Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Long awaited update

Just a quick update after a hectic autumn, unfortunately not that hectic on the patch:

The league table after October is:

1st: Hopton: 159 pts (122 sp)
2nd: Aberlady: 150 pts (124 sp)
3rd: Girdleness: 145 pts (??? sp)
4th: Ely: 140 pts (113 sp)
5th: Yellowcraig: LL pts

Yellowcraig are supressing their points total, keeping Ely from the dramatic slide from first to last inside 2 months! Despite four of us living on the east coast the best find so far this autumn has been a Great Grey Shrike, pretty poor effort really!! But Novemebr does pull the big one in normally and with a Hume's just outside my patch at the moment who knows what will turn up!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Falklands: Part 2 - At sea!

Mid-season slump!!

Its been a while since the last post, mainly due to the lack of birds aI delibrately forgot to put the end of June table on as I had added a mighty one point to my total for the whole of June. July has barely faired any better but a few seabirds and waders has pushed me onto a competitive score. Unfortunately, inland birding still leads the way thanks to a few stringy records!!

End of July League Table:

1st: Ely 134 pts (107 sp)
2nd: Hopton 131 pts (106 sp)
3rd: Aberlady 128 pts (108 sp)
4th: Girdleness 120 pts (?? sp)
5th: Yellowcraig 116 pts (98 sp)

Note that Yellowcraig figures are for end of June not July so he may well be sneaking ahead!

In the absence of any bird photos from the patch here some highlights from Julys mothing and a trip to Islay.
Pub Fox, Great Yarmouth
Sunset over Jura

Manxies, Islay

Bonxie, Islay

White Satin Moth

Small Angle Shades

Ruby Tiger

Privet Hawkmoth

Poplar Hawkmoth

Garden Tiger

Grey Dagger

G Eyed Hawkmoth

Dusky Sallow

Buff Arches


Bird's wing

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Falklands: Part 1 - Stanley area

As I mentioned in a previous post I have recently been down to the Falkland Islands for just over a month from mid May to mid June. I was there with work and was supposed to be out at sea for the majority of the time but winter down there isn't the best for working out at sea and I only managed about 8 days out at sea. It meant I had a lot of spare time in and around Stanley. Unfortunately it was winter so the majority of the islands penguins had left or the beaches that you could see them were now unaccessable. Added to that most wildlife guides seemed to be away for the winter enjoying some sun anywhere else in the world.
Falklands Flightless Streamer Duck

Ruddy-headed Goose

Falklands Thrush
Blue Whale (at least parts of one!)
Fortunately there was enough to see around the area near Stanley. From the centre of Stanley itself there are lots of Upland, Kelp and Ruddy-headed Geese feeding on any piiece of grass they can find or along the shoreline. There are very few passerines in the Falklands but you can still find Long-tailed Meadowlarks, Falklands Thrush, Dark-faced Ground-tyrant, Black-chinned Siskin and Black-throated Finch pretty easily in and around Stanley. Turkey Vultures are everywhere, with a roost of 160+ birds in the centre of Stanley while the odd Crested (Southern) Caracara lingered around the town.


Long-tailed Mewadowlark

Blackish Oystercatcher

Dark-faced Ground-tyrant
Black-crowned Night Heron

Speckled Teal

Snowy Sheathbill

The shoreline and bay alongside Stanley was also very productive, Blackish and Magellanic Oystercatchers, Patagonian Crested Duck and Speckled Teal were all present in small numbers while the Falkland Flightless Streamer Duck was probably the most prominent species along the coast. On most piers along the sea front there were always good numbers of Rock and Imperial Shags while underneath the piers or any buildings on stilts you are guaranteed to find a few Night Herons. Snowy (pale-faced) Sheathbills grew in numbers the longer I was there with flocks of 10+ seen on several occasions.

Crested Caracara

Turkey Vulture roost
Kelp Goose

The main area that I birded near to Stanley was the coastline from Gypsy Cove to Cape Pembroke to the east of Stanley. It was an easy walk from the Fipass harbour and the heathland on the way to Gypsy Cove was an excellent area to see Black-throated Finch and Falkland Grass Wren. Nearer the coast it became more boggy with sveral small pools. It was on the edge of one of these pools that I found an American Purple Gallinule, little realising that this was to be the 2nd ever record of one to seen on the islands alive!!! I saw it later in the afternoon looking none to well and being attacked by a White-tufted Grebe! The coast along this area is a hotspot for Peales Dolphins and everytime I went I magaed to get crippling views of them as the swam amongst the kelp very close to the shore.

Two-banded Plover

American Purple Gallinule
Peales Dolphin

Variable Hawk
Black-throated Finch

Falkland Grass Wren

Magellanic Snipe


Upland Goose

White-tufted Grebe

View of Stanley


Cattle Egret

Rock Shag

Dolphin Gull

Kelp Gull

Magellanic Penguin

Sunset, Stanley

I managed to get on trip to the south of the island, visiting Bertha's beach to see some Gentoo Penguins. Unfortunately when I got there, there were only 11 left on land but to compensate I managed to see Black-neckked & Coscoroba Swans nearby and Rufous-chested Dotterel near the sand dunes. On the drive home I also picked up Tussacbird and Falklands Pipit.

Gentoo Penguins

Black-necked Swan

Falklands: Part 2 will follow soon and will be about all the seabirds that I managed to see while out at sea.