Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Western Purple Swamphen and Pokemon Minsmere 1st August

So when a Western Purple People Eater Swamp Monster turned up at the RSPB flagship reserve of Minsmere, it was time to set an alarm for an ungodly hour, fire up the Yaris and set the controls for the heart of Suffolk.

Please view at 720p HD

I have been fortunate to see these wonderful birds previously on Mallorca amongst the s'Albufera wetlands although this individual is a very good candidate for a British first.

Courtesy of Ewan
Courtesy of Terry Sherlock

Keen to share our good fortune with the boy Last, 
we rallied to find a phone signal from which to enthuse 
our boundless joy at seeing such a mega bird at the 
start of the week to our chum back in Oxford...

After prolonged views of this brilliant dino Rail I spent a while wandering around the rest of the reserve scoping out many of the returning autumnal passage waders from the hides.

I also had time to collect a few Pokemon go Oxon Birders edition as well AWESOME!!


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Titchwell Marsh and the Great Knot

Due to family commitments last week, I was unable to make the pilgrimage to my all time favourite super duper nature reserve, nestled snuggly upon the north Norfolk coast...Titchwell.
I was hoping to see what is not only a rare bird in the U.K but increasingly within the world,
the Great Knot.

A plan was hatched with the boy Last- aka 'The Mauve Hawk' to venture off on Saturday
morning following in the footsteps of many of our local birdy chums.

See Gnome's Birding Diary read Ramblings and Scribblings and see the superb Black Audi Birding -the latter picking the cream of the pun crop for the title.
I also heard a rumour that even Elementerry found time to call in and pay his respects during the latest leg of his epic around Britain birding tour.

Saturday morning came around soon enough and we set off on the somewhat convoluted journey that makes up the route to north Norfolk, but as we neared Northampton the gut wrenching 'bird has flown off' message appeared on the RBA app, this could of course been much much worse,
we could have received the same message further on in our journey, perhaps as we pulled into the car park of the reserve at which point 'gut wrenching' elevates to 'nut kicking' in the descriptive league table of angst and disappointment.

I digress...we turned around, we went home.

Saturday evening saw the fruition of a long standing and greatly anticipated dinner invitation
from Mr and Mrs Gunslinger, during which time all thoughts of little Asiatic waders
paddling about were forgotten as I metaphorically wrestled with the concepts of physics
to help explain my perpetual self refilling wine glass.

Dark Matter.

At some point, around 3am the single malt arrived. I have no idea where it came from but I had a sneaking suspicion where it maybe going... now then, I don't divulge (or indulge) in all
of this simply down to mere conviviality with a good friend or perhaps a smidgen of alcoholism NO!
(come close...I have a cunning plan)
my devious little plan is to get Wyatt so drunk that he will eventually divulge all of those county birding secrets discovered and obtained over many years of county birding...

Unfortunately I fear my liver will give up way before we find out where those pesky Honey Buzzards are.

Who the hell knew quite how painful an alarm going off at 8am could be?

The harrowing juggernaut of cacophony that is surprisingly emitted from Mrs Badger's
Samsung phone was still ringing in my ears as a more subdued text alert came in from 'Da Mauve' one suggesting another thrash up to Norfolk as the Great Knot had returned,
at that point and in my mind, Titchwell may as well have been as far away as Mars.

All thoughts of the red planet were left behind as Andy slung the Ford into gear and floored it towards East Anglia. High revs and Iron Maiden provided much of the soundtrack there which was undoubtedly more entertaining than my somewhat limited, slightly dribbly, hangover vocabulary.

Ibuprofen should be canonized. 

SH*T! Yep, the Great Knot story, Sorry.

We arrived in good time at Titchwell and after being told several times whilst becoming increasingly exacerbated "that no, it's not possible to drive from the car park to the beach" we made our way out along the path and joined the binoculated throng stood adjacent to the Freshmarsh which happily included two other Oxon birding alumni- Paul and Vicky Wren also happily the Freshmarsh itself included the Great Knot.
We passed a most enjoyable few hours watching the Great Knot amongst about 2500 of his Knoty chums.

The reserve was surprisingly birdy for mid June with good numbers of Bar-wits
and Black-wits, Avocets with their young, a lovely black Spot Red, Some displaying
summer plumaged Ruff, multiple calling Mediterranean Gulls raucous underneath
the lazy flight of Little Gulls; we even had a flypast Spoonbill.

As hangovers go this one wasn't too bad after all.

Please view at 720p HD

Andy after seeing the Great Knot!!!!
Oh dear.

Friday, 15 April 2016

A Lesvos Spring 2015

Please view at 1080p HD

Primarily for all of the Lesvos regulars, a short film featuring some of the wonderful birds
and other wildlife encountered on the Aegean island April/May 2015 including the first
Demoiselle Crane for Lesvos.

Monday, 29 February 2016

Hooded Merganser 27th February

Adult female Hooded Merganser Corsham Lake Wiltshire filmed on iPhone please view at 1080pHD.

Adult female Hooded Merganser courtesy of Elementerry and Lasty.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Little Red Rubythroat...Holland February.

Please view at 1080p HD

Went to Holland with Ewan, which my old mucka has captured far better that I ever could

What else can one say..?



Anyway, I hope you enjoy the vid, it starts all ' gritty urban cop drama' oohhhhh...

Both photos by kind permission of aforementioned mucka.

Ewan (international diamond thief using world birding as a convenient cover story). 

Schiphol Airport Amsterdam.
Nothing like a progressive forward thinking move away from
those antiquated cultural stereotypes... just out of shot is 'Clogs R Us'. 

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

The Creeping Pipit

So everyone has a bogey bird and mine just happened to be a little unassuming siberian pipit, which due to their regular appearances each autumn has now been relegated from its previous rarity status to a scarcity. I have missed a few over the years (well hundreds if you add up all of the UK records) but those that I made an effort to see have always eluded me, sometimes by as little as a few minutes. So when an Olive-backed Pipit found a hillock in north Norfolk to its liking last week, phone calls were made, texts were sent, and a cunning plan was hatched late one Friday night...

Muckleburgh Hill O.B.P site
All Pipit photos courtesy of Andy Last.

It was a bittersweet moment when I finally clapt eyes on this little gem, of course very pleased to finally see an O.B.P but at the same time, a little disappointed that my birding journey to see this species was at an end.

The Curious tale of the Beeston Butcher

Prior to Muckleburgh we had stopped off at Beeston Regis to catch up with another long stayer, namely an Isabelline Shrike, one of three birds in Norfolk with a fourth bird in residency in Devon.

Beeston Regis Common temporary home to an Izzy Shrike

These subtly beautiful and pallid Shrikes are wrapped in a wash of gentle autumnal hues, full of pale browns, gentle ochres and breathtakingly rich rufous tones captured within the tail, which catches the eye and draws you into their world, the world of a kinetic avian wanderer...

Andy, on the other hand described it as a

"beige shrike"...


Andy acting all like, cool, nonchalant n' sh*t whilst in the company of the Beeston yodeller.  

A theory of Isabelline as a colour (god bless Wikipedia...)

A few theories have been proposed for the origin of the colour's name. According to a popular legend, the name comes from Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain; during the Siege of Ostend, which started in July 1601, Isabella is claimed to have vowed not to change her underwear until the siege was over, expecting a quick victory for her husband Archduke Albert of Austria. Since the siege lasted over three years, finally ending in September 1604, it is claimed that the discolouration of her underwear in that interval led to the naming of the colour.[1][6] However, this theory was discounted by the Oxford English Dictionary as the word was in use before the siege had begun.[2] A variation of the legend refers to Isabella I of Castile and the eight-month siege of Granada by Ferdinand II of Aragon starting in April 1491. This siege ended in January 1492 and again was said to have resulted in overworn underwear belonging to an Isabella.

Perhaps 'Beige Shrike' isn't too bad after all...

And talking of Shrikes...lots of these Great-greys were turning up along the east coast over the weekend. This one turned up in the drizzle late afternoon saturday at Wells Woods.
With Saturday's birding so good we made a decision to seek accommodation overnight and continue with the birdfest that was north Norfolk. We had finished at dusk in Wells Woods and would continue at first light from where we had left off... in those magical autumnal woods full of eastern promise. 

Leave it to me I said...

We should stay local to Wells I said...

How hard can it be I said..?

(So this is where we ended up)

For future reference...
The Kings Lynn Travelodge...
Isn't actually in Kings Lynn... 
In fact it's not even in Norfolkshire.

The Dell of the Devilish Sprites 

Sunday morning found myself and Lasty at the back of an area known as the Dell, an area of deciduous trees and bushes in what is in the most part a pine wood, our quarry was a Blyth's Reed Warbler, an Acro of slim build and sharp tack.

Below is a recording of a Blyth's in Goa which is where this bird should be wintering.

Blyth's Reed Warbler Wells Woods courtesy of...well that's a lie...actually courtesy of no one...I stole it off the interweb. But, like, totally well done friend, you did well to get any sort of shot of this very sneaky warbler...yay!!...(please don't sue). 

After a brief but good view of the Blyth's it was on to see the other goodies on 
offer within the trees...

Not you Oddie, back to Hampstead Heath with you!

No, this included a smashing Hume's Leaf Warbler a cracking Pallas's Leaf Warbler and a superb Red-flanked Bluetail, all of these birds under the continuous avian soundtrack of incoming Redwings, Siskins, Brambling and Crossbill.

There had been a mass fall of Goldcrests in the week and at least a couple of Wrens 
(Paul & Vic).

Birding Titchwell under bruising skies.

No time to stop, caffeine and rares, LETS BIRD!!!


The Movie.

Featuring O.B.P, Great-grey Shrike, Isabelline Shrike and Red-flanked Bluetail.

(Please click the cog and view at 720p HD)

Hedgehog and Badger in harmony.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Yep...It's another one. Lesvos April/May 2014

Please click the cog and view at 1080p

Another Vos Movie with more Badger narration and guitar pick'n.
Villa Anastasia our base out west.

Our garden list included this Lesser grey Shrike, Olive-tree Warbler,
Bee-Eaters and one evening a flock of over 17 Lesser Kestrels.

Mrs Badger & me with 'the Anastasia' and Paul Manning
Paul's superb web site The Wildlife of Lesvos

Yellow Wagtail...with a smashing yellow supercilium...which race/hybrid...? 
(good luck) 

Lesvos Bush Cricket

Colin found a larder (I think it now resides in Piddington)?

 "you're gonna have to wait til I get the shot"
Beautiful, beautiful, Sigri

Cirl Bunting

 Gull-billed Terns and some long legged chums

 Squadron of Squacco's

Big Eyes...Little Eyes...  Something's gonna die...

 Middle Spotted Woodpecker
 Little Tern

 Pallid Swift Maladia Valley
Cretzschmar's Bunting

All the good and in focus Bird photos courtesy of Mr Last.

Apocalyptic Donkey of Doom
"Eeeeawways going on about the Greek economy..."
I know what you're thinking...
and no... I'm not proud of that.