Sunday, 16 February 2014

Yellow-rumped Warbler and an amazing Black Grouse

Adam and I headed to Durham on Saturday seeing the Yellow-rumped Warbler. It was all easy apart from the drive up in the 70mph winds having to dodge fallen trees in Norfolk.

We arrived at the bird at around 9am and were rewarded with great views as the bird done a circuit and at one point landed right above our heads.

No amazing pictures as the light was poor and the bird did not stop moving.

After this we went to Langdon Beck in the hope of Black Grouse, we drove from Langdon to St Johns Chapel seeing nothing on the way but on the way back a birders car stopped was looking at a Red Grouse.

Further down the road we found an additional 6 Red Grouse.

Then just at the end of the road we found some Black Grouse, 13 in fact in a distant field.

After some rather cold distant views in the snow we carried on. Then just around the corner Adam shouts there a Black Grouse in the tree. I laughed assuming he'd mistaken a bin bag or something, but reversed up any way and low and behold there was a Black Grouse in a tree right next to the road at eye level.

The Grouse was eating berries and looked rather soggy in the heavy snow that was then falling.


Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Scotland and back..

Having come down with a lifer syndrome after not being able to get to the Orphean Warbler nor the Brunnich’s Guillemot in recent times the American Coot although 550 miles away was very inviting.

It seemed to of settled and even after some really bad weather it remained.

So with positive news on Sunday Adam and I left Norfolk for a Scottish day trip. We set off at 10.30pm seeing only a Barn Owl on route, a brief stop for diesel at Aviemore (as we would of run out) and by 7.20am we were eating Breakfast at a Tescos in Inverness.

We left Tescos at around 7.50 and drove down to Loch Flemington arriving at around 8. The sun still wasn’t quiet up, but as pulled down to the Loch I spotted the American Coot straight away. To be honest it was so easy to spot it ruined the rarity factor. You almost expect to have to scan through 1000 birds or have to dice three miles down a muddy track. But with this you can point at it from the car window.

Mute Swan at Loch Flemington Sunrise

We parked the car and went and had a better look, a group of 20+ Bewick Swans took off from the Loch and a Great Northern Diver was also present on the Loch.

American Coot with Coot for comparison - Loch Flemington

American Coot - Loch Flemington

American Coot - Loch Flemington

American Coot - Loch Flemington

American Coot - Loch Flemington

American Coot - Loch Flemington

We took a back road to Lochindorb and apart from the views we got to see Dipper and Peregrine.

Dipper - Near Dulsie Bridge

The Dipper was down there - near Dulsie Bridge

Peregrine - near Dulsie Bridge

At Lochindorb I spotted a Red Grouse drop into the heather.

Red Grouse - Lochindorb

After this we went onto Loch Garten.

We had a quick look around Loch Mallachie but it was all very quiet, so we headed down towards the Loch Garten RSPB car park. 
At the car park a man had set up some bird feeders and was sat within metres of them.

The birds were completely fearless and a large group of Tits were around. Mostly Coal Tits but then a distinctive loud call appeared as three Crested Tits flew in. I have to say this was the highlight of my day, it was amazing to see them so close and in a fabulous cast of Treecreeper, Coal Tits and Blue Tits.

Crested Tit - Loch Garten

Crested Tits - Loch Garten

Treecreeper - Loch Garten

Crested Tit - Loch Garten

Coal Tit - Loch Garten

Blue Tit - Loch Garten

Chaffinch - Loch Garten

Here is a video of them all, happily feeding.

The final stop was Cairngorm, Up here it was rough, really rough. gusts of winds up to 100mph, a -12 deg c wind chill. It was so windy it kept blow the boot lid shut that we were using for shelter.

But never the less we saw what we went for, Ptarmigan. Although distant which was a shame still a nice bird to see. The 20+ Snow Buntings were also good to see.

Snow Bunting - Cairngorm