Iberian-type Chiffchaff – Kelsall, Cheshier – 31st May 2017

Posted on - In Zac Hinchcliffe
 After work this afternoon, I popped down to Kelsall, Cheshire to have a look at the reported probable Iberian Chiffchaff. It was singing on arrival and certainly sounded the part. It did several bursts of classic Iberian-type song, although after a while on site it began to mix collybita chiffchaff song into its repertoire eventually coming out with collybita/ibericus/collybita/ibericus etc bursts. The call is something that's worrying me as all I heard was about 50 collybita-like 'hueets' and not a single 'reed bunting'-like 'seeoo'. I don't know how variable Iberian Chiffchaffs are in call, but I don't think that's the best indicator for a pure bird if an ibericus at allPhysically, I thought it looked very good. Almost half way between Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. It was bright, with blotchy lemony throat, lemony rump, bright yell...

Norfolk! – 7th May 2017

Posted on - In Zac Hinchcliffe
Norfolk is fantastic. I've always wondered what the big deal is with Norfolk. I know it's had a wonderful history, but in recent years, it hasn't really outshone the surrounding counties like the reputation suggests. However, yesterday Danni and I spent the day in Norfolk and it really was like birding abroad.We started off at Hickling lifering Savi's Warbler which is a bird I've wanted for a good few years and one that was really top of my list for targets for 2017. I managed a couple of views of it in flight and very briefly perched, but managed to hear is singing well on and off for a couple of hours. A really cool, powerful song. Also here, Common Crane, Spoonbill, Bittern and several Bearded Tits and singing Grasshopper Warblers.Onto Potter Heigham Marshes, we were not expecting this to be so excellent. It was like one of the best look...

Mallorca birding – 18th-23rd April 2017

Posted on - In Zac Hinchcliffe
Tuesday 18th- Sunday 23rd April 2017Flights, accommodation and car were booked through Lastminute.com flying out on the afternoon of the 18th with Ryanair from Manchester-Palma. We arrived late evening after sunset and picked up our brand new Skoda Fabia from RecordGo rental cars at the airport. In the past, my friends and I have struggled to rental cars abroad due to only having debit cards and most companies require (or at least used to) credit cards for the allowance of the excess insurance. This was not a problem with RecordGo and it all went smoothly. They take out c£55 worth of Euros to cover a tank of fuel which you can choose to fill up or leave it and they will give you back the difference. As it proved, we only used half a tank which cost £30, so we’d advise leaving the fuel for them to fill up. The total holiday package came ...

Cornwall over Easter – 7-10th April 2017

Posted on - In Zac Hinchcliffe
I'll start this off with some fantastic news! I asked Danni to marry me and she said yes! Result! Could not be happier with the person I have chosen to spend my life with and start a family with. Getting engaged is something I certainly only ever plan to do once so I couldn't just carry on like it wasn't an amazing thing. As a result, we booked a holiday over easter. In fact, we booked two over the course of 10 days. We spent the four day easter weekend in Cornwall and then headed to the supposedly warmer shores of Mallorca...more on that later (or you've already read about that trip depending on which you chose to read first!)We set off at 04:30 on Good Friday with the intention of missing the holiday traffic and also get to our first location in reasonably peak birding time. We arrived at Ham Wall RSPB. When twitching the Hudsonian Godwit...

Rough-legged Buzzard – Throckenholt, Lincs – 21st February 2017

Posted on - In Zac Hinchcliffe
 I headed out this morning to South Lincs in search of the recently reported adult male Rough-legged Buzzard at Throckenholt near to Wisbech and Spalding.I headed down to the bottom of Common Lane down a road that certainly felt like maybe I shouldn't be there, but met a couple of farmers in tractors and a couple of men working from a pick up truck and they all waved quite happily, so either it was fine or all of us shouldn't have been there!Anyway, I went to the very end and started scanning the woodland behind the windfarm directly in front of me and couldn't see much. I gave it a good 15 minutes of scanning before scoping the ground in a 270 degree scan picking up a buzzard with particularly long fluffy legs sat on a hay bale. In the heat haze, I couldn't really pick out many features but kept watching it in case it took off. It tur...

Roses are red, Chats throats are Blue – 14th February 2017

Posted on - In Zac Hinchcliffe
 Bluethroat was my No1 target for 2017 and whilst the views I got on Saturday were excellent, the photographs were awful! With the continued presence of the bird, bright sunshine and a day off work, I thought it was almost a crime to not pay homage to the bird once again. I arrived to about twenty birders all trying to get their shot ranging from people with 6ft tripods looking down on the bird, people stood twice the distance of everyone else attempting to digiscope through the crowd and my favoured group, the lads laying in the mud getting down to the birds level.It was pretty mobile despite being exceptionally nonchalant about all of our presence. It would move about along the path appearing out of the reeds in random places and give wonderful views down to 10ft. I only gave it half an hour or so and had a good five minutes of photo...

Birthday lifers – 11th February 2017

Posted on - In Zac Hinchcliffe
 A bit of a blast from the past and before this blog even existed. These photos date back to 2006 and 2007 as follows: Glossy Ibis, Fluke Hall Lancs Jan 07, Red-backed Shrike Wells, Norfolk May 07, Great Grey Shrike Bowland April (?) 07, White-tailed Plover Leighton Moss, June 2007, Waxwing Leeds Feb 2007, (2nd row) Common Rosefinch Sheringham June 2007, Lesser Scaup Pine Lake, Lancs, November 2006, Laughing Gull Marton Mere Lancs May 2006, Great White Egret Leighton Moss (May 2007?), (3rd Row) Green-winged Teal Marshside March 2007, Wilson's Phalarope Upton Warren October 2006, Blyth's Reed Warbler Blue Bell, Spurn October 2007), Stone Curlew Fylde April 2007, Lesser Snow Goose Blackpool, February 2007, (Bottom Row) American Robin Bingley February 2007, Black-winged Stilt Martin Mere April 2006, Alpine Swift Heswall Cheshire April 200...

Casp(s???) – Hoveringham Lake, Notts – 6th February 2017

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Following reports of a possible Azorean Gull just over and hour and a half away, I thought I'd use one of my rare afternoon/evenings off to head over to Hoveringham Sailing Lake to do a spot of gulling. I initially pulled up to what I thought was the main lake as it was rather large, but turns out this was the Railway Lake and therefore should really have known considering when I turned up at just before 15:30, there were only about 40 gulls on the water. The vast majority were Common Gulls with only 4 large gulls: an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 1st winter Lesser Black-backed Gull and to my great surprise, a 1st winter Caspian Gull! I was almost hesitant to call it as one just because I'd only been here for about 20 seconds before I saw it!Showing the pale underwing on a quite frankly awful video grad (I'd just pressed record as ...

Slavonian Grebe – Cleethorpes Country Park – 4th February 2017

Posted on - In Zac Hinchcliffe
I was up on north Lincs this morning and due to the lovely weather, thought I'd have a shot at getting some nice photos of the Slavonian Grebe wintering on Cleethorpes Country Park. It did not disappoint in the ten minutes maximum I was there! I'd have stayed longer but my camera ran out of battery.Slavonian Grebe - January 2008 - Barrow, Clitheroe, LancsI've come along a lot in my photography over the last few years and you'll see my last attempt at Slavonian Grebe photography from January 2008 in Barrow, near Clitheroe, Lancs. The weather and equipment certainly helped me, but even so. Always nice to show improvement!http://zacswildlifeblog.blogspot.co.uk/2008/01/slavonian-grebe-barrow-lodge-sd740381.html...