Fans of The Cramps will get the title and if you don’t like The Cramps a. What is wrong with you? b. Why are we friends? Maybe we’re not.
Anyway, a blog post. First in a year? Does anyone still read blogs? If so read on.
Yesterday I went on my first twitch in absolutely ages. What did I twitch? A Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio, some call it Western Swamphen, I still prefer Purple Gallinule. Will it ever be accepted onto the BOU British List? I doubt it but then Chinese Pond Heron made so maybe.
Anyway one arriving at RSPB Minsmere we were soon watching Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station. I mean the Swampmonster.
After a while of watching the Swampdonkey walk round a pool a sort of purple haze descends on a man and it was time to head off to the visitor centre to buy some china tea cloths or something and a coffee and bacon butty.
Around the centre, as well as the stench of composting toilets, are lots of Buddleia bushes. These attracted a steady stream of insects and a steady stream of photographers.
Peacock & Red Admiral
By now we needed to see more birds and better insects so yomped a whole 300m to look at the Stone Curlew, two adults and a chick. Can’t be too many places you can see Purple Gallinule and Stone Curlew in the same reserve.
Back towards the centre we dipped Pantaloon Bee but scored with the Beewolves and a bonus if somewhat shy Purple Hairstreak.
We finished our day watching a pair of Honey Buzzard put on a full flight display over Westwood Lodge at Walberswick. The three lifers in the day Brian Moore’s granddaughter Rosie certainly hit a purple patch!
All photos were either iPhonescoped (still or 4K video) or taken using the camera on the iPhone 6S. Stills from video were taken using the StillShot app.
Posted in Apps, Bird Recording, Bird Watching, Birding, British Birds, Butterflies, Dragonflies, iPhoneography, iphonescoping, Kowa 883, Twitching
Tagged Beewolf, Honey Buzzard, iPhone 6S, iPhonescoping, Migrant Hawker, Minsmere, Peacock, Phone Skope, phonescoping, Purple Gallinule, Purple Hairstreak, Purple Swamphen, Red Admiral, RSPB, Stone Curlew, Western Swamphen
After almost 10 years of hurt I finally nailed down Masked Shrike for my British List… and at Spurn! It almost didn’t happen. I hadn’t really noticed that since I upgraded to iOS8 I hadn’t been getting birdnews messages from Birdguides, so on Saturday mid morning I was shocked to log on to facebook to see messages about a Masked Shrike at Spurn… arses! I sent plenty of urgent texts, Greeny and Jamesy had both gone, Archie wasn’t around he was in Norfolk. Bollocks! Suddenly a text back from Dave Hutton… he was up for the trip on Sunday. Yes! With Masked Shrike veterans Dave Gray and Archie both on board we had a car full.
Sunday morning was clear with stars littering the dark skies above Quorn as I took Minnie out. Don’t get me wrong the County Council turning off streetlights pleases me… clear skies overnight before a twitch make me anxious. My last attempt at a Masked Shrike ended in disaster at Uttoxeter when Keith Allsop’s oh so reliable Saab 93 blew a head-gasket on the A50 near midnight back in 2004.
The Bridge of Sighs
By the time we crossed the Humber Bridge we knew the bird was there and we were soon watching a stunning juvenile Masked Shrike. I love Shrikes, they’re my favourite genus and a new one on my British List is something special. My long range iPhonescoped shot was poor, in fact it’s a video grab that a took as the bird flicked its tail around in true Masked style.
After a while we decided to try and see some of the other great birds around but on the road we stumbled into the Shrike again giving superb views.
Masked Shrike © Dave Hutton
Here’s another shot, this time a digiscoped shot by Justin Carr.
Masked Shrike © Justin Carr
In the Churchyard we couldn’t connect with the Wood Warbler or the OBP on The Canal but we had great views of the Red-breasted Flycatcher and this dancing Whinchat.
After a Pasty and Coffee it was where to go next. Sammy’s Point was decided upon to get far from the maddening crowds.
At Sammy’s we couldn’t find the Yellow-browed but another less showy R-b Fly gave us all the runaround.
Archie Plays With His Squeaker
Celebrating In Style… Lager Shandy!
By now we were ready for home and Archie wanted to listen to Manure demolish Leicester City on the wireless… 2-1 at half-time meant United were back… at 3-1 he was ecstatic… oh how the mighty fall!
Archie! What’s The Score?
With his pride having taken a battering the only option left was to join Dave and find peace in sleep… wrong!
A great day out with some brilliant laughs – almost all at Archie’s expense. Still he has the power to financially cripple the lot of us… what a banker!
Posted in Bird Watching, Birding, British Birds, Camera+, Digiscoping, iPhone 5S, iPhoneography, iphonescoping, Kowa 883, Kowa TSN-IP4S, Photography, Photoshop, Shrikes, Spurn, Twitching
Tagged Easington, Humber Bridge, Kilnsea, Masked Shrike, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Sammy's Point, Spurn, Whinchat
It’s been over a month since my last blog post. In all honesty I’ve just not been bothered by birding of late and even only the second County Glossy Ibis couldn’t tempt me out.
Today however a Twitter message as I finished work alerted me to a County first… a Pied-billed Grebe at Rutland Water. Well, it’d be rude not to. A quick dash along the A47 and I was soon enjoying a summer-plumaged adult. Get in!
After a few minutes watching it was time to get out the excellent Phone Skope iPhone adaptor marketed by Newpro. Clipping my phone in was quick and easy and there’s no way the phone is coming out once it’s in. The eyepiece ring is interchangeable depending on your chosen spotting scope. The fit on my Kowa 883 is perfect straight from the packaging. So, set up in seconds, I was getting some excellent results even at distance.
All the images and video were taken at 60x magnification.
Posted in Bird Watching, Birding, British Birds, Camera+, Digiscoping, iPhone 4S, iPhoneography, iphonescoping, Kowa 883, Photography, Rutland Water, Snapseed, Twitching
Tagged Newpro, Phone Skope, Pied-billed Grebe, Rutland
This morning I headed back North for another bash at the Yellow-rumped Warbler at High Shincliffe in Co. Durham. Our car consisted of Brian Moore, Dave Gray and me and we rendezvoused with John Walters, Colin Green and Steve James for a McDonalds breakfast at Markham Moor before heading North. We passed through a snow storm near Scotch Corner but otherwise things weren’t too bad and we made our destination by 08.00.
Thankfully the Yellow-rumped Warbler was on show as we arrived and despite the Baltic conditions we enjoyed it for well over an hour. It never gave itself up for photos though. Here’s a rubbishy video grab.
Yellow-rumped Warbler… Honest!
After having our fill we headed off to RSPB Saltholme. A cracking reserve in a very Blade Runner like landscape. The reserve staff were welcoming and we soon got ourselves into the café for a coffee and in my case a sausage bun*. Out on the reserve we failed with the Green-winged Teal (and dipped it again later) but the birds and landscapes kept us entertained.
Little Egret, RSPB Saltholme
Middlesborough Transporter Bridge
Our next stop was Cowpen Marsh where Greeny picked out the Tundra Bean Geese at distance. They did fly closer but dropped out of view. A Short-eared Owl was very welcome as it hunted below the tip.
Tundra Bean Geese
Posted in Bird Watching, Birding, Black & White, British Birds, Camera+, Digiscoping, iPhone 4S, iPhoneography, iphonescoping, Kowa 883, Kowa TSN-IP4S, Nikon P310, Owls, Photography, Snapseed, Twitching, Video Digiscoping, Weather
Tagged Baltic, Bean Goose, Billingham, Blade Runner, Co Durham, High Shincliffe, Middlesborough, RSPB, RSPB Saltholme, Saltholme, Short-eared Owl, Transporter Bridge, Tundra Bean Goose, Yellow-rumped Warbler
Had a text this morning from Steve James, he’d found a flock of 21 adult Whooper Swans on the fishing lake at Cossington South. I finally got myself in to gear and got down there with the camera to be joined by Colin Green. From the lay-by the Whoopers were against the sun so we made our way round the lake.
With Swans or any white birds, getting the lighting right is always a challenge and I’m still not happy with the results.
After a while with the Swans whooping, washing and preening it was clear they were getting ready to go and at 11.30 the duly set off, had a fly round and headed West.
You know me I like a pun, hence the title and I love a bit of ABBA… so here they are.
Posted in Bird Recording, Bird Watching, Birding, British Birds, Canon 40D, Cossington Meadows, Kowa 883, Leicestershire, Music, Photography, Photoshop
Tagged ABBA, Cossington, Cossington South, Super Trouper, Whooper Swan
Ahead of The Drunkbirder Christmas Curry, Minnie Mu and I headed over to Eyebrook Reservoir to see the stunning male Velvet Scoter that was supposedly coming in so close… well today it didn’t. Despite good light it stayed at the far end of the dam and even then with a closer approach it stayed too far away for the DSLR.
All I managed were some pretty poor digiscoped shots and a bit if iPhonescoped video.
Posted in Bird Watching, Birding, British Birds, Digiscoping, iPhone 4S, iPhoneography, iphonescoping, Kowa 883, Kowa TSN-IP4S, Leicestershire, Nikon P310
Tagged Eyebrook Reservoir, Velvet Scoter
This morning I joined ASBO Birders Adam Archer, Dave Hutton and Jules Allen for a trip to the seaside. This time we were off to Southport to have a look at a mega rare duck. Arriving on site there had been no sign of the bird so we split up a bit to have a scan, Jules and I checked the Teal flock (difficult) while Archie and Dave checked through the Wigeon. It wasn’t long before Archie relocated the bird but as it moved in and out of the Wigeon flock it was tricky to get on. Everyone eventually did and we settled down to enjoy a stunning Baikal Teal.
Always distant or after lunch partially obscured by the sea wall, we got some half decent digiscoped shots. Many have mentioned the lack of a black band on the face but you can see this clearly starting to come through on both cheeks. The bird appears fully winged and clearly unringed… I’m happy!
From what I saw yesterday and from reading discussion on Birding Frontiers, I’d push y luck and age the bird as a 1W male.
Posted in Bird Recording, Bird Watching, Birding, British Birds, Digiscoping, Kowa 883, Nikon P310, Snapseed, Twitching
Tagged Baikal Teal, Banks, Crossens Out Marsh, Southport, Teal, Wigeon