You might see weeds, but I see wild flowers

Friday, 27 May 2016

Back in Wales

Back in Wales, and out and about most days, which is why blogging has taken a back seat. I mean, why read about wildlife when you can get out and find it yourself.

Anyway, here's a few pics taken so far.

Stonechat hiding in the grass.

Another, out in the open.

On the way here I stopped in a lay-by for a coffee, and was surprised to see this growing at the edge.

Solomon's Seal

Plenty of Bluebells out at the moment.

A few butterflies about too,

 Green-veined White

A real surprise to find in a picnic area at Lake Vyrnwy, was this  chap

Common Sandpiper

And finally, today I went in search of Sandwich Terns at Cemlyn Bay

Sandwich Tern

Finding this Meditteranean Gull was an added bonus.

Enjoy yourself.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Crap pictures, but great birds.

If you're superstitious, then Friday 13th is a day to avoid. Don't travel, stay in, and keep 'safe'.

So me and Whisky took a visit to RSPB Frampton Marsh.

We left ridiculously early and arrived by quarter six in the morning.
Quite a strong, cold wind was blowing, and it was very cloudy and overcast; not a good day for taking pictures, but I always enjoy this reserve.
They always have some goodies here, plus I can take Whisky round most of it; apart from the central part with the hides. But no problem, most of what's here can be seen from the public paths.

Like the last visit, and unbeknown to me, there happened to be a rarity that had dropped in.

We set off down the small road towards the sea wall that overlooks the saltmarsh of the Wash in the distance.

Lots of birds flying overhead; Swallows, Swifts, Lapwings, honking geese and a few assorted gulls. A lot of Black-headed Gulls are nesting on the islands in the reserve, and very noisy they are too.

From the reeds at the side of the road, the calls of Sedge Warbler, that always pose beautifully along here.

Sedge Warbler

As we got nearer the small parking area half way down, a couple of cars began to arrive.
We stopped to look in the flooded fields and I began to scan through the hundreds of Dunlin and Ringed Plover to see if anything else was there.

A Curlew Sandpiper was soon found.

Not a good picture, but they were all quite distant.

By now the cars occupants had got out, and began setting up their respective scopes.
A couple more cars were coming down the road too.

Another find amongst the Dunlin ...........

a Little Stint, in summer plumage.

Soon the shout went out from the growing throng of 'scopes';
"found it!"

Found what, I wondered.

I turned to the bloke next to me. "What is it?" I asked.
"Broad-billed Sandpiper" he replied.

I'd never heard of it before, let alone seen one; waders are not my strong point.
He pointed out to where it was, and I tried to find it with my binoculars. No luck.
He kindly let me look through his scope.
What a stunner!
Small, but in its breeding/summer plumage. A striking black and white wader, with a very noticeable stripe on its head.
My picture does not do it justice.

Broad-billed Sandpiper

As more people began to arrive, myself and Whisky decided to leave.
We headed off towards the sea bank, the idea being to walk along, see what we could find on the reserve from here, then make our way down the path towards the sea.
A long walk, but pleasant ........... usually.
Today the wind up here was quite strong, and cold.
We got to where the steps drop down to the reserve, and the path bends towards the 'sea walk'.
Unfortunately there were quite a few cows here, (not usually a problem), but these had calves with them. I never trust cows in a group that have their calves with them; far too unpredictable, so we turned back, and made our way back from where we came from.

The group in the car park had grown bigger. We stopped briefly, a quick look in the field, and then made our way back towards the car.

A warming drink for me, a cool drink for Whisky, and then we set off down the small track nearby.
Good for singing birds in the trees, and to our left, more flooded areas that attract waders.

A lot of Ruff in varying stages of plumage.

It's no wonder I get confused.

There were also a few of these,


A bit further down, and another cracking wader.

Wood Sandpiper

A few Redshank amongst the Ruff, and Lapwing wheeling overhead, and then we began to make our way back.

A quick look at the reserve from the visitor centre gave a Little Ringed Plover,

and then it was time to make our way home.

Great day as always.



Wednesday, 11 May 2016

RSPB Titchwell

Had a trip out to RSPB Titchwell a couple of days ago. About a two and a half hour journey from home, but always worth going. There had been reported sightings of a Little Stint and a Temminck's Stint, amongst other birds, and since these two are birds that I don't often see, and I hadn't visited this reserve since March, last year, I thought I should go have a look.
Unfortunately, Whisky couldn't come with me, (no dogs allowed on RSPB reserves), so I was up ridiculously early so that I could take him for a good walk and a run before I left.

It rained most of the way there, and turned to a light drizzle when I got there. My plan was to just have a couple of hours there, so as not to leave the boy too long on his own.

A walk down to the sea first. I love to be near the sea; I'm sure I must have been a crab or some other sea creature in a past life.

Along the path a large flock of Linnets seemed to be making their way there too.

Lovely birds, and amongst them I noticed a couple of Reed Buntings.

A Wood Pigeon was taking a rest on one of the signs along the edge of the saltmarsh.

As I got nearer the beach, I could hear the waves crashing on the shore. The tide was in.
A group of Sanderling were doing their usual of running up and down the shore line as the waves crashed in.

Lovely little birds ...................... like clockwork toys as they race along, dodging the waves. A couple of Turnstone were with them too, looking splendid in their summer plumage.

A short video:

I could have stayed a lot longer watching them, but I knew I had to be mindful of the time; plus I wanted to see the 'stints' if they were still here.

I made my way back along the path, down to the newish Parrinder Hide.

Scanning over the islands I managed to see some Oystercatchers, Avocet, plenty of gulls, and then way off in the distance, the Temminck's Stint. Way too far away for a picture, but I did manage a very distant shot of the Little Stint.

 Not the best of pictures, but gives some idea of what they look like.

I'd managed to see the two birds I was hoping to see, plus extras.

A fine looking Grey Plover with his summer coat on, next to a Ringed Plover.

And another, with two Bar-tailed Godwits and Shelduck behind.

The rain hadn't stopped all morning, and was beginning to get heavier now.

Time to make my way back home.

Despite the rain, I had a great visit, with 50 species of birds seen.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Ivinghoe Beacon

Today we had a trip up to Ivinghoe Beacon

Glorious sunshine, and proper temperatures for a summersday.

Some really good birds can be found around here and the surrounding area, especially this time of the year with all the migrants arriving.
It's also a good place for watching various raptors.


Plenty of Meadow Pipits here  too.

Meadow Pipit

After a good walk around and having our fill of the sounds of various warblers in the bushes and Skylark high in the sky, we made our way towards Pitstone Hill.

Towards the car park

Quite a long walk, but worth it to hear more Skylarks.


It's also a good place to find the red listed Corn Bunting.

Corn Bunting

Then it was back across the fields towards Incombe Hole.

Incombe Hole

A steep descent, and you'll find yourself in a great place to relax and listen to the sounds around you .................. if you can block out the noise of the jets flying overhead to Luton Airport.

On a good sunny morning there are plenty of butterflies to be found too.

Another time though. Whisky was thinking about heading home after 4 hours in the sun and it's a tough climb back up; especially for me.

The boy

I must add this.
Recently a Black-headed Wagtail has been seen at RSPB Titchwell.
This prompted a post in the Bucks local bird group, which went ..........

Apparently the recent Black-headed Wagtail at Titchwell was found by a couple on holiday from Bucks. Anyone know who they might be? Dawn Balmer is trying to find their names per twitter.

Adam Bassett

I had to chuckle at this. I mean why would you need to know who they are?
Will they be getting a prize? Does it mean that because they came from Bucks, it counts as a half record for Bucks?
For goodness sake, some birders are a strange lot.

It seems we have our fair share here in Bucks, because another message relayed today was;

06/5  11:20 : Probable Wryneck : Little Marlow GP.
In the bushes opposite the small cottages on the approach path just before the gravel pit. A shape moving in the bushes and a strong clear peep peep peep ringing call.
Another birder arrived and heard the bird which had relocated in the bushes beside the last cottage on the right. He felt it was a young bird of an unknown species. I mentioned Wryneck but he was unsure. When I reached home I played recordings on Xeno-canto. Completley convinced it was this species.
Graham Langley

Oh, so many probables and might bees.

Chin chin

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Red Kite

The first of the month, and almost halfway through the year.

Today myself and Whisky went to Ivinghoe Beacon in search of Ring Ouzel. We managed to find one, too distant for any pictures, but never mind.

After a walk in the sun, we headed off to Pitstone Hill to see if we could find some Corn Buntings.
We managed to find one, and watched him singing in the sun.

Corn Bunting

We did see the Whinchat who's been here a couple of days too. Not close enough for decent pictures though.

After enjoying the sun for a while, we made our way back to the car, and past Incombe Hole.
A Red Kite was gliding over the 'hole', so we sat and watched for about an hour; until a bloody jogger decided to run down the hill, and walk up the otherside.

We did mange a few pictures though.

And some video

A magnificent bird.