Down but not out!

Things are not going accordingly to plan at the moment, if they were I would be checked into a  Rutland hotel in readiness for Birdfair tomorrow. Instead I am at home having waved Ian off! Nothing terrible must be read into that, it is simply that my back led me to think walking around all day in the bustle of Birdfair might not be wise but I was more than happy for Ian to go as I certainly didn’t want us both to miss out. I am trusting he will come back inspired and I have no doubt with several free pens!

Although I am left behind (sob,sob) I thought I would have a look through  some pictures I have taken at home this past week or so especially as we had a rather special apple thief yesterday, but more of her later.

It has been a fairly quiet week with moths due to a bright moon and lots of clear skies, not favourable for moth trapping but none the less we have had a few nice ones.

I have pain killers from the doctor but a much better tonic was a visit from Peter, Lynn and family at the weekend and Daniel came bearing a gift.IMG_8305 Daniel's tree

How sweet is that? It isn’t everyday that I am given a piece of original art I can tell you!

Alice spent some while on some ‘patio art’ and later Daniel had help from his Mum and Dad and sisters to dig for dinosaur bones!IMG_8308 art

A few days ago this young Robin was in the garden it seems to have gone now, hopefully it has flown off to get on with it’s life rather than being caught by something!

I was amused by a visiting pigeon, it seemed to have a similar approach to bathing as I do, get snuggled in, make yourself comfy and just relax, it sat there for ages! IMG_8279 pigeon

A couple of non moth visitors around the trap recently were this bee and a Daddy long legs spiders or as I like to call it, a Naomi Campbell spider, it legs went on and on!

Yesterday whilst making a coffee I noticed a different looking bird eating our apples on the tree. I say different because there have been many blackbirds tucking into them the past week or two ( I hope they leave us a few but I am not too optimistic!). Any way the first view I got of it was the tail and very light underneath the tail, it looked a bit like a flycatcher but unless we had a vegetarian one that seemed unlikely! I grabbed binoculars and a camera and took a couple of shots through the window.

I thought I would try my luck by opening the door but of course she flew, fortunately though she landed in another tree in the open, not for long but long enough!

So it turned out to be a female blackcap not a first for the garden but possibly only the second or third so we were pleased. I often wonder what birds we miss in the garden, the occasional, brief visitors that go unseen as it was only luck that I spotted her. I often dream of a rarity flying in and what I would do, who would I call first? Would I let all and sundry into the garden to view it? The answer to the first question is easy, the second would take a bit more thought, but as nothing has flown in I needn’t worry tonight!!!

Well the moth light has come on so I wonder what tonight will bring, should be a bit cloudier so there more be more. As I popped into the garden to take this snap all the local Jackdaws seem to be saying goodnight to each other! IMG_8311

It is most unusual for me to be home alone but to mark the occasion I have decided that some fruit tea made in my favourite pot will be just right later as I chose a film to watch in bed. I hope Birdfair goes well, I hope Ian finds someone to use my ticket! If you are going, find your way to the LensCoat stall, they make great stuff and you can say hi to Peter while you are there.  I am optimistic that by this time next week I will be back to normal and we can get out and about again!IMG_8312

 

 

March review

The only thing wrong with March is, it went too quickly, apart from that it has been brilliant. We saw great changes in the weather but winter still didn’t really get a grip, for which we were most grateful! We went from frost and hail to bright blue sky and birding in our ‘shirt sleeves’

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Gloucestershire, brilliant company and obliging birds. It was there that I saw my bird of the month, I have picked the Hawfinch. Now it wasn’t a life tick or anything like that but I saw it so much better than I have ever seen it before and got my first photos. Another special bird was the Long-billed dowitcher that we travelled to Rutland water to see.

We added a trip to Bedfordshire to our time away and again enjoyed excellent company, some good walks and the best woodpecker of the year!

 

 

Plenty of visits to the North Norfolk coast and other reserves helped us to boost our numbers and the lists have gradually crept up. Our month finished in style as we spent a long day at the coast, in beautiful weather celebrating Ian’s birthday. The weather couldn’t have been kinder and the addition of unexpected family participation made it an excellent end to our firs quarter, all we lacked were some  summer migrants!!!

List time again so look away now if this bit doesn’t interest you!

Ones in bold are new for March, ones in red are life ticks!

Bird List end March 

  1. Mute Swan
  2. Bewick Swan
  3. Whooper Swan
  4. Pink-footed Goose
  5. White-fronted Goose
  6. Greylag Goose
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Barnacle Goose
  9. Brent Goose
  10. Egyptian Goose
  11. Common Shelduck
  12. Mandarin Duck
  13. Eurasian Wigeon
  14. Gadwall
  15. Eurasian Teal
  16. Mallard
  17. Pintail
  18. Shoveler
  19. Red-crested Pochard
  20. Common Pochard
  21. Ferruginous Duck
  22. Tufted duck
  23. Greater Scaup
  24. Long-tailed Duck
  25. Common Scoter
  26. Velvet Scoter
  27. Goldeneye
  28. Smew
  29. Red-breasted Merganser
  30. Goosander
  31. Red-legged Partridge
  32. Grey Partridge
  33. Common Pheasant
  34. Golden Pheasant
  35. Little Grebe
  36. Great Crested Grebe
  37. Red-necked Grebe
  38. Slavonian Grebe
  39. Black-necked Grebe
  40. Fulmar
  41. Cormorant
  42. Shag
  43. Bittern
  44. Little Egret
  45. Great Egret
  46. Grey Heron
  47. White Stork
  48. Glossy Ibis
  49. Red Kite
  50. Marsh Harrier
  51. Hen Harrier
  52. Pallid Harrier
  53. Goshawk
  54. Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  55. Common Buzzard
  56. Rough-legged Buzzard
  57. Kestrel
  58. Merlin
  59. Peregrine Falcon
  60. Water Rail
  61. Moorhen
  62. Coot
  63. Common Crane
  64. Oystercatcher
  65. Pied Avocet
  66. Stone-curlew
  67. Ringed Plover
  68. European Golden Plover
  69. Grey Plover
  70. Lapwing
  71. Knot
  72. Sanderling
  73. Purple Sandpiper
  74. Dunlin
  75. Ruff
  76. Jack Snipe
  77. Common Snipe
  78. Long-billed Dowitcher
  79. Black-tailed Godwit
  80. Bar-tailed Godwit
  81. Curlew
  82. Spotted Redshank
  83. Common Redshank
  84. Common Greenshank
  85. Lesser Yellowlegs
  86. Ruddy Turnstone
  87. Grey Phalarope
  88. Mediterranean Gull
  89. Black-headed Gull
  90. Common Gull
  91. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  92. Herring Gull
  93. Iceland Gull
  94. Glaucous Gull
  95. Great Black-backed Gull
  96. Rock Pigeon
  97. Stock Pigeon
  98. Wood Pigeon
  99. Collared Dove
  100. Barn Owl
  101. Tawny Owl
  102. Short-eared Owl
  103. Common Kingfisher
  104. Green Woodpecker
  105. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  106. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
  107. Wood Lark
  108. Sky Lark
  109. Shore Lark (horned lark)
  110. Meadow Pipit
  111. Rock Pipit
  112. Water Pipit
  113. Grey Wagtail
  114. Pied Wagtail
  115. Wren
  116. Dunnock
  117. Robin
  118. Black Redstart
  119. Stonechat
  120. Blackbird
  121. Fieldfare
  122. Song Thrush
  123. Redwing
  124. Mistle Thrush
  125. Cetti’s Warbler
  126. Dartford Warbler
  127. Blackcap
  128. Common Chiffchaff
  129. Goldcrest
  130. Firecrest
  131. Bearded Tit
  132. Long-tailed Tit
  133. Marsh Tit
  134. Coal Tit
  135. Blue Tit
  136. Great Tit
  137. Nuthatch
  138. Treecreeper
  139. Penduline tit
  140. Great Grey Shrike
  141. Jay
  142. Magpie
  143. Jackdaw
  144. Rook
  145. Crow
  146. Common Raven
  147. Starling
  148. House Sparrow
  149. Tree Sparrow
  150. Chaffinch
  151. Brambling
  152. Serin
  153. Greenfinch
  154. Goldfinch
  155. Siskin
  156. Linnet
  157. Twite
  158. Lesser Redpoll
  159. Mealy Redpoll
  160. Bullfinch
  161. Hawfinch
  162. Lapland Longspur
  163. Snow Bunting
  164. Yellowhammer
  165. Reed Bunting
  166. Corn Bunting

Mammal list total 11

Rabbit, Stoat, Hare, Squirrel, Grey seal, Roe deer, Red deer, Muntjac deer, Sperm  whale, Otter, & weasel

Moths total 13  (these are all new for us as we weren’t mothing this time last year)

Winter moth, Pale brindled beauty, Mottled umber, Early moth, Common Quaker, Early grey, Common plume (micro), Hebrew character, Small brindled beauty, March moth, Small Quaker, Clouded drab, Shoulder stripe

Butterflies 2

Red admiral and Brimstone are our first two butterflies of the year.

Other critters 7

  1. Wasp
  2. Ladybird 7 spot
  3. Ladybird harlequin
  4. Lacewing green
  5. Lacewing brown
  6. Bloody nosed beetle
  7. Bumble bee
Total of totals for the first quarter a slightly frustrating: 199

 

 

 

 

An American visitor

I love an American visitor, (especially when they come in twos from D.C.) but back to birds!!! I will begin with yesterday and the exciting news that we actually got two moths, a common Quaker and a common plume (shown below) some people are getting good numbers of moths now but we are making a slow start!IMG_8977 Common plume (Custom)

Yesterday was freezing and a perfect day for staying home and trying to sort some photos ready for printing. This hail came during the morning and made me more pleased than ever that we had chosen not to venture out. The forecast was for fairer weather tomorrow so we were considering some options.IMG_8985 hail 2nd march (Custom)

As it looked the only decent day this week we felt we wanted to make the most of it and had just to decide if we would pop up to the coast, probably to Cley or venture further afield. A visitor from America has been at Rutland water for a couple of days and it would be a life tick for us both, it is however a couple of hours away and no guarantee of it still being there. We we got up this morning the lure of seeing a Long-billed dowitcher was strong so we decided to go especially as there were also some of the less common grebes there.

Flasks filled and we were off, it is thankfully a very straight forward journey and the sun shone all the way, in fact I was fearful I may look like someone from ‘Close Encounters’ by the time we arrived! We discovered the best hide to go to to try to see the bird and I was full of optimism as we said hi to a group of people just leaving as we were about to enter . They replied pleasantly but with the news that the bird hadn’t been seen for a couple of hours, oh bother!

The hide was busy but we found a space and had been sitting for no more than a minute when out came the Dowitcher, excellent. We watched it for an hour or so although he was distant, quick moving and favouring hiding amongst  the tufts!

We saw it that is the main thing but sadly I didn’t get any good pictures but at least I have record shots. I don’t know if it comes closer to the hide at times or not but that would be the only way I could get decent ones I think.

 

We were really pleased to have seen it and thought it worth the effort of visiting Rutland. As time was limited we decided to move on as the grebes were a short drive away. On route back to the car park we saw a group of ten Redwing, a bird we have seen fewer of this winter than usual, I guess mild conditions have given them less recon to leave their home.

We drove to where we though was the right place to find we needed to climb over a gate which my short legs and Ian’s dodgy knee we decided against! We scoped the water from where we stood and saw a Red-necked grebe, several Great-crested grebes but not what we were after. Further investigation lead us to move the car again to a better spot. By this time it was pouring but as we got out of the car we saw four birds flying and I joked that they may be our birds. They were indeed what we were looking for, three Black-necked grebes and one Slavonian grebe and thankfully they re-landed. They were far off and the rain made viewing them both difficult and not terribly pleasant! We met a couple of chaps there one of whom I had ‘spoken’ to on Birdforum a little while ago, about a Dowitcher!

The journey home was slightly different to the outward one as it poured most of the way but having got one life tick plus two year ones we had no complaint.

Well sorry that the pictures today are well below par but when you see this last one, showing the group of four grebes, you may appreciate the others more!!!IMG_9038 3 black neck grebe and slavoniain (Custom)

Total birds now 156

moths 7