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China Birds (Nick Sismey) 2009 List (UK, China, Hong Kong & ?) (1 Viewer)

ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
12 March 2009

A Skylark flew up from a field just after Melton Mowbary, on the way to Lincolnshire

258.Skylark-------------------------Melton Mowbary---------------------England
 
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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
14 March 2009

On the way to The Upper Derwent Valley, to join a Derby Ornithological Society (DOS) field trip, this morning Steve Whiteley and I first stopped at Totley Moor (Photo1) when a Red Grouse crossed the road in front of us as Steve had missed the bird. Luckily another was craning its neck above some heather giving us both our first year tick of the day.

259.Red Grouse---------------------Totley Moor-----------------------England

Meeting up with the DOS group in the car park near the Derwent Reservoir dam we all moved up next to the dam (Photo 2) to search for Goshawk. However the only birds of prey were Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard. Therefore we all drove up to the wood (Photo 3) and moor land at the end of Howden Reservoir in search of other birds, but nothing but more grouse!

Next stop was back to Windy Corner near the Howden dam where some of the DOS group (Photo 4) had set up camp. When we arrived two Goshawk had been reported 30 minutes early. As we scanned the skies a wonderful female Hen Harrier flew along the reservoir and up and over the forest.

260.Hen Harrier -------------------Howden Reservoir------------------England

Minutes later the bird we had come for appeared above the hill directly in front of us, a splendid female Goshawk, which had Steve and I high-fiving (so childish!).

261.Goshawk----------------------Howden Reservoir-------------------England

We celebrated with bacon butties back at the car park where Siskins (Photo 5) were on the feeders.
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
27 March 2009

Today was the first of our two annual dawn-‘til-dusk raids (the other usually in mid May) to try and see as many birds as we could in a day. Unfortunately DAS was unable to make it so it was down to Steve and I to try and break our late winter early spring record of 96 birds, where both of have to see the bird for it to count.

Our first bird of the day was a Woodpigeon, at 0538, through the windows of my mother’s house in Manthorpe, near Bourne in Lincolnshire. Following breakfast we picked up another nine birds (Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Greenfinch, Starling, Magpie, Goldfinch, Black Headed Gull, Rook, Jackdaw) both in the garden and flying across the valley in front of the house. While the weather was dry it was overcast and very, very windy and equally cold!

A Collared Dove was the 11th bird of the day driving through the village, while three more appeared, a Lapwing wheeling about in full mating mode, a Buzzard on a early morning hunt and a Pheasant at the edge of a ploughed field, as we set off south-east towards Wilsthorpe.

A mile later we stopped at a renowned Green Woodpecker haunt, Wilsthorpe wood, where we both heard the Yaffle but I was the only one to see the bird bounding across the field and disappearing into the wood, so it couldn’t be counted. I thought I had found it on a tree for Steve but once we were able to get a good enough look through a windblown ‘scope it turned out to be a piece of green plastic, “Good spot Nick” said an impressed Steve. However we did pick up an unlikely bird though, a Reed Bunting!

A further half-mile and we arrived at the disused railway line, where House Sparrow were twittering in the garden of the former signal house and Stock Dove feeding amongst the sheep and new born lambs.

Through Wilsthorpe and over the two small bridges a Chaffinch flew across the road while a Skylark was singing its earthly song. Suddenly a flock of around 20 finches flew up from a flat brown soil coloured field. Close inspection revealed them to be my first year bird of the day, the enigmatic Corn Bunting, which was also our 20th bird of the day, not bad for the first hour. While watching these several Yellowhammer joined the fray.

262.Corn Bunting---------------------------------Wilsthorpe-------------------------------------------England

Turning right at the next T-junction, as we headed towards Greatford, Feral Pigeons were feeding in a field. Passing through the village passed the grand Greatford Hall we stopped at the bridge over the West Glen River, normally a good spot for Kingfisher! No Kingfisher I am afraid but we did pick up a Moorehen.

Taking the next left and left again we were in Barholm, where to our surprise a Red Kite was circling.

Opposite the church we turned right to Tallington where Linnets, Great Tits and a Robin were calling from the hedgerow while Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Coots, Tufted Ducks, Mallards, and Greylag Geese were all seen on the first disused gravel pits. A Blue Tit passed in front of us just as we spotted a couple of Lesser Black Backed Gulls across the other side of the pit, a Dunnock soon followed.

Taking a left onto the A16 towards West Deeping we immediately took the next left onto Kings Street where another pit provided a Little Grebe and a Teal. It was a race to get back in the car once we had seen the birds such was the temperature and strength of the wind, “I don’t do cold!” exclaimed Steve!

Taking the next right through Langtoft, across the A15 to yet more gravel pits, Wigeon was the 40th bird of our campaign with two hours having passed since our first bird of the day. We picked up another seven birds there (Goldeneye, Wren, Great Crested Grebe, Gadwall, Grey Heron, Siskin,
Long Tailed Tit) but again dipped with the bird normally guaranteed there, Red Crested Pochard so could by now have reached 50! We were particularly pleased to see the single female Siskin at the top of an Alder.

Taking a right at the next crossroads we headed for the A16 again and this time took a right heading towards Market Deeping, which we bi-passed on the A15 towards Peterborough. We were due to turn off towards Northborough but a flock of birds had us taking the Maxi Road off the island south-west of Market Deeping and then the next left stopping near Maxi Quarry, gravel pits I had never been to previously. Shelduck were sharing the drained pit with Redshank and my second year and 50th bird of the day, Ringed Plover; 50 birds by 0758 hours! After a Cormorant flew overhead we checked out where we thought the earlier flock of birds had landed and sure enough there were a couple of hundred Golden Plover.

263.Ringed Plover------------------------------Maxi-------------------------------------------England

Back through Northborough towards Peakirk we were just found enough room to stop on the side of the busy Peakirk Road (it was rush hour in Lincolnshire by now) to confirm a flock Fieldfare.

Through Peakirk and left onto the long, bumpy and boring A1443, then bi-passing Thorney on the even longer, less bumpy but even more boring A47 to the Guyhirn island we turned right along the A141 to March. After stopping for Diesel it was out of March along the B1099 heading for Welney. Just outside March a family of Red Legged Partridge marked 0900 hours.

Having had to take a detour round Welney we finally crossed the Old Bedford River stopping for coffee before crossing the New Bedford River. There two Little Egret sat enjoying the sun, but huddled together against the wind!

Refreshed we crossed the second river taking a sharp left towards the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust Wildfowl Refuge reception centre. Alongside the road two Stonechats were doing what they do naturally perching on the top of tall vegetation.

At the Wildfowl Refuge car park we made a quick visit to the centre but decided not to go into the Refuge as the CCTV showed very little activity. We did however pick up a Brent Goose in one of the new lagoons next to the centre.

Heading towards Ten Mile Bank Steve spotted a single Whooper Swan in amongst a field of Mute Swans, but no Bewick (dip number 4).

Left onto the A10 northwards towards Downham Market our first Kestrel of the day was hovering next to the side of the road.

At Kings Lynn we took the A149 and then right onto the A148 and immediately right again to Roydon Common (Photo1), parking on the right along the track to the southwest of the common.

Another birder advised the Great Grey Shrike (Photo 2) had been showing well from there but had moved behind the small copse. Dressing up against the cold Steve and I set off in pursuit, a flock of Redwing in the birch trees being our 60th bird of the day. As walked out amongst the heather a Marsh Harrier was gliding across the horizon and then our quarry appeared atop a tree. The shrike was struggling to keep its balance in the wind but this didn’t put it off feeding on bees etc! Transfixed we stayed there longer than we should have for a bird race, but who could blame us, digi-scoping taking over the next hour. We also picked up a Meadow Pipit.

264.Great Grey Shrike------------------------------Roydon Common--------------------------------England

Back onto the A149 we made a quick trip round Wolfreton triangle, dipping on Golden Pheasant before crossing the A149 towards the Sandringham estate. We stopped on the large grass verge at the edge of the forest near a bird table where Marsh Tit and Coal Tit were feeding, a Treecreeper also making its way up a nearby tree, but no Nuthatch!

Back to Wolfreton we parked up just as a rain shower started. I though it was going to be a downpour so wasn’t keen to set off just yet, taking cover in the car, but Steve looked at me in an old fashioned way so we made our way through to Dersingham Bog (Photo 3), a Pied Wagtail flying over. As luck would have it the storm passed by us, the wind taking it in land, Steve walking with a wry smile! It was soon my turn for the wry smile however as Steve was convinced we would see Woodlark here as they had been calling a couple of weeks earlier when he visited. However we neither heard nor saw any.

We were also hunting down Crossbill, several birders saying they had seen them earlier but again they were nowhere to be seen and the wind was making it difficult to hear them. Just as we were about to leave Steve thought he heard one so we returned and made another circle around the wood at the top of the bog, but again nothing. Another of Steve’s loves then distracted him, a moth, so I decided to scan the pines the near the wet bog, where Crossbills had been reported. To my delight a bright red male was perched on top of one of the trees, however we had to wait until several birds flew into the trees next to us before Steve picked one up, but he did get his moth. It had taken us an hour for the Crossbill, not good for the bird race but great for my year list!

265.Crossbill---------------------------------Dersingham Bog--------------------------------England

The wind was even more intense as we turned off the A149 a couple of miles before Snettisham into a parking area, so much so we stayed but a few moments before rejoining the A road towards Snettisham before taking a left hand turn towards the RSPB reserve. Along that side road a large flock of Curlew were blowing in the wind in a large arable field.

Neither of us fancied stopping at the beach car park as the next rain shower hit, so we drove onto Heacham where we decided to take a right at the main traffic light junction along the B1454 towards Sedgeford. The sun had again regained its place by now and the hills guarded us from the wind, so suddenly it was quite a pleasant spring day. Just as we were starting to enjoy the day it went one better as our 70th bird was a ghostly Barn Owl quartering the hedge to our left. Being a very narrow road it was impossible to park up safely however a little further along where the road straightened out I spotted out the corner of my eye two birds on the edge of a field. Stopping as soon as we could, Steve jumped out and announced “Grey Partridge!” (Photo 4) my fifth year bird of the day. We stopped and digi-scoped them for a while, the Barn Owl also passing by overhead.

266.Grey Partridge ---------------------------------Heacham-----------------------------------England

Taking a left in Sedgeford brought us up onto a hill, which again introduced us to the wind, a quick check of a flock of finches being very quick! Another left and we found a small wood, just round a tight bend, where a Chiffchaff was refuelling after its long journey.

267.Chiffchaff----------------------------------------Heacham-----------------------------------England

Turning right onto the A149 again we took the first exit off the island approaching Hunstanton, as I was confident of Oystercatcher on the school playing field to our right. School must have been out for the Oystercatcher so we drove to the cliff top road for the guaranteed Fulmar.

We thought we had already been exposed to the strength of the wind throughout the day but the wind here was at another level, as it whipped over the edge of the cliff face. Every piece of clothing we had with us was deployed and yet we still made for one of the three shelters along the cliff top, feeling like real explorers. “Morning, a bit windy isn’t it?” said a passing dog walker in a light coat. While Steve and I expected a short, tee-shirt and flip-flop wearing holiday maker to walk passed we clocked Herring Gull, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Grey Plover and Bar Tailed Godwith either flying passed or on the rock covered beach, but no Fulmar!

Steve directed us down to the beach car park where he had always seen Fulmar on the cliffs, but not today, just some chap who seemed to be rebuilding the cliff, pebble by pebble! Clearly we had not read the small print on our Fulmar guarantee!

A quick stop on at the cliff top car park found Common Gull resting from the wind and Kittiwake still enjoying the “breeze” overhead.

268. Kittiwake --------------------------------------Hunstanton--------------------------------------England

Back onto the A149 we headed for Titchwell, but before taking a left to the RSPB reserve we took the next right towards Choseley drying barns to check out the Little Owl trees. “I’ve never seen a Little Owl there”, indicated Steve, “I have several times” I replied. “Told you so” smiled Steve as we drove onto the drying barns where bright yellow Yellowhammers were feeding with Corn Bunting. Both birds we had seen earlier but you never tire of either!

Heading back towards Titchwell a Little Owl burst out of the “Little Owl Tree”, not a word was said but we had our 80th tick for the day!

The wind had finally abated as we arrived in the unusually deserted car park at 1635 hours, most birders having left for the day. Early a birder at Dersingham Bog had told us there was nothing at Titchwell, what would we find? We needed a further 16 birds to equal our March record.

A Song Thrush near the picnic area left us needing 15 birds, while an Avocet was the next bird to go in the record books after a quick look in the RSPB shop and Fen Hide. A Shoveler swiftly followed viewed from Island Hide. While there we were directed to a splendid Mediterranean Gull in full summer plumage, with a black head and bright red bill.

269.Mediterranean Gull------------------------------Titchwell -----------------------------------England

Walking towards Parrinder Hide a large flock of Black Tailed Godwit in various plumage colours were huddled together while a lone Snipe was feeding on one of the islands. Once in the hide a Great Black Blacked Gull flew across our sight line and several Dunlin were moving along the water line in the muddiest areas.

Heading towards the beach Steve picked up a Spotted Redshank (Photo 5) close in, wading through the saltwater marsh.

270.Spotted Redshank -------------------------------Titchwell-----------------------------------England

At the beach it was high tide, I had clearly never been there at high tide before in all of my trips to Titchwell as I was surprised just how little beach was left exposed! There was enough available though for Sanderling to run along, avoiding the waves, our 90th bird!

As we made our way back along the path the sun was setting to our right. A perfect sunset, but we were still six short of a perfect day and had little time to add anything to our list! Just as we came alongside the pool to our left over the sea wall, our legs feeling the cold air with no sun to keep any warmth in the air, I decided to make one more scan over the reed beds to my right. “Ring Tail” I shouted as a female Hen Harrier flew across with a Marsh Harrier. Buoyed by this I also checked out the pool to our left, which had been impossible to view earlier due to the low sun. The unmistakable rear of a Pintail was raised out of the water as the duck fed, and behind what turned out to be two pairs of Pintail, a pair of Pochard glided passed the reeds!

Just three birds were now needed, and seconds later a Cetti’s Warbler burst into song, Steve and I attempting to hunt it down. “There!” we shouted in unison, but a Wren was playing with us!

The Pochard would be our 93rd and final bird of the day. Our best birding trip of the year, at least as far as numbers were concerned, but we were left a little disappointed at not at least equalling our record. One person who was happy though was DAS, who we called from the car park, as he still held the record at 96 birds seen in March!

Fish and Chips at Hunstanton’s version of Las Vegas followed by quick dip of Golden Pheasant and Woodcock at Wolfreton saw us arrive back in Manthorpe at 2100 hours.

Our next bird race will be in May trying to beat the 115 seen by all three of us in 2008! The full list of today’s birds in alphabetical order follows: -

Avocet, Bar Tailed Godwit, Barn Owl, Black Headed Gull, Black Tailed Godwit, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Brent Goose, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Collared Dove, Common Gull, Coot, Cormorant, Corn Bunting, Crossbill, Curlew, Dunlin,
Dunnock, Feral Pigeon, Fieldfare, Gadwall, Golden Plover, Goldeneye, Goldfinch, Great Black Backed Gull, Great Crested Grebe, Great Grey Shrike, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Grey Partridge, Grey Plover, Greylag Goose, Hen Harrier, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Kestrel, Kittiwake, Lapwing, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Linnet, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Little Owl, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Marsh Tit, Meadow Pipit, Mediterranean Gull, Mistle Thrush, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Pintail, Pochard, Red Kite, Red Legged Partridge, Redshank, Redwing, Reed Bunting, Ringed Plover, Robin, Rook, Sanderling, Shelduck, Shoveler, Siskin, Skylark, Snipe, Song Thrush, Spotted Redshank, Starling, Stock Dove, Stonechat, Teal, Treecreeper, Tufted Duck, Turnstone, Whooper Swan, Wigeon, Woodpigeon, Wren, Yellowhammer.
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
04 April 2009

A 7am start from Derby had Steve and I on the banks of Eyebrook Reservoir (Photo 1) by 8am whereupon Steve almost immediately spotted an Osprey flying along the reservoir, both of us making a dash from the car for better views. We later saw the bird fishing and followed it to a tree (Photo 2 - digiscoped at maximum magnification) where it made short work of the fish’s head and then flew on (Photo 3) with its prize. This added to my UK list but not year list.

Back at the reservoir (Photo 4) there were several Swallows over the water with one or two Sand Martins.

271.Sand Martin---------------------------Eyebrook--------------------England

Steve picked up a year bird for him, with a bouncing Jack Snipe on the far shore, then a Yellow Wagtail flew across our view onto the mud, a year bird for us both!

272.Yellow Wagtail------------------------Eyebrook-------------------England

Back round to the other side of the reservoir a final scan provided a lone House Martin.

273.House Martin-------------------------Eyebrook--------------------England
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
10 April 2009

A late evening trip to a drizzly and misty Beeley Moor (Photo1) in the Derbyshire Peak District produced a single wonderful Short Eared Owl.

274.Short Eared Owl----------------Beeley Moor------------------England
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
11 April 2009

It was an overcast and cool morning at Attenborough Nature Reserve’s (Photo1) main car park at 0730 hours this morning, where I met up with Steve. As soon as I got out of the car three Common Terns flew over in their noisy fashion.

275.Common Tern----------------------Attenborough-------------------England

Walking towards Kingfisher Hide along Barton Lane a calling Willow Warbler gave us the run around before we spotted it atop a tree.

276.Willow Warbler--------------------Attenborough-------------------England

Before reaching the hide my 150th UK bird of the year, a White Wagtail, was feeding on the islands in Tween Pond and the next was calling from a tree, a Blackcap, which would turn out to be the most common warbler of the day.

277.Blackcap---------------------------Attenborough-------------------England

In the hide it took Steve and I a while to positively identify a Little Ringed Plover (152nd UK bird) as the bird was at the furthest extent of our scopes’ optics across Clifton Pond

It was another three hours before we picked up the next bird, and then two came along at once. At the Wheatear Field (Photo 2) a Grasshopper Warbler (Photo 3 – digi-scoped) was reeling at the top of a bramble giving unusually excellent views. A Sedge Warbler was also calling from the same patch of brambles, occasionally working its way to the top.

278.Grasshopper Warbler--------------Attenborough------------------England
279.Sedge Warbler---------------------Attenborough------------------England

Following refreshments we then drove to Willington, near Burton-upon-Trent where, on the canal pit (Photo 4), a Green Sandpiper was feeding on the far shore, taking my 2009 UK list to 155.
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
Thanks to the fourth person to vote for this thread, much appreciated.

15 April 2009

A family trip to fog bound Scarborough today gave me an opportunity, later in the day when the fog had lifted a little and the temperature risen to a more normal level for the time of year, to visit Bempton Cliffs.

Before we reached Bempton we made a short visit to Hunmanby Gap where Gannets were moving across the horizon in small groups close to the water.

280.Gannet-----------------------Hunmanby Gap-----------------------England

At Bempton it was a record visit, time wise, as the family are all avid non-birders. The Razorbills and Guillemots were located immediately but the Puffin took a couple of extra minutes, the only one I saw flying towards the cliff. In all I was out of the car for less than 15 minutes, including collecting all of my gear together and walking to and from the cliff edge, could this be a record? :)

281.Razorbill---------------------Bempton Cliffs-----------------------England
282.Guillemot--------------------Bempton Cliffs-----------------------England
283.Puffin------------------------Bempton Cliffs-----------------------England
 

ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
17 April 2009

Steve and I were at Rutland Water for 0830 this morning, a gentle start to the day. First stop was Hambleton where the stroll towards the wood produced a very flighty Wheatear along the rocky shoreline.

284.Wheatear----------------------Rutland Water---------------------England

We arrived at the woods just after the Leicestershire and Rutland County Recorder Steve Lister had parked up, but none of us lucked in with a Nightingale! Steve did direct us to some Little Gulls out on the reservoir near to where we had parked so the walk wasn’t wasted, with two birds added to the year list already!

285.Little Gull-----------------------Rutland Water---------------------England

Before visiting the Bird Watching Centre and all of the hides we made a quick trip to Eyebrook where we counted 11 Arctic Terns and Steve finally ticked off the Green Winged Teal!

286.Arctic Tern---------------------Eyebrook---------------------------England

By this time it was 1030 and had we been told that over the next 9 hours, having visited almost all of the hides at both Egleton and Lyndon, that we would not pick up another year bird we would have not believed it. By 1930 we called it a day, and a few other things as well........... On a positive side we felt fitter for all the walking!
 
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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
23 April 2009

An evening trip to Cossington Meadows (Photo1) south of Loughborough produced the advertised Pectoral Sandpiper (Photo 2 – Digi-scoped). In fact there were two birds keeping several birders happy

287.Pectoral Sandpiper----------------Cossington----------------------England

Further into the reserve a Whitethroat was calling from atop a bramble bush

288.Whitethroat------------------------Cossington----------------------England
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
24 April 2009

Steve called me this evening, just as I was about to go on my nightly, timed, mountain bike ride with my mate along the River Derwent, to let me know about the 11 (a British record we believe) Whiskered Terns at Willington. It was the quickest turn round (not quickest bike ride time unfortunately) ever after the ride and and 90 mins later I was walking along the single track road to join Steve and the other birders (Photo1) at the far end of the reserve.

What a sight, as promised 11 Whiskered Terns (Photo's 2 - 4) hawking flies and resting on posts out in the lagoon, a UK first for me, but not for the year as I had seen them in Hong Kong in Feb. I can imagine Willington will be rather busy tomorrow, the car park was rather full today. For anyone who has not been before best to park at the first car park as the lane is very narrow further down and will cause chaos if too many cars down there. Also a lot of fisherman drive down there so they will want their gates keeping clear.

While there two Common Sandpiper were on the shore line

289.Common Sandpiper-------------------Willington----------------------England

By now the sun was getting low (Photo 5) so we set off back to the car park. The final bird of the evening was a skulking Lesser Whitethroat calling from the middle of a bush.

290.Lesser Whitethroat--------------------Willington----------------------England

What an evening, but now time for food.........
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
25 April 2009

Meeting up with Steve, just after 8am at Attenborough, we were just heading for Kingfisher hide on Clifton Pond when another birder mentioned that a pair of Garganey had already been seen that morning at the other end of the same pond. We therefore switched tack. Setting up our scopes in the Eastern corner of the Clifton Pond (Photo1) the female soon gave herself up and after a few more minutes the male appeared from behind a low gravel spit.

291.Garganey-----------------------Attenborough----------------------England

What had started off as a sunny day soon clouded over so I nipped back to the car for my coat whereupon a Cuckoo flew overhead; every cloud has a silver lining!

292.Cuckoo--------------------------Attenborough----------------------England

Steve was waiting with several other birders next to Wheatear Field photographing very obliging Grasshopper and Sedge Warblers (Photo 2) that were singing their hearts out from very prominent perches.

While there the first three Swifts of the year flew overhead. I then made for the reed beds behind us and I finally got onto one of a number of calling Reed Warblers, my first of the year.

293.Swift----------------------------Attenborough----------------------England
294.Reed Warbler------------------Attenborough----------------------England

While dipping on Garden Warblers a Whitethroat (Photo 3) gave us some good views
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
2 May 09

Steve and I met up with Craig and Dennis, long term birding friends of Steve, at Padley Gorge (Photo 1) this morning. Steve I were there first and as soon as we got out of the car we could hear a Redstart calling from one of the tallest trees at the top of the gorge, a very good start.

295.Redstart-------------------------Padley Gorge---------------------England

Craig and Dennis had got a bit lost so it was a while before they joined us but once they arrived we headed off down the gorge (Photo 2). We soon heard a male Pied Flycatcher calling and moving towards the sound found a male and female (Photo 3) around a nest box. The female was doing all of the work, the male just kept high up in the canopy calling!

296.Pied Flycatcher-----------------Padley Gorge----------------------England

Unfortunately there was no sign of any Wood Warblers so we then headed off to Danebower Quarry (Photo 4) about 45 mins away, close to Buxton. Steve had had very close views of Ring Ouzel earlier in the week, however again we dipped!
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
9 May 09

A bike ride along the River Derwent (Photo1), to the East of Derby, this evening provided me with my best ever views of a Cetti’s Warbler as it moved along the edge of the water on the far bank of the river. Luckily that side of the river has no public access so hopefully the bird will continue to stay.

297.Cetti’s Warbler-----------------------Derby--------------------------England
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
16 May 09

A non birding trip to Illam, in the Derbyshire Dales, added one bird to my year list, a pair of nesting Spotted Flycatchers in a tree on the far side of a river (Photo1 by mobile phone)

298.Spotted Flycatcher----------------------Illam----------------------England
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
22 May 09

Today was the earliest start of the year as Steve, DAZ and I were on our annual May bird race. The alarm went off at 0345 and we all met up at Hambleton (Photo1) on the edge of Rutland Water, at 0500 hours. We were two weeks later than the normal ideal date due to other commitments. We hoped this would not affect our goal to beat the record 115 birds we all three saw in 2008. The last two years we started from the bird watching centre at Egleton but this year decided to go for the Nightingale first.

On the walk down to the wood (Photo 2) I was surprised to pick up a year bird within the first few minutes, a Ruddy Shelduck, which saw us first and made for deeper water off shore.

299.Ruddy Shelduck------------------Rutland Water-------------------England

Once in Hambleton wood (Photo 3) there were very few birds calling but then our quarry, a Nightingale, began to sing, DAZ being the first to locate it deep in a bush. It made it doubly special being my 300th bird of the year.

300.Nightingale-----------------------Rutland Water-------------------England

By 0600 hours we were on 34 birds compared to the 44 in 2008, but we still had the main reserve to come. Before leaving the wood my first Garden Warbler (Photo 4) of the year started calling.

301.Garden Warbler------------------Rutland Water-------------------England

Arriving at the Egleton reserve a Mistle Thrush made it 41 birds by 0700 hours (59 in 2008). We then made visits to each hide (Photo 5) on what was turning out to be a sunny but cold morning.

On the new lagoon a couple of White Fronted Geese were our 54th bird at 0800 hours compared to 67 last year. A lone Barnacle Goose added to both our numbers and my year list, which was a bonus.

302.Barnacle Goose-------------------Rutland Water------------------England

More to follow....
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
Before I continue with this report thanks for the two new ratings for this thread, much appreciated.

22 May 09 continued

A Reed Warbler took us to 60 birds before 0900 hours (72 – 2008) at Shoveler Hide (Photo1) on Lagoon 3, before we headed off to Eyebrook Reservoir, 5 miles to the North.

Arriving at Eyebrook (Photo 2) Steve picked up our first bird there after hearing a Lesser Whitethroat calling, the bird giving all three of us good views as it flew across the road from its Hawthorne bush.

A Red Kite took us to 69 birds at 1000 hours (73 – 2008) while another three birds were added before we moved on, including a Sparrowhawk I spotted as we were leaving. I nearly put DAZ through the front window of the car I stopped so quickly. Neither he nor Steve had seen it so we had to scan the horizon. Luckily I found it sitting on a post, our 72nd bird at 1100 hours (75 – 2008). We had probably stayed there longer than we should but we had also been looking for Little Owl and Yellow Wagtail, dipping on both!

We then set off East for Lakenheath via Welney, which was the most direct route. During the next hour we only picked up a Rook, our 73rd bird, but were only four down on 2008. Near Welney DAZ spotted a Corn Bunting on a telegraph wire and a little later some Stock Doves. At Welney, while stopping for a quick coffee break between the two rivers, four Little Egrets added to our list.

Back en route, exiting Littleport, I spotted a lone small dove sitting in the distance on a telegraph wire. Its jiz had me stop the car on the edge of the busy A10 (Photo 3), not the wisest of places but needs must. We had to use the telescope to confirm my thoughts, a Turtle Dove, a year bird for me, the first one I had seen for two years!

303.Turtle Dove------------------Littleport-------------------------------England

Before we arrived at Lakenheath a Red Legged Partridge marked our 78th bird at Sedge Fen at 1300 hours. Exactly the same number as in 2008 by this time, although we were running about an hour behind schedule by now as we had been deep into the Lakenheath reserve by 1300 hours in 2008.

Looking over the man made lake at Lakenheath (Photo 4) two striking male Garganey with a single female (my favourite uk duck) added to our day list, as did up to 30 Hobby’s hunting over the reed beds. However we dipped on the Golden Orioles despite hearing the male on several occasions from one of the copses (Photo 5) and the Common Cranes, both of which we saw in 2008. Truth be known, DAZ did see a male Oriole but Steve and I missed out.

A Marsh Harrier took us to 82 birds by 1400 hours, two ahead of 2008! By 1500 hours a Bearded Tit, Kingfisher and Curlew had taken us to 85, three birds ahead of the record-breaking year. The problem was that during the next hour we did not add another bird so by 1600 hours we were only one bird ahead!

More to follow.........
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
Again thank you to the seventh person for rating this thread, it really is appreciated.

22 May 09 continued…..

Next stop was Weeting Heath, and after paying our £2.50 we managed to dip on both Stone Curlew and Woodlark, however a Spotted Flycatcher was seen outside of the East Hide (Photo 1) taking us to 86 birds by 1700, now two behind 2008.

Our next decision would be the deciding factor on whether or not we would beat our 115-bird record. With a Collared Pratincole reported at Cley we decided to head there rather than the usual Titchwell, Choseley and Dersingham Bog. It was 22 years since DAZ and I had seen a Collared Pratincole in the UK, at Titchwell, Steve had never seen one in the UK.

Before Cley we called in at Lynford Arboretum (Photo 2), near Mundford, a first for us all, hoping for some woodland birds. Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Jay plus a Little Grebe on the lake took our total to 90 by 1800 hours (92 – 2008). We did hear Nuthatch and Marsh Tit but saw neither, however what a wonderful place even if you were not a birder, certainly on the list of venues for 2010.

1900 hours passed without adding anything to our list dropping us 12 behind 2008!

At Cley we drove down to the beach car park where other birders advised that the Collared Pratincole was still there. Before we reached the area where it was we picked up six more birds including a year tick, with a number of Sandwich Terns flying along the shingle beach.

305.Sandwich Tern---------------------------Cley-----------------------England

The Collared Pratincole was a distant view from the beach, being our 97th and clearly the best bird of the day, quickly followed by another splendid bird, a Spoonbill feeding in the shallow lagoons.

306.Collared Pratincole-----------------------Cley-----------------------England
307.Spoonbill----------------------------------Cley-----------------------England

Two more birds took us to 100 by 2000 hours, still 12 behind 2008’s tally. Unfortunately we would only add one further bird making our total just 101 for the day, not a bad score by any standard, but at least we know what we need to do in 2010 to get closer to or beat the record. It was still a great day with great friends, which all ended with a wonderful sunset over the North Sea (Photo 4) followed by fish and chips with mushy peas on the quay side at Wells next the Sea. Roll on 2010………

All 101 birds seen today are shown below in alphabetical order:-

Avocet, Barnacle Goose, Bearded Tit, Black Headed Gull, Black Tailed, Godwit, Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Brent Goose, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Collared Dove, Collared Pratincole, Common Gull, Common Sandpiper, Common Tern, Coot, Corn Bunting, Curlew, Dunnock, Dunnock, Egyptian Goose, Feral Pigeon, Gadwall, Garden Warbler, Garganey, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Black Backed Gull, Great Crested Grebe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, Hobby, House Martin, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Jay, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Lapwing, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Lesser Whitethroat, Linnet, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Little Ringed Plover, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Meadow Pipit, Mistle Thrush, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Nightingale, Osprey, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Red Kite, Red Legged Partridge, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Ringed Plover, Robin, Rook, Ruddy Shelduck, Sand Martin, Sandwich Tern, Sedge Warbler, Shelduck, Shoveler, Skylark, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Spoonbill, Spotted Flycatcher, Starling, Stock Dove, Swallow, Swift, Teal, Tree Sparrow, Tufted Duck, Turnstone, Turtle Dove, White Fronted Goose, Whitethroat, Wigeon, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren, Yellowhammer
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
Thank you very much to the eighth person to rate this thread, much appreciated

26 May 09

Padley Gorge (Photo1) on a cold (is it really late May?) but sunny morning was my first destination of the day in search of Wood Warbler, having dipped there three weeks earlier. And just like three weeks earlier there were several Pied Flycatchers and Redstarts but not a Wood Warbler to be heard anywhere. Chatting to fellow birders, none of them had had any luck either so it was time to head off to Buxton and on to the Goyt Valley (Photo 2) where I had seen my first ever Wood Warbler back in 2005. Again there were other birders searching for the same bird but again we all dipped!

I did however pick up my first Tree Pipit of the year singing from high up on top of a tree.

308.Tree Pipit--------------------------Goyt Valley----------------------England

Buoyed with my success I then drove just across the Cheshire border to the Danebower Quarry (Photo 3) for my second attempt of the year to pick up a Ring Ouzel (Photo 4). As soon as I got out of the car and looked into the field over the dry stonewall I saw a male bird feeding. Walking through the field a run down dry stonewalled building made a perfect temporary hide enabling close quarter photos. The bird was feeding young hence the beaks full of worms. On several occasions a “junior” Ouzel came out of its hiding place but always too far away for any shots!

309.Ring Ouzel-------------------------Danebower Quarry-------------England

Lunchtime was creeping up quickly so it was time to head back to Derby, but there was still time to see a family of Red Grouse (Photo 5 - through the passenger side window) escaping into the moorland, which had been feeding on the side of the road back in Derbyshire. The heather soon enveloped the chicks but mum and dad could still be seen!
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
30 May 09

A 30-minute pass out this evening to Aston-on-Trent gravel pits (Photo1), viewed from the gate off the A50, was a success with two Black Terns flying in the distance and occasionally preening on posts (Photo 2 - badly digi-scoped)

310.Black Tern--------------------Aston-on-Trent-----------------------England
 

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ChinaBirds

Nick Sismey
Thanks to the ninth person to rate this thread, five new ratings in just over a week, most appreciated from all of you

31 May 09

A gloriously sunny morning started with 90 minutes of speed birding at Willington. Yes you can do the canal pit as well as the third and most distant platform, at a push, in that time. Unfortunately I dipped on the Little Stint reported the previous day.

The reason for the speed birding was that Steve and I had arranged to meet up at Matlock Bath at 0930 hours to do some birding in the Peak District.

Our first destination was Jack Flat Moorland, where the A621 crosses Clodhall Lane. Steve had seen Whinchat there before but there was no sign on this occasion. From here we continued along the A621 North, parking where a tarmac road led to the decommissioned Barbrook Reservoir.

After chatting to an elderly gentleman who worked for the Peak District who had a wonderful house on the edge of the former reservoir we made our way down Bar Brook river towards a smaller lake. On the way we picked up a Whinchat, which flew up into a Rowan tree. The bird was too far away to photograph and unfortunately I also left my compact camera in the car so was unable to take any photo’s of the area.

311.Whinchat--------------------------Bar Brook----------------------England

On the way back to the car a Marsh Harrier flew passed and we watched a Buzzard continually hovering, but couldn’t positively identify as a Rough Legged Buzzard.

Driving passed Padley Gorge, it was absolutely heaving with walkers, I have never seen so many cars parked along the road! We dropped into Grindleford before taking a right up the B6001, which took us passed Sheriff Wood to our left. While at Willington earlier one of the regular birders said he had seen Wood Warbler there. We couldn’t stop on the main road so took the first left up a single-track road to the upper part of the wood.

Driving slowly along here we thought we heard a Wood Warbler calling so pulled over at an idyllic spot (Photo1) and sure enough a bird was calling over the wall to our left in private grounds. After a short search Steve got onto the bird (Photo 2) first, the wall acting as a good “rest” to get some reasonable shots of the distant bird.

312.Wood Warbler---------------------Bar Brook----------------------England

To quote one of Steve's favourite phrases "Well we successfully found our target species"......we certainly did Steve:t:
 

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