Steve Nesbitt Bird Images: Blog http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog en-us (C) Steve Nesbitt Bird Images (Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) Sat, 09 Jun 2018 13:07:00 GMT Sat, 09 Jun 2018 13:07:00 GMT http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/img/s/v-5/u313524682-o38573043-50.jpg Steve Nesbitt Bird Images: Blog http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog 120 47 Tawny Owl - a revisit http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2018/6/tawny-owl---a-revisit I had to go back to visit Russ Telfer's Tawny Owl hide to see if I could achieve any in-flight / landing images. 

We had a good chat about the options available and as the parent birds are feeding young it was looking good that we would get some visits during the 4 hours or so at the hide location. In short; the time at the hide was fascinating to watch the behaviour of the male and how he approached the perches and bait provided all this with a lot of the time the young birds calling in the background.

Russ does his utmost to help you get the photo's you want and his in depth knowledge of camera settings and his understanding of the birds he has been working with for several months certainly increases the chances of a positive outcome image-wise. Timings on the type of images below is crucial and I am more than happy at my own first attempts at this type of avian photography; I couldn't have achieved this without Russ's direction, knowledge and support though it has to be said. This is inspiring me to have a go at this myself one day, best start saving for some more gear!

Enough talking (or typing!) please see below the different images I got during this visit - hope you like them, I certainly do!

First we set up to see if the male Tawny would land on a perch before heading for the bait. The image below was the first I got of any quality and I actually like the fact it has closed eyes - something a little different.

Amendements were made when the male had gone back to see his chicks and soon we saw the photo below on the back of the camera - result! That is what I and many of Russ's visitors are after.

More changes to set-up and landing from a perch to bait on the ground was next with my Canon f5.6 400mm lens off the camera and now using a Canon 18mm - 135mm set at 18mm lead to shots like these below - pleasing ones once again.

Another great few hours with a man who knows his habitat, birds and camera gear and also has the patience to assist those with lesser skill sets. I know I have learnt lots during my time with Russ.

Please go to Russ's website - click here and contact him direct if you wish to learn more.

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(Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2018/6/tawny-owl---a-revisit Sat, 09 Jun 2018 13:06:54 GMT
Yorkshire & Norfolk - Part 2 http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2018/5/yorkshire-norfolk---part-2 The second part of this blog is around a day out to Hunstanton, Norfolk with my wife, high tide is always noted and after the obligatory wander around the seaside establishments and my wife nips off to the amusements loaded down with 2p's I head to the beach and a wander to see what can be seen and photographed. This day was a lovely bright sunny day to assist taking bird photo's too.

First birds seen were Turnstone, no real surprise I guess but the look loads better with a bit of breeding plumage on their backs.

As the tide ebbed away some birds, not that many; such as Oystercatchers came into check out the feeding opportunities left behind as the tide went out.

Herring and Black Headed Gull worked the coastline too then a surprise was to see 3 Sandwich Tern, 2 rather distant but 1 close enough to get a reasonable image or 2 as it did what Tern's do!

A walk from the sea to the small section of cliffs enabled me to try my skills at getting a decent Fulmar photograph or 2 with some of the results below.

When having a walk around the small commercial centre of Hunstanton and A cheeky pint I might add! I tried to get images of the screeching Swifts that were making their presence known in both sight and sound.

All in all a good day out with my wife and a little birding (if you can call it that?) fitted into.

 

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(Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2018/5/yorkshire-norfolk---part-2 Mon, 21 May 2018 19:06:20 GMT
Yorkshire & Norfolk - Part 1 http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2018/5/yorkshire-norfolk---part-1 Recently I had a day out in Yorkshire on the cast at RSPB Bempton Cliffs also calling over to Muddy Boots Cafe near Leeds for a session with the Red Kites that are in the area.

This blog will be image heavy and word light for a change so onto Bempton Cliffs where it was a nice day but sadly the wind was low and in the wrong direction so the birds were flying low and below the cliff tops making flight shot options limited.

First birds seen near visitor centre were Tree Sparrows.

Along the tracks Jackdaws were abundant and I even had one at my feet while I threw parts of my sandwich on the ground 3 feet away for it.

At the deserted cliff viewing points (was only a couple of birders around early doors) Razorbills showed well.

Kittiwake distinctive calls filled the air and the cliff edge.

Gannets were in constant view as you would expect with nesting activities increasing.

A couple (pair?) of Peregrine were seen briefly in the same area that I saw a Wheatear before it was scared off by a low flying Jackdaw.

Stars of the day for most visitors are of course the Puffins and even thought flight shots were few and far between a few birds were close enough to get images while thy rested on the cliffs.

Back at the visitor centre on the way back to the car resting Swallows were posing nicely for a photo.

I moved onto Muddy Boots Cafe, Harewood, near Leeds to enjoy a cup of coffee and a slice of cake wheel watching the Red Kites come down to the garage roofs next to the cafe to take the food laid out by locals. The clouds and the sun had become more intermittent by then but still a few decent images of a majestic species were achieved.

 

PART 2 TO FOLLOW ....

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(Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2018/5/yorkshire-norfolk---part-1 Mon, 21 May 2018 18:50:03 GMT
Tawny Owl http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2018/4/tawny-owl I finally got round to visiting Russ Telfer's Tawny Owl hide and what an experience it was. I had seen on Russ's website - click here and via his photos on Facebook and the quality of the Owls in particular was a massive draw. 

Meeting at Russ's place for a coffee and a session to discuss the evenings plans it soon became apparent to me it was going to be an interesting night. We talked about our own history in birding, bird photography, the history of Russ's hide and his aims in starting this project off.

The idea of learning new techniques to improve my images is always on my mind and when on site with Russ running through things on the plans was inspiring me to try to get more our of my own photography. In short about 90 minutes of tuition on the setting up of the gear to do remote photography from the hide before darkness fell and hopefully the birds would appear. Russ's passion on what his aims were for his customers was clear too, teaching them about the art of field craft, photography techniques, using different lenses and much more. 

You have to be ultra quiet and still after dark and with a little luck you get decent results, My camera and 400mm lens were set up on one perch and Russ had a wide-angle lens set up on another lower perch. I was then down to the Owls to choose the perches to land on - or not! Over a 3 1/2 hour period we had around 6 visit to the perches, bait and several low flypasts when the Tawny was sussing out things. It was brilliant even the times bird were not to be seen was full of anticipation, well for me at least it was.

The bird in the images is the same bird, the male of the pair in this area and on the same perch I know but for me this does not distract at all from what was a great 6 hours spent with Russ, I will be doing it again sometime soon.

 

If you are interested in having a go at Russ's hide please go to his website, website link is above just click and a new window will open up for you to look at the info the hide, select the Sturton Eastates page and then contact Russ, I am sure you will not be disappointed.

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(Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2018/4/tawny-owl Sun, 15 Apr 2018 16:25:18 GMT
Still getting Redpolls http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2018/4/still-getting-redpolls Am still not able to get out too far from home due to family issues so today managed an hour or so in total out in the garden mainly photographing the 6 to 8 Lesser Redpoll that are still coming to our feeders. 

I do have a few vantage points that once I am set up; the birds don't worry too match about me being there, I have a portable one man chair hide that can go in several places for shots from different angles and backgrounds, a gazebo; that once a bit of scrim netting is in place allows for close up photography, and a more comfortable summer house, see below.

So today I was in the summer house, just standing there with the door open sheltering from the rain and awaiting the birds ideally land on the perch attached to the bird feeder pole and not the feeder itself.  

It seems the birds do a circuit of one or two areas they feed collectively and for us it seems about every half an hour for 10 to 15 minutes in out garden. Today while out in the garden 6 to 8 Lesser Redpoll and a lone female Siskin called in with a quartet of Goldfinch, a couple each of Blue and Great Tit and when packing up to go in a Stock Dove dropped in too!

Below a few of the better images in a cloudy, dull and rainy session.

I think you see can 6 different Lesser Redpolls above from the 8 calling in at the moment.

Only managed 1 decent image of the single Siskin, shame the males were not about they seemed to have moved on a few days ago.

Goldfinches can be seen daily in my garden and are always good for a photographic subject if the light is decent, having said that the image below is not bad considering weather conditions today.

Last imagine this little blog is of the Stock Dove that called in if only for a couple of minutes, very flighty and nervy these birds aren't they?

Same words with some different images here >> lincbirders.org website

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(Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2018/4/still-getting-redpolls Sun, 08 Apr 2018 15:26:10 GMT
1st Blackcap of year. http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2018/3/1st-blackcap-of-year Due to my Mam recently falling and breaking her hip I have not be able to venture too far from home in case I was needed to help her. Today was a chance on a lovely spring morning to go for a couple of hours walking from home around QE2 park towards the town centre.

As I entered the lane at the end of my street the dulcet tones of Blackcap echoed loudly around the hedgerows. It took me no longer than 1 minute to follow the sound to locate the bird tucked at the back of a large shrub on the lane.

The messy shot above with branches galore visible soon became the theme of the day as you will soon see!

Birds were singing everywhere and when at the end of the lane heading towards QE2 park I had seen, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird, Wren, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove and good numbers of active Corvids above.

Crossing the river into QE2 park I scanned for Grey Wagtail and Kingfisher, the latter was not to be seen at all during the walk but a lone Grey Wagtail was fleetingly seen when crossing the river at the same spot to go home.

Mallards and Moorhens were the only bird seen on the river Witham so I moved over to follow the areas of heavy shrubbery / hedges across the grassed areas. Here a couple of Song Thrush, more Wood Pigeon and a single Stock Dove were seen.

After a while of looking around primarily for any early arriving Chiffchaff (none found) I moved back to the riverside and soon had a busy and singing Goldcrest over my head in a tree.

In the same area I caught sight of a nesting Collared Dove taking nesting material into its nest site in a heavily camouflaged tree trunk.

Crows were around foraging near the river banks too.

I began to make my way back seeing a Moorhen basking in the warm sunshine on the small fishing lake - another bird surrounded by branches!

Even the birds in the distance like this Magpie were half hiding behind branches and twigs stopping me getting clear images!

After crossing the bridge to walk back home this Chaffinch was happily sunning itself.

Making my way back to the lane near my home I saw a displaying Wren at pretty close quarters.

No sign was seen nor heard of either Goldcrest or the Blackcap male before arriving back home.  But I could clearly hear the lovely sound of Lesser Redpoll and Siskin in the tree at the bottom of my garden so could not resist taking a few pics while we waited for the yorkshire puddings to rise!

I dont think I have taken so many images with such messy backgrounds but still great to see the sun out, hear the birds singing and getting to share a little time watching nature turn the corner into its next phase.

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(Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2018/3/1st-blackcap-of-year Sun, 25 Mar 2018 16:52:07 GMT
Spotted Sandpiper lifer! http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2018/2/spotted-sandpiper-lifer Bit of free time this weekend allowed me to nip into Holme Pierrepoint white water course outside of Nottingham to see if the Spotted Sandpiper could be caught this time as last time I called in to see the little bird I dipped out and fit in an hours local birding too! As soon as I was at the end of the course I heard the call of a Sandpiper, 2 birds landed on the opposite side of the water to me and I managed a shot of both birds, 1 a Common Sandpiper and the other the Spotted Sandpiper, result another life tick! - although the photo is distant I think it does act as a nice comparator between the 2 species.

The Common Sandpiper flew off within a couple of minutes as 2 canoeists drifted past at the end of the white water course. Thankfully the Spotted Sandpiper stayed put and after a little time and effort waiting for it to come towards me a few decent images were achieved.

Bit of preening below.

The Spotted Sandpiper came as close as 20 odd feet at 1 point and so gave me chance of a decent close up of a lovely little bird. My best image from the brief session below.

A few Canada Geese were in the general area at the end of the course where the Sandpiper was feeding.

The Common Sandpiper called in again for a little while then off it went, the Spotted Sandpiper was pretty steady only flying to new feeding areas occasionally.

The Spotted Sandpiper ventured onto the grass off the path now and then with it on 1 occasion finding a large earth worm where it proceeded to take it onto one of the concrete sections to find the best way to eat the worm.

Mid-swallow below.

I had heard the bird had a bad foot and was limping around the other day but there was no evidence of a limp when I was with the bird. On the way back near my home I saw a Buzzard low in a tree and grabbed a photo before it flew off.

Sunday morning was a walk to the local pub to pick the car that was left overnight  - no drink driving me! - the local is about 10 minutes from the start of the riverside walk where I saw Mandarins and Kingfisher last weekend. So I thought lets have a wander see whats about and then get the car on the way back.

I took a route that included a lane at the bottom of my road and soon I heard the high-pitched song of a male Goldcrest. I stopped, looked and located the bird and soon it became apparent there was 2 birds darting around chasing one another. Within 5 minutes 1 bird had flown into a bush right next to see and then it was accompanied by the 2nd Goldcrest and one the next 15 minutes of action I took about 75 images trying to capture these fearthered bullets! My previous half a dozen walks looking for Goldcrest in the same area had all come to nothings lick was with me today!

Above the best 2 images from an enjoyable time with these diminutive birds; I then moved onto the riverside walk and soon was onto a Grey Wagtail feeding at the footbridge.

No Kingfishers were seen this time but the Mandarin pair were in the same spot for about 10 minutes before they flew off to a local large house that I think has a large body of water in its grounds.

The Mandarins did seem settled in the same area with the male once again scaring off any Mallards that came close to the female. Unsure as to why the birds flew as I observed them.

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(Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2018/2/spotted-sandpiper-lifer Sun, 18 Feb 2018 16:04:00 GMT
Local Park Mandarins http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2018/2/local-park-mandarins A tweet came in with me tagged into it from a good friend and top local birder Dave Roberts about a pair of Mandarin Ducks he had come across in a local park where the River Witham meanders gently through it while walking his dog. I tweeted back 'see you in 10' and off I walked round to the park.

Dave was making his way back to meet me and as I crossed the foot bridge to enter the parkland adjacent to the river I looked; as I normally do when crossing here; for Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail as this spot can prove good for both species. I looked to my right and saw no Grey Wagtail but a distant Grey Heron was seen - halfway there I guess!

Turning to look upstream to my left I scanned for Kingfisher and soon got onto one perched in a tree above the water on the right hand bank.

I crossed the bridge turning left heading into town and saw the Kingfisher was not moving as so spent a few minutes enjoying close but shrub obstructed views of a gloriously fit looking male bird. But he soon dived, missed the catch and re-postioned himself across the bank giving a better view.

Moving on to see where the Mandarins where I was soon looking across to the opposite river bank looking at a lovely pair of Mandarin in with a small group of Mallard.

They did not move too much from a small section of the river only gliding up and then down stream and returning to the same central area they seemed to favour. The pair were not taking lightly to any close drift-bys by the Mallards and were soon pecking at them as they go too close. The male was also looking to protect his female by standing guard next to the female when she was perched on a raised mound and preening.

I eventually moved on back homeward and saw the Kingfisher was too still in the same area and again had the chance to admire the bird and take a few more images through the vegetation as a clear view was not possible once again.

Thanks for the tip off Dave, I wonder how long the Mandarins will linger?

 

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(Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2018/2/local-park-mandarins Sun, 11 Feb 2018 14:42:45 GMT
Day out for a lifer! http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2018/1/day-out-for-a-lifer I had been loving all the images of the Desert Wheatear in Whitby and when a free day presented itself when my wife was off out shopping all day on Saturday I immediately thought "another lifer?".

A very early morning departure - 5.30am - meant the 140+ mile drive was easy and pretty quiet and I was soon the first in position to see if the Desert Wheatear would show. It was a blustery, cloudy and cold morning as the light slowly tried to improve (it didn't really) and within 5 minutes of setting up my camera and tripod the Wheatear appeared on a post about 40 feet from me and as quick as it arrived it flew off again, perhaps thinking "only 1 birder here at the moment? I will come back later when more can admire my splendour"

During the 2 1/2 hours I was there birders came and went - I guess about 20 in total with them all getting nice views of the active bird as it flew in close then further off, chasing a nice looking male Stonechat off on one occasion too.

I had got the best images I was going to get considering the poor light but was really pleased I had ticked another one off!

Onto Scarborough to see if the 2 Waxwings recently reported could be seen and also a wander around the harbour area to see what was sheltering from the roughish seas and of course hopefully views of Purple Sandpiper, possibly my favourite wader.

A walk around the harbour took in the breakwater and no Purple Sandpipers to be seen, I was told later on via Twitter that 24 were in the Whitby harbour - bugger! A lone juvenile Guillemot was happily diving for food around the boats, at the end near Marine Drive a Redshank dropped in fleetingly and a Great Black Backed gull was attempting to feed on a dead juvenile Guillemot.

In my experience of visiting Scarborough, you can always depend on close views of Turnstone and this visit was the same, I sat harbour-side on some nets and awaiting the birds' arrival closer to me as they avoided the other seaside revellers.

Bird-wise it was daily quiet around the harbour so with a bag of fish and chips in hand off to B&Q I drove to see if the Waxwings were around, parked up and spoke to a birder from Stourbridge called Chris that I had previously seen at the Wheatear 'twitch' and no Waxwings were around although they were reported earlier on in the morning. So, I had to sit in the car tucking into still warm fish and chips scanning the trees etc. as I ate in comfort.

Nothing appeared so now fully re-charged I drove to the car park on Holbeck Hill to see if any Mediterranean Gulls was at the roost. Arriving at the car park once again I bumped into birder/photographer Chris. 2 Med Gulls were around with a few Black Headed Gulls; I had missed out on another 4 that had left the spot a little before my arrival.

The birds were feeding close to the cars and I got the following images from the passenger seat in my car. Nice to get a little Black Headed to Mediterranean Gull headshot comparison like in the images above too!

All in all, a long day, up at 5am back home at 4.45pm and close to 300 miles driven, when is the next day out?

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(Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2018/1/day-out-for-a-lifer Sun, 14 Jan 2018 16:44:26 GMT
Sunday morning at RSPB Frampton Marsh http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2018/1/sunday-morning-at-rspb-frampton-marsh A cold but sunny sunday morning was the prediction of the weather guru's around the whole of the UK well most of it; so me and long time mate Steve went off to Frampton for look around. We met up with another photographer / birder mate called Oliver for a quick chat too - which was nice!

Birds were all over mainly in fields on the right of the track to the sea bank. Wigeons being in the ascendency with Redshank, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Brent Geese, Dunlin also a small group of Whoopers landed too in the far corner.

Small groups of Lapwing and Wigeon passed over head as the sun broke through heading towards the area in front of the east hide. We got to the sea bank, had a few minutes and saw a couple of Little Egrets and a large group of Brent Geese, about 100 birds grazing. Walking back towards the turning to the hides and with the rising sun behind us we could appreciate the beauty of the place as it woke up. We stopped while walking back down the track and had a chat with a fellow birder on one of the gravel risers allowing visitors better views of the scrapes and soon saw a pair of Shoveller and two Redshanks pretty close in with one Redshank being of the Spotted variety, this was a lifer for Steve and only my 2nd view of this species!

I tried to get a comparison photo or two of the 2 Redshank species and only managed a couple with one of them being below.

The birds were getting more and more active in the air with lots of flyovers at different heights. I got the image below of what I thought was just Dunlin but upon closer inspection a few Ruff were in the group too.

Keeping our eyes open for Stonechat we soon understood with the wind being so cold, gusty and sharp why the male Stonechat we saw was making its way towards us on the track at ground level - keeping itself out of the wind - not daft these birds are they?

We had a few minutes with the Stonechat, it kept low and soon was lost from sight in the bottom of the reeds. When walking back along the track as we all do I am sure scanning of the posts in the fields now to the left of the track heading in the direction of the visitor centre I said to Steve "what's that on the post left of that gate?" my bins were at this time in my pocket and it was easier for Steve to put his that were having around his neck to his eyes, "Merlin - I think?" came the reply.

We made our way steadily, stopping along the way to get a few photos in case the bird flew and we got as close to a Merlin as we dare and had been before and managed a very pleasing shot of one of the stars of this great reserve. This was another lifer for Steve too, so 2 lifers in about 10 minutes, "not a bad sunday morning out mate" I said to Steve.

Eventually the Merlin flew fast and low towards the scrapes in from of the east hide. Small groups of Brent Geese were then seen moving towards the sea bank / salt marsh area.

Then we heard the tell tale sound of another species of goose "Pink! Pink!" a look up and about 60 Pink Footed Geese headed east.

We got into the 360 hide hoping for a warm but in fact it seemed colder than being outside!

It was pretty quiet really during the time Steve and I were in this hide, a Meadow Pipit and Skylark foraged and when a Starling appeared in the same area to do the same a Lapwing came in and chased it off.

As time was limited we took the 1.2km distance walk back to the visitor centre after briefly scanning the water in front of the reedbed hide to see what was about, here we saw about 10 Pochard. A nice warm and hot drink later we went out again and walked the track to the sea bank one more time. Another nice Stonechat male was very active in the area of the turning to the hides, maybe he was wind assisted but he moved about with great haste!

We both managed a few pics of the bird before it flew off to the reeds wind assisted of course!

A little Egret flew over at this time too, it was looking to land in the reeds to the left of the reedbed hide. Several various sized groups of Whooper Swans were seen from time to time in the distance during the morning.

Then something, we never saw what; put up all the birds in the fields and the birds filled the blue sky for the next 10 to 15 minutes circling all the time until they once again settled to feed once more, what a sight it is to witness too!

Well that was it for us and we drove home, within 5 minutes of saying goodbye to Steve a nervy Stock Dove landed in my garden as the Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Lesser Redpolls were feeding to cap off a great few hours birding. Not the best image I have ever had of a Stock Dove as it was taken through double glazing.

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(Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2018/1/sunday-morning-at-rspb-frampton-marsh Mon, 08 Jan 2018 19:09:11 GMT
2017 Review - 3 pics per month http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2017/12/2017-review---3-pics-per-month I thought a little review of 2017 in pictorial form would be a nice thing to do, little did I realise how hard it would be to pick 1 image per month to feature in the blog this turned out to be impossible and so I thought ok expand it to 3 and even this was a massive challenge; boy I do take quite a few images in a year! 

But not to be deterred here goes a month by month review with 3 images taken in that particular month with a brief recap on where I went and what I saw along the way. I do hope you enjoy!

Hover your mouse / finger over an image and if a title appears then this means it is linked to a blog - click away folks!

January 

Mablethorpe Sanderlings
Just love a Sanderling, this one is from Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire!


A small group of Bearded Tits were seen at close quarter at RSPB Langford Lowfields.

Waxwing Lyrical
Waxwings always a bird worth twitching, I saw them in 4 different locations in 2017.

February


A week in the sun on the island of Tenerife led to a lifer or 2, here 1 of them; a Blue Crowned Conure.

A trip to Attenborough Nature Reserve gave up close views of Red Crested Pochard among others.

South Lincs Bluethroat

 A wonderful time was had by many a birder at Willow Tree Fen when this little beauty appeared! My first seen in the UK.

March

Garden Sparrowhawk

Usually the Sparrowhawks visiting our garden are nervous and disappear as soon as they see a human, but not this bird!

Redpolls
Am lucky to get Lesser Redpoll, Siskin & Brambling visit the garden in winter, sometimes the Redpoll's look like Mealy's!

Frampton Marsh in the winter sunlight is a wonderful place you can get great views of all sorts like this Brent Goose.

April

Garden Brambling

The time the winter visitors leave the garden space, this bird left its mark though - WOW!

Murcia - Red Rumped Swallow

Murcia - 68 species with 6 being lifers, cool!

Bempton Cliffs Gannet

Beautiful Bempton Cliffs - now an annual pilgrimage.

May

A lovely local patch Marston Sewage Works Marsh Harrier.

Our garden is blessed with visits by several different species throughout the year - have had 4 Stock Dove visit at once.

Hunstanton Whitethroat

Hunstanton Norfolk, a great place for a little birding plus you can get chips!

June

Driving around Lincolnshire you sometimes get to photograph the majesty of a Red Kite.

Eider - lincsbirders.org blog link

Puffin - stevenesbitt.co.uk blog link

A 3 day trip to the Farne Islands lead to over 2,500 images taken with too many to include just 2 showing above, Eider and Puffin. 2 links above with many different images in each blog.

July

The garden is yet again a source for joy when the young birds begin to appear in it like this Robin.

Not an easy avian subject to capture successfully but managed a pleasing Swallow image when on holiday in Weymouth.

The campsite we stayed near Weymouth once again delivered nice views of Mediterranean Gulls.

August

Thailand again for me this month and another half a dozen lifers - above a Hoopoe which was not 1 of them.

Thailand Calling!

Purple Swamphen seen at Bueng But Nature Education Centre was a lifer though.

The hotel grounds in Hua Hin gave up not 1 but 2 Spotted Owlet, wonderful little birds. Over 70 species seen and 6 lifers plus a great holiday - result!

September

Local patch Whinchat

An early visit to the local patch after some information on Whinchat from a birding pal lead to some great views of Chiffchaff too.

The garden delivered once again this time a lovely pair of Coal Tit buzzed around the place for a while.

October

Not a lot of birding this month but a great day again was had at Hunstanton when at hight tide a close encounter with a lovely Purple Sandpiper was had.

Purple Sandpiper

 

As usual good views of the delightful and overlooked Turnstone were had.

November

Marston STW Green Sandpiper

Marston once again was visited and this time my 1st in flight pic of a Green Sandpiper was bagged, distant but still nice!

Frampton Stonechat - Lincs Tour day 1

Shorelark - Lincs Tour day 2

A 3 day long tour of Lincolnshire in the motorhome ended this month for me and what a great time I had, plus 2 more lifers click linked photos above to read the blogs for days 1 and 2 and day 3 blog here >> Day 3 Lincs tour

December

Marston Grey Heron

Local patch Marston once again looking for Stonechat, none were seen but had close views of Reed Bunting etc.

At home the Lesser Redpoll numbers are growing, now at 10 in total, I hope this grows even more to match the 30 plus we had a couple of years back.

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(Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2017/12/2017-review---3-pics-per-month Wed, 27 Dec 2017 17:32:21 GMT
Marston STW hoping for Stonechat http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2017/12/marston-stw-hoping-for-stonechat I had been keeping my eye on the weather for Saturday and it was looking good all week for a sunny bright if cold morning and so I thought a couple of hours in my hide in the reclaim area of Marston to see if shots of the Stonechats previously seen in this area could be achieved. I got in place on a frosty but reasonably bright morning and waited to see what would land in my view from inside the one man hide.

Within 10 minutes of getting settled in the hide a group of Reed Buntings that eventually grew to over 20 were in view to allow for a few photo's at a reasonable distance; in with these for only a couple of moments was a lone Lesser Redpoll.

A trio of Wren were seen fleetingly but sadly no sign of the target bird the lovely Stonechat - next time eh?

In total I gave it 2 hours moving my hide a couple of times to different areas to best suit the sunlight that was begin broken up by moving light cloud. On the way home I decided to take a walk along the River Witham at Barkston to see what was about.

I saw a Grey Heron on the opposite bank from the track and soon after 2 Little Egret took flight away from me then to be followed by the screeching Heron. The Heron did a big loop and landed into a field. Walking back with not much about apart from a few Mallards I heard then saw a trio of Lesser Redpoll working the trees opposite to me.

A quick look over the bridge gave me good views of a second Grey Heron and this time this bird was not bothered by my presence.

I left the Heron happily looking for food and off I went home.

Same words with some different images can be seen here >> Lincsbirders.org 

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(Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2017/12/marston-stw-hoping-for-stonechat Sat, 16 Dec 2017 15:44:23 GMT
3 day Lincs tour - day 3 http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2017/12/3-day-lincs-tour---day-3 The campsite for night 2 was in Caistor and had several fishing lakes on it so I expected to see a few birds on or around the water on the site in the morning before departure.

Well in truth not a lot was seen, Mallards, Moorhen, Coot and a lone Grey Heron were seen along with Blue & Great Tit, Jackdaw and Blackbird. The Heron saw me and departed quickly; can’t blame it really can you?

After a lazy start to the day, no early wake up required, off I went to Covenham reservoir for the first time to see if the Red Necked Phalarope was still about. I got to the reservoir, parked up and soon realised this body of water was a heck of a lot bigger than I expected.

The walk from the car park to the south-eastern corner where the Phalarope was reported to be took a while, but it was a cold but lovely sunny morning. Mallards and Coot were on the water in good numbers and several Redshank and the odd Pied Wagtail were working the water edge.

I got to the corner where a handful of birders were already enjoying close in views of the Phalarope, first thing for me to do was take a good look at the lifer through my bins to enjoy my premier viewing and then take a couple of rather distant pics in case the bird decided to fly off!

The Phalarope was a busy bird actively battling the waves and the flotsam and jetsam to find food. It occasionally flew in either direction away from the corner it favoured, soon to come back and start foraging for food again.

I got this image with the Phalarope hiding something suspect in its beak - hope it dropped it!

The bird looked much better in the clearer waters but it was hard trying to get onto the bird in the rough conditions was a challenge – but to be honest I am pleased with the images achieved all things considered.

The Phalarope also spent sometime happily preening in the rough water allowing for some different images to show of different views of its current plumage.

It was nice also to some more Lincolnshire birders / photographers at the reservoir who were also enjoying watching the bird. I stayed longer than planned and so made my way back to the van to have some lunch before heading off back home, on the way around the reservoir (which would mean I complete a full circuit of it) a large group of 40 plus Goldeneye moved from the waters’ edge into the centre of the reservoir as I walked past.

So … 3 days, 2 nights away, over 200 miles driven, 5 locations visited, 73 species seen - 2 of these being lifers. All in all a great time had in our wonderful county of Lincolnshire.

Same words with some different images can be seen here >> Lincsbirders.org

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(Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2017/12/3-day-lincs-tour---day-3 Tue, 05 Dec 2017 19:30:13 GMT
3 day Lincs tour – day 2 http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2017/12/3-day-lincs-tour-day Leaving my Skegness basecamp nice and early for day 2 of my tour I headed for Gibraltar Point, this is not a place I visit very often my visits have been pretty quiet in the past but never the less I do always enjoy going there. I was first in the car park on this cold bright frosty morning.

I always walk to the wash view point first from the car park the only thing of note seen was a Curlew as it took off from near the boats close to Lil’s hut.

Scanning the new saltmarsh gave up small skeins of Brent Geese heading inland. I then crossed the car park again to head off to do my usual loop of the reserve. Onto South Marsh Road and looking into the creek near the car park a Little Egret was close by looking for its breakfast.

A Snipe took to the air from the old saltmarsh near Bean’s Hide, walking straight towards the sea I scanned from the viewpoint to see good number of Cormorant out at sea.

I walked towards Greenshank Creek and soon got onto a very small group of mixed waders, Sanderling, Turnstone, Redshank, Oystercatcher and Grey Plover, the last 2 species were a long way off further along the creek. A couple of small groups of Shelduck flew overhead heading in the direction of the new saltmarsh from the east dunes.

I managed to get reasonably close to a small group of waders for images, Redshank, Turnstone and Sanderling all seemingly happy to feed whist I watched them.

I am always conscious of tides when in this area and soon headed back over Mill hill to have a little time in a hide or two. bird wise it was very quiet all over; a lovely male Bullfinch flew overhead while near prince’s pond to cheer things up. Borrow pits had a few common gulls and a couple of Mute Swan from what I could see. A little time in the Mere hide gave views of usual duck species, Gadwall, Mallard, Teal and with time at a premium and nothing happening here I made my way to the Tennyson’s sands hides, here I saw a lone Black Tailed Godwit and Canada & Brent Geese in decent numbers along with more Teal and Wigeon.

When at the Harvey hide a group of circa 40 Brent Geese dropped in briefly and after scanning them I was happy to see a Pale Bellied bird before they flew off towards the wash viewpoint area of the reserve.

Managed to catch a couple of flight shots but lost the Pale Bellied bird sadly.

On the way back to the car park I called into the plantation to see if any Bramblings were about at the feeding station, sadly no only commons were seen feeding.

Is the above Blackbird a continental bird?

Back at the van a quick scan of Birdguides app on my phone lead me to make Theddlethorpe Dunes my next port of call hopefully for Twite and possible lifer Shorelark. At the car park had a chat with fellow birder / photographer Kevin who gave me pointers on the 7 Shorelark he had just sometime with. I made my way onto the beach and saw another couple of distant birders and a lone photographer that were on a group 30 to 40 lively and mobile Twite. I had never seen so many Twite before so this was great, now for the Shorelark.

I walked the beach with Mark the bird photographer searching for the Shorelark but these too were mobile, mainly due to dogs putting the birds up and away from the birders watching them. We persevered and finally we got onto 7 Shorelark, great stuff a lifer for me so worth to visit to Theddlethorpe.

A distant group of mainly Redshanks I think, I did initially think some were Ruff; were seen in the distance too, in the image below there is a smaller bird too (second from left), possibly a Ringed Plover?

I managed some images albeit distant ones, still pleasing to see that lemon yellow Shorelark face lighting up the beach, although they did their best to hide!

As the light faded and with the birds still staying their distant; off I went to basecamp 2 in Caistor in preparation for a few hours at a new site for me Covenham reservoir and another possibly lifer.

Final part of the 3 day Lincolnshire tour blog to follow soon. 

Same word but some different images here >> Lincsbirders.org website

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(Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2017/12/3-day-lincs-tour-day Sun, 03 Dec 2017 19:16:50 GMT
3 day Lincs tour – day 1 http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2017/11/3-day-lincs-tour-day-1 The use of the last day’s annual leave on a Friday tied in with my wife working over the weekend plus a weekend weather outlook that looked really good worked out well for a 3-day tour of Lincolnshire in my motorhome.

Overnight stays were booked in Skegness and Caistor and the first port of call on the Friday morning was Frampton Marsh. Arriving at the car park decent numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare were seen immediately plus the usual greeting in the trees of a group of 20 plus Goldfinch.

Not many birds were in the air at my time of arrival with only the odd flypast being seen like this Lapwing.

A trio of Mute Swan were spotted doing a large loop of the reserve while walking to the 360 hide where good groups of Linnets and more Goldfinch were seen.

From the hide several Skylark were playing hide and seek from the 360 hide as I looked towards the East Hide.

Some Canada Geese had a couple of Barnacle Geese among them. This group of birds were pretty active both in feeding and flying around this area of the reserve, seemingly doing a bit of a fly then feed then fly routine for a while.

Looking around other directions from the 360 hide not much was around apart from small numbers of the usual duck species and the odd wader, mainly Redshanks.  Meadow Pipits fought with Skylarks for the best feeding spots, Linnets could not settle at all going from one section of reserve to another to another and Pied Wagtails too seemed a bit flighty. I could not see any raptor action to cause this activity.

In the distance when leaving the 360 a large number of Brent Geese passed heading inland.

Opposite the reed bed hide some Wigeon landed alongside a decent number of Brent Geese already on the water opposite, here too a pair of Goldeneye were observed.

I walked round the back of the reed beds heading back to the reserve visitor centre and soon got onto a distant female Stonechat. I stood and waited and the bird slowly worked its way from the hedgerow bordering the reserve and the ploughed farm fields over the track towards the reeds themselves to be lost to sight.

A cup of coffee was in order when back at the visitor centre, here Wigeon passed close by and bulk of the Tree Sparrows that were about were refusing to perch in the sunlight apart from the one below.  Now suitably refreshed off for another walk this time towards the bank and marsh area.

I saw what I thought was a Merlin perched low in the fields on a distant post, closer inspection of the images taken confirmed the species, a Kestrel. More individual Redshanks were about in the water and the air, the Redshank seen below in the air has a closed ring on.

Nothing of note was seen from the bank over the marshes so I headed back to the car park. Walking back 3 Ruff were seen in with a small gathering of Lapwing.

When near the gate to take you towards the hides the skies then became full of easily 1,000 Golden Plover, a wonderful sight.

I had been told that more Stonechat had been seen around this area and decided to sit on the bench a while and after about 5 minutes a cracking male bird appeared atop a post.

He was soon to be followed by a lovely female and also a female Reed Bunting. The chats moved swiftly down the track towards the 360 and reed bed hides looking for food as they went.

I called it a day here and headed off for a couple of hours at Freiston Shore. As is usual when l get to the car park House Sparrows greeted me by posing nicely in the late low sun on top of the hedgerow. A Robin welcomed me when entering the reserve hide.

It was generally quite here with Wigeon being in the ascendency number wise both on the scrape but also the neighbouring fields with them clearly being heard calling.

Only birds of interest after scanning the scrape were a lone Curlew and Grey Plover, Redshank and Little Grebe were feeding in close to the hide in the shadows and reducing sunlight.

I then headed onto the stop over for night 1, had a good day and wondered what day 2 would bring at Gibraltar Point and Theddlethorpe?

Same words more images can be read here >> Lincsbirders.org

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(Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2017/11/3-day-lincs-tour-day-1 Thu, 30 Nov 2017 16:21:12 GMT
Marston STW 19/11/17 http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2017/11/marston-stw-19/11/17 Met up on a cold and frosty but nice and sunny Sunday morning with Dave Roberts at the Marston STW car park. First point of debate for us was when Dave asked me if I had seen the 6 Grey Partridge fly over the road, “yep I did”, boots on and a walk down to the road to scan the field they landed in but no GP’s to be seen.

No birds hardly from the hide, couple of Swan’s, Mallard and singles of Moorhen, Coot and Gadwall. While walking Dave said “keep your eye on the sky as we could get a passing skein of Pink Feet over” Soon we were off walking down Viking Way, soon we were on a Grey Wagtail.

A small group of Lesser Redpoll were next birds of interest, scanning carefully for a possible Mealy type we were again disappointed, none seen. The Redpolls were joined by good numbers of Reed Bunting (mainly female) in the same area.

Wren in good number were visible and audible all over the reedbeds and hedgerows along Viking Way.

A flypast by a Pipit sparked off a discussion as to whether the call was that of a Meadow or Rock – this was not concluded either way! A Gadwall flew low enough to enable me to get a decent BIF image.

Then from the thick vegetation a Snipe burst into the air, nice to achieve a few nice if distant BIF shots of this elusive bird.

Now at the Works end a pair of Stonechat were seen.

Making our way back down Viking Way heading towards the hide Dave’s earlier Pink Feet prediction came true when we watched a group of 150+ Pink Footed Geese heading eastward high in the cloudless blue sky.

Here Dave and I parted our ways with him heading back home walking back with birder Richard who we met on Viking Way whilst I stayed a little longer.

I am glad I did as I then saw the third Stonechat of the morning, another female, the bird was active crossing over Viking Way from the reed bed to perch high on the hedgerow and then to go back deep into the reed bed. Two Kestrels were working the reed bed area.

Passing the end of the scrape on Viking Way a couple of lively Goldcrest were seen and I managed an image through the tree it was hiding in.

When at the car park taking off my soaking wet boots a Sparrowhawk glided over heading towards the A1.

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(Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2017/11/marston-stw-19/11/17 Sun, 19 Nov 2017 16:14:52 GMT
Stainby & Marston STW http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2017/11/stainby-marston-stw Using one of my last 2 days annual leave on a fresh, cold but sunny morning turned into a good idea. I first hit the Stainby area to see what was about mainly hoping to see Red Kite. I have not been out this area for some time and although it was pretty quite bird-wise with only one Red Kite being seen and that being fleetingly as it drifted serenely towards Skillington it was still great to be out and about on such a nice day.

Nothing much was seen apart from Gulls galore in the fields, Black Headed, Common, Herring and the odd Lesser Black Backed from what I could see. Skylarks could be heard more than seen and the distinct call from Yellowhammers was clear along with the odd sighting atop the hedgerows.

This Buzzard posed nicely for me albeit a bit distant when near Skillington.

So with only 1 Red Kite being seen  I was going to go to hunt for Hawfinch around Exton Park Rutland after a local farmer had said he had heard 1 bird was seen there yesterday but forgot I had a dental appointment in the afternoon so birding time was limited so I decided to go to Marston instead.

I stopped off at the Garage off the A1 at the Marston turnoff for a 'meal deal' and had a wander around this area and saw several Fieldfare and Redwing in a track running parallel with the A1. I was about to pull into the car park at Marston and saw birds foraging on the roadside vegetation, closer inspection via the 'bins' and 6 Lesser Redpoll were more bothered about feeding than me! I scanned for the possible Mealy seen by my mate Steve Godson the other day but not here, sadly. Got a few shots of the birds from the car before traffic forced me to move and park up.

I parked up and walked back to see if the birds were still in the area, they were but now spread over both sides of the road. A large van drove noisily past and this spooked them away down the road away from the car park area. Managed a few more images before they moved on.

I knew 1 of the cars in the car park and so called up the owner Mr Dave Roberts to see where he was and met him on the Viking Way, he was watching a pair of Stonechat. Before reaching Dave on Viking Way I observed a group of Black Headed Gull in the turf field on a large expanse of water along with a Little Egret.

More Redpolls worked the area around us, still no Mealy type bird.2 Kestrels worked the Reedbed alongside Viking Way.

We walked to go into the hide and Dave saw that the Curlew's had joined the growing group of Gull's in and around the water in the turf field.

The water levels at the scrape still high and only a few ducks were seen on the water mainly Gadwall, about 10 Wigeon plus Dave saw a trio of Shoveller. We had good vies of the Curlew group as they took flight and circled in front of the hide.

Off to the works end we went and although we had a good old nose around this area too was very quite apart from seeing 3 Green Sandpiper - which was nice!

It was a pleasant few hours in the lincolnshire sun all in all! Where next Dave?

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(Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2017/11/stainby-marston-stw Mon, 06 Nov 2017 18:16:06 GMT
Lincs & Norfolk weekend http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2017/11/lincs-norfolk-weekend Had the chance to have couple of days away in the motorhome and decided to head to Freiston Shore then Frampton Marsh on the Saturday before moving onto the overnight stay in Hunstanton, Norfolk for a few hours walking the cast here on Sunday.

Weather was really windy, cold along with some poor light, the sun did make appearances during the weekend so overall not too bad for the time of the year I guess? Freiston Shore car park was empty apart form one car when I arrived and as soon as I had got ready to walk around a group of Whooper Swans flew into then out of view.

A walk to the hide provided views of the common finches and tits you would expect to see, the water was laden with Wigeon and their calls could be heard in close by fields too. The scrape was full of Wigeon, odd small groups of Teal, a pair of Shoveler and a dozen Mute Swan all were busy feeding. The odd Wigeon came close in from of the hide occasionally.

Small numbers of Common, Herring, Lesser Black Backed and Black Headed Gull were spaced around the scrapes as well as 9 Little Grebe most I have seen in one place at the same time. A Little Egret dropped in close to a not at all bothered preening Redshank for a few minutes.

I left the hide and walked towards the Freiston Low area and saw hundreds and hundreds of Wigeon in the fields, easily 1,000 were about the place. The Wigeon were feeding, fighting and flying all around for a few minutes, could not see what wound them up but things soon settled.

Whilst looking at these birds the call of Whooper Swans rang out as another group dropped in, this time 10 birds, 5 adults and 5 juveniles, nice!

Onto the bank looking back at the scrapes with decent water levels Freiston did look in good health.

I watched the birds as I walked around the scrape backwards the car park to move onto Frampton, I was half hoping they would take off again so I could try to get a few flight shots of the group but they were very happy among the Wigeon and Mute Swans. A couple of passes in the air by two small groups of Shelduck the was only thing in the air at this time.

The Whoopers did take to the air but only to move to another section of the scrape closer to the car park. I made my way back to the van and after another few minutes admiring the Whoopers at closer quarters I then headed onto Frampton Marsh.

Arriving at Frampton what was the first bird of note seen? Yes more fine looking adult Whooper Swan. This time 6 in front of the visitor centre, they gave good views if a little distant.

Walking my usual route towards the 360 hide first 18 or so Canada Goose were feeding in one of the freshwater scrapes on the right of the path to the 360 hide.

I stood looking through my bins at the birds seeing what I thought was a couple of smaller birds at the back of the Canada Geese, the birds then took to the air and here I identified the smaller geese a two Barnacle Geese.

Once in the 360 hide, which was very busy with birders sheltering from the bitter winds I soon got onto 5 Golden Plover while looking over towards the East hide.

In the same area 20 plus Dunlin were racing low and fast in the scrape area between the two popular hides, in with these birds was a lone Ruff too. Skylarks were fighting the wind making their presence known. A lone Ringed Plover was seen when scanning over to the reedbed hide.

Little Stint were seen as well but a long way off from the 360 and after about 45 minutes I decided to head into the wind once again. More Wigeon were sheltering on the banks near the reedbed hide.

The sun did come out for a little while but not for long, you can see how birdless the reserve was really.

Another Whooper Swan, this time a lone bird flew from nowhere over my head towards the 6 birds I had seen earlier.

Once in the reedbed hide once again with a good number of people in it keeping warm I spent sometime watching the few birds in the area, not many at all to be honest, groups of Linnet were busy in the air fighting the winds over the main body of water in front of the visitor centre. Pretty quite here in truth so off to the east hide I went. Another full hide but this time all looking on one direction with the odd birder saying "I can't see it" and other saying "look at that bank then track left from the" I asked one lad what we onto?

"Merlin" was the reply and after a few seconds scanning I was onto the bird of the day! It was on the ground, probably trying to shelter from the harsh winds too!

Great looking bird that stayed put for about 10 minutes while I was there then it flew low and fast into the wind never to be seen again. There had been reports earlier they a juvenile Hobby had been harassing a Merlin, would have been nice to have seen that!

Walking back from the East hide the fields near the bank to the Witham Mouth were busy with Dunlin, possibly the same flighty group from earlier and a few Black Tailed Godwits. The Godwits were scrapping well from time to time.

Spotted Redshank were reported in this area too but i only saw the usual species of Redshank in with the Godwits. I took the long way round back to the visitor centre hoping to spot Bearded Tit but sadly the strong winds put paid to that. A few Goldfinch were enjoying the plentiful teasel along the way back.

Despite the wind an enjoyable time at the two great Southern Lincolnshire reserves, on to Hunstanton for the night then the coastal walk in the morning.

Sunday morning arrived a bit brighter than the day before initially but just as windy if not worse due to being right on the coast! The waves as the tide came in were high and strong. All this meant most of the time the beaches were all to myself, well mostly.

A bit of sea watching started as I hit the beach and several groups of Cormorants and Gannets passed out at sea all heading north.

Common Gull, Turnstone, Sanderling and Redshank were first 'close in' species seen, one Turnstone wore 4 coloured rings.

The birds battled the winds when on the wing, all heading into the heavy gusts like the Oystercatcher and Redshank. I did see in the distance what I thought was a Purple Sandpiper I was not though convinced due to my eyes running badly with the wind playing havoc blowing into your face. I dismissed my thoughts as this species was the one I really wanted to see while on the Hunstanton shoreline.

Small groups of Sanderling barrelled along the coast, surprising how these little birds seem to master the winds when flying. I then had a lone bird flash by low at the waters edge and after a little reviewing on the back of my camera told myself, 'target bird seen' - Purple Sandpiper - yes!

The Purple Sandpiper flew in the general direction of the cliffs and I was walking in the opposite direction, this would be my only sighting I thought. I turned and began to walk again in the direction I was heading and soon came across 120 plus Oystercatcher on the beach sheltering as best they could from the harsh winds. Slowly but surely I got close enough for a photo or two and the sun appeared also!

Near the Oystercatchers were a few groups of Ringed Plover in 3's and 4's.

Turnstones and Sanderlings steadfastly worked the beach as the tide hammered in. The Sanderling below had a metal ring on its leg, info on all rung birds I see / photograph are sent onto the relevant organisation and these seen this weekend will be sent too.

A lovely looking Bar Tailed Godwit then dropped in front of me along with a couple of Knot.

More Ringed Plovers were seen as I walked back towards the town.

Then some 4 hours after I had left my motorhome, around 1.30pm I walked into the Purple Sandpiper again and this time after positioning myself in a place where the bird would not be disturbed I watched it come closer and closer, in the end a couple of times as close as 10 feet enjoying seeing the bird feed / forage at the waters edge in among the foaming tide.

More images of this delightful wader showing different angles I managed in the windy conditions can be seen here .... Purple Sandpiper

Walking from the beach I came across this resting Turnstone on the green in the centre of Hunstanton. It was not bothered at all as I bent down to take this image, perhaps too knackered from the strong winds on the beach!

So, a good couple of days with my top 3 birds seen being Merlin, Purple Sandpiper and Whooper Swan in that order!

More images from the weekend with the same words can be seen here .... Lincsbirders website blog post

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(Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2017/11/lincs-norfolk-weekend Fri, 03 Nov 2017 19:51:27 GMT
Hunstanton Purple Sandpiper http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2017/11/hunstanton-purple-sandpiper Last weekend I sneaked off for a birding weekend in my motorhome, first day I called into two great lincolnshire RSPB reserves, Freiston Shore and then Frampton Marsh; the second day was in Hunstanton with the aim of spending a few hours on the coast to see what could be seen.

The target bird this day was Purple Sandpiper which I was lucky enough to see on my last visit there some weeks previous and I was once again lucky to spot the bird, initially via a flypast and then on the beach right in front of the funfair.

The light was poor really and the wind was biting, constantly strong so I was happy to get any half decent images of a great wader.

I thought for a change I would blog just pics of the single species from as many angles as possible to show the birds plumage as best my images would allow. Hope you like the following images, I really enjoyed my 15 or so minutes with the bird which came as close as 10 feet on occasion.

My blog on the whole birding weekend will follow soon, keep calling back to see when this is uploaded.

 

 

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(Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2017/11/hunstanton-purple-sandpiper Wed, 01 Nov 2017 17:43:30 GMT
Marston Sewage Works 9/9/17 http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2017/9/marston-sewage-works-9/9/17 I saw on Twitter that Dave R had seen a couple of Whinchat at Marston so off I went for a look today, not been for a while so the visit was long overdue. 

I had over an hour looking around from 8am and never saw much at all and so off I went to the hide as the rain had decided to arrive.

The view across the scrape from the hide was pretty quiet with about  a dozen Gadwall, same number of Mallard and a few Moorhen and Coot was all that was seen on or around the water during my initial scans. Then a nice looking Wigeon appeared from the back of the large island. 

The skies were seemingly bereft of birds with only the odd Corvid and Wood Pigeon being seen. A few Blue and Great Tits were buzzing around the area close to the hide and soon a trio of Chiffchaff were seen up close, it looked to me like 2 juvenile and a tidy adult.

Another look across the water and I spotted a second Wigeon kipping all alone in the water, this bird eventually woke up and moved lazily towards the other bird at the left hand tip of the large island. Then some serious preening took place before another kip!

Just as I was leaving a group of about 30 teal dropped in, I then went home having enjoyed the time but sad I had not connected with a Whinchat, never mind next time eh?

I was at home and received a text from Dave R "Sorry mate Whinchat showing well now" - so what did i do? Yep off to Marston again to see if I could see my first Whinchat in a couple of years.

Met Dave and the man with the 'special touch' put me straight onto a single bird! We watched the bird from some distance doing the usual high perching showing its form off nicely for us both to admire.

In a tree a long way off a trio of Little Egret along with what we think was a Crow were perched. After Dave had left a Buzzard flew out of a neighbouring tree close to this tree and all bird flew up along with 2 Grey Heron also.

Dave had to go and I stayed for a little longer, the bird came a little closer, a lovely looking fit and healthy bird this one.

Am going to have to get to Marston open a more regular basis as we are now entering the Autumn the bird movements become more interesting don't they?

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(Steve Nesbitt Bird Images) http://www.stevenesbitt.co.uk/blog/2017/9/marston-sewage-works-9/9/17 Sat, 09 Sep 2017 16:01:44 GMT