Po Toi Island

Posted on - In Dave's Birding Blog
On our continued desire to explore off the tourist beaten track, we took an early morning ferry from Aberdeen to Po Toi, a migration hot-spot for Hong Kong in the company of Matthew again and his girlfriend Hoi Ling.Daurian RedstartThe ferry across was generally uneventful apart from a fly-past Red-necked Phalarope. The ferry was very busy as it was a public holiday ("Tomb-sweeping") and the day was fine - not ideal for migrants.Indeed much as we tried, there weren't many birds to be seen but we did see a few goodies - Crested Goshawk, Besra, Grey-headed Buzzard, Daurian Redstart, Pacific Swift and the main rarity, a Brambling!Brambling twitch...
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Return to Mai Po

Posted on - In Dave's Birding Blog
Following on from last July's trip to China, I had a follow-up trip planned for April combining it with the Hong Kong Rigby 7's tournament for which my company, Kukri, do all the merchandising. Of course, such a trip gives me the opportunity to do some birding in unfamiliar surroundings with unfamiliar (and some more recognisable) birds. So I decided to go a little earlier with my wife, Bernie, to explore the area.The first couple of days were spent acclimatising and doing some of the touristy bits, enjoying the Star Ferry and some of the parks amongst the stunning skyline. Bernie was surprised about how hilly and verdant the territory was. Common birds in the parks were the ever present Chinese and Red-whiskered Bulbuls alongside Oriental Magpie Robin, Crested Mynas, Black-collared Starlings and Masked Laughing Thrushes. We got some decent...
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A Little Spring At CG.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
There was a little - just a little - spring in the air at Conder Green on Thursday, particularly on the second visit I made five hours after my first, the two combined produced the now resident pair of Avocet on Conder Pool, and the surprise lone Little Grebe again, a couple of Sand Martin and Swallow were briefly through. With some raking around the creeks I found, 3 Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshank, and 2 Common Sandpiper, one of which was just upstream from the iron bridge, the other downstream in the channel. Gulls were at a premium on the Lune Estuary, and waders were represented by c.150 Redshank in view and feeding strung out to the Conder mouth, 10 Eider, and 2 Red-breasted Merganser were both drakes, the surprise was a single Ringed Plover, at best irregular here.Golden Plover Brian RaffertyFor most of the time in...

March Ringing Totals

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Over on the right you will see that I have updated the ringing totals for Fylde Ringing Group up until the end of March. As you will know we were unable to carry out any ringing within 10 km of a recent avian influenza outbreak and this suspension has only recently been lifted, so we are just getting back in to our stride. This means that our ringing totals so far this year are 319 behind where we were last year; hopefully we can catch up!In March twelve new species were added to the list of species ringed so far in 2017 and these were Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Blackbird, Blackcap, Goldcrest, Coal Tit, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Bullfinch and Reed Bunting.Below you will find the top three ringed during March and the top seven 'movers and shakers' for the year:Top 3 Ringed in March1. Goldfinch - 272. Meadow Pipit - 14&nb...
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Cold Northwesterly

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I set off at first light with my fold-up chair in hand to a spot where it is possible to sea watch at the Obs even at low tide. I hunkered down in a sheltered spot and prepared myself to not see a great deal in the cold northwesterly! The skies were clear so it gave the impression of being a nice day.Amazingly there was some vis, mainly I think because birds have been held up. Some birds went east, others northeast and even some went north straight across the bay. Visibility was good so even those taking the direct northerly route would have no difficulty in keeping the first land fall of Walney Island, some 17 km away, in their sight. My vis totals were 73 Meadow Pipits, 73 Linnets, five Carrion Crows, an Alba Wag, five Swallows, 50 Goldfinches and a Lesser Redpoll.The sea was pretty quiet too, but then it was a northwesterly wind. I am ex...
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Swallows At Last

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
More cold north-westerlies didn’t bode well for this morning’s circuit but I did get Swallows into double figures, picked up a few other summer migrants and ended up with a decent tally of birds. First stop was Gulf Lane where the winter set-aside crop now lies flat as a pancake awaiting this year’s plough. There must still be some food in there, probably the legacy of our feeding regime to catch Linnets. I found 9 Stock Dove searching the ground, 10 Linnet flying around and a single Wheatear. I rather like the Stock Dove, a bird which to most folk is just a bog-standard town pigeon that pecks around their feet while pooing a lot. Look closely. The Stock Dove is an attractive and rather subtly coloured bird by way of the overall bluey cast, the green ear patch, neat black wing bars and those ruby red legs. It’s a birder’...
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Not This Morning

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
It was forecast for some light rain round about first light this morning, so I thought I would check a few coastal hot spots at the Obs for some grounded migrants. But it wasn't to be this morning! The rain had obviously had a blocking effect preventing any migrants getting through from the south.It was actually quite depressing after checking two good coastal sites and drawing a blank! It wasn't until I walked the dunes that I recorded a soggy male Wheatear! There was a little bit of vis, mainly in the form of Meadow Pipits, and they were setting off across the bay in a northwesterly direction. Some of them were turning round and coming back, and others were continuing on as Walney Island was just visible. I had 43 Meadow Pipits and two Swallows that headed west.It's going to be a better day tomorrow weather-wise, but still northwesterly. ...
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Close To Home

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
It made a change to be doing a bird survey close to home yesterday morning and my alarm call was still early, but not ridiculously early as it often is! It was still very cold and for me at least this has made the Spring very slow so far. I had 7 oktas cloud cover with a 10 - 15 mph northwesterly wind.I am surveying an area of farmland with associated hedges and ponds. It's not an area that I have ever birded in the past, and it's always interesting to go somewhere new. Talking of the slow Spring, there were a few migrants around during the four hours I was on site, but they were thin on the ground. Highlights included five Lapwings, four Reed Buntings, three Buzzards, two Willow Warblers, three Chiffchaffs and a Stock Dove. This isn't my complete list of course, but just a few bits and pieces that were moderately interesting.We're on day o...
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Wrong Day, Wrong Time.

Posted on - In Birds2blog
My last post ended....'The best is yet to come'....but after Tuesday's experience seems a long way off. I'm pretty good at making mistakes, and it was a big one when I decided to walk the coastal path Lancaster - Glasson Dock, it was cloudy with a stiff cold westerly wind.Along St Georges Quay in Lancaster and on to the coastal path past Keyline where I was lucky to see a Dunnock, Blue Tit, and heard Chaffinch in song. Looking over Freeman's Pools, it did'nt get any better than Shelduck and Coot on the island which appears to look much smaller now than it's original size. But by the time I reached the crossroad to Marsh Point things briefly sprung to life when I heard the first of 5 Blackcap, three of which were heard later within a few metres of each other south of Stodday.The best on offer at the Wildfowlers Pools was two pair o...

Timely Advice

Posted on - In Another Bird Blog
Migrants are trickling north in ones and two without any signs of a major arrival to enliven a morning’s birding. Ringing is on hold while cold north westerlies predominate and this week I’ve been busy with half-term duties. I’m hoping to go birding Friday and/or Saturday, but in the meantime this week came timely reminders on the reporting of rare breeding birds from Mark Holling of the UK’s Rare Breeding Birds Panel and Mark Thomas of RSPB Investigations,  here. They suggest a long list of species where news blackouts should apply in circumstances suggestive of breeding or potential breeding unless public viewing has been arranged:Capercaillie Black-throated Diver Little Bittern Cattle Egret Great White Egret Purple Heron Eurasian Spoonbill Red-necked Grebe Slavonian Grebe Bla...
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