Friday 30 January 2009

Day off - hurrah!

First-winter Yellow-legged Gull (right) on the boom at Mander CP, 30 January 2009

2nd winter Glaucous Gull, off Mander CP.

Mealy Redpoll, Woodwalton Fen.

Sunday 25 January 2009


Two Glaucous Gulls were a nice find by Mark Hawkes yesterday afternoon at Grafham. They arrived in the roost quite early, and so were enjoyed in good light and at fairly close range. Also present at least one Yellow-legged Gull and a gaggle of Goosanders.

First winter (bottom left) and adult (top right) Glaux


Tuesday 20 January 2009

The Grebes - was it 6 portions??

I think I should take another look at my photo...

Check yer stubble

Hot off the press is the news of two Woodlarks with Skylarks in stubble near Bythorn, which is a stones throw from Grafham (which is a potential activity should the birding get really slow...throwing stones at Bythorn). So I will be checking any stubble in the vicinity on Saturday. I will start with my chin and the wife's legs.

5 Portions of Grebe a day

So, despite a mammoth WeBS count effort by a team of Grafham's finest, some birder turned up yesterday afternoon at GW and finds a record-breaking five grebe species in the Plummer-south end of the dam area. Shocker! So, there are lots of Little and Great Crested Grebes around and the wintering Red-necked, but what a scoop to add Black-necked and the legendary Slavonian to the haul...

So, Mark, myself and Willow grilled the flat-calm mirror at the east end for a good 40 minutes before work this morning, from all angles possible, made noises like dragonfly larvae and fish fry, bit alas we could only manage three portions of grebe. We even picked up the RNG several times, despite it being really active and moving around the place diving constantly. There were lots of Dabchicks present setting our pulses racing momentarily, only for hopes to be dashed when they resurfaced. So, disgruntled, we headed off our separate ways for work.

Later, another birder turned up and found a Black-necked by the south end of the dam (but interestingly could not find the Red-necked...).
I give up!!

2 portions of grebe, with plenty of room for 3 more...

Gull Roost or Dull Roost

Why, oh why, oh why, do people do gull roosts? Staring through the murk at little white blobs bobbing up and down in the water, looking for a blob with a bit more white somewhere, or a bit of a darker grey bit or whatever....but it is darn addictive and one of the most exciting of winter birding pastimes...if you do Grafham as a patch that is. On Sunday arvo, the light was nice and some of the gulls were actually at a reasonable distance for once. Shortly after starting the larid scrutiny, a fine adult Caspian Gull with typical weedy reedy beak and bullet hole eye pitched in in a near group and I managed a couple of shots. I had to head for York, so I left fellow gull-nutter, Mark, to continue the grilling.

Sunday 11 January 2009 Savages

Willow and me had a yomp up to Savages Wood to check out the mini-cows (Dexters) in their new enclosure just east of Savages Creek. They were looking quite at home and they will do a great job for the wild flowers by eating all the coarse grasses etc.
Good work Matt at the Wildlife Trust!

Little of note in Savages Creek and the usual woodland birds in the woods, the highlights being a singing Marsh Tit. Willow got a very muddy belly, courtesy of the new surface on the track Anglian Water have laid down. It is a big improvement though.

With a little sunshine, I managed to get a slightly better photo of the drake Smew off Plummer - see below - along with the female Scaup, several Red-crested Pochards and 30 Goldeneye. Nearby off Mander a female Smew and a couple of Goosander.

Saturday 10 January 2009

Bewick's Swans

A fine pair found by Colin on 5th January, and were still here at dawn the next day. These photos were taken before 8am which explains their poor quality as it was still pretty dark!

Sunday 4 January 2009

New Year Birds

A number of birds still remain from last year, including the Red-necked Grebe, Scaup, drake Smew, Egyptian Goose and Red-crested Pochards. Today while watching said Smew, another stonking 'white nun' flew in and joined the first, which was a nice surprise. Still lots of wildfowl about, but nothing else new, apart from four Ruddy Duck in Gaynes too.