

All three of the current gang turned up, Psycho, Big Whitey and Rip to put them in hierarchical order: they sat down to wait for food, Rip decided to eat in front of us after Whitey hippity-hopped off with his drumstick holding up his duff rear left leg, Psycho (fed first) came back from bolting his food and robbed Rip. Loads of behaviour and everybody got fed, because I had plenty of chicken available and topped up Rip afterwards.

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Old Monday 2nd September 2019, 17:16   #135
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September 1st

1st September has been kind to us the past three years, with last year’s pelagic, Wryneck the year before that and 2016’s fabulous Western Swamphen. Didn’t look likely this year, what with the boys having a prior engagement in the afternoon, and nothing gettable beforehand. Then I checked RBA just before lunch, and suddenly found myself with a ball at my feet and an open goal! The boys were back from their do by four, and we were on the road, easy run up to Fluke Hall, plenty of parking, a short walk and a showy bird. Of some species or other. The Pied-eared Wheatever-it-was put on an excellent show to the modest crowd gathered, perching up on the rocks for extended periods, in glorious early evening sunshine. If pushed I would lean towards Pied, but am prepared to be re-educated; when the poo speaks, I shall listen. And I will await 1st September 2020 with anxious anticipation!
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Old Monday 2nd September 2019, 18:42   #136
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September 2nd

Monday & Tuesday had been kind of earmarked for a run to Cornwall for the Booby. However, with the Booby having exited stage left Saturday lunchtime a plan B was required, which was more than adequately furnished by a Western Bonelliís Warbler turning up down at Uwchmynydd on the Lleyn Peninsula. Not in the same league as the Booby, for sure, but reachable with ease. Relative ease anyway. The A55 makes the North Wales coast pretty accessible, but only up to a point, and we left it with still half the journey to do this morning, snaking our way down through towns & villages, playing dodge the tractor along narrow, high sided lanes, until we finally arrived, a little before nine, at the small, grown over pond that occupied the provided grid reference, where there was next to no parking. Happily, the only birders present, a couple and their dog, were happy to shift their car up a little so we could fit, and we were in business. The guy, who it turned out was the original finder of the bird, picked it up soon afterwards, and over the next forty five minutes or so we were treated to occasional little bursts of activity, as the Warbler came into view along the edge of the willows above the pond, calling from time to time (handy for the clinch), and feeding actively.

The birdís finder usefully provided info on a couple of spots locally with some form for turning up migrants, so we headed off to have a go at a bit of find-your-own, but came up empty handed. After that, and a fast food lunch in Bangor, we popped in to Conwy RSPB in the hopes the high tide had maybe pushed some decent waders onto the reserve, but with a Whimbrel, three Dunlin and four Blackwits being the pick of the bunch we effectively closed down birding for the day, and I sat and drank coffee while the boys hit the play area, and old familiar favourite of theirs, until the rain sent us home. One curious thing we saw at Conwy was a Grey Squirrel sitting up a tree gnawing away on part of a skull of some sort (from the sagittal crest some sort of carnivore; dog, badger or fox). Never seen that before!

Now, always supposing the Wheatear gets acceptably identified, the Warbler puts Arch on 299, and Sam on 298. So closeÖ.
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Old Tuesday 3rd September 2019, 12:22   #137
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Oof. Far more excitement than we can muster.
We had Andrew's (birding) godfather visiting over the weekend so plenty of excursions. On Saturday morning we went out to The Wilderness and added curlew sandpiper (4 nice juvs) to the year list, along with greenshank, black-tailed godwits and 3 ruff. Daniel had a birthday party on Saturday afternoon, so when he returned to find that we had seen two black terns (bizarrely a lifer for him) I agreed to go back out and have a look. Fortunately for him I found at least 2 without difficulty! On Sunday morning a visit to Lunan Bay proved rather unproductive, though tantalising brief views of a flying raptor were strongly suggestive of honey buzzard. In the afternoon we visited the Eden to catch up with a spoonbill (just in time, as it flew off when we were there). Also present were 6 ospreys. We then went to Outhead and among a few migrants were 2 whinchats and 5 wheatears.

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Old Tuesday 10th September 2019, 21:39   #138
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September 10th

Not normally off on a Tuesday, but glad I was today as it is currently the only weekday with no after school activities, leaving us with a clear window to get up to Great Orme to look for Lapland Buntings. Man, it was windy though, blowing an absolute hooley, fortunately coming in off the cliff though, rather than threatening to carry us off over it. It still seriously hampered our attempt at a search, especially as the birds had such a short flight distance and were happy to stay hunkered down low in the rocks as we passed by. Eventually though one of the birders from the only other crew on site when we arrived came up trumps and beckoned us across to where she had found one, the paler, greyer looking of the two. The second darker, streakier individual was soon found nearby and we were treated to excellent views of both, albeit still hampered by the wind. Even down on our bellies (as Arch is on the attached pic) keeping steady enough to take photos on full zoom was a real challenge with such a strong buffeting side wind.

So thatís the 300 up for Arch, in theory, although it all feels a little bit in limbo what with the jury still out on the Fluke Hall Wheatear; so long as it gets settled as something other than a hybrid then Lapland Bunting is his 300, with Sam one behind on 299. Weíll keep cracking on though, you know, be on the safe side.
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Old Wednesday 11th September 2019, 08:53   #139
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Nice. Daniel is keen to add Lapland bunting to his list.
We had a successful seawatch at Fife Ness on Saturday in rather balmy conditions. Not for tubenoses but skuas included 6 bonxies, at least 2 Arctic and an adult pale morph pomarine (a British tick for Daniel). We were fortunate that the pom had full spoons as in any other plumage it would have been to far out to ID. A curlew sandpiper nearby on Balcomie beach gave very nice views. On Sunday morning a qucik trip to the Eden estuary produced another curlew sandpiper and Daniel's first kingfisher of the year - taking him to 199 for the year (one ahead of me!).

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Old Wednesday 11th September 2019, 11:55   #140
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Seem to be quite a few Lap Bunts around already so hopefully he won't have to wait long.

We've missed one decent spell of seawatching already this year due to work, school etc. Remains to be seen if w get another that we can actually use or not. This weekend certainly doesn't look likely to deliver.

Arch now on 218 for the year, his best to date and 6 behind me.
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Old Friday 13th September 2019, 09:36   #141
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Congrats to Arch on his milestone. One that I am still lagging a little behind on for my UK list as I have unfortunately had little opportunity to get out this year do to various circumstances. The few occasions I have managed it, I have returned a pretty dismal records of serious dips so far. (at least my trip to France earlier in the year came up trumps!).
I think I will just have to write this year off, as it looks like the possibility of getting out and about anytime in the near future is fairly grim. Have a family holiday in Cornwall for the half term so hoping something might turn up there (hopes that the Booby might decide to hang around now seem dashed).
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Old Friday 13th September 2019, 09:49   #142
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. Have a family holiday in Cornwall for the half term so hoping something might turn up there (hopes that the Booby might decide to hang around now seem dashed).
Whereabouts in Cornwall? We'll be near St Just Monday to Friday that week.

I sincerely doubt there's any chance of Brown Booby. Pretty sure they've reoriented after getting their bearings. They'll be back in the tropics by now, with no real reason to visit Cornwall again any time soon. On the plus side, Grey Catbird was near Land's End during half term last year, so there's a real chance of something special that week.
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Old Sunday 15th September 2019, 18:57   #143
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September 15th

Hadnít decided what to do today, was thinking about checking out some sites around the Dee estuary for migrant waders, still needing Curlew Sand & Little Stint for the year, then heard that the American Golden Plover was back at Lunt (having flown off yesterday afternoon). Off we go then, less than an hourís drive, and we were back at Lunt for the second time this year. The poor Plover, when the Lapwings werenít pestering it the Canada Geese were having a go, itís a wonder it hadnít found somewhere quieter to hang out, but lucky for us it hadnít, as this means that less than a week after Arch hitting 300, Samís done it as well!

So now instead of heading off to look for waders on the Dee we headed up the road to Marshside RSPB instead, knowing there had been a few Curlew Sands there recently. Things started off well, as within ten minutes of setting off on a circuit we connected with a pair of Ruddy Shelduck by Pollyís Pool. These are presumably part of the Euro Cat C population on its annual late summer dispersal, but Iím still torn as to whether to take the common sense view that these are as tickable as the Canada & Greylag Geese scattered across the marsh, or maintain a squeaky clean BOU list. That goes for me too, as Iíve yet to tick this species in the UK myself. Iím more and more inclined to make my own mind up, and not be such a milquetoast where rules are concerned. Sleep on it. Further round on Crossens Inner Marsh we picked up a quartet of Curlew Sandpipers hanging out with a load of Ruff. We spent the rest of the circuit checking through the Pinkfeet (felt very strange scanning through Geese in such mild weather; usually its an activity for the perishing cold) before making our way home.
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Old Monday 16th September 2019, 01:06   #144
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when the poo speaks, I shall listen.
BF quote of the year!
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Old Sunday 29th September 2019, 15:29   #145
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And after a pretty decent first half, the rest of September kind of fizzled out. Managed to year tick Little Stint at Burton Mere wetlands last weekend, and Merlin at Burton Point today, but that’s been the best of it. Slightly disappointed that we’ve had a whole weekend off with nothing in the way, and there’s been nothing really to go for. We’ve dropped in on a couple of sites round the village, but have nothing really to show for it, and a bit further afield today we’ve had a few Great White Egrets, a couple of Spoonbill, a Green Sandpiper and a Little Owl, but given the time of year I’d hoped for more. It’s probably all lining itself up for next weekend when I’ll be in work.
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Old Sunday 29th September 2019, 16:46   #146
edenwatcher
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Steady progress here through September.
On the 14th I did my WeBS count without either boy as it was windy and I didn't expect anything good. However on the way I stopped at a seasonal flood and found a green sandpiper. It was still there on my way back so I collected Daniel from home and we went and saw it - his 200th species for the year.
Last weekend on the Saturday afternoon Daniel and I went down to Fife Ness where seawatching proved unproductive, but a juvenile little stint showed very well on Balcomie beach. On Sunday a trip down to Guardbridge added spotted redshank to the yearlist. In the afternoon I took the boys to Fife Ness where a red-breasted flycatcher showed quite well alongside a pied flycatcher. Seawatching was quiet but included some category A barnacle geese for an upgrade! A search for yellow-browed warbler gave untickable views. Yesterday Daniel and I had a look for a lingering yellow-browed warbler at Kilminning and managed brief views. A barred warbler gave classic UTVs. We were back out there again this morning when the barred warbler gave itself up and a couple of yellow-browed warblers gave much more satisfying views. A seawatch from Fife Ness gave Daniel his long awaited first sooty shearwater plus a manx and a couple of bonxies.
Nothing that rare in September but some good birding.

Rob
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Old Sunday 29th September 2019, 18:31   #147
JWN Andrewes
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Ah, the benefits of an East coast location Rob! The Flycatcher and both Warblers would be ticks for my two so that would represent a definite extension of our purple patch! Nice one on the Sooty Shear, very smart, and done old school on a sea watch, not like our pelagic list-hack.

Should have mentioned, I have decided to allow the boys their Ruddy Shelduck. What the hell, life's too short to wait for the BOU, they'll catch up in their own sweet time I have no doubt. Puts Arch on 223 for the year, will try and get this up to 240 if we can.
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Old Sunday 29th September 2019, 19:25   #148
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Daniel is now on 206. Forgot to mention our big highlight of the day - our first ever garden red squirrel!

Rob
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Old Sunday 29th September 2019, 19:52   #149
JWN Andrewes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edenwatcher View Post
Daniel is now on 206. Forgot to mention our big highlight of the day - our first ever garden red squirrel!

Rob
Outstanding! Are they increasing in your area or is this just a lucky break?
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Old Sunday 29th September 2019, 20:13   #150
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I believe they are increasing. Certainly I have started seeing them in St Andrews in the past two or three years when previously I'd only seen greys.

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