Monday, 29 October 2007

The Naze, Abberton & Southend – Sunday 28th October 2007

Not the best of days, weather wise for birding, very overcast in the morning and raining in the afternoon, never the less we visited three Essex sites. We started at The Naze, hoping for some migrants that the preceding week had produced but alas today it was not to be. Saw our first Fieldfares of the winter months over; then a late Swallow hanging on, plus Song Thrush and Common Redshank. Off to Abberton (raining hard by now), hundreds of Pochard off the Layer Breton causeway plus Egyptian Goose, Black Swan, Shoveler & Shelduck. Down to the Layer de la Haye causeway and found Teal, Tufted Duck, more Pochard and Wigeon. Drove down to Westcliff-on-Sea for a long awaited visit to see the regular Ring-billed Gull (life first). Life List: 356 Year List: 294 Month List: 131

Friday, 19 October 2007

Maigmo, Spain - Monday 15th October 2007

This is primarily a woodland area in the hills overlooking Alicante, great patience was required in searching the pines and bordering olive trees near Tibi. Eventually we found Crested Tit (life first), Firecrest, Blackcap, Sardinian Warbler, Stonechat, Sparrowhawk and Siskin. Travelling through near Las Hermosas we see, in flight, what could only be a Nightjar, this bird must have been put up by something! We return via Los Arenales to see a lone juvenile Glossy Ibis plus 2 Western Olivaceous Warblers and then through the San Pola Salinas for Marsh Harrier and Yellow-legged Gull. For those who know this site, believe it or not they have repaired to old castle, be prepared for a shock! Life List: 355 Year List: 291 Month List: 112

El Hondo, Spain - Sunday 14th October 2007

A light day with an afternoon drive around the Hondo, picking up Osprey, Fan-tailed Warbler, Swallows, House Martins, Penduline Tit, Southern Grey Shrike and Corn Bunting. Life List: 354 Year List: 289 Month List: 102

Pego, Spain - Saturday 13th October 2007

We take the coastal motorway up through Alicante and Benidorm and make our fist stop at the Cape de San Antonio. Here there are numerous Redstarts in the woods and Black Redstarts on the Cape, Craig Martin off it. We also pick up Iberian Chiffchaff. Next stop is Oliva and a look out to sea getting a solo Gannet and distant Mediterranean Shearwater (life first). Moving out from here we see quite a bit of flood damage and find Pego Marsh very deep in water, but the birds are there, we easily get Cattle Egret (30+) Grey Heron (20+), Audouin’s Gull and two Great Egrets. Over the other side of the road there are Tree Sparrows, Yellow Wagtail, Cirl Buntings, White Wagtails, Grey Wagtails and Meadow Pipits. Life List: 354 Year List: 288 Month List: 95

Albecete, Spain - Friday 12th October 2007

A long wet drive up the motorway and the weather starts to clear as we arrive in this savannah type area. We plan to undertake a box scan through the area in the car staging through the villages of Higueruela, Hoya Gonzalo, Horna, Petrola & Bonete.

Off the main road we immediately pick up Calandra Lark then stop further along, having seen a larger movement through a field, scope out and we get a Dupont’s Lark (life first) amongst other larks and Mistle Thrush, further along this road there are several Black Wheatear, in and out of a long abandoned cottage. After lunch we are back into the remote savannah and scanning fields and trees, nothing but Magpies, Carrion Crows and Rock Doves for miles, then spotted, feeding in a field next to the road, two Black-bellied Sandgrouse (life first). We continue, more larks and carrions finally just outside the village of Bonete we find a flock (20+) of Rock Sparrows (Life first) gathering in a small olive tree.
Life List: 353 Year List: 284 Month List: 82

San Pedro, Spain - Wednesday 10th October 2007

Arrived in Spain yesterday, based just outside Torrevieja. The first forage out was 30 miles south, to the town of San Pedro del Pinatar where there is a large salinas and a managed marsh. Immediate views of Black-winged Stilts, Avocets, Little Egrets, Flamingos, Slender-billed Gulls and Black-necked Grebe. Scanning through the grebes found a single Slavonian, rare for Spain. Then the first life list of the trip – four Little Bitterns take flight from the reeds. We moved on down the peninsula to a wooded managed area picking up some good migrants: Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Northern Wheatear, Whinchat and a flock of 20+ Stone-curlew. Lastly within the marina we get Crested Lark and Icterine Warbler.
Life List: 350 Year List: 278 Month List: 56

Monday, 8 October 2007

Landguard - 7th October 2007

Very quite weekend preparing for our birding trip to Spain. Just managed a brief visit to Landguard, picking up a pair of Redstarts plus the normal suspects. Also see our "best birding day ever!" article has been published in Birdwatching Magazine.
Life List: 349 Year List: 272 Month List: 28

Monday, 1 October 2007

Landguard & N Norfolk - 29th & 30th September 2007

A quick visit to Landguard late Saturday morning proved very fruitful taking a rather shy Barred Warbler (life 1st). Also saw several Linnets. The real business of the weekend was on Sunday. At Cley coastguards for about 9:30, not a lot off shore, Gannets & Red-throated Divers through east. Then on the reserve saw a very close Bearded Tit and from the hide Red-necked & 3 Grey Phalarope together, along with Little Stint, Dunlin, Golden Plover, Little Grebe & Godwits, plus a good number of wildfowl. From there it was off to Holkham and a long walk through the pines west picking up Yellow-browed Warbler and singing! Chifchaffs on our way out on to the Bunham Overy dunes to get a good view of a male Subalpine Warbler (uk 1st). Also noted that many Pink-footed Geese are now gathering for the winter months. Of note in the sun we also saw a small Lizard, Naterjack Toad and the Caterpillar of the Pale Tussock Moth. The day then ended with a rather speculative visit to Salthouse to try and see the Blyth's Reed Warbler, but time was tight and we left before it showed again, picking up Little Egret and Egyptian Goose. Life List: 349 Year List: 271 Month List: 100