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CactusD's List 2010 (1 Viewer)

CactusD

ἀρχός οἰ&#969
Apologies for the wait!

Sorry for not posting here for quite a while: too much work, not enough birding :-C

But had an excellent visit to Bempton Cliffs on Saturday, on the hunt for Puffin as a lifer. Success !! B :)

Also picked up year ticks in the form of Kittiwake and Fulmar:

129. ATLANTIC PUFFIN
130. (Black-legged) Kittiwake
131. Fulmar
 

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CactusD

ἀρχός οἰ&#969
Excellent Derbyshire Day!

While up in Derbyshire this weekend, I went out this morning, heading for Padley Gorge and flycatchers etc. No flycatchers (or anything much at Padley!) but ended up with one lifer, one 1st for the UK, and one other year tick.

While driving up in open country alongside pine woodland, I spotted a largeish brownish bird sitting on a post by the road. I drove on, thinking Buzzard, then thought how I don't see that many Buzzards in Derbys (for obvious bad reasons :C) so decided to stop on the other side of the field to check it out. Buzzard was quickly ruled out, then I thought odd-looking Barn Owl, then got the scope - and finally my long lens - on what turned out to be a stunning Long-Eared Owl. Hopefully the hanging wing is a sign that it's drying out after overnight/early morning rain showers; have just been back to check and there's no sign of it, so all is probably well!
While at Padley, I wandered about for a while with my heavy camera gear, but partly because I didn't know exactly where I was going, I decided to turn back with only some thrushes and a GSWoodpecker to show.
I then decided to take a trip to the top of the moorland around Stanage Edge to try my luck for Red Grouse/Wheatear etc. No Grouse, but I decided to take a quick walk up Higger Tor (near Hathersage) from the laybay. Plenty of mippits on top, and when I came down, there was a stunning male Ring Ouzel in the grass/rocks! Another fluke for the day! First one I've seen in the UK, and only the second I've ever seen (last in Sweden in 2008).
After that I decided to head home, since too much good luck on one day starts to get a bit spooky!
My other half has just about forgiven me for leaving her behind with the baby :-O, but a quick drive this evening found us both a Wheatear (another yeartick) on nearby moorland.

Hence:
132. LONG-EARED OWL
133. Ring Ouzel (UK tick)
134. Northern Wheatear

Some quickly grabbed record shots of the Owl:
 

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CactusD

ἀρχός οἰ&#969
Our trip to Derbyshire/Scotland to visit parents/inlaws produced 78 species for me, highlights being LEO and Ring Ouzel in Derbyshire, and Spotted Flycatcher plus the usual seabirds in Scotland, including Sandwich Tern and large numbers of offshore Manx Shearwaters. Weather was distinctly average however (again!)

135. Sandwich Tern
136. Manx Shearwater
137. Spotted Flycatcher
 

CactusD

ἀρχός οἰ&#969
Nice afternoon at Otmoor

Apologies for lack of updates recently, but haven't been out and about too much lately. I did manage a solo trip to Otmoor last Saturday am, to see if I could find the Wood Sandpiper, but to no avail. Met up with other birders, who were looking for a very fleetingly seen Pied Fly on passage south, and there were excellent butterflies and dragonflies to be had. I had no camera with me then, but we went back en famille this afternoon, and I took the camera, to see what was about. I came back with some pics I'm very happy with, inc. some nice butterflies. No new birds, but some green sands and blackwits were nice to see, and hopefully herald a good wader passage.

Butterflies seen today:
Painted lady
Small tortoiseshell
Red admiral
Green-veined white
Small white
Large white
Common blue
Small copper
Meadow brown
Gatekeeper

Some pics below:
 

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CactusD

ἀρχός οἰ&#969
butterflies and odonata:
 

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CactusD

ἀρχός οἰ&#969
Sadly still no new birds for the list, but a lovely afternoon at Aston Rowant produced some nice butterflies and moths, including 5-spot Burnet and Silver-spotted Skipper: some pics below.
 

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CactusD

ἀρχός οἰ&#969
More Butterflies!

A sunny day and a free afternoon took me to the railway cutting at Ardley Quarry Nature Reserve today to see what was about. Some nice close views of Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Copper, Small White, Meadow Brown, and Gatekeeper kept me busy with the camera for quite a while. Some shots below:
 

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CactusD

ἀρχός οἰ&#969
A quick update: hopefully the summer doldrums will be soon over, and we'll see some new birds soon. Meanwhile, I've been getting into insects and the last of the year's butterflies, exploring some new sites (Ardley Quarry Nature Reserve, and Hook Norton Cutting Nature Reserve, both of which look excellent for butterflies) with some rather nice new macro gear. At Hook Norton yesterday I did see what I initially thought was a Willow Tit, but I now think it was Marsh, feeding on large thistle heads (not sure Willow Tits do this much if at all).
Here are a few of my better macro shots of recent days:
 

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CactusD

ἀρχός οἰ&#969
August doldrums came to an end with a visit to my parents in Derbyshire. Good close views of several Coal Tits and a female Bullfinch on the feeders in the garden; a visit to Carsington in search of at least Willow Tit produced some songs but no sightings, but excellent views of a Tawny Owl.

138. Tawny Owl
(Willow Tit H)

Some pics from the garden:
 

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CactusD

ἀρχός οἰ&#969
This morning took me on a good walk around Otmoor, in search of interesting passage migrants. Unfortunately, I only managed a single fly-over Snipe, though many minutes were spent watching hunting Hobbies from the hide. Additionally, a single bramble-filled hedgerow produced five warbler species, including Lesser Whitethroat, a tick for the year.

139. Lesser Whitethroat

Some record shots below.
 

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CactusD

ἀρχός οἰ&#969
Another couple of weeks goes by with no new birds; Otmoor has been singularly unproductive for me - few waders and no sightings of passage Redstarts :-C
I did however find a lovely Brimstone butterfly, seemingly freshly emerged.
 

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CactusD

ἀρχός οἰ&#969
STILL no new birds from Otmoor, but a new butterfly, and a Common Darter to go with it.
 

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CactusD

ἀρχός οἰ&#969
Just a quick post to record my butterfly sightings for the year.
Since I only actually got interested in butterflies properly in August, the list is somewhat limited. I'm planning to be in Greece at least once next year, so hopefully next year's list will be somewhat more impressive. These were seen in and around home, and at the following sites: Aston Rowant NR, Otmoor, Ardley Quarry NR, Hook Norton Cutting NR
Sites key where relevant: AR=Aston Rowant; OM=Otmoor

1. Silver-spotted Skipper AR 15/08, 28/08
2. Brimstone
3. Large White
4. Green-veined White
5. Small White
6. Orange Tip
7. Purple Hairstreak OM 31/07
8. Brown Hairstreak OM 31/07
9. Small Copper
10. Common Blue
11. Brown Argus
12. Comma OM
13. Painted Lady OM
14. Red Admiral
15. Peacock
16. Small Tortoiseshell
17. Speckled Wood
18. Gatekeeper
19. Meadow Brown
20. Small Heath AR 28/08
 

CactusD

ἀρχός οἰ&#969
Trip to Farmoor this morning was very pleasant (unusually, the place wasn't horridly cold and windy!)
Dunlins presented good photo ops, along with one or two other things too.
 

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CactusD

ἀρχός οἰ&#969
A quick update: was in London on Friday, and walking through Hyde Park I had a Rose-ringed Parakeet flying over the Serpentine. For purposes of my list, I count stable wild populations, but not single birds (i.e. Feral Pigeon, Canada Goose, and Parakeet are fine, but not e.g. the odd RCPochard or Egyptian Goose).

140. Rose-ringed Parakeet
 

CactusD

ἀρχός οἰ&#969
Work has been - and will until December - be keeping me very busy, though I may manage one or two weekend birding trips. A visit to my parents in Derbyshire didn't, unfortunately, produce any new species for the list despite one or two trips out, but I did find a few things of interest: visible migration of Redwings, a flock of Siskin, a possible flock of Lesser Redpoll, a pair of Ravens displaying high over my parents' back garden, and some good close views of handsome Coal Tits and Nuthatch. Below are a few pics, including a composite of a tumbling Raven.
 

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CactusD

ἀρχός οἰ&#969
And finally the Yellowlegs!

A spare couple of hours this afternoon enabled me to get to Port Meadow in the hope of finding the Lesser Yellowlegs, which I'd missed from last weekend away in Derbyshire. Thanks to Adam Hartley of the PM Blog for finally steering me in the right direction |:$| I located it at dusk. Also a flock of Golden Plover, a good number of Snipe and Lapwing, a couple of Ruff, a Redshank, and a handful of Dunlin, in addition to the usual ducks, so a good afternoon for waders. Yay!

141. LESSER YELLOWLEGS

Some pics below:

First the Yellowlegs (not the best pics since it was by this time getting pretty murky)
 

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CactusD

ἀρχός οἰ&#969
It also appears that Ruff is new for the year too!

142. Ruff

A record shot of the Ruff, plus a couple of other shots:
 

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CactusD

ἀρχός οἰ&#969
I have in fact managed to get out for a few hours here and there recently!
A couple of hours at Otmoor yesterday evening picked up my first Stonechats of the year, one male and one female; disappointing dearth of waders (again), but a good range of species seen, including first Meadow Pipits there for a while, three raptor sp., Kingfisher, two Woodpecker sp., and Cetti's Warbler. Also large flocks of Fieldfares intersecting with the gathering starling roost.

Here's a pic of the female Stonechat, along with a Fieldfare – not a great shot, but the first of the season – and one of the numerous herons.

143. Stonechat
 

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CactusD

ἀρχός οἰ&#969
The rest of the family are away in Scotland for a short holiday, so I've been left all alone! |=(|:-O
Well, to make the most of some weekend freedom, I decided to pay a first visit to Slimbridge this afternoon - only an hour and a half from Banbury, so our nearest coast/estuary area. Very impressed with the place, though I guess the price of admission may only really be justified if you want to go and use all the facilities other than the standard birding hides etc.
Anyway, the one main target bird I was after, Peregrine, was quite quickly found from the Holden Tower, and seen again later in the afternoon in the same location from the Zeiss Hide. Other highlights were the large group of Godwits, the Barnacle and Pink-footed Geese, and the very close views of some nice ducks, including Pintail. Some very friendly other birders made for a great afternoon. |=)|

144. Peregrine Falcon

Some pics of my day follow:
 

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