Had a walk around a very quiet Covenham Reservoir this evening. No terns, very few hirundines & wagtails. The best on offer was Scaup, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Barn Owl, 4 Yellow Wagtail. Then halfway round the res I received a call close to 7.45pm of 2 Dotterel at Tetney Marshes, so then it was a brisk walk & then rally stage to Tetney before last light. Fortunately on arrival there was enough light to enjoy these star waders before retiring to the pub to complete the evening.

Donna Nook/Pyes Hall/Grainthorpe Marsh

Most visits to the Donna/Pyes area in spring will produce Wheatears

Water Carpet (with damaged wing)

Brown Tail caterpillars - the 2 orange spots near the tail easily identify them.
These caterpillars will soon strip the surrounding sea buckthorn bare.
never ever come into contact with them as the hairs can cause serious skin irritations.

Late afternoon at Pyes Hall

Clearly more summer migrants in on the patch today compared to last weekend. Here's the highlights: Marsh Harrier, Short-eared Owl, 2 Barn Owl, 3 Whimbrel, 3 Cuckoo, Turtle Dove, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 9 Wheatear,15+ Whitethroat, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, 4 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff & a Siskin over. Gadwall are not common here so it was good to see a pair on the haven at Pyes. A single Roe Deer was getting wet in the saltmarsh on a 7 metre high tide. Also my 1st Speckled Woods of the year on the patch with at least 3 seen.

Grainthorpe Marsh 22/4/09

Paid a visit to Grainthorpe Marsh yesterday evening. A very dark Marsh Harrier and a ringtail Hen Harrier were there but I couldn't complete the set with a Montys. Also Short-eared Owl, 3 Barn Owl, 7 Little Egret, 2 Greenshank, 4 Yellow Wag & a singing Corn Bunting, the latter actually a year tick.

Donna Nook/Pyes Hall/Grainthorpe Marsh

Some good quality migrants on the patch today with a male Ring Ouzel & 2 Black Redstarts present. Also seen today: 6 Little Egret, Common Buzzard through heading NW, Marsh Harrier, Spotted Redshank (not far off full summer plumage), Greenshank, Yellow Wagtail, Short-eared Owl, 3 Barn Owl, 25+ Swallow through, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 5 Willow Warbler & 8 Chiffchaff. Also 2 Barn Owls at Thoresby Bridge & another at Conisholme made it 6 Barnies in total for the day.

Covenham Reservoir

An early evening trip to Covenham coincided with the 1st movement of Arctic Terns into the UK & 8 birds were present on the res. Also seen: 2nd-summer Little Gull, 40+ Swallow, 20+ House Martin, 10+ Sand Martin, 8 Yellow Wagtails, 4 Wheatear, Willow Warbler & also a brief view of what was presumably the flava x flavissima hybrid that's been there for the last 2-3 days.

Egypt - bits & bobs (part two)

The underwing and upperwing of another butterfly I can't ID

Birding was often hard work, you could walk for ages in the barren desert without seeing a thing - come to think of it, just like a lot of the Lincolnshire countryside

Some very important people and John Major

Me not next to the North Sea

Sunrise at our hotel

random Egyptian waiter and...

....the Mrs. I explained to the waiter I would accept just 2 camels... but he still wouldn't take her

The entrance to our hotel - in stark contrast to that B & B I once stayed in at Southend-on-Sea

A big thank you to Stella who went down very nicely..... the local beer was to be a constant friend of mine during my 2 week stay. No relation to a famous beer from Belgium.

I found a reliable & very reasonably-priced taxi driver for my birding trips - meet Mohammed.
If anyone is going to the Sharm El Sheikh region give me a a shout & I'll give you his tel no. He will take you wherever you want to go at any time of the day or night. He now understands what us birders are all about (though at our 1st meeting he did call me "Crazy Man" when I explained I wanted to spend 7 hours in the desert).
PS - A bit of advice if you do get in a taxi in Egypt - close your eyes & pray

I had a (plain clothes) police bodyguard for 4 hours while I was birding at Nabq National Park. As you can imagine, I wasn't in the most relaxed state of mind for those 4 hours. We got on very well though - he even gave me a cake bar.

Smart fish

Donna Nook/Pyes Hall/Grainthorpe Marsh

Highlight of the day was a Red Kite that went low NW over the dunes at the southern end of Donna Nook at 10.15am. The Kite then circled over the RAF base before appearing to drift inland.
Other than the above, generally quiet in cloudy, drizzly conditions accompanied by a chilly NW wind.
Best of the rest:
1 Woodcock, 1 Barn Owl, 4 Wheatear, 10+ Swallows through, 2 Fieldfare, 1 Redwing & 4 Chiffchaff.

Donna Nook/Pyes Hall/Grainthorpe Marsh

Spring migration evident today. 8 Swallows, 2 House Martins, single Sand Martin, 2 Willow Warblers, Chiffchaff & 3 Wheatears logged. Spotted Redshank down the haven at Pyes showing signs of summer plumage coming through on the underparts.
The wintering Greenshank had been seen earlier down the haven but had gone AWOL by the time I was there.
Butterflies - 6 Peacocks and Small White also on the wing.
Moths - Brown Tail caterpillars were starting to become active in their webs on the sea buckthorn.

Egypt - bits & bobs (part one)

St Catherine's Monastery - the area around here held Rock Martin, Desert Lark, Scrub Warbler & White-crowned Wheatear (Sinai Rosefinch are allegedly supposed to be here as well)

The entrance to Ras Mohammed National Park was impressive

For those that don't know me well I'm a Tottenham fan (for my sins), so out of 2,000 taxis in the Sharm el Sheikh region trust me to pick this one.

Couldn't go to Egypt without taking the obligatory camel shot.
He seemed happy enough having his pic taken.

Starfish type thingy & eel type thingy

Spot the Osprey nesting on this ship wreck (click image to enlarge)

Moth sp.

Any idea what this butterfly is?

Don't think the locals had done their Russian homework

Yellow Wags in Egypt




Egyptian highlights

Record shots of Striated Mangrove Green or whatever it is Heron & Ortolan Bunting

White-eyed Gull.
(the best I could do with the poor light)

Western Reef Heron.
White birds were clearly the most common of the two morphs.

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater
1 of 3 passing through on a golf course

The 1st time I'd seen a summer-plumaged Bluethroat - what a stunner

Spur-winged Plover - a noisy but beautiful wader

Carrot-billed Terns regularly patrolled the beach

Indian Silverbill. Not the most stunning of birds but a new one for me all the same. A surprise find seeing 2 birds mixing with the sparrows in the hotel grounds . The bottom pic shows the diagnostic white uppertail coverts which separate it from African Silverbill. Indian Silverbill has established itself in the wild after likely originating in this part of the world from escapes.

Citrine Wagtail
I seem to have a knack of finding this species. Found one in Kos last year and this bird - the only ones I saw on each trip. I now just need to find one in the UK!

Having only seen a White Stork in North Yorks many moons ago (truly wild of course), it was great to stumble on the above bird. I then looked over a sand bank and saw this impressive sight...

Over 300 White Storks were here in total and it was a memorable sight over the next few hours to watch groups of them take to the air and spiral high over the nearby mountains.

White-crowned Black Wheatear

I woke up each day to the sound of 2 species - House Sparrow and the above. Laughing Dove was common & most birds were quite tame with birds often perching on chairs right next to people (see top pic). Far more Laughing than Collared Doves seen.

Red-throated Pipit - nice & easy to ID when they look like this