Chiffchaff and wheatear both singing.
Kestrel, buzzard, peregrine and goshawk all in display flight. The peregrines zipped low above my head so fast that they whooshed like jet fighters. The goshawks were doing the dive bombing display over the conifer woods. Spectacular!
A glorious day! Ring ouzels were an obvious target today, as they always visit on the lower slopes of Pendle hill, on passage. I counted a maximum of 5 birds today, all visible simultaneously.
I still havent seen stonechat this year! They usually have territories on Pendles stone walls.
9/4/11 Pendle hill
110. Ring ouzel
I heard my first willow warbler yesterday, but got good views this morning of the bird in song. 1 male pied flycatcher present but no redstarts here yet.
Went out for a late evening walk in the hope of seeing some owls at dusk.
Failed to find any but did find a med gull amongst the large BH gull colony, a common sandpiper on the res edge and then heard (and got the briefest of glimpses of) a redstart in the walled garden. I dont count heard-only but I did get the shortest of views so I'm having this one.
114. Mediterranean gull
115. Common sandpiper
I've attached a photo of the distantly digiscoped common sandpiper and a couple of nice roe deer at dusk. Poor substitutes for owls but there you go...
Reports of black redstart again and the possibility of early dotterel. Dipped on those but found my first stonechat of the year. A single male, no sign of any females on territory. Plenty of wheatear and mipits made black redstart hard to find. Nice to see green hairstreak butterflies too.
The swift pair breed locally and are a week earlier than last year.
The dotterel were unusually flighty today, the golden plover were more confiding than usual. In one of my digiscoped shots you can see the goldie warily keeping an eye on a microlight that was flying over.
I've also added a terrible photo of a pair of smooth newts that I watched egg-laying in a pond. I hadnt seen any newts for years before today.
This morning was all about birds that I often hear but seldom see.
Green woodpecker male seen calling from dead tree opposite new hide. Cuckoo heard but not seen. Garden warbler showing unusually well whilst singing. Grasshopper warbler heard but not seen.
120. Green woodpecker
121. Garden warbler
Got slightly better views (and managed a couple of dodgyscopes) of common sandpiper and redstart (both birds made my 2011 list here 15 days ago)
First new UK bird for 2011, since returning from my holiday in Tenerife.
Nesting under the eaves of a house where they always breed. Don't know why they always choose this house over many other identical houses in that street.
An early morning visit (6am til 7am before the reserve opens). Hoping for wood sandpiper but dipped. Plenty of singing sedge warblers but no reed warblers heard or seen yet. Then I realised that I hadnt seen a barnacle goose this year!
124. Sedge warbler
125. Barnacle goose
126. Common tern - 12+ birds nesting on the floating jetties
Newton marsh pool
127. Garganey - Drake wasnt there on my visit 2 days before.
Early start hoping for grasshopper warbler and hobby. Heard and then saw reed warbler from "motorway" hide but then got a message from Bill Aspin that there was a SPOTTED SANDPIPER 200 metres away!
It was quite flighty for a while with ringed plovers and dunlin harassing it.
I managed a couple of digiscoped shots while it was reasonably close. Many other birders had started to arrive by the time I left. I don't know if photographic conditions improved but I do know that the hobby eventually did turn up.
128. Reed warbler
129. Spotted sandpiper B (UK lifer for me, I've seen spotted sandpiper before in Ecuador)
I dropped in on the new nature reserve again in the hope of picking up Hobby and Grasshopper warbler. The spotted sandpiper was gone, just a 1 day visit. On a circular walk around the reserve, I heard no groppers. It would be very difficult to find this species if it wasnt calling.
However, I was rewarded later on with a Hobby hunting martins and swifts over the main pool. Spectacular but brief!
On my usual Friday delivery route, I took a detour down a different road (Harbour lane) A flash of yellow from the hedgerow had me stopping, jumping out and listening. Sure enough, I heard the call I expected and then located a male yellowhammer. This bird is absent from our recording area of East Lancs, so this was a good find for me.
I've been computerless for a couple of weeks so now I'm back-dating my sightings.
8/6/11 Cant clough res and Shedden clough wood
Got throughly soaked on this walk near Burnley. Targets were grasshopper warbler, lesser redpoll, wood warbler and spotted flycatcher.
Eventually ticked-off a single redpoll in song flight/display. On the walk back, I watched a short-eared owl fly over the reservoir and back again. Another new tick for this years list.
No photos because of the heavy rain.
I was delivering some chainsaw parts to the reserve on Friday. As I drove through the reserve entrance a raptor shot in front of my van. I pulled up and scanned the roadside trees (always have binoculars to hand whilst driving!) I spotted the 2nd CY hobby that I had seen hunting on the reserve the previous week. I climbed into the back of my van, set up my scope, slid open the side door and managed a couple of digiscoped shots of the hobby eating its prey on a plucking post. 2 cyclist came along and scared it off. It wasnt bothered by my noisy van but didnt like the quiet cyclists:h?:
I returned the next morning to try again for grasshopper warbler (I heard one near the car park the day before) No luck with the gropper but scored my first kingfisher this year on the river Ribble. Also found some nice banded demoiselles (damsel flies)
A female sparrowhawk was eating one of the newly fledged housesparrows in my garden this morning, she flew off before I could get any photos.
A wood sandpiper was reported on my local birding website, ELOC, so I drove the 7 miles to go and see it. Spotted the wood sand immediately, black tailed godwit was also present. Hobby, sparrowhawk and kestrel were all hunting in the sandmartin wall area.
I stopped in at Moor Piece wood on the way back. Spotted a third sparrowhawk for the day before finding a spotted flycatcher.
A few more non-list photos taken in the last 2 weeks (when my computer was down.)
An escaped Common myna in my in-laws garden! Looked like it my have survived a sprawk attack.
One of the many juv GS woodpeckers in the area flew into my in-laws kitchen window pane, killing it ||