Sunday, 22 December 2013

Sunny day at Stockers

Walked to Stockers this morning Fieldfares,Redwings and Skylarks were visible at Woodoaks farm.
Along with six Herring gulls in various plumages.
Met Kay Marriot at Stockers West where a male Goosander was present,on to the view point
where a number of Goldeneye were displaying.
We did a circular walk of the lake seeing the usual suspects good numbers of Wigeon
and Lapwing. At the Colne bridge a Grey heron allowed a close approach as a Red Kite
glided over Mill End.
With the sun in our eyes we walked the river side listening for water rail of note a
Black Swan obliged this Australian escape fed amongst the Gadwall.

Finally a couple of Chiffchaff obliged one looked decidedly the Siberian race ,we only
viewed them for moments ,one skulked away but managed a record shot.
Finally got home there were two Red Kites being mobbed by a Crow over the House
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Autmn leaves to Christmas

Well the time ha s flown these last few weeks ,Maple Lodge has been quiet after the Osprey had left
for more sunnier skies.
Lynsters farm holds geese a plenty and corvids in abundance.
Wigeons arrive on nearby Lynsters gravel pit,but duck fluctuate in numbers on
Maple Lodge,only Little grebes fish avidly in the shallows.
December arrives no snow just frost and overcast wet weather,as               
I arrive  today I bid Tony and Geoff the seasons greetings and make my way
around the reserve its generally very quiet a few Red Kites overhead and a Common
Buzzard was sitting on the barn looking for  rats  then mobbed by 24 Magpies.
The forecast rain  had arrived as I made my way home.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Sunny Afternoon

Yesterday was at MapleLodge hoping for better views of the Osprey ,not seen since 9am I was a little
late on parade ,a number of birders were in the Long hedge hide where Kingfisher and Little Grebe obliged.We chatted for a while but no Osprey  showed.
So I walked home in the sunshine thinking lazing on a sunny afternoon with a beer watching the
football , I get a shout raptor over the house.

Not quite an Osprey but a great garden bird.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

29th and 30th of September and 1st of October Pelagic birds and mammals

At  sea  travelling south to Nicaragua the wind and humidity has picked up.
A variety of Boobies have been seen quite a way out,Masked,Nazca and Blue
Footed .
Also  Galapagos and Audubon shearwaters and a number of flying fish.
After breakfast a lazy day sailing down the coast of Mexico,saw a whale briefly
at some distance.Lots of Debris mostly trees scattered across the ocean after the
hurricane some days ago.
More Boobies and Red necked Phalaropes obliged as did some Pacific white sided Dolphins?.

The following morning another day at sea,Sabines gull in good numbers but distant,photographed a
Brown Booby chasing a flying fish.
1700 hrs skuas and Wedge tail shearwaters and possibly Markham's petrel ends the watch 1800 hrs.
Tuesday 1st of October 0800HRS 3 Magnificent Frigate birds over the boat a good showing of Dolphins close to our starboard side.
At 1030 HRS a lecture on the Panama canal is appealing ,there was not a seat to be had so it was
carry on birding which proved ok as we saw Nazca Boobys close.

Then a huge movement  of Petrels and Shearwaters,Black vented and Pink footed looked about
right with a sprinkling of Least Storm and Parkinson's petrels.
More Turtles and Dolphins and a performing Marlin all before lunch.
After lunch a Prothonotary warbler was hitching a ride on the boat as the heat became intense late

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Cabo San Lucas September 28th 2013

Carol and I got the tender to shore where we met our birding guide,Maria Elena Muriel
Maria walked us to the car park then drove to the local park where we saw a varied  number of
species,the Common White winged dove.
Of note Cassins Kingbird and a number of Phainopepla mostly females.An easy lifer was
the endemic Grey Thrasher.
Gilded Flickers and Gila Woodpecker entertained on the dead part of the trees.
However only a brief sighting of Xantu's Hummimgbird also was the case Blue Gray Gnatcatcher
showed briefly and Hooded Oriole posed for the camera.
We made our way to the beach where a freshwater pool  held Western and Least Sandpipers.
Also of note here was a Sora rail and Blue winged Teals were flushed.

Next we took the main road to San Jose del Cabo estuary passing cactus lined golf courses for a
few miles.
On the lagoon American Coot,Common Gallinule and Pied billed Grebes obliged.
Ospreys and Belted Kingfishers were seen amongst a host of waders as we wandered this veritable
The highlight of this area ,the reed bed held Yellowthroat and the now split species
Belding's Yellowthroat.
More waders,herons,and raptors before returning to Cabo San Lucas we said goodbye to
Maria before getting the tender back to Island Princess.

Maple lodge before the Storm

Walked to the reserve this morning on arrival a few birders leaving ie John Ward et al making my
way to Long Hedge where in the hide I met an old friend Tony Blake, it had been around 25 years so
we chatted for some time no Osprey present just a few Mallard and Little Grebe.
Moving on to Rotunda and Teal hide a couple of herons obliged as did three raptors,
Red Kite,Sparrowhawk and Kestrel.Enter Tony Hulls ,then an odd scraping at the door it was
the efficient Geoff Lapworth battening the hatches for the impending storm,he was unaware of
our prescence.It was soon time to leave  I said goodbye to the two Tony's and I was homeward
bound,also today a couple of splendid Kingfishers.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

San Francisco 23rd of September 2013

Today we were off to Alcatraz,we boarded the ferry for the roughly 20 minute passage from Dock 33 a few terns were visible on route.
We left San Francisco in brilliant  sunshine and was soon to arrive on the island.
On arrival we were met by the Ranger.
Passing the Officers Club and Warehouse we had views of Allen's Hummingbird.
Near the power plant the smell of guano and sand flies as we viewed the water tower.
Then it was in to the cell blocks to see how the inmates were housed.
This was a typical cell this prisoner was an artist ,but I was interested in Robert Shroud
the man called the bird man of Alcatraz which was not exactly portrayed correctly in the
film starring Burt Lancaster.
Please read the footnotes of these two pictures to get the full story of the Bird Man.

Hope you can read this dossier on Robert Shroud,but lets not forget Escape from Alcatraz for
our younger bloggers it seems Frank Morris played by Clint Easwood and two others swam for it.
Back to the present  in the recreation yard I find a Black Phoebe and another pair below the
Carol and I continue are tour of the Rock which was thoroughly enjoyable.
We returned to the mainland to continue are busy day where we got a tram to
Golden Gate park it was a bit of a trek as we made our way to the Japanese Tea
Garden here we saw an American Robin.
We reluctantly returned with a Vietnamese cab driver who drove at speed down the hills of
San Francisco as if we were following Jason Bourne.
Carol decided on a nap at the hotel and I went for a beer

Osprey at Maple Lodge

Well been off the radar for a month or so up to recently been on a cruise to the Panama canal where
after leaving San Francisco Ospreys were a regular feature first at  San Jose del Cabo  estuary near
Cabo San Lucas an adult calling from a palm tree.
Also in the mangroves in Costa Rica where in flight views were obtained.
Then it landed in the mangroves at some distance,further sightings in the Panama canal
and Aruba at the Boubali reserve where I only managed 30 minutes.

Finally after being home a week a Osprey has been found on my local patch at 930 HRS Paul
Lewis picked me up and we made our way to Long Hedge hide where Geoff Laptop ,Rambo,
Dale Ayres ,John Ward et al were already grilling it.

Thank heavens for Dale Ayres as my compact flash card was playing up and would not format.
Dale kindly lent me a spare one enabling me to get a good flight shot,it finally caught a 6oz Roach
a good morning was had by all we saw Kingfisher and heard Cettis warbler.
Paul and I  said goodbye to Andrew and Geoff. A special thanks to Dale Ayres a fellow photographer
and a gentleman.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Usk Valley reflections

Monday 26th of August 0800hrs walked from Gliffaes along the River Usk passing the Croquet lawn,
a gap in the hedge led along an elevated path,eventually a stone path appeared.
I walked down to the river where the Oak shaded banks of the river gave way to a stony
river bank as Grey Wagtails danced amongst the rocks.
Following the river upstream the "hrank" of a grey heron gave way to it's prescence,
above me nestled Gliffaes,
Below a wall of stone and endless ferns, I scoured the river for other signs of life notably
aquatic,but only managed birds of note a Chiff chaff in sub song and the chivvying
house martins chasing insects on the wing for their young.
No fishing for me today but smoked salmon at breakfast ended my late summer stroll
on the Usk Estate.
As the morning progressed sitting on the terrace at Gliffaes, aCommon Buzzard mewed
on the hills behind,in the early hours of the morning a Tawny owl could be heard in the utter silence.
A wonderfull  meal last night in delightful company as we all tucked in to lamb,before I sampled
Merlyn the welsh equivalent of Baileys before retiring from the Drawing room.
And so back to this morning a Red Kite glides along the valley as hazy clouds cling
to the hill tops.My concentration lapses as a house martin makes a small deposit on my
wife's trousers as they return to feed young.
 Finally below me searching for insects a female blackcap in moult was losing
her brown cap and so ended my time in Gliffaes with a birthday cake for tomorrow.